There are two Congo's in Africa. The former People's Republic of Congo was part of the French African Empire and today's Democratic Republic of Congo was part of Belgium. King Leopold 2 bought the land that became his private African empire. He called it the Congo Free State and murdered more then 7 million black workers between 1885 and 1908. Leopold and his Belgian colonialists also loved to amputate arms and legs of black workers who worked not hard enough for the European monarch. Finally in 1908 did the Belgian state intervene and nationalized the Congo Free State. For 52 years the nation was called Belgian Congo, a colony of the Kingdom of Belgium!
On 30 July 1960, the Kingdom of Belgium gave up its colony. But soon political unrest started when American and Belgian imperialists fuelled violence and terrorism. This was done to destabilize the government of Patrice Emery Lumumba, who was a popular anti-colonialist fighter. Lumumba was supported by the Soviet-Union and Cuba, this is why western imperialism destabilized the new government by supporting ethnic violence and terrorism. Soon Patrice Emery Lumumba was arrested by supporters of Joseph-Desiré Mobutu. Unlike many African anti-colonialists, Mobutu was a supporter of US imperialism and hated communism!
Lumumba was murdered by troops loyal to Mobutu. In 2001 it was reviled that Belgian officers were present during the torture and final execution. Western imperialism had murdered a democratic elected president and with his death, Congo was turning more unstable. Finally in November 1965, Joseph-Desiré Mobutu came out as the winner of the Congo Crisis that killed 150.000 people. He banned all political parties, only his Popular Movement for the Revolution was allowed.
In 1970, the Congolese Party of Labour took power in Congo-Brazzaville, the smaller Congo next to today's DRC. The Congolese stalinists created the People's Republic of Congo, a single party state that supported Marxism-Leninism ( Stalinism ). Joseph-Desiré Mobutu hated the revolutionary government in Congo-Brazzaville. So the dictator of Congo-Kinshasa, created the Republic of Zaire in 1971. This anticommunist nationalist dictatorship was very totalitarian in nature. Mobutu created a cult of personality around himself and forced the Congolese people to worship him!
The 1974 constitution enshrined the Popular Movement for the Revolution ( MPR ) as the vanguard of the nation. It stated that "there exists a single institution, the MPR, incarnated by its President," that the "President of the MPR is ex officio President of the Republic, and holds the plenitude of power exercise," and that "Mobutism" was constitutional doctrine. All citizens of Zaire became members of the MPR at birth. In effect, the government was a tool of the Popular Movement for the Revolution like the Congolese Party of Labour in the People's Republic of Congo!
In Zaire, Mobutu changed its name to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga. He was now the only man who was allowed to rule. His government was very corrupt, but loved by France and Belgium for its anticommunism. Western leaders were very nice to the dictator of Zaire and paid him millions to oppress the people of Congo-Kinshasa. Mobutu owned at least five billion US dollars, stored in western banks. He and his wife lived in a luxurious palace that was created with rooms copied from Buckingham Palace. Also Mobutu build a Chinese mansion and was called by the state media; Father of the Nation," "Messiah," "Guide of the Revolution," "Helmsman," "Founder," "Savior of the People," and "Supreme Combatant''!
Western imperialism came to the aid of Mobutu twice. In 1977, rebels with support from the People's Republic of Angola invaded Zaire. France came to the rescue and lifted 1.500 paratroopers into Zaire to aid Mobutu. With French support, the rebels were pushed back into Angola. But a year later they returned in larger numbers, again trying to overthrow the anticommunist dictatorship. The governments of Belgium and France deployed troops with logistical support from the United States and defeated the rebels again!
As dictator, Mobutu cared only about himself. He did nothing to help his people and behaved like a kleptomaniac. He owned a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles that he used to travel between his numerous palaces, while the nation's roads rotted and many of his people starved. Infrastructure virtually collapsed, and many public service workers went months without being paid. Most of the money was siphoned off to Mobutu, his family, and top political and military leaders. Only the Special Presidential Division ( on whom his safety depended ) was paid adequately or regularly. A popular saying that the civil servants pretended to work while the state pretended to pay them expressed this grim reality!
All this was done with the blessing and support from western imperialist nations like France, Belgium and the USA. They knew about the totalitarian dictatorship, but did nothing. Because Mobutu was anticommunist and an ally in the struggle against ''communism'' in Africa. Americans loved him because Mobutu was among the few African nations that supported the USA during the Cold War!
But Mobutu's absolute rule was challenged in 1990. Western imperialism could no longer support him, because stalinism was collapsing and the ''communist'' nations of Africa was turning pro-capitalist. Now the old dictator was suddenly criticized by western leaders for his single party state and totalitarianism. Mobutu was forced to accept a multi-party system in his Republic of Zaire. In May 1990, he lifted the ban on political parties. Soon the people of Congo-Kinshasa started to rebel against unpaid wages and political corruption. By then more then 186.000 people were murdered by Mobutu's government!
In order to give the opposition more power, Mobutu gave them seats in his government. But he kept most power for himself. After four years, the situation was still very bad. People were demanding changes and western imperialism wanted capitalist reforms in Congo-Kinshasa. So Mobutu started with privatisations and market reforms. This led to more poverty as only the elite of the Mobutu regime were able to buy companies and own economic property. In November 1996, the dictator tried to arrest a popular opposition figure, this led to rebellion and his government lost control over the north!
The army of the Republic of Zaire was very backward. It was not able to fight the rebels in the north, as it was underpaid and only used to crush civilian demonstrations in the past. It was no effective fighting army, thanks to years of corruption and mismanagement by the Mobutu clan. On 16 May 1997, Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga, fled his Republic of Zaire. Leaving a destroyed and very poor nation behind. The rebels led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila faced little resistance and proclaimed victory on 17 May. A few months later, Mobutu died from prostate cancer in exile!
Laurent-Désiré Kabila became the new president of the renamed Democratic Republic of Congo. But he could not keep stability. World capitalism demanded that he acted as a pro-capitalist politician which he did. Poverty and corruption did not ended with the removal of Mobutu. Soon the former rebels started to fight among themselves for power. The African world supported both sides in the conflict. Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda supported the Tutsi led opposition while the new Congo government and nations like Angola supported the Hutu's. So the civil war in Congo became an ethical conflict between two rival tribes. The conflict between Thusi's and Hutu's is very old, but it was the Hutu government of Rwanda that murdered between 500.000 and 1.000.000 Thutsi's in what is known as the Rwanda Genocide!
The Congo Civil War also led to the death of president Laurent-Désiré Kabila. He was assassinated in 2001 by one of his bodyguards. Some say that Rwanda paid for the murder. Kabila's son became the next president and remains president of the DRC until this day. Joseph Kabila Kabange is a typical corrupt African president. He fakes elections to remain president, his supporters use terror and voter intimidations to keep Joseph Kabila in power!
Today in 2013, the DRC is the biggest failed state in the world. Corruption, abuse of power and rape of females are common. The government does not care and people are left to rot in poverty. Criminal gangs are very active as police forces are underpaid and have low interests in keeping the population save. To blame is western imperialism who lead the seeds for poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nations like France, Belgium and the USA supported the regime of Mobutu until the end. They paid him millions for his anticommunist viewpoints. That is why we revolutionary socialists blame the capitalist governments for the destruction of the Congo nation.