The 90s socio-political context in Zaïre went uncertain for roughly 6 years until the AFDL (Alliance de Forces Démocratiques pour la Liberation du Congo/Zaïre) came in to put an end or giving a pause to it. The democratic liberalization process went perverse to the extent it led to the killing of innocent people in the name of weakening adversaries. Among the long list of violence and killings that spread all around the then Zaire, the Kasaians killing in Katanga (Shaba) Province remains at the utmost. However, it’s not the only one as it happened in North-Kivu while opposing either Banyarwanda against Bahunde-Banande on one hand, or Bahunde against Banande on the other. Strikingly, we are currently witnessing the likely scenarios arising from the North-Kivu between Banyarwanda aigainst Banande or Baywarwanda against the Kobo community. In the same vein, speech of Kyungu wa Kumwaza back from the Europe’s journey, had seemingly revived the same feelings. Am I right?
Kyungu wa Kumwanza, as the Shaba’s governor in 90s, sided with the Mobutu’s regime for the sake of weakening Tshisekedi. During the Mobutu’s regime, it was felt that politicians from Katanga were apparently in contentious disagreement with the ruling circle as they considered themselves to have been marginalized within the political decision. As the popularity of Tshisekedi was mounting within the CNS (Conference Nationale Souveraine), Mobutu chose to nominate Nguz Karl-i-Bond as the Prime Minister to replace the son of “Baluba de Kasai”. Nguz Karl-i-Bond is native from the Shaba region, while Tshisekedi is from the Kasai. By polarizing the nomination to the Prime Minister’s office, Baluba from Kasai looked as approximately supporting Tshisekedi. The Kasaians’ decision to stand behind Ya Tshi Tshi set Kasaians-Katangese mistrust—cohabitation on fire. The Governor Kyungu, through the youth’s wing of his political party, called on his supporters to expel all Baluba from Kasai who lived in the Katanga. It went further to the extent that these Kasaians were portrayed as “Bilulu”. The word “Bilulu” in Swahili means “insects” in English. In this particular case, it referred to something with less value that can be swept away. Watch this (http://playithub.com/watch/ynwFbM9JWqk/epuration-ethnique-des-kasaens-au-katanga-par-nguz-et-kyungu.html).
The Kasaians’ killing is parts of the DRC history of violence that never had been resolved (prosecuted or tried as well as rehabilitating victims). Instead of responding their responsibilities, things have gone as normal to the point that political figures can enjoy the creation of alliances, counter-alliances while their hands are dirty. As few of suspects have responded to their acts, repeating these misconducts looks as normal as if our lives matter less. The recent declaration of Kyungu wa Kumwanza, the chairperson of the UNAFEC (Union Nationale des Fédéralistes Congolais) reminded how the 90’s tactics of weakening Tshisekedi became a pogroms that targeted Kasaians in Katanga. The reader would remind that earlier 90s, Kyungu wa Kumwanza belonged to the UFERI (Union des Fédéralistes et des Républicains Indépendants) political party led by Nguz. Some sources tend to confirm that Kyungu was the Provincial Chairperson of the party. He used the position of governing the Province to instigate violence targeting Baluba from Kasai. By taking the sole case as an example, the post aims to call upon political figures in DRC to restrain and balance their speeches ahead of the forthcoming electoral crisis. This is how it briefly went on in 90:
Along the way of the Sovereign National Conference opening, Katangese and Kasaians managed to form an opposition coalition that aimed to overthrow President Mobutu. Within the opposition platform called “Union Sacrée”, the coalition looked as threatening to the Mobutu’s regime and the latter intrigued ways of breaking it. Consequently, Mobutu managed to have Katangese dissidence form the Union Sacrée, with Nguz Karl-i-Bond on the top. On the 15 August 1992, the socio-political climate went worse in Shaba when Tshisekedi was nominated as the Prime Minister. His supporters in Kolwezi, Kamina and Lubumbashi paid the cost of disclosing their joyful celebration. The killing started in Kolwezi, then Kamina and Lubumbashi and so forth. The two first counties were considered as the “Bed Rooms”; while the latter city was called the “Living Room”.
Lubumbashi :L'ambiance chez Baba Kyungu wa kumwanza avant le meeting pic.twitter.com/VS3Ng6vMp8
— Katanga Diaspora (@Diasporakatanga) August 6, 2016
The UFERI orchestrated the pogroms by relying on his youth wing (JUFERI: Jeunesses de l’ Union des Fédéralistes et des Républicains Indépendants) organized into something closer to a militia. The militia was structured into three main groups with specific tasks for each of them. The JUFERI comprises the DSPO (Division Spéciale Pononai), in charge of eliminating the enemies’ movements; the Division Spéciale PUMINA, whose missions was that of attacking innocents Kasaians through torture, beatings, torching homes… Lastly, there was a Ninja group, responsible for protecting UFERI’s leaders. It can be confirmed that the JUFERI was likely a well-structured militia that has committed several crimes and targeted killings as well. To find excuses, the UFERI and his “prominent chairperson” considered Kasaians as the origin of all messes that Shaba was going through.
During public speeches, Kyungu had subsequently called on Katangese to amalgamate all Kasaians and expel them. The wild chase led to the expulsion of approximately 130.000 civilians among which 80.000 were children. From earlier 1992 to January 1994, the targeted attack on innocents Kasaians has had around 800 civilians killed resulting from direct clashes. Abnormally, 300 of these innocent people were children. The forced deportation has had also indirect deaths due to inhuman conditions of travelling from Katanga to Kasai. It has been reported that roughly 1540 Kasaians have died on their way to Kasai Province. They died due to hunger, lack of medicine or other diseases affecting people massed together in bad conditions.
The Kyungu’s heinous campaign went further to dismissing Kasaians from courts, education sector, hospitals, state-owned companies, sports associations, state media as well as public administration. Kasaians have been prohibited to accessing different places such as public markets, hospitals or farming places. Unfortunately, while killing civilians, the JUFERI got an invisible hand from the Security Services, especially the FAZ (Forces Armées Zaïroises) working behind the scene to satisfy political interest of Mobutu. It simply indicates that the Security Services weren’t apolitical. Nothing would suggest that the 90s judiciary system wasn’t politically motivated and this would explain why these crimes never got tried or prosecuted. Even though Kyungu got arrested on 27 March 1995 while Mobutu were withdrawing his support to him, he got released within 3 days. Since then, there hasn’t any formal investigation to determine responsibilities and all these victims never got rehabilitated.
The history is roughly getting repeated due to current political skirmishes between the ruling party and its dissidents. While coming back from Europe’s journey that established the “Rassemblement” Kyungu wa Kumwanza had seemingly fell short to repeat the 90s speech. This time, it might not be targeting the Kasaians but it would be implicitly expressing that resorting to violence remains an option on the table. It scares the observer who knows how the mass interprets such speeches that put the violence at forefront. On the video, there are also signs that participants on the meeting, especially mobilization signers were likely saying that “we will kill them at 7.20′ on the video” by showing the sign of cutting to the neck, is that beheading?. See the video to this link here. Thus, the blogger thinks that Congolese politicians have to be matured and engaging their responsibility in order to avoid all incendiary speeches that can led to bloodshed.
NTANYOMA R. Delphin
Secrétaire Exécutif & Coordonnateur
Appui au Développement Intégré &
à la Gouvernance