A piece of peace for you, a piece - International Development Studies

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Feb 2, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)


Ruby Stocklin
Weinberg B00381311

Honours Thesis in International Development Studies

submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the de
gree of Bachelor of Arts Honours

A piece of peace for you, a piece of peace for me

Thoughts on a stable political and psychological future for the people of the

Democratic Republic of Congo


Ruby J. Stocklin

under supervision of

Dr. Jean
ristophe Kasendé


University of King’s College

Halifax, Nova Scotia

April 2008

© Copyright by Ruby J. Stocklin
Weinberg, 2008



Much of the rest of it began to come to me in bursts of understanding, as if Patrice
Lumumba were speaking in t
ongues and my ears had been blessed by the same stroke of
grace … “
Mes frères,

we have suffered the colonial oppression in body and heart, and we
say to you, all of that is finished. Together we are going to make a place for justice and
peace, prosperity a
nd grandeur. We are going to show the world what the
homme noir

can do when he works for freedom. We are going to make the Congo, for all of Africa,
the heart of light.’

I thought I would go deaf from the roaring (Kingsolver, 1998, p. 224





Chapter I: The Congo’s independence period and its present implications…………...…..8

Chapter II: Theoretical Framework……………………...………………………………14

Part I: A Fanonian account of decolon

Part II: A Lumumbaist approach to decolonization

Part III: A comparison

Chapter III: The current war in the DRC:

Through a Fanonian and Lumumbaist lens...……..…………………….…

Part I: Who is the ‘settler’ (and ‘native’)

in the Congo War of 2008?

Part II: The Congolese as ‘native’

Healing the collective unconscious

Chapter IV: P
reliminary strategies for a viable state of peace…………………………...35






of civil and multi
national conflict are a prevalent topic

the current
academic discourse in Internati
onal Development. On the level of practice, conflict
resolution is an aspect of the field that demands constant and innovative strategizing
while extreme violence continues to persist. Results are never instantaneous, but every
effort towards the process o
f peace building contributes not only to the specific conflict in
question, but also to a bank of knowledge for future academics, politicians, and
development workers
. Each situation of armed conflict in a developing country is linked
to a complex narrativ
e, the characters of which often have grievances that originate
during the period of decolonization. In this way,
a present conflict cannot be analyzed in
isolation. A truly innovative strategy for physical, psychological, and political
rehabilitation of t
he society in question will instead require the researcher to treat the
aspects of the given nation’s history

as well as the political and economic context in the
international realm over that same period of time

as pieces of a puzzle which must be
ly compiled.

The continuing and severe conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
has a lineage that is inextricably

to the events surrounding the country’s 1960
independence from Belgium, chiefly, the assassination of the nation’s first d
elected leader, Patrice Lumumba.

Lumumba, a Congolese public figure who advocated
violence, was assassinated before he could begin to build a strong state, as well as a
healed and unified national identity

The forces


have undermine
d Lumumba’s


puts forth the
question of whether it is possible to




process of independence,
and, in turn,

a sustainable political state,
without using
means. Indeed, according to the theory of Frantz Fanon, one of
the foremost opponents of
colonialism, the decolonization process is initiated by a violent confrontation between
colonized and colonizer

Fanon’s so
called ‘native’ and ‘settler.’
Violence in countless
forms has been the norm for the Congolese people throu
ghout the country’s history.
violence has its source in the numerous parties who have exploited the DRC for its
natural resources

among which are gold, cobalt, diamonds, coal, and coltan.

The Congo’s post
independence history supports Fanon and Lum
argument that if the violent legacies of colonialism are not overcome, then this form of
oppression will continue indefinitely. The theoretical framework of this thesis will
strengthen the argument for abolishing the roles of colonizer and colonized
. In order for
this transformation to take place, the Congolese people themselves have to actively resist
the exploitation to which they have been subjected for centuries. There is a common
cause and dignity that the Congolese all share. Once there is reco
gnition of this collective
identity and stake, a space will open up in which a genuine state of independence can be
achieved. The Congolese people on every level of society, including the leadership, need
to be active participants in their own psychologica
l and political reconstruction.

I will begin this discussion by laying out the context for the DRC’s protracted
violence: the period of independence. I have chosen to use the Congolese independence
as the starting point in this comparative axis to the cou
ntry’s present war. Beginning at
this specific point, however, does not imply that the violent trends in the Congo cannot be
traced further back in time. Yet for the purposes of this specific topic, there are profound



connections between the period in the
early 1960s and the present that will serve useful
for a hypothesis of a viable peace building strategy.

In order to arrive at a clearer understanding of the DRC’s prevalence of violence,
chapter II will serve as an introduction to the theories of two
colonial thinkers,
Frantz Fanon and Patrice Lumumba. Both Fanon and Lumumba provide an explanation
for why such colonial power structures remain predominant, even after a specific colony
is granted its independence.
These two theorists initiate the ce
ntral discussion of this
thesis: the historical and contemporary nature of colonialism.

For Fanon, the traumatic effects of colonial relations resonate within the
‘collective unconscious’ of the Congolese people.

This trauma is exacerbated because
the fo
reign policies of Western countries and multinational corporations
have now
replaced the original Belgian ‘settler’. Neo
colonialism persists as these actors
exploit the
country for its rich supply of natural resources

I will elaborate on the patterns of
colonialism in chapter III. Chapter II simply presents the theoretical framework for this

The other theorist who has great contemporary significance to the conflict in the
DRC is the country’s former Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba. Seemingl

in direct
opposition to Fanon

is Lumumba, who advocates diplomacy and dialogue
when engaging
with the DRC’s former colonizers
. Yet he, like Fanon, insists that the prevalence of
marginalizing colonial patterns is the root of the conflict in the DRC. In th
is way,
he two
theorists articulate the problem
as well as the

possible solution to

key concepts propounded by the two theorists
allow for much interpretation, as well as a


The collective unconscious, a central theme in Fan
on’s writing that can be defined as the overarching
identity and psychological state of a given population.



flexibility of application with regard to the present conflic
t in the DRC.
The open
nature of this type of analysis enable

the theoretical framework
to evolve and synthesize
with other schools of thought,
primarily participatory development

(a discussion I will
carry out in chapter IV)
. Furthermore,
the Cong
o’s contemporary history encapsulates the
connection Fanon makes between decolonization and violence.

intent of this

is to suggest a peace
building strategy that is appropriate to the Congo’s
specific context.

The history of the DRC has sh
own that acts of violence inevitably contribute to a
continued and restrictive cycle of violence. Thus, as Lumumba
) asserts,

in order to
break this cycle, non
violent methods and a fostering of Congolese solidarity must be a
central aspect of the pea
ce building process. Fanon too propounds a solution that involves
the solidarity of all formerly colonized individuals in a given country. In chapter III, I
will present the problem of violence in the DRC by using a synthesis of Fanon and
Lumumba’s theori
es as my frame of analysis. The past four decades in the Congo have
consisted of a repetitive series of events in which external
and internal

actors have robbed

of their nation’s valuable natural resources through corrupt and often
nt means. The colonial powers have furthermore created a corrupt power structure
that the Congo’s leaders have perpetuated since independence. To add to this dilemma,
the prolonged conflict in the DRC has caused the
international community to be either
thetic or inefficient at a constructive intervention.
These factors have had a negative
psychological impact on the Congolese people. I do not wish to imply that a wounded
Congolese collective unconscious has caused this violent interference. Rather, I wil
propose that healing the collective unconscious is crucial to a halt in this corruption.



We should not expect a non
violent end to this continued conflict to result from
the efforts of Western political and economic actors. Such a shift in international

paradigms would be next to impossible to enact. Instead, as I will discuss in
hapter IV,
the Congolese people must foster within themselves a sense of solidarity and as a
population, refuse to contribute to an ongoing cycle of
violence and corruption.
suggest that such an effort to abolish the nation’s corrupt power structures can be
cultivated through the participation of all members of the society. The solution, therefore,
involves an encompassing transformation in the Congolese social order from

the lowest
to the highest levels of society. A leading body will guide this change, but it will be the
people who formulate a non
violent course of action.

This discussion does not presume to have all the answers. Just as the conflict in
the Congo is lin
ked to a
complicated web of narratives
, the peace building process too
involves many factors and cannot possibly be enacted overnight. I will reiterate in my
concluding remarks that the suggestions examined in this thesis should serve as a
pinnacle for fur
ther research, particularly research that occurs on the ground. Nothing

be resolved in the DRC

in a short span of time Rather,
it is a matter of opening up a space
in which the Congolese have a viable chance to contribute to their own solution,
larly without the hindrance of external actors or nationwide corruption. Such a
process will take generations, but it is important to maintain the belief that a peaceful
transformation can and will occur.



Chapter I

The Congo’s independence p
eriod and

its present implications

The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a result of political instability
that can be traced back to the period of independence. Although the trend of corruption
and violence began long before the DRC was decolon
ized, the causes for the political
instability in 1960 and in 2008 are very similar.
The current war in the DRC is founded
upon a context that was established when Belgium granted the nation independence.
It is
beyond the scope of this thesis to recount ev
ery detail of the first seven months of
Congolese independence, although many of the individual events serve as an important
pinnacle of analysis for the current conflict.

The Belgian government granted independence to the Belgian Congo
on June 30,
. Unlike the gruesome independence struggle in Algeria

the focus of Fanon’s

there was virtually no physical violence in the struggle for independence. The
subsequent presidential elections were considered to be a success by both Belgium and
the ci
tizens of the newly independent nation.

Kasavubu became the first President
and Patrice Lumumba was elected as Prime Minister. What was most striking about this
first administration was that its members had been elected in a remarkably uncorrupt

a feat that was and still is quite an accomplishment in the Congo.

When he was first elected, Lumumba held the loyalty of the
general population
Ludo de Witte

affirms the power of Lumumba’s charisma when he states that,

“each time Lumumba spok
e, it was basically the masses speaking, taking the political
stage … jeopardizing what the West thought it could gain from an independent Congo”


See Sartre’s Introduction to Lumumba, 1963; de Witte, 2001, Young, 2007; and for more information
about the independence period.



(p. 176). He articulated the shared desire of the population for peace, civil foreign
and a governm
ent that provided


social assistance. Moreover,
Lumumba strived to formulate his
platform with a consideration of the larger political
trends that were occurring during this period of increased decolonization throughout the
African continent.

ere was, however, a significant rift between the intentions of Belgium and the
Congolese elite
as opposed to those

of the country’s poorer citizens. Lumumba was
concerned by the way in which the Belgian government portrayed the Congolese
independence. For
Lumumba, as for the majority of the Congolese people, the population
had not simply been handed its freedom; it had been a hard
won victory. Lumumba
) said as much in a speech he gave on the day of independence, in front of the
former colonial adminis
tration, including Belgium’s King Baudouin:

We have known ironies, insults, blows that we have endured morning, noon and
evening because we are Negroes. Who will forget that to a black one said ‘tu’ …
because the more honourable ‘vous’ was reserved for wh
ites alone? … For though
this independence of the Congo is today being proclaimed in a spirit of accord
with Belgium … no Congolese worthy of the name can forget that we fought to
win it (p. 221).

Lumumba had no choice but to defend his country’s dignity

and set a precedent for truly

economic and political relations from the country’s former colonizers.

The context for the Congo’s current war was thus presented. One piece of the puzzle is
the metaphor this clash of personalities between

Lumumba and King Baudouin
illustrates. On the one hand, there is the oppressed figure demanding before an audience
that he be treated with dignity. In turn, Baudouin, a representation of colonial powers in
general, has his authority questioned by his form
er slave. The war between the colonizer



and the colonized

one that has been continually fought over power and natural

has now begun.

The Belgian government did not react favorably to Lumumba’s political stance.

Turner (2007) explains

Colonial economic relations were supposed to continue after independence, while
a number of ‘moderate’ Congolese participated in management of the former
colony, alongside the Belgians. The fiery Lumumba came to symbolize a radical
break with the coloni
zer … [and from] the ‘moderate’ Congolese of mineral
Katanga, who were all too ready to play Belgium’s neo
colonial game (p. 51).

King Baudouin and his government

a Congolese administration that was willing
to cooperate with Belgium’s interes
ts in the Congo’s natural resources. Such an
individual was not to be found in Patrice Lumumba

As a result of Lumumba’s defiant
speech, Belgium gave its full support to Moïse Tshombe, the self
proclaimed leader of
the province of Katanga. Tshombe’s secess
ion movement in Katanga

appeared to the
outside world to be a genuine attempt to gain independence from Lumumba, the so
“dangerous leftist troublemaker” (Hoschchild, 2002, p. 3). In reality, however,

was vying for control of the whole count
ry. Belgium manipulated the ambitions of this
individual because the

world did not want a progressive figure like Lumumba to
hold a position of power in any African nation.

What followed in the next

months of Lumumba’s short term as Prime
ster is very
. The aspect that is most important to grasp about Lumumba’s
assassination is how Belgium and the
United States (US)

certain Congolese
ctors in order to protect their own political and economic interests. In

of 1960,
umumba sent a telegram to the United Nations
(UN), requesting

to support his
attempts to suppress the revolt in Katanga. The UN did deploy troops to the Congo



shortly after Lumumba made the request. However, their mandate did not allow them to
vene when there were Belgian forces still present. The mandate was ineffective
because the UN troops were unable to defend the country from its aggressors: the Belgian
army and Tshombe’s forces.

In a gesture of self
defense, Lumumba turned to Nikita
chev, the leader of
the Soviet Union, for military support in August of 1960. Khrushchev complied and

offered to send
weapons and

planes to the Congo. In a statement Lumumba gave at a
press conference in New York in July of 1960,
one month before he reque
sted military

from the Soviet government, “for us Congolese people, the Soviet Union is a
nation like any other. Questions of ideology do not interest us. Our policy of positive
neutralism allows us to deal with any nation that … [will] not come i
nto our country with
the aim of setting up another regime that would dominate us” (p. 305).

This measure on Lumumba’s part was just the opportunity
the international
was looking for: now there was concrete evidence to support the

claim th
at Lumumba’s communist policies were a threat to international security in this
Cold War context. According to
Michaela Wrong (2000),

“it was a line of argument that
was to justify more than three decades of American support [of an authoritarian regime]”
p. 66). It must be understood, however, that Lumumba asked for Soviet assistance as a
last resort. It was highly unlikely that the Congo was going to create a
domino effect on
the African continent.

Instead, Lumumba’s actions only demonstrate how he woul
d not
allow his country’s natural resources and political stability to be exploited by

countries to serve their own interests.


Stemming from

western countries’ fear of the spread of communism, this term arose during the Cold War.
It refers to the threat that if one developing country is governed by a communist regime, then every
surrounding country will be influenced by communist ideology.



Lumumba advocated that the Congo be decolonized in every sense of the word.
He would not allow his administration to be
come a puppet for Belgium and other
Western countries.

Unfortunately, there were many forces working against him from the
very beginning. The catalyst for Lumumba’s downfall was virtually unavoidable: the
Congo is one of the world’s richest countries in na
tural resources.
Paul Sartre
(1963), writing with Frantz Fanon’s theory in mind, reflects on Lumumba’s downfall:

The imperialist governments and the big companies have decided, once
confronted with the colonial crisis, to liquidate the classic forms
of oppression …
[Lumumba] does not know that the mother countries … want to give nominal
power to the ‘natives’, who will govern … in such a way as to further colonial
interests … This lack of insight will send him to his doom” (p. 24).

The country’s ent
ire history is one of its people and its land being
capitalized upon

Lumumba genuinely wanted to put the control of these resources into the hands of his
people. Yet there was too much profit involved for the elite of both

Congolese descent.
As a result of this greed, Lumumba’s enemies spared no efforts to
manipulate the situation and undermine every one of Lumumba’s efforts.

Lumumba’s assassination

just six months after independence

was carried out
by loyalists
from Katanga.

The precise circu
mstances of his assassination are unknown.
His body and the bodies of several of his colleagues who were killed at the same time,
were never recovered. Yet it is undeniable that there was

involvement in this
crime. According to Hochschild (2002),
“anathema to American and European capital,
[Lumumba] became a leader whose days were numbered … a U.S. National Security
Council subcommittee on covert operations, which included CIA chief Allen Dulles,
authorized his assassination (p. 302).

It may not h
ave been a foreigner who pulled the


or more information of corruption in the
Congo, see Hochschild, 2002.



trigger, but Lumumba’s assassination would not have been provoked

made possible
had it not been for

His assassination was to be the catalyst for the
violence that still endures in the Congo toda
y. Lumumba incited a genuine sense of hope
to the ‘natives’ in the Congo and beyond, that the Congo

and eventually Africa as a

would be free of colonialism. When he was overthrown, the country was thrown
back into a cycle of corruption and power
ering that persists to this day.

The Prime Minister was, in life and in death, a political figure whose

manipulated to suit the

of many opposing parties. In life, he was unjustly vilified
by Western nations so that they could continue

to colonize the Congo. In death,
Desiré Mobutu

who called himself Mobutu Sese Seko, Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Bange

the individual who was to seize power from Lumumba and Kasavubu and rule the Congo
with an iron fist and a thoroughly corrupt administratio
n, transformed Lumumba into the
figure of a martyr.

Yet there is a difference between the concepts for which Lumumba
advocated and the differing ways he has been portrayed in
outlets of propaganda. It is
therein that the task lies

to extract from Lumumba’
s short political career the strategies to
which he adhered, ones that he believed would contribute to an autonomous and stable
nation. It is necessary even now to reexamine the ideas of Lumumba because, “in
subsequent years the Congo has reverted to the s
tate of civil war that characterized the
early post
independence period after 1960” (Gott, preface, 2000, p. xi).
The war of
corruption that began far before 1960 continues today. Lumumba’s efforts were

at the time, but his ideas have much to of
fer to the current peace process.


Which means “The all
powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes
from conquest to conquest, heaving fire in his wake.”



Chapter II

Theoretical Framework

There are undeniable parallels between the factors that led to the political
instability following the 1960 independence and the causes behind the present war in the
Congo. Both conflic
ts can be attributed to the oppressive economic and social relations
between Western countries

chiefly, Belgium and the US

toward the Congo

in the
early 1960s.

in 2008, the perpetrators in this neo
colonial struggle are manifested
through the foreign p
olicies of Western governments, the contested and ambiguous role
of international bodies like the UN, as well as the exploitative actions of multinational

Interference by outside nations and corporations has attributed to the Congo’s
ed conflict. Yet another factor that must be examined is the role

or lack

that the Congolese people themselves have played both in their nation
process, and in the conflicts of the 1960s and today.
After establishing the theoretical
ork of this
discussion, chapter IV will explore a solution that has moral,
theoretical, and practical relevance in the DR Congo.

Part I

A Fanonian account of decolonization

Like every historical situation, the independence period in the DRC

to som
extent, be treated as a unique case. However, the violence preceding decolonization, as
well as all subsequent violence,

should also
be analyzed within a larger theoretical
spectrum. Frantz Fanon, a prominent essayist on
the subject of

the psychological



and lineages of decolonization, speaks of such broad trends. Yet
on the other hand

theory also has grand implications for the case study of the Congo: the foundational
factors that contributed to the violence and injustice during the

as well as how this violence has led to the international war that is currently taking place
in the Congo.

Fanon is the most fitting theorist to turn to when carrying out an analysis of these
two parallel moments because his central argument
s explain the underlying trends
occurring in the Congo Wars

mainly the continuing ‘settler’ and ‘native’ power
Much like the present situation in the Congo is linked to its history, the
concepts that Fanon articulated in 1961 continue to have c
ontemporary relevance.
Moreover, he shares many profound similarities with the thought of Lumumba. There is a
wealth of resources for anti
colonial thought.

Yet Fanon is most appropriate in this case
because Lumumba’s life and death, as well as the contin
uing Congo War, are the
embodiment of Fanon’s central argument.
Fanon’s thinking

has been applied to numerous
resistance movements, including the Black Power movement in the US.

Yet for such
, Fanon’s theories were
called upon

primarily because o
one misinterpreted

fact: that the theorist

advocates violence. What makes Fanon’s theory open
to interpretation is his very concept of violence.

For Fanon (1963), the colonial world is one where there exists an absolute
on between oppressor and oppressed: “In the colonies the economic infrastructure
is also a superstructure. The cause is effect: You are rich because you are white … the
ruling species is first and foremost … from elsewhere” (p. 5). Here Fanon portrays the


For example, Che Guevara,
ohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Aimé Césaire, and Léopold Sédar Senghor.


Arendt, 1970; Bulhan, 1985, p. 145.



colonial world as Hobbesean in essence. The

colonizing power continually inflicts
violence upon
the native, thus creating an atmosphere of distrust. In this way, liberation
through a violent confrontation in which the oppressed group overthrows its


During the initial fight for decolonization, it is sufficient that the people unite
through their shared
: “The colonial context … is characterized by the
dichotomy it inflicts on the world. Decolonization unifies t
his world by a radical decision
to remove its heterogeneity” (Fanon, 1963, p. 10).
The leading body
of the

struggle unites the masses under one nat
ionalist collective unconscious. According to
Renate Zahar (1973), “during the second phase of the

struggle it is of crucial importance
that the undifferentiated nationalist consciousness of the insurgents evolves towards
political and economic awareness.” (Zahar, 1973, p.77).

his so
called ‘collective
unconscious’ is an understanding among all citiz
ens that in order for the country to be
truly free, there needs to be mutually respectful and beneficial relations among citizens as
well as toward foreign countries. This sense of solidarity drives an authentic nation
building process in which the paradig
m of oppression of the native by the settler is
completely abolished.
Once organized, the ‘natives’ initiate more violent confrontations.
Eventually the people complete the first stage of
nation building
: decolonization.

What follows is a complex process

in which citizens reclaim and redefine their
historical identity while negotiating a common future. The true challenge for liberation
occurs after decolonization. Fanon asserts that the initial stage of independence is only
superficial. What actually occu
rred when the ‘native’ overthrew the ‘settler’ was that the
ruling party of the ‘native’ population assumed the role of oppressing the rest of the



population. Fanon holds the formerly colonized people to very high standards. He is
critical of the inevitabl
e handover of exploitative power structures from the colonizers to
the ‘native’ elite. Corruption inevitably continues after decolonization because true
decolonization has not yet occurred.
The so
called underdog

in this situation is the
character that Fan
on supports: his
ultimate goal

is that the common population heal its
collective unconscious.
This means

that every individual must come to terms with her
traumatic past and work with others to create a peaceful future for the nation as a whole.

In this
way, the people will not have a

society until the concepts of
‘native’ and ‘settler’ are completely overturned. According to Samira Kawash (1999):

Something much more is at stake in the violence of authentic

decolonization: the very constituti
on of the being of native and settler …

the destruction of the colonizer is … necessarily the destruction of the

colonized who exists as such only within the colonial system (p. 242).

Thus when Fanon advocates a strong and healed national consciousness as

a way to
achieve an authentic liberation, he demonstrates to his readers that he is no proponent of
the physical violence that is associated with civil or multi
national conflicts. True
independence will only occur once all traces of a violent colonizatio

which can take
many forms, as the case of the Congo will prove

are confronted and the people heal
themselves. Granted, violence is the catalyst for the liberation struggle, but peace and
negotiation is what resolves this same process.



Part II

he Lumumbaist approach to


role that Patrice Lumumba played in the Congo’s independence

is intertwined with his own

Unlike Fanon, Lumumba did not write numerous
books referencing his theories with the use of broad
concepts. His thinking must thus be
deciphered from the speeches he gave during his short term as Prime Minister,

the analysis of secondary sources, as well as the symbolization of his assassination.


Chapter I made the reader aware of the unjust
end to Lumumba’s
. What I
concentrate on now

is articulating some of the key points of his anti
colonial theory.

Lumumba was, above all, a leader whose platform centered upon policies and acts

of non
violence. In February of 1960, four months bef
ore Belgium declared the

Congo’s independence, Lumumba traveled to Brussels to participate in a Round Table

Conference with delegates from different Congolese political parties, as well as

representatives from the Belgian colonial administration. During

this period, he gave

numerous speeches in order to make his political

known: “The entire

[Congolese] populace [demands] immediate independence; and we have said that we are

going to mobilize every man, woman, and child in the country to serve t
he cause of

peaceful revolution, because our fundamental doctrine … is based on non

(p.158). Lumumba was fiercely critical of the violent and corrupt colonial legacy


country. He saw a successful future for his nation as being dependent

practices that were
inherently in contrast

to the Congo’s traumatic history. Thus


Lumumba, 1963; de Witte, 2001; and Peck, 2002 for more information about the significance of
Lumumba’s assassination.



his aim was to

d the nation with non
violence as its central concept.

In his speeches before and during his term as Prime Minister, Lumumba

advocated a cultiva
tion of an

concept of national unity. In this way,
progress in nation building would only occur if all Congolese united under a common
goal. According to
Paul Sartre (1963):

The government splits the colonized into individual atoms and u
nifies them
the outside
as subjects … Independence will merely be an empty word unless the
imposed from the outside

is replaced by unification
from the inside

emerging from the people and controlled by them (

Lumumba percei
ved the broader trends associated with colonial power structures. He
insisted that the new leadership could not in any way resemble the Belgian
administration. Instead, the country needed to have a leadership that was composed of all
levels of the populati
on. Lumumba recognized that national unity would only come about
if citizens let go of tribal, ethnic, and class differences and were able to

they all shared
higher stakes.

The task of establishing a national bond of solidarity seemed daunt
ing: it involved

reconciling more than

century of divisions among different tribes and ethnicities, some
of which were deliberately exacerbated by the Belgians in order to maintain absolute
control. Turner


asserts that, “the racialization of hist
ory … with its linked
concepts of essential difference and hierarchy … was applied by the colonial
administration, by assigning various colonial subjects to various categories” (p.73). The
Prime Minister was in office for a very short period of time. He ha

articulated his
plans for the country before any power of persuasion he might have had was sabotaged.
According to Sartre (1963), Lumumba was aware of his impossible position:
“He foresaw



[all the conflict] that has happened since: his only mistak
e was to believe it was possible
to ward off disaster by creating a … party that would replace the power…of the
occupiers” (
, p. 20).

Lumumba had
very noble and idealistic aspirations

for the
Congo. Since his death, no political figure has successfu
lly run on a platform of non

It is a matter of speculation within the academic community as to whether or not
Lumumba could have succeeded with his platform had he not been assassinated.
However, playing ‘what
if’ games is not constru
ctive. It is far more important to
comprehend what Lumumba stood for, that he was
brought down

before he could achieve

goals, and that there has been no significant Congolese resistance movement

at least
not one where the central concept is non

since the Congo became an
independent nation. Lumumba’s ideas therefore leave the Congolese people with the
opportunity to continue where he left off. As de Witte (2001) argues, “the time has come
to take up the ideas that Lumumba tried to embody before

being removed from history
and the history books … [we must] somehow keep Lumumba’s memory alive in the
collective consciousness” (p. xxiv). Reintegrating Lumumba’s theory into the
contemporary Congolese political situation is not a simple
. Many of t
he same causes
of war that ended up sacrificing the Congo’s first

and perhaps only

fairly elected
leader, persist today.

Fanon’s theory concerning the psychological impact of
decolonization helps to establish Lumumba’s historical context.
It is therefore

to have a grounded understanding of not just the theories of Fanon and Lumumba in
isolation, but the ways they can be synthesized in order to be relevant to
state of conflict


For more informati
on on non
violent movements in the Congo, see Renton, 2007.


See chapter seven of
, 2006, for an

account of the ambiguity of the 2006 presidential elections.



in which the DRC finds itself today.

have established some commo
between the two theorists,


how applicable they are to the current situation
in the DRC.

Part III

A comparison

Frantz Fanon’s

theory is extremely relevant to

discussion of the
Congo. He provides an

account of the independence process in a formerly
country. Yet

more than simply describing this undertaking
, he establishes that
the colonial power structures have left a
persistent and damaging

mark on the psyche of
the formerly colonized. For
Fanon (1963)

“the colonized always dream of taking the
colonist’s place …of replacing him. This hostile, oppressive and aggressive world,
bulldozing the colonized masses, represents not only
the hell they would like to
escape…but a paradise within arm’s r
each” (p. 16).

In the case of the Congo

the trauma
that has resulted from decades of violent colonization remains in the minds of the people.
Violence has
become a natural and internalized state for the


Like Fanon, L
umumba asserts that the Congolese people must make a
confrontational and indisputable declaration of independence. He wanted to separate
completely from the domination of the
Belgian colonial administration. The

urgency of
his insistence for self
e and protection of resources made him a provocative
threatening figure to the Western world.

It is therefore necessary to compare the two theorists: in many ways, Lumumba
takes Fanon’s ideas and puts them into practice. What is profound about this
is the fact



that the Congo’s independence occurred almost simultaneously with
Fanon’s diatribe
against colonialism. Lumumba was assassinated just one month after Fanon died. Fanon
confirms a narrative that was already occurring in the Congo. In this way, t
he Congo’s
contemporary history can be considered an empirical example of Fanon’s decolonization

However, the assertions of the two men arrive at a point of tension that must

examined. The
concept in which

the two theories appear to disagree

the account of
violence and its necessity in the nation
building process.
In part I

of this chapter, I
discussed the ways in which Fanon
’s concept of violence

has been misinterpreted. There
certainly is an ambiguity to this aspect of his theory. On the o
ne hand, Fanon insists that
the separation between colonized and colonizer is necessarily a violent one. Yet in the
solution he propounds,
an authentic

independence will only occur

the people, with
the guidance of their leader, reverse the country’s e
ntire colonial system. The opposite of
such violent power structures is
a cultivation of peaceful

relations within and outside the
Such a sense of solidarity among all citizens has healing powers for the
traumatized collective unconscious. This


reconstruction can in no way bear
any relation to the violence and oppression of colonialism.

Lumumba, too, does not practice what he preaches.
Although he advocates non
violence in his political platform, one could argue that that is not

always the case with
regards to his manner of governance. According to Wrong (2000), “in the space of a
couple of months, Lumumba had managed to outrage the Belgians by insulting their king
and appal the West with his flirtation with Moscow” (p. 77). Verb
al confrontation is a
form of transformative violence. Lumumba challenged Belgium’s condescending claim



that it had granted the Congo its independence. He insisted that the Congolese had gone
through a struggle to attain independence. What is more, Lumumb
a demanded of his
former colonizers that the Congo should be a truly autonomous nation from that point

Lumumba demanded justice and truth out of an order in which those two concepts
did not exist. He thus proposed to abolish the paradigms caused
by colonialism in the
Congo, and in this way, he committed a

act of violence. The violent nature
of Lumumba’s act attests to an indirect commonality with Fanon. Yet it is a subtle
commonality on the part of both theories. By interpreting vio
lence as a force that can
peacefully evoke a reconstitution of morality,
we can

defend Fanon against those who
claim that
he promotes


Lumumba’s speech on Independence Day furthermore
demonstrates that violence can take on many forms, some of
ch are constructive and
do not physically harm anyone
. It is therefore with an underlying and ambiguous
understanding of violence that the two theories can be merged and evolved.

It is not contradictory to advocate that the theories of Fanon and Lumumba

in favour of as well as against violent resistance movements. For both theorists, there is

a definitive act of violence that

the independence process. What must
follow, in the case of the Congo, however, is a genuine attempt on th
e part of the people
and their political leaders to overcome

all traces of colonialism. There is a certain logic to
this manner of cleansing the psyche. Fanon (1963) warns that if colonial structures
remain, the ‘native’ collective unconscious will not be
able to
reconcile itself:

But when decolonization occurs in regions where the liberation struggle has not
made its impact sufficiently felt, here are …the shrewd intellectuals whose
behaviour and ways of thinking, picked up from their rubbing shoulders wi
th the

e.g. Arendt,
1970; Sartre’s Introduction to Lumumba, 1963.



colonialist bourgeoisie, have remained intact. Spoiled children of yesterday’s
colonialism and today’s governing powers, they oversee the looting of the …
national resources (p. 12).

The ‘native’ elite will assume the role of ‘settler,’ all the wh
ile maintaining friendly
relations with the Western countries.
As a result, violence in the form
will continue indefinitely

We are thus provided with another aspect of the Congo War’s
context. This piece of the puzzle

that harmful violence

and oppression only beget more
of the same

can be applied to the current peace
building strategy. In this way, the
DRC’s longstanding conflict has a viable solution within its own narrative.

Lumumba’s assassination
proves the validity of

this aspect of
Fanon’s theory: the
Prime Minister advocated an autonomous future for his country, and the threat he posed
to those who had a stake in


the Congo’s natural resources

individuals of both
Congolese and foreign descent

caused the ‘settlers’ to eradi
cate the Congo’s main
proponent for non
violent resistance. Lumumba’s enemies spun his words and actions so
that he appeared to be a communist sympathiser. For de Witte
(2001): “
If Africa was a
revolver and the Congo its trigger, to [use]… Fanon’s analogy,

the assassination of
Lumumba … was the West’s ultimate attempt to destroy the continent’s authentic
independence movement” (p. xxiii).

this Cold War

context, the perpetrators were able
commit this murder without reprimand. Lumumba’s mistake, then, w
as to idealistically
assume that it was presently enough for the Congolese people to be united merely
because they were all subject to Belgian oppression. Lumumba trusted his colleagues; he
believed that with a little more persuasion, the masses and the el
ite alike would come to
see the validity of his cause for national unification. Granted, there was significant



interference by Western nations, but in the end, Lumumba was betrayed and then
murdered by his own countrymen.

The Congolese people must cancel

out their traumatic history by making peace their
focal point, as well as their source of solidarity with one another. For, according to
Lumumba (1960), “we knew that we would have to create new structures fulfilling the
requirements for a genuinely Afric
an future for our country, to revise the methods

had been forced upon us, and … to … rid ourselves of mental attitudes and complexes
and habits that colonization has trapped us in for centuries” (p.348).

Fanon supports Lumumba’s above statement when


insists that the nation
building process is one that is educational in nature. He (1963) advocates a reversal of
the paradigms that the colonizers have put in place: “In the period of decolonization, the
colonized masses thumb their noses at these [co
lonial] values, shower them with insults
and vomit them up
” (p. 8).

The population does not remain passive in this
undertaking of
reconciliation and community building
: the path to healing is walked along by the people
through their constant and innovative

education. Thus for Fanon (1963), the masses and
the leading body must be

on one another for the nation
building process to
proceed in a productive direction:

The duty of the leadership is to have the masses on their side. Any commitment,
er, presupposes awareness and understanding of the mission to be
accomplished, in short a rational analysis, no matter how embryonic … Only
underdeveloped countries led by a revolutionary elite emanating from the people
can today empower the masses to step

onto the stage of history … To politicize the
masses is to make the nation in its totality a reality for every citizen (p.140).

In this way, Fanon asserts the necessity of a government, but this government must be a
direct advocate of the people and not

foreign interests. In this way, the leadership in the



Congo should be a reflection of Fanon’s theory.
He asserts that it is the duty of the
government to show its citizens how to create a common national cause that consists of a
process of reconciliation
and community building.

Fanon and Lumumba articulate the problems that arise as a result of colonialism.
The two theorists share some commonalities in their proposed
method of nation building.

The 1960 Congolese independence from Belgium and Lumumba’s su
assassination is an empirical example of Fanon’s theory: it demonstrates the

as a result

of colonialism’s ensuing instability. However, with both Fanon and
Lumumba, the problem contains within itself its own solution. It is a
matter of
empowering the formerly colonized people and seeking out a leader who can initiate this
process of national
consciousness raising.

Chapter III

The current war in the DRC

Through a Fanonanian and Lumumbaist Lens

I will now establish how the pr
esent war in the Congo, like the independence
period, demonstrates the oppressive lineages of colonialism. What is more, this war is
very much connected to the tensions that were left unresolved when Lumumba was
assassinated. Like the Congo’s situation in
1960, the current war substantiates the
dilemma that Fanon and Lumumba present. The perpetrator and victim

or ‘settler’ and

remain the same. The Congo War demonstrates Fanon and Lumumba’s
problem. We can thus pose the question: should it follow th
at their proposed solution has
something to offer to this situation? An articulation of peace building strategies, however,



will be the topic of my next chapter. At this point, I will present the problem, through a
theoretical lens that draws on Fanon and
Lumumba in collaboration with one another. I
will apply the theories of Fanon and Lumumba to the current Congo Wars.

Part I

Who is the ‘settler’ (and ‘native’)

in the Congo War of 2008?

One can picture the Congo’s history following 1960 as a film i
n which the Pause
button was pressed for thirty years. The violent story then continues in 1996, almost
exactly where it left off. Mobutu was the Congo’s authoritarian ruler from 1965 to

although it could be argued that he began his reign in 1960 whe
n he neutralized
the Kasavubu administration. The majority of the issues that were left unresolved when
Lumumba was assassinated were simply forced behind a veil during Mobutu’s reign.
This is not to say that the Republic of Zaïre

so renamed by Mobutu duri
ng his

did not suffer its own problems of nation
wide corruption and extreme
violence and poverty. Turner


provides a concise account of Mobutu’s


strategy: “Mobutu was quite willing to play the frame of the West, and
y the
United States in terms of Cold War politics … the main winners were the
President himself and his … associates; the losers were everyone else” (p. 51). Until
1997, however, no resistance movement was able to displace him from power. There are
s explanations for this rather anticlimactic period in the Congo’s history. It is,
however, beyond the scope of this discussion to elaborate on the three decades of



Mobutu’s reign.

The main point to take away from Mobutu’s leadership is that he
d the paradigms of corruption, a lack of physical infrastructure, and the
constant intrusion by foreign parties who had investments in the Congo’s natural

The frame for this analysis is thus centered upon the striking similarities between
conditions in the Congo before and following Mobutu’s dictatorship. The current
conflict in the DR Congo directly reflects Fanon’s power structure of ‘settler’ and
‘native.’ The DRC has been in a constant state of war since Laurent Desiré Kabila’s party
erthrew Mobutu in May of 1997. The perpetrators of this violence

the so

are share many commonalities with the ‘settlers’ of 1960.

The purpose of this account of the three Congo Wars (of 1996, 1998, and 1999,
until the present) is to esta
blish the continuous psychological and physical trauma that
has been inflicted on the Congolese. Therefore, this section will not recount the details of
the wars that do not fit within Fanon’s ‘settler’

‘native’ theoretical framework.

war that has p
ersisted for more than ten years is extremely complex. It is often difficult to
discern who the different actors are and what stakes they each have. According to Turner
(2007), “[the war] is the …expression of ‘multilayered conflicts’ although some outdo
others in historical depth, scale and consequences. The actors are always the same. What
changed in the years of war is only the stakes involved and the strategies set up to cope
with them” (p. 118). The ‘settler’ is now any actor who has a stake in exploi
ting the
Congo’s wealth of resources. For example, Ugandan and Rwandan armies and Congolese
militias continue this conflict in order to acquire more mineral wealth. The illegal


For further information

on Mobutu, see Hochschild, 1990;Young and Turner, 1985; and Renton, 2007.


For further information on the Congo Wars, see Turner, 2007; and Weiss and Carayannis, 2004.



extraction of diamonds, coltan, and other minerals has in turn funded the protr
conflict. Other actors in this conflict are muli
national corporations
such as De Beers and
American Mineral who

have no qualms about establishing trade agreement with these
very same militias. In this way, the West’s unending demand for electronics
like cell
phones and diamond jewellery makes the continuation of this conflict possible.


or simply ignored and unexamined

to much of the Western
world is the extreme cost this war has had upon the Congolese people. Philip Gourevitch
(2003) giv
es a poignant description of how this war appears on the ground:

By any measure
, the Congo is one of the most hellish places on earth …
villages; macheted babies in the streets; stoned child warriors indulging in
cannibalism and draping themselves

with the entrails of their victims;
peacekeepers … using their guns only to drive off waves of frantic civilians
seeking refuge in their already overflowing compound; a quarter of a million
people in frenzied flight from their homes (p. 33).

The statisti
cs are staggering: since 1998, there have been almost five million casualties
many of which have resulted from curable diseases and malnutrition instead of direct
violence. The war
torn areas in the north and east of the country are so isolated from the
st of the country, and their instability so great, that the people have no access to basic
provisions. Furthermore, the government has been completely incapable of providing its
people with basic needs, even in the country’s major cities.

The lack of acti
on or outrage on the part of Western countries in reaction in the
face of the Congo Wars is morally repugnant, particularly since this war has continued
during the age of the Internet and other forms of instant communication; testimonies of
war are easily
accessible. For Fanon and Lumumba, this apathy or ineptitude on the part
of Western countries is due to the fact that the ‘settler’ has gained some kind of



advantage from the prolonged conflict: “The colonist is an exhibitionist. [He] reminds the

out loud: ‘Here I am the master.’ The colonist keeps the colonized in a state of
rage which he prevents from boiling over. The colonized are caught in the tightly knit
web of colonialism” (Fanon, 1963, p.17). The corruption and violence in the Congo is an

important cause of the war. The conflict continues because the Congo’s resources are the
very basis for the Western consumer lifestyle. It is in a Western country’s interest for
there to be instability in the Congo. Such instability makes the extraction o
f resources
more possible.

Renton (2007) describes the

present stake in the Congo: “[the conflict is] a
human catastrophe linked to globalization, profit, and Western manipulation … the war
[is] international

taking place in six African states … in

what has been termed Africa’s
First World War” (p. 208). He implies that the war has such an international scope
because, while it is being fought in the Congo, it also involves surrounding African
countries such as Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, as well a
s Western countries and
multinational corporations. The expression ‘World War’ is fitting because it draws
attention to the severity of what continues to occur in the DRC.

According to Hugh McCullum (2006), there have been more casualties in the
Congo per

day than there have been as a result of the Israeli
Palestinian conflict (p. 41).
One of the principle spoils of this war has been the extraction

oftentimes illegally

coltan, diamonds and coal out of the country. One could even go as far as to assert t
this war is the result of outside forces manipulating ethnic divisions in the Congo. The
conflict is intermingled with violent disputes
throughout the Great Lakes Region,
specifically relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which hundreds of thou



of both Hutu and Tutsi refugees spilled over the border into the DRC. These ethnic
tensions have been

in order to exploit the valuable resources which
rightfully belong to the Congolese. According to Maurice Carney (2008), the executive
irector of Friends in the Congo in Washington D.C.: “A rape of the land [is currently
taking place] in the Congo. The [country] has tremendous natural resources … you have
to look at the corporate influence on everything that takes place [there]” (Goodman,


Yet the war in the Congo hardly receives a sufficient amount of concern in the
Western world. There must be a plethora of explanations for the widespread ignorance of
a situation that has resulted in the greatest number of deaths since World War Tw
Lumumba would assert that this apathy originates from the fact that a majority of
developed countries are implicated in this war as a result of their demand for the Congo’s
resources. The United Nations has a long history of incompetence in the Congo re
from ineffective mandates, among other factors

both in the Congo in 1960 and
presently. Here lies another way in which outside forces exacerbate the violence in the
DR Congo, simply by standing doing nothing to stop the war from continuing.


Congolese as ‘natives’

Healing the collective unconscious

Reversing the trends of Western apathy is not the focus of this thesis. To take on a
topic of such magnitude would involve a transformation of the capitalist and utilitarian
mindset of the ent
ire industrialized world. Instead, I discussed the role other countries
have played in perpetuating the Congo Wars. The emphasis of this discussion thus rests
on the ways in which this violence has affected the Congolese people. According to Nigel



Biggar (
2003), “To suffer an injury and have it ignored is to be told, effectively ‘what
happens to you doesn’t matter because you don’t matter.’ Therefore, to have it
acknowledged is to have one’s dignity affirmed” (p. 8). Once we understand the ways in
which the

Congolese collective unconscious has been traumatized, we can propound a
solution in the direction of healing. Yet it cannot be stressed enough that the ultimate
solution will be generated with the Congo, and not by a foreign body.

The calculating agenda

of the government has enabled this conflict to continue. The
Congo has never been governed properly. As a result, since 1960, there has not been a
government in place to successfully control the influx of foreign interests. The continued
resource exploita
tion and violence has detrimentally affected the Congolese people. The
trauma of this unabated violence is evident in every aspect of daily life. Each citizen,
regardless of her social status, is suspicious of everyone else. This country’s narrative of
ending corruption has essentially prevented the masses from viewing one another
as anything other than competition or some other kind of threat.
For Turner (2007),

or ‘that group of proletarianized masses without stable wage
yment’… has greatly increased. The various militias, especially in eastern Congo,
recruit heavily from this category. The violence of these people directed against peasants
and especially women and girls, accounts for much of the mortality since 1996” (p.4
Christophe Kasendé (2006) goes into further detail about the historical and present
causes of this multi
state conflict:

La responsabilité de cet état de chose déplorable n’est donc pas imputable aux
« Atetela wa Ase Eswe », victimes eux
s de l’instrumentalisation du
système colonial, comme les autres groupes énumérés plus haut. Les autres
peuples de notre pays, victimes comme nous hier de la stratégie coloniale de la
division, se ressemblent aujourd’hui pour être plus fort dans ce monde g
lobal. Les
populations du Sankuru seraient
elles par atavisme incapables de faire comme les



autres? Je ne crois pas à la fatalité : les masses populaires en tant qu’entités
porteuses des besoins identitaires attendent toujours les mots d’ordre de leurs
ders. C’est pourquoi il faut en appeler à la conscience professionnelle des
leaders politiques sankurois (p.1)

The Congolese conflict is not an irresolvable situation. For Kasendé, as for Fanon and
Lumumba, there needs to be a better
structured form of
leadership in the Congo. In this
way, the government will contribute to the rehabilitation process.

Yet it will be the people who will play the most instrumental role in peace
building. The collective unconscious of the Congolese people must undergo a pro
cess of
rehabilitation. It is understandable that many Congolese have given up hope, particularly
considering that it is next to impossible to evoke political change without suffering
and sometimes violent

reprimands. The Congo’s history contains t
he cruel and
ironic fact that the majority of non
violent methods of resistance that have been
attempted have been violently suppressed. This trend was set on January 17, 1961, when
the Congo’s main proponent of non
violence was assassinated.

It is impe
rative to maintain the belief that there is a means of overcoming this so
called hellish state that persists in the Congo. The possibility should never be dismissed
that the Congolese people can form a collective in order to
transform this war of greed

colonialism. Following Fanon and
Lumumba’s vein, it is up to the masses, with


The consequences of this deplorable state in the Sankuru region are therefore no
t only being perpetuated
on the
Atetela was Ase Eswe

tribes, themselves victims of the instrumentalism of the colonial system, but to
many other groups as well. The other ethnicities of our country, victims like we were yesterday of the
colonial strategy o
f division, seem today to be stronger in this global world. Would the populations of
Sankuru, by their atavism, be incapable like the groups of the past? I am not a fatalist: the popular masses,
bearers of the same needs as those of the past, are simply wa
iting for the word from their leaders. That’s
why we must evoke a professional consciousness from the political leaders of the Sankuru district.


More information about the failure of non
violent resistance attempts, such as the frequent
journées ville
and the
marche d’espoir
of 1990, can be found in chapter five of Renton, 2007.



the guidance of a leading body, to overturn the notions of ‘settler’ and ‘native’ from their
consciousness. It will only be when they have regained their dignity that the pr
esent and
future generations of Congolese will be able to address the colonial paradigms that were
begun centuries ago.

With a healed collective unconscious, the Congolese people can
band together and take a decisive stand against the ‘settler’ of the twen
first century.

Chapter IV

Strategies for a viable state of peace

An effective way to approach a problem is to examine both its theoretical and
empirical roots. A clear understanding of the causes provides the perspective necessary
for a formulation o
f possible solutions. The word ‘solutions’ is being used very loosely in
this case: chapters I and III establish the complexity and longstanding
nature of

Congo’s state of conflict. It is, however, absolutely necessary for the theoretician to
a positive perspective. Much of the ineffectiveness on the part of the
international community concerning the Congo can be directly attributed to a feeling of
powerlessness in the face of the immeasurable nature of this conflict. Even
comprehending the com
plexity of the conflict is a feat in itself

and that is before one
tries to postulate a

This chapter is an attempt to bring theory into practice, but it
will always remain grounded in the larger theoretical concepts provided by Fanon and

It will require extensive field research using the questions this discussion has
brought up for any concrete solutions to come about. Furthermore, the
solution to this
conflict will not come from a Western standpoint. The Congolese people must initiate
is process.



Based on the history of

exploitation by Western nations of the Congo’s
resources, one constructive way to improve the efficiency of the peace process is to
consult the Congolese themselves. It is a matter of the Congolese people, from all l
of society, realizing and utilizing their agency in the political process. The premise
behind this specific school of thought is that since the industrialized world established
itself as a cultural and economically homogenous group, it has treated th
e so
developing world as an inferior entity. This sense of Western superiority has seeped into
every domain of occidental history, particularly with regards to how wealthier countries
formulate their foreign policies and the ways in which they relat
e to unfamiliar cultures
and nations.

A participatory approach to the political and social reconstruction in the Congo,
on the other hand, tries to bring in actors from Western and especially non
descent. This theory recognizes that the inherent
dignity and wisdom that all individuals
possess can make a contribution to every realm of international development. These
domains include governance, nation building, and the establishment of infrastructure, as
well as those of a more intangible realm, su
ch as conflict resolution or post

We must, however, acknowledge from the beginning that, like any political or
development theory, participatory development has not always been put into practice in a
constructive way. The very phr
ase has come to be used

and often corrupted

by actors
from all levels of the international political sphere, including the World Bank. It is not
integral to this discussion to address the ways in which participatory development has



been unsuccessfully or c

Rather, for the purposes of this argument, I
will adhere to one of the central concepts of participatory development:
creating a space
in which the common people are empowered and inspired to contribute to the resolution
of their country
’s problems.
Francis Cleaver (2004) affirms the direction of this
discussion when he states that, “
tackling inequality structurally does not … involve
abandoning the perceived importance of agency in participatory development. Indeed,
active citizenship,
the exercise of voice, the championing of interests and the advocacy of
rights are seen as the very manifestation of agency” (Hickey and Mohan, p. 271). Thus
the fact that participatory development practices have been corrupted in the past should
not under
mine the empowering potential of the theory itself.

Projects that are founded upon participation generally take a more holistic view to
the issue at hand. Such an approach acknowledges that, although the problem or conflict
may be nearly incomprehensible,

on must maintain the belief that, by beginning on the
most local level, each individual can contribute to a wider pattern of change. The first
step is to cultivate the conviction within a given community that each member has
something to contribute to the

effort; that everyone shares a stake in this effort; and
finally that, if the given group works together in collaboration, a societal transformation
will occur.

Such a trickle
up effort, however, cannot be the sole actor in this process. There
has to be
some type of guiding principle or force that can make a healed collective
unconscious more widespread. Fanon (1963) suggests that a properly run government
must facilitate this reconstruction:
“The party must be the direct expression of the masses.


A critique of the role and practice of methods of participatory development can be found in: Hickey and
Mohan, 2004.



The par
ty is not an administration with the mission of transmitting government orders. It
is the vigorous spokesperson and the incorruptible defender of the masses.” (p. 130).
individual of Patrice Lumumba’s calibre is necessary. Yet for such a leader to have
legitimate chance, the Congolese people must be pre
emptively united around him.
Western interference blocked Lumumba from having such an opportunity. The historical
narrative surrounding Lumumba’s death should serve as a cautionary tale for the Congo’s
present generation. Thus both the local and national Congolese actors need to make their
efforts simultaneous if any transformation can occur. Now is the perfect opportunity for
the Congolese to learn from their past and refuse to adhere to the paradigms o
f violence
and exploitation.

Like Lumumba, the leading group must comprehend both the national and
international elements facing the DRC. The country’s leader has to speak in such a way
that he is understood by all sectors of the population. The leader’s
actions are the catalyst
for this process of psychological transformation. The intent is not to erase the Congo’s
colonial history; rather, the collective unconscious needs to retrain itself so that it is
focused on an affirmation of the future. Neither th
e population nor the government can
transform the political and social trauma in the Congo in isolation from one another. For
Fanon (1963),
“A country which really wants to answer to history, which wants to
develop its towns and the minds of its inhabitant
s, must possess a genuine party … the
party is an instrument in the hands of the people” (p.127).
Both actors are inherently
dependent on each other. The leader guides this process of empowerment for the
population, but nothing would be accomplished if the

Congolese did not already possess
this capacity for innovation.



This process of transformation must necessarily be non
violent. As I have
established in chapter II, Fanon insists that the ‘native’ population has to reverse the
paradigms of colonialism, th
e most significant of which is violence.
The solution to the
continuing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo

rests with the
Congolese themselves. Their current situation, as well as their history, attests to the fact
that violent interfe
rence of foreign actors has done much more harm than good. The
people of the Congo have continually been deprived of their ability to contribute to their
own governance and rehabilitation. For de Witte (2001), “although Congolese
sovereignty has been badly

damaged over the past decades, the current situation there
offers an opportunity for going back over the past and remodelling it for the present day
on the basis of an authentically nationalist programme” (p. xxiii). Outside intervention
has primarily bee
n dictated by opportunistic motivations. There is a role that the
international community will play in the peace building process, but it is the Congolese
themselves who must lay down these terms. Yet the question of the international
community’s role is a
n issue for much farther along in the process. The present issue is to
create a space in which the Congolese have a tangible

and not merely symbolic

in their own recovery.

There are undeniably numerous barriers to fostering such a sense of collabora
If the rehabilitation of the Congolese collective unconscious were an uncomplicated task,
then it already would have been accomplished. The country’s history of poor governance
and foreign exploitation has created a prevalent atmosphere of distrust.
For Fanon (1963),
“the colonized subject will first train this aggressiveness … against his own people. This
is the period when black turns on black …the colonial subject is constantly on his guard”



(pp. 16
17). This paranoid state, in which all men feel h
ostility toward one another, must
be abolished.
Once there is an established notion of each individual’s common stake in
the ongoing dilemma, the Congolese people can, as a collective, actively oppose the
status quo. In other words, the Congolese collectiv
e unconscious must shift its focus from
the trauma it has endured and instead concentrate on building a viable future.

The people of the Congo have existed in a forty
year long state of extreme
poverty with virtually no assistance provided by the governmen
t. Yet contrary to an
uninformed account, the people of this country have been immensely resourceful with the
agency that they possess. A
ccording to Theodore Trefon (2004), “the people of Kinshasa
… are reinventing order. The concept refers to the dynamic
new forms of social
organization that are constantly taking shape to compensate for the overwhelming
failures of the post
colonial nation
state. It is a rapidly shifting process that enables
people simply to carry on with life and get things done” (p.2). T
hus there is no doubt that
the Congolese have the means to demand a
reversal of paradigms. The people of
Kinshasa have already begun this process: they have taken the corruption, poverty, and
apathy of their leadership, and have capitalized on the situatio
n to the best of their ability.
As a result, the informal sector of Kinshasa

and the majority of the DRC’s major

has grown increasingly stronger since independence.

There is a common
expression throughout the Congo that consists of one word:
It is

a matter of taking that highly cultivated instinct for survival and applying it to a
national resistance network.
Thus the solution must come through a simultaneous trickle
up and trickle
down effect that begins as
a culmination

of local input and is led by an
idealistic and uncorrupt governmental body.



Fanon and Lumumba speak to the role the country’s leading body will play in
abolishing colonialism. Yet neither man actually provides a clear
cut plan that can be
carried out. F
anon tends to be very broad and thus his theory must be adapted to the
situation at hand. Lumumba too, did not have the chance to speak more than in rhetoric
before he was brought down by
outside forces. Fanon and Lumumba’s theories would
thus be greatly e
nriched and more applicable if we add a dimension of community

A participatory method of rehabilitation would involve citizens at the most
local level. In this way, the entire population
combats this ongoing violence with acts of
t civil disobedience. If the Congolese people act on a unitary front and refuse
to participate in the violence that the militias inflict; if every village can hold its
governing bodies

starting at the most local level, and gradually moving up the power

accountable for its corrupt acts and its contribution to the ongoing illegal
extraction of minerals; if Congolese people simply stopped going to work at the mines;
there would potentially be constructive results.

There is great potential for a non
ent movement in the DR Congo to be
successful. History can attest to numerous examples of non
violent resistance being
carried out effectively. Over the course of twenty years, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,
a lawyer turned political activist, forced the Unit
ed Kingdom to grant India
independence. Gandhi and his followers adhered to a strict policy of non
violent civil
disobedience. According to Dennis Dalton (2000), “Gandhi’s vision of the ultimate
source of conflict resolution [rests on the contention] that
the seeming diversity of
individual interests could be ultimately reconciled in terms of a higher unity or consensus
… the basic idea is that power resides with the people, and if they realize this elementary



political fact, they might attain their desired

end without violence by withdrawing their
support” (pp. 44
45). Clearly, the successful 1947 independence movement in India
cannot be replicated exactly in the case of the DR Congo. Yet there are certain elements
for which Gandhi advocates that are integr
al to the struggle in the Congo. Cultivating a
sense of solidarity among the people is necessary for any independence process,
especially the one taking place in the Congo. Furthermore, if the Indian people were able
to achieve independence by non
y resisting their role in such an oppressive power
structure, then it is not beyond the realm of possibility that this too can be achieved in the


This thesis has been critical of Western nations and their involvement in the
colonial struggle. The discussion
has engaged the

theoretical standpoint of
both Frantz Fanon and Patrice Lumumba by using analytic comparison. The other
method employed to demonstrate the contemporary validity of Fanon and Lumumba has
been to provide

relevant empirical examples and historical context through a wealth of
academic research on the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the very
foundation of their theories, Fanon and Lumumba treat Western nations like Belgium and
the United Sta
tes as an inherent threat to the stable future of a formerly colonized
territory. In this vein,
this thesis

has demonstrated the validity of the claims of these two
theorists through the use of historical examples.

It is necessary to note, however, that
I have chosen a synthesis of two anti
theoretical frameworks for this discussion. That is not to say that there are not ample case



studies that demonstrate the ways in which Western individuals or organizations have
made a genuine and selfless att
empt to improve the situation in the DR Congo.

However, it has not been the focus of this thesis to play the devil’s advocate for the

world. History has, for the most part, been written from a Western perspective.
Therefore, it has been my intenti
on to provide an alternate account of the Congo Wars.

I began this discussion by giving a description of the Congo’s independence, and
Prime Minister Lumumba’s assassination shortly thereafter. Chapter II presented
the anti
colonial theoretical framework
of a synthesis between Fanon and Lumumba. Both men
propound a solution that calls upon the people who play the role of ‘native’ to form a
common bond. Once the collective unconsciousness is healed and aimed toward a
positive future, the people and their le
ader will have the ability to incite constructive
change. This transformation of paradigms can only occur through acts of non
As the theory of Fanon ass
erts, and as the discussion in c

III of the Congo’s
ridden history proves, viol
ence inevitably perpetuates itself. Thus in chapter IV, I
once again advocate the solution that both Fanon and Lumumba propound: the Congolese
must be guided by their leader to form a concept of solidarity with one another. This
solidarity can be cultivate
d through methods of participation in which people unite and
discuss at the most local level with the expectation that this unity will expand to all

of society. At the same time, there must be a genuine system of government leading this
ion movement; one that is created and demanded by the Congolese people.

This thesis has been of a theoretical nature and is therefore lacking in primary
sources. In this way, the entire discussion should be viewed as a starting point for an


For information on the recent UN funds for a governa
nce program in the DRC, consult the United
Nations Development Programme, 2008.



extensive fie
ld research project. The ideals in which the theory is founded

the necessity
of solidarity among citizens and the use of exclusively non
violent methods of protest

must also serve as the

for future research into this topic. Above all, this thesis,
any future research will only ever serve as tools to facilitate the efforts of the Congolese
people to incite this transformation. While the Congo War has primarily been caused by
outside forces, it is the Congolese only who will be the actors in the re
solution through an
agenda of unity and psychological rehabilitation. This rehabilitation process will not be
instantaneous. For Biggar (2000), “
in public life, as in private, remembering and dealing
with the past is likely to be a process rather than an
event. [It can be done] bit by bit over
years, and probably generations” (p. 308).
I have no doubt that the Congolese national
spirit, which has endured centuries of violence and marginalization, but has still managed
to cope, will be able to face this ch




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