Fidel Bafilemba's blog

 

Fidel Bafilemba is currently based in Goma as an Enough Project Congo field researcher. He has a long history of working in human rights and education, as well as an extensive experience as a translator and “fixer” for western journalists. From 2007 to 2010, Fidel worked in upper management with the International Rescue Committee in Goma, leading emergency programs implementation in the field to provide aid to Congolese citizens in war-torn parts of the eastern Congo. Prior to that, he was a teacher before he founded SOS DR Congo, a local human rights group that raised international awareness about the Congo’s ongoing crisis before it transitioned into SOS Africa. The organization worked diligently to educate the Congolese people about democracy, and what it means to be a part of the democratic process. Fidel helped design, produce, and disseminate educational materials about the constitution of the DRC and how to vote. Additionally, SOS DR Congo was in the forefront of calling attention to discrimination against indigenous people like the Pygmies, and fighting for their rights. Today, SOS Africa is committed to increasing Congolese awareness about the need for an improved education system, and the instruction of critical thinking in schools.

Fidel Bafilemba speaks 13 languages including French and English. He has worked as a translator or fixer for publications including The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, ABC NEWS, CNN, Time Magazine, Associate Press (AP), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), BBC TV, and Reuters; and he has helped several television producers with reports in the Congo. Fidel has a passionate devotion for seeing progress in his country. Since the U.S legislation against conflict-minerals was enacted and U.S companies boycotted eastern Congo minerals, Fidel has been galvanizing civil society groups into monitoring traceability efforts and a certification process for eastern Congo mining industry, and advocating for livelihood diversification for conflict-minerals affected communities.

Fidel Bafilemba: "My Hope for Congo"

On May 1, the Raise Hope for Congo campaign launched “I Am Congo,” a new video series highlighting voices from the ground. The series profiles five inspiring Congolese individuals—Fidel Bafilemba, Amani Matabaro, Denise Siwatula, Petna Ndaliko, and Dominique Bikaba—who are making a difference in their communities. Enough Said will be highlighting each video profile over the coming weeks.  Read More »

North Kivu Civil Society for a Conflict-Free Minerals Supply Chain

Amid uncertainty and frustrations spurred by a looming insurgency by ICC-indicted Bosco Ntaganda, the coalition of civil society groups acting as the local conflict-minerals watchdog, known by its French acronym GATT-RN, is steadfast in ensuring that efforts toward legitimate minerals sourcing in eastern Congo do not lose momentum.  Read More »

In Congo, Lubanga Conviction Raises Questions About Bosco Ntaganda

Thomas Lubanga, the former leader of the Union of Congolese Patriots, or UPC, was convicted by the International Criminal Court last week for the conscription and use of child soldiers during the Ituri civil war from 2002 to 2003 in Congo’s Orientale province. The three-year long trial—the ICC’s first—garnered attention in eastern Congo not only because the region was the scene of Lubanga’s crimes but also because there are a handful of other rebel leaders who should face a similar fate.  Read More »

Conflict Minerals Funds Congo President’s Flawed Reelection?

When Rwanda returned about 90 metric tons of smuggled minerals to Congolese authorities early November last year, many took that as a sign of a growing commitment by the regional powers to fight illicit mineral trade. It went largely unnoticed until now that the returned minerals vanished on the Congolese side  Read More »

Military Subversion in Congo?

While it is not clear how serious the threats are, recent developments within and around the Congolese military are making Kinshasa’s ruling power nervous and are worth keeping an eye on.  Read More »

Threat of Renewed Ethnic Conflict in Eastern Congo Rises Ahead of Vote Count

The announcement of legislative election results expected this Friday, January 13, may spark renewed ethnic violence in eastern Congo. Allegations of intentional destruction and falsification of ballots in favor of the presidential majority have intensified the already tense electoral climate in North Kivu.  Read More »

New Hope for Transitional Justice in Congo?

A couple of weeks ago, with elections fast approaching, some felt a renewed hope for transitional justice in Congo. A coalition of rights groups introduced “Justice Now for the DRC,” a countrywide campaign aimed at improving Congo’s justice system and securing government financial and political support for it.

But the Justice Now initiative faces an uphill battle. The proposed Specialized Mixed Courts it advocates for have faced powerful opponents ever since the concept was suggested as a remedy to addressing significant shortcomings of the Congolese judicial system.  Read More »

Congo: Impunity on Display during Election Season

As electoral campaign violence flares in parts of Congo, officials and onlookers are becoming increasingly concerned about increased foul-play and violence threatening free and fair elections just over a week from now. Nothing could be a better illustration of such activity than the recent kidnapping of traditional Hunde singer Fabrice Masumbuko in Goma.  Read More »

Attack on Congo President: Coup Attempt or Plot to Undermine Election?

President Kabila AP

Yesterday, more than 50 armed men, some wearing army uniforms, attacked the Presidential Palace and a Congolese military installation in the capital of Kinshasa.  Read More »

Congo’s ‘Terminator’ and the Mining Ban

The media blackout surrounding the recent incident linking Congo army commander and wanted war criminal Bosco Ntaganda to a gold smuggling operation and $1 million in counterfeit bills has enabled him to try to dictate the narrative.  Read More »

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