Corruption that Kills: Floribert Bwana Chui’s story

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Francesco Occhetta, SJ

 Francesco Occhetta, SJ / Church Life / 15 June 2017


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The story of Floribert Bwana Chui, a young Congolese customs officer, is the story of a man assassinated for not having succumbed to corruption.1 Looking at his life and death helps us to understand new forms of martyrdom: this is a silent sacrifice far from the interest of the media that disturbs the social and political life of those countries where corruption has become endemic.

This was repeated by Pope Francis during his trip to Africa in 2015 when a young woman asked him, “Can corruption be justified by the fact that everyone is corrupt? How can we be Christians and fight the evil of corruption?” In reply, the Pope stated, “Corruption is something that enters inside us. It is like sugar … Every time that we accept a bribe, it destroys our heart and our country … As in all things, we must begin. If you don’t want corruption, begin now! If you do not begin, neither will your neighbor.

While talking with the youth during the visit, he added, “Boys and girls, corruption is not a way of life, it is a way of death!”2

Who was Floribert?

Roberto De Palma recounts Floribert Bwana Chui bin Kositi’s life through the tortuous events of contemporary Congo. His is a brief story filled with faith that took place in a land rich with humanity and scenically beautiful, but politically complex and troubled.

Floribert was born on June 13, 1981, in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, bordering Rwanda. He grew up during a time that knew no peace as a result of two recent bloody wars. He ended up being killed in Goma on July 7, 2007, for having blocked the passage of rotting food that would have been harmful to the health of the population. He was only 26 years old when he died.

The book is an anthology of testimonies that remember Floribert as a magnanimous person who never stopped believing he could change the world through faith in Christ. He nourished, in fact, the conviction that “we are never so poor that we cannot help someone who is poorer than we are.” Gradually, the reader becomes aware, through the fragile life of the protagonist, of the growth of an inner strength that over the years led him to become involved in the Schools of Peace, in the orphanage of Baraza and in the Mabanga neighborhood.

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