INTERVIEW: “It was 50yrs of poor leadership in DRC”


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The Democratic Republic of Congo celebrates its Golden Jubilee today. Looking back at a country that has been plagued with civil wars and instability, an aspiring presidential candidate said it has been 50 years of time wasted and milking of the poor to enrich the pockets of the few elites in power.
I spoke spoke with US-based Dr Bent Francis Mboyo, the leader of the opposition Congolese United for Change on his thoughts about Congo 50 years back and the way forward for Africanews.com.

AfricaNews: Your country is 50 years old, how do you feel?
Dr Mboyo: I have mixed feelings – joy and sadness. I’m happy because everybody is excited to grow but growth without achievements is meaningless. Congo has matured but lacks proper sense of judgment that would bring the needed development for Congolese. Our people have lived in abject poverty and subjected to ill treatments for too long. It has been 50 years of suffering, self-centered leadership, hunger, war and deprivation. Our leaders blew that time away and we are still at where we started 50 years back.

AfricaNews: How do you see the country 50 years on?
Dr Mboyo: We can’t boast of any proper achievement. We still have to rely on the UN to protect our people. We can’t live in peace. Innocent people are being killed. The rule of law is not working. Everything seems to have turned upside down in my country. Congo is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural resources but we are the poorest. It’s a shame and we must not boast of it. We should rather bow our heads in shame. For me it’s been 50 years of shame under Mobutu, Kabila I and Kabila II.

AfricaNews: What’s your view about development in DRC over the last 50 years?
Dr Mboyo: Our roads are still unmotorable. Farmers have difficulties transporting foodstuff to the urban areas. Hospitals have broken down without modern equipment and qualified medical personnel. There is total social and economic breakdown. Hardship stares in the face of everyone everywhere you go. There is no electricity and water supply in most parts of DRC. The people in government are enjoying the national largesse with their cronies. The economy is in shambles and it would take us another 50 years plus to bring it back to track.

AfricaNews: What has been some of the significant improvements in your country?
Dr Mboyo: I’m sorry but there is nothing significant to point fingers at. Kabila and his people have succeeded in improving themselves. They continue to milk the people and it appears they are not prepared to improve the lots of the poor. We need to see change and radical transformation of the whole system in DRC. It’s a pity and the world sit watching for Congolese to suffer. I will continue to fight on behalf of my people and that change would surely come.

AfricaNews: Which areas demand the government’s attention?
Dr Mboyo: DR Congo needs a total overhaul. The people in leadership position lack ideas and administrative acumen. Among the major areas that need to take shape are security, economy, infrastructure, economy, utility supply, health and employment generation.

AfricaNews: DRC is beset by instability especially the North Kivu areas. As an aspiring president how in your opinion can such situation be resolved or avoided?
Dr Mboyo: The poor security situation is not restricted to Kivu alone but most parts of the country. The youth have taken to arms because they are idle. I mean the unemployment rate is skyrocketing. Government need to create employment to occupy these men. Once they see people in government living good they become restive and would want to take up arms. My government would generate more employment through the agricultural sector. We have large tracts of land in DRC but lack technology and ideas to grow our own food. I’ll use our unemployed youth to revive the agricultural sector. Again, our security men lack the needed motivation to protect the interest of the locals. The rebels in Kivu and other places are more sophisticated than our corrupt police. I still don’t see the need for the UN forces to leave at this premature stage. But the government is insisting because they want to have the room to rig the 2011 elections. If I had my way I want MONUC to stay until the elections are over to protect the opposition.

AfricaNews: How do you hope to make DRC a better place to live under your tenure in office?
Dr Mboyo: The Congolese United for Change has a comprehensive document that has diagnosed the ailing situation of DR Congo. We are looking at increasing the budget for education, creating employment for the youth, flushing aliens who have infiltrated our national security and causing troubles, involving the local people in the processing and marketing of our natural resources and above all making DRC a better place to live.

AfricaNews: How are people receiving your message?
Dr Mboyo: It has been positive. We have set up offices in most provinces back home. Our support base is growing daily and we hope the government would give us chance to campaign freely without any intimidation when the time comes. I’m impressed with what I have seen so far and ready for the elections anytime. The change that Congolese have long waited for is really coming and we would deliver.

AfricaNews: Finally, what is your 50th anniversary message to Congolese?
Dr Mboyo: It has been 50 years of struggles and time wasted. We have lost a lot of innocent people through civil war. Past and current governments ignored Congolese for their selfish interest. All is not lost yet. Change is coming. The Congolese United for Change is bringing that rapid transformation that would better the lives of poor Congolese. Our people have suffered for long and this is the time to see the light. We must not allow dictators to ruin our fate. Our women and children deserve to be treated with dignity. We need a government that respects the rule of law, human rights and protects the interest of the people. My government is going to be a listening government and would invest in the people. I’ll strive to put Congo in its rightful place in the comity of nations. Congolese deserve to live in peace. My government would create the enabling environment for Congolese to be proud of their nation and be willing to return home to invest. That change would come.

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