Monday, June 12, 2017

Congo Brazzaville: Abusive African Culture

Congo being an African country, the tradition of respect for the elderly and authorities is respected and equally abused. There are nonetheless some aspects which in my opinion are good. For example in a family, a junior can’t call his/her elder brother or sister, but only by the name of “yaya”. But the use of yaya has now been used and abused by the elite, especially those in power.  For the fact that, you are a “Yaya”, doesn’t shield you from criticism, however in Congo it does, in particular if you are a member of the ruling PCT.  In politics, in particular within the ruling party, older members have held a dominating role for long because, whenever younger party members want to challenge their long held positions, they almost always invoke the fact that, they are the “Yayas”. And as such, any challenge to their position is transformed as being tantamount to non respect of tradition. This attitude is not only found within the ruling party, but also within the opposition and civil society organisations, where you have the same old men heading major political formations with no prospect of retiring even though they are short of ideas. It is this travesty of African culture that some elite use in order to maintain or keep their privileges, the privileges of a “happy few” at the detriment of the majority.

The love for France

Most Congolese love France to a point that, as already mentioned above, even those elite who have pilfered state treasury would want to spend their booty in France and nowhere else in spite the risk of arrest. Unfortunately for them, since some western governments have started hesitatingly seizing their plunders, they are forced to relocate them in countries that are alien to France’s new policy or to countries that doesn’t have the French touch that they so crave.  There is a saying in Congo, especially in southern Congo, that: “to die without seeing Paris is a sin”. This attitude is predominant with the people of the Pool region, who are paradoxically among the most educated people in the country. However, their higher level of education compared to those who are currently governing the country has not prevented them from considering themselves as being French or closer to the French, than to their compatriots from the north. Furthermore, some extreme fringe of the Greater Southern parts of Congo does compare or assimilate northern Congolese to Cameroonians or Central Africans. Anyway, Jacques Opangault, a northern politician for reasons already explained, had even flirted with the thought of breaking northern from the rest of the country to attach it to Central African Republic. And part of northern Congo was part of German Cameroon until 1916.  However the disdain of the people from the greater south of Congo toward the greater northern Congolese has got nothing to do with the latter reasons but could be traced to reasons already mentioned. 

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