ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Congo's Troubles.

Weekly Notes from Volume XII, No. 44, October 29, 1960.

In its own confused and blundering way, the situation in the Congo has served to establish two facts: that there is no alternative to the effective restoration to power of Mr Lumumba and Mr Kasavubu; and that no progress of any sort is possible unless the totally irresponsible and lawless soldiers of the Congolese Army are disbanded. Shri Rajeshwar Dayal, the Chief UN Representative in Leopoldville, sees this clearly; and it will be surprising if the world, through the United Nations, is not soon faced with the decision to back him on these points. That Mr Lumumba was the only Congolese leader with any nationalist following in the country was never seriously in doubt... Colo-nel Mobutu’s emergence as “the strong man of the army” had aroused vague hopes in some anti-Lumumba quarters that at least the chaos will be dispelled, even if nothing democratic or parliamentary emerged after-wards. But a very short time has been enough to show up Mobutu for what he is, a political unscrupulous and ambitious man with a very uncertain hold on his men. …The prospects of a return to normalcy are, however, being badly retarded by the re-appearance of the Belgians in the Congo. It is now estimated that, in one guise or another, more Belgians are living in Leopoldville today than they were in July. Mr Hammarskjoeld has twice protested to Belgium about this “invasion”; and it is of scant use for Brussels to pretend that such a large-scale movement back to the Congo could have taken place without its sanction and help. One had thought Belgium had learnt its lesson in the Congo; but apparently it has not.

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