The Guardian February 7, 2001

Congo: Imperialists fear the spirit of Patrice Lumumba

President Laurent-Desire Kabila was assassinated on Tuesday January 16 
and his son Joseph was installed as President last week. DR KLAUS 
STEINIGER, editor of Rotfuchs (Red Fox)* gives the background 
to imperialism's interest in the country and the assassination of its 

Since August 2, 1998, the Democratic Republic of Congo, under President 
Laurent-Desire Kabila, has been the target of extensive imperialist 
aggression. Involved are neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, who wage a proxy 
war on behalf of the United States, France and Belgium. To-date this has 
cost the lives of 1.7 million people  200,000 through direct military 
action, and 1.5 million (in the wake of the total collapse of health 
services in the Eastern provinces) from epidemics and hunger.

Since its initial colonial subjugation this strategically significant 
country in the heart of Africa, with its immense riches, has not managed to 
escape the clutches of imperialism.

This became manifest 40 years ago, when, on June 30, 1960, the Belgian 
"possession" Congo gained its independence, and the first sovereign 
government of the republic was formed in Kinshasa, the former 

Its left-leaning premier, patriot and anti-imperialist, Patrice Lumumba, 
immediately became a thorn in the side of the former colonial rulers.

He could not hold on to his position for longer than six months. Then, 
together with his closest collaborators, he was brutally assassinated by 
mercenaries in the service of the CIA.

Others who courageously continued the resistance to Western proxy dictator 
Mobutu, met with a similar fate. Foremost among them was Pierre Mulele, the 
Education Minister under Lumumba. He formed a partisan army, but when he 
was captured by the enemy, he was cut to pieces  alive.

Yet the resistance did not yield. In 1996/97 the troops of the resistance 
traversed Congo, and in nine months of fighting (with Kabila at their head) 
the American puppet Mobutu was overthrown and Laurent Kabila became 

Kabila said a year later: "We refused to accept masters and patrons. We 
decided to be ourselves. That was not the country's tradition. However, 
sovereignty was needed if it was to develop."

Initially imperialists welcomed the end of the Mobutu dictatorship in the 
hope of quickly coming to terms with Kabila.

The transnational American super-corporation Bechtel presented a 
"development plan" for the Congo. Its fundamentals were "respect for the 
international financial community" and "the exploitation of natural 

At stake were no less than the world's largest raw material reserves, 
including gold and diamonds, as well as rare metals such as wolfram and 

The Kabila Government refused and submitted to the people its own 
development plan, pointing out that Congo could produce 20 times as much 
food as was needed to feed its present population  and that in a country 
where, today, the average person cannot get more than one daily meal.

Such a plan, which presupposed large investments in agriculture, invoked 
the ire of the imperialist mining giants.

By late 1997 the USA had worked out a secret plan for the removal of 

The Rwandan army, which initially supported Kabila, was brought "on side". 
Suddenly Kabila was accused of having committed "genocide" against the 
Hutus of Rwanda in the country's eastern part.

Assassination plans were prepared against the new President in Kinshasa and 
then a revolt was launched, firstly in the capital.

Congo defended itself and has held out for the past two years.

On April 9, 1999, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution whereby 
"forces which had not been invited into Congo" were asked to withdraw their 
troops forthwith.

The US vetoed the resolution. Its goal was to remove the undesirable 
politician associated with the Congolese left, who stood against 
imperialism in the tradition of Lumumba and Mulele. Just as it happened 40 
years ago when Lumumba was assassinated.

Kabila is not a figurehead of those five American-British mega corporations 
which have controlled the mining regions since the reign of Mobutu and 
treat then as their private fiefs.

Behind all this stands the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, 
both of whom extend special lending terms to Rwanda and Uganda.

According to Ludo Martens, (Chairman of Belgium's Labour Party who is 
thoroughly familiar with Congolese problems), writing in the Brussels paper 
Solidaire: "Without the support of the United States, France, and 
Belgium two small countries which produce nothing more than tea, coffee, 
and bananas, would have never dared to attack a huge country of 55 million 
inhabitants and immeasurable extractive wealth".

* * *
Thanks to Vera Butler for translation from the German original. Source: Rotfuchs, No 34, November 2000, Bulletin of Northeast Berlin Branch of the Communist Party of Germany.

Back to index page