Nationalist and independence movements in Africa and Asia and post-1945


Methods of achieving independence in Africa and Asia

The African and Asian countries got their freedom after the Second World War. The United Nations was in some ways responsible for goading the colonial powers to let go of their control on the African and Asian nations and give them the freedom due to them. Some countries got it without much struggle while some put in years of struggle. Congo was a prominent African country and was ruled by Belgium. The spirit and fight for freedom which had spread across the world reached the soils of Congo too.  In 1950s revolution was looming large in Belgian Congo. Congo Africans also realised that after the WWII, the mother country was completely unstable.

In Congo there were a class of elite who initiated the revolution with formation of political parties. One of the prominent parties was the Parti Solidaire Africain and they pushed for complete and immediate freedom from Belgium. When the parties got the support from the people they became more powerful. For almost a decade there were protests but the pace was accelerated after the riots in Leopoldville on January 4th, 1959. 24 four Congo nationals were killed and the political parties were not allowed to assemble by the Belgian administration. Protests now spread all over the country and their attitude towards the administration changed. A kind of disobedient movement as seen in India was adopted in Congo.

After the initial violence the Parti Solidaire Africain insisted on calm and non violent ways to get freedom.  In 1959 the Belgian government decided to call for elections. The plan was to give a little power by helping them form a puppet government. The Belgian government though this might be divert the people from calls of independence. But the Belgian government was in for a shock. Alll the parties boycotted the elections. To counter act the boycott Belgian administration levied a fine of 500 Francs and jail for those who did not vote.  Belgian administration underestimated the power of the parties and the passion of the people as on the day of election around 5.2% of the population only had voted. This proved that Congo was ungovernable for the Belgian government. The parties got an upper hand and they worked the process and terms. On January 20,1960 the Belgian government invited representatives of 13 parties from all over Congo for a round table conference at Brussels.

The Belgian government had planned to spread the process of self rule over a period of three to four years. But all those who assembled refused to accept it and the date for Congo’s independence was set for June 30th 1960 and elections were set for May. Unfortunately the parties that stood rock solid for independence began fighting when the independence was achieved. This rift resulted in military taking over Congo and this state entered into another phase of crisis.

World Wars: Causes and Effects III