+quot; Written 123 pm Jan 23, 1992 by email@example.com in cdpmisc.activism. From 16 Jan
/* Written 1:23 pm Jan 23, 1992 by firstname.lastname@example.org in cdp:misc.activism.
[From 16 January "Mennonite Weekly Review" and January/February "Washington
In Zaire it is no secret that President Mobutu Sese Seko and U.S. President
George Bush are friends. Even though the U.S. has withdrawn overt support,
there is evidence that the Bush administration still supports Mobutu, and that
is keeping him in power.
Rioting and looting led by the Zairean military forces caused the evacuation of
most foreigners last September. Now there are rumors that Mobutu himself was
behind the uprising. Some reports indicate that superior military officers knew
about the riots before they happened and did nothing to intervene. Some people
were warned before fighting broke out.
Most incriminating to Mobutu is the fact that looting and rioting took place in
every major city except his home region, the city of Mbandaka in Equateur.
The end of superpower politics in Africa and growing internal protest against
autocracy, corruption and human rights abuses have jeopardized the future of
President Mobutu. Mobutu is suspected of stealing billions of dollars from his
people during 26 years of repressive rule. In 1990, as the international
community axed most foreign aid to Zaire, increasing internal dissent forced
Mobutu to open the political arena to multiparty forces--a process he hoped to
control, but instead threatens his demise.
In late September 1991, a worsening economic situation triggered rioting by
military and civilians which killed nearly 250 persons. Mobutu has since
attempted power-sharing with the Sacred Union, the major coalition of opposition
parties, but the populace wants Mobutu out of power. Since 1965, when the CIA
assisted Mobutu into office, Zaire has been a key client-state for opposing
Communism in Africa.
In 1990, the U.S. Congress cut off all U.S. military and security funding to
Zaire because of human rights violations. Since the latest crisis, the U.S. has
stopped short of calling for Mobutu to step down or leave the country so a
democratic process can begin. In early November 1991, the House of
Representatives passed a resolution calling for Mobutu to step aside and allow a
peaceful transition. The same resolution (S. Con. Res. 80) was recently
introduced in the Senate.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank