IBJ LIBRARr Mandatory Review
OMtf Nij aiLLSS
THE POLITICAL SITUATION AND PROSPECTS IN THE CONGO
DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY MEMORANDUM!
The Congo seems destined for continued crisis. The terrorist excesses in Kwilu Province show how close to the surface the conditions of instability are throughout the countryside. The Congolese Army is stilland Its loyalities are transitory. The authority of the divided Leopoldville government does not extend much beyond the city Limits.
Half-hearted efforts to devise an acceptableand toovernment party are faltering, and there is already talk of delaying the national elections scheduled for mid-year. Moreover, the benefits of the recent currency devaluation arc being frittered away amid gradually rising urban discontent. The Secretaryis determined to close out thc UN's costly military operationuly.
No firm leadership is in the offing, and time isout on the drifting Adoula regime, which commands scant backing. Its ouster is likely to be followed by greater radicalism and violence throughout much of the country.
The Political Situation And Prospects in the'Conga
I. Background and Current Situation:
Spanish moss, the present Congohas its roots ln the air, not in the Prime Minister Adoula has nofollowing, although he ls notinfluence. It is the men around"Blnzareally controlas resides ln the capital. By and large,the conspicuous weakening of linksand the provinces since the end ofrule0 has meant that the exerciseat the center is largely unrelated toof events in tbe hinterland. far too weak to Impose its authority,depend on the occasional and precariousof the officials in therovinces.
The maladminlstered provinces themselveside variety of secessionist, radical andattitudes, together with ethnic and tribal rivalries. Alligh degree ofautonomy.
Adoula and his colleagues haveto accept their lack of power ln the They have frequently avoided or playedchallenges from the regions, not onlythey lack enforcement powers but alsoof them are beholden to parochialhave relied on the demonstrated support ofand the.financial and diplomatic backing ofto support them In the most crucial instances,
Blnza is the section of Leopoldvilleof these officials live. Theincludes Arry ConiranderChief Nendaka, Justice Minister(who has the loyalty of thetribe). Interior MinistryDamien Kondolo, and Albertof the National Bank. Occasionaliren-bers include Interior(representing the Abako Party ofBakongo tribe) and Defense .Minister
Adoula isea-ber of the group,
ls close to it. All of these individuals
have been consistently antl-Communlst |
atanga. They have also relied on thopolitical leverage that control of the capital affords. Moro specifically, Leopoldville has used heavy financial subventions to retain some semblance of provincial loyalty. Transfers to the provinces account for nore than half of the government'sexpenditures; much of this is lost to corrupt local politicians.
Whatever power Leopoldvlilo does hold over the countryside also restsarge degree onman Congolese Army (ANC). This is usefulind of constabulary force,ew officers of some ability have emerged. Yet the ANC is still faroliable force responsive to Generalor anyone olso. Indeed, the ANC's brutality in its sporadic pillaging forays gives rise toresentment against the central government. Moreover, the ANC lacks sufficient training andin itself to cope with even primitively organized terrorist bands or Tshombo's bedraggled Katangan gendarmes. The extremely slow progress of the Belgian retraining program strongly suggests that 'che ANC,ifth of Loopoldville's total domestic expenditures, will continue to be an expensive and virtually autonomous body, whosemay shift rapidlyesult of ossontlally trivial matters.*
Despite seemingly ephemeral internalthe present government has woathored political harassment, sporadic scheming within its ranks to oust Adoula, and its own generally indecisive and unimpressivo performance. Probably its mainpolitical survival. Its principal foes have not flourished. Tshombo,the rogimo's wiliest antagonist, went into self-imposed exile. Glzenga has been isolated, and the leadership and organization of Lumumba's Bouvonent Nationale Congolalshe only party with a
Despite the ANC's size and tho UN militarysuch elements as tribes, political youth groups, or former gendarmes are maintainingturbulence ln at leastf the Kwilu, Uoyen Congo, Haut Congo, Manlona, Kivu Central, Katanga Oriental, Nord-Katanga, Lualaba, Sankuru, Sud-Kasai, Kasai Central, and Unite Kasaionne.
substantial claim to national support, has fragmented. Its extremists now have taken exile in Brazzaville, where they haveommittee of National Liberation (CNL). The CHL is itself badly split, bow-ever, and its efforts to obtain Soviet (and Chinese) funds and arms have been hampered by Leopoldville's expulsion of the Soviet diplomats with whom the CNL maintained contacts. The CNL apparently has some arms, enjoys freedom of movement in the ex-French Congo. It is attempting to exploit discontentthe ANC as well as troubles stirred up by radical youth and terrorist bands ln Stanleyville, in Kwllu, and elsewhere.
5. Excopt for the Katanga secession, the current upheaval in Kwilu province ls the most serious and effectively organized disturbance since the end of Belgian rule. Its origins are obscure, and the alms of its leaders unclear. Kwllu has long been known as an area given to religious fanaticisms, hostility to white men, and tribal violonce; clearly, these factors play an important part in the present outbreak. It ls virtually certain, howevor, that forces are at work which are more than local. The purported leader of the outbreak, Mulelo, has links with anti-Adoula exiles in Brazzaville as well as with Communists. Restoration of some semblance of order will at bestong and difficult process, and will probably bo beyond the capabilities of the Leopoldville Even so, the violence and indiscipline of Kwllu isew degrees greator than that of somo other provinces.
6, Despite the high degree of political turmoil, most of the modern sector of the economy stillat pre-independence levels. Tho large European-owned and operated mining enterprises and agricultural plantations are self-sufficient and, transportation problems apart, have remained largely unaffected by widespread strife. They provide most of the Congo's badly needed foroign exchange, and they can probablyto operate short of physical takeover by the Congoleseotal breakdown of order. The bulk of the Congolese people are dependant upon subsistence farming, bunting, and fishing, and are largelyby wider economic considerations. They are totally unconcerned with national politics, and are affected by events outside their villages onlywhon they become participants in, or victims of, violent tribal and ethnic conflicts.
II. Trends and Prospects
7. Angered by parliament's obstructionistand threatenedoneral strike, President Kasavubu last September suddenly closed the assembly. He followed by announcing the establishmentonstitutional commission, its work to be completedays and then to be submitted to areferendum. Apart from providing time and elbow room for tho government, the objective was finally to replace tho complex Loi Fundanentaleewalong federal linos to enhance Leopoldville': powers. In an inept follow-up, however, Leopoldvilleommission composed predominantly ofrepresentatives, most of whomarge degree of local autonomy. The commission continues to meet, but its work will probably end in stalemate and
Several efforts by individuals in the Binza Group and others toational party have made little headway. Themb1ernent Democratic Cqngolais partyesigned mainly to provido Adoula with an effective vehicle for the upcoming election campaign, has failed to attract anygroup. Adoula has not committed himself firmly to the national party project (although he views the scheme as one he would lead). The lack of progress in creating this party, together with theperformance of the constitutional commission, make it increasingly unlikely that tho June olection timetable will bo observed.
Given tho Congo's political immaturity, an election postponement or continued quarrels overconstitutional Issues will not necessarily create much trouble. Indeed, an electoral campaign might itselferious security problem in many aroas. However, postponement and attendantwill probably comeead at about the time the UN military operation finally pulls up stakes next July. an ON mission, although nowtotally ineffective in military terms, is still an important psychological barrier against largo-scale disorders, at least in Katanga. Should its departuro coincideolitically charged atmosphere, thereood char.ee of troubleignificant scale.
Chief Nendaka is the chief architect of
Among other things, this might result in an exodus of the skilled European managerial and technical work force in Katanga or new outbreaks Like that In Kwllu.
assuming that rough standardscan be maintainedime, it isto see any satisfactory solution for thethe Congo, even with heavy Westernand strong Western diplomaticof the central government. Some plausible
eventualities and some speculation about the future are sketched in the following paragraphs.
time ls probably running outhe has about an even chance to hang onfew months more. He can take some comfortprospect of greater revenues due tocopper prices, and also from theone way orwill probablyof5 million in externalthe Congo requires to stumbLe along. for him appears to be lessening,he seems politically shopworn. Much willupon the source and timing of any new threat
to him. For example, ho might squeeze through another parliamentary crisis, but he would be much less likely to survive another concentrated attack from labor, which has been increasingly effective in articulating the widespread resentment of the privileges of the politician "class".
are slim that the presentdevelop an effective nationalcan assure an electoral victory for the The provincial leaders, largelyand favoring local autonomy, retainthe trump cards, since they stand astrideof political communication with theelectorate.* Although Leopoldvillebuy the temporary Allegiance of someleaders from time to time, we believe the
in i5 of therovinces thereingle dominant political party, and ln many the partytrong ethnic identity. Traditionalstructures are significant inrovinces.
arrangement would lead onlyevival of earlier ineffectual bickering between the parliament and the government.
such circumstances some Congolesedemandtrong man take overwhile others would call for evenautonomy, and the ANC might attemptpower. An attempt by the ANC would be likelypartly because of the army's lack ofeven by African standards, partly becausediffuse loyalties and its preoccupationneeds like food and beer. There are,few fairly able potential "strong men" outsidesuch as Defense Minister Anany or to aMinister of Plans Kamitatu. One or another
of these might be able to gain the support of anumber of the ANC troops, at least long enough to install himself in office.
the Binza Group clings to power init may attempt to forestall an ANCand at theoe pacify regionalbringing Tshomb^ into an influential positioncentral government. Tshombe* has made ithis objective is power at the nationalremains the dominant political figure in theregion, and his "gendarmes" in Angolaa potential force to pressurepolicies of regional autonomy (minus theEuropean backing) now are supportedCongo. Although his return would angersome other elements, Tshomb^ would probablyto work with many of the Congolese radicals,
at leastime (he now is talking of agovernment including Lumumbists). If Tshombe* were toajor role on tbe national scene, Leopoldville's relations with the provinces would probably improve somewhat, although its power over them would be likely to decline.
or notevelopmentabor-radical government isemerge sometime during the next year or so. be brought aboutombination ofnationalist, and discontentedlanned strike, asome spontaneous event. onfused situation,
the fragile loyalty of the ANC could easily crack, with some units opposing the central government and some supporting it. Onceabor-radical regime would still be no better able than the present one to set its stamp on the regions, and it would in turn be subject to removal by successively more radical and extremist figures. There ls littleofentral government of any type whlrh willigh degree of authority throughout the country. Over the next year or so, it willonsiderable achievement if chaos is avoided.