Interview with the lawyer Alain Makengo Kikandou, president of the Congolese organisation LISPED13 February 2007

Mr Makengo, please tell us how your organisation LISPED (Ligue Sportive pour la Promotion et la defence des droits de l'Homme) came about.

LISPED was formed in March 1999 following the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that took place at the University of Kinshasa from 18 November 1998 to 10 December 1998 – in other words around the time when I completed my law degree.

We set ourselves the following targets:

– to raise awareness in the national and international world of sport for the prime importance of human rights in the building of a democratic and peaceful society, where we must fight at all costs to safeguard peace and respect for human dignity, especially in the world of sport;
– to combat all forms of violence in sport with the aim of protecting players, officials, fans, women, children, the disabled, etc.;
– to mobilise the national and international sport community for the values of sport, i.e. fair play, non-violence, peace, love, justice, anti-racism and mutual respect.

How did you find the World Social Forum in Nairobi?

For LISPED the forum was a positive experience. We were able to meet our partners (UISP, LIBERA) in person and at the workshops they organised we learnt that sport can play an extremely important role in the harmonious development of the world's peoples. We learnt how to work in networks, for example the creation of an African network for peace in sport (RAPS), for example. We made ourselves known to the other organisations that work for peace and non-violence, etc.

One of the key points at the forum was the in-depth analysis of the methods that can be used to manage conflict in human relations: democracy, mutual respect, recognition of ethnic, cultural and political diversity, negotiation, dialogue, mediation and tolerance. But the most important aspect for us was the fact that UISP invited us to send a youth team to take part in the next Anti-Racist World Cup, the Mondiali Antirazzisti in July 2007 and gave us the opportunity to promote our activities better thanks to the financial and material support provided by FIFA and FARE.

The opening march from the Kibera slum and the marathon that started in Korogocho showed us how to improve the organisation of our activities on behalf of the poor and the disadvantaged. There are slums in Congo, too, for example Kimbanseke, Kinsenso, Malueka, Mbanzalemba, etc.

And what about your project to set up the African Network of Sports for Peace (Réseau Africain pour la Paix dans le Sport)?

Based on the experience gained at the World Social Forum we can say that the whole of Africa has to be mobilised to combat violence effectively in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The increasing violence at sports grounds, where children, women and people with disabilities are the victims if it breaks out, is a plague in many areas of Africa.
Africa is also faced with the problem of football's “slave trade” as expressed by the fraudulent transfer of young players abroad, drug abuse, the HIV/Aids pandemic, etc. None of these problems will be solved unless Africa manages to form a united front against these scourges.

Our wish would be for Africa, like the FARE network in Europe, to use the major competitions as a vehicle for raising its voice for fair play and against racism. One of the positive elements of the forum was the realisation that we need to work together in a network to ensure our activities are effective.

The main aim of this network is to use sport to promote the values that encourage the integration of peoples, cultures and nations for a development centred on love, fair play, non-violence und anti-racism.

We know it won't be easy, but we are counting on the good will of the organisations fighting for these ideals to help us develop our network.

(Interview conducted by Layla Mousa)