The purpose of the Badilika Congo Blog (Badilika means “change” in Kiswahili) is to feature voices of Congolese youth who have much to say about their lives and country but lack the resources to access the internet. This post is another in this series by Ali Bitenga.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo houses a huge diversity of cultures, traditions and tribes. As a result, people are highly likely to identify themselves in relation to their ethnic groups rather than to their nation as a whole. This has led to serious tribal conflicts in the country which resulted into the killings of hundreds of thousands of Congolese and other evils that this article does not reveal. Our Political leaders are primarily focused on pursuing their tribal interests rather than uniting around a common purpose for the good of the nation. They spend 5 years of their term balancing their own interests and those of their tribes instead of managing the economy of the country. After having made a critical and objective analysis on the horrible effects of tribalism in the country, Ali Bitenga alongside with his four friends created a youth movement called Les Militants de la Renaissance du Congo made up of young boys and girls of various tribes who meet once a week and share information about what is going on in the country, and who are now on the long path from tribalism to nationalism. Our group members have all realized that tribes are not built up upon democratic ideas but thrive on zero sum competition. We focus on the importance of building our nation around ideas rather than clan identities.
The group came to life since September 2010, and meet once a week (on Sundays) to share information about what is going in the country, discuss the history of our country, the importance of nationalism and some basic Republican values such as gender equality ,respect of public welfare ,behavior of a good citizen etc. We also discuss corruption largely and how it has ruined our nation, AIDS/ HIV, war, ethnicity etc and come up with some solutions to orient and guide the present generation toward prosperity and better future. Generally we have two speakers a day: One speaks about what has ruined and destroyed Congo and another speaks about what can leave Congo out of crisis, and gives future perspectives for better life in Congo. After listening to the speakers, the participants are divided into small groups for further discussions and give their points of view. Eventually each small group delegates their spokesperson to speak about their opinions to all the assembly so that we hear the point of view of each small group.
Les Militants pour la Renaissance du Congo also play an important role during electoral campaign. . They forbid people to vote for someone because they have given them something. During elections, many politicians seem to be so kind and give some beer, beans or some little money (0.5$) to people so they vote for them. Consequently, many people believe that the rule of elections is that politicians must give beans, 0.5$ or something else in order to be voted. Les Militants pour la Renaissance du Congo strongly object to this by going into the communities and teach people about elections and its Importance. In doing so, they ask people not to vote for someone in exchange for something, but vote for somebody because she/he has a good vision for her/his country by examining deeply if they really deserve to be leaders.
Our vision is to become a larger political party throughout Congo some day and bring about systematic changes by ending tribalism and corruption and make peace and justice available and affordable to each and every Congolese. We are tired of failed politics of our leaders and broken policies of Kinshasa.
So that we spread our ideas in Congo, we would like to have access to internet, but cannot afford it, and a larger majority of people in DRC do not have access to internet. In addition to that, we would like to go through villages and towns and help young people organize themselves in discussion clubs, but no bus ticket to get there. The other thing that is challenging for us is that some people in the community regard us as a dangerous youth because the Belgians, our colonial masters together with the missionaries, taught us that talking about politics is a taboo. They even went on saying that Congolese are naturally incapable of governing themselves and they cannot even be made able to administer themselves. But in the name of the Congo and for the sake of the DRC, we shall tirelessly continue to address all these issues which do not enable our dear and beautiful country to move forward. I believe in the power, intelligence and creativity of the Congolese youth. Our fathers and mothers have failed, but we shall not fail, our spirit is stronger.
Despite of all the difficulties encountered; we believe that we shall overcome the evil ,and one day the lines of tribes shall dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our country shall reveal itself and Congo must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace. We believe that Congo is just a sleeping elephant which will soon rise, walk and rule over all the animals of the forest. That means, Congo will someday be the most powerful country of Africa, and why not of the world? This we can do, and of course, we shall do it!
May God bless Congo!
Ali Bitenga Rock
President of les Militants de la Renaissance du Congo