The Pope is scheduled to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2023 and already the country is preparing for the event. Last week, the police force in the capital city of Kinshasa began demolishing stalls belonging to street traders in the city center in preparation for the Pope’s visit.
The demolition of the stalls, which were mainly owned by small-scale traders, has been met with a great deal of controversy. Many people have taken to the streets to protest the police’s actions, claiming that the traders have a right to continue doing their business and that the government should not be allowed to take away their livelihoods.
The government, however, has argued that the traders’ stalls are blocking the roads and causing traffic congestion, which could be dangerous during the Pope’s visit. They also claim that the traders are operating without proper permits and that they are a security risk.
This is not the first time that the government has taken such drastic action to prepare for a high-profile visit. In 2019, the authorities also demolished stalls in Kinshasa ahead of a visit by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres.
The demolition of the traders’ stalls has caused a great deal of anger and frustration among the citizens of Kinshasa. Many people see it as an attack on the livelihoods of the traders and a violation of their rights. Furthermore, the demolition of the stalls has caused economic hardship for the traders, as they are now unable to earn an income.
The government, however, remains adamant that the traders’ stalls must be removed in order to ensure the safety of the Pope’s visit. Whether or not the government succeeds in its mission remains to be seen. In the meantime, the citizens of Kinshasa are left to ponder the implications of the government’s actions.
It is clear that the demolition of the traders’ stalls ahead of the Pope’s visit is a controversial issue. On one hand, the government has an obligation to ensure the safety of the Pope’s visit. On the other hand, the traders have a right to continue doing their business and to make a living. It is a difficult situation, and it remains to be seen how it will be resolved.