The location of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC or Congo-Kinshasa), in the center of Africa, and on a territory rich in raw materials, made the country a crucial player for the balance of the entire region even before independence, obtained in 1960 from Belgium. Having been a major ally of the United States throughout the Cold War, Mobutu’s former Zaire Sese Seko – who renamed the country in 1972 in his campaign for African ‘authenticity’ – has become the centerpiece of a crisis of international importance that has destabilized the whole Great Lakes region.
According to itypeusa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the 11th largest country in the world and the second largest country in Africa after Algeria. The conflicting relationship between central government and regional institutions, which continues to fuel tension in the country, has overlapped the interests of state actors and military formations for access to the country’s enormous resources and control of the territory.
In the 1960s, the attempted secession of Katanga was the prelude to the imbalances that would subsequently emerge. Patrice Lumumba, protagonist of the liberation movement and prime minister of the independent Congo, during his political activity, however, the cause of the unity of the country in an anti-imperialist and pan-African key, but was ousted by Mobutu SeseSeko, who conquered power with a coup d’état supported by Western powers, and subsequently killed. After being formally disheartened in 1993 by his main international allies, Mobutu was definitively defeated and forced to flee to Morocco in 1997 by the advance of the armed revolt of the Alliance des forces démocratiques pour la libération du Congo-Zaïre (Afdl) led by Laurent. -Désiré Kabila. The war broke out again when the new president Kabila, after having concentrated all the powers in his own hands and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Congo, he tried to expel the military contingents of Rwanda and Uganda who had supported him against Mobutu. The conflict that followed involved several states of central and southern Africa, in a progressive internationalization. The 1999 deployment of a United Nations interposition force and the involvement of the European Union were not enough to ensure stability.
Starting from 2002-03, Congo embarked on a process of pacification under the leadership of the new president Joseph Kabila, who succeeded his father murdered by a bodyguard on January 16, 2001. On February 18, 2006 the new Constitution was promulgated., with an institutional structure inspired by French semi-presidentialism. In open contrast to the centralism of the Mobutu era, the new territorial structure of the country was marked by administrative decentralization, with the establishment of ten provinces (divided into 41 districts) and a city (the megalopolis Kinshasa). In the 2006 elections, the first in history considered credible by international observers, despite the clashes between the followers of Kabila and the challenger Jean-Pierre Bemba in Kinshasa, the Congolese people confirmed the outgoing president at the helm of the country. On the other hand, the Mouvement de libération du Congo (Mlc) of Bemba, which is on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes committed in the Central African Republic, was defeated. Kabila was reappointed to the presidency in the 2011 elections, challenged by the opposition of longtime politician Étienne Tshisekedi and civil society. International observers, starting with UN Special Representative Roger Meece, declared that the elections were characterized by numerous irregularities. Kabila was reappointed to the presidency in the 2011 elections, challenged by the opposition of longtime politician Étienne Tshisekedi and civil society. International observers, starting with UN Special Representative Roger Meece, declared that the elections were characterized by numerous irregularities. Kabila was reappointed to the presidency in the 2011 elections, challenged by the opposition of longtime politician Étienne Tshisekedi and civil society. International observers, starting with UN Special Representative Roger Meece, declared that the elections were characterized by numerous irregularities.
Kabila’s government is increasingly criticized as a strongly authoritarian regime. In 2013, also due to the protracted conflict in the east of the country, Kabila convened a national concertation conference, boycotted by some important opposition parties and in which civil society organizations also took part. Although the aim should have been the identification of shared policies in the fields of health, education, culture and economy, the results were judged to be almost irrelevant.
The extreme porosity of the borders, the fragility of the central state, the huge presence of precious and sought-after natural and mineral resources, have favored the reproduction of endemic situations of conflict and supported by external actors, in a vicious circle in which causes and consequences they sometimes seem indistinguishable. The last war in chronological order was the conflict between the M23 rebels and the Congolese regular army, supported by the Blue Helmets, from 2012 to 2013 near Goma, in North Kivu. In 2013, in Addis Ababa, eleven countries, including Rwanda and Uganda, signed an agreement for the non-interference and support of the pacification efforts in North and South Kivu. The agreement is waiting to be really put into practice.