Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Republic of Congo's glorious past

Glorious past

Although Congo under Sassou Nguesso may have become a depraved place, depending on which side you stand politically and ideologically, the truth is that, the country wasn’t always the negative place it has become today. Congo has now become a byword for summary executions, wonton arrest of political adversaries and a senseless war wedged in south of the Pool region that has the hallmarks of genocide. This war that is draining the coffers of an already ruined country, started on the 4th of April 2016, when Sassou Nguesso, in a bid to steal the electoral victory of the opposition, claimed that, they were defending the south of Brazzaville from attacks of Ninjas of Pastor Ntumi. Congo was not what she has become even after the communist through Alphonse Massamba-Debat took over power in 1963. The country used to be a cultural and intellectuals beehive. She had even produced some of the best musicians, writers and politicians such as Zao, Sony Labou Tansi and Tchikaya Utamsi, whose aura transcends the colonially inherited linguistic and cultural barriers of the continent.
In media and journalism, even though the Republic of Congo has become hell for journalists and free media, she was the first country in French-speaking black Africa to have a television station. Her Radio, Radio Brazzaville, which later became known as La Voix de la Revolution, although it propounded pro-Marxist revolutionary ideologies, it was a source of information to most Africans, in particular those fighting against colonialism: Angola, Namibia and Mozambique or had colonially back regimes such as those of Cameroon, under Ahmadou Ahidjo, Ivory Coast under Houphouet Boigny or Gabon under Omar Bongo.  Politically in 90s, while neighbouring Cameroon and other majority French-speaking African countries refused to host sovereign national conferences to rethink the forms of their states, Congo was the first country in French-speaking Africa to organize a sovereign national conference. It was a conference that brought together Congolese of different political opinions to discuss the future and form of their country. The conclusions of the sovereign national conference laid the foundation for multiparty democracy, which culminated with the country’s first post independence multiparty presidential elections held in 1992. The incumbent then, was Denis Sassou Nguesso who lost to Professor Pascal Lissouba and conceded defeat. It was perhaps the best period in Congolese post colonial history, for it raised the profile of the country abroad.

Congo is gone

Sadly today, Congo is no longer a paragon in the exercise of independent journalism or free media, but she has become the quintessence of propaganda and manipulations and persecution of journalists and free press.  The Congo of excellence, prestige and leadership is gone. It has made way to a new culture that doesn’t honor pre and post independent Congo. A country which was once a pacesetter in revolutionary ideas such as pan africansim and the liberation of other oppressed Africans, as noticed with the roles they played in the liberation of Angola and the support that, they offered to French-Cameroonian nationalists of the UPC.  Congo is now a land topped by decadent culture of all sorts.

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