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The Congo from Leopold to Kabila

The Congo from Leopold to Kabila

Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja


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The people of the Congo have suffered from a particularly brutal colonial rule, American interference after independence, decades of robbery at the hands of the dictator Mobutu and periodic warfare which continues even now in the East of the country. But, as this insightful political history makes clear, the Congolese people have not taken these multiple oppressions lying down and have fought over many years to establish democratic institutions at home and free themselves from foreign exploitation; indeed these are two aspects of a single project. Professor Nzongola-Ntalaja is one of his country's leading intellectuals and his panoramic understanding of the personalities and events, as well as class, ethnic and other factors, make his book a lucid, radical and utterly unromanticized account of his countrymen's struggle. His people's defeat and the state's post-colonial crisis are seen as resulting from a post-independence collapse of the anti-colonial alliance between the masses and the national leadership . This book is essential reading for understanding what is happening in the Congo and the Great Lakes region under the rule of the late President Kabila, and now his son. It will also stand as a milestone in how to write the modern political history of Africa.
Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is a renowned scholar of African politics and an international consultant specializing in public policy, governance and conflict-related issues. Past President of the African Studies Association of the United States (ASA) and of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), Professor Nzongola is the author of several books and numerous articles on African politics, development, and conflict issues. His major work, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History, won the 2004 Best Book Award of the African Politics Conference Group (APCG), an organization of American political scientists specializing on Africa.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Front cover
About this Book i
About the Author ii
Title iii
Copyright iv
Contents v
Preface and Acknowledgements vii
Abbreviations and Acronyms xii
Name Equivalency xiv
Map of the Democratic Republic of the Congo xvi
Introduction 1
The Quest for Freedom and Prosperity 2
The Congolese Democracy Movement in Historical Perspective 4
Notes 10
1 Imperialism, Belgian Colonialism and African Resistance 13
Imperialism and the Establishment of European Rule in the Congo 14
The Belgian Colonial System 26
African Resistance to Colonial Rule 41
Notes 54
2 The Struggle for Independence 61
The Social Basis of Decolonization in the Belgian Congo 61
Table 2.1 Indigenous enterprises and monetary income 70
Table 2.2 Number of African wage earners, 1954–57 72
Table 2.3 Structure of the Congolese wage-labour force, by sector 72
The Anticolonial Alliance and the Independence Struggle 77
Notes 89
3 The First Congo Crisis 94
The Crisis of Decolonization, 1960–65 95
The United Nations and the Congo Crisis 112
Notes 118
4 The Second Independence Movement 121
The Birth of the Second Independence Movement 121
Strengths and Weaknesses of the Second Independence Movement 126
The Externally Led Counterinsurgency 135
Notes 139
5 The Mobutu Regime: Dictatorship and State Decay 141
The Origins and Nature of the Regime 142
Instruments of Power 152
Notes 169
6 The Struggle for Multiparty Democracy 171
The Fight against Mobutu’s Dictatorship and Reign of Terror 171
The Sovereign National Conference 189
Politics and the Institutions of the Democratic Transition 198
Notes 208
7 Conflict in the Great Lakes Region 214
The Historical Context 215
The War of Partition and Plunder 227
Resistance and Repression in Kabila’s Congo 240
Notes 248
8 Conclusion 253
Internal Political Limitations 255
External Constraints 258
The Way Forward 262
Chronology 265
Bibliography 279
Index 294