It is a sign of our eurocentrism that we think of people such as Galilei when we think of people standing up for truth regardless of the cost. We associate the notion with Europe but not with Africa. But in fact one of the most courageous contemporary champions of truth is Congolese. It was in his homeland that Golden Misabiko was locked in a dungeon and tortured from February to September 2001.
What got him into jail? Golden Misabiko was born in 1956. In 2000 he made public the information that the Kabila government executed prisoners, extrajudicially without trial. By arresting and torturing him the government hoped to intimidate and silence an eloquent and passionate champion of human rights.
It didn’t work. Golden Misabiko, President of ASADHO (Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme) continued his investigative and whistleblowing activities. In 2009, he published a report on government involvement in the ongoing illegal uranium mining at the Shinkolobwe mine, which had been closed down five years previously for security reasons. He also made public the fact that the government was engaged in secret negotiations with AREVA, the French nuclear giant. “In the shameful accord,“ he wrote in 2014, ,“AREVA, the corporation which is known to be killing people in Africa (Niger, Gabon …) through its uranium activities, is being given the right to explore for and exploit uranium on all Congo’s soil. What an irresponsible and criminal act against humanity.” In July 2009, he was arrested again and barely survived the subsequent imprisonment and torture.
That triggered an international solidarity campaign. Amnesty International started an “urgent action“ on his behalf and several foreign embassies lodged protests. On August 25, 2009, Golden Misabiko was released on bail and managed to get to South Africa.
His wife, Rose Maua, and his five children have not been allowed to leave the Democratic Republic of Congo to join him in exile. But the man from the heart of the continent will not be silenced. Take a look at his article on „Uranium Mining in Africa: Nuclear Energy Threats“ at www.uraniu-network.org/index.php/golden-misabiko-no-3. In 2012 Marcel Kolvenbach, the German documetary filmmaker, accompanied Golden Misabiko and his fellow activist Anthony Lymunda on a trip through several African states (“Atomic Africa”, 2013). Among the dramatic highlights of the documentary are the slow destruction of the Republic of Niger due to uranium mining and Golden’s untiring commitment to fight this and other incidents of “nuclear colonialism”.“Golden is fighting for us,” said the person who nominated him for the Nuclear-Free Future Award. This is true. The NFFA team is pleased to see our motto “helping the helpers” being exemplified once again.