Mayamba Thierry NLANDU
Professor of English Literature at the University of Kinshasa (Congo) * 

Democratic Transition in Congo-Kinshasa

A Puppet Theater in Three Tableaux

Congo-Kinshasa looks like a huge theater stage on which puppets of different dimensions, natures and qualities are performing a tragi-comic play. The dramatist is a giant puppet named Capitalist Interests. The director is the doll Western Troika (America, France and Belgium). The puppet Troika holds in his hands the strings that manipulate four Congolese puppets: Mobutu, Mosengwo, Tshisekedi and recently Kabila. These puppets in return articulate the puppets of the opposition parties, the Mobutists, the new Forces of Alliances, without neglecting the individual Congolese citizen.

Each puppet on the stage claims to be independent. Amazingly they all refuse to admit that they are manipulated. Those who are sincere recognize that they are not free. Very often they do not admit it openly but behind the curtains. This is true for all Congolese and Troika puppets who cannot understand the nature of the strings that enslave them. For instance the puppet Troika is unable to determine with precision the person or persons representing the capitalist interests all over the world.

Furthermore, the arrogance, the pride, the complex of superiority of the puppet Troika prevents him from noticing the present transparency of the stage’s back curtains. Indeed the communist curtain that doubled the capitalist one is no longer where it used to be! Therefore the acting behind the curtains appears openly to the spectator. From now on the oppressed and exploited puppets can at least see the strings that tie them to poverty and misery.

From the point of view of the puppets Troika and capitalist interests what frightens is nothing but the unexpected transparency of Congolese democratic transition. If these master puppets insist that the transition should be shortened, it is not obviously because they care about Congolese people’s miserable life. It is certainly because they want to avoid a long transitional period that will give time to these slaves to sharpen the scissors needed to cut the strings of humiliation. The aim is to prevent Congolese people from writing and staging a play different from the one written for them.

Paradoxically people in this country are now aware that the long democratic transition is a chance for the whole nation. It is a challenge for all the puppets of this theater where talents, creativity and patience mingle at the despair of the puppets capitalist interests, Troika, Mobutu, Mosengwo, Kabila and many others. The play is unfolding right before the eyes or better the amused smile of Congolese people.

Contrary to what many puppets try to convey to the national and international opinion, the long transition is not painful only for the poor in Congo. From the point of view of the suffering people the long transition does not lack interest. Indeed years of pacific resistance are progressively leading to the rediscovery of the past but not lost reflexes when the stage was still at the village center. Here the members of the community were not only spectators but actor-spectators. Together these men and women were able to give to the theater of their existence the liberating rhythm that years of slavery, colonialism and dictatorship are struggling to erase from people’s mind. In addition the accumulated mistakes of the puppets who manipulate Congolese people inform them about their real identities. This will hopefully allow them in a very near future to cut the strings of manipulation. One can easily understand the fatigue of some puppets on the top of the pyramid. However the exploited people will continue their efforts to analyze the nature, the identity of this theater’s actors. The aim is the redistribution of the roles according to the hidden talents of each puppet.

I. Tableau One: The Puppets of Transition

To understand this puppet show one must describe the profile of the talented actors who manipulate people using strings that remain invisible to human eyes.

1. The Anonymous Puppets

Naturally these puppets are invisible, nameless, colorless and odorless. These are the puppets ‘capitalist interests.’ One then realizes how incongruous are declarations such as: "We will attack American, French and Belgian interests in Congo!" These interests do no longer exist. Neither American nor French can tell the color of the puppets hidden behind big commercial deals that are taking place in Congo and influence people’s existence in one way or another. Behind French interests or any other one finds powerful White, Yellow and even Black puppets. These puppets are eagles flying over and dominating the stage.

If for any reason there is a conflict between these puppets, they always pay attention not to break the strings that keep the puppets below under control. Any conflict at this level often provokes turmoil at different lower levels among the subordinate puppets. During any conflict taking place among subordinate puppets the powerful ones often stay above the crowd for a better observance of the struggle. This position gives them the opportunity to check the strings that are not well fixed or that have a tendency to loosen.

In Congo these powerful dolls even gave Mobutu the illusion that he too could be a member of the capitalist group of manipulators. Thanks to his fortune Mobutu firmly believed that he was one of them. Unfortunately, he made a mistake to think that money was the only requirement. He did not notice that he was the only puppet of this category to be clearly identified by his name. All the other puppets were and are still anonymous. This explains why Mobutu had to disappear from the political scene. It was irreversible although they allowed him to play the extra time at the end of his reign. The anonymous puppets, member of his order simply let him feel confident just the time to surprise him and to push him out of power without any risk for the other anonymous puppets. At the end of his regime the doll Mobutu had become dangerous and could unveil the identities of the other anonymous puppets. This is why Kabila’s so-called war of liberation was necessary!

2. The Opportunists Puppets

This is the natural category of puppets Troika, Mobutu, Monsengwo, Kabila, Congolese opponents, Mobutists and Afdelists. All these puppets accept to be manipulated by the puppets, capitalists' interests for various reasons. They exploit each other not disturbed by the powerful puppets that hold them together and take advantage of their movements. Even when they are aware of this manipulation, they very often do not mind because this finally helps them to climb the steps of power and material wealth.

Taking the above reality into account we understand the motives of the opportunist puppets’ resistance during and after the National Conference in Congo and even nowadays after the so called ‘War of Liberation.’ Old or new opportunist puppets always see their power and wealth endangered by the democratic process that is obstinately claiming for justice freedom, participation and equality of chance. They grip the puissant puppets either for their survival or for the conquest of power, ready to make any new concession. These puppets are and remain at the service of the puissant puppets. Probably it is because they fear that they denounce all the crooked strategies they used to reach power and wealth.

This is true for puppet Troika through the political leaders of these different countries. Such is also the truth for Congolese puppets. Hence, with envy, all of them turn their eyes to the mighty puppets flying above the stage. Without exception they are all manipulated, Kabila included in spite of his present suicidal obstinacy. Like the puppet Mobutu in the past, Kabila is struggling to convince himself that he is independent. Powerless he is simply following the paths of any new puppet caught prisoner in this puppet show.

From time to time some of these opportunist puppets reach their goal. Mobutu managed to become president of Congo assisted by the same puissant puppets who recently have backed another doll named Kabila to power. Bishop Mosengwo succeeded in being elected twice on the top of the powerful Congolese Catholic Church Episcopal Conference. In the past this Episcopal Conference had to free itself from the cumbersome presence of an independent puppet named Cardinal Malula!

The potent puppets grant all these political promotions to the subordinate opportunist puppets constantly begging for power. To reach these functions these puppets pull the strings of the puppets below them. They will step on them, ill-treat them, and mislead them so that they lose any envy to fight back. This justifies all these inhuman salaries, well planed pillages, unjust repression, murders, summary executions, blackmail, arbitrary imprisonment, and lies in purple colors of Princes from the Catholic Church, etc.

The controversial attitude of Bishop Monsengwo during the National Conference will help to understand the manipulation that took place during this national meeting. Monsengwo was the puppet to whom both the potent and the opportunist puppets assigned the role of mediator in the conflict opposing Mobutu to the rest of the nation. An intelligent puppet, Monsengwo succeeded in giving to his role an overwhelming dimension. He played the mediator between the politicians and played with people’s aspiration for justice, truth and love. Monsengwo was afraid of this option. He judged it too radical to use an expression proper to the puppets manipulating him. Monsengwo voluntarily decided to abandon this option that did not offer possibilities for compromises. Therefore he chose to play among, with and for the politicians even if during his furtive moment of lucidity he had to recognize their lack of political culture.

Intelligent and handling ruse with dexterity this puppet deceived the opposition parties. He always was able to navigate in "parallel convergence" in between the profound aspirations of disempowered people and the sadistic egoism of the puppets of his order. Monsengwo chose his camp long before the beginning of the National Conference. As a Prince of the Catholic Church his side has always been that of power and not Mobutu. For a long time he evolved within this camp. He cannot now vomit in the hands that made of him the celebrity he is today, a powerful president of the Episcopal Conference of Congo. Even when he is no longer on the top of this institution, his successor is unable to escape from his influence. One of his numerous roles was to tire Congolese people. He was expected to weaken their struggle for a democracy different from the political democracy planned for them by the potent puppets and their allies.

Unfortunately Monsengwo forgot that the play was taking place in the open air and with transparent back curtains. People in Congo are not angry with him but with the puppet that the Congolese sophist and eminent theologian has become. The pride of solitary intelligence has blinded and deafened him insofar as he is no longer able to see nor to hear his brothers' and sisters' laments in the ravine of unjust misery. Blind, Monsengwo could not realize that the same mighty puppets were maneuvering him turning him into derision within the opportunist puppets’ order, within his people and worse within his self. Nevertheless Congolese people will remember Monsengwo as a great, stratagem but somehow naïve puppet. If the official Church accuses him in the days to come (if this has not already occurred), it will not be wrong. For, his deceiving actions have demonstrated that duplicity is also a missionary virtue! Thanks to him all the believers of this country or better of this land of mission are aware of it.

Furthermore Congolese people express their deep gratitude to Monsengwo for opening their eyes. Thanks to his action people have become more critical to any truth voiced by a church man be him the Pope himself. To cope with the challenge of questioning the word of the "Father" is a good start in this long process leading to the emergence of a free democratic society. During the present long march and not war of liberation people like Bishop Monsengwo will continue playing a very ambiguous role weakening and strengthening people’s struggle for self reliance.

3. The Amorphous Puppets

Academicians, doctors in medicine, civil servants, soldiers, traders, political advisers, etc. belong to this category. All of them affirm that they are politically neutral, a-political, neither warm, nor cold, neither left nor right. These are the puppets who accomplish their everyday task and avoid having problems. They are the passive intellectuals who lead the poor existence of puppets unconscious that they are manipulated or simply refusing to acknowledge it. The amorphous puppets represent a large proportion of Congolese population. They are easy to maneuver. In return they manipulate the puppets below them paying attention not to provoke their fury. These puppets are all those colorless technocrats.

These puppets hold each other to ransom and allow the potent and opportunist puppets to lead an easy life. Powerless university professors have decided each year to manipulate the students to improve their salary. They refer to a contract signed between amorphous puppets. This agreement requires the students’ substantial financial contribution to organize each academic year. In return the students ransom their poor ruined parents and other family members. The carrot is the family’s thirst for a university diploma that will open the doors of paradise. Strangely behind each parent we discover an elder brother professor who must pay for the students’ fees! The beginning is the end for the amorphous puppets.

This is true for the civil servant who requests a bribe from another unpaid civil servant like himself. The argument is a principle nowadays praised by all the amorphous puppets: "You have to pay. For how do you manage to live without salary?" The soldier is also trapped. He has thought to find salvation in pillages the beginning and the end of which have always remained uncontrolled by him. What about traders and many other amorphous dolls? All these puppets accept their condition: "What can we do?" they constantly repeat to who is willing to listen to them. "We are not going to transform this country." All the potent puppets in the sky look at them and laugh satisfied enjoying these moments of laughter with the opportunist puppets.

4. The Oppressed Puppets

These are the poor people, the garbage human of different Congolese shanties and slums. These are brothers and sisters of Kisenso and Malueka’s ravines, the jobless, the underpaid, all the human beings of this society to whom the mighty puppets have denied any right of existence and any dignity. These are the voiceless people from Masina, Kingasani, camp Luka, etc. They are persons from all the milieu where people are tired and do not want any more to support the manipulations and the ill treatments imposed by those above them. It is you, me, all of us who, like that over used prostitute, are waiting for old age to retire and find a place at the corner of the bar or of the society.

  1. The Rebellious Puppets
This category includes all the puppets who refuse to be powerful, opportunists, nor oppressed. These are men and women marked deviant and sold in slavery time. Men and women labeled communist and put on the cross like Lumumba, Dona Beatrice and many others from Congo and various places all over the suffering universe. These are men and women stamped extremist in the so called modern global village. Nowadays the deviant puppet, a modern version of the deviant slave, is forced to find a safer place in the same countries abroad that support and organize the theater of oppression in their respective countries.

Today rebellious puppets are numerous. They frequently emerge from unexpected spaces of this theater. All of them dead or still alive are struggling to cut the strings of humiliation. Unfortunately they are performing the play on an inappropriate stage. They have not yet been able to build their stage nor to create the institutions that will support and organize their theater of subversion. On this stage of Congolese democratic transition they are constantly betrayed because they do not know on whom to rely. Therefore progressively the potent puppets assisted by opportunist puppets reduce the rebellious puppets to old lions who roar and let the antelope go!

Happily the rebellious puppets are not silenced; at least not all of them. That is why both the dramatist and the director puppets are nervous. Indeed the rebellious puppets may destroy the theater decorum and damage some puppets. At any price it is imperative to prevent them from deregulating the strings that help to control the different categories of puppets.

Indeed since the appearance on the stage of these rebellious puppets, they oblige all the opportunist puppets to play unmasked. Their obstinacy to cut the strings of servitude forces the puissant puppets to sacrifice many of their allies. Yesterday it was Monsengwo and Kengo. Today it is Kabila and his technocrats from the Congolese Diaspora! Consequently the puppet Troika has to play tight. A failure of these opportunist puppets will oblige the Troika to compose with a rebellious puppet candidate.

The above perspective is unacceptable because it offers no guarantee for the puppets capitalist’s interests and Troika. Obviously they are not pleased with it. That is why Kabila must be flexible and show understanding. His obstinacy will result in the ascension of rebellious puppets and consequently on his loss of power. Mobutu’s obstruction was so great that it required a coup grandeur war of liberation!

This time the puppets, capitalist interests and Troika are helping Kabila to understand the rules of unity, time and space that organize this classical puppets theater. There is no room for improvisation here. Museveni, the puppet President of Uganda will soon teach him. He too tried to play the independent puppet at the beginning of his puppet’s career on a stage his ancestors did not help to build.

To control the whole rehearsal period the director introduces issues such as the UNO investigation on Hutu people's massacre during the war of liberation. In addition conditions to be fulfilled by the new puppet Kabila are imposed. He is expected to respect them if he wants to have a long fruitful theater career in a country where the inhabitants are now aware of his role as a puppet. Any obstruction from him will oblige the puppets capitalist interests and Troika to take their responsibilities for a happy end of this first tableau.

The first tableau of this play reveals a stage director who does no longer control the whole performance. Thanks to the role played by the rebellious puppets, the now acting popular audience becomes conscious of his nature of subdued men and women. This awareness is permanent. It will hopefully end in the detection of the servitude strings. People will then be able to cut them and walk freely.

This future is close not only in Congo but also in the whole African continent. Africa has understood that its salvation resides in the multiplication of rebellious puppets among its people. The culture of constructive rebellion finds slowly its place in families, ethnies, schools, universities, parishes, armies, etc. At last people learn to say "no" collectively and individually. Congo witnesses the birth of a new self reliant nation composed of people who are no longer afraid to voice their opinion in public place. A Congolese public opinion is imposing itself. All the puppets have to consider it or die. This "No" is the one that helps to describe the strings that mislead a whole nation. The next effort consists of analyzing these strings.

II. Tableau Two: The Strings of Manipulation

1. The String of Fatality

One finds it on the lips of the majority of Congolese people. "This is what life is all about. You will always find rich and poor people. You have no power to change this situation." Or else "Kabila is powerful, excessively powerful. Each person has his turn. Now it is Kabila’s. Tshisekedi could not make it. He has to wait until God gives him his chance. That is the way it is." Those in Congo who are manipulated by the string of destiny and God knows how many they are, will never stand for a revolution. This string leads people to resignation and to a killing passivity.

2. The String of Religion

Combined with the string of fatality, this string makes God responsible for one’s individual misery: "He is the one who wants it to be so. Is not He who created some rich and others poor? Is not it His will that keeps people eternally in power? How can one revolt against God?"

This string has given birth to a festive religion characterized by passivity. One encounters this religion in the official churches transformed into festive altars. Here people celebrate doubtful saints who led a poor anonymous life in their community! Such a religion is the everyday bread of sects of various origins. They are demobilizing people when they ought to come to God with their talents so that he could multiply them.

The religion of resignation is sung all the day long by sisters and brothers who invite people to submission and dehumanizing obedience. It is teaching people to look to the sky with begging eyes for "Everything is in God’s hands." But what did people put into God’s hand if not their laziness, their fears, their passivity, etc. God does no miracle with vices. During thirty-eight years He looked at Congolese people from where they thought they could find Him. During thirty-eight years He did nothing for them simply because in all the history of Salvation He works with people and not for them. The past and present religion taught and is still teaching passivity to enable ruling puppets to manipulate people in Congo. "Wait for Heaven where there will be no chains to enslave people. Meanwhile be patient let the potent and opportunist puppets manipulate you. It is God’s will. You can not change it!" Poor destiny than that of a population tied down by the string of religion, appearances and resignation.

3. The String of State’s Authority

It is also called the string of security and order. This string is highly appreciated by any dictatorial regime. It was true in Mobutu’s time and Kabila shows equal interest for it: "One must restore the authority of the state!" To accomplish this task the puissant and opportunist puppets use without success puppets armed with guns, blackmail and money to organize corruption, rapt, murder, arbitrary arrests, etc. The city must be cleaned! The state must be able to kill the virus that prevents the nation from reconstructing itself!

All these armed puppets are requested to defend the nation, that is, the interests of the potent and opportunist puppets. They will be regularly sent to tame the roaring suffering people and mainly those among them who oppose the potent and opportunist puppets' interests. All these rebel puppets must be jailed, killed, sold like in slavery time or more subtle be offered a safer place out of the country. Indeed they are dangerous. For they voice ideas different from those commonly accepted about the organization of democratic transition in Congo.

However most of the armed puppets are recruited among poor people. The puissant puppets arm these puppets from poor social milieus to kill each other. Meanwhile the puissant puppets live a peaceful life secured by the blind submission of the armed puppets to whom they offer arbitrary primes, improvised salaries, non deserved promotions, etc.

4. The String of Knowledge

Thanks to this string of education the puissant puppets create two distinct social classes. The first includes the puppets having access to a knowledge of high quality necessary for the manipulation of the lower class puppets. The second contains all the puppets from below who receive a poor training in schools in total physical and intellectual decomposition.



Today, the offspring of the puissant and opportunist puppets study either abroad or in the country. In the last case they attend very expensive schools from where the other children of the country are excluded. Here they learn to become future manipulators. Their victims will be their age mates sitting in those poor schools where they feign to study to avoid the humiliating label of "enfants de la rue,"(street children).

In poor people’s schools, children assimilate submission and obedience to unjust laws. They learn to be manipulated, oppressed, stolen, violated without reaction, without revolt. These are all schools inherited from colonialism. Here are trained specialists in mimicry, yes-men and women, copycats, generation without creativity nor originality, a descent without prophetic courage. To these descendants, those who still call themselves academicians teach how to speak of Marx, Hegel, market economy and microbes without giving the students a chance to become real agents of transformation of their society in crisis. Here the university grants diplomas! It trains the future admirers of western modernity.

When a less intelligent puppet dares question the knowledge of the potent and opportunist puppets he or she gets a classical answer of the genre: "Shut up stupid man or woman! Do you understand the issue? You are a child! We can not tell you everything! There are things that only those in power are allowed to share! Do you have their qualifications? They know where they are guiding you!" If the puissant and opportunist puppets feel obliged to explain something they use a language common people cannot understand. Better they resort to sophist expressions such as: Constitutional Conference, Sovereign National Conference, parallel agreement, money donation, pacific non conflicting transition, government of public salvation, or national union, political cartels USOR, USORAS, CAUSOR, ADELI, FPC, AFDL and probably in the days to come HEAVEN and HELL! The puppets from below do not understand a word of this oratory masturbation. It is beyond their knowledge. Thus they rely on those puppets endowed with intelligence. The latter distribute knowledge drop after drop to the ignorant puppets. The more ignorant and illiterate is a puppet, the best it is for the puissant puppets. Indeed they can easily manipulate him. This is what is happening to Congo whose illiterates are now recruited among university scholars!

5. The String of the Radio, TV and Newspapers

A pack of lies the radio, the television and the newspapers that do not tell the truth or provide partial information are the fibers of this string. Its aim is to make people turn against radio and television. Congolese people are so disgusted that nobody wastes his time listening to the radio nor watching TV programs. In most families, people switch off the TV or change to western channels because the national TV offers nothing but lies. Although we do not realize it this attitude is the consequence of a subtle manipulation that prevents people from having access to information. People end up unaware of what is going on in the country. This repulsion for the media is desired and created by the puissant and opportunist puppets who control the media.

Television and radio do tell some truths. What is required is the ability to select truths from lies. Indeed sometimes the national television, radio and some newspapers provide good information or deliver selective truths. However they have the tendency to mix truths with lies or to tell bits of verity and intentionally hide others. Very often and this is what gets people very nervous, the media is reserved about most important information. In spite of the media’s unreliability, people must not refuse to listen to them. They must train their eyes and hears to become critical and escape the grips of a manipulated media.

6. The String of the Carrot

To the oppressed puppets, the puissant puppets occasionally offer various appetizing carrots. These are promises of an episcopal promotion, a ministerial or prime ministerial function, etc. Better they are carrots suspended in front of the hungry puppets’ mouth. These puppets run mouth large opened struggling to catch the carrot unaware that the person holding it is sitting on their back. So the more they run the more the carrot is unreachable. From time to time to avoid the running puppets’ discouragement, the puissant puppets will allow them to grab a bite of carrot.

7. The String of Individual Egotism

Each oppressed puppet in Congo is preoccupied with his personal problems. We witness the harshness of the cult of each one for himself and God…! The puissant puppets have succeeded in convincing the oppressed puppet that his neighbor’s suffering is not his concern. This string instills division among the oppressed puppets and facilitates manipulation. The trap is simple and ends imprisoning each of them when they do not expect it. Indeed convinced that the situation can only happen to others, people are surprised to face it once in their life when it is often too late. The poem below, a paraphrasing of Bertold Bretch illustrates this assumption.

First they arrested Lumumba

I did not feel concerned

For Lumumba was a communist from Tetela tribe!

Second they hanged politicians on a Pentecost day

Why worry about it?

I did not expect any advantage from these politicians!

Later they shot unarmed students

But still this did not mean anything to me

Because the students were asked to keep quiet!

Two days ago they sent a Cardinal into exile

And then?

Did the Cardinal ever share his dividends with me?

Today they have arrested and tortured my neighbor

I have nothing in common with him

My neighbor is a proud boastful man from the Luba tribe!

Now it is me that they put in jail because of my writings

But it is too late!

8. The String of Competitiveness

It is the most dangerous string manipulating the oppressed puppets. This string introduces competition and competitiveness. The puissant puppets have erected it as the motto of all human society. Competition alone is said to guarantee development and progress! This string urges each individual to be the first, the best. The one who ranks second has no place in this society. This competitiveness has found room in families, schools, political parties, enterprises, etc. The world belongs to the one who always wins. We all have agreed to play this disastrous game because of the expected juicy benefits deserved to the winner. We forget that this competition is the fertile soil for jealousy, envy, hatred, violence, injustice, revenge, conflicts and wars. This aggressive inhuman game accept all the means that lead to victory. The loser has no choice but to live in total resignation: "What can I do? This is what life is all about!"

9. Conclusion

The end of the second tableau presents the oppressed puppets in a desperate situation. The strings that manipulate them stay in harmony and are efficiently controlled by the puissant puppets of the international financial world. These puppets introduce great confusions in the oppressed puppets’ life. They are at the origin of this permanent feeling of resignation. "Nkolo aliingi boongo." This is God’s will.

Nevertheless if the oppressed puppets join hands it should be possible to find the strength needed to cut these strings of dishonor. The oppressed puppets certainly have in them a force that the manipulators lack. This is probably the central message of the Christian demonstration of 16 February 1992. Oppressed puppets have one advantage. Once they have cut one string, they are sure to get rid of the others because they are interrelated.

Therefore the last tableau of this puppet show will illustrate the beginning of the process that progressively is empowering the oppressed puppets. In Congo people have started cutting the strings of slavery, writing their history with their blood and in spite of the persistent external and internal manipulations.

III. Third Tableau: Together, Let us Cut the Strings of Manipulation

1. The String of Fatality

Since 16 February 1992, people in Congo have understood that what they had experienced and are still experiencing is not caused by any fatality. Slowly the population learns to get rid of resignation and discovers the origin of his misery. The merit of the National Conference was to reveal these causes. It enabled Congolese people to understand the whys of the inhuman conditions under which they lived. It established the responsibilities both inside and outside the country. Different files on illegally acquired fortunes and assassinations have mentioned names of those responsible for injustices, murders, thefts, violations, etc.

The population expresses its deep gratitude to those who made such a reading possible. Congolese people are not ungrateful though they are accused of having no memory! May Bishop Monsengwo find here the expression of this population’s gratitude. What people reproach him is his lack of courage. He was unable to develop the numerous and courageous acts and decisions taken during the National Conference. His generation was afraid to pay the price for this commitment to truth. They limited their action to verbal acts. Bishop Monsengwo and the Church hierarchy affirmed that this was not the role assigned to the Church. What a betrayal! Who ever determined such a role for them? Certainly not this population whose hopes are best expressed in the Church now a safer place than the predatory State. However this generation deserves people’s forgiveness. Very soon will be born a generation of angry Congolese who will be able to reconcile revolution with discipline and reconstruct this beautiful country.

2. The String of the Heart

The new rising generation of independent Congolese people is characterized by a firm rejection of this religion singing the merits of a god who ties with the fatality string. God ‘s will has never been to impoverish nor enslave his children. This has never been his but rather that of the puissant puppets constantly carving for people a god in their image. The God to whom people believe does no longer promise a heaven that people can only deserve through submission, obedience to unjust laws, etc. God does not oblige people to accept everything because He Himself is rebellion against all that dehumanize the human being. The God of the new Congo is the opposite of the one inherited from colonization and still venerated by Congolese church hierarchy. God is urging Congolese people not to be silent in front of injustice. He recommends revolt. He no longer allows people to be indifferent to each other’s sufferings. He is against this god of blind submission, a god invented by the puissant puppets to dominate and control people. The new God is the one who is deep in the inner self of each Congolese individual. He is the one who urges people to be free, to revolt against the strings of manipulation that kill. Faith in this God does not anesthetize, but brings back to life. This God is waiting for people’s labor, talents for multiplication. He does not care about people’s laments.

  1. The String of Fear
People will get rid of this horrible string only if they accept prison as the best resting place for any one struggling for justice and truth. This string will be cut only if people train themselves not to answer with violent means the blows received from the puissant, the opportunist and the armed puppets. Only the multiplication of people’s "no" to injustice will help in this struggle.

Moments of such insight are increasing in the country. In Kisenso the inhabitants are reluctant to pay the Regideso bills because they are not satisfied with the quality of water supplied by this company. The inhabitants of Salongo did the same with the bills of SNEL the national electricity company. In Masina the city-dwellers boycott the bus to protest the constant increase of the bus fares. Parents in Kasa-Vubu organize the education of their children disproving an expensive educational system that do not educate. Retired teachers among them have offered their help. Parish members in Saint Augustin have refused to contribute financially to the functioning of the church because they totally disagree with the priest’s management of the parish. The culture of positive insurrection is under way and people are saying "No."

"No" to a liberator who cares more for the security of his personal power than for people’s reconciliation. "No" to an army that do not protect the children of this country. "No" to inhuman salaries of one $ that refuse to recognize years of rewarding universities studies. "No, No, No" because people want to free themselves from the string of fear. Today people have understood that governors are more fearful than the governed. This explains the presence of heavily armed soldiers to protect them. In addition the number of the puissant puppets is less important than that of the population of oppressed puppets. Freed from fear the latter can easily dismantle the puissant puppets’ organization.

  1. The String of Culture
If people die in Congo it is because of lack of knowledge. Those who claim to detain it, namely, the amorphous intellectual puppets are to be blamed. It is time that simple people realize that the mason, the cultivator, the peasant, the trader, the hand-driven carts, etc. have also a culture they must be proud of. Today poor people are inviting intellectuals to come down to Ngaba, Masina, Kisenso, camp Luka, etc. Together they want to elaborate a science that responds to people’s needs and interrogations. Congolese people appreciate and have faith in intellectuals. They show an unqualified respect for them. Unfortunately poor people are astonished by the intellectuals’ stubborn enthusiasm for a science that is isolated from common people’s life. They have become more critical towards their authoritative knowledge. This is finally a good thing and common people must be encouraged.

5. The String of Television, Radio and Newspapers

Those who have understood the trap of radio-television-newspapers’ lies have started training the population for a critical reading of information. In many local communities intellectuals are helpful enabling people to acquire the appropriate tools to interpret the various phenomena and events they face.

Beyond this effort to acquire a critical reflex the country acknowledges the birth of many press organs offering the possibility to listen to various echoes of the same news. However the diversity of the media can be misleading for most of the leftist or rightist newspapers drink water from the same source. They are very intelligent means spread left and right for a better manipulation of the population. This press is maintained alive thanks to the financial assistance of the puissant, the Troika and opportunist puppets.

Consequently the population must also have its own means of information. A leaflet is enough to provide an accurate information that rectifies five pages of lies. Video tapes offer another possibility. They can allow people to avoid the circle of violence imposed by foreign movies that maintain people in a state of permanent fear. These videos can develop programs on people’s environment, culture, education, democracy, non violence, self reliance, etc. People become agents of their own information rather than eternal consumers. This is a chance to show to Europe and America that Africa is not only these monotonous images of war, famine and strife, exotic wildlife and vast desert. Africa is also these hardworking people who struggle courageously to end the eternal slavery imposed on them. Tomorrow these positive images will circulate in Europe and America. They will astonish and mobilize people with aspirations for peace, justice and democracy.

6. The String of the Carrot

Congolese people are no more willing to play the donkey people will mount to fool them eternally. The carrot presented to them is not what they need. In this big shop that is the now global capitalist world several unnecessary carrots are sold by means of powerful publicity. Trapped people buy goods they do not need. Yesterday they bought diplomas, the only means to reach social success. People rushed for the highest academic titles: "Professor Doctor." The time to acquire the diploma people learned that the carrot’s color had changed. In addition to their diploma a political career became a must. This is the period of big unfair transactions to become minister, prime minister, deputy, etc. Today the carrot is the gun, rallying symbol of the country’s "liberators." After the euphoria the carrots seem all worthless. People could have done without them. Hence the motto will be: "The carrot! Eat it yourself!"

7. The String of Selfish Individualism

It is no longer a secret. The salvation of the oppressed puppets depends on their commitment to lead a common struggle to cut the strings that hold them. There is no choice: either they are all saved or there will be no salvation. The oppressed puppets are aware of it. Thus the present war in Kivu does not only concern those living in this area but the whole national community. What is happening in Rwanda is not foreign to us. The interethnic conflicts and the fratricide wars aim at dividing the oppressed puppets.

Economically, people learn to work together and to produce not to buy foreign currencies but to eat. What they produce is not mentioned in the statistics of world agricultural production. It does not matter! The important thing is that people come together to solve their food problems. It is called informal! Never mind. It is the problem of poor people’s stomach that only the informal can feed while the formal has starved them.

Politically people are engaged in collective actions facing any form of dictatorship and giving birth to a public opinion symbol of their gained solidarity. They stand united facing a Western world that still wants to impose leaders offering an egoistic liberation and a facade political democracy in the name of African authenticity and particularity. They struggle together against an official church allies in spite of itself of a dehumanizing system.

8. The String of Competitiveness

People now assume that liberation like democracy and independence are nothing but struggle for more justice, verity and love. This struggle is a permanent struggle against misery, sickness, egotism, accumulation greed for power and money, tribal divisions, or better against all forms of violence. People’s aggressiveness and creativity must be used to build a theater of free people who refuse to believe that life consists of climbing over each other, marching on or excluding the weakest among us.

The world does not develop thanks to competition and Congo is a tragic illustration. Thirty four years of independence, equal thirty four years of disunion for the benefit of opportunist and puissant puppets. In the past Lumumba understood that fratricide competitiveness could not lead to development. Nowadays there are people among Congolese who call for a new non violent mobilization. They are inviting Congolese people to try again but this time collectively.

To conclude

The only act to do at the end of this puppet show is to cut the strings. This act is not free of charge. People will have to pay for it. It is within the family that women will have to cut the string of blind submission. It is here too that they will have to pay the full price for their daring act. The office, the parish, the army, the university, etc. will be the places where the priest, the professor, the soldier, the civil servant, etc. will be invited to cut the strings of dehumanizing obedience. It is here too that they will have to accept to loose their rights for a deserved promotion. The issue for the oppressed puppets resides in their ability to pay for their commitment so that others could lead a better life. It is the hour for prophets and martyrs. These martyrs, the people’s martyrs will never be sanctified in Rome. Never mind! They will be given the best places in people’s heart! Thus Congolese man and woman where you are stand and cut the string that prevent each of you to transform this country into a land where flows milk and honey.

Thierry Nlandu teaches Anglo-American literature at the University of Kinshasa-Democratic Republic of the Congo, and is the Scientific advisor of the Congolese Association of Moralists. Besides he is a dramatist and a political activist, member of "Groupe Amos" in Kinshasa. Visiting scholar. International Center for Advanced Studies. NYU.