Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sadio Kante-Morel: profile of a journalist fighting against the 33 years misrule of Denis Sassou Nguesso

Sadio Kante-Morel: Until she became the flagship rabble-rouser on the streets and halls of France, rallying the Congolese and French-speaking black African Diaspora against the 33 years misrule of Denis Sassou Nguesso and other dictators, Sadio Kante-Morel was a seasoned reporter. She was a stringer with Thompson Reuters and the BBC Afrique in West Africa. It was an occasion that took her to several hotspots on the continent, in particular in the north of Ivory Coast, when it was under the control of the rebels, who are currently governing in Abidjan. And while in Congo, she was concomitantly stringing for Reuters and also collaborating or taking part at regular intervals in TV programmes on MNTV. The programme where she most participated was Point de Press. This programme was anchored by Emery Patrice Orbargui. Sadio Kante-Morel, who is a widow with only one child, is dedicated to her job and also a fearless militant against corruption and against dictatorship. Because of her dedication to her job, she most often neglects herself and doesn’t care about her looks. The dreadlock, eyeglass wearing and chaining smoke lady, is the only high profile female journalist of Congo presently.  Even though, she is now fully dedicated militant in France to see the back of Denis Sassou Nguesso, she remains professionally a journalist. This can be seen through her posts on her Facebook page where she interviews politicians and civil society activists of Congo from both sides of the divide.

Congo is a pathetic country for female journalists and professional women in general. It is a country where the system has destroyed any entrepreneurial spirits in women.  However this aspect will be developed on the chapter on Congolese culture.  The sad thing with the journalism profession in Congo is that, since female journalists such as Solange Samba Touyou, Arlette Soudan-Nonault and Marie Jeanne Colombo, left the profession, Congo no longer has high calibre female journalists capable of handling major economic or political programmes on TV, Radio and also in the print media. Today, most female Congolese journalists, especially those who are on TV and to a certain level radio, are not professionally ambitious.  Their presence on TV or Radio is a stepping stone to getting married or to be seen by powerful old and corrupt politicians or superficial businessmen. Hence in most newsrooms in Congo, whenever there are squabbles amongst female journalists, it is not for professional reasons. But their disputes occur because they want to accompany a minister or a member of the ruling party on mission to the interior of the country. For they are of the opinion that,  luck might smile to one of them and she will be selected as the mistress or second or even fourth wife of the minister or high ranking politician who came to solicit the service of their media house to send them as reporters to cover his activity.

It is a pitiable observation that I have made while in Congo. By contrast, in other Africans countries such as the DRC, Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin and Senegal, female journalists are competing with their male colleagues professionally. In Congo, female journalists are instead competing with each to sleep with the most influential politicians, in order to have a RAV4 SUV or a trip to Paris or Dubai. However, Sadio Kante-Morel and perhaps two other journalists, whose profile you will soon read, were the exceptions to rule. Because of Sadio’s devotion to her job, she was expelled from her native country Congo to Mali. Sadio Kante-Morel is a pure Congolese born in the populous neighbourhood of Poto-poto, from Senegalo-Malian immigrant parents. She speaks fluent lingala.

Even though her parents are Muslims, she is not a practicing Muslim and has the liberal behavior of any women born in Christian and animist equatorial Africa. It is refreshing to find an independent and also bold female journalist working professionally, the way Sadio did until her expulsion and this, in a country where women are not professionally ambitious. It is not as though there are no female journalists in Congo. There are a good number of them. However none has been able to singularize herself professionally as Sadio has done within the electronic media. However, the only problem with Sadio, if it is really one, is that, she likes smoking and she also talks a lot. On the positive side, she is not rancorous and professionally, she likes investigative journalism with an insatiable desire for risk taking. She adores being the first on a story or making the breaking news. She was even the one who first broke the news of my spectacular armed robbery and the gang rape of my younger sister on the night of the 9th breaking September 10th 2014. The fact that through social media she informed the world about my gruesome attack, it was never appreciated by the hierarchy of the Police and in chief, Jean Francois Ndenguet. She is also digital savvy, in a country where journalists: men and women are on the same level in their ignorance of new media. Sadio Kante-Morel gets angry very fast, but as mentioned earlier, she keeps very little or no grudges. She is perhaps the only journalist in Congo male and female who have received record aggressions and attacks from the Police.

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