Ricardo Lumengo

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Ricardo Lumengo

Ricardo Lumengo is a Swiss politician, former member of the Swiss Federal Parliament and of the Social Democratic Party.

Ricardo Lumengo grew up in Angola, he fled his homeland in 1982 at the age of 20 years.[1] He came to Switzerland, where he asked for asylum. After a few years, he obtained a residence permit and in 1997 he became a Swiss citizen.[2] He lives in Biel since 1997. Lumengo speaks French, German, Portuguese, English, Spanish and Bantu languages such as Kikongo, Kikongo ya Leta and Lingala. He studied law at the University of Fribourg and worked as a legal adviser at the center of intercultural encounter Multimondo in Bienne. He is single and the father of two children[3]

Lumengo was elected to the Biel municipal council in 2004, and in 2006 to the cantonal council of Berne.[4][5]

In the 2007 federal election, he was elected to the Swiss National Council, as the country's first national councillor of African origin (although there had been a councillor of mixed Swiss-African ancestry before: Tilo Frey, served 1971–1975), and the first former asylum seeker to be elected into the council.[6]

As highlights of his political commitment, we have particularly the fight against unemployment, the struggle for social justice and commitment to the rights of foreigners. He has acted for the involvement of people of foreign origin in public administration under the sign of the UN Convention against Racial Discrimination to which Switzerland adhered in 1994.[7][8][9][10]

However Lumengo faced many racist attacks from his political opponents during his political career. He received particularly violent insults from the direction of the right-wing extremist party, Swiss Freedom Party (PSL), in 2006. Therefore, his opponents made use of Cybersquatting and had registered the domain “lumengo.ch” to build a fake “Lumengo webpage” containing racist statements. After a judge's decision, the domain remained under the possession and power of the PSL, but could not be diverted to this party. Visitors to this site were faced to a completely black and empty page. After some years, his political opponents have opened again the website to publish insults toward him.[11][12]

Since his election to the National Council Lumengo has repeatedly been the victim of racist attacks, such as in 2008 during his speech on May 1 in Langenthal where an unidentified person threw bananas at him.[13][14] In October of the same year, he was insulted by a member of PNOS (Partei National Orientierter Schweizer) from the party website with a contemptible text and a racist caricature.[15] Lumengo generally receives letters with racist insults after each media appearance.

On 19 February 2010, Lumengo was investigated for voting irregularities. While admitting to helping voters fill in their ballot papers in 2006, he rejected all accusations of trying to falsify the results. [16] Instead, he appealed the verdict and left the Social Democratic Party, announcing he would retain his seat in the National Council as an independent politician.[17] In the second instance on May 18, 2011, Lumengo was acquitted by the High Court of the Canton of Berne.[18] In February 2012, the Federal Court which is the highest judicial authority of the Swiss Confederation, confirmed Lumengo’s verdict of not guilty . Lumengo is finally acquitted of voting irregularities.

Alongside his political activities marked as always by the defense of human rights, support for the integration of foreigners in Switzerland and the fight against racism, Ricardo Lumengo is currently committed to renewing ties with the African continent particularly with his country of origin, Angola, in order to benefit not only the political class but also civil society from his professional and political experience acquired in Switzerland. Ricardo Lumengo hopes so to make his contribution for the Strengthening of democratic institutions and good governance.[19]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Consiel national: l'UDC cartonne, le PS boit la tasse". Swissinfo. 
  2. ^ "Un mouton noir au palais fédéral". Swissinfo. 
  3. ^ "Ricardo Lumengo, premier Noir élu à l'assemblée fédérale". Afrik.com. 
  4. ^ "Ricardo Lumengo Ratsmitgliied Ansehen". Website of the Swiss Parliament. 
  5. ^ "Ricardo Lumengo". website of the Swiss Parliament (French). 
  6. ^ "Swiss nationalists win record vote". CNN. 
  7. ^ "Grand Conseil, membres et organes". Archives sur le canton de Berne. 
  8. ^ "083598-Motion: Engagement des personnes d'origine étrangère au sein du corps des gardes-frontière". Curia Vista - Objets parlementaires. 
  9. ^ "09.4114 - Postulat. Encourager la diversité ethnique dans l'administration publique". Webpage of the Swiss Parliament. 
  10. ^ "09.4115 - Motion: Pas de taxe d'exemption de l'obligation de servir pour les personnes invalides". Webpage of the Swiss Parliament. 
  11. ^ "Chronologie contre le racisme et l'antisémitisme". Biel/Bienne. Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  12. ^ Schaefer, Heike. "" Die Schweiz und das Problem mit den schwarzen Schafen "". Hamburger Abendblatt, 20 October 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. 
  13. ^ "Eintrag Langenthal BE, 1. Mai 2008". Chronology of the foundation against racism and antisemitism. Archived from the original on 2014-04-19. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  14. ^ Egger, Marius. "Bananenwurf: Suche nach "junger, blonder Frau"". 20min.ch, 5. Mai 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-08. Retrieved 2009-04-23. 
  15. ^ Jecker, Nina. "Ricardo Lumengo als Affe verunglimpft". 20min.ch, 2008-11-13. Archived from the original on 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2011-01-18. 
  16. ^ "Lumengo investigated for voting irregularities". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-02-19. 
  17. ^ swissinfo.ch
  18. ^ Oduwaiye, Johnson. "Ricardo Lumengo: Victim of Political Vendetta?". Africalink. 
  19. ^ Muana Damba. "Grande entrevista do Ricardo Lumengo". Portal da Damba. Retrieved 2015-06-27.