The non-governmental organization “Les Amis de Nelson MANDELA pour la Défense des Droits Humains” (ANMDH) once again encourages the Congolese authorities to respect and ensure respect for human rights.
On November 18, 2021, 5 peaceful demonstrators including 3 pro-democracy activists (Joseph BAYOKO LOKONDO and DJOLI APONGA of the Conscious Generation of Ecuador-GCE, Chilassy BOFUMBO, Journalist and Provincial Coordinator of FILIMBI/Ecuador) and 2 political activists ( Camille MOWANGI and Juvenal EALE of the New Generation Tshisekedi-NGT), were arrested in the middle of a peaceful demonstration in the city of Mbandaka, Equateur Province and placed in preventive detention (212 days ago, i.e. 7 months), in the central prison of Mbandaka, when they peacefully demanded good management of their Province and asked President Félix-Antoine TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO to dismiss the Governor of the province of Equateur, Mr. Bobo BOLOKO BOLUMBU.
All were brought, on November 18 and 19, 2021, before the Peace Court and on November 26, 2021 before the Intermediate Court, where they were accused by the Provincial Governor Bobo BOLOKO BOLUMBU on the following grounds: “rebellion, public insults, contempt of authority, harmful imputations, incitement to hatred and incitement to civil disobedience”. These offenses mentioned are punishable by more than 10 years in prison under Congolese law. Before the Mbandaka Peace Court, they filed an appeal with the aim of slowing down the procedure and preventing a pre-established conviction and before the High Court they filed a request for provisional release. They had been arrested while exercising their right to freedom of demonstration, recognized and guaranteed by article 26 of the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Without even starting the merits of the case, the civil party Bobo BOLOKO BOLUMBU lodged an appeal in cassation simply against the referral to the Court in order to keep these citizens in prison as long as possible.
It will be remembered that the Head of State, Félix-Antoine TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO at the beginning of his mandate, had declared “that he will do his best while he is in power for the consolidation of democracy and its values , that he will watch to ensure respect for human rights, that there will no longer be the use of tear gas against peaceful demonstrators, no more clandestine cells of the ANR and the blood of Congolese will no longer flow during the public demonstrations…”.
However, the provincial authority of Equateur Province is undermining the concerted efforts to achieve the rule of law. It uses justice as it sees fit and increasingly imposes unjustified and/or disproportionate restrictions on the exercise of fundamental freedoms, and elements of the security forces commit acts of violence and harassment against of political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders with the aim of silencing the voices perceived as critical of the power in the province of Equateur.
Our organization, “Friends of Nelson MANDELA for the Defense of Human Rights” (ANMDH) denounces this practice and recalls that both national and provincial authorities must ensure that such human rights violations come to an immediate end.
This Tuesday, June 21, 2022, Joseph BAYOKO LOKONDO, DJOLI APONGA, Chilassy BOFUMBO, Camille MOWANGI and Juvenal EALE will appear before the judges of the High Court of Ecuador. On this occasion, ANMDH calls on the Congolese authorities for the rapid and unconditional release of these compatriots who are not enemies of their Province, their freedom of expression and opinion must be respected.
For the Friends of Nelson MANDELA
Aaron MUKALENGI MALENGA
Programs Coordinator. Coordination Office | Kinshasa Pool