Olivier Makambu

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Congolese journalist Olivier Makambu was detained in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s northwest Kenge Central Prison in November 2022 in connection with a defamation complaint filed by Tharcisse Matadiwamba Kamba Mutu, a member of parliament. 

Makambu is a program director with the community broadcaster Radio Communautaire pour le Renouveau du Kwango (RCRK) in Kenge, the capital of the DRC’s northwestern Kwango province, according to Ruphay Ndamba, an RCRK director who spoke to CPJ by phone. He coordinates coverage of economics, corruption, human rights, and politics.

On August 20, 2022, Matadiwamba filed a defamation complaint against Makambu over an August 19 RCRK broadcast, which alleged that the politician interfered in a succession dispute between local customary chiefs, according to Ndamba and a report by local press freedom group Journaliste en Danger (JED). 

Two Congolese police officers arrested Makambu at his home in Kenge on November 16 after a local prosecutor issued a second summons for the journalist to appear in court, according to those sources. The officers took the journalist, who was preparing to respond to the summons, to a court hearing where prosecutors questioned him for 30 minutes about the RCRK broadcast, Ndamba said. 

Makambu was then transferred to Kenge Central Prison, Ndamba said, adding that Makambu’s next hearing date had not been set as of December 1, 2022.

CPJ called Matadiwamba and Jean Marie-Petipeti Tamata, the governor of Kwango province, for comment, but did not receive any replies.