By Gael Masengi
An exclusive video uploaded on YouTube this past week by “Voice of Congo” news website, reveals the brutality and dictatorship power of Joseph Kabila and his administration. The 20 plus minutes private footage shot inside an airplane is set to show a truly shocked populist Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi reacting on the news of their landing authorization denial onto Kinshasa’s main and only operational Nd’jili airport.
|Frustrated, E. Tshisekedi speaking to a pilot|
Shot back in 2011 by one of Etienne Tshisekedi’s aides, the never-seen- before video recording details the tension, frustration and anxiety that grew inside the aircraft on the afternoon of November 26 2011 when the opposition leader and his cabinet members learned the news of landing denial from the “airport authorities” of the DR. Congo. Coming back from a province where he was campaigning for the presidential elections, Etienne Tshisekedi together with his wife and partners were preparing for a last public meeting before elections and a triumphant welcome-back rally 500 meters down on the ground where a crowd of his countless sympathizers were waiting impatiently for him, unexpectedly a team of South African piloting the airplane informed the passengers that the control tower had requested the jet carrying Mr Tshisekedi to divert away and “land somewhere else” as it would not be allowed to land in Ndjili airport tarmac, failure to do so, there will be “real consequences”. Confused by “authorities” decision, a worrying airliner pilot is shown on the video constantly looking at fuel indicator and worrying to what to do next. Unlike many other countries, the mineral resource enriched DR. Congo has outdated infrastructures, unpaved roads, of course a dictatorial regime and one functioning airport where every international and domestic flight arrives to and departs from.
|E. Tshisekedi looking anxiously at the plane window|
Frustrated yet furious, Tshisekedi on the video is shown addressing his secretary, advising him to leave alone the pilot decide on the place on their landing. “Leave him...!” He said angrily “if he is forced to land in Brazzaville [Republic of Congo], let him do so… we have to land somewhere” continued a fuming Tshisekedi. After a heated debate, several unsuccessful attempts to contact the airport authorities of Brazaville and minutes of flying back and forth above the capital Kinshasa skies, the airliner is shown making an emergency landing onto an abandoned military airfield of Ndolo, 17 kilometers away from the initial landing field.
“After touring the country… my last stop before Kinshasa was Matadi” he said to media “…before departing from there, the airport management told me ‘the Congolese airspace is closed’, I wonder who closed it and what for. Despite their decision we manage to take-off anyway, arrive here [Kinshasa] as always the pilots took Nd’jili direction but somehow we were redirected here” he concluded “I will send the Rwandan [Joseph Kabila] back where he belongs”
Eager to meet his partisans, Tshisekedi ordered his driver 10 miles back to the main airport where convoys of security force brutally dispersed with teargas and bullets a strong crowd of his sympathizers. More than 30 people were shot and killed that day and many more were seriously injured. Forbade to leave the airport, the 80 years-old opposition veteran, Etienne Tshisekedi was escorted later that night by a contingent of security forces and sequestrated under house arrest.