Tag Archives: Kinshasa

Trump deploys troops in Gabon ready to act

The US military has deployed additional soldiers to Gabon amid fears of violent protests in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the aftermath of the presidential elections.

President Trump wrote a letter to the Congress informing about 80 troops had arrived in Gabon on the beginning of January to protect US citizens and diplomatic missions in case of the violence out in Congo’s capital Kinshasa. The DRC‘s electoral commission is scheduled to release the provisional results of the presidential election on Sunday, but later added that there could be delays because of the slow arrival of tally sheets. “The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft,” Trump’s letter to Congress read.

Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Republic of the Congo, if necessary for these purposes.

These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.”

trump letter 4 jan

EU condemns expulsion of Ambassador from Congo

The European Union  has condemned the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo decision to expel its ambassador ahead of the presidential elections on December, 30.

The order for Bart Ouvry to leave within 48 hours was “completely unjustified”, an EU spokesperson said.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has ordered the European Union ambassador to leave the country within 48 hours, after the EU prolonged sanctions against the ruling party’s presidential candidate ahead of December 30th election.

Reportedly the foreign minister’s order, calls the ambassador’s comportment “reprehensible” and comes after weeks of pressure by Congo’s government to have the EU sanctions lifted on Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

DRC President Joseph Kabila, ending months of speculation in August, has chosen former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to be his successor in upcoming elections, the government said.

Bart Ouvry (Belgium) studied history and communication sciences. Is a Belgian Diplomat since 1986. Held successively diplomatic postings in Kuwait, in Brussels at the cabinet of the Minister for Foreign Trade, in Vienna to the IAEA, in Brussels at the Permanent Representation to the European Union and later in the Belgian European Coordination service, at the Belgian Embassy in Paris, as a Consul General and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva.

The EU Ambassador Bart Ouvry posted his best wishes for everyone for Christmas.

Till present there is no comment from the European External Actions Service.

AMENDED:

 

African Museum “half-celebration”

In spite of the €66 million investment into the renovation of the Africa Museum, and five years of intense reconstruction, for the representatives of Congolese diaspora the re-opening of a new concept institution is just a “half-celebration“, because the  in de-colonisation process should go “much further“.

Developing a new concept of Belgium Africa Museum its leadership invited  Africans themselves from the countries of the continent, and from diaspora to share their narrative, creating a genuine and meaningful platform for the debate, a work in process to reflect the continuous evolution of societies, and cultures towards each other, marking a clear break with the Colonial Palace Museum from the times of King Leopold II.

With this Museum Africa receives the place it merits – Africa existed before the colonization” – Billy Calonji from Congolese diaspora commented, reflecting on complex shared history of Belgium and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). (VIDEO below in French language).

Through decades the Museum has been experiencing a fundamental cultural evolution, moving from West-centered vision of Africa to modern concept of a multi-polar world, and multi-cultural societies. From once upon a time a Colonial Palace with Royal collections of artifacts of Belgium kings it reshaped itself into modern fascinating platform for communications between people, cultures, and  civilizations.

Among precious experiences and metamorphosis of the Museum special place close to the  heart of Africans is kept for the ceremony of commemoration honoring the seven Congolese who did not survive the climate and perished being brought by the King Leopold II for the Universal Exhibition of 1897. A group of  267 Congolese was “imported” to stay in practiced in those days “human zoo”, re-creating life of Bantu tribes in Free State of Congo for the expo visitors.

On the sidelines of the reopening of the Africa Museum scheduled for this Saturday, December 8, a commemorative service has been held at noon in front of the seven graves lined up along the Saint-Jean Church, Tervuren. A week earlier a commemorative plate was installed in the Museum parc  to engrave the memory of those Congolese in a symbolic gesture to mark the place of the exhibition village. “We asked them for pardon, and we hope that the direction the Museum takes, is the way they could have wished”, Mr.Calonji continued.

However the shadows of the past are not able to overwhelm the vibrant future ahead of the Museum as a platform for debate, culture, and African studies which  are assessed as the positive elements by Billy Calonji, who holds in high esteem African diaspora efforts, actively participating in creating a new concept of African Museum, but nevertheless the work should continue even further.

During the renovation works the Museum has developed close relationships with members of African diaspora in Belgium in pursue of a new mindset: a synergy in cooperation within modern multicultural Belgium society, and beyond.

The partnerships with national museum in Rwanda, Musée des civilisations noires in Senegal, the national museum of Congo in Kinshasa, and in Lubumbashi have been developed.

A little bit of patience is needed, while waiting for the opening of the Museum in Kinshasa in Congo” said Mr.Calonji, refereing to the scheduled for the end of 2019 event, awaited by lovers of African art and culture, expecting to bring the dialogue between civilizations to a next stage.

In its engagement to overcome the notorious legacy of Belgium  colonial past, hundreds of artifacts were returned to Africa: to the Institute of National Museums of Congo in Kinshasa, and to the National Museum of Rwanda in Butare, but the work will go on the Director of the Museum Guido Gryseels confirmed. The digitisation of a significant  parts of archive has been undertaken to hand in the originals to Rwanda Museum.

We acknowledge that the moral ownership of the objects is with Africans themselves” said Mr.Gryseels  to international press at the preview visit.

 

 

Ebola spreads to DCR urban areas

The Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has spread from the countryside into urban areas, prompting fears that it will be difficult to control.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga confirmed a case in Mbandaka, a city of a million inhabitants at more than hundred kilometres distance from where the places where first outbreak was confirmed.

Mbandaka  is a busy transportation hub with routes to Kinshasa.

At least 44 people are considered to have been infected with Ebola and 23 deaths are being investigated.

Ebola, or haemorrhagic fever, is a serious viral illness that causes internal bleeding and usually proves fatal. It can spread rapidly through contact with small amounts of bodily fluid and its early flu-like symptoms are not always obvious. Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. The viruses that cause EVD are located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. EVD spreads through direct contact with an infected animal, for example a bat or nonhuman primate,  or in most cases with a sick or dead human infected with Ebola virus.

At present there is no approved vaccine or treatment for EVD. Research on EVD focuses on finding the virus’ natural host, developing vaccines to protect at-risk populations, and discovering therapies to improve treatment of the disease. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.

Belgium downgraded diplomatic presence in DRC

Bertrand de Crombrugghe is no longer the ambassador of Belgium in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Belgian Foreign Ministry confirmed it on Monday (30/04/2018) after the publication of an article in the Dutch newspaper De Standaard.

In January, the diplomat left Kinshasa amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, officially for “a series of consultations“. Finally, he was relieved from his duties.
When Bertrand de Crombrugghe abruptly left Kinshasa at the end of January, some had already spoken of a “rupture” of relations, however  the Foreign Ministry was downplaying the crisis. “This is not a reminder in the diplomatic sense of the term,” explained one of his spokespersons. Technically, it is a return to Brussels for discussions for ten days, he added.

Three months later, it was finally decided to call him back. The reason given is “the bilateral context”. In other words, the diplomatic turmoil  between the two countries, but not only bilaterally.  Kinshasa has announced the closure of the new Belgian development agency and  the EU Schengen house. Brussels also recalls that the DRC has no ambassador in Belgium for over a year. But the Dutch-language newspaper De Standard coming up with the news, points to a “breach of trust” between the ambassador and the Belgian Foreign Ministry.

Belgium says it is maintaining dialogue with the DRC and hopes that bilateral tensions can be resolved “so that Belgium and the DRC can again be represented at a level of ambassador in Kinshasa and Brussels. Meanwhile, the interim at the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa is provided by Philippe Bronchain, former Belgian Consul General in Lubumbashi, where the Consulate was closed upon DRC request last February.

EU regrets Schengen House in Kinshasa closure

On January 24th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Democratic Republic of Congo informed by note verbale addressed to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, about the decision of the Congolese government to close the Schengen House in Kinshasa. In the current uncertainty following this announcement and the various contacts with the authorities, the Schengen House had to suspend its activities.

The Schengen House is an instrument for implementing the EU’s common visa policy aimed at facilitating the processing of visa applications for States Parties to the Schengen Treaty.

The 18 states participating in the consular system of Maison Schengen Kinshasa consider it important to preserve this form of local consular cooperation to ensure the continuity and quality of visa services for Congolese citizens. As such, they remain open to dialogue.

With regard to the decision to suspend the activities of the Belgian Cooperation Agency, the EU underlines the importance of the complementarity of its actions and those of the Member States in favor of the development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its population. Restrictions on one of the Member States could undermine the collective effort for the benefit of the Congolese.

Congo in whirlwind of protests

Reportedly security forces killed at least seven people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday during protests against President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down from office, United Nations peacekeepers said.

A police spokesman confirmed three people had been killed in altercations with security forces in Kinshasa, and that two of the deaths were investigated.

Catholic activists had called for protests in the capital after Sunday worship, one year after Kabila committed to holding an election to choose his successor by the end of 2017 – an election that has now been delayed for one year until December 2018.

The break of the promise, reflected in a delay has caused suspicions that Kabila will attempt to change constitution to justify his longer stay in a similar way to presidents in neighboring countries. The perspective has raised fears of turmoil or even of civil war.

Florence Marchal, spokeswoman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, said security forces had shot dead at least seven people in Kinshasa. Another person was killed in a protest in the central city of Kananga, she said, although the cause of death was not yet clear.

 U.N. observers documented at least 123 arrests across the country and a number of serious injuries so far.