Speaking in a new documentary about the growing Telema youth movement and his imprisonment, activist Fred Bauma hopes that peaceful engagement in the democratic process will help spur change in the Democratic Republic of Congo, The Guardian’s Sarah M Kazadi reports:
Though Bauma’s case has garnered international attention, he is just one of the many figures rallying the DRC’s youth activism movement. As the November election slowly approaches, hundreds have been reportedly beaten, arrested and killed for the same charges Bauma faces…. The hashtag #Telema, which is native Lingala for “stand up”, has become a rallying cry on social media, calling for a united front against Kabila’s government.
Last November, Amnesty International released a 50-page report on the government’s crackdown on activists, as well as politicians and others speaking out against President Joseph Kabila’s proposed third term in office. The report noted in particular that the country’s “justice system has been compromised for political purposes to crush dissent”.
Most recently, youth leader Jean-Marie Kalonji was seized and forced into a truck on the afternoon of 15 December by members of the DRC’s intelligence agency, and has been detained since.
Telema also features in a profile of Poly Muzalia, a journalist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), by the National Endowment for Democracy‘s Center for International Media Assistance, in partnership with Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
“[Kabila has] been looking for every possible way to stay in power,” said Professor Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, who specializes in African politics at the University of North Carolina.