Julien Paluku Kahongya

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Julien Paluku Kahongya
Gouverneur Julien Paluku.jpg
Governor of North Kivu
Assumed office
27 January 2007
President Joseph Kabila
Personal details
Born 13 December 1968
Political party Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social (formerly)
Alma mater College of Rural Development
Free University of the Great Lake Region
Website http://www.julienpaluku.com/

Julien Paluku Kahongya (born 13 December 1968) is a politician of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the governor of North Kivu province.

Biography[edit]

Julien Paluku Kahongya's father, Paluku Kyavuyirwe, comes from the territory of Lubero. Kahongya attended primary school at Nyamitwitwi (Rutshuru) and high school at Nyamilima (Rutshuru). He graduated from the College of Rural Development in Bukavu in 1993 and obtained a master's degree in Community Health at the Free University of the Great Lake Region, Campus of Butembo in 2005.

He taught at Nyamilima from 1988 to 1989 and in Goma from 1994 to 1998. He is a former member of the Union pour la Démocratie et le Progrès Social.

Early political career[edit]

In 1996, when AFDL entered Goma on Friday 1 November, Julien Paluku was a teacher at Mikeno College. At “Liberation”, he attended a training seminar on the management of country. He then participated in the second year of military training at the training centre of Rumangabo.

After this training, he became leader of the provincial office of AFDL, in charge of ideology, and at the same time the coordinating secretary of the political and military managerial staff of the same organization.

In August 1998, he joined the movement of the Congolese gathering for democracy (RCD). In October 1998, he was posted to Lubero as the territorial administrator assistant in charge of administration.

In May 1999, when RCD broke into parts and Lubero became a territory of RCD-ML, he was appointed at the electoral commission secretariat to organize the elections of the mayor of the new town of Butembo.

In October 1999, he was appointed the Lubero territory administrator, succeeding Mr. Sikuly’Uvasaka Makala, elected mayor of Butembo. He served as the Lubero administrator until 3 March 2003. Julien Paluku’s mandate centred on the following points:

- Awareness of the may may Vita Kitambala, La Fontaine, Jackson Muhuka Mbuto to integrate the forces of CGD/K-ML, called CPA (Congolese People’s Army), - Mission of the restoration of the State’s authority on all the territory of Lubero, an area of 18,096 square km, - Negotiation right in the middle of the Virunga park with the leaders of CGD/Goma and CGD/K-ML, - Negotiation at Nambole in Kampala (Mandela National Stadium) in the conflicts that were tearing up Ituri (in 2000).

Mayor of Butembo[edit]

Julien Paluku was appointed mayor of the town of Butembo, succeeding Eric Kamavu (DRC Ambassador in Angola from 2006–2009) who became a Minister in the government of RCD/K-ML, located in Beni. He made efforts in putting up an impressive town hall in Butembo in partnership with the Federation of Entreprises of Congo (FEC). In 2003, he initiated the building of the first public parking, the only one in the province of North Kivu. He made the main roads of the town of Butembo to be repaired to give it a form of a town with built round-abouts, restored sewages. He made the bridge Cugeki built. It was inaugurated on 2 July 2005, hence allowing the connection of two areas that were separated by River Kimemi for two decades. It is the only way opening the town to the Diocese of Butembo-Beni.

Julien Paluku resisted the progress of the troops of RCD/Goma which camped at the gate of Butembo in June 2003.

Mayor of Beni[edit]

Following the reunification of the country, Julien Paluku was named mayor of Beni on 9 July 2005 and officially assumed function on 18 July 2005.

He invested himself in restoring refuse collection, repairing bridges, building offices for administration services in the town of Beni and putting up a building for the town of Rwenzori.

During his mandate, Julien Paluku got a degree in Health and Community Development at the Free University of the Great Lakes Region (ULPGL).

Provincial Member of Parliament[edit]

In 2006, Julien Paluku was elected provincial member of parliament in the constituency of Butembo on the list of Forces of Renewal with 38,800 votes alongside wit 160 candidates.

Governor of North Kivu[edit]

GOUVERNEUR Nord-Kivu,Opérateur PolitiqueRDC,Initiateur des projets de développement,défenseur attitré de la vision prospective et VICE-PRESIDENT MONDIAL de AIRF

On 27 January 2007, Julien Paluku was elected Governor of North Kivu by the provincial parliament of 42 parliamentarians, with 25 votes yes and 17 votes no.

The five-year programme focused on the following three pillars:

- Securalization of the province - Provincial reconciliation - Peaceful co-existence and development

On 28 November 2011, he was elected National member of parliament of the territory of Lubero.

In 2012, just after the legislative and presidential elections, Julien Paluku became the initiator of the political party called BUREC (United Block for the Renaissance and Emergence of Congo)

Initiative[edit]

He is the initiator, promoter and founder of the local RADIO-TELEVISION of Butembo RTVH, a big Media house in the region.

Criticism, truths and counter-truths[edit]

The democratic election of the very first Governor, aged 38 years, in 2007 provoked several comments during the reign of Julien Paluku, the leader who entered into the territorial functions in 1998 and proved to be the most experienced of his provincial parliamentarian colleagues in the first term of office 2006-2011.

During the hard times when North Kivu went through, Julien Paluku was often present on the radio for debates, notably Okapi Radio, the UN radio that is heard in the whole country. Since the legislature of 2006, he has been appointed as the spokesman of provincial governors. He has taken advantage of this media tool to make himself known more beyond North Kivu and give throughout the days his assessments in the context of widespread insecurity.

In fact, in the context of generalized insecurity, he was blamed of keeping away from the realities of his basis, focusing exclusively on defence of the national territory alongside the army forces which he so accompanied.

But his electoral support in November 2011 of Joseph Kabila who was visibly disowned by the population of the eastern Congo noticeably reduced his popularity. Worse again, while the chairman of his political party CGD/K-ML, Mbusa Nyamwisi, was himself presidential candidate at the elections, Julien Paluku chose, in accordance with freedom of the thought, to campaign for the Majority in power. He found no political future in the choice made by Mbusa Nyamwisi. Following this distance from the position of Mbusa Nyamwisi, some top leaders of the old rebellion RCD/KLM were sure to describe him as an opportunist; they even described him as a stranger making many doubt if he belonged to his Nande ethnic group, as if Julien could only be known as a nande by remaining nailed into RCD/KLM.

He was blamed as a catholic clergy being at the basis of this diabolic machine against Mbusa Nyamwisi. He was accused of being in collusion with the rebellion of M23 which started in North Kivu in April 2012. True or wrong, Mbusa Nyamwisi ended up being thrown out of the National Assembly in Kinshasa for his supposed links with the big Rwandese machine to destabilise the East, him and his colleague Roger Lumbala.

In the street of Butembo and Beni, his detractors and former comrades of RCD/KLM, who consider politics as a biological family further go to compare him to a child that refuses the identity of whom they call his father (Mbusa Nyamwisi) when the latter becomes poor, or again a child that makes himself adopted in another family when his parents are no longer able to meet his greed.

Despite these schemes and ploys, Julien Paluku made himself elected as a member of parliament in 2011 by a population of the territory that he ruled from 1998 to 2003 as the territorial administrator. His failure would be bitter following the example of some candidates of the presidential majority who contested and found it hard to convince in an environment less conducive to the people of power in place.

During the same electoral campaign, Julien Paluku seemed to have shocked a certain section of the feminine catholic population when he said that the name MARY was carrier of hope. He was referring to President Kabila’s wife whose name is MARY Olive Lembe in an intellectual exercise calling the name of Mary, the wife of Joseph and mother of Jesus.

Julien Paluku was also accused of embezzling public fund by using provincial projects as a bait to enrich himself. The misappropriation of at least 6 million American dollars by the provincial leadership would also be one of the arguments that were used for different censure motions. Parliamentarians Nzangi Muhindo et Jean-Chrysostome Vahamwiti have so been his staunch opponents even enemies at the provincial assembly of Goma.

Elements of analysis[edit]

Considering all this criticism, the observers of political life in North Kivu came to understand that Misters Muhindo Nzangi Butomdo and Vahamwiti who accused Julien Paluku of misappropriation of 6 millions were the very ones whom he beat at the Governor elections in 2007. Vahamwiti was elected as a provincial member of parliament in 2006 of the constituency of Lubero on the list of the political party SMR (Social Movement for Renaissance) with his fellow candidate Nzangi Butondo. And when Julien Paluku was elected Governor of North Kivu by provincial members of parliament with 25 votes against 17 of his challenger Vahamwiti, the party SMR undertook an anti-Julien Paluku campaign. Its objective was to obtain the departure of this brave combatant whom the population of North Kivu sees through different wars and rebellions as one of the great patriots, particularly through his resistance during the rebellions of CNDP and M23. The two rebel movements were close to Rwanda and destabilised the East of the DRC from 2007 to November 2013, date of the capitulation of M23 and allies.

Concerning finances, the latest news recently received has proved that it is in 2014 that the province of North Kivu has for the first time produced an equivalent of one million American dollars against a monthly average of 200 to 400 thousand dollars in the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. The accusations of embezzlement were perceived as a means used by the opponents of the rule of Julien Paluku to try to oppose him to the people but in vain. Therefore, informed people can seek to understand how the province North Kivu that had never produced one million dollars can see its governor pocket six million. It is paradoxical.

With the end of the war in the East of the DRC, people start realising that the province of North Kivu needs a man of the calibre of Julien Paluku to face the ideologies of separatism and balkanisation. These ideologies have for a long time threatened this part of the country under the grip of the regime of Kigali for its mineral resources, as the different UN experts have constantly recognized in their different reports.

Also, other observers sustain that the creation, by Julien Paluku and other Congolese, of the political party called United Block for the Renaissance and Emergence of Congo, BUREC in short, would be at the basis of discontent of the former comrades of the party CGD/KML that has become ineffective and torn by internal quarrels. It has resulted from a lack of cohesive leadership within this political party which claims to be in opposition. The political climbing of Julien Paluku in the Congolese political microcosm through the political party whereof he is the moral Authority, that is BUREC, is well worrying for some while others find in it an opportunity and a bright future for this young Congolese politician moulded at the social democracy school.

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