Goma – A Democratic Republic of Congo military court on Friday jailed two rappers for 10 and two years for criticising the army and the president in their songs.
Both singers have condemned the government’s failure to stem bloodshed in the country’s conflict-wracked east.
Idengo, 32, whose real name is Katembo Delphin, was handed a 10-year sentence for insulting the army and inciting people to arm themselves against the authority of the state
The sentence was handed down by the military tribunal in the main prison of Goma, capital of the eastern North Kivu province. Idengo was arrested in October.
Muyisa Nzanzu Makasi, 33, was given two years for contempt of the head of state, it said, following his detention this summer.
ALSO READ | Rappers on trial in DRC stand by contested songs
Relatives of the two men broke down in tears, and the defence immediately announced they would appeal.
When the trial opened in late November, Idengo said he stood by everything he said in his songs.
At home in the eastern city of Beni, “people have been killed every day since 2014 — nothing has changed,” he said.
Makasi recalled that during President Felix Tshisekedi’s election campaign, he had “promised to put an end to the massacres”. “But nothing has changed,” he said.
Eastern DRC is struggling with scores of armed groups, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared a quarter of a century ago.
North Kivu in particular has suffered massacres at the hands of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) – historically a Ugandan Muslim group that the United States this year formally linked to the so-called Islamic State.
Picture: Getty Images