Congo. In January, a military court sentenced 30 people to death for the 2001 murder of President Laurent Kabila. Among them was the head of Kabila’s bodyguard and the head of the security service. Another 19 members of the security service received life imprisonment. The military court, formed by Kabila and whose ruling could not be appealed, was abolished in April.
According to Countryaah.com, Democratic Republic of Congo Independence Day is June 30. The agreement on a two-year unity government entered into by war opponents in December 2002 proved difficult to enforce. It was only after new negotiations in South Africa in April that work began on appointing vice presidents, ministers and MPs. The former government under Joseph Kabila, the civil opposition and the dominant former rebel movements RCD and MLC got equal representation in parliament and government as well as had to appoint their own vice president. In July the government was ready and in August the Provisional Parliament was opened.
The Great Congo War, which, according to the UN, has directly and indirectly cost 3.3 million people since 1998, was now over, but in the eastern parts of the country the bloodbath continued. The most serious was the situation in the Ituri region in the northeast, where ethnically based militias formed with the support of Uganda and Rwanda, respectively, were accused of repeated massacres. The small UN force in the area could not intervene.
In May, the UN approved that the EU temporarily dispatch a French-led force of about 1,100 men, including around 80 Swedes, to drive the militias out of central Bunia. On September 1, the EU surrendered responsibility to the UN force MONUC, which in the meanwhile has been greatly expanded to almost 11,000 people and given a mandate for peace, ie. the right to resort to violence themselves.
The UN-backed International Criminal Court (ICC) announced this fall that it would investigate war crimes in K. as one of its first cases, in particular the illegal trade in “blood diamonds” and important minerals that helped keep the war going. A UN report in November also described how rape was used in eastern K. as an element of warfare to an unprecedented scale.
In July, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank included K. in its debt relief program for particularly debt-ridden countries. The government received praise for “sound macroeconomic policy” led to a sharp reduction in inflation. Approximately 80% of the foreign debt, corresponding to USD 10 billion, was written off.
Kinshasa, formerly Leopoldville, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo (Kinshasa), formerly Zaire); 9 million residents (2012). The city is located on the left bank of the Congo River 500 km from the Atlantic Ocean, directly opposite the Congo capital Brazzaville. Here, the Livingston Falls prevent further sailing down the river, and here in 1879 Henry Stanley built a trading post close to several original villages, one of which was called Kinshasa. The actual city was founded the following year in connection with the construction of a coastal railway, and it developed into a center of commerce and administration. The city grew steadily during the Belgian colonial period.
After independence in 1960, the restrictions on settling in the city were removed and it grew dramatically, causing major problems. The upland cannot feed the city, which holds 10% of the country’s population; for the poor of the city, it is necessary to acquire land for self-sufficiency, often small plots far from the city. There is also a great deal of pressure on the tree resources used for cooking, and widespread precipitation has caused erosion problems. The climate is humid and tropical with high temperatures year-round; During the rainy season from October to May, most of the rainfall falls in heavy rains that promote erosion.
Kinshasa’s center is a modern business district with office skyscrapers, large hotels, banks and government buildings. In contrast, most residential neighborhoods are characterized by poverty and lack of even the most basic infrastructure such as sewers and roads. These neighborhoods are known for their colorful folk life and the zaire rock, the popular music that has become widespread across Africa.
The river port is Africa’s largest. Here imported goods are transhipped and sailed further up the Congo River. The industry in particular produces consumer goods.
During the era of the city, the city has on several occasions been exposed to the uprisings and looting of government soldiers. in 1991. Many then fled to Brazzaville. Although there have been no fighting in the city during the civil war in the country, it is characterized by the unrest. Many have sought refuge for the fighting, and the city has been cut off from the areas from which it supplied most of its food, which has resulted in hunger and disease for the poorest part of the population.