“Failed state: Can DR Congo recover?”

Please keep the Democratic Republic of Congo in your prayers. Especially lift up our Congolese brothers and sisters in Christ. The Christians I have met there are beautiful examples of God’s grace, love, and faithfulness in the midst of much difficulty. Pastors are hungry for biblical teaching and literature. Please pray for Reaching Africa’s Unreached as we seek to come alongside God’s work in this beautiful country….thank you!!!

R.A.U. in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
R.A.U. in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
R.A.U. pastor's conference in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
A R.A.U. pastor’s conference in Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Congolese Pastor receiving John Piper books in French
Congolese Pastor receiving John Piper books in French
Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo

The article below comes BBC Africa:

Failed state: Can DR Congo recover?

A Congolese rebel holding a rocket and lighting a cigarette (Archive shot)

DR Congo: Dreaming of Democracy

As the Democratic Republic of Congo prepares for just its second general elections in four decades on 28 November, Congolese affairs analyst Theodore Trefon considers whether this failed state, still recovering from a war which led to an estimated four million deaths, can ever be rebuilt.

People in the Democratic Republic of Congo expect very little from the state, government or civil servants.

In fact, ordinary Congolese often repeat expressions like “the state is dying but not yet dead” or “the state is ever present but completely useless”.

It seems they also expect little from the upcoming elections and there can be little argument that DR Congo is indeed a failed state.

Ordinary citizens are poor, hungry and under-informed.

The government is unable to provide decent education or health services.

The country – two-thirds of the size of western Europe – is a battleground.

The citizens of DR Congo pray to be delivered from the brutal militias that still control parts of the eastern provinces, where rape has become so commonplace that one senior UN official called the country “the rape capital of the world”.

The Democratic Republic of Congo covers 2,344,858 square km of land in the centre of Africa, making it the 12th largest country in the world.


I asked a university colleague if he thought things could get worse.

“Well, there was an eclipse that day”

Excuse for missing a meeting

“When you are rock bottom, you can still dig deeper,” was his response.

Public administration is in shambles. Civil servants have mutated into predators.

Ferdinand Munguna is a retired railway worker in Lubumbashi, the mineral capital of DR Congo in the south of the country.

He has to bribe the man working in the pension office who requires “motivation” before processing the old man’s file. Mr Munguna complains that his pension is “hardly enough to buy soap”.

Starting a business in DR Congo takes 65 days compared to the sub-Saharan African average of 40 days. In neighbouring Rwanda it takes three days.

And guess which country has one of the worst air safety records worldwide?

The prestigious Foreign Policy magazine’s Failed States Index puts DR Congo in the critically failed category. Only Somalia, Chad and Sudan (when it included South Sudan) have worse rankings.

The recently released UNDP report on human development indicators put the former Belgian colony at the bottom of the 187 countries it surveyed.

Congolese school children in Kinshasa (Archive shot) DR Congo, Africa’s second largest country, has a literacy rate of 67%

On the political front, President Joseph Kabila has shown much more interest in regime consolidation than implementing his five-point development agenda – which most Congolese consider more as a political slogan than a development initiative.

When criticised, Mr Kabila’s henchmen resort to the ultimate force of dissuasion.

Take Zoe Kabila, the president’s brother, who ordered his Republican Guard escort to beat up two traffic officers because they did not give his 4X4 priority.

Usually immune to the brutality of the security forces, even people in Kinshasa were shocked by this incident at a busy downtown intersection.

Numerous cases of journalist beatings and killings have also been reported.

Floribert Chebeya, a highly respected human rights activist was murdered, allegedly by members of the president’s inner circle.

Unfair Congo bashing

Poor leadership is a major problem for DR Congo.

When there’s no state…

In the absence of a functioning state or similar, even the best-intended projects can have perverse side effects if they are carried out without comprehensive feasibility studies or efforts to understand local culture and practices.

An international medical NGO provided mosquito nets to a poor village in the Upemba region of Katanga. Many lakeside villages in the mineral-rich province suffer from a high rate of malaria-induced child mortality. Sleeping inside these nets is the best way to avoid mosquito bites and malaria. But this laudable action created a human and ecological catastrophe.

As the mosquito nets were free and abundant, fisherman used them as fishing nets. Given their extremely fine mesh, not only were fish removed from the lake but all other forms of micro-fauna and micro-flora too. The lake gradually became covered with a black scum. Villagers lost their sources of livelihood and food supply.

It took a Belgian priest two years to get the villagers, who believed they had been cursed, to realise what had happened and before the lake was able to regenerate.

There are few figures on the political landscape with vision, leaders able to bring an end to corrupt government, reduce poverty, solve the country’s security problems or improve the well-being of ordinary people.

DR Congo bashing has become a mantra amongst academics, humanitarian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and policy makers.

But I think that this is unfair.

While it is important to maintain pressure on Kinshasa’s unabashedly corrupt political establishment, we also have to consider the country’s troubled past.

Few societies have accumulated so many woes.

Those old enough to remember say the whip and chain is what they associate most with Belgian colonialism.

Others however are nostalgic and wish for the Belgians to return to solve the country’s problems.

Cold War policies facilitated the maintenance of the brutal dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko.

He ruled what was then named Zaire for 32 years, supported by the West because of Cold War strategic interests.

Two wars – the liberation war that toppled Mobutu and “Africa’s first world war”, from 1997-2002 – are overwhelming obstacles to development, state-building and well-being.

DR Congo is also victim to what is commonly referred to as “the resource curse”. The central government cannot control borders with its nine neighbours.

Much of DR Congo’s coltan, a mineral used in computers and mobiles, is illegally exported through Rwanda. Precious tropical hardwoods are siphoned off through Uganda.


DR Congo’s financial and technical partners – the so called “international community” – are also to blame.

A rickety bridge in DR Congo (Copyright Theodore Trefon) DR Congo’s road to development is paved with good intentions

They have no master plan for reform. They do not share a common vision and often implement contradictory programmes.

Belgium supported the idea of decentralisation arguing that it could bring government accountability down to the grassroots level. The World Bank blocked the process.

Bank experts have some control of the treasury in Kinshasa but they have absolutely no idea of how resources in the provinces are managed.

Data collection is a surreal concept in DR Congo – many offices do not have electricity, let alone computers.

Absence of national sovereignty is another hallmark of a failed state.

DR Congo is a country under international trusteeship. Important decisions are taken by World Bank technocrats, UN officials and increasingly by international NGOs.

When the electoral campaign officially opened last month, candidates travelled to Europe and the US to garner support.

The UN mission, Monusco, is playing a key logistical role in the elections by transporting ballot boxes across the vast nation. People would not be able to vote without this kind of support.

Whatever accountability there is in DR Congo is directed towards international backers, not the Congolese people.

Congolese authorities have abdicated from the development agenda.

Road rehabilitation and bridge building have been delegated to the World Bank and Belgian Technical Cooperation.

Monusco is supposed to look after the security sector. The World Health Organization and medical NGOs try to deal with the public health challenges.

The UK is involved in reinforcing governance programmes, while churches provide primary education.

The state is an absentee landlord – outside partners do its work.

Dynamic survivors

So DR Congo is on an artificial life-support system. But replacing the state, or acting on its behalf, is not viable in the long-term. It undermines state-building momentum.

DR Congo in figures

  • Population: 70 million
  • UN human development index: Bottom of 187 countries surveyed
  • Life expectancy: 48 years
  • Has 70% of the globe’s coltan – vital for mobile phones
  • Average annual income: $300
  • With 13% of the world’s hydropower potential, its network of rivers could power much of Africa
  • Just 9% of the population has access to electricity

Sources: Estimated figures from the UN and World Bank

DR Congo and its partners are clearly confronted by the tragedy of powerlessness.

The system is such that when things do not work, go wrong or do not move forward, it is never really anyone’s fault.

There are plenty of good excuses. A colleague told me when asked why he did not show up for an appointment: “Well, there was an eclipse that day.”

While DR Congo is clearly a failed state, Congolese society has not failed.

On the contrary it is strong, vibrant, dynamic, tolerant and generous. People have a sense of taking charge of their own destinies.

Women form rotating credit systems to compensate for the absence of an accessible banking system.

Farmers band together to hire a lorry to get their cassava or charcoal from the central city of Kikwit to market in Kinshasa.

Bebe, who lives in the Paris suburb of Griney, sends money home to Kasai via Western Union. Some months it contributes to school fees, others it pays for medicines for her ailing mother-in-law.

Her father will spend some of it on Primus, the beer of choice in Kinshasa.

“Elikia” means hope in Lingala and there is much of it throughout the country.

Hopes for positive change will come from the people, not from the Congolese political establishment, and certainly not from outside interventions.

Theodore Trefon is senior researcher at the Royal Museum for Central Africa and author of the blog Congo Masquerade: The political culture of aid inefficiency and reform failure.

On 25 November, the BBC World Service is broadcasting a special one-hour debate in front of a Kinshasa audience: Is DR Congo a failed state? Tune in at 1900 GMT.

More on This Story

DR Congo: Dreaming of Democracy

Election countdown


South Sudan October inflation jumps to 71.7 percent

The R.A.U. Guesthouse foundation is complete. Please pray for its completion!
The R.A.U. Guesthouse foundation is finished. Please pray for the completion of the Guesthouse.
With the inflation rate of 71.7% in South Sudan and 30%+ in Uganda it makes life very difficult in these two countries…please pray!
Please also pray for R.A.U. that we will be wise with what we have and that the Lord will continue to touch hearts to partner financially with us. At this time we have about 5% of the needed funds to complete the R.A.U. Guesthouse. The Guesthouse will be Carols and my home as well as the hub for R.A.U.’s ministry.
“South Sudan’s annual inflation rate jumped to 71.7 percent in October from 61.5 percent in September on a new surge in food prices, the new African nation which is struggling to provide adequate food supplies said.
South Sudan became independent on July 9 under a 2005 peace agreement with its former civil war foe, Khartoum, but has been struggling to fight an economic crisis and contain tribal and rebel violence that has killed thousands this year.
The United Nations has warned the new underdeveloped nation will be facing severe food shortages from next year because it will produce less than half what is needed in 2011 due to heavy rain and widespread violence.
Month-on-month inflation accelerated 7.4 percent in October as food and non-alcoholic beverage costs — the biggest component in the consumer price index — rose by 11 percent.
Costs for bread, cereals, meat, fish, grain and other basic food items rose, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website. On an annual level, the costs for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 78.5 percent in October.
Landlocked South Sudan has been hit hard by a temporary closure of the joint border with north Sudan from which its buys much of its food and other needs.
Both countries reached a border agreement to facilitate travel last month, but a lack of trade agreements and joint banking system has hampered bilateral trade.
Bilateral relations worsened last week when South Sudan accused Sudan of having bombed a refugee camp on its territory near the joint border. Khartoum has denied the charges”

“As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news'” Romans 10:15b

This heart moving story has help give me a greater perspective on what is beautiful in God’s eyes! May it spur us on in heralding the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!

A foot infected with elephantiasis
A foot infected with elephantiasis

“…This poor victim of elephantiasis became a radiant Christian and could do nothing other than tell other people of the grace of God which He had shown in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for them. He lived in a small African village and determined that every soul in that village should hear the good news of salvation. It was extremely difficult for him to walk with the monstrous legs that bore him about, but he thought nothing of the pain but toiled on from hut to hut to tell those who dwelt there about the Savior who had come into his life. Each evening he would return to his own hut where he was maintained by the kindness of his relatives. At the end of several months he was able to report to the missionary that he had visited every hut in the village and that he was now starting to take the gospel message to a nearby village about 2 miles away. Each morning, he would start out, painfully walk the two miles to that village and return the two miles before sundown to his own hut. Finally there came the day when he had visited every hut in the neighboring village. His work being done in these two villages, he remained at home for some weeks but began to be more and more restless. He spoke to the missionary, who was also a medical doctor, about another village that was about twelve miles away through rugged jungle. He asked if the gospel had been taken to that village. As a boy, before he had been afflicted, he had traveled the jungle path to that village, and he remembered that it was a large village and that there were many people there, and he knew that they need the good news of the Savior. He was advised not to think of going to that village, but day after day the burden grew upon him. One day, his family came to the missionary and said that the man had disappeared before dawn, and could not be found anywhere. Afterwards, the full story became known. He had started down the path toward the distant village. Step after weary step he had dragged his leathery legs and gigantic feet along the path that led to his goal. The people of the village later told how he had come to them when it was already noon; his feet were further swollen, bruised and bleeding. He had been forced to stop and rest again and again and the painful journey had taken many hours. They offered him food but before he would eat he began to tell the people about Jesus. Up and down the village he went, even to the very last hut, telling them that the God of all creation was Love and that He had sent His only Son to die that their sins might be removed. He told how the Lord Jesus had been raised from the dead and had come into his heart bringing such joy and peace. As the sun was low in the evening sky, he started on his way down the jungle path toward home. The darkness of Africa is a terrible darkness, and the night can bring forth many creatures from the jungle. The sun went down and the poor man dragged himself along the path through the night guided by some insight that kept him from going astray. He later told his pastor that his fear of the night and the animals which might come upon him was more than balanced by the joy that he had in his heart, as he realized that he had told a whole village about the Lord Jesus Christ. Toward midnight, the missionary doctor was awakened by a noise on his front porch. He listened but all seemed still. Somehow, he could not go back to sleep and he went to the door with a light to see what had caused the noise. There at the door to the hospital he found the poor man lying on the porch. He had returned to the village from his long trip and the stumps of his legs were bleeding and wounded. The missionary called his helpers, and they lifted the man, almost unconscious into one of the beds in the little hospital. The doctor said that in all his years of practicing medicine in the African jungle he had never seen such a frightful sight. The man’s feet, ruined and twisted by his disease, had been torn and ravaged by his long journey. Unashamed, the doctor told how he had bent over those bleeding feet to minister to them, and as he wiped away the blood and cleaned and bandaged them, he told how his own tears had fallen with the ointment upon them. The doctor ended the story by saying: ‘In all my life I do not know when my heart was more drawn to another Christian believer. All I could think of was the verse in the Word of God, “How beautiful are the feet of them that bring good tidings that publish peace….'”  emphasis mine (James Boice Commentary on Romans, Vol.III pgs. 1249-1251)

Where Child Sacrifice is a Business

Lord have mercy!!!!!!!!!!

Where child sacrifice is a business

By Chris Rogers BBC News, Kampala – 11 October 2011

A BBC undercover reporter is told: “We can bury the child alive on your construction site”

The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda’s capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear.

Schoolchildren are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice.

The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until about three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country’s economy.

Photograph of Stephen Stephen’s decapitated body was found in a field

The mutilated bodies of children have been discovered at roadsides, the victims of an apparently growing belief in the power of human sacrifice.

‘Sacrifice business’Many believe that members of the country’s new elite are paying witch doctors vast sums of money for the sacrifices in a bid to increase their wealth.

At the Kyampisi Childcare Ministries church, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga is teaching local children a song called Heal Our Land, End Child Sacrifice.

To hear dozens of young voices singing such shocking words epitomises how ritual murder has become part of everyday life here.

“Child sacrifice has risen because people have become lovers of money. They want to get richer,” the pastor says.

“They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business.”

The pastor and his parishioners are lobbying the government to regulate witch doctors and improve police resources to investigate these crimes.

“Sometimes, they accuse us of these things because we make no arrests, but we are limited.”

Commissioner Bignoa Moses Anti-Human Sacrifice Task Force

According to official police figures, there was one case of child sacrifice in 2006; in 2008 the police say they investigated 25 alleged ritual murders, and in 2009, another 29.

The Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force, launched in response to the growing numbers, says the ritual murder rate has slowed, citing a figure of 38 cases since 2006.

Pastor Sewakiryanga disputes the police numbers, and says there are more victims from his parish than official statistics for the entire country.

The work of the police task force has been strongly criticised by the UK-based charity, Jubilee Campaign.

It says in a report that the true number of cases is in the hundreds, and claims more than 900 cases have yet to be investigated by the police because of corruption and a lack of resources.

‘Quiet money’

Allan with his father Allan was left for dead after a vicious attack

Tepenensi led me to a field near her home where she found the body of her six-year-old grandson Stephen, dumped in the reeds. She trembled as she pointed out the spot where she found his decapitated body; he had been missing for 24 hours.

Clutching the only photo she has of her grandson, Tepenensi sobbed as she explained that although the local witch doctor had admitted to sacrificing Stephen, the police were reluctant to pursue the case.

“They offered me money to keep quiet,” she says. “I refused the offer.”

No-one from the Ugandan government agreed to do an interview. The police deny inaction and corruption.

The head of the Anti-Human Sacrifice Police Task Force, Commissioner Bignoa Moses, says the police are doing all they can to tackle the problem.

“Sometimes, they accuse us of these things because we make no arrests, but we are limited. If we get information that someone is involved in criminal activities like human sacrifice, we shall go and investigate, and if it can be proven we will take him to court, but sometimes the cases are not proven.”

Boy castratedAt Kampala main hospital, consultant neurosurgeon Michael Muhumuza shows me the X-rays of the horrific injuries suffered by nine-year-old Allan.

They reveal missing bone from his skull and damage to a part of his brain after a machete sliced through Allan’s head and neck in an attempt to behead him; he was castrated by the witch doctor. It was a month before Allan woke from a coma after being dumped near his village home.

Allan was able to identify his attackers, including a man called Awali. But the police say Allan’s eyewitness account is unreliable.

A child with a scarred arm Some children are cut to collect blood for rituals

Local people told us that Awali continues to be involved with child sacrifice.

For our own inquiries, we posed as local businessmen and asked around for a witch doctor that could bring prosperity to our local construction company. We were soon introduced to Awali. He led us into a courtyard behind his home, and as if to welcome us he and his helpers wrestled a goat to the ground and slit its throat.

“This animal has been sacrificed to bring luck to us all,” Awali explained. He then demanded a fee of $390 (£250) for the ritual and asked us to return in a few days.

At our next meeting, Awali invited us into his shrine, which is traditionally built from mud bricks with a straw roof. Inside, the floor is littered with herbs, face masks, rattles and a machete.

The witch doctor explained that this meeting was to discuss the most powerful spell – the sacrifice of a child.

“There are two ways of doing this,” he said. “We can bury the child alive on your construction site, or we cut them in different places and put their blood in a bottle of spiritual medicine.”

Awali grabbed his throat. “If it’s a male, the whole head is cut off and his genitals. We will dig a hole at your construction site, and also bury the feet and the hands and put them all together in the hole.”

Child in Uganda The attacks have created a climate of fear

Awali boasted he had sacrificed children many times before and knew what he was doing. After this meeting, we withdrew from the negotiations.

We handed our notes to the police. Awali is still a free man.

‘No voice’Allan’s father, Semwanga, has sold his home to pay for Allan’s medical treatment, and moved to the slums near the capital.

Sitting on the steps of their makeshift house, built from corrugated sheets of metal, I showed the footage of our meeting with the witch doctor to Allan on my laptop. He pointed to the screen and shouted “Awali!” confirming he is the man who attacked him.

Pastor Sewakiryanga says without the full force of the law, there is little that can be done to protect Uganda’s children from the belief in the power of human sacrifice.

“The children do not have voices, their voices have been silenced by the law and the police not acting, and the people who read the newspapers do nothing, so we have to make a stand and do whatever it takes to stamp out this evil, we can only pray that the government will listen.”