Lettre à Monsieur Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, Président de la République
366th day of Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala in prison — TOO much
Mise en ligne le 14 mars, 16 à 16:09
My dear friend
How are you? How were your days when you were detained at secret National Intelligence Agency? How you spend your time during your days and nights in prison? There are certainly violent inmates, how you defend yourself, how you protect yourself? I have so many questions to ask you. We will have long conversations when you are out of prison. Coming soon.
Since the first day of your arrest, your secret detention, when you appeared before the courts in Kinshasa and your transfer to Makala, I have kept thinking that your freedom is coming soon. I have hope, and nobody can take it away. It is this hope that gives life.
This challenging adventure is just a year, but the passage of time has not affected my convictions or my commitment that I share with you and all the other activists. The power of your resistance is felt by me and by thousands of young people around the world. This prison sentences for trying to be a good citizen makes me become strong in facing the injustices that you are forced to become the symbol of. Your courage is exceptional because you now walk the path of death, and you will not loose.
The little phrase that you sent me from your cell Makala finally reached me … I repeat to you and to me and to all activists who are still willing to risk their lives for values and to replace the unacceptable and abnormal that have become the rule of the Congolese system.
« If you can not walk, crawl. But at all costs keep going!! »
We move forward, some in prison and others outside prison. I’m not so free in this Europe that is locked within its own walls. The miss the intense life of home, I miss very much our talks with your animated voice and surprising ideas. I miss Goma, I miss my country. I miss you. I plan to come back soon to see across the beauty and misery of my people, this is the ultimate therapy after those days outside my country, away from my mission. Laugh with those who laugh, cry with those weeping, struggling with those who struggle.
You know, I never imagined that loyal acts cold lead to prison for long periods, while leaders of armed groups who killed and who killed our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, are always rewarded with political positions and military ranks. Wheeler-soldiers, and politician embezzlers of public funds circulate freely.
I never imagined that you would you be imprisoned and accused of such great things and venture the biggest award. You do not know measure the anxiety that I had listening to the charges mounted in a big deceitful piece against you. It’s amazing that a state, our state has become so oppressive to us, its own youth.
Now a long year has closed. It dreams of your liberation. It’s too small as a dream, but I am condemned to it. Our dreams were splendid! Ecology, health, entrepreneurship, change the system. I no longer think as before. With you in jail, I dream of your liberation. We dream small to be realistic.
Now that the electoral mandates are being worn away, they are not ashamed of wanting to change the rules of the game and stay in power. Our fight is reduced to requesting releases and seeking political interventions despite clear provisions in the Constitution for freedom and democracy.
You, you are on the front line of all fronts.
We tireless ask for your outright release and at this one year mark, we still have not received anything. It should not happen like that, they should not take you away, they should not imprison you. Everything was wrong from the start. It’s hard to fight for the release when the accusations are false and fabricated and even the arrest of the person was unfair.
Non-violence, dignity, responsibility, the famous « Take up the struggle » and « risk together » and yet they trampled our unconditional love for our country and all the motivations and principles that drive us to fight to build a Congo that looks like us.
My dear friend,
Your sacrifice imposes many meanings. Your imprisonment gave a deeper meaning to our history. It reveals the animosity of the current ruling class. You are the living testimony of the dictatorship that was hidden under the democratic institutions facades. Those who run the institutions had not understood that the generation of the president-for-life has grown old and we are now in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That democracy is the rule. The Constitution is the guide. You bear the suffering from this painful transition from dictatorship to democracy.
For the ruling class, the contradictory discourse of the different authorities sometimes verges on humour. I have a feeling they are touched by the courage and determination of young people, although they are not yet able to overcome their avarice. I invite them to visit you to know you more. I think if they met you, if they took the time to listen to you and talk to you, they would apologize for having called you a terrorist; they would ask forgiveness for these days they steal from your life.
From a distance when I fixe my gaze to the Congo, I see your predators agitated as passengers who are on a boat that is sinking. Their incendiary speech about us rings in my ears like rather coarse distress calls by individuals. And I always say, we must not let them die, we must do our part to make them aware of their inordinate selfishness. So, the speeches of politicians encourage me to take up the struggle even more.
Your imprisonment has highlighted the role of the security services and those of the Congolese information that will mobilize when they suspect that the interests of some people in danger. Their intuition is often wrong. As for the specific case of our movement, it is the interests of the people that count.
Your imprisonment has unleashed languages: issues related to the change of the constitution have become constant news and you the eternal scapegoat that is pulled by for and against democracy. I no longer count the numbers of press conferences of the government about you! And convictions and concerns of States and organizations in the defense of Human Rights on the situation of democracy in our country.
Your jail has opened a series of arrests of youth of our movement. I realized that we are in the sights of those who keep you in jail, they want to destroy us. They want to discourage young people from taking responsibility for the country’s future. Day by day they take bad decisions against us and unfortunately against themselves. If I were them, I would not celebrate me. They use too much energy to destroy us when we are too small, young single people. To annihilate us it would be enough to respect the country’s constitution and leave us alone. But when they mix unfairly all institutions of the country for their interests, they mobilize the people in the struggle, they attract to us all media organizations and human rights. In a word, they occupy too much of our advertising and our training in democracy. For example, in judgments on the Congolese justice I trusted lawyers, but there, without asking advice to lawyers, I can give concrete and personalized case to prove that the retributive power, the mother of the nation « justice » is no more independent. It became a mass destruction weapon in the service of executive power. It’s annoying but that’s it.
For us, the consequences are severe: Trésor Akili, Gentil Mulume, Sylvain Kambere et Vincent Kasereka have faced months in prison. They were sentenced to 6 months suspended sentences for mobilizing people to join Filimbi to support you and the cause of democracy. Then the despicable imprisonment and unjust convictions of Juvin Kombi and Pascal Byumanine and 7 companions for taking part in mourning ceremonies for slain citizens in Beni. And despite all their responsible citizenship, Serge Sivyavuha, Justin Kambale, Ghislain Muhiwa, Mike Kamundu et John Assyenda et Rebecca Kavugho are being imprisoned on wrongful convictions. And Bienvenu Matumo et Thierry Kapitene were taken and have joined you in Makala prison do without organizing anything or saying anything, or doing anything wrong. And my friend Yves, how is he? I did not know him before he was arrested, but now I carry him in my heart. I look forward to meeting him. You know that with them, you are my hero.
I could write to all my friends to express my feeling and join them in this difficult time. But that will have to wait.
Your imprisonment has also taught me that we are not alone. That young people of Congo and the entire world are with us on the open Facebook page in solidarity with you and Yves Makwambala, we saw young photos of all races, from all continents scribble on their bodies the famous #FreeFred #FreeYves hashtag on Twitter, we see the popular #FreeLucha born! It is encouraging to feel support!
I know we will get through this struggle that imposes extreme sacrifices for building our country in our image. Evil has come too far, the change of regimes does not do enough for us anymore…
My dear friend, you must know that in my eyes, you are a free man even in prison. And promise me that even there you must fight for your survival at least. The fight seems long and hard. Always take care of yourself. Fighting at least not to die. Do not accept dying either physically or intellectually or morally.
Before I finish, let me tell you a joy: Fred, we are the people we dream, we are young people who are building, with bare hands, the future of our country, at the cost of our blood. With pain and dignity, we are building the country of our dreams without any protection, without substantial support. Now, our democracy will no longer be an exported ‘copy and paste’ system of political lobbying. We are the witnesses and actors in our work. While we’re at such a low level on the scale that we have to climb up, but with fire in our hearts, we go … however long it takes, we will get there.
The path we have chosen, that of nonviolence, of respect for the dignity of the person, of responsibility and independence, love, education, of responsible citizenship, is the longest but it is most effective. It will happen… The pride of our people, one day it will be nobly found. I am sure, because we exist, because you prove it by braving the greatest fear, death. All members of our movement risk death by remaining in the country where the current government does not just want to take care of the most basic problems of the people and instead of fulfilling its obligations, it targets us for elimination.
We are the Congo’s worthy sons and daughters! It is true, and more …
It takes courage to continue the fight and to survive, to be brave and express what you think. I also try to be this. You have the support of many people who are tired of injustice.
I’m glad to I met you through LUCHA and have you as a friend. I’m happy that through the struggle, I met a person as special as you, a young Congolese man who has the greatness to bear the challenges that have fallen upon him.
Many of us who are waiting for you outside the walls of the Makala prison. Justice will prevail, the people will win …
In a few days will be your birthday, for this special event for your family and for your friends and for all those who love you, I offer my support and I confirm you that you can still count on me. I pray for you and for our struggle.
A patriotic hug
See you soon !