From the first hearing in the Congo water pollution case, to the football match between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Morocco, the renewed debate over the Floribert Chebei case, and provincial MPs’ announcement of a reclassification of the state of siege, the ending week has been full of news. Arlette Odia Kashama recalls those moments.
Hello Madame Arlette Odia, and thank you for your time. Can you tell us about your activities?
Arlette Odia : I am a lawyer, I studied at the University of Kinshasa (UNIKIN) with a degree in Private and Judicial Law after receiving a state diploma from the Literary Department of the Kabambare Lyceum in Kinshasa. I am also a lawyer in a bar near the Tshopo and Kinshasa/Gombe Courts of Appeal. Former General Vice Mayor and General Mayor of a student residence called “House 80” at the University of Kinshasa. In politics, I am the honorary national president of the Women’s League of the Dynamic Political Party of the United Congo (DCU). Currently a politician and executive president of the Congo Development and Unity Collective. The activity of the CDUC is to inform the population, leaders, opposition and opinion leaders about their respective roles in society, as well as their responsibility for the development of the country.
The week began with the first court hearing between the people of Kasai and the Angolan company Catoca after water pollution occurred between July and August 2021. What are your expectations regarding this?
Arlette Odia: We expect less from the judiciary and more from the political authorities. Currently, justice is not done in the sense of satisfying the parties, many of them are disappointed that they have not received proper compensation. In anticipation of the improvement of the judicial administration, I request that funds be provided to all those affected by the water pollution of the Kasai River through the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Knowing that the Angolan side, namely Catoca, did not appear at the first court session, what can you recommend to the court?
Arlette Odia : the participation of the Congolese state is necessary to ensure the emergence of the Catoca company, without which the efforts of the Court would not have been effective.
This week, a soldier and eleven civilians, mostly elderly, were killed in a crackdown by members of the CODECO rebel group in Ituri. Meanwhile, the deputies of the province of North Kivu are in favor of reclassifying the state of siege to a state of emergency. What kind of reaction do you expect from the government?
Arlette Odia A: The government must integrate its various partners in crisis management in the East, in particular civil society. We will also have to consider reclassifying, lifting or maintaining the state of siege, which is proving to be less and less beneficial.
Always safe, North Kivu Deputy Promesse Matofali asks the Head of State to provide the people of Beni (North Kivu), Mambasa, Irumu and Jugu (Ituri) with weapons to help them defend themselves against ADF and CODECO armed groups. What do you think of this proposal?
Arlette Odia : MP’s proposal Matofali’s Promise is an expression of satiety due to the government’s indifference to the many recommendations of the civil company and elected officials of the provinces interested in the state of siege. The government should listen to them and exercise the option.
In a report by Actualite.cd on Thursday, evidence shows that after the Kabila regime, mistreatment of Congolese workers in foreign companies continues to rise. What are your recommendations to the Ministry of Employment and Labour?
Arlette Odia : The Minister of Employment and Labor should review the overall employment situation in the DRC. Despite favorable legal provisions for workers, they continue to be victims of their employers both at work and in court.
The month dedicated to the celebration of women’s rights is drawing to a close. This year, the themes selected at all levels focused on solutions to climate change, gender equality and empowerment. What have you done this month to demonstrate your commitment to this fight?
Arlette Odia : We have encouraged students from Unikin, William Booth University (UWB), and the National Normal University (UPN) to actively participate in this fight for an egalitarian and sustainable society.
In court, the Supreme Military Court decided to reopen the appeal proceedings on the double murder of Floriber Chebei and Fidel Bazan. This court wishes to receive information about the crime of desertion against Paul Milambwe and requires the appearance of certain persons at the suggestion of the civilian parties. What do you think of this decision?
Arlette Odia : after so many weeks of investigating the case, it seems strange and irrational to us that judges need other information from certain people. They may not be effective. They must know that the civilian parties and the accused are in a hurry to know their fate and move on.
The match between the national teams of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Morocco in the framework of the qualifying tournament of the World Cup ended in a draw (1:1). What are your expectations for the second leg on 29 March?
Arlette Odia : The result of the DRC-Morocco match did not come as a surprise to us. When the state is not properly managed, the consequences are felt in all areas, including in sports. The government must draw conclusions and adjust its actions in the best interests of the nation.
The last word?
Arlette Odia : CDUC is an organization in the service of the Congolese people. Leaders are interested in listening to us in the interests of the nation. We regret that this is not so common. Many thanks.
Interview Priska Locale