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Training Session for Paralegals from the Informal Sector of Bukavu, Zaire

03 / 1993

A training session for paralegals from the informal sector was held in Bukavu, Zaire from 22-24 June, 1992. The report done by the organisers and the participants gives us information on the progress and on the evaluation of the session; as well as elements of the politico-historical context linked to the content of the training. Indeed, under popular pressure, President Mobutu had recognised multipartism on the 24th of April 1992, officially announcing the process of democratization. The Sovereign National Conference of Zaire (political parties, civil society, public institutions and guest members)then tried to work on for the democratic transition, to draw up a new constitution, to rule out dictatorship and to find a new social order.

The objectives of the session were to enable different groups to have valid and capable representatives with the aim of making all members of their sector aware of their rights and duties, and to give them sufficient basic knowledge on what is at stake in Zaire as far as democracy and the organisation of free elections are concerned. The paralegals thus trained will be able to act as catalysts and to diffuse what they have learnt through their respective federations and groups.

Four categories of informal sector actors (craftsmen, small shopkeepers and vendors, as well as small, urban transport workers)participated in this session. The trainers were lawyers and field organizers. The pedagogical methods used by the group of trainers and the moderator consisted in talks followed by debates and resolutions.

The principal themes of the training were

1)Aspects of the law: cases of injustice in Bukavu, the implementation of justice in Zaire, including the customary and the civil tribunals, as well as notions about the justice profession, the land laws in Zaire ("the land is the State’s inalienable property), the family code (the general principle being that, "where laws are enacted, customs are no longer important").

2)The Sovereign National Conference and democratisation of public life in Zaire: origin, objectives, the turns of the SNC.

3)How free and democratic elections should be prepared, in a context characterized by a dictatorship which tries to maintain itself: the necessary conditions, the profile of a good candidat, how to avoid fraud.


- a legal brochure on the themes of the session should be published in French and in Swahili, and distributed to each Federation. Dissemination of other legal texts.

- support for the Sovereign National Conference, in the sense of looking for urgent solutions to the problems of people’s daily lives. To make this support effective, it is necessary to inform and create awareness amongst grassroots, in case talks come to a standstill, to educate and inform the people about democracy, to train for non-violent reactions such as strikes, civil disobedience, "dead city" operations, peace demonstrations, etc.

- recommendations for the elections: a good electoral law, information campaigns before the election, transparency and the presence of observers during the elections, follow-up on the future representatives of the people.

Palabras claves

derecho de voto, movilización popular, información jurídica, formación, derecho, justicia, artesano, elección

, Zaire, República Democrática del Congo, Bukavu


An evaluation questionnaire was distributed to the participants. The results of this survey can be found at the end of the report. According to this evaluation, the theme which the participants found the most interesting was the first one (legal aspects). They asked for ongoing training and to give importance to the publication of legal information brochures.

The session organiser, the TST (Travail sur le Terrain = Groundwork)is a Zairian association (from the town of Bukavu, a province of South Kivu), which gives multidisciplinary support to the non-structured sector.


Original card in French in Dph data base. The ’title/sub-title’ field corresponds to the ’translated title’ field in the French card.

TST (travail sur le Terrain)



BAGAYAMUKWE, Claude; BUHENDWA WENDO, Mr; KALORA KANDANGA, Mme, Session de formation de parajuristes du secteur informel de Bukavu. ZAIRE, TST, 1992 (Zaïre)

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