Moving towards the culture of peace and non-violence in Democratic Republic of Congo
an article by Medard du Rocher-Bope
The Democratic Republic of Congo, located in the center of Africa, is so large that it measures over two million square kilometers and counts over 61 million inhabitants. Formerly a Belgian colony, the Democratic Republic of Congo achieved its independence since June 30, 1960.
Since independence the Congolese people have never experienced a lasting peace. Only a few days after independence there were secessions of certain regions : Katanga, Kasai-West, Kasai-East, Province-East, etc. And in 1965 Mobutu took power by a coup d'etat.
It should be admitted that the Congolese people were not prepared politically during the colonial period and were unprepared for public management. Mobutu benefited from this situation to impose his power. He got rid of other politicians of his time thus maintaining his power during three decades, based on a regime of plots and blood. He institutionalized his political party, the Popular Movement of Revolution (MPR) as the only political party.
The Congolese people were oppressed a long time by the regime of Mobutu which crushed under foot the resolutions of the national conference. The country arrived at a situation of total chaos. At that point the rebellion led by Laurent Désiré Kabila arose in the dense scrub forests of Kivu on the Eastern border of the country. Kabila took advantage of the people's disillusionment with Mobutu and eventually took power by force of arms.
But Laurent Désiré Kabila did not respond to the aspirations of his people. He was cut down in his palace, and the power passed to Joseph Kabila. The latter began to show signs of a real culture of peace by inviting the other military factions to gather around the same table and to discuss the policy of the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the table were the govenment, the "Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie" (RCD), the "Mouvement de libération du Congo" (MLC) both armed and unarmed opposition, the diaspora and the militia group called maiI-May. These discussions passed around a Forum called the Inter-Congolese Dialogue.
As a result of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue we have achieved transitional institutions, including, among others : the president of the republic (1 + 4 vice-presidents), the government, the Parliament (national assembly and senate), courts and tribunals, and several institutions of support to the democracy (independent electoral commission CEI, national observatory of Human rights ONDH, High Authority of the media HAM, Truth and Reconciliation Commission CVR, and the Commission of Ethics and the Fight Against Corruption CELC). The international committee of support to transition (CIAT) accompanies the transition in the name of the international community. For the very first time in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, we held free and democratic elections in 2006 which, in end will give rise to the 3éme République.
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Evolution of the Peace Process in the Democratic Republic of Congo
submitted to CPNN in French by Solidarité avec les Victimes et pour la Paix and translated into English by CPNN
For the original article in French, see RDC Solidarite.
From the recent past to today
After the armed hostilities in 1996 and the fall of Mobutu in May 17, 1997, there was a period of relative calm for fourteen months. A new rebellion began on August 2, 1998. Very early, negotiations started in Lusaka (Zambia) and arrived at the first agreements of ceasefire dated from July 10, 1999. It was to oversee respect of these agreements of Lusaka that the Security Council of the United Nations set up its resolution creating the Observation Mission of the United Nations (MONUC).
It was in October 2006 that the first free elections were organized.
To establish an account of the situation is difficult, but it is easier to say that at the present time the effects of armed conflict are still sad at various levels. There is extreme poverty in the civilian population. Until the present a responsible solution has not been found to assure access of children to education.
Good news today is that the country now has a Constitution, a President of the Republic, a Parliament and a Senate and provincial assemblies as well as provincial governments following the democratic elections organized in 2007. In general, the Democratic Republic of Congo is arriving slowly at peace and stability despite the constraints of reconstruction and restoration of a state of law.
Without pretending to be exhaustive, this report is a description of human rights violations on the civilian population in the city of Kinshasa. Acts of torture continue to take place. . ...more.