Thursday, August 24, 2017

My fellowship at the NED

This part or chapter, like the whole of this book, was written in two continents and in three countries. The idea first began in the Republic of Congo, but was actualized in Cameroon after I was expelled from the former. It was improved in the United States with the additions of this chapter and also that on Kleptocracy, in titled: The Nguessos: the Kleptocratic Family.  It was precisely on the 31st of August 2016 that, I decided to make the aforementioned additions.  However, unlike the other additions and modifications, this chapter was written to show my deep appreciations to two organisations: Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ and National Endowment for Democracy, NED, both have been of great help to me when I was expelled from the Republic of Congo. The first offered me an emergency fellowship that enabled me to leave Cameroon, while the second extended my Research Fellowship beyond the official end date. The extension of my research fellowship permitted me to put in writing what I knew about Kleptocracy in Congo Brazzaville and also share it with US  based NGOs fighting against corruption and human rights abuses in Africa  as well as  officials from the State  and Justice Departments among others. The opportunity to present the latter was done on the 23rd of July 2016 and the theme was: Kleptocracy and it corrosive effects at home and abroad: the example of Congo Brazzaville. And as the preceding chapters have demonstrated, the long reign of Sassou Nguesso has had negative impacts not only in Congo but also beyond: Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

My July 23rd 2016 presentation was held in close door. It was unlike my first, which was focused on social media and had as theme: the role of social media in the promotion of Free Speech and Democracy in Central Africa.  As earlier mentioned, my Kleptocracy presentation was meant to reveal to the world that, Congo Brazzaville is a major player in the galaxy of Kleptocracy on the same level as other well known Kleptocracies such as Azerbaijan, Angola, Equatorial, Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  The Congolese Kleptocracy may regroup several people, but it is led by one family: the Nguessos. And as elucidated in the chapter: The Nguessos: the Kleptocratic family, their stranglehold onto power has had a negative or corrosive impact not only in Congo Brazzaville, but equally abroad:  Central African Republic, DRC and also in Burundi. And in Burundi, a man working at the presidency of Congo, who doesn’t want to be named, confided to me that, Sassou Nguesso offered financial support to Pierre Nkurunziza at the height of that country’s crisis. The aim of the financial support, he told me, was to help Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza  and his regime to withstand economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and also to resist the internal prodemocracy up rising. While my informant did not offer any proves other than claiming that, monies left Brazzaville for Bujumbura via Dakar to boost up the regime of Pierre Nkurunziza, I don’t have any reason to doubt him. I don’t doubt him because it looks every inch what Sassou Nguesso is capable of doing.  

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