Who will save the Kinshasa International Fair (FIKIN)? The question has remained on the lips for several years, with regard to the image offered by this fairground institution, which once played the role of the economic mirror of the country.
Abandoned to its sad fate, Fikin has become a shadow of itself since the lootings of 1991 and then those of 1993, under the reign of the late Marshal Mobutu. Everything was ransacked and carried away in this company placed when it was created in 1969, under the supervision of the Presidency of the Republic.
At the time, Fikin was considered the most attractive place in the country, through the international editions of the fairs it organised. On these occasions, several nations of the world made an appointment to exhibit most of their economies. Visitors had the choice of visiting the part of the exhibitions, before going to the amusement park, where everyone was free to move around.
Then comes the looting
It was after the democratization of the country in 1990 by the late Marshal Mobutu that the political climate began to crumble in the country. Indeed, the confused political situation pushed the authorities of the time, to put everything in mold on the economic level, thus condemning the country to its sad fate.
Vomited by the population and by a large part of the international community, the late Marshal Mobutu set up schemes that led to looting throughout the city-province of Kinshasa, bringing to their knees all the country’s major production units installed in the capital.
The facilities of the International Fair of Kinshasa hardly escaped these events. And since then, the Fikin had become a shadow of itself: all the rides installed in the amusement park as well as the pavilions which served as an exhibition framework were systematically destroyed.
Mzée LD-Kabila, craftsman of reconstruction
Mzee Laurent-Desire Kabila
It was not until the advent of the late Mzee Laurent-Désiré Kabila of happy memory, that Fikin was reborn from its ashes. The combined efforts of this patriot had resulted in the rehabilitation of six pavilions. This gave the former members of the management committee the opportunity to resume, however slightly, with the organization of the fairground editions (national).
After the death of Mzee LD Kabila, all these rehabilitation efforts, and therefore the reconstruction of the country, were trampled on. Because the new regime embodied by the former Head of State Joseph Kabila Kabange, had no program concerning the resumption of fairground activities.
During 18 years of reign, Joseph Kabila and the various Prime Ministers whom he placed at the head of the various governments (Gizenga, Muzito, Matata, Badibanga, Tshibala), have made no effort to continue the work bequeathed by the late Mzee LD Kabila; while his power only lasted 4 years.
Towards the end of the reign of Joseph Kabila, the population began to feel a semblance of willingness from the Bruno Tshibala government to take the file of the rehabilitation of the Fikin facilities to heart. A project going in this direction was even presented by Minister Jean-Lucien Bussa; then Minister of State for Trade, which had been voted on by the Council of Ministers at the time.
At the end of this saving decision, all the terraces erected within the Fikin had been razed, on the recommendation of the supervising minister, in accordance with the government’s decision to carry out the rehabilitation and modernization of the said installations. But alas, nothing concrete has ever been done so far. Bad faith or lack of political will? Only God knows.
From dilapidation to the erection of a police camp
For several analysts, the thesis of the bad faith of the leaders of the country to rehabilitate the installations of the Fikin was reinforced with the arrival of some battalions of the Congolese National Police (PNC) in December 2018, only a few days before the holding of the general elections.
These police officers who entered the Fikin facilities at night, breaking the padlocks of the various pavilions, had been dispatched to secure the said elections. Thank God, despite a few hiccups, these elections took place in conditions that we know, without causing a lot of damage. This was to oblige the police authorities to return these elements to their places of origin.
Unfortunately, Fikin has become a police camp in which live all these flag men who yesterday had come in singleton, but today live with women and children in compartmentalized pavilions.
The Head of State Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi had even visited them during the fire which occurred in one of these pavilions, and was edified on their living conditions. But to date, there is no solution to get them out of the Fikin facilities where there is glaring unsanitary conditions and cruel promiscuity, thus exposing all these residents to diseases and pandemics of all kinds.
Indeed, the police officers who squat the Fikin with their families, are crammed into pavilions where each has taken a space on which he has erected a small room.
IX Games of La Francophonie: an opportunity that quickly evaporated
After several cries of distress ranging from the dislodging of the families of the police officers to the rehabilitation of the Fikin, the entire staff of this fairground institution had uttered a cry of relief, after the Head of State Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi had responded favorably at the request of the trade union delegation, to see the facilities of the Fikin be modernized, by the fact that this institution was chosen as the main site to host the IX Games of La Francophonie.
Thus, through Prof. Eberande Kolongele, then Acting Chief of Staff to the Head of State, the latter had promised to have Fikin rehabilitated in favor of the 9th Games of La Francophonie. This decision was greeted with both hands, not only by all the staff of this public establishment, but also by the population who swears by the rebirth of this site.
In view of this reality, the former Prime Minister, Bruno Tshibala Nzhenzhe had made an inspection visit to the facilities of Fikin, one of the sites selected by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), in addition to the visit of the Principal Adviser to the Head of State on Trade as well as the visits in June and August 2020, of OIF experts from France, to take stock of the Fikin site.
But as usual, the construction work on the main site has been relocated to the May 20 stadium, the former Tata Raphaël stadium, to the great regret of the Fikin workers. According to information close to the Presidency of the Republic, the Head of State would have liked the Fikin facilities to be rehabilitated and modernized using the government’s own funds. A great asset for its balance sheet. A line of credit had even been voted in the Finance Act for the 2022 financial year.
Advent of the new management committee: a godsend for FIKIN?
As if to announce the new colors, the FIKIN has just been endowed since last May 27, with a new Board of Directors composed of MM. Baswea Alamba Fabrice, Kalala wa Tshamba Ray, Mbenza Pungi Maurice, Bulabula Mbuyi Biyou, Bushabu Kwete Hervé and Maleo Ndurabo Anne-Marie, respectively Chairman of the Board of Directors; General director ; Deputy General Manager and Directors.
In their vision, the new agents of the Kinshasa International Fair undertake to put the company back on track, for its emergence and its rehabilitation, so that it becomes a modernized site again, equipped with an exhibition structure. of economic, commercial and cultural promotion of international standard with permanent activities and offering a tourist attraction.
The new trustees have also promised to use their modest competitive skills to meet the challenge. On this subject, they carried out an inspection visit to the FIKIN facilities to take stock of the situation, to envisage a better future for the fairground institution.
Know the FIKIN
Created in 1969 by Ordinance No. 69-197 of September 15, 1969, the International Fair of Kinshasa (FIKIN), was a General Commissariat directly dependent on the Presidency of the Republic. It was transformed into a public company by Ordinance No. 78-128 of May 5, 1978, establishing the statutes of a public company called the International Fair of Kinshasa, “FIKIN”. As such, it was governed by Law No. 002 of January 6, 1978 on general provisions applicable to Public Enterprises.
Thanks to the reform of portfolio companies in 2009, FIKIN became a public institution of a technical nature, by virtue of Decree No. 09/49 of December 3, 2009. Since its creation in the lootings of sad memory in 1991 and 1993, FIKIN was a successful business. Unfortunately, the looting swept away almost all of its production tool and inaugurated its descent into hell with the total destruction of the amusement park, the destruction of 90% of its exhibition park. The FIKIN Motel building complex having escaped these destructions, has become its main source of income.
The purpose of the Kinshasa International Fair is to organize provincial, national and international fairs, in order to publicize the industrial, commercial and artistic possibilities of the local and international market. In execution of this object, the FIKIN is responsible in particular for serving as an advisory and technical body of the Government in matters of commercial and industrial promotion; serve as a national regulatory body for fairground activities throughout the national territory; ensure the country’s participation in fairs organized abroad; manage the movable and immovable assets located in its facilities and those made available to it by the State. FIKIN can also organize related activities compatible with its corporate purpose.
Vision of FIKIN
In its vision, the Kinshasa International Fair aims to rehabilitate and modernize its infrastructure, with the aim of becoming a site with an exhibition structure for economic, commercial and cultural promotion of international standard with permanent activities and offering a tourist attraction.
Fikin also aims to extend its activities to the provinces and its participation in fairs organized abroad, in order to recover its prerogatives. Hence the need to renew relations with the Union of International Fairs (UFI).
MediaCongo José Wakadila
congo-press.com (MCP) / mediacongo.net
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