Belgium’s King Phillipe has expressed deep regrets for the abuses of his country in DR Congo in the colonial era.
Belgium’s King Leopold was known for committing many inhumane acts in the country but the King failed to apologise for his country’s excesses.
In his first official trip to the resource-rich DRC, Phillipe told the Congolese legislature on Wednesday that the colonial rule by Belgium was a low point in the nation’s history as it was unjustifiable and racist.
He told a joint session that the Belgian government exploited and dominated the Congolese people in the colonial era and showed inequality in its operations.
“Even though many Belgians invested themselves sincerely, loving Congo and its people deeply, the colonial regime itself was based on exploitation and domination,” King Phillipe told a joint session of parliament in the capital, Kinshasa.
“This regime was one of unequal relations, unjustifiable in itself, marked by paternalism, discrimination and racism,” he said.
“It led to violent acts and humiliations. On the occasion of my first trip to Congo, right here, in front of the Congolese people and those who still suffer today, I wish to reaffirm my deepest regrets for those wounds of the past.”
It was the second time King Phillipe will make comments expressing regrets for his country’s colonial belligerence. He had on the occasion of Congo DR’s 60th independence condemned Belgium’s cruelty and violence in the past.
King Leopold II had ruled DR Congo as part of his fiefdom with at least 10 million locals dying from various causes in the first 23 years of Belgium’s colonial presence between 1885 and 1960.
It remains one of the most wicked colonial rules experienced by any country in the world.
Congolese have received the apologies with mixed reactions as majority hold out for apology which the Belgian government has stopped short of.
There are however better opportunities for both countries to retrace their relationships and work together.
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