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Democratic Republic of the Congo Politics

Political System of Democratic Republic of the Congo

The national outreach prompted the students, especially from the University of Shaba Province's capital, Lubumbashi, to demand Mobutus's resignation; he sent elite forces from the presidential corps to counter the protests. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how CG can stand for Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The army occupied the campus on the morning of May 11. More than 100 students were murdered; the following day, survivors fled to other provinces and to Zambia from where they could report the massacre.

Mobutu succeeded partly in curbing the rumors of the massacre, but nevertheless generated a strong reaction from the EU, which called for an international investigation, and from Belgium, which stopped all financial aid. Mobutus's plans to liberalize the system seemed, at least temporarily, to lose credibility.

The massacre at the University of Lubumbashi raised a storm of protests and strikes, such as at Gecamina, the largest, state-owned mining company; In the US, assistance was requested for Mobutu.

In October 1990, Mobutu bowed and decided to try another political liberalization and allowed political parties without restrictions. Majority of the opposition - united in the Holy Union, composed of 9 parties, including the four biggest - demanded in December Mobutu's departure and holding of an international conference to decide Zaire's political future - without the president's participation.

In September 1991, another uprising against Mobutu, in response to rising prices and the failed conference, was held in August, discussing democratic reforms. The rebellion, which cost hundreds of lives, led to intervention by France and Belgium, sending large contingents of soldiers to evacuate their own nationals.

In November 1991, the Holy Union formed a "parallel" government and urged the Army to overthrow Mobutu. The President appointed Nguza Karl in Bond the same month as Prime Minister - the fifth during 1991. The former opposition leader Nguza had been the head of government under Mobutu for 10 years; he took over the post during a period of economic crisis and international pressure from the United States in particular.

At the beginning of 1992, the National Conference, which the opposition had fought for, was launched with the aim of introducing constitutional amendments to facilitate the transition to democracy. But in February of that year, Prime Minister Karl in the Bond suspended the conference; it led to rioting among the soldiers who occupied the state radio and demanded Mobutus's resignation. A few hours later, the rebels were defeated by government forces. Thousands of protesters demanding the president's departure were met with harsh reprisals from the army that killed and wounded hundreds.

The EU suspended all financial assistance to Zaire until the national conference reopened; At the same time, the United States, France and Belgium agreed to intensify pressure on Mobutu for political reform.

In March 1992, Mobutu reopened the national conference after allying with the president of the conference, Archbishop Monsegwo Pasinya. The conference appointed Etienne Tshisekedi, head of the Holy Union, as new prime minister to replace Nguza Karl-i-Bond.

As a clear sign of his displeasure with Mobutu's regime, Monsegwo Pasinya was received in Washington by US Secretary of State James Baker and by the Senate Foreign Policy Committee.

 

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