AFRICA/DR CONGO - A missionary denounces: "In the East the population is exhausted"

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 human promotion   development   human rights   poverty  

Bukavu (Agenzia Fides) - "In the East of the Democratic Republic of Congo, life is very hard. One touches misery. People are exhausted. Young people want to escape". This was reported to Agenzia Fides by Fr. Alberto Rovelli, 77-year-old missionary of the White Fathers from Bergamo, who has been a missionary in Africa for more than fifty years. After years in West Africa, in 2017 he was sent to Bukavu, in the DR Congo. Here he faced a complex and difficult situation. "The East of Congo is very rich. The ambitions of neighboring States (Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi) and corrupt Congolese politicians have been unleashed on the mines of this region. The struggle to grab the deposits is fierce. Often furious clashes are unleashed that cause dozens of deaths. I remember that there were more than 160 victims in the 2018 Christmas fights", he explains.
The region is unstable, the scene of ongoing disputes.
"Former President Joseph Kabila - observes Father Alberto - formally left power, but it seems that, in fact, he still governs the balance of power. Here it is rumored that, in the past, Kabila made a horrible pact with Rwanda, promising, in exchange for support, a free hand in the eastern Congolese region. It is feared that the current instability and Rwandan interference are children of that promise".
The population is exhausted. There is no work, there are no prospects for the future. Misery is widespread. "The fathers of families have no work - the missionary repeats - and cannot send their children to school or afford health care. In recent days a widow died, leaving six orphans because she did not have the money to get treatment. In 2019 such a thing cannot and must not happen".
Even the young are intolerant: they see the poor panorama around them and compare it with the rich and opulent image that arrives, via television or the Internet, of Europe and North America. This is why young people dream of emigrating.
"They see rich countries with so many opportunities and so they want to escape. We try to dissuade them and persuade them to stay, to make the DR Congo grow. I do not know if we can succeed. I know that here people live an infinite drama that we entrust to the hands of God every day". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 17/7/2019)