Saturday, January 17, 2009

Patrice Émery Lumumba and US backed revolution

Patrice Émery Lumumba was murdered by the CIA January 17 1961. He can be seen as a symbol of anti-colonial struggle. The former USSR used him as a martyr for their communist cause and named their international peoples university after him. If some Lumumba alumni would read this, to post a reply, would like to get in contact with you.

Lumumba was replaced by Mobutu. A general who was supported by the US. Mobutu provided logistical support for Jonas Savimbi and was thus a strong and reliable US ally in Africa during the cold war. At the end of Mobutu's reign, Mobutu had many ennemies in Africa. Especially South-Africa and Angola, because of his support for Savimbi. Angola and South-Africa therefore helped the rebellion fight Mobutu. In my view it was a a strategic mistake by Mobutu to step on that boat in the river Congo together with Mandela and Laurent Désiré Kabila to broker some deal. It was that meeting that gave Kabila the stature of a future president. Mandela represented the coalition of countries that wanted to topple Mobutu, he didn't represent an African brother as the media stated at the time.

After ten years we now know that this "revolution" has caused the lives of more then 5 million congolese and has not brought about democratic development as was promised at the start. In my view it is quite possible that Rwanda and Angola have the same interest in keeping Congo weak and not solving the simmering war in the east. It's in the interest of Des Santos to divert the attention from the problems in Angola.

It's quite ironic how the US actually actively supported the toppling of Mobutu. After killing Patrice Lumumba and fighting the communist for all those years in Africa, the US ended up supporting revolutionary movements in many parts of Africa. Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Sudan. People like Jon Prendergast, Samantha Powers and Roger Winter all think democracy can be helped by sending weapons to some rebel groups. It's time this fallacy gets full exposure. Revolutionary movements have brought death and destruction to Africa, nothing else. As we say in dutch, its "trading led for old iron".

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