02 AUGUST 1998 – 02 AUGUST 2015:
By Ishiaba Kasonga
The Atlas of War and Peace, Earthscan 2003
Today the 02/08/2015, we are commemorating the 17 years of the afirica's worst war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Since the discover of the Congo; huge numbers of countries had interests (both political and resource-related) in the Congo conflicts.
The history of violence in the Congo is traced back almost 150 years since Mr Henry Stanley travelled down the Congo River and discovered -for the outsiders- the riches of the land in 1871.
Under Humanitarian venture, King Leopold II of Belgium established the Association Internationale Africaine to aid in the colonization of the Congo. This resulted in the death of an estimated 50% of the native population; probably 10 million people. Due the demand of rubber especially rose in the 1890's; Leopold II forced Congolese to work, under horrible conditions leading to their deaths.
50 years later, Congo was swept up in the decade of decolonisation. On 17 January, 1961 Lumumba -a freely elected prime minister in democratic election- was assassinated because he demanded not just political, but also independence from the former imperialistic nations.
Between 1965-1997, then came the dictator Mobutu era. Mobutu seized power through a coup d'état endorsed by the USA in 1965, allowed international exploitation, and began a large scale plundering of the Congo's national resources for himself and his cronies.
Mobutu violated Congolese human rights and his regime was full of corruption which downgrade Congolese life.
DR Congo's conflicts include both political and economic reasons.
Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi invaded the DR Congo in 1996 -after the Tutsi genocide in 1994- claiming to want to stop the injustice and attacks of main rebel Hutu group.
Their main reasons for the invasion were mineral resources.
Mobutu was toppled by the invading armies and replaced by LDK (Laurent Desire Kabila).
Laurent Kabila later retreated from this alliance with the invading nations (Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi) because of his unwillingness to be the tool of the west.
On 02/08/1998, with the consent of the international community in particular the USA, who controlled the whole operation by sending special forces into the East; Uganda and Rwanda lunched another war with the purpose to overthrow Laurent Kabila and replace him with a reliable power that would be submissive to their financial and political interests.
Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad and Sudan join Kabila's side.
Various rebel and militia groups spring up, further complicating and destabilizing the situation.
The attempt to remove L. D Kabila failed.
The East of Congo become occupied by Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda and allow for a violent exploitation of the mineral resources and create chaos, devastating the local population.
In 2001, LDK was assassinated and replaced by a mysterious and unknown character who named himself Joseph Kabila Kabange and should know who killed LDK.
The war officially ended in 2002 under the peace deal in Sun City (South Africa). The result of the Inter-Congolese dialogue was a strange accord. It bought all warring parties, the parties of former opposition and civil society together in power.
Most of them were responsible of massive violations of human rights. The Deal consecrates impunity and rewards the men of arms while neutralizing them.
Officially Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda would recall their troops. But some Soldiers remained behind to continue the plunder and the international community has looked the other way by calling the rebels groups "freedom fighters".
The exact numbers of people killed are impossible to calculate and the death tolls are estimated to above 6 million.
This war was the deadliest and silent war since World War II.
With Joseph Kabila in power, the multinational corporations involve in exploiting the countries resources and this remain a huge factor in the perpetuation of the conflict.
Above all Joseph Kabila allows the looting of the country. Rwanda, Uganda become the model of rapid economy growth in Africa. The International Community increase their economies.
Meanwhile, Congolese continue to subsist on the salaries of less then ten dollars a month. Despite the presence of Un forces, rebels and Congolese national forces are raping women, forcing children to join them or to work in the mining. Congolese are killed, displaced and their villages destroyed.
The Congolese population has never received any benefit from its vast natural resources.
The lack of media coverage of this untold history is due to policy makers being involved in this atrocity. The multinational corporations controlled by policy makers wanted the conflict to be kept out of the public eye.
"In memory of people affected by the Genocide".
Companies, persons, multinational entreprise and countries are kept responsible of this silent genocide in the "report of the panel experts on the illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo". Letter of 12 October 2002 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council.