Thursday, July 27, 2017

Forbes Magazine Calls for United States Imperialist Intervention in the DRC: No Mention of the Overthrow and Assassination of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba During 1960-61
Editor's Note: Under the Eisenhower administration in 1960 and early 1961, the United States administration ordered the political coup, house arrest and assassination of the first democratically-elected prime minister of Congo Patrice Lumumba. It was the U.S. which installed Joseph Mobutu as leader of a military junta and maintained support for this Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset for 37 years until he was overthrown through a popular uprising led by Laurent Kabila, a Lumumbaist. The regional war between 1998-2003 was engineered initially by the administration of President Bill Clinton through the-then Secretary of State Madeline Albright. The following essay represents this continuing policy towards one of Africa's most wealthiest nation known as the heart of the continent.
Reprinted from Forbes Magazine, July 20, 2017

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is on the verge of a constitutional crisis, and it is up to America to ensure that Democracy prevails.

The country is a “landscape of horror,” according to the U.N. commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Hussein.

Constitutionally, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a presidential republic. The people elect a president for a finite term and then elections are held after the completion of that term.

However, dictator-like leaders have dominated the political landscape since the country’s independence from Belgium in 1960. These leaders have suspended elections in favor of continuing their power along with low approval ratings. The most recent scheduled elections for November 2016 were suspended by current President Joseph Kabila to extend his reign.

President Kabila’s decision to postpone elections has led to massive protests and the potential breakdown of the Congo’s “democratic” system.

There have been widespread demonstrations since Kabila’s decision to not hold elections in 2016- with many of them turning deadly. Opposition groups have been vocal- yet a clear leader has yet to emerge after the death of Etienne Tshisekedi who previously lead the movement.

Protests are growing and electing a new leader is the only way they will stop. However, President Kabila has said that he has “not promised anything at all” regarding a new election this year, and the likelihood of elections taking place is slim considering nothing has been scheduled.

As a response to the political turmoil, Moϊse Katumbi, a successful Congolese businessman and football team owner, has stepped up as the opposition leader. Katumbi has urged to end corruption, and has promised to run the country with the tact of a business owner.

However, Katumbi is facing major legal issues that are preventing him from posing a serious challenge to Kabila’s power.

Katumbi is currently facing jail time for alleged fraud and accusations of endangering state security. He has been residing in Brussels to avoid authorities. There is widespread belief that Katumbi’s accusations were intended to stall or ruin his presidential bid.

Without a realistic check on the president’s power- it has become increasingly necessary for US involvement.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson must call upon President Kabila and the African Union (AU) to hold elections, as promised, by the end of the year.

The US needs to undertake the same strategy as it has in Ukraine by sending a special envoy. This would allow the United States to work with Kabila and opposition groups to hold fair elections and foster a peaceful transition of power.

Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General, is a member of a group of African leaders, which recently reported that they “are deeply concerned about the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which represents a threat to the stability, prosperity and peace of the Great Lakes Region and indeed for Africa as a whole.”

Ensuring stability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is imperative for political stability on the African continent. The Congo has a vast variety of minerals and natural resources, such as water, rubber, uranium, and coltan, and boasts the fourth largest population in Africa. If there is no immediate intervention by the United States, the current problems can cause a spillover effect into other countries, catastrophically destabilizing the region.  

That is not an overstatement.

Within their population of 82 million people, one of the most tragic humanitarian crises is taking place. The DRC has been in armed conflict for the past 23 years and currently has 3.7 million people displaced throughout the country.

Villages of innocent people have been slaughtered, and 42 mass graves have been found in the region. In the past 3 months, Bana Mura, a Congolese armed militia group, has attacked at least 20 villages and committed unspeakable atrocities against civilians of all ages.

Most recently, two priests were kidnapped in addition to five Congo rangers who were killed in a joint army operation to help rescue an American journalist in the region.

The United States must take the mantle and promote democracy in the country. Without active U.S. involvement, the Congo’s terrible tragedies will continue and an election will not be held. Congolese politics must be fleshed out and brought up to speed.

No comments: