Central Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo State Overview

According to POLITICSEZINE, Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country in Central Africa, called Zaire between 1971 and 1997. Located in the area of the great lakes of Africa, it is the third largest country on the continent. It borders the Central African Republic and Sudan to the north, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east, Zambia and Angola to the south, and the Republic of the Congo to the west.

After a particularly brutal colonization by Belgium, the Belgian Congo colony achieved independence in 1960, to become Zaire under the rule of the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Geography

The Democratic Republic of the Congo borders the Central African Republic to the north, Sudan to the northeast, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to the east, Zambia and Angola to the south, and the Republic of Congo and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. To the north, on the northern coastal border, the Democratic Republic of the Congo also borders Angola, and more specifically the Cabinda enclave.

Given the size of the territory, it is very diverse. First of all, it must be said that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a small outlet to the sea, although it does not have any major ports. The country’s main port is in Matadi, on the Congo River. This river is navigable in its final stretch, although boats cannot go up to Kinshasa, the capital, since between it and Matadi there are some unbridgeable waterfalls for boats, the Livingstone Falls.

Flora and fauna

Located in a territory of diverse orography, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a great variety of biomes; from the savannah in the southern regions, the montane forest of the eastern mountainous regions, the great African lakes to the east, and the jungle of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is, after the Amazon Rainforest the largest in the world, this makes the Democratic Republic of the Congo one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet.

Demography

Most of the 250 ethnic groups have been registered and cataloged one of them the Batwa. The most numerous peoples are the Kongo, Luba and Mongo. Around 700 local languages and dialects are spoken.

About 80% of the population is Christian, predominantly Catholic. Many of the non-Christians remain attached to their syncretic religious traditions. Traditional religions encompass concepts such as monotheism, animism, vitalism, spiritual and ancestral devotion and generally vary between ethnic groups; none are formalized.

As of 2007, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a population of 65,750,000 residents. The average number of children per woman is 6.37, one of the highest rates in Africa, which is causing a population growth never seen in the history of the country, it is estimated that by the year 2050 this country will have 177,200,000 residents.

Government of Patrice Lumumba

In the eastern mountains of the Congo there are valuable minerals such as coltan and niobium, as well as gold, diamonds, copper and tin. Coltan, short for Colombian – tantalum, is found in soils that are three billion years old. It is used with niobium to make capacitors to handle the electrical flow of cell phones. Cobalt and uranium are essential elements for the nuclear, chemical, aerospace and weapons of war industries. About 80% of the world’s coltan reserves are in the Congo.

Because the Belgian government wanted to continue controlling the country’s mining wealth, it supported the division of Katanga and Kasai del Sur, establishing puppet governments in those territories. The Government of Patrice Lumumba requested the North American aid, not even being received by the president of the United States, which motivated the approach to the Soviet Union that provided transport and military advisers in order to control the situation in the separatist provinces. Lumumba repeatedly denied having any communist ideology.

The CIA, the Belgian intelligence service, and other powers worked day and night to keep Congolese loyal to imperialism in power. They promoted the uprisings and fostered other secessionist movements. Under the pretext of protecting the Belgian population, Belgium sent troops to Katanga, attempting to support the secessionist government of Tshombé by force. Faced with this situation, the Kinshasa government turned to the United Nations to expel the Belgians and help restore order. Belgian troops refused to evacuate the country and continued to support Katanga’s secession. The UN sent troops, but they not only refused to intervene in support of the central government, but they intensified the destabilization of the new government.

The imperialist powers reacted by pressuring President Joseph Kasavubu to put an end to Lumumba, which he did on September 5, 1960, illegally removing him from the government and replacing him. Lumumba refused to leave office and in turn removed Kasavubu.

On September 14, nine days after his dismissal, Army Chief Colonel Joseph Mobutu Sese Seko seized political control in the capital after a coup and unleashed a wave of repression against political organizations. Within two months, Mobutu restored power to Kasavubu and appointed himself commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

On October 10, the army and UN troops arrested Lumumba, but he managed to escape on November 17 and flew to his main support base in Kisangani. He was arrested again on December 2 by the army. Always with orders not to intervene, the UN troops turned a blind eye when they brutally tortured him.

He was assassinated 17 of January of 1961 by an organized conspiracy by the government of Belgium, with the complicity of the US, Britain and the United Nations.

A team of Belgian police officers unearthed the body and dissolved it with sulfuric acid provided by a mining company. Forty years later, the Belgian parliament admitted responsibility for the assassination in a session held in November 2001.

Democratic Republic of the Congo State Overview