Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo known as DR Congo, the DRC, DROC, Congo-Kinshasa, or the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes anachronistically referred to by its former name of Zaire, its official name between 1971 and 1997, it is, by area, the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa, the second-largest in all of Africa, the 11th-largest in the world. With a population of over 78 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populated Francophone country, the fourth-most-populated country in Africa, the 16th-most-populated country in the world. Eastern DR Congo is the scene of ongoing military conflict in Kivu, since 2015. Centred on the Congo Basin, the territory of the DRC was first inhabited by Central African foragers around 90,000 years ago and was reached by the Bantu expansion about 3,000 years ago. In the west, the Kingdom of Kongo ruled around the mouth of the Congo River from the 14th to 19th centuries. In the centre and east, the kingdoms of Luba and Lunda ruled from the 16th and 17th centuries to the 19th century.
In the 1870s, just before the onset of the Scramble for Africa, European exploration of the Congo Basin was carried out, first led by Henry Morton Stanley under the sponsorship of Leopold II of Belgium. Leopold formally acquired rights to the Congo territory at the Berlin Conference in 1885 and made the land his private property, naming it the Congo Free State. During the Free State, the colonial military unit, the Force Publique, forced the local population to produce rubber, from 1885 to 1908, millions of Congolese died as a consequence of disease and exploitation. In 1908, despite initial reluctance, formally annexed the Free State, which became the Belgian Congo; the Belgian Congo achieved independence on 30 June 1960 under the name Republic of the Congo. Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba was elected the first Prime Minister, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became the first President. Conflict arose over the administration of the territory; the provinces of Katanga, under Moïse Tshombe, South Kasai attempted to secede.
After Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for assistance in the crisis, the U. S. and Belgium became wary and oversaw his removal from office by Kasa-Vubu on 5 September and ultimate execution by Belgian-led Katangese troops on 17 January 1961. On 25 November 1965, Army Chief of Staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, who renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko came into power through a coup d'état. In 1971, he renamed the country Zaire; the country was run as a dictatorial one-party state, with his Popular Movement of the Revolution as the sole legal party. Mobutu's government received considerable support from the United States, due to its anti-communist stance during the Cold War. By the early 1990s, Mobutu's government began to weaken. Destabilisation in the east resulting from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and disenfranchisement among the eastern Banyamulenge population led to a 1996 invasion led by Tutsi FPR-ruled Rwanda, which began the First Congo War. On 17 May 1997, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, a leader of Tutsi forces from the province of South Kivu, became President after Mobutu fled to Morocco, reverting the country's name to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Tensions between President Kabila and the Rwandan and Tutsi presence in the country led to the Second Congo War from 1998 to 2003. Nine African countries and around twenty armed groups became involved in the war, which resulted in the deaths of 5.4 million people. The two wars devastated the country. President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated by one of his bodyguards on 16 January 2001 and was succeeded eight days as President by his son Joseph; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is rich in natural resources but has had political instability, a lack of infrastructure, issues with corruption and centuries of both commercial and colonial extraction and exploitation with little holistic development. Besides the capital Kinshasa, the two next largest cities Lubumbashi and Mbuji-Mayi are both mining communities. DR Congo's largest export is raw minerals, with China accepting over 50% of DRC's exports in 2012. In 2016, DR Congo's level of human development was ranked 176th out of 187 countries by the Human Development Index.
As of 2018, around 600,000 Congolese have fled to neighbouring countries from conflicts in the centre and east of the DRC. Two million children risk starvation, the fighting has displaced 4.5 million people. The sovereign state is a member of the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, African Union, COMESA; the Democratic Republic of the Congo is named after the Congo River, which flows throughout the country. The Congo River is the world's second largest river by discharge; the Comité d'études du haut Congo, established by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1876, the International Association of the Congo, established by him in 1879, were named after the river. The Congo River itself was named by early European sailors after the Kingdom of Kongo and its Bantu inhabitants, the Kongo people, when they encountered them in the 16th century; the word Kongo comes from the Kongo language. According to American writer Samuel Henry Nelson "It is probable that the word'Kongo' itself implies a public gathering and that it is based on the root konga,'to gather'."
The modern name of the Kongo people, Bakongo was introduced in the early 20th century. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been known in the past as, in chronological order, the Congo Free State, Belgian Congo, the Repub
The Léopoldville riots were an outbreak of civil disorder in Léopoldville in the Belgian Congo which took place in early 1959 and which were an important moment for the Congolese independence movement. The rioting occurred when members of the Alliance des Bakongo political party were not allowed to assemble for a protest and colonial authorities reacted harshly; the exact death toll is not known, but at least 49 people were killed and total casualties may have been as high as 500. The Congo received its independence on 30 June 1960. Calls for Congolese independence had been building for several years and a slew of new political parties competed for popular support, including the Alliance des Bakongo, led by Joseph Kasa-Vubu and the Mouvement National Congolais, led by Patrice Lumumba. On 28 December 1958, Lumumba organized a major MNC rally in Kinshasa where he reported on his attendance of the All-African Peoples' Conference in Accra, Ghana earlier that month. Noting the success of the rally, Kasa-Vubu decided to organize his own event one week on Sunday January 4, 1959.
Kasa-Vubu was set to address the crowd on African nationalism, but when the group requested permission to hold the meeting at the Young Men's Christian Association, Belgian officials warned that if the event became political, ABAKO leaders would be held responsible. Interpreting this as a prohibition of the meeting, ABAKO leadership attempted on 3 January to postpone the event, but on Sunday, 4 January, a large crowd gathered at the YMCA anyway. Kasa-Vubu and other ABAKO officials arrived to send the protesters home, they were unable to calm the crowd, the violence began following the protesters refusal to disperse. The crowd began throwing rocks at police and attacking white motorists, before the conflagration spread; the initial group of protesters were soon joined by 20,000 Congolese leaving a nearby soccer stadium. At the time press accounts estimated that 35,000 Africans were involved in the violence, which spread as the rioters attempted to enter the European section of the capital. Rioters smashed and looted storefronts, burned Catholic missions and beat Catholic priests.
Order was restored with the use of African police officers in the employ of the colonial government and with the use of armored cars. Colonial authorities arrested as many as 300 Congolese, including Kasa-Vubu, who would become the newly-independent Congo's first president, Simon Mzeza and ABAKO vice-president Daniel Kanza and charged them with inciting the riot. Estimates of the riot's final death toll vary, but estimates of total casualties range from 49 to as high as 500. More than just a significant loss of life, the January riots marked a turning point in the Congolese liberation movement, forcing colonial and Belgian authorities to acknowledge that serious issues existed; the event is believed to have been spontaneous and featured crowds chanting "indépendance immédiate". In the immediate aftermath, Belgian authorities laid blame on unemployed Africans, but claimed the majority of the city's 250,000 African residents were not involved. However, within days, Belgian authorities began to move to put into place reforms that would offer Congolese more say in their own government, including the announcement of elections in December 1959.4 January is now celebrated as a public holiday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as Day of the Martyrs.
The events marked the radicalization of the independence movement and are considered to be the "death knell" for Belgian control of the Congo. This radicalization occurred on both sides, with a Congolese group signalling a willingness to use violence to achieve independence for the first time as well as many in the white community becoming prepared for violence; some whites planned to attempt a coup d'état. The riots marked a period of rising tension and a break for the Mouvement National Congolais, the main political rivals for the ABAKO. Starting with the unrest in January, both of the nationalist parties' influence expanded outside the major cities for the first time, nationalist demonstrations and riots became a regular occurrence over the next year, bringing large numbers of black people from outside the évolué class into the independence movement; the bulk of the ABAKO leadership was arrested, leaving the MNC in an advantageous position
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
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Hendrik A. A. Cornelis was a Belgian colonial civil servant who served as the last Governor-General of the Belgian Congo from 12 July 1958 until 30 June 1960, he was succeeded by Joseph Kasa-Vubu as first president of the independent Republic of the Congo on 1 July 1960. Cornelis was born in Oudenaarde in Belgium on 18 September 1910. Gaining a doctorate in business studies from the University of Ghent, he left in 1934 as an officer for the Regional Office of the Belgian Congo. In 1951, he was appointed commissioner of the Ten-Year Plan in Vice-Governor-General. Brassinne de La Buissière, Jacques. "Les autorités belges et la décolonisation du Congo". Courrier hebdomadaire du CRISP. 18. Cornelis, Rik in NEVB Online Gouverneurs du Congo Congo
The Simba rebellion of 1964 was a revolt in Congo-Léopoldville which took place within the wider context of the Congo Crisis and the Cold War. The rebellion, located in the east of the country, was led by the followers of Patrice Lumumba, ousted from power in 1960 by Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Joseph-Désiré Mobutu and subsequently killed in January 1961 in Katanga; the rebellion was contemporaneous with the Kwilu rebellion led by fellow Lumumbist Pierre Mulele in central Congo. The causes of the Simba Rebellion should be viewed as part of the wider struggle for power within the Republic of the Congo following independence from Belgium on 30 June 1960 as well as within the context of other Cold War interventions in Africa by the West and the Soviet Union; the rebellion can be traced back to the assassination of the first Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba, in January 1961. Political infighting and intrigue followed, resulting in the ascendancy of Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Joseph-Désiré Mobutu in Kinshasa at the expense of politicians who had supported Lumumba such as Antoine Gizenga, Christophe Gbenye and Gaston Soumialot.
In 1961, this change in power led Antoine Gizenga to declare the creation of a rebel government in Stanleyville. This new state, dubbed the Free Republic of the Congo, received support from the Soviet Union and China as they positioned themselves as being "socialists" opposed to American intervention in the Congo and involvement in the death of Lumumba although, as with Lumumba, there is some dispute over the true political inclinations of the Lumumbists. However, in August 1961, Gizenga dissolved the government in Stanleyville with the intention of taking part in the United Nations sponsored talks at Lovanium University; these talks did not deliver the Lumumbist government, intended, Gizenga was arrested and imprisoned on Balu-Bemba and many of the Lumumbists went into exile. It was in exile. In 1963, the Conseil National de Libération was founded by Gbenye and Soumialot in Brazzaville, capital of the neighbouring Republic of the Congo. However, whilst these plans for rebellion were being developed in exile, Pierre Mulele returned from his training in China to launch a revolution in his native province of Kwilu.
Mulele proved to be a capable leader and scored a number of early successes, although these would remain localised to Kwilu. With the country again seeming to be in open rebellion of the government in Kinshasa, the CNL launched its rebellion in their political heartland around Stanleyville. Simba meaning a lion or big lion in Swahili, is used in eastern parts of Congo and in other countries of the African Great Lakes, it was from across this area. The majority were young teens although children were not unheard of in the conflict; the rebels were led by Gaston Soumialot and Christophe Gbenye, members of Gizenga's Parti Solidaire Africain, Laurent Kabila, a member of the Lumumba aligned Association générale des Baluba du Katanga. Because of the range of political beliefs amongst the Simba rebels, attributing an ideology to the rebellion is complex. Whilst the leaders claimed to be influenced by Chinese Maoist ideas, the Cuban military advisor Che Guevara wrote that the majority of the fighters did not hold these views.
The fighters practised a system of traditional beliefs which held that correct behaviour and the regular reapplying of dawa would leave the fighters impervious to bullets. The Simba rebels managed to intimidate two well-equipped battalions of government Armée Nationale Congolaise soldiers into retreating without a fight, they began to capture important cities. Within weeks, they controlled about half of the Congo. By August they had captured Stanleyville where a 1,500-man ANC force fled leaving behind weapons and vehicles which the Simba rebels captured; the attack consisted with forty Simba warriors. No shots were fired by the Simba rebels; as the rebel movement spread, discipline became more difficult to maintain, acts of violence and terror increased. Thousands of Congolese were executed, including government officials, political leaders of opposition parties and local police, school teachers, others believed to have been Westernized. Many of the executions were carried out with extreme cruelty, in front of a monument to Patrice Lumumba in Stanleyville.
With much of Northern Congo and the Congolese upcountry under control, the Simba rebels moved south against Kasai Province. Kasai had rich mining concerns but was a strategic key to more lasting control of Congo. If the rebels could capture Kasai Province up to the Angola border they could cut the government forces in half, isolating Katanga Province and overstretching ANC lines. In August 1964 unknown thousands of Simbas moved down out of the hills and began the conquest of Kasai; as before ANC forces retreated with little fight by either throwing down arms or defecting to the rebels. Newly appointed Prime Minister Moïse Tshombe acted decisively against the new threat. Using contacts he had made while exiled in Spain, Tshombe was able to organize an airlift of his former soldiers exiled in rural Angola; the airlift was enacted by the United States and facilitated by the Portuguese as both feared a Soviet influenced socialist state in the middle of Africa. Tshombe's forces were composed of Belgian trained Katangese Gendarmes who had served the Belgian Colonial Authority.
They were a disciplined and well equipped force who had only just lost a bid for independence in the previous conflict. In addition the force was
Abbé Fulbert Youlou was a laicized Brazzaville-Congolese Roman Catholic priest, nationalist leader and politician, who became the first President of the Republic of the Congo on its independence. In August 1960, he led his country into independence. In December 1960 he organised an intercontinental conference in Brazzaville, in the course of which he praised the advantages of economic liberalism and condemned communism. Three years he left power. Youlou disappointed many from the North when he imposed a single party system and imprisoned union leaders in August 1963. Charles de Gaulle despised him and France refused to assist him, he resigned in the face of overwhelming opposition to his governance. Youlou, whose last name means "Grape" in Lari, was born on 9 June 1917 in Madibou in Pool. A younger child in a family of three boys, he was a Lari of the Kongo. At nine years old, he was received the Christian name Fulbert. In 1929 he entered the Petit Séminaire of Brazzaville. A bright student, he was sent to Akono in Cameroon to complete his secondary studies.
After this, he entered the Grand Séminaire of Yaoundé where he did well in philosophy. Here he met Barthélemy Boganda, the future nationalist leader of Oubangui-Chari and the first president of the Central African Republic but Andre-Marie Mbida, Cameroon's first head of state. Returning to the country, he taught at the Seminary in Mbamou before travelling to Libreville to complete his theological studies, he completed his final cycle of studies in Brazzaville. Fulbert Youlou was ordained as a priest on 9 June 1946 or in 1949, he was assigned to the parish of Saint-François de Brazzaville where he directed several youth organisations, sporting activities, Catholic groups. He covered the general hospital and the prison. Fulbert Youlou was interested in politics. Encouraged by his protector, Father Charles Lecomte, he offered his candidature for the African college in the territorial elections of 1947 in the district of Pool, but although Father Lecomte was elected without difficulty to the European college, Youlou suffered a bitter defeat.
He realised that if he were elected, he would no longer appear so supported by the administration or the missions. Although a man of the white church, thereafter he gave himself over to the African resistance; this attitude did not please his superiors, moreover in October 1953 a complaint was made to the diocese against the young Abbé, caught in the act of adultery. As a disciplinary measure, he was reassigned on 20 November 1954 to a mission in the forest at Mindouli where he was employed as the headmaster of a Catholic school. During his time at Saint-François, Youlou made an impression as a Lari orator. Many Lari were followers of Matswanisme, a messianic movement challenging colonialism, founded by a Téké, who died in prison in 1942; the young Abbé managed to position himself as an interlocutor for the Matswa, taking control of Amicale, the Lari self-help organization Matswa had founded, allowing him to exercise influence on his disciples. In addition, his focus on the association enabled him to attach himself to the Lari youth.
His punishment by the church confirmed him in his role as their leader because it made him appear the victim of the European-dominated Congoloese church. In October 1955, thanks to this revolutionary image, a Kongo council chose him as their representative for the upcoming legislative elections; when his candidature was announced, his bishop Mgr. Bernard attempted to dissuade him, he was banned from celebrating the Mass.. The Kongos supplied a monthly pension for him and a car with a driver to meet his needs. Youlou's supporters considered him the reincarnation of "Jesus-Matswa," an idea encouraged by the fact that he was a priest, he himself became a living symbol of colonial resistance. A story attached him to the Loufoulakari falls, where the great Kongo Boueta Mbongo was decapitated and thrown into the water by the colonisers, he took to bathing there in his cassock and calling upon the powerful ancestors. His clothes remained dry when he was immersed; this mysticism was carried over into the electoral campaign.
Acts of violence became the method of political action for the Bacongo militants. Thus on 12 December 1955, tracts by his supporters called for the Matswanists who had not joined Abbé to be "whipped". One of them, Victor Tamba-Tamba, saw his house burnt down and his entire family killed on 28 December; the agitation reached fever pitch on 10 October 1956, the day of the election: when the polls of Bacongo were opened, Lari youth took it upon themselves to kill voters whom they suspected of not voting for Youlou. The authorities had to send out security forces to protect the polling stations. Calm did not long return to Brazzaville. In the following two days, a number of houses were destroyed, four thousand people were killed and several thousands were wounded. Fulbert Youlou and one of his opponents, Jacques Opangault, called for calm by radio. A week the results were announced; the incumbent, Jean-Félix Tchicaya was re-elected as deputy for Central Congo with 45,976 votes, against 43,193 for Jacques Opangault and 41,084 for Youlou.
A collection was taken so that he could travel to Paris to attempt to buy weapons and start a war in the country against the newly elected Tchicaya. This voyage allowed him to make some new contacts. On 17 May 1956, Fulbert Youlou founded the Union démocratique de défense des intérêts africains, as a competitor to the Congolese Progressive Party of Tchicaya an
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the head of state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The position of president in the DRC has existed since the first constitution – known as The Fundamental Law – of 1960; however the powers of this position have varied over the years, from a limited shared role in the executive branch, with a prime minister, to a full-blown dictatorship. Under the current constitution, the President exists as the highest institution in a semi-presidential republic; the president is protected by the Republican Guard. The constitutional mandate of the president, Joseph Kabila, was due to expire on 20 December 2016 but was extended by him until the end of 2017 and he continued to remain in post until a presidential election was held in December 2018 when Félix Tshisekedi was elected and took office on 24 January 2019; the semi-presidential system established by the constitution is borrowed from the French constitution.
Although it is the prime minister and parliament that oversee much of the nation's actual lawmaking, the president wields significant influence, both formally and from constitutional convention. The president holds the nation's most senior office, outranks all other politicians; the president's greatest power is his or her ability to choose the prime minister. However, the President must nominate the prime minister from among the parliamentary majority after consultation with the parliamentary majority, if an obvious majority exists, if it does not exist, must nominate a prime minister who has a once renewable 30 day exploratory mandate to form a coalition; the prime minister and cabinet must present their plan of action to the National Assembly, which must approve the government and the plan of action by an absolute majority. Only the National Assembly has the power to dismiss the Prime Minister's government; when the majority of the Assembly has opposite political views to that of the president, this leads to political cohabitation.
In that case, the president's power is diminished, since much of the de facto power relies on a supportive prime minister and National Assembly, is not directly attributed to the post of president. Still, the constitutional convention is that the president directs foreign policy, though he must work on that matter with the Minister of Foreign Affairs; when the majority of the Assembly sides with him, the President can take a more active role and may, in effect, direct government policy. The prime minister is de a mere "fuse" – and can be replaced if the administration becomes unpopular. Among the formal powers of the president: The president ensures respect of the constitution and ensures the proper functioning of the public authorities and institutions as well as the continuity of the State, he guarantees the independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty of the nation and ensures the observance of international treaties. The president appoints the Prime Minister and, acting on the advice of the latter and removes the other members of the government.
The president convokes and presides at meetings of the Council of Ministers, promulgates the laws, issues ordinances The president invests the elected Governors and Vice-Governors of the Provinces with their powers. The president appoints and removes, on the proposal of the government and after deliberation by the Council of Ministers:Ambassadors and other diplomatic personnel; the president chairs the High Defense Council. The president confers national honors; the president may declare a state of emergency or a state of siege "When grave circumstances constitute a present threat to the independence or the integrity of the national territory or when they provoke the disruption of the proper functioning of the institutions." The president may declare war with the authorization of both chambers of parliament, after deliberation by the Council of Ministers, after hearing the opinion of the High Defense Council. The President may reduce sentences; the President appoints and accredits ambassadors to foreign countries and international organizations, receives ambassadors accredited to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The President defines national policy in coordination with the government and is responsible, in cooperation with the government, for defense and foreign affairs. The president has a limited form of suspensive veto: when presented with a law, he or she can request another reading of it by parliament, but only once per law. Article 72 of the Congolese constitution states that the President must be a natural-born citizen – or more accurately: French: citoyen d'origine – of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least 30 years of age. Additionally, the President must be free of any legal constraints on their civil and political rights. Article 10 of the same constitution defines citoyen d'origine as: "anyone belonging to the ethnic groups whose persons and territory constituted what became the Congo, at