A short history of instability in the Congo...

The region that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo was first settled about 80,000 years ago. Bantu migration arrived in the region from Nigeria in the 7th century AD. The Kingdom of Kongo developed between the 14th and the early 19th centuries. Belgian colonization began when King Leopold II founded the Congo Free State, a corporate state run solely by him. Reports of widespread murder and torture in the rubber plantations led the Belgian government to seize the Congo from Leopold II and establish the Belgian Congo. Under Belgian rule, the colony was run with the presence of numerous Christian organizations that wanted to Westernize the Congolese people.

 

After an uprising by the Congolese people, Belgium surrendered to the independence of the Congo in 1960. However, the Congo was left unstable because tribal leaders had more power than the central government. Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba tried to restore order with the aid of the Soviet Union as part of the Cold War, causing the United States to support a coup led by Colonel Joseph Mobutu in 1965. Mobutu quickly seized complete power of the Congo and renamed the country Zaire. He sought to Africanize the country, changing his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko, and demanded that African citizens change their Western names to traditional African names. Mobutu sought to repress any opposition to his rule, and retained his position for 32 years through several sham elections, as well as through brutal force. However, with his regime weakened in the early 1990s, Mobutu was forced to agree to a power-sharing government with the opposition party. Mobutu remained the head of state and promised elections for the next two years that never happened.

 

 

 

In the First Congo War, Rwanda invaded Zaire, which overthrew Mobutu during the process. Laurent-Desire Kabila later took power and renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo. After a disappointing rule under Kabila, the Second Congo War broke out, resulting in a regional war with many different African nations taking part. Kabila was assassinated by his bodyguard in 2001, and his son, Joseph, succeeded him and was later elected president by the Congolese government in 2006. In October 2002, the new president was successful in negotiating the withdrawal of Rwandan forces occupying the eastern DRC; two months later, the Pretoria Accord was signed by all remaining warring parties to end the fighting and establish a government of national unity.

 

A transitional government was set up in July 2003; it held a successful constitutional referendum in December 2005 and elections for the presidency, National Assembly, and provincial legislatures took place in 2006. In 2009, following a resurgence of conflict in the eastern DRC, the government signed a peace agreement with the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a primarily Tutsi rebel group. An attempt to integrate CNDP members into the Congolese military failed, prompting their defection in 2012 and the formation of the M23 armed group - named after the 23 March 2009 peace agreements.

 

Renewed conflict led to large population displacements and significant human rights abuses before the M23 was pushed out of DRC to Uganda and Rwanda in late 2013 by a joint DRC and UN offensive. In addition, the DRC continues to experience violence committed by other armed groups including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the Allied Democratic Forces, and assorted Mai Mai militias. In the most recent national elections, held in November 2011, disputed results allowed Joseph Kabila to be reelected to the presidency. The DRC Constitution bars President Kabila from running for a third term, but the DRC Government has delayed national elections originally slated for November 2016. The failure to hold elections as scheduled has fueled sporadic street protests by Kabila’s opponents. In late December 2016, government officials and opposition leaders struck a last-minute deal that will require Kabila to step down after elections to be held by the end of 2017. Today, the Congo remains dangerously unstable.  

OUR SEASON

Echo Theatre offers Main Stage productions and lightly rehearsed Performance Readings through our FREE

Echo Reads Salon Series.

OUR HOME VENUE

Bath House Cultural Center

White Rock Lake Park

Dallas, TX

OUR MAILING ADDRESS

PO Box 570422

Dallas, Texas 75357-0422

OUR EMAIL LIST

Sign me up!

OUR PHONE

214.546.8736

OUR EMAIL ADDRESS

U.S. Tax ID/EIN # 75-2751998

  • Wix Facebook page
  • Wix Twitter page