There is a certain awakening going on in our country. This is due to a number of things.
1) When power is centred around one person controlled from the outside, it is easier to keep people ignorant. Now that there is this constitutional decentralisation going on, provinces are very keen to find out what the clear resource situation is. Since the Constitution gives them the right to retain locally 40%, it is in their interest to discover as many ways as possible to find the resources. Rich provinces are doing this. The fact that there are elected provincial assemblies, these are keen to see that their elected (by them) governors won't get involved in resource schemes controlled from the center.
2) Everything here is a priority. But, the recently presented budget has only something slightly more than $2 billion, when smaller countries that are said to be poorer--Congo/Brazzaville, Angola-- have budgets running from $7 billion for Congo/Brazzaville and about $30 billion for Angola. People are asking where do our resources go? Civic organizations have demanded that all the mining contracts be revisited. Gizenga's [Prime Minister, DRC] government has set up a commission to revisit all those contracts. The only problem is that the output of this commission is not being seen and people are already wondering whether the commissioners won't be corrupt again. Radical decisions are unlikely to be made; the judiciary system is so corrupt that all those who have looted resources--those include highly placed people--cannot be brought to Court and be asked to return the resources.
3) A small investigative journalism is starting to do good work, discussing case per case of the economic sectors publicly, with people calling by phone asking questions and giving information. This will force the government to do something; people are becoming increasingly aware of why they are so poor and why the labor legislation is not enforced. The Lebanese have so far been investigated; it has been proven that they corrupt leaders and they do not pay either decent salaries or taxes to the government. They even raise prices of their goods as a contribution to war expenditures in Lebanon. People are very angry. Unfortunately, so far it is the small capitalists being exposed.
With time truth will come out. The proverb here says: Lies go by lift and truth goes by stairs and still gets there.
Ernest Wamba dia Wamba
Here are some links to articles that monitor the extraction of natural resources from the DR Congo.
Le Potentiel, Kinshasa, 12-Oct-2009: La République démocratique du Congo n’est pas encore sortie du tunnel. Après la guerre économique sur fond du commerce illégal du diamant, de l’or, de la cassitérite, du bois… c’est maintenant le tour du pétrole et surtout du « nickel ». Dans la partie orientale de la RDC, précisément en Ituri, on vient de découvrir du « nickel » à l’état pur. Ce minerai fait déjà courir de nombreux acquéreurs de tous bords. read more »
July 2005: A major problem facing Africa are corruption and control of resources. In the DRC, the military is stealing minerals to sell to Western companies. read more »
We are pleased, as part of our commitment to sharing thoughtful and insightful commentary on the Democratic Republic of Congo, to post this essay by Zahra Moloo. A full pdf version, formatted and with references is available but for those with assistive technology needs, the full text is posted below.
Source: New Scientist.
It is staggering the number of things which basically are not attended to in the DRC. Here we have the World Bank in charge of how the forests should be dealt with. Of course, what happens to people, especially those who live in the forest, including the pygmees, does not seem to matter. It is as if slavery never really ended because the same system which was born out of it has been carrying on. The system has allowed for more field slaves to become house slaves, and it has created possibilities for house slaves also to own slaves and other types of property. read more »