A new player in the field of timber exploitation, Congo King Baisheng Forestry Development, is causing controversy. This company, created in September 2019, has been singled out by the community, civil society, the government and even the General Inspectorate of Finance. ACTUALITE.CD and its partners went to one of the villages located a few kilometers from one of these concessions to investigate.
In Boyangi, a small village in the Mongala-Motima sector of the eponymous province of Mongala, there are no police or army. The head of the grouping even found himself on the run following an inter-community confrontation triggered by the murder of a local resident. In this case, the only authority is a "kapita" who refused to talk about the company Congo King Baisheng Forestry Development (COKIBAFODE), a company incorporated under Congolese law, but identified by the community as Chinese-owned.
Only the passing tractor-trailers make it possible to imagine that one of the largest logging companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo operates six kilometers away. They emit clouds of dust that poison the air of the inhabitants. The road is sandy and almost impassable, even for motorcycle cabs, which are the only means of public transportation in this part of Congo. There is no school in the village. Every morning, children in uniform have to walk for miles in this polluted atmosphere. "They haven't even paved this road, even though they had committed to it in the social clauses," explains Ambroise Mongole, president of the Mongala civil society consultation framework from Lisala.
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"These employers do not respect the standards of the administration.
But in Boyangi, even civil society is absent. The employees of Congo King Baisheng Forestry Development (COKIBAFODE) are therefore left alone with their employer and many refuse to be named or even registered. Izayila Ngasi, a young father with a newborn baby, is one of the few who agrees to testify, even on camera. He says he is doing this because he has been working for the company for seven months, but plans to leave as soon as possible. His work does not allow him to support his family. "Already there is no employment contract. These employers (editor's note: COKIBAFODE) do not respect the standards of the administration. We work just like that. We are hired or fired depending on their moods. In the village, there is no administration as such," he says. "For them to consider our claims, we are forced to block the road."
A la Mongala où Congo King Baisheng possède d'importantes concessions des bois, la société civile dénonce notamment le mauvais traitement de la main d'oeuvre locale. Témoignage⤵️ pic.twitter.com/JHSStATap8
— ACTUALITE TV (@actualitecdTV) May 15, 2023