Monday, February 6, 2012
Opinion: Kengo wa Dondo Attacked in Paris.
My father told me yesterday if I heard about Congolese top politician Kengo wa Dondo (aka Léon Kengo) who had been attacked in Paris by some Congolese people. Kengo was brutally kicked and lost some teeth. He spend 3 weeks in a Paris hospital recovering. The aggressors weren’t caught, but French police is investigating.
I didn’t hear anything about it before last weekend, but when my father told me the story I was intuitively happy about it. I know, I shouldn’t. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t like violence. It’s just that Kengo is one of these political sharks who is even more responsible for the situation in Congo than Mobutu himself would ever be. Fortunately for him he has always been more in the backstage. However, he is and was a very powerful man. History may not even remember how corrupt and violent he was/is. Kengo always succeeds in presenting himself to Western observers as a reasonable man and his wiki-page creates this impression too. But any person who gets a bit deeper into Congolese politics knows this guy is rotten to the bone.
He was several times prime minister during Mobutu’s reign. He has always been very close to the Mobutu elite. However, Kengo is a smart and opportunistic man, and succeeded in doing so without having the international community at his heels. On the contrary, they seem to trust him more than any other Congolese politician although we all know he was one of the architects of ‘Mobutism’.
Today, as president of the senate, he is still part of the elite and he is still very influential. Even if Congo has a so called different leadership, those who pull the strings, are the likes of Kengo wa Dondo. To me Kengo symbolizes the fact that nothing changed in Africa. New faces are present as leaders, but behind the scene the same ’experts’ are advising the new leadership and selling out the country to the highest bidder.
Allegedly the people who assaulted him wouldn’t have made such an analysis. They would have beaten him up because his candidature at the presidency decreased the chances of Tshisekedi (Kabila’s main rival) to win the elections. May be so, I’m not a fan of Tshisekedi either. I don’t believe he could make things work better in Congo, maybe even on the contrary.
Most people criticize Kengo not for what he has done (and still does) to Congo, but for what he is: the son of a Polish Jew and a Tutsi woman. He grew up in the Equator Province though, which is Mobutu’s region. (And he is close to the elite coming from the Equator province.) Often in Congolese media they criticize him because he would be a ‘sly Jew’ or ‘a ‘foreign Rwandan Tutsi’. Honestly I don’t care about Kengo’s ethnicity, race or tribe. Kengo was born and raised in Western Congo, he is Congolese, whoever his parents were. What I care about is his political deeds and responsibilities.
Unfortunately I’m afraid that Kengo will eventually get away with all he's done. I even suspect that at his funeral many respected Western leaders will be present to pay him tribute. Isn’t it ironic?
Read more on the attack here