IT MAY BE CURRENTLY UNFASHIONABLE TO ASSIGN Africa's troubles to colonialism and external powers, but in the case of the continent's second largest country, DRCongo, it would be difficult to come to any other conclusion. After 50 years of independence, Africa is now more mature and able to take responsibility for its own shortcomings without blaming external forces, especially the West.
But history teaches us that the people of DRCongo have truly been brutalised and exploited for the last 100 years--sometimes with the connivance, if not active participation, of some Western powers and corporations. What about the assassination of Congo's first elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba? And the suffering still continues. There is a thread running through the serious harm done to the country by the killing of Lumumba on 17 January 1961--52 long years ago this January--to the troubles in Congo today.
It might seem as though the Congolese never learn--that is if we only look at the surface without digging deeper to see the hidden hands behind some of the unending conflicts in that unfortunate country. In December 2000, the then US Congresswoman, Cynthia Mckinney, stood up in the Congress and thundered: "The whole world knows that Uganda and Rwanda are allies of the United States and that they have been given a carte blanche for whatever reason to wreck havoc in the Congo."
On 17 May 2001, Wayne Marsden, the American investigative journalist and author of the book, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999, testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights Committee on International Relations. Marsden's "prepared testimony and statement for the record" was so revealing that the West's mainstream media refused to print it. But New African printed it in full in our September 2001 issue.
Here is part of what Marsden told the Congress: "Prior to the first Rwandan invasion of Zaire/DRC in 1996, a phalanx of US intelligence operatives converged on Zaire. Their actions suggested a strong interest in Zaire's eastern defences. The NO.2 person at the US embassy in Kigali [Rwanda], travelled to eastern Zaire to initiate intelligence contacts with the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL-CZ) rebels under the command of the late President Laurent Kabila. The Rwandan embassy official met with rebel leaders at least 12 times ... The political officer of the US embassy in Kinshasa, Congo, accompanied by a CIA operative, travelled with AFDL-CZ rebels through the eastern Zaire forests for weeks after the 1996 Rwandan invasion of Zaire.
"The US embassy official conceded that he was in Goma to do more than meet rebel leaders for lunch. Explaining his presence, he said: 'What I am here to do is to acknowledge them [the rebels] as a very significant military and political power on the scene, and, of course, to represent American interests'."
Marsden went on: "There is more than ample evidence that elements of the US military and intelligence community may have--on varying occasions--aided and abetted the systematic pillaging by the Ugandan and Rwandan militaries [of Congo's resources]. …