We got to interview Ms Monique Mukuna Mutombo under the Political Economy theme of the Journey with the Women of SADC campaign. Ms Mukuna Mutombo is a Politician and businesswoman from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She is currently a Presidential Candidate running against President Joseph Kabila in 2016 elections which were postponed and are yet to take place. See our interview with Ms Mukuna Mutombo below.
I started to read a lot from a very young age, trying to create my own world. I was inspired by my grandmother who used to tell me that a king or a queen should serve the people and not the other way around. I remember that I could not stand injustice, I was saddened to see poor students at school not dressed as my friend and I were, or not having lunch.
She passed away in 1998. She was a great person. She used to wake me up in the night, as sometimes she was staying with us, telling me to live as a people orientated person. She gave me the passion of fighting for justice instead of complaining. She told me to live by only one principle, to be respected not for what I have in my bank account but because I have done good to people. She was short, but so great in her soul! She also told me that a royal person does not accept people praising him if they are hungry. I hope that she is proud of the person I am today, as I try to practice her wise advises.
To challenge myself, I decided to start a new professional life in Tanzania, to achieve my dream, I had to do two months training in Cape town at SA Health Care, hoping I could find a market for South African health care equipment in East Africa. Unfortunately, the market was completely saturated by Indian and Chinese cheaper products. A long period of searching for new opportunities began, which was very difficult! For more than a year before I was hired as a Senior Investment Officer of a German mining company, Metalcorp group based in the Nederland, for Eastern and central Africa for 2 years. This work allowed me to understand the regional mining sector and the situation of my country. It has been a great field experience with all the challenges of a woman not necessarily accepted by artisans in the mines.
After that, for four years, I was the regional representative, in 11 African countries for Antaser Afrique, a Belgium based company dealing with electronic cargo trucking system. My role was to study the socioeconomic system of the 11 countries, to facilitate the implementation of the system through the ministry of finance or transport. The system allows the different countries to get 24/7 online import statistics, specifications of the goods and different documents and all the online information needed for imported goods. I announced, in March 2016, in Paris, my presidential candidacy. Today I have a political platform, RDC Nouvel Horizon, grouping 10 associations and 7 political parties. I am currently taking online specialisation courses on visionary leadership from Michigan University in the United States.
Today, the “stakeholders” of power want him to remain in power as it serves their economic interest. The opposition is scattered, more motivated by the financial side of power than serving the country. There are a lot of rebel groups: some coming from South Sudan are used to intimidate Congolese natives to prevent a revolt; some are supported by our neighbors; some by Congolese mining bosses; Some African countries want to see the current regime remain in power; some for personal financial support from Kabila; some for the promise of business deals in sectors such as mining, oil and arms.
Beside this sad picture, Congolese people are suffering of hunger; unemployment at around 45%; a lack of basics like drinking water, electricity and decent health care; war; refugees – more than 1.3 million displaced since late 2016. Over the last 20 years, 15 million of Congolese have been killed.
The currency depreciates daily. The election calendar is not yet published.
Despite all the above, 13 African countries – among them South Africa and Ghana (the big surprise) – are against an international investigation of the crimes committed in the Kasai province. As was the case for apartheid in South Africa, financial pressure on the Congolese leader will accelerate the installation of the Democracy in the DRC.
In all these situations, experience plays a big role. I try to stay focused on what I have to do, showing all my capabilities to those under my leadership.
If I win the presidential election in the DRC, I will be the first woman to do so. From the study we are carrying out, on social media and in the field, approx. 60% of the population does not have a problem, 30% are dubious and 10% are really very aggressive, insulting and completely against the idea of a woman at the head of state.
I am a fighter by nature, and the love of my country and the idea of leaving a safe place to live for my two daughters make me wake up in the morning and see all the challenges before me as stairs.
Monique is currently a Presidential Candidate running against President Joseph Kabila in the presidential elections which have been postponed since 2016.
The Journey with the Women of SADC edition of PESA Dialogues commemorates the invaluable role of Women in African society during the month of August. The edition profiles and celebrates the lives of a few women who are champions of industry in their respective backgrounds. The campaign focuses on three thematic areas, namely: Political Economy, Business and International Trade, and Social Activism and Gender Relations. The interviews provide unique, first hand encounters by women in different industries and sectors, their journeys, challenges and contributions towards improving the lives of women in the SADC region.