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The Democratic Process in the DRC.

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par Bobo BONG-E-BONE
Wits University - Licence en science politique 2006

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Chapter One: The Political Historical Overview in DRC

A. The Berlin Conference (15 November 1884 - 26 February 1885)

Europeans countries met in Berlin in Germany to divide Africa among themselves to colonize the continent. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was under control of the King of Belgium Leopold II (1870 - 1908), who made the country his own private property and named it `Congo Free State'. But in practice nothing proves that there is a `Free State' and while this period nothing as democratic system never been found in the country. In 1908, the Belgian colony parliament bowed to international pressure in order to save their last bit of prestige in Europe, forcibly adopting the `Congo Free State' as a Belgian colony from the King Leopold II, and then it became the Belgian Congo. Leopold II sold his Congo Free State to the Belgian State after perpetrating a holocaust whose victims are estimated to be 10 million African.

B. The Belgian Congo (1908 - 1960)

When the Belgian government took over the Congolese Administration from Leopold II, the political and social configuration in the country improved quickly. Immediately social change transformed the country as a model colony in Africa. However, the Congolese didn't have any power, any consideration, no saying and no nothing to do. That is exactly the case which Frederikse talking about South African's struggle against apartheid where black people were foreigners in them land, were they have not votes and also no nothing(10(*)). The non-racialism in South Africa specific case was just a form that the struggle taken but not the full content of the struggle, it was not the main objective. The Belgian colony-secretary and the General-Governor (the leader of the colony) had absolute power among Congolese people, and then the resistance or the struggle against this lack of `democracy' grew. In 1955, the upper-class in the Congolese civilization, the so-called `évolués' initiated a campaign to end the discrimination situation in which they were slaves in them own country. The goal of this struggle was focusing to put democratic system in Congo.

C. The First Republic (30 June 1960 - 24 November 1965)

As a result of mounting internal pressure, the colonial authorities met with some Congolese young political leaders (Patrice Lumumba, Joseph Kasa-Vubu,...) in Brussels to discuss the Congo decolonization process. The coming of independence and the founding of the first republic in 1960 were marked by violence and political instability. The Brussels Roundtable agreed among many political considerations on the Congo independence date and on the fundamental features of the provisional constitution of a new sovereign country. The new constitution that the called it `fundamental law' was adopted on 19 May 1960 by the Belgian Parliament. According to Djelo this new constitution proposed a unitary system for the young state and the parliament political regime (11(*)). Patrice Emery Lumumba was the prime minister and head of the government, while Joseph Kasa-Vubu became head of state. However, only three months after the country took independency, the new young sovereign state was destabilized and confused and went through a political catastrophic period marred by multidimensional instability, knows as the Congo crisis of 1960-1965. These troubles finished by military coup `pronunciamiento' from Mobutu Sese Seko on the 24 November 1965. But this period doesn't bring anything as democratic values in the country, only troubles till today.

* 10 Frederikse (J.): The Unbreakable Thread, 1990, p. 267.

* 11 DJELO E.O.: Impact de la coutume sur l' exercice du pouvoir en Afrique noire. Le cas du Zaire, Edition

Bel élan, 1990 p. 53.

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"Tu supportes des injustices; Consoles-toi, le vrai malheur est d'en faire"   Démocrite