On the eve of the 60th anniversary of its independence, the DRC is going through a major institutional crisis, reflecting deep divergences within the ruling CASH coalition and strong tensions with the outgoing President’s FCC coalition, which has a majority in Parliament and Senate as well as in provincial governments.
The Executive is also weakened by several corruption scandals cases brought before the courts, involving in particular the Chief of Staff of the Head of State and several managers of public enterprises.
Public finances are directly affected by the fall in commodity prices and the slowdown in the world economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In Kinshasa, a megalopolis of more than 12 million inhabitants, many of whom survive on precarious employment in the informal sector, quarantine and containment measures have been applied in the commune of Gombe, where the business centre and most of the administration are situated.
It is to be feared that if the situation continues without accompanying measures, the remedy could turn out more harmful than the disease and will plunge a large part of the Congolese population into even greater poverty.
Indeed, this virus has been brutally disrupting our lives for several months now.
What was normal then is not anymore. Commercial flights have been stopped in most parts of the world. Going to work or to school, walking, shopping, hugging family and friends is forbidden because it is considered dangerous in many countries.
We have become incredulous and powerless spectators of the morbid and anxiety-provoking tally that has invaded all the media. The confusion is all the more important as it is fuelled by contradictory information, fake news, rumours, conspiracy theories and propaganda circulating on social networks.
The worst was feared for the African continent, particularly because of the weakness of its health system. The youthfulness of its population fortunately appears to be a major asset against this virus, one feature being its lethality among the elderly.
Mid-June, the DRC counted 130 deaths attributed to Covid-19.
A tremendous amount of energy is being dedicated in many laboratories around the world to find a vaccine against this virus. Colossal financial resources are being deployed to combat it, but wouldn’t it be just as necessary to fight, through a radical change in our lifestyles, against the reasons that make this virus so dangerous: hypertension, diabetes and obesity?
Should we not react with as much collective energy to the risk of ecological collapse and the death of millions of children every year of starvation?
Should we not be as firmly engaged and willing to fight, for example, against the measles virus, responsible for more than 6,000 deaths in the DRC last year, in deafening silence? This disease, which can be fought with a safe and effective vaccine, has killed more than 140,000 people worldwide in 2019, mostly babies and young children…