Innocent Mpoze Gasigwa

I am Innocent Mpoze Gasigwa, born on August 28, 1992 in Goma, DRC. I studied at the Catholic University Sapientia in Administrative Sciences, after having obtained a state diploma in literary section, option „Latin-Philology“. I was also a free student in „Philosophy“ with a focus on the History of African Ideas and Postcolonial Africa. Today, I am interested in political science with a focus on „political sociology“, „contemporary political thought and theory“, „sociology of elections“ and „the foundation and functioning of the African postcolonial state“.

I am a Junior Researcher at the Intercultural Institute in the Great Lakes Region (Pole Institute) where I also intervene in the training and education of youth for social transformation. As a researcher at Pole Institute, I have been involved in several research projects on the Covid-19 pandemic and Ebola epidemics. I specifically focus on the existing conflicts between people and governments as well as the mechanisms adopted by the public and health authorities to fight against epidemics and the pandemic.

Covid-19 made four problems visible. First, the problem of political manipulations. We are in a context where political decision-makers, considered as leaders in their circles (electoral fiefdom), have authority over their constituents and can easily undermine the messages of public authorities on any issue. Secondly, there are anthropological and cultural problems in the sense that people have more confidence in traditional medicine and are increasingly resorting to self-medication. Thirdly, there is the crisis of confidence between the authorities and the people. The city of Beni is exemplary, where the population considers the Covid-19 response as a political machinery aiming at the extermination of the local population. This is a consequence of the various cruelties committed in the area where the inhabitants have come to belief that politicians are primarily responsible for the wars. Finally, there is the economic problems that the population barely can afford health services. These elements deserve to be studied in depth in order to determine the links they may have with the behavior of the population in regards to the Covid-19 test requirements.

I am generally interested in how the past (in this case the links to be made between diseases, political control mechanisms and popular behavior) may influence everyday understanding of Covid-19 testing . I believe we need to strengthen a historical perspective to capture the depth of health problems in the region.