Life in Africa is far away from our Western world of consumerism. Only few Westerners know it from first-hand experience and if so, it is mostly about Western style hotels at resorts with almost military security guards or about secure and climatised offices in commercial centres like Nairobi or South Africa. It will always leave a deep impression to get acquainted with people who are not only rooted in their African homelands but who know their continent and its history with all the suffering involved and who are able to relate to their fellow human beings back home until this day. Such a man is the Congolese historian, philosopher and politologist Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo. Recently he has published his detailed autobiography as a capstone of his diverse endeavours, for the time being it is only available in French.1 Its title is characteristic of the author’s personality which has inspired his scientific writings, too: “Face aux coups de l’adversité. Une autobiographie”. This may be translated as “Withstanding all blows”. Under the portrait of the author whose calm face looks at us with a solemn and earnest expression, we read a slogan which was adopted by some especially brave Bretonic houses during the hundred years’war: “Potius mori quam foedari” (Better to die than to be dishonoured). This means, never to give in to violence. Or injustice.
Dedicated to the truth without wavering
Indeed the author has never given in to injustice or violence as his oeuvre and his autobiography show. Not only does the autobiography testify to a life which has always been dedicated to the truth without compromises, but it also illustrates the decisive historical periods in the Congo (Democratic republic of the Congo, the former Zaïre). It starts with the long years of oppressive colonisation (Belgian Congo) and the “independence” of the republic of Congo. (This independence lasted for a few months only, during the summer of 1960, and was manoeuvred into a so-called civil war by Western powers.)
Two and a half months after his inauguration, the only democratically elected president of the independent Congo so far, Patrice Lumumba, had been abducted and killed by a squad on orders of Western intelligence services during a “war of secession” (a false flag operation back then to obscure the real aim of regime change). This alleged war of secession devastated the country for years until Western powers and especially the USA, UK and Belgium could install their candidate, Mobutu Sese Seko, who established his long dictatorship and renamed the vast country as “Zaïre”.
Just like it had been planned by the authors of the hidden agenda, the Mobutu dictatorship kept functioning all through the Cold War era. The deal had been as simple as brutal: Mobutu could do as he pleased with “his” people, and he reigned with an iron fist. The only condition was that the West had unrestricted access to the crucial natural resources the Congo had to offer (among other things copper, cobalt, coltan, uranium, gold and diamonds) and could buy them for the dumping prizes they had dictated. Moreover he had to make sure that the Communist East could never get influence in the geostrategically important huge country in the heart of Africa. The prize for that was that the guaranteed human rights and democracy, goals the first generation of African leaders had fought for after gaining independence, were put on hold.
The Congo as the African joker in the great game
A completely new state of affairs emerged for the Western powers and mainly the USA when, simultaneously with the disintegration of the Communist Eastern Block, the elderly dictator Mobutu got sick and it became altogoether uncertain what was about to happen with the important huge country of the Congo and its resources. Under the Clinton administration measures were taken so that at the imminent paradigm shift at the end of the Cold War Western interests in South Saharan Africa would be secured even more, rather than jeopardised. The author illustrates in his autobiography over and over again, based on testimonies of courageous eye-witnesses,2 how the renewed US intelligence “Africa policies” laid the ground for what devastated the country like a hurricane after Mobutu’s removal in 1997. It has never recovered from that to this day.
This plan (referred to in US secret archives as GHAI, Greater Horn of Africa Initiative) provided for the strengthening of the strategically important pro-Western governments around the Horn of Africa at the south western axis, Dschibuti, Somalia, Eritrea, and to instrumentalise Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni for this task. Together with the traditionally pro-Western Kenia and a NATO-controlled Congo the whole hinterland of the Horn of Africa would have been secured for US geo-political interests. As for Museveni, who as dictator of Uganda relied heavily on US-financed fire power, it didn’t take much persuasion. He had spoken publicly before about his dream to establish a new Mega-state in the heart of Africa which should comprise Uganda, the East Congo, Rwanda and parts of Tansania and Kenia, protected by the Western powers and lead by traditional ethnic elites: the Hima (Uganda) and Tutsi (Rwanda).
The situation developed further when in 1994 another young US mercenary, the Rwandan guerilla specialist (like many other high military figures world-wide, he had been trained in modern guerilla warfare at the US military school of Fort Leavenworth) and offspring of one of the influentual old Tutsi elite families Paul Kagame, re-occupied Rwanda for Tutsi dominance. Uganda and behind them the USA had ear-marked Kagame to serve as their man to secure the military coup in Kinshasa after he had re-gained power in Rwanda, dump the now unreliable Mobutu and keep the Congo in the US influence sphere for many more years.
Tutsi emigrants from the former Rwandan elite had started early to build and train the necessary military guerilla units on Ugandan soil under the name Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). All they waited for was the “green light” to attack and regain the political power in Rwanda they had lost when the former monarchy had been transformed into a republic. In the early 1990s the global players were happy to make this wish come true. In a bloody so-called civil war (which it wasn’t) the RPF conquered Rwanda with American weapons, merceneries and Ugandan special forces hardened in Museveni’s own jungle wars in 1994.
Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo cites numerous accounts which report systematic “ethnic cleansing”3 based on eye-wittness testimonies during the Rwandan Tutsi advance under Kagame between 1990 and 1994. At first these were directed against senior officials but later more and more against the ethnic Hutu majority in general.
Ngbanda (see footnote 2) and other authors argue that this is the main root of the genocide the Rwandan Hutu later committed against the Tutsi: Hutu militias were formed because the Rwandan Hutu majority was afraid of the cleansing strategy of the RPF in the “liberated areas”. In this newspaper we have reported about the atrocities in connection with the final triumph of the RPF and the Rwandan genocides (of both sides: Hutu against Tutsi and Tutsi against Hutu) after the assassination of the sitting reconciliatory president Habyarimana in several articles in the past. This article is not the place to detail them again.4
Only two years later (1996) the next step of the American GHAI plan was carried out and again the world public was totally fooled. Under the pretext that this was an rebellion of East Congolese Tutsi against Mobutu’s central government of the Congo in Kinshasa, an armada equipped with hyper-modern weapons and war-technology marched for Kinshasa and conquered the capital about one year later without meeting substantial resistance. Mobutu fled the country and soon died of his severe illness in exile.
The devastation caused by this armada and the associated severe crimes against humanity, only to mention the outragious attacks of the AFDL (Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération) under Laurent Désiré Kabila (a henchman of the Rwandans) against Rwandan Hutu refugee camps in the two East Congolese provinces North and South Kivu, are a badge of shame in recent human history. They had been committed with the full awareness and approval of the responsible governments, above all the US government, who also put a lot of efforts into their cover-up.5 Investigations into the crimes were vetoed by the Kabila regime. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha dealt with crimes comitted by Hutu’s only, after interference by Rwanda and the US no Tutsi perpetrators were charged.
Only two years after the blitz war Laurent Désiré Kabila lost the support of his former allies and was murdered by his own security staff. The government of the Congo has been controlled by henchmen following orders from Rwanda who make sure what the Western powers had wanted all the time: access to the precious resources unrestricted by a weak government who do as they are told.
The war with all its unspeakable atrocities against the defenseless civil population continued in the East of the Congo, which is especially rich in resources, into the 21st century. Eye-wittness organisations such as the “Groupe Jérémy” which had been initiated by Bucyalimwe Mararo, and other courageous perople, had carefully documented the criminal activities from their beginning and referred the information to the UN, without any official acknowledgement. The life of the civil population has remained insecure to this day resulting in widespread depopulation of huge areas in the East Congo. The smuggling activities of the warlords therefore went largely unnoticed and continue to do so.
While all the truthful rapports never saw the light of day again after they had been handed to the UN, intelligence service media outlets in the West kept reiterating the Rwandan version, according to which the Rwandan Tutsi (back in power) were the only victims of the Rwandan genocide and only their military victory had prevented further killings from happening. Today there is a whole library with investigative reports of courageous authors who reveal this web of deceit as what it is.6
It takes a lot of stubbornness for a researcher to shed some light on this deliberately obscured picture of what really happened in the Congo. One of them is the Congolese historian Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo.
Better to die than to be dishonoured
Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo was born as the son of farmers in a small village (Muramba) in the hilly savannah hinterland of Goma (Masisi), an idyllic natural paradise back then, in 1948. The author paints a touching picture of how he grew up among the about hundred cows and other lifestock of his family, without any fences or enclosures, only “troubled” from time to time by some elephants who came from the bush. The generation of his parents had worked hard to cultivate the farm land by fire clearing of the former bush region.
All that is left of his village today is a heap of abandoned, burnt-down ruins, pits and holes filled with contaminated ground water nearby testify about hastily digged coltan mines which are exploited above ground (often by children), “protected” by constantly changing militias of unidentifiable origins, all driven by the same goal to make as much money as possible with the precious resource on the black market, delivering it to the next middle-man – final destination is Kigali in most instances. Although there are no coltan mines in Rwanda, this rare earth without which no mobile phone can function has become the main export product of the tiny state of Rwanda which used to be bitterly poor not so long ago. This fact illustrates in a nutshell what has happened to the Congo. Inbetween lie all the events that can only be briefly sketched here.
From farmer’s boy to university teacher
The farmer’s boy was lucky. His father, who had never been able to attend a school himself found a way for his son because he wanted him to have a better life. Only with a solid school education, especially mastering the French language (the tongue of their colonial masters) the son could be able to fight for a better life the father kept telling his son. Farmers were regularly summoned to work without payment on the farmland of Belgian squires prior to the independence, later for building streets by the Mobutu government.
There was only one feasible way for the family: the only schools in the countryside were those run by the Catholic church. The bright boy finished the elementary school with best grades (walking distance to the school from his home three hours one way) and afterwards attended Petit-Séminaire in Rugari, later Buhimba (Resident school of the diocese of Goma), which was about 100 km away from his birthplace, a distance which he and his fellow classmates walked at the beginning and end of each school holiday season, 14 year-old boys carrying their suitcases on their heads and covered in white blankets.
After he had completed this phase again quite successfully his family enabled him to proceed to the Grand Séminaire in Muresha/Bukavu (at the other end of Lake Kivu) from 1968 onwards. The initial aim to be ordained as a priest was dropped for studying history in Kinshasa and later in Lubumbashi. Inbetween a hard period of military service in Mobutu’s national army had to be absolved, prison time had to be served for participating in a big demonstration for human rights. After he had finished his studies the author worked for 17 years as professor of history and philosophy at the renowned Institut Supérieur Pédagogique in Bukavu.
Rwandan exile Tutsi pulling the strings in both Kivu provinces
The young scholar realised soon that all higher positions were occupied by members of the East Congolese ethnic Tutsi minority while members of the traditional Hutu population, which the author identifies with, were subject to various kinds of discrimination. Back then, as early as the 1980s, a development had started which would culminate in the Congolese crisis of today.7
Although it had been his wish, it was difficult for him under these circumstances to promote his academic career in addition to lecturing. It was no co-incidence that the buildings of his pedagogic institute were made Kabila’s headquarters during the AFDL’s advance on Bukavu in their Eastern military campaign, in the days after 30 October 1996. The long-time school rector of the institute, who had always guaranteed the Tutsi nepotism scheme, behaved like a perfect quisling both before and after the attack. This helped him to become governeur of South Kivu under the occupation army regime. Outragious “careers” like this one have put Bucyalimwe Mararo off and strengthened his determination to resist. In the epilogue of his autobiography he urges the young generation to end this servility, resist structural violence and help to build a really democratic spirit based on real patriotism (inspired by the love for its courageous and sorrow-stricken population). Corruption and servility towards those in power are not helpful in this regard, he stresses on several occasions. Since he had recognised the inclination of the East Congolese elites towards Rwandan-inspired “services” and had voiced his concerns about this in his early publications he had been made a pariah by those who were pulling the strings and his scientific career was obstructed.
The author, meanwhile married and father, therefore accepted the offer of a post-doctoral position at Bloomington University (Indiana, USA, 1985-1990) and after finishing his thesis and his return to Bukavu he participated in a post-doc seminar at Yale University (1994-1995). This had been arranged by old friends, the American academicians David and Catherine Newbury from Chapell Hill in North Carolina whom the author had collaborated with when they had performed a field study in Kivu. This friendship has outlasted many years. When Bucyalimwe Mararo had to flee after the occupation of Bukavu by the AFDL troops and their terror regime against the population it once again saved him (see below). But initially the historian returned to Bukavu to resume his lecturer and research position at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique. His main research topic was focussed on the activities of the exiled Rwandan Tutsi in East Congo, to prepare the provinces for a Rwandan annexation, a project which according to his research results had been pusued over several decades.
Events spiralled into catastrophe when this project (the annexation of the East Congo and the ousting of Mobutu) had been turned into a military campaign by the new Rwandan government under Kagame. Once again a concerted misinformation media campaign was launched to assist the military operations. According to Western media, encyclopedias and streamlined literature a rebellion of the Tutsi minority in East Congo (the so-called Banyamulenge) had taken place. They are Rwandan cattle-breeders whom the province of South Kivu had generously allowed to use grasland between the hills around Bukavu (a friendly gesture which had been reframed by the RPF war propaganda into an act of racist hostility). The alleged armed “movement” (the AFDL, in reality highly equipped special forces, armed and co-financed by the US) went on to settle affairs in the Congo to suit their interests. Western media and NATO-associated governments, prominently the German one, had eagerly promoted the narrative and have maintained this version to this day, a media-political scandalous case which is far from being closed.
Escape and exile
The escape of Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo lasted more than a year and took place one day after the city was handed over to the occupying forces with practically no resistance. From the very first day, the occupying forces exerted brutal terror against the city’s population, which initially focused on leaders of the patriotic, anti-Rwandan resistance. One of them was Mgr Christoph Munzihirwa, Archbishop of Bukavu, who had pointed out in his sermon on the Sunday before that threatening people with a gun in his hand was not a Christian act. That cost him his life. On the very first day of the appearance of the ADFL formations in Bukavu, he was dragged out of his car on a business trip and shot down in the open street.
Bucyalimwe Mararo learned from sources that his name was also at the top of the RPF’s execution list. In addition, the firing squads of the Rwandan-Ugandan-Burundian Conquistador’s Army AFDL were in action at various checkpoints, all of whom considered Hutus to be potential members of the extremist organisation Interahamwe and were shot on the spot. All this did not leave much room for discussion. On the advice of family and friends, the author, after unsuccessful escape attempts in the hilly surroundings of Bukavu, decided to go into hiding in the middle of the city, a situation experienced by German Jewish families in German cities after 1933, where a careless movement meant transport to a concentration camp and certain death. After months in hiding with reliable friends, the author was told that the Rwandan secret service was on his trail based on information from traitors: he was now under extreme threat to life and limb and had to leave the country.
Not much time remained. The most necessary papers were gathered, some small change, the most important thing: a fake identity card, and then off he went. The transport in a small car failed, the bus had to be taken in the direction of the Zambian border and Lake Tanganyika, past numerous checkpoints where AFDL soldiers, their machine guns ready to fire, watched over the fact that no Hutu could cross the border into foreign countries. With skill and good luck, the author passed numerous checkpoints, each one confronted with the ultimate question of to be or not to be. Finally the ship could be boarded until the southern end of Lake Tanganyika (Kigoma, Tanzania).
Through the mediation of friends, he was able to obtain a sum of money secured by his aforementioned American helpers, which enabled him to fly from Kigoma to Kenya. For security reasons, the author chose the flight to Mwanza. After a bus journey lasting many hours, all night long, interrupted by several highly risky personnel checks, the author finally arrived in Nairobi on 23 March 1997. As before, it was above all lifelong, deep friendships that made the further escape a success. In Nairobi, he was able to fall back on a long-time friend who, also due to dramatic life circumstances, had “got stuck” in Nairobi. Admitted into his family, the refugee was able to explore further paths during six months, which would be feasible. First of all, there was the option of his American friends, who advised him to obtain a visa for the United States, they would witness the official invitation as well as give the guarantee to take care of his needs – guarantees without which no visa to the USA was possible.
The difficulties were not there, however, but with the Congolese authorities, who first delayed and then refused the visa to the USA. Since these delays extended the refugee’s stay in the Kenyan capital, he tried to get some money by working. He applied as a guest lecturer at the Catholic University of East Africa in Nairobi, an application that was accepted because the rector knew and appreciated the serious, patriotic historian and open-minded Christian from his time in Bukavu.
However, sudden changes in his security situation in Nairobi (where the Rwandan secret service had become very active in the meantime) forced Bucyalimwe Mararo to leave in a hurry. Again, a circumstance of his political engagement already in the Bukavu period was of benefit to him. As president of the Civil Society of North Kivu (a highly reliable cell of resistance against Rwanda’s eastern Congolese lust for annexation), he had founded the town twinning between Bukavu and Palermo (Sicily) with the support of like-minded people in Europe and revitalised it with mutual projects. The twinning institution (Coopération Sud-Sud) was headed by Antonio Rocca, a personality with whom the author also had a personal friendship. Rocca persuaded the then Mayor of Palermo to lobby for the granting of an entry visa for Bucyalimwe Mararo to Palermo, a request that the Foreign Office of the Italian government finally agreed to. Thus he arrived in Palermo, where he was received within the Rocca family circle. However, since the Italian visa was only valid for one month and expired at the end of October 1997, further sounding out was indispensable.
Bucyalimwe Mararo also tried in vain to obtain a visa to the USA from Italy. That left only Belgium. As a former colonial state of the Congo, it was at least partially responsible for the victims, who were imposed on parts of the population of the former Belgian colony for political reasons. Here, too, the negotiations dragged on. An unexpected “coincidence” came to the author’s aid, first and foremost due to the constraints imposed by Italy’s membership in the EU: On 26 October 1997 Belgium joined the European Schengen Ageements. Thus, a visa granted to an individual by a member of the community of states was also valid for all other EU states.
With united forces, an air ticket Palermo-Rome was organised as well as a train ticket from Rome to Brussels via Milan. In the early morning hours of 30 October 1997, one day before the expiry of his Italian visa, after a night train ride from Milan to Brussels, the odyssey of this upright African historian ended at the central station of Brussels after almost exactly twelve months of uncertainty. Almost every day in the morning he and his family had to ask themselves the question whether he would live to see the evening.
“I work to avoid going crazy”
Following the admission procedure customary in our time, Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo was officially accepted as a political refugee in Belgium and received the appropriate papers. Soon he also succeeded in reuniting with his family in the city of Antwerp. On the basis of his scientific publications, he also obtained a position as an “independent researcher” at the Great Lakes of Africa Centre at the University of Antwerp (chair of Professor Filip Reyntjens), where he was entrusted with the supervision of the series of publications “Annuaires des Grands Lacs Africains”, which also attracted a great deal of attention in Africa, and for which he made many important research contributions. Bucyalimwe Mararo held this position until 1998.
In addition, he worked tirelessly for his numerous individual portrayals and monographs, which were dedicated to what had been his life-long concern: to present the scientific world with the unvarnished truth about what had been done to his people in the past decades, mainly for the sake of power and profit.
The horrors of the Second Congolese War (1997-98), which lasted until after 2007, could only be followed and portrayed from a distance, but still in close contact with his homeland. The fate of East Congo, especially of North Kivu, became a model for what was and is being done to other peoples. In doing so, he made an urgent appeal to what constitutes the soul of every state: a population that knows about its history, that adopts a productive, forward-looking attitude to it, that sees itself as the centre of the state (and not the other way around, the state as the centre of its own life) and therefore helps determine its own fate. The prerequisite for this is, he has always proclaimed it and he has lived it: that the citizen does not subjugate to violence.
The author has worked feverishly in the short time in which he was able to concentrate his energies entirely on his own research and has delivered several comprehensive, seriously compiled research results to the scientific world. When asked how he manages to bring forth so much and so many fundamental things, he once gave the writer the answer: “I work from morning to evening to avoid going crazy.” One could indeed go crazy in view of the extent of the atrocities that have been and continue to be committed against his people and the indifference with which they are acknowledged or even denied by many governments, institutions and media. It will take some time before the factual analyses of Stanislas Bucyalimwe Mararo, supported by a high scientific and human ethos, find their way into general knowledge. We, who have crossed the path of this unique human being, are challenged by this. We should help to spread it. And to do the same, if possible. And take him as good example: as a scientist and as a human being. •
1 Bucyalimwe Mararo, Stanislas. Face aux coups de l’adversité. Une autobiographie, Brussels (Editions Scribe) 2019, ISBN 978-2-930765-57-0
2 One of them is Honoré Ngbanda Nzambo, a long-time minister, head of the Congolese intelligence services and confidant of Mobutu in the last years of his government. In his autobiography, the patriot and today’s prominent critic of the dictatorship and the new Congolese regime (under the two Kabilas, Laurent Désiré Kabila and Joseph Kabila, and the current president Tshisekedi), presents his report on the circumstances and background of the American betrayal of Mobutu, the seizure of power and its Rwandan-Ugandan backers with a great deal of detailed knowledge and documents to the public. Cf: Ngbanda Nzambo, Honoré. Crimes organisés en Afrique centrale. Révélations sur les réseaux rwandais et occidentaux, Paris (Editions Duboiris) 2004
3 see Péan, Pierre. Carnages. Les guerres secrètes des grandes puissances en Afrique, pp. 103. Péan bases this work on the official UN report of the UN Special Rapporteur Gersony of October 10, 1994, which has been “pigeonholed” to this day, reproduced verbatim in the annex to the book mentioned above.
4 cf. among others Küpfer, Peter. Will truth out? In Current Concerns No. 9, 15 May 2020
5 cf. among others Onana, Charles. Ces tueurs tutsi. Au coeur de la tragédie congolaise, Paris (Duboiris) 2009, paperback edition (French) ISBN: 9782916872087
6 cf. among others Rever, Judi. In Praise of Blood. The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, 2020 (Random House/Penguin), English, ISBN 9780345812100
7 After 1959, when the former Rwandan monarchy became a republic and the privileges of the Tutsi elite supported by the monarchy vanished, refugees from the neighbouring country increased in East Congo. The Rwandan immigrants were initially well and hospitably received by the Congolese population. Only later did tolerance give way to growing resentment, as the immigrants no longer behaved like guests, but demanded and took more and more space in the host country. In later years, the author demonstrated this slow but planned preparation for the civilian occupation of East Congo in meticulous studies based on his dissertation, for example in the two-volume work “Manoeuvring for Ethnic Hegemony.” A Thorny Issue in the North Kivu Peace Process (Democratic Republic of Congo), Brussels (Editions Scribe) 2014, two volumes (English), ISBN 978-2-930765-03-7 (Vol. 1) and ISBN 978-2-930765-04-4 (Vol. 2)
1960: Belgian Congo becomes independent, calling itself the Democratic Republic of Congo with Patrice Lumumba as Prime Minister.
19.1.1961: Patrice Lumumba is assassinated. Until 1965 Congo turmoil. Then military coup by Colonel Mobutu.
1.10.1990: The RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front, Tutsi guerrilla army) attacks Ruanda from Uganda under the democratically elected President Juvénal Habyarimana (Hutu).
6.4.1994: The Rwandan presidential airplane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian President Ntaryamira, along with high-ranking military personnel and a French crew on board, is shot down by a surface-to-air missile.
October/November 1996: Beginning of the war of aggression by the AFDL (Alliance des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération) against the Congo with massive bombardment of the Rwandan refugee camps (mostly Hutu). Of the hundreds of thousands of refugees, a large number die of persecution by AFDL troops or starvation in the impassable jungle.
19.05.1997: Laurent Désiré Kabila, the man of Rwanda and the USA, appoints himself president of the country, which is now once again called the Democratic Republic of Congo.
August 1998: Kabila falls into disfavour with his Rwandan and Ugandan backers. They set up a self-created new “rebellion” (as in 1996) and start the second Congo war. Other states intervene on their side, including Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia. UN intervention leads to a ceasefire on a front of several thousand kilometers deep inside the country. In eastern Congo, the great suffering of the civilian population continues with terror and the illegal exploitation of natural resources by so-called “liberation movements”, including the RCD (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie, with a Rwandan and Ugandan supreme command) and the MLC (Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo). These “liberation” movements, which after the Lusaka ceasefire have been transformed into other formations with ever-changing names, terrorise the eastern Congolese population, undisturbed by the MONUC (UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN forces that were supposed to protect them) until 2017 and sometimes beyond, as human rights organisations repeatedly testify.
16.01.2001: Laurent Désiré Kabila is shot by his own security guard; the background to the crime is still unclear.
After Laurent Désiré Kabila’s assassination, “his son” Josef Kabila (his origin is controversial, but he belongs to the inner circle of the Rwandan military junta and participated in and was partly responsible for the 1996 campaign) emerges from Rwandan obscurity and becomes his successor ad interim. It takes eight years before Joseph Kabila seeks to legitimise the presidency through elections, which many observers describe as rigged. In the meantime, he remains in power until 2018 with meagre legitimacy, and is then replaced by Felix Tshisekedi, the long-time leader of the Socialist Party, in equally controversial elections, a man who is said by critical voices to have been “bought“ by the Kabila regime.
(compiled by Peter Küpfer)
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