DR Congo: RSF debunks accusations against Stanis Bujakera

DR Congo: RSF debunks accusations against Stanis Bujakera

At the heart of the file, a document from the intelligence services (ANR) on the murder by Cherubin Okende.

Almost two months since Stanis Bujakera, correspondent for Jeune Afrique magazine, Reuters and co-director of the Congolese news site News.cd is behind bars in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is accused by those in power of “forgery, falsification of state seals, propagation of false rumors” and “transmission of erroneous messages contrary to the law” after the publication of an article in Jeune Afrique.

The article in question, which is not signed by the journalist Stanis Bujakera but by the editorial staff of the magazine Jeune Afrique, was published at the end of August and was based on a confidential note presented as coming from the civil intelligence services (ANR) , implicating military intelligence and in particular the head of this service, General Christian Ndaywell, in the mid-July assassination of the former Minister of Transport and opponent Chérubin Okende.

Member of Parliament for Kinshasa, Chérubin Okende had become spokesperson for the Ensemble pour la République du Moïse Katumbi party, the main opponent of President Tshisekedi in the run-up to the presidential election still announced for December 20.

Quickly after this publication, the Congolese authorities explained that this document was a forgery and suspected, without ever providing the slightest proof, Stanis Bujakera of being the author of this forgery.

“Accusations that don’t hold up”

During a recent mission to Kinshasa, the NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) investigated this note and, for the press defense organization, there was no doubt: it is authentic and, above all, it was circulating before to be revealed by the French magazine. For Arnaud Froger, head of the investigation office of RSF : “If the prosecution had really intended to identify the provenance of this document, it would have been very simple to note that it had already circulated even before the journalist obtained it. With accusations that do not hold up, what are those who decided to arrest this journalist really looking for? Now that a trial has opened despite the total absence of incriminating evidence, Stanis Bujakera should at least be able to defend his honor and his integrity as a free man.”

The NGO undermines the media outings of DRC communicators who denied the authenticity of this document as did on the RTBF channels, the head of presidential communications Erik Nyindu, who, on September 28, on La Première, hammered “this note was never written by the ANR” before continuing by explaining “the investigation proved that it was he (Stanis Bujakera) who was the author of this article” without ever providing proof, nor explaining how he was in possession of these elements of an investigation still in progress.

A few days earlier, it was Interior Minister Peter Kazadi who called the document false after a “internal review”. According to the minister, the document had been “unduly attributed to the ANR” For “disorient public opinion”. Once again, not the slightest evidence has been put forward to justify this release.

For RSF, the journalist must be released and the charges against him must be dropped. The NGO is not the only one to demand an end to these prosecutions, fourteen Congolese citizen movements, including Lucha and Filimbi, are also demanding the release of the journalist and other political prisoners, in a joint press release published this 2 november.