The Words of the LeRoy Family

Our Ambassadors for Peace meet the Vice-President of Congo-Kinshasa

Alain LeRoy
April 13, 2007
Berkeley, CA

DRC's Four Vice-presidents.

During the 4th World Peace Tour, on November 17, 2006, our team of eight Pastors and Ambassadors for Peace, including Rev. Andre Jackson, Rev. Betty Tatalajski, Rev. Carolyn Larabee, Mrs. Carolyn Lincoln, Mrs. Sharyn Bebeau, Rev. Tony Lowery, Rev. Dr. Gilda Price, and myself, Rev. Alain LeRoy, were invited to meet with His Excellency Mr. Azarias Ruberwa Maniwa, current vice-president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC) formerly known as Zaire, or Congo-Kinshasa. I believe that this meeting was truly the highlight if not even the main purpose of our coming to West-Africa.

A few days before, on November 14th, a Peace Rally had been held in Kinshasa, the capital city of the DRC where Rev. Andre Jackson was the main speaker. This rally had been broadcast by the local television network, and Vice President. Ruberwa Maniwa had seen our international team of Ambassadors for Peace on his television set. At that time he was not yet sure if lasting peace was possible and a viable solution for the DRC. As the president of a political party called the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and head of the defense and security commission in the current government, he had the full support of many armed men, but our Peace Rally convinced him that peace was the best solution and he decided to meet with us.

To better understand the significance of our meeting with the Vice-President, it is important to understand the recent history of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The DRC is emerging from many years of dictatorship, misrule and civil wars. The country had been ruled under the dictatorship of Colonel Mobutu for over 30 years when, in 1997 Mr. Laurent Kabila took over by a new rebellion which plunged the country in a new five year war. In January 2001 Laurent Kabila was assassinated and his son, Joseph Kabila, replaced him as head of state.

For some time there were five main armed groups more or less in control of the country. In December 2002, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all belligerent parties, resulting in a roadmap for the DRC’s transition to a stable democratic state. A transitional political dispensation for the DRC started therefore on June 2003 and four vice-presidents took oath at the Supreme Court in Kinshasa. Those four DRC deputy presidents of the transitional government were Jean-Pierre Bemba, Ruberwa Maniwa, Arthur Z’ahidi Ngoma, and Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi. Joseph Kabila was officially and democratically elected president of the DRC after two polls punctuated with violence and death involving supporters of the two main candidates, Kabila and Jean-Pierre Bemba.

It is in this post war environment, when one could still see and smell the smoke of the guns (the elections second round had been held on October 29th), our team of Ambassadors for Peace met with Vice President Maniwa Ruberwa. A few days earlier, on October 9th, the vice-president was a guest speaker at the joint conference of the Baptist World Alliance and had already expressed his beliefs that Christian leaders in church and society must demonstrate the highest level of integrity. He had also mentioned that whatever happens with the elections he will stay truly attached to the Lord with integrity. His prayers were answered when we met with him on this evening of November 17th at his private residence.

We were introduced to Vice President Ruberwa Maniwa by one of our local Ambassador for Peace, Mr. Thomas Wetshi Tambwe, his Senior Advisor. It was the fourth time that Rev. Michel Futila, DRC National Leader (FFWPU) and our local UPF General Secretary had tried to meet with the Vice-President.

The VP seemed very happy to meet with the eight of us. Since he only spoke French, I had the privilege to do the translation. Each AFP had an opportunity to share their heart and give a special blessing to Mr. Ruberwa Maniwa who reciprocated gratefully. The spirit was very high that night. We all felt that the VP could very well be the next president of the DRC and that finally there was a real hope for true and lasting peace in the region. He asked me some questions about Father and Mother Moon and the content of the speech we were reading.

After appointing the VP as an Ambassador for Peace, we all shook his hand and took a group picture. It was hard to believe that we had met an active vice-president at his private residence for over two hours, but it was time for us to go back to our hotel. We prayed for him and sincerely hope that our meeting will have a lasting impact in the region.

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