Friday, April 22, 2016

Joe Washington Ebina: Profile of a sincere, hardworking and patriotic man

Joe Washington Ebina: if there is one man in Congo, who represents or symbolizes hope in the future, it is Joe Washington Ebina. For Congo is a country whose youths: male and female, have been destroyed by the communist oriented government of Denis Sassou Nguesso. Those currently ruling Congo have made Congolese to believe only in money and not in hard work. Hence, it is a country of professional lairs, hypocrites and lazy people.  These set of people are not just unique to Congo. They are certainly found all over the world. However, proportionally to their population, the number or percentage seems to be higher. Anyway, it is my opinion. And interestingly, it is not a gospel truth. Congolese are all too often vulnerable to corruption, hence the high level of betrayal. It also has perhaps the laziest youths the world.  Its women and in particular, those born between the 70s and the 90s, are also perhaps the less ambitious in Africa and also the world.  The corrupt rich and powerful old men, almost all belonging to the ruling PCT party, have spoiled Congolese women. They have made them to think that, they can only cultivate and embellish their physiques and also be good in bed, as their only route to be successful in life. This part will be developed more on the chapter on Congolese culture. But Joe Washington Ebina is different.  And it is refreshing because, it is an indication that, there might be many like him, who have not shown up or made themselves known. He believes in hard work and has the selfless spirit to sacrifice for others. He is the chair of the Ebina Foundation.

He was born with a golden spoon, because, his father, Joseph is besides Pierre Otto Mbongo, the only two known self made rich men in that country. Even though from a wealthy family, he is simple and accessible.  The Ebina Foundation is one of the few real humanitarian or philanthropic oriented foundations in Congo. It is different from the thousand and one fictitious foundations, created by the children, family members and friends of President Denis Sassou Nguesso. The only aim of those fictitious foundations, are to prop up their soiled individual and collective images and also that of their father, uncle and friend, at home and abroad. Unfortunately for the friends, children and nephews of the president, who are professional copycats devoid of any inventive or creative skills, their foundations has little or no impact locally and internationally. The Ebina Foundation is real because it truly helps or comes to the aid of the needy. I have seen or been a witness of its vast operational areas. It provides clean water to Congolese who are unable to have pipe-borne water. Sometimes, the quality of water provided by the state water utility, SNDE, in some neighbourhood of the capital and Pointe Noire, are so bad or poor that, even animals can’t drink.  Paradoxically, Congo lies along one of the longest rivers in the world, the River Congo. The country is also crisscrossed by several other rivers. But there are still parts of the city of Brazzaville and elsewhere in the country that have never seen water run through their taps or faucets, for at least, three years. The Ebina foundation also comes to the aid of children and people who can’t afford healthcare.

And it also provides thousands of scholarships to children from socially disadvantaged homes. In fact, it is a foundation that is helping to close the loopholes in the failed health, social and education systems of Congo. Besides running the Ebina Foundation, Joe Washington is also an active member of the Congolese civil society organisations. The civil society sector just like many others such as politics, has also been infiltrated, drowned and destroyed by the ruling Nguesso family. As they have done in the foundation sector, the ruling Nguesso family, have also created and funded several civil society organizations, with the sole aim of consolidating power and silencing dissent. But not all foundations created by the Nguesso ruling family members and friends of the president are fake. The only exception that, I know, is that which is chaired and funded by Edgard Nguesso. And it is called Fondation Generation Avenir. But a single swallow is not an indication that springtime is around. The existence of fictitious foundations and civil society organisations and political parties has seriously dented the credibility of civil society bodies in Congo. Interestingly, the civil society organisations in which Joe Washington Ebina is a member are genuine ones. He is a leader with an extraordinary federating attraction. Even though he is a native of the north of the country, his appeal is nationwide.

Besides his voluntary work against the needy and the marginalized, he is also a real pro-democracy activist, who loves and supports freedom of speech and abhors dictatorship. In a country where there is no free speech and where personality cult has been elevated into a state religion, it is refreshing to have a young man who is ready to put his life on the line for others and also hold democratic values. It is a rare quality in a country and in a sub region, where people metaphorically speaking, want to go to heaven, but none is ready to die. As at now, Mr Ebina focuses his attention on social issues like the repairs of lifts at the Brazzaville University Teaching Hospital, CHU, which is in an appalling professional infrastructural and hygienic state. He also spends time raising funds to purchase stand by generators for the Makelekele hospital located south of Brazzaville or coming to the aide of people and children suffering from albinism and other ills. Even though he is suspected by the government of having political ambitions, he has not yet made up his mind.

However, when he will decide to get involved in politics, it would change the dynamics and it would certainly have a positive impact. His role within the minuscule Congolese civil society organisations, gives hope in a country where, civil society organisations are almost none existent. For what passes for civil society organizations are in reality working for or in support of the government. In my humble opinion, Joe Washington Ebina is a sincere, hardworking and patriotic man, who believes in Congo’s future and more, he also believes in what he is doing.  That explains why his appeal goes beyond tribal and regional lines and this partly explains the reason why, he is hated by the President of the Republic. For the President can’t stand or hates to see any Congolese who is nationally popular. The attitude of President Denis Sassou Nguesso toward popular individuals or in this case, Joe Washington Ebina, whom he has instructed General Jean Francois Ndenguet to arrest on several occasions, is similar to the biblical example of King Saul and David.  In the view of Denis Sassou Nguesso, any popular Congolese or not, is a threat to his aspired eternal rule. Joe Washington Ebina is already playing a major role in the country. Even though he is regularly harassed and arrested by the police, because his actions raise consciousness and awareness of Congolese youths, he is not discouraged or consumed by fear. He will certainly be among those who will play greater role in the transformation of Congo democratically in the future.

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