SEXUAL SCANDAL IN CONGO GOVERNMENT
By Franck Felix Gutenberg, US Africa News. Updated 2016-06-04
The arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn a few years ago in the Nafissatou Diallo case should be serving as a rich educational opportunity for some African politicians and dignitaries. And there are other cases illuminating particular moral lessons that none of these African politicians should ignore--prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s pursuit of Bill Clinton over sexual relations that the US President had with Monica Lewinsky at the time she was an intern at the White House, or a step further, Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi’s pursuit by Milan prosecutors for involvement with the prostitution of minors and abuse of power. Cases which have clearly not resonated in Africa; this continent in which many of those who belong to the political class in power think themselves to be untouchable, up to now. Sexual offenses, in addition to economic crimes and misappropriations of all kinds, are increasingly considered "normal". But this time they were mistaken about their invulnerability, thanks to the magic of social networks.
For some time, a video circulated on the Internet in which on could see Enock Ruberangabo Sebineza, Vice Minister of the DR Congo (DRC) in charge of Posts and Telecommunications, engaging in sexual activity. This man of 54 years of age, a notable Tutsi, has held important positions in the province of South Kivu for many years. A chief participant in the inter-Congolese dialogue, he was a national deputy in the transitional parliament (2003-2006). The sextape lasts four minutes 27 seconds, during which we see Ruberangabo Sebineza engaging in masturbation or some solitary sexual game, most likely motivated by an exchange via his webcam. The act takes place at his desk, with the DRC flag on his right and the official portrait of the President over his head. Appalled by the airing, Ruberangabo Sebineza explained he did not know what a webcam was--although his department is also responsible for new information technologies-- and that the video was "edited" from photos taken at the office or with the desktop in the background. "Experts in creating animations can make these kinds of montages," he said. Some time later he cried blackmail, claiming he was contacted and asked to pay in exchange for the sextape, or else it would be broadcast on the Internet…
"He has the head of State watching him, wow! He doesn’t even respect the flag of his country ... In his office? That's just too much," exclaimed Nina, a young Congolese who had received the video Thursday, April 28 via Whatsapp, somewhere between anger and amusement. At the same time, she also feels compassion. "I'm embarrassed for him ... My God, the poor guy! His children, his wife, his family ..."
Mr. Ruberangabo Sebineza initially refused to give in; then, "sent 2,500 dollars" seeing that the blackmailer had taken action, says one of his relatives. This led to removal of the link, but users were able to save copies in the meantime. YouTube removed the video, justifying their action by saying that it violated the prohibition of “sexual content." But the video remained available elsewhere and some made screenshots. Since then, anger has swelled on social networks. Numerous Congolese went on-line, where the insults, mockery, and demands for Ruberangabo Sebineza’s resignation multiplied. Hashtags were created on Twitter as #Sebinezamustgo or #SanctionnezSebineza. "For the dignity of the country and respect for the ministerial function, we call on the prime minister to remove Minister Masturbator", posted Adam Bombole, unsuccessful candidate for the 2011 presidential election.
Under the massive pressure of the Internet community, Congolese President Joseph Kabila stripped the Vice Minister of his duties for "serious dereliction" of his “ethical” obligations as a member of the government of the DRC, according to state television. "Mr. Enock Sebineza has been dismissed from his functions as Vice Minister of Posts and Telecommunications for having seriously breached the ethical duties to which members of the government are subject," Congolese National Radio Television (RTNC) announced. The case of the Deputy Minister Ruberangabo Sebineza has pushed others on the Internet to publish older sextapes of other Congolese personalities, including MPs Emery Kataka and Patcho Panda, as well as Pastor Denis Lessie. Social networking has now become a weapon for battle.