Lessons from Tunisia on how to uproot dictatorships

Freddy Mulongo from Réveil-FM interviewed Honoré Ngbanda, leader of Apareco, a Congolese political party, on a number of questions related to his country, Democratic Republic of Congo, and particularly upcoming elections towards the end of 2011. The interview is in French. I picked from his intervention and translated in English lessons he finds important which could be learnt from the Tunisian social uprising to change prevailing dictatorships across the African continent.

Réveil-FM: What could be learnt from the end of Mr. Ben Ali regime in Tunisia? What lessons the Congolese people can learn?

Honore Ngbanda: You do not get change from dictatorship and mercenary oppressors by elections or wishful thinking.

This is the first lesson. The overthrow of a power of oppression and occupation can not be achieved by relying on outside powers.

It is essentially a matter of people who decide to support themselves and take in their hands their destiny. This is the second lesson.

The martyr of Mohammed Bouazizi who burnt himself in front of a municipal building on December 17th, 2010, could have been the Tipping Point from which Tunisian society changed radically and then everything evolved from there in pressurising political establishment to resign and be replaced. Since that day nothing has ever been the same in that country. Even after the departure of the president, the youth movement which led the country’s revolution doesn’t want to see any politician who served with Ben Ali holding any important government post.

The martyr of Mohammed Bouazizi who burnt himself in front of a municipal building on December 17th, 2010, could have been the Tipping Point from which Tunisian society changed radically and then everything evolved from there in pressurising political establishment to resign and be replaced. Since that day nothing has ever been the same in that country. Even after the departure of the president, the youth movement which led the country’s revolution doesn’t want to see politicians who served under Ben Ali holding any important government posts.

And finally, the third lesson I draw from these events is that the sacrifice of heroes and pioneers is useless if it fails to exorcise the rest of the population from fear of death, and make them masters of their destiny in the face of history.

I hope that young Congolese Patriots have carefully observed the crowds of young Tunisians who changed the history of Tunisia in less than one month: the brave young men did not even have a political leader to guide them!

And so far, moreover, they are not looking for one! The attitude to say the least hypocritical of Western countries should also be an issue for discussion and investigation about the consciences of young Africans. No one took seriously the actions of Tunisian youth because there was no consideration for them.

But they surprised even the powerful intelligence services of the powerful Western countries, and have foiled all their scholarly analysis on the strength of the dictatorial power of their friend and ally Ben Ali!

The regrets of the West will only come after we won the final victory over the enemies of our people, and demonstrated that we are masters of the situation at home. Otherwise nobody will take us seriously nor respect us!

Congolese and Congolese youth in particular, must understand that we now have a deadline with history. The process of true liberation of DRC is well and truly ongoing and we all must get involved. The time has come for everyone to do his part and truly God will do the rest.

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