Retirees in the Republic of Congo are ravaged by despair. In an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Clement Mouamba, they draw a battery of claims, the most striking of which is that relating to the payment of 21 months of arrears of pensions.
Grouped within the Union for the defense of the interests of retirees registered with the Civil Service Pension Fund, the 26,000 pensioners concerned by this situation do not know where to turn. A situation that persists since 2016. In their letter addressed to the Congolese Prime Minister, pensioners, strangled by anger and bitterness, argue that « the pension is not alms, nor a purse, nor a salary » .
Eugène Bakoula is the president of the union for the defense of retirees’ interests. Exacerbated by the situation, he does not wear a glove to express his dismay. He is quoted here by our colleagues from RFI (Radio France International):
They came to cut me off and the agents of the water company took the meter. I could have some water because it rained.
« We remind the Prime Minister that we are retired people, people who have rendered enormous services to the state and we can not be treated like animals. And even the animals on a farm are fed. «
Retirees also demand that the Congolese prime minister complete the settlement of their pension arrears.
Eugène Bakoula insists here on the precariousness in which the pensioners of his country are stuck: « We suffer and we die of hunger and other diseases. We can not buy products in some cases. »
Another retiree, also quoted by RFI, goes further. He gives details of his deleterious situation: « They came to cut me the water and the agents of the water company took the meter. I could have some water because it rained. Look how we are treated for nonsense! «
Other retirees announced in the starting blocks
The Union for the Defense of the Retirees’ Interests states that in addition to the 26,000 individuals concerned by the 21 months of pension arrears, another 8,100 (pensioners) are waiting for the Congolese State to take charge of them .
This situation is largely due to the socio-economic crisis that has hit the Congo since the global oil crisis, which appeared in 2014 and has really manifested itself in the country since 2016.
The Congo, a major producer and exporter of high-quality crude, has an economy that depends almost entirely on black gold, with its main activity being the exploitation of hydrocarbons along the Atlantic coast. Then come a long way behind, logging, services and an agriculture that is still in its infancy.