from the annals of history

One insurgent movement within the country lingers from the 1964-65 wave of rebellions. Localized in the Fizi-Baraka area by Lake Tanganyika, this group – known in recent years as the Parti de la Revolution (PRP) – achieved notoriety in 1975 by kidnapping four Stanford students from a zoological research station in Tanzania. Its composition is ethnically restricted to Bembe, though its leader, Laurent Kabila, is a Shaba Luba. The movement now has only a few hundred followers, and has no possibility of enlarging its base of operations.

That was Crawford Young writing in Foreign Affairs in 1978.

In 1997 Laurent Kabila, backed by Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, was in charge of a much stronger force and marched from the east of the DRC (then Zaire) into Kinshasa. After the overthrow of Mobutu Laurent Kabila was sworn in as president, only to be assassinated in 2002 and succeeded by his adopted son, Joseph Kabila. The younger Kabila continues to face a simmering insurgency in the east of the country.

Karl Marx once noted that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. President Kabila’s continued ineptitude may be watering the seeds of his own ouster by rebels from the east in a farcical repeat of history.

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