Congo's Egypt, February 16, Sixteen Years Ago
On February 16, 1993, at least one million Congolese of all ages participated in the "March of Hope" in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. They demanded the resumption of the Sovereign National Conference (CNS), which was brutally interrupted by the US-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The Conference marked the beginning of political change, and the end of fear and silence. People were willing to die to end the dictatorship.
Unfortunately for the Congolese people, the CNS failed to achieve its goal of non-violently getting rid of the US-backed dictator, Mobutu. It also failed to set up a viable political framework for transition to democracy.
In spite of the CNS failures, Dr Nzongola Ntlaja said that it accomplished a lot in that "more than any other national conference in Africa, the CNS did a rather thorough job in examining the country's past and in adopting a new vision or societal project for the future."
Congolese continue to yean to control their own affairs and excavate themselves from a brutal war imposed on them by US allies Rwanda and Uganda (1996 - 2002). The youth of the Congo appeal to supporters outside Congo to challenge the foreign policy of Western nations that back and maintain strongmen at the expense of the people. In addition, the youth call for a solidarity movement that supports their efforts inside Congo to bring about peaceful and lasting change in the heart of Africa.