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DR Congo Honors Nelson Mandela, Hero and Model for Humanity

Radio Okapi - December 6, 2013
Nelson Mandela mediated peace talks between Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Desire Kabila on May 4, 1997
Nelson Mandela mediated peace talks between Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent-Désiré Kabila on May 4, 1997 | Enlarge
DR Congo’s government has decreed three days of national mourning beginning Friday to honor the memory of Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, who died on Thursday in Johannesburg.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende said the decision was taken on the instructions of President Joseph Kabila, who is attending a summit in Paris, France, on peace and security in Africa.

During the three days, flags will be flown at half-mast all across DR Congo. State radio and television stations will change their programs for the occasion, Mr. Mende said.

The death of the hero of the struggle against the apartheid regime has prompted several reactions within the Congolese political class.

The President of the National Assembly, Aubin Minaku, said that “every politician, every Congolese citizen, from the governing majority or the political opposition, should further promote the values held by Nelson Mandela, especially courage, perseverance, tolerance and listening to others.”

“Nelson Mandela should be looked upon as the model statesman who is mainly characterized by tolerance, work for the benefit of the community, and sacrifice. He sacrificed a lot to achieve noble goals. He has demonstrated throughout his life that he was a thinker for what is virtuous, for what is truthful, and for what is beautiful,” he said.

In the Senate, elected officials observed a moment of silence prior to Friday’s session in honor of the illustrious departed.

From the political opposition, the president of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC), Vital Kamerhe, hailed the memory of a charismatic man that all Congolese should imitate by loving and forgiving each other.

“He was a man of peace, tolerance, love and reconciliation. He was a charismatic man…  A man for all ages,” he said. For Mr. Kamerhe, a former President of the National Assembly, Nelson Mandela should serve as an example for the people of Africa's Great Lakes region and Central Africa.

“For places where ethnic groups sometimes hate each other for no good reason, Mandela has shown that he could bring different races together and create what is now called the rainbow nation. We must say here and now: Let’s love each other, be tolerant towards others and we will build a better Congo and Africa.”

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