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2023.05.29 13:39 Johnny_Boy398 Africa Rework: The Leopard of the Congo Mobutu Sese Seko
(This is part of an ongoing series, links to which will be posted in the comments below)submitted by Johnny_Boy398 to TNOmod [link] [comments]
The Nationalists of the “Mouvement Authenticité de la Révolution” (MAR)
Who is Mobutu Sese Seko? Just another warlord who got a lucky break? A champion of the nation willing to do what is necessary for unity and freedom? A traitor to the people who was happy to crack congolese heads until his pay got cut? A revolutionary Father-Marshal or a reactionary kleptocrat? No one can say for sure, but when the Congo war begins in 1966 it will become clear what he wishes himself to be: the great liberator, unifyer, and undisputed master of the great Congo nation. And with Japanese help he may just pull it off. But no man is born great, and even the Fuhrer does not rule alone. So let us discover how Mobutu came to be, and what his victory will mean for the Congo and Africa at large.
For the Japanese, who will become his greatest supporters and headaches, he is the African Oda Nobunaga: a martial and cruel man whose vision for unity and glory far outweighs whatever sins he may have committed. Always one for the cameras and adept at winning over an audience, Mobutu will successfully win over the Japanese public by playing the role of the justly tyrannical “Great Man”, even while he personally prefers western delicacies.
Joseph-Désiré Mobutu lived an unremarkable life before being thrust into greatness. He was only 16 when the Congo was violently transferred from Belgian to German hands, and like many rebellious students he joined in the 1949 protests against the construction of the Congo dam, stowing away from boarding school to do so. In the aftermath of the MNC repression Mobutu was assigned to the still technically Belgian controlled Force Publique as punishment. Unlike many of his fellows however Mobutu immediately took to military life, embracing the strength, discipline and martial values it provided. In part because of this he served without noticeable disobedience, and was even bribed to be an informant on clandestine communist cells within the force, ratting out a few of his “comrades”. From the point of view of the Belgians he was a model soldier. But this was an act: in truth Mobutu never ceased holding resentment for his arrogant Belgian commanders or the priests who had “educated” him. Behind their back he was a contributor to the native underground press, writing under assumed names and attacking the Belgian presence. It came as quite a shock then when in 1955, as his mandated time in the force was drawing to a close, Mobutu did not accept demobilization quietly but instead went into revolt. It is still a matter of debate about what pushed him into this. He claims that this had been the plan all along, while cynics say the impending annexation of the belgian Congo by Zentralafrika forced him into it. Some think that his double life was about to be exposed, while the more conspiratorial leftists say that he never went into rebellion at all, and that his “revolt” was ordered by the Belgians as a way to counter the APL insurgency. But whatever the case it was here that the public figure was born.
After killing several belgian officers and stealing as many weapons and valuables as they could Mobutu and his co-conspirators quickly fled east. This was not entirely unusual: the sudden annexation of the colony led to many sporadic demonstrations and revolts. But it immediately became clear that Mobutu had larger ambitions than these local disturbances. His strategy at this time was one of survival: he would only accept those who could move fast and hit hard, with his armed band always staying on the move as they fled to the east. But unlike other petty warlords he understood the importance of a political and social message for his long term survival, as well as local alliances. For this he essentially copied the platform of the now underground MNC while adhering to none of its tenants in reality: he would tell the people whatever they wanted to hear so long as it got him what he wanted. More practically he made tight alliances with local eastern notables as well as Tutsi refugees which had fled reprisals to the east. In this he was successful, forging for himself a loose alliance in the north east which permitted him to slip the noose where so many others were eventually caught.
One of his most important lieutenants in these early days was Victor Nendaka Bika, his de facto “foreign minister” and torturer who would make initial contact with those Mobutu saw the need to coerce or charm. Unlike many warlords Mobutu never gave into the temptation to rule by fear alone, instead seeking to co-opt useful men into his own organization. But he was just as happy to let loose his jackal to show the consequences of disloyalty.
These early years from 1956-1962 were defined at first by mere survival: banditry, illegal trade and bribery were the only ways to stay alive. But slowly, with plenty of self promotion to help it, Mobutu’s reputation as a survivor and a winner grew locally, and then regionally. As the remnants of failed rebels and warlords drifted into his growing camp Mobutu was able to step beyond being a bandit king and into becoming a local powerbroker. He had already made himself the allied protector of the Tutsi refugees, and soon after the APL’s protracted people's war in the north began he sought to become the patron of his own native Ngbandi people as well. Where he had the most power in the eastern fringes the pan-Africanist APL held the north, with the Ngbandi in the middle still “up for grabs” between the APL, Mobutu and the German administration. It is here that he first developed his own separate political platform: unwilling or unable to come to an agreement with either of the other two factions Mobutu began developing his own ideology of an “authentic” congolese nationalism which was opposed to both pan-african and communist radicalism, “self defeating” regionalism and demanded the full liberation of the congo from european imperialism. But most importantly to those who heard his call was for unity under Mobutu: if the African people remained divided and timid they would be slaves forever, and only a great leader like Mobutu could bring them true liberty. As one may expect, this call for subordination won him very few new friends.
The see-saw of influence in the Congo north and east is set to be radically upended in 1962, as kommissar Krogmann finally thinks he has enough stability in the west to launch a pacification campaign. In this he will be superficially successful: all anti-German factions will be forced to retreat and large swaths of land will be returned to German control. But it will not accomplish its primary objective of capturing and killing the leadership: Mobutu will once again avoid the hangman and will return when the Zentralafrika army goes marching south to the SAW. And when he does it will be with a new purpose. Much of his army was scattered or deserted by the German offensive, with many of the local allies he thought were in his hands all but begging to come to terms with the Germans after he was forced out. He had survived yes, but only by the skin of his teeth: this time he would do things differently. Taking lessons from the APL he will return in 1964 as a popular revolutionary rather than as a mere warlord with a printing press. Though still not fully developed it is here that “Joseph-Désiré” would become “Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa za Banga” or “The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake”. A new ideology of “Authentic” nationalism came with this new name, seeking to truly win over the hearts of the people as well as the loyalty of their leaders. It was a threat and a promise, as he would go about tearing down symbols of westernism in his wake and giving personal “gifts” to people or organizations which he wished to win over. He also sought to portray himself as an avenging angel, throwing “bad actors” such as denounced priests and hated collaborators against the wall.
This new ideology, disseminated through the “Manifesto of Goma” is long in emotion and short in concrete policy. As such it was quickly denounced by the intellectuals of the Pan-Africanists and Liberals as not a “real” ideology and merely a cheap populism. But it is taken deadly seriously by the newly declared Mouvement Authenticité de la Révolution: for its supporters it promises a true rebirth of the congolese people from within rather than without. The Congo would be purged of malignant western influence by remaking the congolese individual in body, mind and spirit. This was the way to true freedom and dignity, far more than mere “material conditions” or to ape their constitutions.
With his newfound identity and strategy Mobutu will of course be a prime target for Huttig’s retribution, but as is always the case too few men and not enough supplies will stop Huttig from ever putting him down for good. Plus Mobutu had found a new friend: the Japanese. In the immediate aftermath of Huttig’s takeover the Japanese will support the APL, but will quickly grow disenchanted: the naked radicalism and distrustful nature of the APL will lead to the Japanese looking for a more reliable partner, and Mobutu will aggressively angle to become just that. After having been rejected by the Americans in favor of the MNC Mobutu is the only big game left in the Congo for Japan to back, and was always a master at co-option and personal magnetism. He will charm the Japanese mission to sing his praises in Tokyo, even if there is little they can do for him at the moment. This will change when Huttig dies: taking a gamble Mobutu will strike at Stanleyville, successfully forcing the retreating garrison to leave behind most of their weapons and capturing an airport through which he will finally have solid connections with the outside world. The bad blood between him and the MNC and APL will mean that there is no choice but to fight it out as the Congo war begins in 1966, this time with Japan backing him to the hilt.
Mobutu now seeks to become a legend. Already having gained a personal mythos after having been declared dead by the Germans several times, his wartime strategy will be to force the mass mobilization of the population. Under his personal name and with the backing of Japan he will force every man who comes under his control into his army, seeking to form a tidal wave of men which will overwhelm his enemies and make up for his lack of supply. If an enemy cannot be rooted out with simple force of numbers, it will be the job of his all Ngbandi “Leopard Division” or even better of Japanese “volunteers” to root them out. The success of this strategy is heavily dependent on momentum, and will rely on Japanese backing to arm itself. But if it is successful Zentralafrika will be no more, and neither will the Congo: The Republic of Zaire will rise as the newest power in Africa under the leadership of the nation's great guide: Mobutu Sese Seko. After a partial demobilization and a reconfirming of his alliance with “internal allies” such as the Tutsi under François Rukeba and the Bakongo under Holden Roberto he will initiate a grand campaign of national revolution and self aggrandizement: Zairianization.
Asian inspired architecture of the newly built Presidential Palace. Among those celebrating the creation of Zaire will be the Japanese. All sides have poured a great deal of resources into the conflict, and the victory of Mobutu will doubtless be a strategic boon for Japanese influence on the continent. Mobutu for his part recognizes the usefulness of his new “friends”, but neither side is blinded by the propaganda: the dangers and opportunities of Nationalism are all too familiar.
As mentioned in my previous post there are several common issues which any native unifyer must account for. The first among these is The Looming Famine: in the aftermath of years of war and mismanagement the supply of food to urban areas is critically unstable. And it is in this issue that the weaknesses of Mobutu’s regime will first be seen. Mobutu’s agricultural reform centers mostly on seizing land owned by the whites and his political enemies, and then redistributing it to himself, his political allies, and occasionally to the people. As everything with the Zairean revolution the purpose is twofold: to meet the needs of the people and to entrench Mobutu's personal political power. But often the second goal far outstrips the first: many of the people who gain this land do not know how to use the land productively, or if they do, are more interested in producing cash crops than they are in food staples. This is certainly the case for the massive amounts of land brought under Mobutu’s personal ownership, which will most often continue to grow the same way as the colonial plantations they were before. This reckless reorganization and focus on exports ensure that hunger will be an early and acute crisis for Zaire. The issue will be solved slowly, as roads are repaired and the rhythm of agricultural life is no longer disrupted by war, but the people need food now and more than anything else it is cassava and rice which the people demand from their leaders.
It is by meeting this need that Japanese influence first becomes a powerful thing. Though motivated in part by genuine charity from well off Asians, the provision of food and aid is also cynically used by the Japanese state to buy the support of the people and the local power brokers away from Mobutu, and towards themselves. This aid, plus the government's own subsidies of food imports, plus the natural healing from war, will lead to the crisis fading away but leaving all sides on notice that the future of Zaire is still being made, and that the Japanese are a major player in it.
The Mutilated Independence: The inability of Mobutu to take Leopoldville during the independence war is a blow to Mobutu’s prestige, not to mention Zaire as a whole. However he is pragmatic enough and has enough friends in Japan to hash out a deal with Nigeria and Gabon: the loss of the major port will not strangle Congolese exports or imports, only make them more expensive. But for both political and economic reasons the retaking of Leopoldville and the Kabinda port remain absolutely vital to the continued reign of Mobutu. To this end Mobutu’s solution to retaking Leopoldville is direct conquest, not because he can think of no other option but because it will give him the greatest personal prestige as a great conqueror. As such along with his policy of “Zairianization” and economic consolidation he will also invest a great deal into the army.
This army will see its strength tested as Mobutu tries to expand his influence beyond the Zaireian borders. Gabon may be protected by America, but unleashing blitz style attacks on Angola and Rwanda is fair game. In Angola he will seek to set up Holden Roberto as a fellow autocratic “Authenticité” leader by supporting his meager army against the warring angolan factions in an attempted knockout blow. In Rwanda he will need to be somewhat more cautious (unless something very bad happens) but ultimately seeks to return Kigeli V to the throne on the backs of his long time exile allies. In this way he will both expand his influence as well as surround Leopoldville with friendly regimes. When the oil crisis hits Mobutu will leap at the opportunity to crush the Germans by launching an all out assault on “Festung Leopoldville”, and if successful will greatly increase his prestige, as well as rehabilitate his image in the eyes of other revolutionary leaders as a “true revolutionary”. If he fails in these wars however he will decline, and need to lean ever more heavily on Japan to prop himself up. This is somewhat awkward for Japan itself: having previously backed leftist movements as their best options they must now choose between their old allies and the new anti-leftist gambles taken by Mobutu. But despite the heartburn Zaire is simply too valuable in the african chaos for Japan to not continue supporting it, and so the rising sun shall backstab their allies in the name of pragmatism to the benefit of Mobutu. And besides, these new factions typically promess a better deal than the socialists did.
Mobutu walks a fine line in African politics: though he has denounced the APL’s brand of pan-africanism he also wishes to be seen as a great revolutionary. Surrounded as he is by pan-african or otherwise revolutionary movements it is only good sense to say you are one of them. And to many Mobutu is just that: a liberating revolutionary who both freed and united great swaths of africa from pernicious white influence. But for the wider Marxist inspired world of African liberation his clear anti-communist is difficult to accept, no matter how well he speaks the language of pan-african pride.
Lingering Regionalism: In this question Mobutu is the most radical, and his policy is what you may know him for OTL. While all revolutionaries desire to establish a united identity, and some of them will do so by autocratic centralization, Mobutu makes the establishment of a “true” Zaireian nation a core part of his rule. As established in the Manifesto of Goma Mobutu promesses a national revolution in which regionalism will be swept away by a new, authentic program of nation building which will decolonize the Congolese mind as well as their hands. In practical terms this means the creation of a totalitarian state which will regulate and make “african” all aspects of life. Western influence will be attacked via the banning of christian names and nationalizing catholic church property. A citizen dress code will be implemented as well as a “traditional” family code which will favor male-dominated polygamy and property laws. Though his own praetorian guard of the leopard division is tribally biased the army as a whole will have a new organization forbidding any unit to be more than 20% uniform in tribal origin. This campaign is carried out with special zeal against the influence of Catholicism. Seeing it as both a challenge to his own power and as a malignant foreign influence Mobutu will make a great show of putting priests on trial and instructing his followers to declare that Mubutu is like Jesus and the MAR like the church. Schools, previously run almost exclusively by religious organizations, will be nationalized and their curriculum no longer permitted to teach Christianity but instead to teach “Mobutuism”. Though he will not have the strength needed to wipe out the church entirely during the 60s or early 70s Mobutu will be able to effectively cow this institution and dare any priest to say “sacrilege”.
This campaign will provide a degree of unity, pride and self confidence to the shattered nation beyond what any other program could do, but it is all provided through the image of Mobutu as the great sun king of the new nation. Mobutu will seek to become the center of a pseudo-religious cult of personality with mass public celebrations of his figure following him wherever he goes and an entourage singing songs in his praise.
A consequence of the personalism in this campaign is than any embarrassing failures will not only reflect poorly on the nation but on Mobutu himself. As such he will often get worked up by seemingly trivial matters: if the football team should be lucky enough to participate in the world cup they will do so under the threat that if they do not perform well enough it will see retribution on them at home.
But as part of building this cult he must never let any other person, even his own children, get a moment in the spotlight. Below him is transient chaos, while above him is none: he alone is the rock on which Zaire can be built. This policy is most clearly seen in his handling of the Warlord Plague. Here Mobutu has a two sided policy: All those military figures which he believes could pose a threat to his rule will at first be executed publicly and brutally. In the opening months of his reign he will institute a mini reign of terror to make an example of many warlords and political enemies. However, once the example has been made he will move on to a policy of co-opting these same men. Often through direct bribery, or through positions of prestige and other perks, local strongmen who will accept his rule are brought into the state machine by promising the opportunity to profit in exchange for loyalty. This opportunity is often revoked without notice or reason and personal rivalry at the top is encouraged: in this way no other individual is able to form a stable powerbase. But at the same time individuals previously kicked out of power may be rehabilitated just as quickly, rising once again to wealth and prestige on the auspices of Mobutu’s favor. In this way no elite is a permanent outsider, and the best move for many will seem to be “wait and see”. This of course makes the internal administration of the nation hell, but it does keep Mobutu in undisputed power without even the glimmer of a rival.
This policy of personal co-option extends even to The Belgian Question. The Europeans remaining property will be nationalized and they will be deported, but it will not come with the punitive brutality of the pan-africanists. Mobutu has no love for the Belgians, and will not tolerate their continued dominance, but he also has no special hatred for them, seeing them mostly as political liabilities and rivals rather than ideology defining enemies: that distinction goes to the Germans. But after this show of nationalistic force the door will be left open to their return: many of the nationalized properties are redistributed to those without the knowledge, skill or desire to maintain their productivity. As such when those same Europeans are offered the chance to buy back their property or even return to the Congo Mobutu will not get in their way: so long as they avoid getting lynched along the way by Mobutu’s notoriously brutal and poorly disciplined soldiers he will let them have their piece too so long as they accept that it is by his grace alone that they keep it.
Part of this leniency is out of a calculated mercy to Europeans: Mobutu is smart enough to know that making himself solely reliant on Japan is a poor strategy, and will seek to make connections with America, Italy and Brazil. Having mercy on the Belgians and keeping the door open to cooperation with the Euros is an easy way to mollify western opinion and thus maintain his own independence on the world stage. Of course even this policy has limits: Germany and those under her will see the door slammed shut.
Which brings us neatly into the great struggle which defines the early Mobutu regime: addressing the Economic Devastation. In keeping with his Authenticité program Mobutu wishes to nationalize all previously foreign owned industry, which is the vast majority of all industry, under the one-party state. These national corporations, modeled off of the Japanese Zaibatsu and Italian corporatism, will be either controlled directly by Mobutu, by his close political allies, or (to his own displeasure) by East Asians, most often the Japanese. Mobutu’s Japanese backers are willing to prop up his regime, to allow whatever social and political organization he wishes, but they have come to the Congo for a reason. That reason is money and resources, and with Authenticité pushing for the cartelization of all money in the Congo the Japanese demand to be let in. Mobutu cannot simply dismiss them: it is Japanese credit and weapons which ensure he stays secure and on top. But he is also unwilling to simply roll over for them: he is a nationalist and a deeply ambitious man, and will not be satisfied with anything less than personal ownership of the Zaire economy. As such the 60s and early 70s will be a contest between true Mobutu loyalists and pro-Japanese opportunists for who will gain a majority share of the new nation's economic resources. Japan offers cash, guns, food, technical advisors and diplomatic support (all of which Zaire really needs) in return for shares in the national corporations and local extractions. They will also play dirty by employing bribes, intimidation tactics, organized crime and even clandestine support of anti-mobutu civil resistance to put pressure on the regime to open up more space for the Japanese. To counter this Mobutu has all the tools of the state at his disposal, as well as the mobilization of his own hard core group of supporters for intimidation or political pressure on local leaders.
“Kazi ndjo baba, ndjo mama” (work, it is my father, it is my mother), is a common phrase in Katanga which alludes to the paternalist role played by large companies such as the Union Minière, which would provide housing, education, and sometimes even wives to their workers in exchange for productive loyalty. Even after the full German takeover “company work” maintained a facade of this relationship. Japan is well positioned to take up the old Union Minière paternalism tactics, offering workers higher and more regular pay than what native organizations sometimes can, while also reinforcing a culture of dependency which Mobutu is trying to break (or bend to his own ends).
It is this contest for the hard cash and rare metals provided by the Congo which will determine the final form the Authenticité regime takes. If Mobutu is victorious and secures the lion's share of the economy for himself and a large enough share for his allies the Zairean Revolution will be complete with major bonuses to stability and political power, and even more importantly to Mobutu’s personal fortune. Though never giving public access to his personal books Mobutu will be plausibly rumored to be worth billions, with he and his family being some of the foremost african business people in the world and minor celebrities in the co-prosperity sphere. However the economy will suffer greatly from this as all economic efficiency and business skill has been sacrificed in the name of Mobutu’s personal power: though he is the undisputed master of Zaire it will be a deeply dysfunctional country economically, and if commodity prices were to fall he may need to go crawling back to the outside world to bail him out. On the other hand if Japan wins Zaire will become a neo-colonial strip, with its most lucrative industries owned in part or in full by the Japanese and the state unable to do anything about it without critically undermining its own elite support. This will make Mobutu into only a multi-millionaire rather than a billionaire, as well as undermine his public image of all powerful invincibility. With the Japanese ambassador keeping a hawkish eye on him and his party Mobutu will be left to stew in his unhappy lot knowing that if he ceases to play the part assigned to him the Japanese can always find someone else. This will also be the end of the Authentice campaign as even uneducated workers can see that their bread comes not from “Father Marshal” but from their places of work, owned by foreigners once again. But it is arguably better economically, as the extractive industries are at least run competently and its workers will be paid in full and on time more often. In all cases Zaire will be a sphere observer, but in this case it will be a part of the Japanese economic sphere as well. The later 70s and 80s will be difficult times for either end as prices crash and the cumulative effects of bad government and foreign domination come to the fore. But that is a story for another day.
Japan or Mobutu, success or failure, unity or farce, one thing remains constant: the Zairean military officers are the new nobility of the new nation. Corruption is an endemic and potentially crippling issue in Zaire, and this is seen most clearly in the military, where officers will steal wages and army units will act close to bandits in the more remote regions, creating an atmosphere of fear. But the best position is that of an Air Force officer, with prominent families often paying through the nose for their sons to be educated in Japanese military academies to earn their wings.
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2023.05.29 13:09 kukusek Loan report 29.05. 22-23 Summary. Not yet championship edition.
2023.05.29 13:05 krsgroup क्या आप अपने सपनों के घर की तलाश कर रहे हैं? अगर हा तो आपकी सही जगह यहाँ हैं KRS GROUP के साथ तो आज ही फोन करे और अपने सपनो को सच करने का पहला कदम बढ़ाए
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2023.05.29 12:55 Maroiogog B1540 - Corporation Tax (Non-Resident Companies Bill - Division
a. The customer is in the United Kingdom, orSection 2: Taxation of Non-resident UK companies
b. The customer is resident in the United Kingdom and the risks and rewards of the transaction arise in the United Kingdom, or
c. The delivery of the good or the service is in the United Kingdom, or
d. The sale is paid through equity raised through UK capital markets, specifically or largely for the purposes of the transaction, or
e. The sale is paid through debt originating from the United Kingdom, specifically or largely for the purposes of the transaction
a. The percentage of the companies’ worldwide sales which are sales of UK origin;(3) If a non-resident UK company is paying corporation tax under the terms of a “Permanent Establishment” under the Corporation Tax Act 2009, these amounts shall be fully deductible to the liability arising under clause 2).
b. The percentage of the companies’ worldwide profits which are arising from sales of UK origin (sales of UK origin, less allowable expenses arising in the United Kingdom)
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