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Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 06:34:09 GMT
Reply-To: Rich Winkel <rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu>
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: Rich Winkel <rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu>
Organization: PACH
Subject: GAMA: Zairian Women Confronting the Dictatorship
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>

/** gen.newsletter: 149.0 **/
** Topic: GAMA: NL23: Zairian Women **
** Written 10:37 AM Oct 26, 1995 by ASTA.UNIH@OLN.comlink.apc.org in
cdp:gen.newsletter **

Zairean Women Confronting the Dictatorship

By Thérèse Kabamba, Zaire-Informationszentrum, Hannover, October 1995

Dictatorship is an evil for every country. It claims victims not only in the country itself but also abroad. In the first place, it destroys the society it rages in. In Zaire - like in any other country - women as well as men are victims of political intolerance of the dictatorial regime.

The Zairean woman is also the target of the secret service of the dictator in Kinshasa. The repressive apparatus of Mobutu has committed several kidnappings, torturings, rapes and killings against women. The ,crime" these women, members resp. sympathisers of the radical opposition, had committed was to denounce the dictatorial regime.

We are firm in our decision to put an end to the bloodthirsty regime of the last of the African despots and ,self-made "marshals" who are about to be extinct. It is our task to denounce every human rights violation in Zaire to let the truth finally win.

Following, you will find a list of human rights violations against women which obviously is only a small section of a very long list of violations. All the mentioned cases reflect the arbitrariness of the security forces towards their victims, and how women in particular become the targets of unrestrained violence.

1. Mrs. Marie Bitulo: Kinshasa (Luka Camp) September 1, 1994. She had been accused of unlawful entry and was hit by patrolling soldiers.

2. Mrs. Anne Mukamba: Kinshasa September 1, 1994; she was hurt by patrolling soldiers with guns.

3. Mrs. Mukeni: Kinshasa (Mt. Ambo) January 3, 1995. She was accused of robbery; and had been beaten by a soldier.

4. Mrs. Tunda and her daughter: she was deported from Belgium and disappeared at Kinshasa Airport.

5. Mrs. Kiansi Henriette, wife of a corporal of the Zairean army: Kinshasa August 1990. She was killed by the secret service; her husband is still on the run and is accused of treason.

6. The daughter of Papa Compagnie. She was shot by three men in uniform.

7. Mrs. Mukondi was tortured on the night of December 19, 1994, by members of the civil guard (Lieutenant Fataki and others) in the office in Avenue Kianga in Ngaba, a part of Kinshasa.

8. Ms. Tumba, a pupil, was raped and tortured by members of the civil guard on the night of December 19, 1994 in the office in Avenue Kianga in Ngaba.

9. Mrs. Mbuku and her husband were attacked by a group of armed men in Avenue Mpolo in Kinshasa on December 18, 1994.

10. The wife of Mr. Gizenga, leader of PALU, was kidnapped in her house in Avenue Cannas 466 in Limete/Kinshasa, by members of the civil guard and SARM on the night of July 29, 1995.

11. Gizenga Passy (12 years), daughter of A. Gizenga was raped by members of the civil guard and SARM on the night of July 29, 1995.

12. Gizenga Wambu (14 years), daughter of A. Gizenga, was raped by members of the civil guard and SARM in the Avenue Cannas 466 in Limete/Kinshasa on the night of July 30, 1995.

13. Pil-cherie (22 years), niece of Gizenga, was raped and murdered by members of the civil guard and SARM on the night of July 30, 1995.

14. Marie Kikata, PALU-fighter, was wounded by a shot by members of the civil guard and SARM in Masina/Kinshasa on July 29, 1995.

15. Hélène Kinzuzi, PALU-fighter, was wounded by members of the civil guard and SARM in Maye Ndombe/Kinshasa on July 29, 1995.

Yet, not only physical violence against women is a daily phenomenon in Zaire, also the ,normal" exploitation of women and their treatment as a mere commodity is prevalent in this country that is ruled by greedy men whose monstrous political impetuosity must finally be stopped.

These men, equipped with a very low legal consciousness, do not hesitate to reduce women to pleasure toys. An example of this is a decree of the 1970-ies, signed by the sex-greedy tyrant from Kuwele, which declared every 14-years old girl a woman of age. Bye-bye to morality! ...long live sex!

According to a report of the Permanent Mission of the Legal Government, Zairean women have become victims of another form of sexual exploitation, the trade of women, supported by the unpatriotic Mobutu-regime.1) The Permanent Mission of the Legal Government has uncovered a prostitution ring of young Zairean women in Belgium.

This prostitution ring had been established by Lieutenant Kongolo, son of Mobutu, and Simba Kae. The young women were applicants for asylum whose application had been rejected. They were lodged in the Hotel Continental in Ixelles, a part of Brussels, by one of the pimps of Simba Kae.

Education for peace, based on the guide lines of a true humanism, is not possible within a society that rejects the existence of a critical mind.

Concerning the brutal past and the terrible presence that can be blamed on a gang of barbarians, we are called to responsibility before our conscience. The time has come for us women to take up the challenge that we are confronted with in each part of our lives; as mothers, our prime role is to protect the lives that we have given birth to.

Women have - as (informally) socially active people - a humane vocation that forbids them to support a suppressive political system - a system which denies us the right to a decent life.

The dying regime which came to power after a military coup on November 24, 1965, does not tolerate any political opposition.

The question might be raised why a powerful clique has set itself the aim to destroy the people's most precious gift, culture. The main reason for the spiritual bankruptcy of the present rulers is their categorical rejection of basic rights, e.g. justice, truth, peace, a just distribution of wealth, tolerance and freedom of opinion.

The ruling nomenclature is killing the people because it lacks other means of conflict solutions. These good-for-nothings are practising a policy of chance. We are well aware of the fact that we are living in a political system that has to be erased.

The time has come to stand up against corruption, injustice, intolerance, arbitrariness - in one word, against everything which threatens the existence of women in particular, and human beings in general.

The Zairean woman should not remain passive. She has to wake up to go hand in hand with her partner, men, to fight against an autocratic system.

In the future, we would like to answer with a good consciousness to questions of history. ,What have you done to your country? How could you let such a disaster happen?"

To stand before history, we have to put an end to the bloodthirsty terrorist regime of Mobutu.

About the Author:
Thérèse Kabamba was born in 1957 in Likase in Zaire; she is married to Kande Malako E. and she has four children.

Between 1980 - 83, she went to the Insitute Supèrieur de Commerce in Kinshasa and became a secretary.

Presently, she is living in Germany where she has applied for asylum.

Why am I in Germany? Why did I write the article on Zaire? Germany is a place of exile for me. I was forced to leave my country, Zaire, because of political persecution by the ruling dictatorship.

The reasons for persecution were twofold:
- My political conviction and my work in the Christian Democratic Social Party (PDSC). I was member of the coordination-office in the Kalanu-section and was the women's officer;
- My struggle for the liberation of the suppressed Zairean people.

I was prevented from any political activity, I was in prison, and I was tortured.

The withdrawal of my freedom of movement and opinion had been a kind of psychological torture.

Now, I am living in a free country, and I am absolutely convinced to continue my fight against the dictatorial regime, very much aware of the fact that different methods of fighting are existing (in action and in words), and that the liberation of a people needs international solidarity.

I would like to inform the people worldwide about the situation of women in Zaire. Women are also persecuted by the Mobutu-regime.

Kidnapping, raping and murder are common.

On the other hand, my writings should be seen as an appeal to every suppressed woman in the world: we have to stand up and denounce every human rights violation to let truth triumph in the end.

Despite the threat to my life, I will continue my fight for the liberation of my people who are shifting between disinformation and information. Should I die, my death will not be useless, on the contrary, it would be a spark to the upcoming democracy."

Zaire-Informationszentrum in Deutschland
c/o AStA Uni Hannover, Welfengarten 1, D-30167 Hannover, Germany,
tel.: +49-511-763 5063 or 7011485,
fax: +49-511-717441,
e-mail: asta.unih@oln.comlink.apc.org

Global Alternative Media Association - GAMA is a division of Foundation for International Communication - FIC GAMA is a global co-operation of alternative media reaching a combined audience of more than 200.000 people. Media interested in joining the association should contact:
FIC (GAMA coordinator)
c/o AStA University of Hannover; Welfengarten 1;
30167 Hannover; Germany;
tel: +49-(0)511-762 5063;
Fax: 717441
e-mail: asta.unih@oln.comlink.apc.org