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Josaphat Musamba, PhD researcher or militant?

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

Josaphat Musamba is PhD researcher at the University of Ghent, Belgium. He is among researchers and/or data collectors with an interesting experience in the South Kivu conflict areas, where he worked for many years. Currently, he is conducting his field research in Minembwe? Minembwe is a fragile area affected by recurrent conflicts since 1996. Though overlooked to some extent, from 2017 Minembwe has become one of the deadliest zones. It is also a “field test” which can easily break up the basic ethical principles of certain researchers who hide their positions vis-à-vis such context. In addition, it is not only field research which requires a local anthropological knowledge to understand dynamic reality; but also, it demands neutrality and academic listening attitude and value feedback-reactions.

Being tolerant, neutral, professionally flexible vis-à-vis observations, criticisms from everyone who tries to understand the problem, much particularly from those affected (in)directly by the on-going conflicts is one of the important characteristics of a researcher and/or data collector. From the opposite behavior such as brutality, aggressiveness, intolerant responses, one can think that the researcher has another individual “hidden agenda” outside his officially communicated agenda. Or simply his expertise dominated by his natural characteristic? Consequently affects data analysis?

Whose or not connected? better he tells followers how to re-connect with montherland.

A few weeks after arriving in Minembwe Josaphat was seen by observers, as an interesting researcher to follow; hoping constructive debates through his posts on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Original photos that undoubtedly interested people from the Minembwe region. His posts were quickly attracting followers who sometimes engage in discussions, questions, and sometimes criticisms. Surprisingly, for unknown reasons, he could not uphold his position vis-à-vis the context-problem when he faced simple questions as such? He goes so far until to block many of his followers.

Does share photos of massacres "pollué la toile"?

The reader needs to be aware that several people who blocked on Twitter (whether aggressive or not) are from the area where he is undertaking his field research. I expected that he would be receptive and tolerant (in total mutual respect) when discuss various subjects with people from the ground of from a far deemed to provide some additional knowledge. There are now several questions arising as he blocked as many including those who were asking usual questions. Blocking people on Twitter sounds selective but also accompanied by brutal and intolerant responses (as screenshot can show). Is blocking a wise decesion in such context?

List is long...

Did they disturb his position vis-à-vis the current situation of Minembwe? Doesn't he want his followers, mostly researchers in the region see the other face of he has now failed to share on his Twitter and Facebook? What will be the interest observers will give to his final report after such attitude?

"Tu dois te regarder, questionner aussi tes questionnements enfantins"

Anyway, such attitude does not deserve a doctoral student. I wonder why he threw many pictures and messages on Twitter/Facebook? Instead of blocking everyone who tries to challenge him, it was also possible for him to play a low profile and not share with the public his preliminary observations. Knowledgably, the problems and violence in Menembwe have existed for many years now; that’s, it has not started three weeks ago. With such attitude, I’m afraid he will convince the world that Minembwe crises emerged in three weeks back.

Prosper B. Baseka

PhD Student, Anthropology

Bircham International University

"Construction of sensitive memory in DR Congo"

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