Censorship officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday lifted a recently imposed ban on one of two songs criticising President Felix Tshisekedi, the group behind the song said.
The National Censorship Commission had earlier issued a circular to media bosses banning both songs from being broadcast in the vast Central African country.
But the ban on the song Nini Tosali Te (‘What Didn’t We Do’ in the Lingala language) has been lifted, a representative of the musical group MPR said, adding it had requested that the decision be reversed.
The song compares Tshisekedi’s long-standing promises for change while he was in opposition with what he has achieved since becoming president in 2019.
“You promised us happiness after Mobutu left. Mobutu went, but we did not get anything. You said you would fix things if Kabila stepped down. Kabila left, but it is still hard,” according to the song, by the group MPR.
Its initials mirror those of DRC’s former ruling party, the Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR), founded by former dictator Mobutu Seke Seko.
Mobutu was ousted in 1997 after 32 years in power by Laurent-Desire Kabila, who was assassinated in 2001 and succeeded by his son Joseph.
The younger Kabila then ruled until 2019, stepping down in the country’s first peaceful elected transition.
The song which still remains banned is called in French “Letter to Ya Tshitshi,” the nickname of Tshisekedi’s late father Etienne, a revered figure who spent decades opposing authoritarian rule.
It lays into DR Congo’s political class.
“Since you have gone, your son Felix has become president… We have changed regime without changing system,” according to the song by Bob Elvis.
Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya, reacting to a brewing row, said on Twitter: “The decision to ban songs does not stem from the government… Any citizen is free to express his opinion, provided it is in line with the law.”