DRC: the news of the week seen by Esther Mpezo

From the demonstrations of pro-women’s rights networks over the electoral law, to the closure of reconciliation rallies in Katanga, to the head of state’s stance on the Transaqua project or the failed coup in Mali, the week that has ended has been rich in news. Esther Mpezo Omba analyzes these highlights.

Hi Madame Esther Mpezo, can you tell us about your background?

Esther Mpezo : Hi Desk Femme, I’m Esther Mpezo Omba, journalist by education and career. I have been working for 16 years. I am currently a presenter of television news and programs, in particular Femmes pour 2023, publishing director for the online media Pourelle.info and for JT pourElle, a media specializing in women’s issues. We promote women. I worked in various media including RTGA, Radio Tropicana, Congo Panorama magazine and BSC TV. I am married to Mr. Christian Omba with whom I have had 3 boys.

The week started with the statement of the organizations defending the rights of women, young people and people with reduced mobility on the rejection of the reformulation of Article 13 of the electoral law. These networks oppose this decision of the plenary and demand the 50% recognized by the Constitution. What do you think of this?

Esther Mpezo : Organizations defending the rights of women, young people and people with reduced mobility are in a democratic process. The Constitution itself enshrines parity in Article 14. When elected officials fail to respect this provision, something shakes them up.

The networks have also started protests, including a 10-day sit-in at the People’s Palace. On the evening of the first day of the sit-in, the home of Carine Kanku, Dynafec coordinator and one of the initiators, was visited by a group of strangers. What do you think of this attack?

Esther Mpezo : we regret this attack on the residence of Madame Carine Kanku of Dynafec. This act will have to challenge the security authorities as the population of Kinshasa is highly exposed to uncivilized urban people called Kuluna. However, we hope that this attack is not related to the actions taken by women’s organizations in front of the people’s palace to demand respect for parity, because if this is the case, the perpetrators of this attack should know that the threats will not stop these women who are determined to have their rights respected. As proof, the sit-in will continue until May 28.

Also during the week, the UN called on stakeholders to show flexibility for the adoption of a law guaranteeing the transparency and inclusiveness of the vote in 2023. What are your expectations of the actors involved, in particular the two chambers of parliament, the government and the CENI?

Esther Mpezo : to ensure a peaceful trial:

– The two chambers of parliament should listen to all stakeholders, especially women, on the question of the reformulation of Article 13 of the Electoral Law in order to respect the parity enshrined in the Constitution in Article 14 .

– CENI should strengthen its consultation frameworks with all stakeholders.

-The government must provide the resources to allow CENI to function properly, a matter of removing the constraints that can hinder the smooth running of the process.

More than 200 people gathered in the Archdiocese of Lubumbashi to discuss reconciliation between Katanga’s sons and daughters. This meeting came after the round table conference on the regions of Kasai and Katanga. What are your expectations from this meeting?

Esther Mpezo : the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a united people, a nation. As a nation, all its people must live in harmony and remain united in diversity. All initiatives to strengthen ties between Congolese should be encouraged.

In security, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) are preparing to launch Phase Three of Shujaa, the joint operation launched since December 1, 2021, against armed groups, including the ADF. What are your recommendations on this?

Esther Mpezo : The two countries, including the DRC and Uganda, have decided to join forces to restore peace in eastern DRC. However, our government must provide more material and financial resources, but also restore order in the army.

The Constitutional Court has already ruled in its judgment of 15 November, acquitting Matata Ponyo of all proceedings in the Bukangalonzo case. However, in its new document, the General Inspectorate of Finance confirms that Matata Ponyo is indeed the intellectual, material and main author of this failure. What do you think of this topic?

Esther Mpezo : Constitutional Court judgments are enforceable and not subject to appeal. However, we believe that in its recent paper, the IGF has not disclosed the conclusions of its investigations, as it only has auditing powers.

The vignette checks for vehicles started on Wednesday 18 May in Kinshasa and are continuing. This is also the root of traffic jams in the city’s main arteries. What do you think of this?

Esther Mpezo : it is a good omen that every citizen is fulfilling his civic duties (paying taxes). However, there is reason to doubt the use of the taxes paid in relation to the current state of our roads.

On the health front, the province of Kasai-Oriental has already registered more than 930 cases of measles since the start of yet another epidemic, declared on February 8. The chief doctor of the provincial health department made this known during an interview with Actualite.cd. What are your recommendations to the Ministry of Health on this subject?

Esther Mpezo : Congolese government must prevent with vaccines to beat measles in the provinces. We need a strong sensitization of the population in our villages, where vaccines are often rejected, in the name of certain religions.

In the international news, when he participated in COP 15 in Abidjan on the fight against desertification, President Félix Tshisekedi confirmed that he does not support the “Transaqua” project that aims to transport water from the Congo River to the Chad basin. . inter-pelvic transfer will only serve to shift the problem from one corner to another. What do you think of this feature?

Esther Mpezo : we support President Félix Tshisekedi’s position because, as he said, siphoning the waters from the Congo River to the Chad basin will only shift the problem… Let the experts examine the matter to find another solution that does not conflict with the DRC.

Do you think women can play a role in the fight against desertification? If yes which one?

Esther Mpezo : Women play an important role in the fight against desertification, in particular by limiting the deforestation of forests to extract firewood. But we need an alternative to cook. To this end, initiatives for the use of gas should be encouraged.

In addition, Emmanuel Macron has appointed a female prime minister: Elisabeth Borne. France has so far had only one female head of government. What do you think ?

Esther Mpezo : Elisabeth Borne’s appointment as prime minister in France is to be welcomed, as it proves that more and more skills count, not sex, worldwide. We also believe that the French President has chosen Ms Borne because of her political and professional background.

In Mali, the army announced that a coup attempt had been thwarted this week. This comes a few days after several thousand people demonstrated in the capital and across the country to support the ongoing military operations of the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) against terrorism. What is your analysis of this?

Esther Mpezo : Mali is not an isolated case (…). African countries in general should try to establish their democracy instead of multiplying the number of coups. It only worsens countries.

One last word?

Esther Mpezo : I would encourage women to always find their way in the field they are in and push themselves through quality work. “Woman, stop complaining, take heart, work and excel, because life offers no gifts.” Thank you.

Interview by Prisca Local

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