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When the atrocities related to brutal economic exploitation in Leopold's Congo Free State resulted in millions of fatalities, the US joined other world powers to force Belgium to take over the country as a regular colony. And it was during the colonial period that the US acquired a strategic stake in the enormous natural wealth of the Congo, following its use of the uranium from Congolese mines to manufacture the first atomic weapons, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs.

With the outbreak of the cold war, it was inevitable that the US and its western allies would not be prepared to let Africans have effective control over strategic raw materials, lest these fall in the hands of their enemies in the Soviet camp.

It is in this regard that Patrice Lumumba's determination to achieve genuine independence and to have full control over Congo's resources in order to utilise them to improve the living conditions of our people was perceived as a threat to western interests. In Congo, Lumumba's assassination is rightly viewed as the country's original sin. Coming less than seven months after independence on 30 June, , it was a stumbling block to the ideals of national unity, economic independence and pan-African solidarity that Lumumba had championed, as well as a shattering blow to the hopes of millions of Congolese for freedom and material prosperity.

Congo Independence Crisis 1960 (Lumumba's Assassination)

Since Lumumba's physical elimination had removed what the west saw as the major threat to their interests in the Congo, internationally-led efforts were undertaken to restore the authority of the moderate and pro-western regime in Kinshasa over the entire country. These resulted in ending the Lumumbist regime in Kisangani in August , the secession of South Kasai in September , and the Katanga secession in January No sooner did this unification process end than a radical social movement for a "second independence" arose to challenge the neocolonial state and its pro-western leadership.

This mass movement of peasants, workers, the urban unemployed, students and lower civil servants found an eager leadership among Lumumba's lieutenants, most of whom had regrouped to establish a National Liberation Council CNL in October in Brazzaville, across the Congo river from Kinshasa. The strengths and weaknesses of this movement may serve as a way of gauging the overall legacy of Patrice Lumumba for Congo and Africa as a whole. The most positive aspect of this legacy was manifest in the selfless devotion of Pierre Mulele to radical change for purposes of meeting the deepest aspirations of the Congolese people for democracy and social progress.

A King, Congo and a Museum

This is Lumumbism in words rather than in deeds. As president three decades later, Laurent Kabila did little to move from words to deeds.

  • The Infatuations.
  • Borders versus People – Part II: Congo – A Classic African Tragedy.
  • The Challenge of Decolonization in Africa.

The relentless slaughter and the sheer complexity of events—involving, at one time or another, the armies of half a dozen states as well as a bewildering array of proxy forces, regional warlords and local militias—have proved formidable obstacles to analysis. Prunier himself is a complex figure, straddling the worlds of academic analysis and policy-making. Born in in Neuilly, and educated in Paris and Nanterre in the late 60s, he spent much of the early 70s in East Africa—mainly in Uganda and Tanzania: outside the francophone sphere—before returning to France at the end of the decade to undertake a PhD at the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

In , he joined the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, where he has been based ever since, apart from a stint in —06 running the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa.

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  • Maps Of Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire).

Alongside his academic career, Prunier has regularly frequented policy-making circles. More recently, he has given expert testimony on the Congo to the International Criminal Court.

The Horrors of Imperialism: The Belgian Congo Essay

But he is perhaps best known for two contributions he made at the time of the Rwandan genocide.