Democratic Republic of Congo since Independence

By | October 11, 2021

Independence and secessionist aspirations

Only after unrest did Belgium introduce political reforms in 1959 and dismiss the colony under the name “République Démocratique du Congo” (Democratic Republic of the Congo; in contrast to Congo [Brazzaville], today’s Republic of the Congo, unofficially Congo [Léopoldville], from 1966 Congo [ Kinshasa]) rushed to independence on June 30, 1960 with a federal constitution according to smartercomputing. To counter a mutiny by the military and a secession of the resource-rich province of Katanga under M. Tshombé, the government called on the UN for help. The deployment of UN troops (around 20,000 soldiers), which began on July 15, 1960, was supported by the USA, largely supported by non-aligned countries in Africa and Asia and criticized by the USSR and France, lasted until June 30, 1964.

When the government broke up in September 1960 in the dispute between President J. Kasavubu and Prime Minister P. Lumumba, the UN was neutral. Lumumba was arrested, extradited to Katanga on January 17th, 1961 and murdered there. During attempts to mediate between the central government, from August 1961 under Prime Minister Cyrille Adoula (* 1921, † 1978), and Tshombé, UN Secretary General D. Hammarskjöld suffered a fatal accident on September 18, 1961. It was not until January 1963 that the UN violently ended Katanga’s secession.

Under dictatorial rule

In July 1964 Tshombé became prime minister of the central government, but overthrown on November 23, 1965 by a coup by army chief Mobutu Sese-Seko. He ruled dictatorially, based on the MPR, nationalized mining and all other important economic sectors, tried to stabilize his system of government by resorting to alleged African “authenticity” and came into conflict with the Catholic Church (e.g. because of the renunciation of Christian baptismal names). In 1971 the state and electricity were given the name »Zaire«. Mobutu Sese-Seko struck up riots in Katanga (from 1971-97 Shaba) 1978/79 settled with Belgian-French military aid. He added the country to the African states that worked closely with France and maintained good relations with the USA.

The corruption associated with the rule of Mobutu Sese-Seko increasingly destroyed the country’s economy. After the end of the East-West conflict, the World Bank as well as the IMF and Western governments curtailed their cooperation. Mobutu Sese-Seko was forced to announce democratic reforms on April 24, 1990. However, he knew how to paralyze the national conference that had been convened. A stable multi-party system did not materialize. Mobutu Sese-Seko appointed former Foreign Minister Nguza Karl-I-Bond (* 1938, † 2004) as Prime Minister in November 1991. In August 1992, Mobutu Sese-Seko tolerated the national conferenceÉtienne Tshisekedi (* 1932, † 2017) from the opposition UDPS was elected Prime Minister. The conflict between the President and Prime Minister for power led to the establishment of a government not recognized by the opposition by the President since March 1993, two governments and two parliaments. In January 1994 the two parliaments were united to form the “High Council of the Republic”. In June 1994, the council elected Joseph-Léon Kengo wa Dondo (* 1935) as the new head of government, also supported by the western donor countries and recognized by President Mobutu Sese-Seko. who initiated economic reforms. In mid-1995, the Council, in agreement with the President, extended the transition period that had been in place since 1990 by a further two years; Elections were now scheduled for July 1997. The political situation was exacerbated by ethnic conflicts (especially in Shaba and Kivu), corruption and attacks by the security forces as well as economic decline. On October 6, 1996, the transitional parliament approved a provisional constitution, which was to be voted on in a referendum.

Zaire becomes a democratic republic

Serious unrest broke out in the east in the province of South Kivu in early October 1996 after the 300,000 Banyamulenge Tutsi, who have lived in this region for generations, were ordered to leave the country immediately. Rwandan troops then intervened to both support the Tutsi and smash the refugee camps of the Rwandan Hutu refugees. The latter comprised around 1.5 million people, including the militias responsible for the genocide in Rwanda (1994), who had continued their fight against the new Rwandan government from Zaire. On October 8th, 1996 it came under the leadership of L. Kabila to form the rebel movement Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo-Zaire (AFDL). The AFDL troops, mainly supported by Rwanda and Uganda, first conquered the east of the country and then quickly advanced inland. As a result of the fighting, it is estimated that over 1 million people (mostly Hutu) fled to Rwanda; thousands died in the process. In March 1997 the AFDL troops took Kisangani, in April Lubumbashi. After the interim parliament had removed Prime Minister Kengo wa Dondo from his office in March 1997, the opposition politician Étienne Tshisekedi, who had been appointed his successor a few days earlier, was deposed by Mobutu Sese-Seko and replaced by General Likulia Bolongo (* 1938) on April 9, 1997. replaced. After Kabila’s ultimatum and the advance of his units on the capital Kinshasa, Mobutu Sese-Seko left the country. On May 17, 1997, Kinshasa was taken; Kabila declared himself president, renamed Zaire the Democratic Republic of the Congo and repealed the provisional constitution. The sworn and on 29.05.1997 as President American US with far-reaching powers on the model of presidential system equipped Kabila formed a transitional government dominated by its supporters after the collapse of the state order as a result of the seven-month civil war and announced the convening of a constituent assembly as well as presidential and parliamentary elections for 1999 after a two-year transition period.

Democratic Republic of Congo since Independence