One of the most famous singers of the Democratic Republic of Congo is sentenced in a summary trial. Kenya had previously expelled him.
Music in Congo is emotion: funeral of Papa Wemba on May 4, 2016 Photo: ap
A court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced one of the country’s best-known musicians to 18 months in prison in a summary trial. Koffi Olomide was arrested at dawn Tuesday at his home in the capital Kinshasa, immediately brought before a judge and found guilty of assault and convicted by mid-afternoon.
The 59-year-old, who is due to celebrate his 60th birthday on August 13, had been deported from Kenya on Saturday for kicking a female member of his band the night before when he arrived in Nairobi for a concert. The scene was captured by television cameras because journalists were waiting to interview him. The concert did not take place, and another one in Zambia was also canceled.
The fact that Koffi Olomide publicly apologized "to all women" on state television after his return to his home country did not change anything. Various statements surfaced on the Internet from women who had worked with the Congolese in earlier years. They told in detail about his tendency to violence. The singer had already been reported several times for such assaults and had been sentenced to three months in prison in Kinshasa in 2012 after beating up his producer.
Congo’s government made an example of the singer. The government’s special representative for the fight against sexual violence took up the case, and police chief General Celestin Kanyama himself ordered the arrest. Olomide was handcuffed on camera early Tuesday morning in a deliberate humiliation.
Kanyama is under U.S. sanctions because he is blamed for brutal police abuses and the disappearance of dozens of youths in Kinshasa in recent years. It is eagerly anticipated how he will crack down on planned opposition demonstrations in Kinshasa in the coming days.
But with its decisive action against Koffi Olomide, Congo’s state is showing that it is quite capable of swift action when it wants to.