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The Democratic Republic of Congo - Research Paper Example

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Introduction The Democratic Republic of Congo is a Central African country which is considered as the second largest in the African continent and 11th largest country in the world, with a total area of approximately 342,000 sq. km. In terms of population, it is ranked as the 19th most populous nation in Africa, with a population of approximately 71 million people (Turner, 2007)…
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The Democratic Republic of Congo
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Download file to see previous pages This paper is a critical evaluation of the country’s history, specifically, of the armed conflict which occurred between 1998 and 2003, as well as of the two most recent general elections that have been conducted in the country. The Second Congo War (1998-2003) The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a country which has had a share of civil conflicts, most importantly, the Second Congo War. This is a war that started in August 1998 and ended in 2003, and at which more than 5 million people lost their lives (Prunier, 2008). It is believed that a significant number of these victims died as a result of hunger and malnutrition as well as of diseases such as malaria and diarrhea among others. Some sources term this war as the African World War based on the fact that the fighting was not exclusively among the Congo people. It may be important to state that other countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola, Sudan, Chad and Namibia were actively involved in this conflict, hence the reason why some refer it to as the African World War in comparison to WW1 and WW2 whereby different countries formed coalitions to support each other (Prunier, 2008). The root causes of this war were largely based on the events of the first Congo war (Turner, 2007). Zaire, as the country was previously called, was under the authoritarian rule of Mobutu Seseseko for the period between 1965 and 1997, and this had motivated the formation of rebel groups with the intent of overthrowing Mobutu. During this period, too, Rwanda, a neighboring country, experienced a genocide which resulted in the fleeing of members of the Hutu community into the then Zaire, who resided in refugee camps. These people were the prime targets of violence orchestrated by the Tutsis and after fleeing into Zaire, they formed rebel groups, especially Interahamwe, which continued to level attacks on Tutsis in Rwanda. Later, the Zairian forces joined hands with these militia groups to attack Tutsis in Zaire, and this compelled the Rwandan government to provide military aid to the antigovernment forces in Zaire in order to remove Mobutu from power, after which someone friendly to them would be installed as president so as to be able to crush the rebel groups (Prunier, 2008). This person happened to be Laurent Kabila, who had been in the forefront for a long time in the fight to remove Mobutu from power. On the other hand, Uganda was interested in the vast resources present in the country and therefore, they also wanted Mobutu to be out of the picture and to achieve this, they joined rebel forces and other politicians in a military campaign to overthrow the then government whose popularity, in the region, was dwindling day after day (Clark, 2002). In May 1997, Mobutu lost the battle and fled the country, after which Laurent Kabila declared himself as president and changed the country’s name from Zaire to DRC. However, after the successful removal of Mobutu from power, the Rwandan and Ugandan forces remained in the country, which made it difficult for Kabila to exercise authority as president. This was made worse by the fact that Kabila’s government was full of Tutsis, whom he had appointed to senior positions such as the chief of staff, his personal secretary, and minister for foreign affairs among others. Due to internal pressure and his suspicion that the Rwandan gover ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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