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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Luba in the Dem. Rep. of the Congo

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Date(s) Item
1401 - 1500 Luba kingdom established.
1601 - 1700 Lunda kingdom formed by the brother of the reigning Luba king. By the 18th century, the Lunda expanded into the Luba territory in search of manpower for agricultural activities.
Nov 1, 1884 - Feb 28, 1885 Conference of Berlin acknowledges the claims of Leopold II's International Association of the Congo.
1908 In response to growing criticism of the treatment of the African population, the Belgian parliament annexes the Belgian Congo.
1940 - 1945 Production of goods and minerals is greatly increased to finance Belgian efforts in World War II. Large-scale social and economic changes occur as many rural Africans relocate to urban areas. Demands for political reforms grow. Luba-Kasai migrates to Katanga (Shaba) to work in the mines.
1952 - 1958 Legal reforms are enacted permitting Africans to own land and giving them some political participation.
1956 Alliance of the Kongo People (Abako), headed by Joseph Kasavubu, issues a manifesto calling for immediate independence.
1957 - 1959 Calls for the independence of Katanga grow. The separatist party Conakat (Confederation of Katangan Associations) is established and headed by Moise Tshombe.
Jan 1959 Belgians disperse a crowd of Abako supporters at a political meeting. Widespread rioting results. Belgium recognizes the total independence of Congo as its main goal.
Jul 1959 The MNC (Congolese National Movement) which had emerged as an important actor in the independence movement splits into two camps. One faction is led by Patrice Lumumba who is Tetela, an ethnic group of Kasai province. This faction, known as MNC-Lumumba is largely supported by the Lulua ethnic group in Kasai. The other faction was headed by Joseph Ileo, Cyrille Adoula, and Albert Kalonji, a Luba-Kasai. This moderate wing, known as MNC-Kalonji, drew support from the Luba-Kasai.
May 1960 In national legislative elections, MNC-Lumumba wins the largest number of votes. The Belgian authorities name Lumumba prime minister.
Jun 1960 Abako leader Kasavubu is elected president. Zaire (then Congo) becomes independent from Belgium.
Jul 1960 Moise Tshombe declares the region of Katanga, later Shaba, independent. This independence bid was backed by Belgian interests as the Shaba region is rich in minerals.
Aug 8, 1960 South Kasai, headed by Albert Kalonji, secedes. Lumumba used military forces loyal to him to launch a major offensive against both Katanga and Kasai secessionists. These units never made it to Katanga, but their attack on Kasai led to a large-scale massacre of the Luba.
Sep 1960 The president and prime minister formally break and fire each other from their posts. Mobutu Sese Seko, chief of staff of the military, steps in and assumes power while keeping Kasavubu as nominal president. The country is run by the "College of Commissioners."
Jan 17, 1961 Lumumba is assassinated.
Feb 1961 College of Commissioners is dissolved and a provisional government is formed, headed by Ileo. Adoula is named prime minister in August.
1963 The Katanga (Shaba) region is reintegrated into Zaire. Tshombe is arrested and sent into exile.
1964 Rebellion breaks out in Kwilu area around Kikwit. This rebellion is headed by Pierre Muele. In May, a second rebellion led by Gaston Soumialot begins in the east and spreads rapidly.
Jul 1964 Tshombe is recalled from exile and replaces Adoula as prime minister.
Dec 1964 The eastern rebellion is put down and Soumialot is sent into exile.
Nov 1965 Mobutu Sese Seko seizes power in a military coup after the government is paralyzed due to rivalry between Tshombe and Kasavubu. Mobutu names himself president.
Dec 1965 The rebellion in Kwilu ends. Muele goes into exile. In 1968 he returns under a general amnesty but is executed.
Apr 17, 1967 Mobutu creates the MPR (Popular Revolutionary Party) which became the sole legitimate vehicle for participating in the political sphere.
Oct 1971 The country's name is changed to Zaire. Under Mobutu's policy of "authenticity," all colonial or Christian names, public and private, were to change to Zairean ones. Mobutu tried to create a nationalism based on loyalty to the state rather than loyalties to specific regions. He tried to downplay ethnic differences and loyalties, but rivalries remained.
Aug 1974 The 1967 constitution is revised making the MPR synonymous with the state.
Mar 1977 Armed rebellion in the Shaba region pose the greatest threat to the Mobutu regime since he seized power in 1965. A Zairean insurgency group invades Shaba from Angola, but is defeated with the help of French and Moroccan forces.
May 1978 The same Shaba insurgency group again launches an invasion of Shaba, this time from Zambia. It is again defeated with the help of the French and Moroccans.
1982 Etienne Tshisekedi co-founds the UDPS (Union for Democracy and Social Progress) opposition party. It is an outlawed organization.
1990 - 1991 Since open opposition to the government is legalized in 1990, resistance to Mobutu is organized in Shaba. Three key leaders are Etienne Tshisekedi, Jean Nguz Karl-i-Bond and Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza. The latter two joined forces in UFERI (Union of Federalists and Independent Republicans). Opposition in Shaba was known as the "Sacred Union" and when Mobutu announced the transition to democracy, the Union backed Tshisekedi, himself a Luba-Kasai, as the opposition candidate.
Apr 1990 Mobutu announces he will allow multi-party elections the following year.
May 11, 1990 Students are massacred by Mobutu's elite forces after they demonstrate against the government at Lumbumbashi University.
Nov 1991 Karl-i-Bond and Kyungu broke ranks with the Sacred Union and allied themselves with Mobutu. Karl-i-Bond is named Prime Minister and Kyungu becomes governor of Shaba. Immediately thereafter, Kyungu shifts his attacks against Mobutu to attack the "enemy within" viz. the Luba-Kasai in Shaba. Before long, the Katangans (non-Luba of Shaba) claimed their alliance with Mobutu was to prevent a permanent dictatorship of Luba-Kasai. Violence began in small towns and villages soon after Kyungu took office.
Aug 15, 1992 Etienne Tshisekedi replaces Karl-i-Bond as Prime Minister. Luba-Kasai demonstrated in triumph and violence erupted in Shaba. Mass expulsions of Luba-Kasai begin. Mobutu attempts to fire Tshisekedi one week after he is appointed by the national conference on the political future of Zaire. Riots also break out in Kinshasa when soldiers protest and loot stores over a failed pay raise.
Dec 1992 France, Belgium, U.S. issue statements of support for the Tshisekedi government.
Mar 1993 Mobutu dismisses Tshisekedi for a second time and names Faustin Birindwa prime minister of the so-called "government of national salvation." Zaire effectively has two rival governments.
Oct 1993 Oxfam launches the largest single aid project in Africa to help the Luba-Kasai who has been expelled from their homes since August 1992.
Dec 1993 Karl-i-Bond and Governor Kyungu declare the Shaba region autonomous.
1994 - 1995 Reports continue to illuminate the plight of the Luba-Kasai. Regional government officials continue to provoke ethnic hatred in Shaba and to expel inhabitants. Governor Kyungu controls local television and much of the press. The pro-Kasai press is hampered by intimidation and attacks by the youth movement Juferi.
Apr 1994 The Sacred Union of Radical Opposition (a coalition of opposition parties) announces that it has founded an army. Its mission is to topple the Mobutu regime.
Jun 1994 Kengo Wa Dondo is appointed prime minister by Mobutu. Etienne Tshisekedi has maintained that he is the only true prime minister since his appointment in 1991 by the national council.
Jul 1994 Two assassination attempts on Tshisekedi's life are made by the private militia of Mobutu.
Apr 1995 Fears of secession of Shaba are mounting. The regional governor Kyungu is being held in Kinshasa on charges of importing weapons to help Shaba secede.
Jun 1995 At least 85 people were killed in June in eastern Zaire in clashes over land between Zairians and Banyarwandans, immigrants from Rwanda who have lived in Zaire for generations but who do not hold citizenship in the country.
Jul 8, 1995 More than forty people were killed in ethnic clashes near Gandajika in eastern Kasai. The government gave no reason for the clashes and no indication of which groups were involved.
Aug 1996 After being gradually stripped of their citizenship rights by Mobutu, the Banyamulenge, ethnic Tutsis of Zaire, took up arms against the government.
Oct 7, 1996 The deputy governor of South Kivu told ethnic Tutsis to leave Zaire. The Banyamulenge rebels began attacking government-held towns and Laurent Kabila and his Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) joined them in their fight against Mobutu. Kabila had a long history as a rebel beginning as a youth leader in a political party allied with Patrice Lumumba. He headed a Marxist organization, the People's Revolutionary Party, from 1964 to the early 1980s during which time he ruled an enclave among the Bembe people in eastern Kivu Province. He then lived in Dar es Salaam as a businessman before returning to Zaire in 1996.
Oct 24, 1996 Laurent Kabila's rebel forces seized Uvira on Lake Tanganyika.
Oct 30, 1996 Kabila's forces seized Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province.
Nov 1, 1996 Rebels and Rwandan soldiers captured Goma. About 500 people were killed in battles.
Nov 14, 1996 Kabila's forces bombed Mugunga refugee camp. Hutu refugees from Mugunga and other camps fled. Up to 700,000 returned to Rwanda and others fled west into the interior. Some of the refugees in Zaire were believed to be hard line Hutus who had perpetrated the massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994.
Dec 17, 1996 Mobutu flew home to Zaire after undergoing treatment for cancer in France. He appointed a new armed forces chief and reshuffled his cabinet in order to launch a counter-offensive against the rebels.
Dec 27, 1996 The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) announced it would break all contacts with the government of Mobutu after he decided to retain Kengo wa Dondo as Prime Minister.
Jan 20, 1997 The government launched an offensive against Kabila's forces even as they advanced on mineral-rich Shaba region.
Feb 5, 1997 European Community Humanitarian Office Commissioner Emma Bonino said at least 500,000 people were threatened by death or starvation as a consequence of the armed conflict in Zaire. The majority of these were Rwandan refugees, some 200,000 of whom were still missing in the interior of Zaire.
Mar 7, 1997 Hundreds of soldiers manned opposition strongholds in Kinshasa after dispersing opposition militias trying to gather for a march against Mobutu. The Secretary-General of UDPS, Adrien Phongo, was beaten and arrested.
Mar 15, 1997 Kisangani, Zaire's third largest city, fell to rebel troops.
Mar 23, 1997 Human rights organizations reported that Hutu refugees were being massacred in the East by Kabila's forces. Kabila's troops are dominated by Tutsis from Rwanda and he received military and other support from Angola, Rwanda, and Uganda during his rebel offensive.
Apr 2, 1997 Etienne Tshisekedi, a Luba-Kasai, was named Prime Minister after Kengo wa Dondo was forced out of office. Tshisekedi named his own government and offered to negotiate with Kabila. The offer was refused and Mobutu sacked Tshisekedi after a week.
Apr 5, 1997 The town of Mbuji-Mayi in Kasai Province fell to rebel forces. It is the diamond mining center of Zaire and home of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi. Laurent Kabila is also a Luba, but from neighboring Shaba Province. Both Shaba and Kasai have been operating as de facto autonomous states in recent years. Both trade more with Johannesburg than Kinshasa and in trade terms are more closely linked with Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda than with the capital. Kasai also accepts only old currency that went out of circulation in the rest of Zaire in 1993. After Kabila's forces overtook Kasai Province, he allowed the people to elect a local leader. They chose Jean Mbuyi Mulomba, a supporter of Tshisekedi. Mulomba declared that Kasai was already free and did not need liberating. Though Kabila professes to be a federalist, it is unsure how much autonomy he will allow independent regions like Kasai and Katanga.
Apr 8, 1997 Mobutu declared a state of emergency over all of Zaire. Tshisekedi's supporters clashed with security forces for two days when it became apparent that he would be dropped as Prime Minister.
Apr 9, 1997 Rebels captured Lumumbashi, the capital of Shaba province. It is the second-largest city in Zaire in a region rich in minerals. General Likulia Bolong was named Prime Minister replacing Etienne Tshisekedi.
Apr 14, 1997 Tshisekedi supporters in Kinshasa closed down the capital for two days in protest over Tshisekedi's ouster from office.
Apr 15, 1997 Kabila, a Luba, appointed one of his relatives, Gaetan Kakudji, as the governor of Shaba. In other regions his forces captured, Kabila had allowed elections to decide who would hold office. He announced he would postpone indefinitely elections in the Shaba. The former governor, Kumwanza, who remained popular in the region after its fall to the ADFL, was responsible for instigating a wave of ethnic violence against the Luba in the region during 1992-95. Most Luba fled the region during the violence. Kumwanza also pushed for greater autonomy for the region while at the same time benefited from alliances with Mobutu and local mining interests.
Apr 27, 1997 Kabila gave the United Nations 60 days to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Hutus, many of whose whereabouts were unknown having fled into the interior of Zaire with the advance of Kabila's rebels. Relief agencies began airlifting Hutu refugees back to Rwanda shortly after Kabila made his announcement.
May 13, 1997 A night-time curfew was declared in Kinshasa.
May 16, 1997 After it became apparent that he had no choice but to give up power, Mobutu left Kinshasa for his northern palace at Gbadolite after which he was expected to leave Zaire. South Africa had been attempting to mediate between Kabila and Mobutu, but after several attempts, it was clear that Kabila held the upper hand and Mobutu had no leverage over the take-over of his country.
May 17, 1997 Kabila declared himself president and took office on the 29th.
May 18, 1997 ADFL forces entered Kinshasa while Kabila remained at his headquarters in Lumbumbashi. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated 200 people were killed in sporadic fighting in the capital during the take-over. One of Kabila's first official actions was to rename Zaire the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), also known as Congo-Kinshasa.
May 23, 1997 Kabila announced some members of his transitional government. The post of Prime Minister, which opposition leaders had hoped would go to Etienne Tshisekedi who has extensive popular support in Kinshasa and Kasai Province, was abolished. Tshisekedi was excluded from Kabila's government. Apparent mass graves were found in north-central Zaire south of Kisingani. A soldier in Kabila's forces told reporters that between 200-600 people slain by Tutsi forces were buried in the mass graves. Aid workers said special units of 300-400 of the Rwandan army were sent to kill refugees in the area.
May 24, 1997 Supporters of Tshisekedi held demonstrations in Mbuji Mayi in central Kasai after Kabila announced a government that did not include the popular opposition leader. The ADFL soon extinguished the demonstrations.
Jun 19, 1997 Laurent Kabila told his officials to do as little as possible to aid a United Nations' investigation into alleged refugee massacres by Tutsi troops in Kabila's ADFL. Kabila was reportedly under intense pressure from the Rwandan and Ugandan governments to stymie the U.N. investigation. U.N. officials said they believed killings were continuing in remote areas of Zaire and that 200,000-250,000 refugees were still missing. The United States and the European Union have stated they would condition aid to the new government on the observance of human rights.
Jun 27, 1997 Opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi and his wife were forcibly taken from their home by security agents after Tshisekedi made a political speech at the University of Kinshasa. He had stated that he thought he and Kabila could "harmonize conflicting views" about the future of their country but added that foreign troops must leave. The speech violated a two-year government ban on political rallies and activities by anyone other than Kabila's Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo. Tshisekedi was released after a night in custody.
Jul 10, 1997 Angola announced it would train police and immigration officers in the DRC.
Jul 14, 1997 Four generals loyal to Mobutu announced from Johannesburg that they wanted to fight for the secession of Katanga and Kasai provinces from the DRC. Generals Baranoto, Nzimbi and Vumbo and Admiral Mavwa were thought to be funding their efforts partly from the sale of cobalt illegally shipped out of Zaire before the fall of Mobutu.
Jul 25, 1997 Kabila warned his political opponents not to stir up trouble after his security forces killed up to seven demonstrators in Kinshasa. The Unified Lumumbist Party and UDPS organized the demonstration to call for the re-establishment of political party activity, a constitution of national unity, and an end to violence and insecurity in Kinshasa.
Aug 1997 A military court was established to try cases of undisciplined soldiers. According to Amnesty International, the court has presided over unfair trials and sentenced dozens of civilians and soldiers to death. Those convicted have no access to legal counsel or right of appeal.
Aug 15, 1997 Tshisekedi was arrested for the second time while participating in a peaceful protest. Fifteen leaders of the UDPS were also arrested along with 15 others. Most, including Tshisekedi, were released shortly after their arrests, but two of the leaders were unaccounted for in late September.
Aug 27, 1997 The World Food Program estimated that there were nearly 600,000 displaced people in the Kasai region. They are mainly Lubas who were displaced as a result of ethnic violence in Katanga between 1993-1995.
Sep 7, 1997 Mobutu Sese Seko died from cancer in exile in Morocco.
Oct 6, 1997 Kabila sent between 200 and 300 troops to Congo-Brazzaville amid growing fears that conflict there would destabilize Congo-Kinshasa. Up to 30 people were killed in Kinshasa when shells launched from Brazzaville hit Kinshasa.
Nov 27, 1997 A new governor, Omer Kamba Kabwe Kantanda, and deputy governor, Jean-Claude Okoto Lola Kombe, were named for Kasai province. Earlier in the month, the former governor and deputy governor of Kasai were suspended from their posts by the Minister of the Interior. Two allies of Etienne Tshisekedi, Fernand Tala Ngai and Frederic Kibassa Maliba, were named deputy ministers for mines and finance, respectively.
Jan 1998 The ban imposed on political party organizing by Laurent Kabila is to stay in place and will remain in force until the national elections planned for 1999.Attacks on democratic opposition leaders have grown more frequent since November. Attacks on journalists' offices, and detention of journalists and opposition leaders have occurred. Kasai region is resisting Kabila's attempts to impose a national reconstruction program, including replacing the Mobutu era currency-the new zaire-by the Congolese franc. Kasai and Katanga regions have been using the "old" zaire since the new zaire was introduced and were relatively autonomous from Mobutu's regime, especially in their economic policies. Katanga, Kabila's native region, is reportedly ready to accept the new currency.
Feb 14, 1998 Etienne Tshisekedi was placed under house arrest and transported to his native village of Kabeya-Kamwanga in Kasai. He was allegedly sent out of Kinshasa for violating the ban on political party activity. There were demonstrations in Kinshasa and Kasai against Tshisekedi's removal from the capital.
Apr 3, 1998 Kabila's office declared null and void a controversial list of 248 politicians who were to be banned from participation in electoral politics in the country. The list was drawn up in order to ban anyone who was ever associated from Mobutu's government from running for political office.
May 1998 Between December 1997 and May 1998, the Central Bank has been negotiating with economic officials from Kasai to discuss problems related to monetary reform. As of April 1998, Kasai was still using old zaire banknotes. Since January, over 50 people sentenced to death by a military court established in August have been executed. Kabila's government issued an official decree stating that the transitional assembly would consist of 300 members, and that anyone who was part of Mobutu's government was disqualified from taking part in the assembly. Legislative elections are slated for April 1999.
Aug 6, 1998 Fierce fighting continued in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo with rebel forces opposed to President Laurent Kabila said to have captured a major oil town in the west of the country. The Tutsi rebels, who nominated UNESCO employee Arthur Zahidi Ngoma as their leader on Wednesday, were said to have taken the town of Muanda on the Atlantic coast, an important petroleum-producing centre. Rwanda has officially closed its border with Congo as have Burundi and Zambia. Kabila's regime came to power in 1997 with the help of Rwanda's Tutsi-dominated army and soldiers of Congo's ethnic Tutsi minority, the Banyamulenge. But when the Rwandans stayed on after Kabila's rise to power in May 1997 there were fears that their presence had become too strong and the mood in the country has turned against the former allies. ( Deutsche Presse-Agentur,)
Aug 23, 1998 With Kabila's 15-month-old regime looking suddenly vulnerable, the world is reassessing the situation. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Vice-President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, formerly Kabila allies have become the allies of those rebelling against him. In addition to renaming the country, Kabila also reverted Shaba to its old name of Katanga. Kabila has himself been accused of the same corrupt and despotic traits long-associated with Mobutu , and reportedly, the Luba have benefited from his largess with appointments to key positions in his government. (Africa News Service, Inc.)
Sep 18, 1998 Rebels have denied fierce fighting in Kalemie. Meanwhile, the town was still under their control but the economic situation was precarious. Food prices had sky-rocketed, and supplies from Luba were not always available. Reportedly, 60% of the inhabitants have fled the town.( BBC Monitoring Africa)
Jan 9, 1999 Fierce fighting in DRC has caused refugees to flee to the Central African Republic. Rebels in the DRC have captured a town to the south of Zongo. Meanwhile, the leader of the rebels has denied the fall of Boma and some other towns to Kabila fighters.(Africa News Services Inc)
Mar 15, 1999 A "non-violent war" has been declared in DRC by a group called Collective 16 February comprising Christian movements. The group has launched an appeal to the warring parties in various parts of the country. Recently, there has been tension in Uvira, in east Congo, between occupying Rwandan troops siding with rebels and President Kabila's troops of the Congo Group for Democracy. The rebels who oppose the president, they say, must take the road of "frank, sincere and constructive dialogue." They also insist that foreign "aggressors" - Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi - must respect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The group further urged President Kabila's supporters to continue the "negotiations begun in Windhoek for a peaceful solution to the conflict." They also called for the people to "take up the torch of freedom so peace may triumph over war"(Africa News Service, Inc.)
Oct 29 - 29, 2006 Joseph Kabila, a Luba, wins elections to maintain his post as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. ("Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo." BBC News. 6 Mar. 2007. [accessed 04/25/07])


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Information current as of July 16, 2010