Saturday, June 4, 2016

Why I choose to stay and work in Congo ( part 3)

The security service hired people who opened different or several Facebook, blog, twitter and Whatsapp accounts, which are/were meant to insult or attack all those whose views are/were contrary to those of the government. These groups of people are known in French as les combatant du web or online warriors.  Then, I did not know that, social media were to play a major role in Congo’s presidential elections as it has done, by exposing the fantastic electoral fraud of President Denis Sassou Nguesso in March 20th 2016 presidential elections. Congo is a gigantic torture house. And at the head of this formidable machine of physical and psychological torture is General Jean Francois Ndenguet. Their plan is to force their victims to quit or commit suicide. It is another face of Africa. Africa is a strange place. It is a place where things that are not accepted elsewhere are either accepted or tolerated.  This is a continent where some or a majority of its leaders would want to hang on to power, even if it meant killing an entire region or even a country, as it is being observed in Burundi and currently  in  the Pool region of Congo. Africa is a continent where some women will support rape, simply because they want to defend and protect their own interest. Fortunately, once in a while, there are some linings of hope, like the elections that took place in Nigeria and Senegal, which saw the peaceful alternation of power from one civilian regime to another. Congo, represents that small but equally  enduring bad Africa, whose negative images and actions, erodes all the democratic advancements, however small, that is taking place on the continent. 

In term of the respect of human rights and democracy in general, the situation is deteriorating rapidly in Congo. People are being arrested in wanton manner, the press is not free, extrajudicial assassinations are rampant, democracy is destroyed and corruption and immorality has been elevated as a way of life by a government that wants to stay in power everlastingly. Hence, all means are used to perpetuate its plans. All those opposed to the government are arrested, killed or forced into exile.  As regards my job and stay at MNCOM, a media group owned by Maurice Nguesso, the elder brother of Denis Sassou Nguesso, I have read a lot things online, regarding the reasons why I stayed or worked in Congo. Most of it came up, when I took a public stand against the change of the constitution after I was expelled from the country. But some do not know that, it was because of my independent views that I was expelled and nothing else. I also want to make another point clear and it is not in any way aimed at absolving General Jean Francois Ndenguet. He is a criminal, but a disciplined one, who acts only when his masters instructs him to.  I want to make it abundantly clear that, what happened to me, won’t have happened, if Jean Francois Ndenguet did not have the support and backing of the President. Some of my online detractors, especially on Facebook, have even gone the extra mile in claiming that, I had a lump sum salary while working for Maurice Nguesso, hence I chose to stay and work in Congo. But, the truth is that, I didn’t stay or work at MNCOM because of money. May I put the fact straight here on. And throughout this book, I will explain why I stayed in Congo and also worked for the Nguessos. And more, I have no regrets and I do not consider them (the ruling Nguesso family) as my enemies. They are instead the ones who are considering me as an enemy, because they can’t stand anyone who is independent minded. They showed that, they considered me as an enemy when they decided to send thugs to attack me and also gang rape my younger sister.

They wanted to humiliate me and  force me into submission. But I bear no grudge. I do consider myself to be their true friend, especially a true friend of the President Sassou Nguesso. This is so because, I had told him the truth. And a true friend is the one who has the courage to tell the truth. I never wanted President Denis Sassou Nguesso that I held in great esteem to have the fate of Paul Biya, Robert Mugabe, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni or Pierre Nkurunziza. I never wanted him to be humiliated. Sadly, he did not listen and today, he is being ridiculed. He has been humiliated and called names. Had Denis Sassou Nguesso left power, he would have been respected at par with other African great statesmen such as Joaquin Chissano of Mozambique, Dr Goodluck E. Jonathan of Nigeria, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde or Abdou Diouf of Senegal.  As far as Maurice Nguesso is concern, he is not different with the majority of the ruling Nguesso family, that is term of the treatment that he/they gives to people working for them. These are two examples: management workers of the media group MNCOM have not been paid for 17 months while the rank and files have not been paid for 8 months. As concern TOP TV, a media house owned by Claudia Sassou Nguesso, the niece of Maurice Nguesso and daughter of President Sassou Nguesso, her workers   have not been paid for 14 months. Hence I can authoritatively write here on that, the ruling Nguessos, have one thing in common: they seldom pay those who are hired to work for them. At MNCOM, almost all managers who have worked for them have left either without being paid or with salary arrears.

The last two managers namely Laurent Delasus and Michel Rene Mboukou Etoney are two great examples. They have left because the terms of their contracts were not respected. Michel Mboukou is even owed the sum of FCFA 20 million, being his salary arrears or unpaid salaries. I was therefore not working because of any financial advantages because they also owe me a lot of unpaid salary arrears and also, they did not even bother to respect the terms of our contact. The last General Manager of an already death structure is called Florent Koumba, from Gabon. He is the one who gave a clear cut accounting procedure for the group and he also wanted it to operate like a real company. Currently he not paid and more, he is subject of regular humiliations. However, in spite the difficulties and the challenges, I did not bother myself because I knew I was in Congo for a mission and for that reason, I even had to sacrifice my own family. Congo for me was a kind of laboratory to learn how to topple or forced any entrenched dictatorial regime to leave or negotiate with prodemocracy activists and using the forceful combination of old and new media with the help of classic forces: opposition and civil society organisations. For  if  it were  for money, that I came to work for MNCOM, I would have left. This is so because, as already stated above, Maurice Nguesso doesn’t pay his workers and this not a fable or figment from my imagination. It is known by all those who have worked for him. Maurice Nguesso is no doubt very creative, imaginative for his age, but he is surrounded by a profiteering ring and worse, he has fathered children who are busy fighting among themselves to inherit his wealth while he is still alive. In other word, they want to fast lane him to the grave, but the strong, generous and cunning old man, is refusing and resisting death. He has survived several heart attacks. If his children had an ounce of positive and prospective brains, they would have focused their energy and intelligence not at fleecing their old father, but on how to grow and consolidate their fathers investments.  Besides MNTV/ MN Radio, both subsidiaries of MNCOM that, I can without any pretense crow here on that, it had succeeded under my management and this because of the help of people such as Alexander Pierre Bougha and Nick Owosso and certainly with others, all other investments of Maurice Nguesso are monumental failures.

But it is not the fault of Maurice Nguesso, he has tried his best but his children are incapable to recue any of his companies from collapse.  Sadly, poor management  seems to be in the family gene. The way his younger brother runs the industry called the Republic of Congo is also a flop. Furthermore, even if his many children wanted to improve things, they are mostly empty headed and because of pride, they don’t have the humility to surround themselves with professionals. In case they have professionals hired to work for them, they grow jealous whenever the hired professional becomes popular. I have worked for  Maurice Nguesso and as already mentioned, I sacrificed my family and was worst, I was even prepared physiologically to die, for I knew that, one day I will be killed. Hence, every Friday night, whenever I finished my live TV interviewing programme: La Grande Interview, I ended or signed off in French with this phrase: “A Vendredi prochaine,s’il plait a Dieu” or in English: until next Friday, God’s willing. It was my signature. Most viewers never understood the pressure that I was undergoing from a people who never wanted me to do my job as any other journalist would normally do. And I was also determine not to allow them to win in what I knew, was an ideological battle, for I knew that, Congolese deserve to be informed and this, objectively. I was personally tired of the propaganda within state media and also in pseudo privately owned media. I thought, I was on a mission, that must be fought and won, by all peaceful strategic means possible. 

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