Albert Kalonji

Last updated
Albert Kalonji
Albert Kalonji.jpg
Head of State of South Kasai
(first as President, later as Mulopwe/God-king/Emperor)
In office
9 August 1960 5 October 1962
Preceded byEdmond Mukanya Mulenda
Succeeded byposition disestablished
Personal details
Born(1929-06-06)6 June 1929
Hemptinne (near Luluabourg), Belgian Congo
(Now Katende, Haut-Lomami, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Died20 April 2015(2015-04-20) (aged 85)
Mbuji-Mayi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Political party Mouvement National Congolais-Kalonji (MNC-K)

Albert Kalonji Ditunga (6 June 1929 20 April 2015) [1] [2] was a Congolese politician best known as the leader of the short-lived secessionist state of South Kasai (Sud-Kasaï) during the Congo Crisis.

Contents

Early life

Little is known about Albert Kalonji's early life. He was born in 1927 or 1929 in Hemptinne, Kasai Province, Belgian Congo. He attended Scheut Missionaries-run Catholic schools in Lusambo before studying at an agricultural school in Kisantu for five years. [3]

Early career

Kalonji, a chief from the Luba ethnic group, began his political career under Belgian colonial rule as a member of the nationalist Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party led by Patrice Lumumba. Kalonji, however, split with Lumumba to form a federalist faction of the party, known as the Mouvement National Congolais-Kalonji (MNC-K), which failed to achieve significant success while Lumumba was made Prime Minister of the independent Congo in 1960.

South Kasai

Within days of being independent from Belgium, the new Republic of the Congo [lower-alpha 1] found itself torn between competing political factions, as well as by foreign interference. As the situation deteriorated, Moise Tshombe declared the independence of Katanga Province as the State of Katanga on 11 July 1960.

Kalonji, claiming that the Baluba [lower-alpha 2] were being persecuted in the Congo and needed their own state in their traditional Kasai homeland, followed suit shortly afterwards and declared the autonomy of the diamond-rich [4] South Kasai on 8 August, with himself as head. [5] Unlike Tshombe, Kalonji shrank from declaring full independence from the Congo and rather declared its "autonomy" with a hypothetical, federalised Congo. He, as representatives of his party, continued to sit in the Congolese parliaments in Léopoldville.[ citation needed ] In emulation of Winston Churchill, he adopted the V sign for victory to express his confidence in South Kasai's ability to achieve its goals. [6]

On 12 April 1961, Kalonji's father was granted the title Mulopwe (which roughly translates to "emperor" or "god-king"), [7] but he immediately "abdicated" in favor of his son. [5] On 16 July, In April 1961, Kalonji took the royal title Mulopwe ("King of the Baluba") to tie the state more closely to the pre-colonial Luba Empire. The act divided the South Kasaian authorities and Kalonji was disavowed by the majority of South Kasai's parliamentary representatives in Léopoldville.[d] The move was controversial with members of Kalonji's own party and cost him much support.

Kalonji's reign, however, proved to be short-lived. As preparation for the invasion of Katanga, Congolese government troops invaded and occupied South Kasai, becoming involved in ethnic-based violence and displacing thousands of Baluba. On 30 December, Kalonji was arrested. [5] He did manage to escape shortly afterwards. The administrative apparatus of South Kasai survived, under Congolese occupation, until a coup d'état was led against Kalonjists by the state's Prime Minister, Joseph Ngalula, in October 1962 when the state returned to the Congo. [5]

Legacy and subsequent activities

Kalonji Ditunga at a later age Albert Kalonji Ditunga.jpg
Kalonji Ditunga at a later age

Escaping from arrest, Kalonji fled to Francoist Spain. He returned to the Congo between 1964-65 to hold a ministerial portfolio in the central government led by Tshombe but returned to exile following Joseph-Désiré Mobutu's 1965 coup d'état,[ citation needed ] which ended his political career. [8] Under Mobutu, the territory of South Kasai was divided into two regions to discourage future secessionist tendencies. [5] In exile in Europe, Kalonji still claimed the title Souverain Possesseur des Terres occupées par les Balubas (Sovereign Owner of the Lands occupied by the Baluba). [5] He wrote about his experiences in Memorandum: Ma lutte, au Kasai, pour la Verité au service de la Justice ("Memorandum: My fight in Kasai in the Service of Truth and Justice", published 1964) and Congo 1960. La Sécession du Sud-Kasaï. La vérité du Mulopwe ("Congo 1960. The South Kasai Secession. Truth from the Mulopwe", published 2005). He died in April 2015 and was buried in Katende.

Notes

  1. Not to be confused with the neighboring country of the same name, sometimes known as Congo-Brazzaville.
  2. In most Bantu languages, the prefix ba- (or sometimes wa-) is added to a human noun to form a plural. As such, Baluba refers collectively to members of the Luba ethnic group.

Related Research Articles

Joseph Kasa-Vubu

Joseph Kasa-Vubu, alternatively Joseph Kasavubu, was a Congolese politician who served as the first President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1960 until 1965.

Moïse Tshombe Congolese businessman and politician

Moïse Kapend Tshombe was a Congolese businessman and politician. He served as the president of the secessionist State of Katanga from 1960 to 1963 and as prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1964 to 1965.

Cyrille Adoula

Cyrille Adoula was a Congolese trade unionist and politician. He was the prime minister of the Republic of the Congo, from 2 August 1961 until 30 June 1964.

Mouvement National Congolais Political party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Congolese National Movement was a political party in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Congo Crisis 1960–1965 war fought in the Congo

The Congo Crisis was a period of political upheaval and conflict in the Republic of the Congo between 1960 and 1965. The crisis began almost immediately after the Congo became independent from Belgium and ended, unofficially, with the entire country under the rule of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu. Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and the United States supported opposing factions. Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.

South Kasai 1960–1962 unrecognised state in Africa

South Kasai was an unrecognised secessionist state within the Republic of the Congo which was semi-independent between 1960 and 1962. Initially proposed as only a province, South Kasai sought full autonomy in similar circumstances to the much larger neighbouring state of Katanga, to its south, during the political turmoil arising from the independence of the Belgian Congo known as the Congo Crisis. Unlike Katanga, however, South Kasai did not explicitly declare full independence from the Republic of the Congo or reject Congolese sovereignty.

United Nations Operation in the Congo 1960s United Nations military operation

The United Nations Operation in the Congo was a United Nations peacekeeping force deployed in the Republic of the Congo in 1960 in response to Congo Crisis. ONUC was the UN's first peacekeeping mission with significant military capabilities, and remains one of the largest UN operations in both scale and operational scope.

Évariste Kimba 20th-century Congolese journalist and politician

Évariste Leon Kimba Mutombo was a Congolese journalist and politician who served as Foreign Minister of the State of Katanga from 1960 to 1963 and Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 13 October to 25 November 1965. Kimba was born in 1926 in Katanga Province, Belgian Congo. Following the completion of his studies he worked as a journalist and became editor-in-chief of the Essor du Congo. In 1958 he and a group of Katangese concerned about domination of their province by people from the neighbouring Kasaï region founded the Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga (CONAKAT), a regionalist political party. In 1960 the Congo became independent and shortly thereafter Moise Tshombe declared the secession of the State of Katanga. Kimba played an active role in the separatist state's government as its Minister of Foreign Affairs and participated in numerous talks with the central government aimed at political reconciliation. Following the collapse of the secession in early 1963, Kimba had a falling out with Tshombe and took up several ministerial posts in the new province of South Katanga.

Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville) former sovereign state in Central Africa

The Republic of the Congo was a sovereign state in Central Africa, created with the independence of the Belgian Congo in 1960. From 1960 to 1966, the country was also known as Congo-Léopoldville to distinguish it from its northwestern neighbor, which is also called the Republic of the Congo, alternatively known as "Congo-Brazzaville". In 1964, the state's official name was changed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the two countries continued to be distinguished by their capitals; with the renaming of Léopoldville as Kinshasa in 1966, it became also known as Congo-Kinshasa. After Joseph Désiré Mobutu, commander-in-chief of the national army, seized control of the country, it became the Republic of Zaire in 1971. It would again become the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1997. The period between 1960 and 1965 is referred to as the First Congolese Republic.

This is a history of the Kasai region in the Democratic Republic of Congo and of the political divisions which have occupied it since human settlement began.

Belgo-Congolese Round Table Conference 1960 meeting between Belgian and Congolese leaders

The Belgo-Congolese Round Table Conference was a meeting organized in two parts in 1960 in Brussels between on the one side representatives of the Congolese political class and chiefs and on the other side Belgian political and business leaders. The round table meetings led to the adoption of sixteen resolutions on the future of the Belgian Congo and its institutional reforms. With a broad consensus, the date for independence was set on June 30, 1960.

The following lists events that happened during 1960 in the Republic of the Congo (Léopoldville).

Jason Sendwe Congolese politician (1917–1964)

Jason Sendwe was a Congolese politician and a leader of the Association Générale des Baluba du Katanga (BALUBAKAT) party. He served as Second Deputy Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from August 1961 until January 1963, and as President of the Province of North Katanga from September 1963 until his death, with a brief interruption.

Joseph Okito was a Congolese politician and close political ally to Patrice Lumumba who briefly served as Second Vice-President of the Senate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was executed alongside Lumumba in Katanga in 1961.

Lumumba Government

The Lumumba Government, also known as the Lumumba Ministry or Lumumba Cabinet, was the first set of ministers, ministers of state, and secretaries of state that governed the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the leadership of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from 24 June until 12 September 1960. The government inherited many problems from the era of the Belgian Congo, a tightly administered colony which for most of its existence had few political freedoms. Its members came from different social classes, different tribes, and held varied political beliefs. Weak and divided, its tenure was dominated by a widespread mutiny in the army and two secessions. An exodus of thousands of Belgian functionaries—who had controlled most of the bureaucracy—left the administration in disarray. The United Nations created a large multinational peacekeeping force to assist the government in reestablishing law and order. Western nations were under the impression that Lumumba was a communist, and the United States, Belgium, and France all worked to undermine and divide his government. Domestic opposition to the government cemented by late July, and Lumumba increasingly relied on only a few advisers, and rarely consulted the full Council of Ministers; several members of the government began acting without his direction. He resorted to increasingly authoritarian measures to maintain control over the country.

Isaac Kalonji

Isaac Kalonji Mutambayi was a Congolese Protestant minister and statesman who served as the President of the Senate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1962 until 1965. He was one of the few politicians to serve the country continuously from its independence in 1960 until its democratisation in the 1990s.

Rémy Mwamba (1921–1967) was a Congolese politician who twice served as Minister of Justice of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was also a leading figure of the Association Générale des Baluba du Katanga (BALUBAKAT).

Barthélemy Mukenge Nsumpi Shabantu was a Congolese politician who served as President of Kasaï Province from 11 June 1960 to January 1962 and July to September 1962. He was a president of the Association des Lulua-Frères, a Lulua ethnic syndicate, and a leading member of the Union National Congolaise. Though initially allied with nationalist Patrice Lumumba, he later denounced him and aligned himself with more moderate politicians. Following the division of Kasai Province in late 1962, Mukenge became Minister of Health and Minister of Social Affairs of the new Luluabourg Province. He later served as Governor of Kivu Province and on the Political Bureau of the Mouvement Populaire de la Révolution. He withdrew from politics in 1974 and died in 2018.

Formation of the Lumumba Government

The Lumumba Government was the first set of ministers, ministers of state, and secretaries of state that governed the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the leadership of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba from 24 June until 12 September 1960. It was hastily formed over the period of several weeks in June, and was supported by a slight majority coalition in Parliament. Weak and divided, its tenure was dominated by a widespread mutiny in the army and two secessions.

In August 1960 troops of the Republic of the Congo attempted to crush the secession of South Kasai by invading the declared state's territory. Though initially militarily successful, the attack faltered under intense international and domestic political scrutiny and the Congolese troops were withdrawn.

References

  1. Sando, Kabuya Lumuna (1993). Nord-Katanga 1960-1964: De la sécession à la guerre civile - Le meurtre des chefs. 196: L'Harmattan. ISBN   2738412637.CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. Décès de M. Albert Kalonji Ditunga Mulopwe Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine Agence Congolaise de Presse. 30.5.2015 (in French)
  3. Akyeampong & Gates 2012, p. 274.
  4. Larry Devlin, Chief of Station, Congo: Fighting the Cold War in a Hot Zone, p. 62
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 The Imperial Collection: The Autonomous State of South Kasai
  6. "Sous le Signe V Kalonji veut reconquérir le Kasaï". Le Soir Illustré (in French). 15 September 1960.
  7. ""Zaire: A Country Study", "Establishment of a Personalistic Regime"". Lcweb2.loc.gov. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  8. Akyeampong & Gates 2012, p. 276.

Bibliography