Monday, June 29, 2009

Independence Day in Congo.

Tomorrow is a big day in Congo.

It is the 30th of June. The celebration of independence of Congo. This is a big holiday throughout the country, and particularly here in Goma. The president of Congo, and even the presidents of a number of other countries will be here in Goma tomorrow. In fact many of them have already arrived in anticipation of the festivities.

In case I have confused you, Goma is not the capital of Congo, far from it. It is not the most logical place to invite hot shots of all sorts to celebrate this grand holiday. It is an unruly city on the very edge the country. But it precisely this reputation as the Wild west (or rather Wild East) of Congo, that has led the President to choose to celebrate here.

So for the past month Goma has been a giant dust bowl. The roads of Goma, which are perpetually in a ridiculous state of disrepair, have been dug up, marked off, and attacked with a variety of roadwork tools. Road workers have appeared out of nowhere and worked day and night over the past month, to turn Goma into a presentable city.

Today is the 29th. Many of the roads remain dug up, full of dust, and half-finished at best. However street lights have been "planted" along some of the main roads and I am told that they will shine for the first time this evening. Walls along the main roads have been repainted and buildings that have remained unfinished for months, have suddenly been finished.

A market on the edge of town has been completely redone and fair grounds have been created. Apparently there are some pretty snazzy looking places around here somewhere.


Anonymous said...

Have a great celebration! Wish I could join you! :)

Lynn said...

It sounds sorta like all the cosmetic stuff they are doing to Chicago to win the 2016 Olympics. Let's not really fix things, just make the appearance of things...ah, the hubris of governments...

Anonymous said...

MJPC blames the Congolese Government for Deteriorating Situation in East Congo

"There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months"

Following the deteriorating situation in east Congo, the MJPC called for the Congolese Government to pay the salaries of thousands of soldiers who have not been paid for over six months in east Congo and take swift action to enforce the International Criminal Court's (ICC) warrant against Bosco Ntaganda and to held accountable perpetrators of sexual violence against women for their acts.

"Faillng to hold accountable individuals who commit war crimes and crimes against humunity continues to be the leading cause of widespread and systematic sexual violence acts against girls and women in the easten Congo" said Makuba Sekombo, Community Affairs Director of
the Mobilization for Justice and Peace in the DR Congo (MJPC). Mr. Sekombo again criticized the government of Congo for not only the continuing failure to protect women and young girls from sexual violence, but also for "encouraging conditions that create opportunities for sexual violence to occur". "There is no excuse for missing to pay salaries to soldiers in lawless eastern Congo for six months" said Sekombo.

The MJPC has also renewed its call for the Congolese government to take urgent needed action to end human rights abuses in east Congo, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure reparation for the victims of sexual violence. The MJPC has been urging the Congolese government to compensate the victims of sexual violence in order to also help combat impunity in eastern part of Congo where sexual violence against women and children has been widely used as weapon of war for more than decade.MJPC online petition calling for for help to put pressure on Congolese Government to compensate victims of sexual siolence in Eastern DRC can be signed at

MJPC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to working to add a voice in the promotion of justice and peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular in the East where thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women continue to be victims of massive human rights violations while the armed groups responsible for these crimes remain unpunished.

For more information on MJPC and the activities, visit the web site E-mail: or call Makuba Sekombo at 1 408 806 3644.