Sunday, February 28, 2016

Aime Emmanuel Yoka, MP:Congo’s minister of justice and keeper of the seals (profile)

Aime Emmanuel Yoka, MP.  He is Congo’s minister of justice and keeper of the seals and also an uncle to President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Prior to his current post, he was the Director of Cabinet or chief of staff to President Denis Sassou Nguesso. It is reported that, he was dismissed from the post because he had transformed it into a reception office for all traditional heads of their region, who wanted to meet the president, but that, the president never wanted to meet at regular intervals.  Aime Emmanuel Yoka is a very proud man, who tells everyone who cares to listen that, he is the most educated and most civilized within the ruling Nguesso family. And it is not exactly wrong, for if the academic success of your children were a benchmark to measure personal success, then Aime Emmanuel Yoka can boast that, he is the most educated and the most civilized and also, the most successful man within the ruling family. For all his children studied abroad and mostly in English-speaking private Universities and more, they are almost all working for multinationals and also for international organizations. One of his sons is the Congo country manager of the Australian mining giant Sundance, while another one works in Ethiopia with the French Agency for International Development abbreviated in French as AFD. And there is another one, this time around, a female, who is a successful promoter of Congolese culture and in particular, Congolese movies.  She is a Harvard graduate and also the first in the family to attain the prestigious Ivy League institution in the USA.   

The African movie industry is currently dominated by the Nigerian movie industry, generally known as Nollywood. While other children with influential parents within the galaxy of power in Brazzaville, especially   members of the ruling Nguesso family would study or claim to have studied abroad and come back with doubtful academic and professional profiles only   to work in the civil service and this, at top functions, it is not the case with children of Aime Emmanuel Yoka.  The children of Aime Emmanuel Yoka are hard working and above all else, they are independent minded. They are mostly humble and not the show and tell types of their ruling cousins. According to the rumor mills in Brazzaville, Aime Emmanuel Yoka is not only too proud. He is also reported to be a maniac. There is an anecdote that claims that, Aime Emmanuel Yoka is so clean to the point of paranoia and  to a point where, when he was appointed as minister of justice, he  did refuse to use his office because, he claimed that, it was not only too small, but very dirty.  And he worked from home and only accepted to start going to his ministry, when an imposing modern ministry of justice building constructed by the Chinese was built. The new imposing building located along the Denis Sassou Nguesso Motorway and adjacent to the Brazzaville central Police station, some say, was specially built for him. Legend I gathered in Brazzaville has it that, there are three capricious men in Congo who are so closed to the president and will have whatever they want.

Kouyous massacre

They are: Aime Emmanuel Yoka, Oba Aponou and General Benoit Mondele Ngollo. I must point out that, it has never been proven. It is once again, the Brazzaville or Congolese reality and legends. In spite having strictly raised up his children and also having an idealistic view of the world, Aime Emmanuel Yoka remains a controversial figure in the eyes of ordinary Congolese, for he is considered a central piece of the regime.  And as such, he has no future or he will play no role in Congolese politics after Denis Sassou Nguesso is gone from power.  He is accused by some people albeit without proves again, that, he was the one that, President Denis Sassou Nguesso mandated to treat secretly with Jacques Chirac a deal to hunt and kill Captain Anga. At that time, Jacques Rene Chirac was French prime minister. The secret deal negotiated on behalf of Congo by Aime Emmanuel Yoka, it is claimed, was for France to send French forces in Owando to search and arrest Captain Anga. Captain Anga was a friend in arm to President Denis Sassou Nguesso, who had entered into an open rebellion against the state. In the presumed secret French military operation, it is reported that, thousands of innocent ethnic Kouyous were massacred.

Bond of contention

The said massacre it is claimed did continue long after captain Anga was arrested and killed. The massacre of the Kouyous is another genocide that took place this time, in the north of Congo and which has been silenced or never reported. It is also claimed to be another bond of contention between the ethnic Kouyous of Owando and the minority but ruling Mbouchi ethnic group of Oyo on the background of the unsolved assassination of Marien Ngouabi. Marien Ngouabi was the leader of the 1968 coup d’état that brought the northerners, in particular those of the Cuvette region in power. He was an ethnic Kouyou from Ombelle, located some 17km from Owando, the regional capital. He is suspected to have been assassinated by Mbouchi officers. The bad feelings of the Kouyous against the Mbouchis were revived again, after another massacre that took place in Owando in 1997.

Another accusation

Although a loyal supporter of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, Aime Emmanuel Yoka has another accusation leveled against him. He is being accused by some of his foes within and without the ruling family that, he was the one who oversaw the writing of the January 20th 2002 constitution. A constitution that instituted presidential term limits, which has become a torn in the flesh of the regime that wants to elongate the presidential mandate of President Denis Sassou Nguesso.  His principal accuser, it is reported, to be Jean Dominique Okemba. Mr Okemba is the nephew of the President. It is reported that, Jean Dominique Okemba claims that, Aime Emmanuel Yoka has misled Denis Sassou Nguesso to accept term limitations. What Jean Dominique Okemba fails to mentioned to people that he confides to is that, he himself wants to succeed President Denis Sassou either in 2016 or by 2023. Toward his presidential ambition, he has created an association headed by a Journalist called Asie Dominique de Marseille. He is sponsoring by proxy, the Troubadour newspaper headed by a brilliant journalist by name Francois Bikindou. He controls the state security services and intelligent services. 

Boastful Okemba

It is also reported that, in one traditional meeting held in Edou, he boasted that, he is not General Pierre Oba and other close aides to the President, whom in his words; he accused to have betrayed the president in 1992, by to allowing Pascal Lissouba to come to power.  
During that same meeting, he is also claimed to have vowed that, under him, President Denis Sassou Nguesso won’t leave power. He speaks as though he was the only real protector or bulwark of the President. But beneath the public display of loyalty toward the President, hides a desperate power hungry man, who is ready to be given the head of his uncle on Plata of gold, like the head of John in the bible. He wants power and he is ready to take it whenever he wants. His only fear is the reaction of a section of the top commanders of the Congolese army that he doesn’t control.  He is also reported to have verbally attacked Mr Laurent Tengo, who is a researcher and law lecturer at the Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville. Mr Tengo, mindful of the negative reputation that Jean Dominique Okemba has, he (Laurent Tengo) was too terrified and did not only beef up his personal security, he decided to confide to a trusted friend. The reason being simple, that, in case he dies or is attacked, they should know the source and cause of his attack. Why? It was reported to me by a person whose name I can’t expose here on because his security is not assured in Brazzaville that, Laurent Tengo, being amongst those who drafted the new Congolese Constitution, which has abrogated that of January 20th 2002, was attacked by Okemba for taking part in the drafting committee.


Jean Dominique Okemba and his group had already told the president that, the people won’t appreciate constitutional change. He therefore wanted people such as Laurent Tengo not to help his uncle in his plans. The truth is that, Jean Dominique Okemba was correct, for the people never wanted the constitution to be changed. The people are tired of Denis Sassou Nguesso. The only problem with Jean Dominique Okemba’s plans is that, it was not for the people or for the respect of state institutions. For Okemba was crossed when he learnt that, his uncle won’t respect the constitution and felt that people such as Laurent Tengo were the ones who wanted his uncle to elongate his stay in power and in doing so, reduce his chances of  ever governing Congo.  It is not surprising, Jean Dominique Okemba is very influential and it is normal that he aspires to succeed his uncle.

Absolves completely or partially

But Professor Charles Zacherie Bowao has another look at the accusations against Aime Emmanuel Yoka.  Professor Charles Zacherie Bowao, who was former minister delegate at the Presidency of the Republic, in charge of defense and who was also a member of the 2002 constitutional drafting committee, said that, when him and others protested against the introduction of presidential terms limits, it was not Aime Emmanuel Yoka who introduced it, but it was President Denis Sassou Nguesso himself   who insisted that, the 2002 constitution must have presidential term limits in it. This statement from Professor Charles Zacherie Bowao absolves completely or partially, Aime Emmanuel Yoka from the insinuations of Jean Dominique Okemba.

Why did the president want to have term limitations in the constitution just to change it 13 years after,  according to Charles Zacharie Bowao, the President at that time, said ,Congo must have a contemporary modern constitution.  While Charles Zacherie Bowao partially absolves Aime Emmanuel Yoka and heaps all the current difficulties encountered by the regime in their desire to change the constitution squarely on President Denis Sassou Nguesso, it is not, the same position shared by Jean Martin Bemba, former minister of Justice and also member of the constitutional drafting committee. Notwithstanding some slide variations, the former minister of justice claims that, it was the president who wanted to have term limits in the 2002 constitution. This corroborates the statements of Charles Zacherie Bowao. Jean Martin Bemba goes further: it might explain the reason, why he (president) decided at some point, to put all the responsibility of the drafting committee in the hands of his uncle, Aime Emmanuel Yoka.  Jean Martin Bemba went on: Perhaps it is because Aime Emmanuel Yoka was part of the inner core, who wanted presidential term limits. Hence he seldom speaks on the necessity of changing the constitution as championed by the likes of Thierry Moungalla and Pierre Mabiala.  

An idealist

Then he concludes:  Aime Emmanuel Yoka might be modern, honest, well educated, but he loves power, which may have meant that, he may or may not have wanted term limits but was too afraid to say or express any point of view. He likes standing or sitting on the fence. Emmanuel Yoka is an idealist, hence he decided in 2012 to run as Member of Parliament for Vindza. It is an electoral constituency and region located in the south of the country and reputed for being hostile to the ruling family and their tribe. The paradox is that, he won, even if there were suspicions of vote rigging. But what gave legitimacy to his controversial victory was that, he had the support of a former warlord by name Pastor Ntumi. Asked why he went down south to stand or run for a post of MP? He responded: to fight against tribalism, bigotry and above all, build a real nation that doesn’t currently exist. Aime Emmanuel Yoka says he doesn’t read local newspapers, because the content is not only poor but also badly written. He also adds that, Congo lacks professional journalists and that is also why, he doesn’t watch Congo’s national television station: Tele Congo. He is also reported to  have once told Maria Maylin, who is his friend and also a close friend to President Denis Sassou Nguesso that, his only regret is that, as brilliant as he is and also being the most educated person in the ruling Nguesso family , he is a black man.  He would have wanted to be a French White.  Whether this is correct or not, it is left for Mrs. Maria Maylin to justify it. But if it is true, it won’t be a surprise, because even the patriarch of their clan, Maurice Nguesso and also the President of the Republic Denis Sassou Nguesso, are people who still have inferiority complex, when they are in contact with white people , especially  French whites.

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