Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
The Turbulent Political History of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Dr. Peter Buhler
On June 30th, 1960 the Congo erupted in joy as it gained its independence from Belgium. The cruel and unimaginable horrors of King Leopold’s regime were over. The unjust and patronizing rule of Belgium had ended. The new nation looked forward to a future of peace and prosperity as it began to set up its own government and handle its own rich and vast natural resources. Fast forward 49 years. The Democratic Republic of Congo is front page news all over the world. Why? Because there’s fighting going on in Goma. Yet more people have been killed, adding to the 5.4 million that have died as a result of war in the Congo over the past decade, not to mention the hundreds of thousands that were killed and tortured under Mobutu’s 32 year dictatorship. The breakout in Goma is now threatening to shatter the weak but hopeful peace in the Congo. What happened to the peace and prosperity that the Congolese looked forward to so expectantly in 1960? How is it that their own government left the Congolese as destitute and hopeless as they had been under Belgium? Why is it that neither the tortures nor the horrors nor the injustice ceased? I propose to do my honor’s project on the political history of the Congo from when it gained its independence in 1960 until the present. I intend to discuss such political figures as Lumumba, Kabila, Mobutu and his regime, and the causes of the civil war that began in 1997 and devastated so many lives. I also want to discuss the situation that is going on in Goma. Finally, I would like to discuss some of the solutions offered by political scientists on what the Congo needs to do in order to finally make the dream of peace and prosperity a reality.