Looking to DR Congo for things to smile about this January

I think it’s now safe to say that we have reached that point of the year where the sound of the phrase “Happy New Year” ceases to tickle our ears the right way. We are at the point where we even start questioning what is really making us happy at this point in time.

After all it is that time that my Kenyan colleagues refer to as Njaanuary to stress the hunger that comes with the first month of the year.

January is often branded a dry month or one known for hunger (Njaa) thanks to the often tight financial situation many find themselves in after emptying their bank accounts to partake in the festive season joy moments.

The salaried workers can best relate since the December salary sometimes gets to their accounts and is used up even before they can respond to any Happy New Year message. January is that one month where you really need anyone who owes you money to pay up.

To seal the troubles of the month, parents know it is the month when they have to pay school fees for their children or those they take care of. And it is not just school fees but also scholastic materials and a bunch of other requirements especially if the child is joining a new school.

At the end of the day brains are put to work and people do all they can to wade through January and move on to February which I saw someone calling an unfinished month.

For me the whole Happy New Year mood went out of the window the moment heartbreaking news filtered in that a good friend from as far back as 2005, Alexia UweraMupende, had been brutally killed at her parents’ home just days before she could walk down the aisle with her fiancé.

It is alleged that a 23-year old domestic worker is responsible for her death. This is worrying because just a few years back there was another harrowing tale of a domestic worker who brutally killed a young girl after being fired from his job.

I first met Alexia or “Lexy” as her friends preferred to call her, in Kanombe in 2005 when she had just started growing her dreadlocks and we often joked about how I would soon do the same and grow longer ones.

She later emerged as arguably the face of the Rwandan modelling space and every now and then iconic images of her doing what she loved most made their way to different media platforms.

Our last meeting was when we bumped into each other as she was marketing Waka Fitness packages. As the general Manager of Waka Fitness, she looked the part and you could easily see Lexy the fitness freak in the same body of the Lexy the stunningly beautiful model with long dreadlocks. Now she is gone.

I just hope that her killer or killers are caught and justice is served. One of her last twitter posts was about growing closer to God. I pray her wishes are granted. Rest in peace, Alexia.

Across the border, Democratic Republic of Congo finally held an election after a rather long time. It was an election that was postponed so many times that eventually having it in any form is worth applauding. The controversies never ceased though with some areas not being able to vote for a number of reasons including the threat of the deadly Ebola virus. When the results were finally announced, the surprise winner was Felix Tshisekedi.

With current president Joseph Kabila not in the race, the outcome means that the vast country is set to have its first peaceful transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. However some people don’t seem happy about this development.

They have been conditioned to only view DRC as a country moving from one war to another. There are disputes over the election result and it is possible that those who benefit from a destabilised continent are waiting for chaos.

My prayer is that January doesn’t get any worse than it already is and that DRC can be a source of joy by simply emerging from the election in a peaceful manner and embarking on the path of reconciliation and development.

I also really wish that we as Africans can tone down on this fetish we have over elections and learn that what is more important is demanding better services and accountability from leaders whether or not there is an election.

Email: ssenyonga@gmail.com

Blog: www.ssenyonga.wordpress.com

Twitter: @ssojo81

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

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