Our ambassador Barly Koyangbwa discussing the frightening situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Please watch and share. For English subtitles click the subtitles/closed captions button on YouTube.
Thank you very much for being here with us Barly
I’m grateful to be here
We will talk a bit about your article
including some details about the current situation in Democratic Republic of Congo.
So to begin, tell us why you have written this article Barly.
Thank you Max.
I was firstly motivated to write this article because the international media,
when deciding what to broadcast to the public,
choose not to talk about what exactly is happening in Congo.
So in my patriotic spirit, I have felt somewhat discriminated.
I have therefore picked up my pen and taken the role of the journalist
to try and contribute in my modest way and inform about what is happening in Congo.
As you know my brother, there are horrific things happening in Congo.
Today we are hearing about the problems of rape and sexual harassment in Hollywood
involving the producer Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey
Everyone was outraged and condemned what happened, myself and the media included.
And while everyone condemns these stories from Hollywood
I ask that people also think about what is going on in Congo,
which was described by the United Nations as the ‘rape capital of the world’.
When we refer to the rape in Congo
we are talking about the involvement of 30 soldiers
– but as a matter of decency I won’t go into detail –
30 soldiers who rape a 90 year old woman in front of her children and her grandchildren.
These are devastating levels of rape, carried out methodically and clearly targeted
to force people to flee.
As I have mentioned in my article, there is a Congolese doctor who has recently
received the Sakharov prize from the European Union for his work.
His name is Denis Mukwege.
His work was to repair women.
We use the word ‘repair’ because the rape is simply unimaginable
They are raping babies, 90 year old women and they are dismembering mens genitals.
It is horrifying.
The rape is designed to traumatise. They rape your mind, your reputation, your body.
And so I ask, while the world reacts to what is happening in Hollywood,
that it also takes note and reacts with outrage to what is happening in Congo.
In short, and perhaps I will develop this further during our conversation,
there are unimaginable things happening (in DRC) that the media choose not to take an interest in.
Rape is used as a weapon of war.
Congo has a huge wealth of natural resources, both on land and underground.
And there are those who want to occupy our land
and to achieve this they use savage and psychological methods to make people leave their land.
There are also movements of resistance to the government in DRC
including APARECO, of which you are a very active and involved member.
Tell us a bit about APARECO.
APARECO is a movement of resistance that began nearly 12 years ago, in 2005.
APARECO groups together patriots of all types – there are militants, teachers, doctors, religious people…
everyone who considers themselves as a patriot.
Our mission is to liberate the country and then reform the country after the liberation.
We oppose the system of occupation.
Mr. Joseph Kabila, whose real name is Hippolyte Kanambe, is a Rwandan citizen.
As soon as Mr. Ngbanda (founder of APARECO) saw Hippolyte Kanambe, who you know by the name Joseph Kabila,
he said to himself, “No, no, no.”
The role of president should be a legitimate role.
We cannot have a foreigner (as president).
It was then that he began to denounce (the occupation) and created the movement of resistance
So APARECO is a movement to fight against and oppose this occupation
which has caused so much damage.
When we talk about ‘the opposition’, the only true opposition to Kabila today is APARECO.
So they have covered up the situation and in doing so, they have put a foreigner in power
and created false oppositions in order to deceive international opinion.
We’ve now learnt that the electoral commission in DRC have announced that there will be elections
on 23 December 2018.
Will APARECO participate in the 2018 elections?
In principal, it is not possible for an occupied country to have credible elections.
Unfortunately there are some Congolese who think we can liberate the country through the elections.
The elections do not play a part in APARECO’s path to liberate Congo.
In 2006, just one year after the creation of APARECO,
Mr. Jean-Pierre Bemba won the elections.
Kabila, in compliance with his mentors, tampered with the elections.
I should point out that in 2011 Mr. Ngbanda, with the support of APARECO,
had helped Jean-Pierre Bemba and the people voted for Jean-Pierre Bemba.
But he never became president.
Because the elections are created by the occupation to simply conceal the situation.
Have a look at this picture here. These are the people who have come to protest the stolen victory
and the militant is there killing them while they march. Can you imagine this scene in the UK?
This is to show you that, you can win the elections (in DRC) but you will never be president.
He (Kabila) wanted to change the constitution so that he could run for a third term.
The people prevented this from happening.
Now that he knows he cannot fool the people and run again as a candidate, there won’t be any elections.
Because so long as he does not have the right to be a candidate, there will be no elections.
Their objective is to legitimise the occupation in the eyes of the international community.
You have mentioned these details in your article
and you have also talked about what we can do here in Britain to help the situation.
What can the British people do for the people of DRC?
That is a very good question.
You know Max, when I wrote this article it was not intended for people to simply have pity
on what is going on in Congo and then leave it there. That was not the idea.
I have targeted international opinion, in particular the British public, so that we can work together
to put an end to the deaths of Congolese that are occurring as a result of natural resources.
We cannot change the past, but together we can change the future.
Everything I have mentioned, where women are raped in the East
and people are decapitated and killed, are all a result of coltan.
And where is coltan found exactly?
It is found in the East of Congo.
And in what kind of products for example?
With coltan one can make smartphones, laptops, many things.
So each time there is an international demand (for these materials) people go to Congo.
That is why the big powers do not want to see Congo become a ‘normal state’.
Congo has lost millions of people as a result of coltan.
Today, as electric cars are being developed, cobalt, nickel and copper are forming the basis of a war to come.
The world will need these things. All these materials are in large quantities in Congo.
So we must all meet together – APARECO, the community, local journalists –
because these primary materials are fuelling people’s disappearances.
Lots of countries have developed simply through taxes, tourism etc..
There are many good things in Congo.
Culture, diversity, food. Congo could have a tourism industry simply based on its gastronomy.
Music, art, intellect, the Congolese have much to offer humanity.
So having written this article, I recommend that together we put on the pressure
and help prevent the large scale carnage that looms on the horizon.