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New RTKM director brought before the court

(JED/IFEX) - The new director of Radiotélévision Kin Malebo (RTKM), Kasonga Mbunga Kalala Kafumba, has been ordered to appear before the Kinshasa/Gombe High Court on 13 November 2000. The company Kin Médias Sprl, which manages RTKM, has launched a lawsuit against Kasonga Mbunga for "extortion and attempted extortion". Kasonga Mbunga was recently appointed RTKM dirtector by order of the minister of communications.

JED recalls that Minister of Communications Dominique Sakombi Inongo recently placed RTKM under state supervision, "for political reasons". JED has learned that Laurent-Désiré Kabila's government justified its decision to nationalise RTKM by explaining that the station's owner, former minister Aubain Ngongo Luwowo, allegedly has "secret relations with the rebellion".

The private radio and television station RTKM was renamed RTNC 4, thus becoming a Congolese National Radio-television (Radiotélévision nationale congolaise, RTNC) station. Minister Sakombi then dismissed RTKM's directors and named Kasonga Mbunga as manager.

Since then, RTKM executives and other employees have protested the expropriation of their station and have become the target of repression by the ministry of communications. On 5 November, about six armed Rapid Intervention Police (Police d'intervention rapide, PIR) officers searched the Kinshasa/Kasa-Vubu residence of Charles Dimandja Wembi without a warrant. Dimandja was recently dismissed from his position as RTKM information director. On 10 November, a second illegal search took place at the home of Alphonse Yengola, RTKM's assistant director and treasurer.

Since the dismissal of RTKM's directors, the television station's vehicle was seized. The police officers who searched the homes of Dimandja and Yengola arrived in the vehicle.

Dimandja returned to his home last weekend. Yengola remains in hiding.

Dimandja has just filed a complaint against unknown persons with the Court of Military Order (Cour d'ordre militaire, COM), for forcible entry into his home and conducting a search without a warrant.

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