How to Get Away with State Capture

2022 Fellow Spotlight Series — This talk was recorded for the Draper Hills Summer Fellows Program at Stanford University in 2022. Sassoufit’s founder Andrea Ngombet gave a 5 » pitch about successful state capture using Republic of the Congo kleptocratic regime’s strategy.

Enjoy it, Share it but please don’t implement it !

Verbatim :

For the past decade, I have been investigating and studying Kleptocracy and its result: state capture. For the past 43 years, my country has been captured by a brutal kleptocrat, General Denis Sassou-Nguesso.  

I have studied ideology and power conception in the medieval western civilization at la Sorbonne to try to understand the root of Rules of Law and Democracy and why Congo lacks it. In my journey toward that knowledge, I have been brutally assaulted at the Congo’s embassy in Paris; my orbital was fractured, I nearly lost one eye, I was threatened, and five supporters of my organization were jailed for one year without any trial. Long story short, I became a political refugee, a threat to Congo’s national security, according to the attorney general.  

Today I want to share with you the lesson I learned on How to be a successful Dictator like Sassou-Nguesso, How to get away with State Capture. No need to storm the congress building with this method.

The first step on the path to successful state capture is to destroy the independence of justice and the objectivity of the media. You need to do it in a very brutal way that will prevent any new rise of an independent mind. On the night of February 14 to 15, 1965, Joseph Pouabou, President of the supreme court, Matsocota Lazare, public prosecutor, and Anselme Massoueme, director of the information, were kidnapped, tortured, and killed. Joseph Pouabou’s body was thrown into the Congo River. Justice and public media were declared revolutionary, thus bending to political priority, not facts, not even the constitution, because the Party overruled everything.  

Your second step is to establish your ruling minority: tribal is the most effective because it is linked to very primitive human behavior, but racial or religious can work too. You play by the classical us against them and undermine the idea of one man, one vote. To create that tribal mentality, don’t spare the blood of the most popular leader. Again, do it in a spectacular way and, of course, blame some blurry foreign conspiracy and a death-sentenced bunch of innocent political adversaries. For example, in Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema killed his uncle, the President, and in Congo, Sassou-Nguesso planned the killing of President Marien Ngouabi, his mentor.   

You are on your killing spree, and everything is fine for you. No independent media, no independent justice, no independent civil society, and those who dare speak up are traitors to the country and labeled enemies of the state, puppets of foreign powers.   

Still, if you want to be among the longest self-serving dictators, you have to go the extra mile. Make yourself useful to foreign powers and multinational interests. You need to have deep pockets and exploit all the flaws of an established democracy. Please, you have to go big! Rebrand yourself as the savior of the Congo Basin forest? Check! Channel money to the political staff of democratic countries? Check! Buy off, scholars and journalists? Check! The more, the merrier. Most of all covers democracy’s shortcomings by being the friendly neighboring dictator we can rely on for cheap Gas, cheap clothes, a cheap labor force, cheap electronic devices, and all the commodities that keep the public busy and happy. 

To climb up in the top five, being cozy with China is mandatory. Vote against Taiwan, the Uyghurs, and the Tibetans, and you’ll be showered with slave labor infrastructure and protected by China’s security council veto. If you want to be shortlisted in the top three, add Russian interests to your bucket list. It will secure you bonus veto protection. 

That extra mile is for the worst, those who, like Sassou-Nguesso, are actively working to create an authoritarian world order. This is how you get away with state capture!

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