AFRICA/DR CONGO – “The mineral resources make our country a paradise, but the people live in hell”
AFRICA/DR. CONGO – “The minerals make our country a paradisiac, but the people live hell”
Kinshasa, Agency Fides – “When is peace in the Congo?” Pierre Kabeza was asked at the beginning of a press conferemnte held in Rome yesterday (January 25th).
Pierre Kabeza describes what the background of the situation is in the Democratic Republic of Congo by using a beautiful analogy: “You cannot see its roots.” In our case, the roots refer to the great powers of the globe and their multinational corporations. The neighbouring countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda, are the trunk of the tree. Finally the branches are the various guerrilla organizations operating on Congolese soil.
Economic interests are the only thing that can nourish the tree,” said the former Congolese trade unist who is particularly interested campaigning for the rights Congolese kids and was the chairman of youth organisations in the South Kivu region, east of the country.
Pope Francis visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the occasion of which 107 Italian charities and organisations, many of them active in the country, wrote a letter asking for public attention to the conflict in the Congolese provinces of Northern, South Kivu, and Ituri. They request that the Congolese people’s cries be heard. They also point out the “structural causes” of the conflict and the political responsibility of Western countries for appropriating the country’s natural resources and markets.
“Structural reasons” refer to the region’s vast mineral resources, especially coltan (but also some so-called rare earth elements), which are becoming increasingly strategic in the context of the “energy transition”.
John Mpaliza, an Italian-Congolese human right activist, says that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a strategic nation for the world because of its mineral resources. He also recalls that it has the second largest rainforest in the world, the “green lung” of the planet.
The many young people from the Democratic Republic of Congo, represented at the press conference by Micheline Mawendike, bring hope. She recalls how people in Africa “fight every day for free elections and roads, wages, and security.” “We have the impression that the world would rather leave us in chaos, because that is the only way to take our minerals for free. They don’t pay for the CO2 that Congolese equatorial forests absorbs. We fight to improve the situation.
“The new African generation is aware of this problem. John Mpaliza emphasizes that he hopes that young Africans as well as Europeans will come together to try and change this.
Father Giovanni Piumatti, who was a Fidei Donum missionary in the Italian Diocese, Pinerolo in Kivu, for more 50 years, recalled the drama surrounding the child soldiers recruited by various guerrilla groups. He said that although hundreds of these young men want to leave their weapons, there is no structure capable enough of taking them in. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/1/2023)