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Kinshasa governor begins “clean Kinshasa” campaign against rowdy nights, ‘filth’

The campaign also targets behaviour seen as immoral and socially unacceptable inlcuding irresponsible drinking

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Kinshasa governor begins "clean Kinshasa" campaign against rowdy nights, 'filth'
(File photo)

The long, loud nights of Kinshasa’s street life are set to be shortened by the new governor of DR Congo’s capital, as part of a city-wide crusade against “dirtiness”.

In less than a month, the bars spilling out on to the city’s highways and byways will no longer be allowed to serve customers with beer and meat skewers before 6:00 pm. Five hours later, the premises must close, Governor Gentiny Ngobila ordered last Thursday.

Customers on the packed terraces of working-class districts such as the Huilerie, Matonge and Bandal will benefit from an extension until midnight at weekends and on public holidays after the rules take effect on August 1.

Popular rumba music can still boom out, but sales of drinks must always cease an hour before closing time, according to authorities who believe that a “live and let live” attitude has gone too far in Africa’s third-largest metropolis.

The bid to cut down on noise and disorderly conduct is just one aspect of Ngobila’s “Kin Bopeto” — (“Clean Kinshasa”) — operation, which also targets alleged prostitutes and delinquents.

“Sometimes, you find somebody having a beer at 10 o’clock in the morning. What state will they be in by midday?” protested the provincial minister of the environment, Didier Tenge Litho.

He has exhumed “the ordinance-law of May 31,1975, which regulates the opening and closing hours of places serving (alcoholic) drinks”.

Speaking on several radio stations to spread the word, Tenge Litho said that the Kin Bopeto campaign is intended to provoke a general “change in outlook and behaviour” to “reject filth”.

Nobody knows for sure how many people live in the sprawling capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There has been no census since 1984, but a broad consensus estimate puts the population at 10 million.

‘Cleansing brigades’ –

The city inherited from Belgian colonial rule was often called “Kin-la-belle” (“Kin-the-beautiful”), but for many, nowadays, it’s become “Kin-la-poubelle” (Kin-the-trash-bin”) — where countless plastic bags have strewn the length of “avenues” of beaten earth and clog up the waterways.

The new governor has announced resources to obtain visible results from the Kin Bopeto initiative within six months. Each of Kinshasa’s 24 administrative departments will get financial help, while “cleansing brigades” of at least 40 agents will serve each district.

The campaign also targets behaviour seen as immoral and socially unacceptable, but the authorities have set their sights on traditional scapegoats. The “shegue” and “kuluna” street kids and juvenile delinquents get the blame for insecurity, while “ujana” alleged teen prostitutes are rounded up.

Innocent girls are sometimes — indeed often — accused of being loose women simply because they don’t wear bras.

City officials even plan to enforce distance among the informal traders who gather along congested main roads. These people must stand back at least a metre (yard) from the highway to avoid anyone falling sick because of filth.

What will become of Kinshasa six months into the governor’s plan remains to be seen, but one thing is already certain; it will affect the majority of the workforce that ekes out a precarious living in informal jobs, including petty roadside trade and serving beer.

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African leaders pay last respects to Mugabe at state funeral

African leaders and senior officials from Cuba, Russia and China all praised Mugabe as a pan-African hero

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African leaders pay last respects to Mugabe at state funeral

Zimbabwe gave former president Robert Mugabe a state funeral on Saturday with African leaders paying tribute to a man lauded as a liberation hero but whose 37-year rule was defined by repression and economic turmoil.

Mugabe, who died in Singapore last week aged 95, left Zimbabwe deeply torn over his legacy as the country still struggles with high inflation and shortages of goods after decades of crisis.

He died on an overseas medical trip almost two years after former army loyalists forced him out in 2017, following a power struggle over what was widely perceived as a bid to position his wife Grace as his successor.

Mugabe’s casket, draped in the green, black, gold and red Zimbabwe flag, was marched slowly into Harare’s national stadium as a military band played and crowds chanted and drummed, though less than half of the 60,000 seats appeared taken.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma (L) bows on September 14, 2019 as he says a final farewell at the casket of late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe during a farewell ceremony held for family and heads of state at the National Sports Stadium in Harare. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

African leaders and senior officials from Cuba, Russia, and China all praised Mugabe as a pan-African hero for his past as a colonial-era guerrilla leader.

“We honour and remember our African icon. He had many allies and followers… Our motherland is in tears,” Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said. 

African leaders pay last respects to Mugabe at state funeral
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (L) shakes hands with Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa upon his arrival to attend a farewell ceremony for late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (Photo by Zinyange Auntony / AFP)

Doves were released over the stadium before soldiers fired a 21-gun salute from artillery cannon.

Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe ally who turned against him, praised Grace in a signal of reconciliation and called for sanctions on Zimbabwe to be lifted in the post-Mugabe era. 

“We say give our country a rebirth and a new start. Remove the sanctions now, we don’t deserve them.”

South African leader Ramaphosa’s speech was briefly interrupted by jeers and whistles from the crowds until he apologised for recent xenophobic attacks on African migrants, including Zimbabweans, in Johannesburg.

Bitter legacy

As a former anti-colonial rebel, Mugabe is credited with helping to end white-minority rule in Zimbabwe.

But his nearly four-decade rule was marked by repression, the brutal silencing of dissent and violent seizure of white-owned farms, making him an international pariah.

Though still lauded as an African icon, at home many Zimbabweans will remember Mugabe more for the increasingly tyrannical rule and economic mismanagement that forced millions to flee the country.

Many are struggling to survive despite Mnangagwa’s vows of more investment and jobs in the post-Mugabe era.

“The fruits of his tenure are the shortages. That is what we remember him for,” said Steven, a consultant shopping near the stadium.

“He has made sure there is no opposition and he succeeded. There is no reason to go to his funeral.”

Friends and enemies

A young Mugabe was once jailed in the former British colony Rhodesia for his nationalist ideas. But he swept to power in the 1980 elections after a guerrilla war and sanctions forced the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table.

In office, he initially won international praise for promoting racial reconciliation and for extending improved education and health services to the black majority.

“You can’t talk about Zimbabwe without Bob. Zimbabwe is Bob. It took a man like Bob, his bravery, to get independence,” said Norman Gombera, 57, a school principal in Harare. “Bob did his best under the circumstances. There is no country without a problem.”

Always divisive in life, Mugabe’s funeral arrangements were also caught up in a dispute between Mnangagwa and the family over where and when the former leader should be buried.

His final burial at a national monument will only happen after a new mausoleum is built in about 30 days. That decision was taken after his family ended a dispute with Mnangagwa over the date and place of the ceremony.

His family are still bitter over the role Mnangagwa played in his ouster and had pushed for Mugabe to be buried in his homestead of Zvimba, northwest of Harare.

A former guerrilla who fought alongside Mugabe against colonial forces, Mnangagwa was fired as first vice president by Mugabe in 2017. Mugabe had branded him a “traitor”.

Soon after, protesters took to the streets and military officers pressured Mugabe to step down in what was widely seen as a struggle between Mnangagwa’s faction and loyalists to Mugabe’s wife Grace inside the ruling ZANU-PF party. 

Mnangagwa himself is now under pressure to deliver in the post-Mugabe period.

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Death toll from capsized Cameroon ferry rises to 17

So far, 111 survivors have been rescued, according to state radio and a local leader

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Death toll from capsized Cameroon ferry rises to 17

The death toll from a Cameroon ferry that capsized this week has risen to 17 after more bodies were found, state radio said Wednesday, though the total number of victims was still unknown.

Fourteen more bodies were recovered from the Bakassi Peninsula on Tuesday, two days after the ferry sunk off southwestern Cameroon, Cameroon Radio Television reported.

A source with local authorities confirmed the details to reporters.

State media had initially reported that three victims — of Cameroonian, Nigerian and French nationality — were found and more than 100 people were rescued when the ship went down overnight Sunday to Monday.

The Austrheim, a trading vessel converted into a passenger ship was supposed to carry 75 people, but it was “overloaded,” according to a statement from the defence ministry. 

So far, 111 survivors have been rescued, according to state radio and a local leader. Searches continued on Wednesday for survivors or bodies.

The ship left Sunday from Calabar, Nigeria, and was due to dock at Tiko in southwest Cameroon but hit a sandbar before capsizing, according to the ministry.

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Gambia’s first President, Dawda Jawara dies aged 95

Jawara led the Gambia to Independence on 18th February 1965 until July 1994 when he was ousted in a coup led by ex President Yahya Jammeh

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Gambia's first President, Dawda Jawara dies aged 95
(L-R) Late President of the Gambia, Sir Dawda Jawara and current President, Adama Barrow. (AFP)

Dawda Jawara, the first President of The Gambia following independence from Britain, died Tuesday at the age of 95, officials said.

Current President Adama Barrow, in online comments, described Jawara’s death as “a great loss to the country in particular and humanity in general”.

Fisheries Minister, James Gomez told reporters that “the former head of State Sir Dawda Jawara died this afternoon. Flags would fly at half-mast” and the body will lie in state for mourners to pay their respects.

Jawara, a Glasgow-trained veterinary doctor, led the Gambia to Independence on 18th February 1965 until July 1994 when his reign was brought to an end by a bloodless military coup led by Yahya Jammeh, who went on to rule the country for 22 years.

The Gambian presidency, in a statement on Twitter announced that a state funeral would be held on Thursday.

“In honour of his enduring legacy, President Barrow has ordered that the former President be accorded a befitting state funeral and that flags at all public institutions to fly at half-mast.”

“Sir Dawda has lived a life that epitomises peace, tolerance, respect, and patriotism. His time as president has put the country on the path of development at both human and institutional standards. His legacy as the father of the nation shall forever live on.”

Jawara was born in 1924 into a Muslim family in central Barajally, where his father was a tradesman.

He worked as a vet and it was not until 1960 that he decided to enter politics, joining the Protectorate People’s Party in 1960 while the country was still under British rule.

Gambia's first President, Dawda Jawara dies aged 95

His party, which later changed its name to the People Progressive Party (PPP) won the elections in 1962 and he became the country’s Prime Minister. 

That was the post that Jawara held when The Gambia gained its independence in 1965, ending British colonial rule which had begun in 1888.

It was not until 1970 that he assumed his post as the country’s first President.

Jawara resisted post-independence pressure to become part of neighbouring Senegal, which surrounds the whole country with the exception of its Atlantic coastline. 

Following his 1994 ouster, Jawara sought refuge in Britain where he lived with his family until 2002 when he returned home after President Jammeh granted him amnesty and returned his assets to him.

While in power, his regime was considered one of the most democratic on the African continent.

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