DR Congo: "Kisangani is still alive" – mayor Baendo

A welcome advert in a street of Kisangani in DRCLast 6 of May Africanews.it interviewed the Mayor of Kisangani, a city in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mr Guy Shilton Baendo, the mayor of Kisangani, repeatedly said that he wants his city to be out of isolation despite the wars that have been fought on its territory.

What would  you say to a foreign audience, European or of other continents, to present the city of Kisangani?
Kisangani is a city of the Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the eastern province. The city has 6 districts. Since 24 September 2008 Kisangani is driven by me, after the order of the President of the Republic. I, dr. Guy Shilton Baendo, am the mayor of the city. The area of Kisangani is 1,910 square kilometres and the population in 2009 to current counts is of 1,029,000 inhabitants. The city of Kisangani has experienced many wars that have destroyed the infrastructure. There were wars that were fought here between foreign armies. Today, because of the action of the President of the Republic, Joseph Kabila, Kisangani is now reborn.

Mr Baendo and the vice mayor during the nomination ceremony

I know that you have been appointed by the President of the Republic, Kabila. What would you say to present yourself and your political career to a foreign audience?
I was appointed as mayor of Kisangani by the President of the Republic on September 24 2008, via the  presidential order number 085. The President of the DRC, Joseph Kabila Kabange, appointed us and we want to thank him for the trust he has given us.
I am Dr Guy Baendo Shilton. I was born in Kisangani on 27 September 1975. I have spent all my education years in Kisangani, where I obtained the Baccalaureate with a specialisation in classical philosophy. Also in Kisangani I did 6 years of university, 3 years of basic training and 3 years for doctorate. So I became a doctor of medicine, surgery and gynecology in the city of which I am now the mayor and where I worked as a doctor. I have spent my political experience as a member of the political party that supports the president. This is the political party called “Movement pour le renouveau social” (Social Movement for Renewal). I was also a candidate for the provincial elections for the city of Kisangani.

Place des martyrs, Kisangani, DRC

How the authorities react in the face of urban violence in Kisangani?
There are some groups of young people who want to create unrest in the city of Kisangani and as the first duty of the land is to maintain public order, we have carried out a series of actions. One of these is the initiative of  not for profit associations. Many young people, in fact, belonged to such associations. So we signed an order saying that any association that does not meet the spirit of the laws of the Democratic Republic of Congo must be dissolved. We have also brought to justice the perpetrators of the violence. Kisangani today is experiencing a period of peace. The city is calm and we want to invite any interested person, and people of Africanews too, to visit the city.

Thank you very much for invitation. This will certainly be done.
What is the program of the mayor for his city?

The program is made of several chapters.
The first chapter deals with the look of the city. For example, we asked the people who have a house with no front end, to paint it white. At the same time the council has made available to the painting for those who wish to paint the facade, and painted the edges of the roads in red and white to give the city its beauty.

Another chapter deals with safety. We have invested  to keep the city calm. A calm that reigns today. That is why we have invested in various associations, groups of students and NGOs to tell them that every time they have a problem, they don’t have to get justice for themselves but call the authorities. An authority that will assume responsibility for their problems.

We also have a program that relates to the lighting. We are investing in this because it does not work correctly.
Regarding road infrastructure that were destroyed, we have a bonus that was sent by President Kabila who sent investors to the city of Kisangani to build 35 kilometres of road. It is something encouraging. And for this we thank the President of the Republic.

Another program we have taken concerning the computerisation of the city because until a few months ago many still believed that no longer lived in Kisangani, which was a forest, it was a place of barbarians. That is why we decided to connect it to the rest of the world, at least from a network. We put, therefore, Kisangani online. You will know the website of the city of Kisangani. It ‘a site that serves, among other things, to enable investors to know the city.

What measures have been taken against the Mexican fever?
As for the Mexican fever some measures have been taken by the central government with regard to hygiene to prevent the spread of the epidemic. These measures have involved the city of Kisangani because our airport is connected to others in the province of Kisangani and this served to manage the operations planned by the central government to which we followed.

What is your point of view on the operations against the armed forces of the LRA in the eastern province and against the FDLR in Kivu?

It is a responsibility that belongs not to me because those operations occur in another area of the eastern province. I follow the story because I am part of the Urban Safety (Comité de sécurité urbain) but I do not have a responsibility to give my point of view.

Before ending this interview, I want to thank Trésor Kibangula, the correspondent of Africanews.it for Central Africa.
Thank you Mr Baendo and I wish you a very good day.

Mayor Baendo: I thank Africanews.it for this interview. I would ask you to visit our site, hotel de ville Kisangani, and also wanted to ask you to communicate that the mayor of Kisangani is committed to bring his city out of isolation. If you know of other Italian cities that have an interest in trading or other with the city of Kisangani that would greatly help.

We also want to thank Mr. Trésor Kibangula that has put us in touch and we apologise for the wait. Reasons of state have made us a little late and we apologise for this.

We hope to have more interviews like this in the future because this helps the city to get out of isolation and to make contacts with other Italian cities and associations for partnerships, trade deals and more.

In Kisangani, life continues despite wars.

Photo by: stanleyville.be

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