Congo: an experience of suffering under neocolonialism

Editor’s Note: The following article is an interview. We withheld the author's name of this article to protect him and his family from retaliation from the neocolonial government of Congo.

I went to Congo in September 2010 to contribute to economic development for our people. I sent cargoes of goods to be sold there.

The corruption is so terrible that it’s open and rampant.

Before the shipment of goods arrived in the ports, many goods were already stolen by the poorly paid port workers.

When I went to collect the goods that were not stolen, I had to pay extortionate tariff to import the goods in the country.

The tariffs prices are arbitrary and not standardized, and depends on how much the port officials think they can extort from you.

The ports and customs have been privatized as an attempt to raise money to pay for the imposed IMF debts that stand at around $16 billion.

This money, however, raised is probably used by the ruling petty bourgeoisie—headed by Joseph Kabila—to maintain their lavish life style of shopping trips abroad, extravagant parties, multiple wives, mansions built throughout Africa and Europe.

I spent some time staying in Boma South West Congo where the ports are what bring 65% of the country’s wealth, but the living conditions of the people there are just as bad.

They have created monsters

Counterinsurgency with the use of religion is intense. The churches have access to the masses, but, for every church, next to it is a bar.

Besides brutal force, religion, music and beer are the other ways that the state distracts millions of people from their harsh reality.

The beer companies—primarily Skol and Primus—fund music artists to create rivalries between them.

Both men and women have become obsessive alcoholics; I witness one man who was hit by a car.

The driver gave him some money, which he used to buy beer at the bar whilst he was still bleeding and in pain!

Teachers and other public workers are always on strike from not being paid.

It is now an open secret that in order to get university qualification you have to sleep with the lecturers.

So the pass rate for women has gone up whilst for men it has gone down. The commodification and prostitution of African women is prolific and accepted.

Young and old women openly offer themselves to anyone with money, particularly foreigners or Africans coming from outside Congo.

This has meant suicide for our women and destruction of the African family, as sexual diseases spread quicker than the Black Plague in Europe and families break up.

I saw an adult deformed from years of malnutrition. It is particularly worse for children suffering from skin inflammation and hair and urine colour change.

The poverty has created a new mentality where children and adults behave violently toward each other. You see it in people’s eyes. They are ready to kill for crumbs.

Weeks before the Independence Day celebration, a leader of “Voice of the Voiceless” human right activist was brutally assassinated.

People planned to organize a huge protest during the celebration to bring our plight to the world’s attention.

The state responded by subsidising the price of beer, mass employment of the youth to clean up the streets prior to the celebration and ordering police to avoid any confrontation with the public.

This along with constant state terror prevented any protest on that day.

People are scared of the state’s terror from years of counterinsurgency and imposed abject poverty, which makes it difficult and dangerous to move around the country even if you had transport money.

The state’s attack on young people is constant, from lack of education, housing, jobs and open violence against them.

The state also uses bribery to maintain control and gain information, particularly from cab drivers.

Origin of the crisis

The poverty, looting and moral corruption in Congo is reflected throughout the African world.

Africans in Congo behave just like any oppressed people without leadership from progressive forces to challenge the oppression.

Our suffering derives from the defeat of nationalist forces in 1965 who opposed in-direct colonial rule, what we term as neocolonialism.

When the masses in Congo overwhelmingly rejected imperialist propaganda against Lumumba and voted for Lumumba’s Movement of Nationalist Congolese (MNC), the Belgium government sent 6,000 troops to occupy Katanga (South Congo) and began bombing port city of Matadi, in order to maintain control of Congo’s minerals.

White power alliance against Congo

From Independence Day June 30, 1960 to January 1961 when Lumumba was brutally murdered, his government had to deal with one crisis after another that imperialism created to prevent real independence.

White power—led by USA—mobilized its forces, including white mercenaries, Moroccan soldiers and UN soldiers,,and used bribery to attack and split the neocolonial forces inside Lumumba’s government and MNC party.

When Lumumba was killed, Nationalist forces in Kisangani, led by Pierre Mulele, began a national liberation war to end the occupation, to prevent the break up of Congo and oust the neocolonial government headed by Kasavubu.

Nationalist forces controlled two third of the country, receiving help only from Nasser of Egypt.

White power, however, even used neocolonial forces in Congo, neighboring Congo Republic, Rwanda and Israeli air.

They were all used to defeat the nationalist forces and impose Mobutu as president for 32 years.

The impact of this defeat is still being felt now with the continual looting of our resources, the abject poverty that leads to misery and hopelessness.

There was a glimpse of hope in the years between 1991 and 1997 when a mass protest took place against Mobutu’s neocolonial government.

This hope was crushed when white power led by US, UK and Germany organized an invasion of neocolonial troops from Uganda and Rwanda to oust Mobutu, and installed Laurent Kabilla’s (ex-nationalist leader) to disguise the occupation.

Laurent Kabilla was forced by the masses to refuse the looting of Congo and payment of IMF imposed debt under Mobutu’s neocolonial government.

White power then organized the second invasion of DRC in 1998 that was led by Ugandan and Rwandan neocolonial army.

The war has seen over 8 million Africans killed, over 4 million displaced and millions of African women raped.

The crisis of imperialism’s inability to rule the world as before is reflected in the brutality of the war to crush any African resistance left in DRC, and the way they have supported different neocolonial forces to oust the government.

There is hope in Congo

The only solution to end this imperialist created hell is to organize to overturn neocolonialism.

The history of Africans in Congo has shown whenever there is a serious organization that is prepared to lead, people are prepared to follow.

Our role in the ASI is to make sure that we do not fight as Congolese but as Africans one billion strong!


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