June has been a very sad month for Human Rights activists. In this month, DRC’s champion of Human Rights Floribert Chibeya Bahizire (chair of Voix des Sans-Voix [Voice of the Voiceless]) was grisly felled. In June, professor Peter Erlinder was arrested in Rwanda where he had gone to defend Victoire Ingabire, leader of opposition. His arrest proved beyond doubt that Ingabire has already been convicted without being heard. This is a blow and shame to Rwanda.
The family of Human Rights activists the world over is in tears over the untimely and brutal death of Chibeya and his driver on Wednesday 2 June 2010. Preliminary reports had it that the late Chibeya was asked to meet DRC’s National Police Commissioner General John Numbi (Kabila’s kingpin-cum-link with the Rwandan regime and close associate of renegade general Laurent Nkunda). He was required to do so a day before his demise.
Other reports have it that one, Colonel Daniel Mukalay (the head of the police intelligence unit DRGSS) confessed to have killed Chibeya without intent! Unfortunately, the reports do not disclose the circumstances behind Mukalay killing Chibeya without intent. There’s something fishy here.
Doesn’t this show that the exhibits found alongside the body of Chibeya namely condoms and Viagra must have been planted by the security agents who- by looking at the personalities involved- were ordered by the top to finish up this provocateur in a brutal and degrading way? If they wanted us to believe that Chibeya died as a result of Viagra overdose, what of his driver?
International figures have urged DRC’s authorities to bring Chibeya’s killers to book. But is this enough? Given that the circumstances of Chibeya’s death direct to the high and mighty in the current regime, why shouldn’t the whole government be held responsible?
Reports had it recently that DRC was due to enjoy the cancellation of about $ 8,000,000,000 of its debt to the international community. Why should such a reward be given to a blood-spurting regime? Why shouldn’t the donors squeeze it to see to it that the butchers of Chibeya face the music? Shall donors commit this silent conspiracy, they’re but blessing the assassinations and intimidation of human rights activists hence defeating their stance on restoration and promotion of true democracy.
“We are concerned about the killing of human rights defenders in DRC in recent years, and note that the Congolese human rights groups remain particularly vulnerable to arbitrary arrests and detention and other abuses by security forces,” says the US State Department. Concern only does not address or arrest this chronic anathema. We need actions, not sweet words.
When Dr Robert Ouko, former Kenyan foreign minister died mysteriously, the high and mighty in then president Daniel arap Moi's government were water-tightly implicated. Thanks to Moi’s protectionism, the suspects are still free to vie even for political posts. Another example is the suspicious death of General James Kazini in neighbouring Uganda on 11 November 2009. Apart from the arrest of pawns, who has ever been brought to book? Who is squeezing the authorities to deliver justice? Many living examples abound. The most controversial and laughable is the felling of Tanzania's former prime minister Edward Sokoine in 1984.
Chibeya's case should not end up as happened in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Kabila and his men must tell us who killed Chibeya and why!
By Nkwazi Mhango
Mhango is a Tanzanian living in Canada. He is a Journalist, Teacher, Human Rights activist and member of the Writers' Association of New Foundland and Labrador (WANL)
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