Kinshasa, Congo (TFC) – The Democratic Republic of Congo is ordering the expulsion of 4 captured pro-democracy activists from two other African nations. The four, from Burkina Faso and Senegal, were arrested Sunday along with 20 other activists. Those activists are still being detained.
According to Human Rights Watch:
The arrests, including of foreign journalists and a United States diplomat, followed a news conference by the pro-democracy youth movement Filimbi, organized with support from the US embassy in Kinshasa.
Protests in the region have increased in recent months, as long term rulers are maintaining their hold on power. In Senegal, President Abdoulaye Wade attempted to extend his 12 year term in 2012 in spite of the Constitution. Burkina Faso’s ruler, Blaise Compaore, was overthrown last year. The trend towards representative governments in the region is spreading into Kinshasa, where the government there claims the activists pose a threat to state security.
Congolese spokesman Lambert Mende said on Wednesday that the protests had nothing to do with democracy. Instead, the goal was to drive out the “president of the republic.” The protests and calls for removal of the Congolese president began in January, when changes to electoral law were seen as unnecessary delays to elections in the country. President Joseph Kabila has been president since 2001, and is barred by law from any further reign. The January law changes helped to extend his tenure.
Congolese reports of US involvement are connected to the investments of George Soros and his Open Society Institute. The not for profit OSI has locations in Congo and Uganda, where oil and diamonds are readily accessible. Senegal and Burkina Faso, where overthrows have occurred, are also part of the OSI West African Initiative. Through these outreach locations, Soros funds unaccountable groups in the overthrow of non-cooperating regimes in order to seize natural resources. In instances of fomented rebellion failure, Soros has successfully lobbied US military intervention.
The exiled activists were in Congo to share their experiences in their own countries, and train Congolese activists in the overthrow of the regime. Human Rights Watch worries that this is a “clampdown on freedom of expression and assembly.” Human Rights Watch, however, is a partner organization with the Open Society Institute.
When pro-democracy activists are expelled from a country that claims to be at once a republic and a democracy, and when those activists are funded and instigated by organizations and individuals that act in explicitly undemocratic ways throughout the world, it will ultimately be the people that lose. For even when the regimes change, the power structures remain the same.