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Democratic Republic of Congo: Christian Democracy (Démocratie chrétienne, DC) party, including its leaders and activities, and the treatment of its members by the authorities and the other parties; the arrest and treatment of Eugène Diomi Ndongala in 2013 (2011-December 2013)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 16 December 2013
Citation / Document Symbol COD104689.FE
Related Document(s) République démocratique du Congo : information sur le parti Démocratie chrétienne (DC), y compris ses dirigeants, ses activités et le traitement réservé à ses membres par les autorités et les autres partis; information sur l'arrestation et le traitement réservé à Eugène Diomi Ndongala en 2013 (2011-décembre 2013)
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo: Christian Democracy (Démocratie chrétienne, DC) party, including its leaders and activities, and the treatment of its members by the authorities and the other parties; the arrest and treatment of Eugène Diomi Ndongala in 2013 (2011-December 2013), 16 December 2013, COD104689.FE , available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/534250d04.html [accessed 24 June 2021]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

1. Christian Democracy Party

The Christian Democracy (Démocratie chrétienne, DC) party is a Congolese opposition party (CORI Apr. 2013; AFP 24 July 2013; Afrikarabia 20 Jan. 2013). The party was created in 1993 after the Sovereign National Conference (Journalist 4 Dec. 2013). This conference, which took place from 1991 to 1992 (ibid.; PHW 2013, 3013), led to a new constitution establishing a multi-party system (ibid.). Sources provide the following information on the positions of president, secretary general and spokesperson of the DC:

Eugène Diomi Ndongala is the President (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013; RFI 17 Sept. 2013);

Freddy Kita is the Secretary General (Journalist 3 Dec. 2013; Jeune Afrique 20 Nov. 2013);

Marc Mawete is the spokesperson (Afrikarabia 20 Jan. 2013; La Tempête des tropiques 30 Oct. 2013).

The DC party nominated Eugène Diomi Ndongala as a candidate in the 2006 presidential elections (PHW 2013, 323).

According to correspondence signed by Eugène Diomi Ndongala and posted on the DC's Internet site, the party objectives are to:

[translation]

Contribute to implementing a real and effective state of law;

Assist with the socio-economic, cultural and human development of the Congolese people;

Launch a genuine process of democratization in the DRC, by normalizing political activity and preserving civil and political rights;

Foster sincere and effective national reconciliation for lasting peace in the DRC (DC N.d.).

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, a journalist who is in charge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) section of the Afrikarabia site (Afrikarabia n.d.), states that, like all Congolese political parties, the DC party revolves mainly around its leader and does not have a [translation] "real ideology or political program" (Journalist 3 Dec. 2013). Afrikarabia is an Internet site hosted on Courrier international, a French site that follows international news weekly through world media (Courrier international N.d.). The journalist from Afrikarabia added that the geographical headquarters of the DC party is in Kinshasa but that, because its leader Eugène Diomi Ndongala is originally from Bas-Congo, the party [translation] "is deeply-rooted in this region" (3 Dec. 2013). International Crisis Group also states that Eugène Diomi Ndongala is a political figure from the Bas-Congo region (5 May 2011). Further information on the geographical headquarters of the DC could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Despite being incapable of verifying it, the journalist from Afrikarabia stated that, during a 2012 interview with the DC Secretary General, he was told that the DC has 110,000 members (5 Dec. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints.

According to the Political Handbook of the World 2013 (PHW), the results of the presidential elections of November 2011, won by Joseph Kabila, were rejected by the opposition parties (PHW 2013, 319). Eugène Diomi Ndongala, under the DC banner, won a seat as national deputy in Kingshasa II Funa during the 2011 legislative elections (RDC 1 Feb. 2012). Mr. Diomi Ndongala rejected the results of the presidential elections (Jeune Afrique 10 Apr. 2013; IPU 24 Oct. 2012). He supported the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès social, UDPS) in its strategy to boycott presidential and legislative election institutions, by not taking his seat in the Assembly (Jeune Afrique 12 Mar. 2012). Human Rights Watch also indicates that Ndongala boycotted parliamentary business (29 Aug. 2013). The UDPS, to which the DC is very close, is run by Étienne Tshisekedi (RFI 17 Sept. 2013; Journalist 3 Dec. 2013). Mr. Tshisekedi is an important Congolese political opponent (ibid.; AFP 24 July 2013). Mr. Diomi Ndongola is considered to be close to Tshisekedi (RFI 29 Oct. 2013). Mr. Diomi Ndongala is also one of the founders of a pro-Tshisekedi political alliance called the Popular Presidential Majority (Majorité présidentielle populaire, MPP) (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013). For further information on Étienne Tshisekedi and the UDPS, consult the Response to Information Requests COD104019 and COD104020.

2. Treatment of the DC Party Members by the Authorities

The journalist from Afrikarabia stated that, after the 2011 elections, the DC party and its leader were [translation] "very repressed" (4 Dec. 2013). The journalist also stated that this party was [translation] "on the front line of the political repression of the Kabila regime" and that Mr. Diomi Ndongala and certain party officials were arrested and kidnapped (3 Dec. 2013). The journalist from Afrikarabia also stated [translation] "that it is clear that this political party has suffered particularly tough police control since the disputed presidential election in November 2011" (3 Dec. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

However, during a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a journalist specializing in the issues concerning the Great Lakes region and who works for the Dutch-speaking Belgian public information channel VRT (Verlinden n.d.), stated that not [translation] "just any member" of the DC is at risk of being "arrested" (ibid. 4 Dec. 2013). According to the DC party blog, a party official was arrested in February 2012 and was accused of [translation] "libel against the head of state" (DC 4 Feb. 2012).

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the former Director of the EuroAfricaCentral Network, now an independent consultant, states that members of the DC are not subject to [translation] "'specific' persecution" and that "the problem of persecution depends on the situation" (Independent consultant 7 Dec. 2013). The independent consultant also explained that, when the authorities have [translation] "'their eye on'" a political party or its leader, its members can be "quickly persecuted" (ibid.).

According to an Afrikarabia article that cites a DC press release, two party members who were preparing a party protest scheduled for the next day were arrested during the night of 17 to 18 January 2013 at their respective homes by armed men (Afrikarabia 20 Jan. 2013). One of the kidnapped men was in charge of communications at the DC and the other was in charge of youth assistance with the DC and the MPP (ibid.). In the same article, the author notes that the DC states that party members are subject to [translation] "'arbitrary arrests by security services'" and that several militants "'had been arrested and taken to Camp Lunfungala'" and then "'confined for one week'" (ibid.). The journalist referred to the three DC members who had been kidnapped in October 2012, near the party headquarters, in the commune of Gombe, in Kinshasa (ibid.). The kidnapped members remained [translation] "'incommunicado for 30 days, in the cells of the National Intelligence Agency [Agence nationale de renseignement, ANR]'" (ibid.). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

Jeune Afrique points out that, during a press conference on 11 April 2013, the authorities in Kinshasa announced that 13 people were suspected of [translation] "conspiring against the life" of the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph Kabila, and the Prime Minister, Matata Ponyo (Jeune Afrique 12 Apr. 2013). One of the people suspected is a press attaché from the opposition [translation] "who worked with Eugène Diomi Ndongala" (ibid.). Human Rights Watch, which also mentions the press conference on 11 April 2013, points out that Mr. Diomi Ndongala was then accused by government officials of a conspiracy to murder the President and the Prime Minister, but that he was never officially charged with that offence (29 Aug. 2013).

The journalist from Afrikarabia stated that the Secretary General of the DC has been threatened by the ANR, Congo's national intelligence agency (Journalist 3 Dec. 2013). He added that it is a [translation] "true reality" that DC officials have "some problems" with the ANR, who "intimidates" them, and stated that the leaders who have had "some problems" have "very often" been released afterwards (ibid. 4 Dec. 2013). In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate, the journalist described the arrests as [translation] "violent" and the detention conditions as "extremely harsh" (ibid. 3 Dec. 2013). He also notes that all the other opposition parties are [translation] "subjected to repression and [...] intimidation," especially the UDPS members (ibid. 3 Dec. 2013). Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. The Arrest and Treatment of Eugène Diomi Ndongala in 2013

Eugène Diomi Ndongala disappeared on 27 June 2012 (US 19 Apr. 2013, 3; Jeune Afrique 27 June 2013; Le Phare 16 July 2013). According to Jeune Afrique, Mr. Diomi Ndongala was going to a [translation] "political event" for the launch of the MPP when he disappeared (27 June 2013). The night of his disappearance, the police went to the DC headquarters (IPU 24 Oct. 2012; Le Phare 16 July 2013).

Mr. Diomi Ndongala reappeared on 10 October 2012 (US 19 Apr. 2013, 3). He stated that the Congolese National Police [Police nationale congolaise, PNC] had detained him for the entire time (ibid.; AFP 24 July 2013; Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013). The Interparliamentary Union (IPU) stated that, upon his return in October 2012, Mr. Diomi Ndongala needed emergency medical care (18 June 2013).

According to sources, Mr. Diomi Ndongala's parliamentary immunity was lifted in early January 2013 (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013; Jeune Afrique 27 June 2013) to [translation] "let justice to do its job" (ibid.). An arrest warrant was issued against Mr. Diomi Ndongala on 18 January 2013 (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013). Mr. Diomi Ndongala was accused of raping two underage girls (US 19 Apr. 2013; RFI 27 Aug. 2013). Mr. Diomi Ndongala's lawyer told Human Rights Watch that the authorities had pressured his client to accept a deal in which the charges would be dropped if he agreed to take his seat in parliament, but that Mr. Diomi Ndongala refused that arrangement (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013). He was arrested on 8 April 2013 and imprisoned (Le Phare 16 July 2013; Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013) at Kinshasa's central prison (ibid.). He was imprisoned despite Supreme Court orders to hold him under house arrest (ibid.; RFI 27 Aug. 2013). On 15 June 2013, his mandate as a member of parliament was invalidated because of his absence, which was prolonged (IPU 18 June 2013; Jeune Afrique 27 June 2013; Human Rights Watch 29 Aug.2013) and unjustifiable (IPU 18 June 2013; Jeune Afrique 27 June 2013).

On 15 July 2013, Mr. Diomi Ndongala's wife stated that her husband had not been given the right to be cared for when his health was deteriorating (Le Phare 16 July 2013). Mr. Diomi Ndongala suffered from [Human Rights Watch English version] "health problems" and had "lost partial functioning of his arm" (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013). Mr. Diomi Ndongala's lawyer also stated that [Human Rights Watch English version] "the prison hospital center was unable to provide the necessary treatment" (ibid.). The prison director where Mr. Diomi Ndongala was detained explained that he had not allowed him to seek treatment in a hospital outside of the prison [Human Rights Watch English version] "because of concerns that Diomi would use the time in a hospital...for political activities" (ibid.).

Voice of the Voiceless for the Defence of Human Rights (Voix des sans-voix pour les droits de l'homme, VSV), a human rights NGO created in 1983 whose headquarters are located in Kinshasa-Ngaliema (VSV n.d.), expressed its fear for Diomi Ndongala's life, given the [translation] "unprecedented deterioration of his health" following the [translation] "deprivation of medical care by the Congolese authorities" (AFP 24 July 2013).

Mr. Diomi Ndongala's trial was postponed several times (Human Rights Watch 29 Aug. 2013; RFI 27 Aug. 2013). In October 2013, the trial was postponed to February 2014 (Radio Okapi 29 Oct. 2013; RFI 29 Oct. 2013).

4. Treatment of the DC Party Members by the Other Parties

Information on the treatment of the DC party members by the other parties could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Afrikarabia. 20 January 2013. Christophe Rigaud. "RDC : 'Deux opposants enlevés' selon la Démocratie Chrétienne." [Accessed 6 Dec. 2013]

_____. N.d. "Christophe Rigaud." [Accessed 6 Dec. 2013]

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 24 July 2013. "RDC : une ONG dit craindre pour la vie d'un opposant emprisonné." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

Country of Origin Research and Information (CORI). April 2013. "CORI Country Report Democratic Republic of Congo; Human Rights Issues, April 2013." [Accessed 20 Nov. 2013]

Courrier international. N.d. "Qui sommes-nous?" [Accessed 12 Dec. 2013]

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 1 February 2012. Commission électorale nationale indépendante (CENI). "Élection des députés nationaux de 2011." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

Démocratie chrétienne (DC). 4 February 2012. Marc Mawete. "Flash : arrestation de Maitre Yala Tutu, cadre de la Démocratie chrétienne." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

_____. N.d. "S'engager pour construire le futur de la RDC." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

Human Rights Watch. 29 August 2013. "RD Congo : Un parlementaire est condamné à trois ans de prison pour son franc-parler." [Accessed 20 Nov. 2013]

Independent consultant. 7 December 2013. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate.

International Crisis Group. 5 May 2011. Congo: Le dilemme électoral. Rapport Afrique n°175. [Accessed 20 Nov. 2013]

Interparliamentary Union (IPU). 18 June 2013. "IPU Deeply Disturbed by Democratic Republic of the Congo Decision to Invalidate Opposition MP Diomi Ndongala." [Accessed 20 Nov. 2013]

_____. 24 October 2012. "M. Eugène Diomi Ndongala, de la République démocratique du Congo. Résolutions sur les droits de l'homme des parlementaires. Résultats de la 127ème Assemblée de l'UIP et réunions connexes." [Accessed 20 Nov. 2013]

Jeune Afrique. 20 November 2013. "Freddy Kita : 'Nous attendons la libération de vrais prisonniers politiques' en RDC." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

_____. 27 June 2013. Trésor Kibangula. "RDC : Diomi Ndongala, une année en enfer." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

_____. 12 April 2013. "RDC : l'opposition accusée de complot contre Kabila." [Accessed 11 Dec. 2013]

_____.10 April 2013. Trésor Kibangula. "RDC : l'opposant Diomi Ndongala détenu à la prison de Makala." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

_____. 12 March 2012. Trésor Kibangula. "RDC : l'UDPS au bord de la crise de nerfs." [Accessed 11 Dec. 2013]

Journalist from Afrikarabia. 5 December 2013. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate.

_____. 4 December 2013. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.

_____. 3 December 2013. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate.

Verlinden, Peter. 4 December 2013. Telephone interview with the Research Directorate.

_____. N.d. "Bio." [Accessed 10 Dec. 2013]

Le Phare [Kinshasa].16 July 2013. "L'épouse de Diomi lance un cri d'alarme pour son mari." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

Political Handbook of the World 2013 (PHW). 2013. "Democratic Republic of the Congo." p. 311-325. Edited by Thomas Lansford. Washington, DC: CQ Press. [Accessed 10 Dec. 2013]

Radio France internationale (RFI). 29 October 2013. "RDC: nouveau report du procès de l'opposant Eugène Diomi Ndongala." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

_____. 17 September 2013. "En RDC, le procès de l'opposant Eugène Diomi reprend...puis s'interrompt." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

_____. 27 August 2013. "RDC: troisième report du procès de l'opposant Eugène Diomi Ndongala." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

Radio Okapi. 29 October 2013. "Kinshasa : L'affaire Diomi Ndongala renvoyée à février 2014." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

La Tempête des tropiques [Kinshasa]. 30 October 2013. "Diomi victime de la procédure judiciaire à la Cour Suprême." [Accessed 21 Nov. 2013]

United States (US). 19 April 2013. Department of State. "Democratic Republic of the Congo." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012. [Accessed 20 Nov. 2013]

La Voix des sans-voix pour les droits de l'homme (VSV). N.d. "Présentation de l'organisme." [Accessed 16 Dec. 2013]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the following organizations and people were unsuccessful: La Voix des sans-voix pour les droits de l'homme; Ligue pour la paix, les droits de l'homme et la justice; Centre des droits de l'homme et du droit humanitaire; professor at Ghent University and director of the Observatoire de l'Afrique at the Institut Egmont; Association africaine de défense des droits de l'homme.

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; ecoi.net; Factiva; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme; Freedom House; Le Potentiel; Rift Valley Institute; United Nations - Integrated Regional Information Networks, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Refworld, United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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