Reconciliation Day in Congo
Observed as a public holiday in the Republic of Congo every year, Reconciliation Day falls on the 10th day of June. This holiday commemorates the Conference of National Sovereignty that began on this date in 1991. The result of the conference was the President being forced to dismiss the cabinet, name a new Prime Minister, and rewrite the country’s constitution.
It also scheduled the country’s first free elections, which officially occurred in the second half of 1992. A new national anthem, a new flag color scheme, and the removal of the word “people’s” from the formal name of the country were also results of this conference. The 1991 conference is now seen by many people in Congo as a milestone event in their country’s history.
The History of Reconciliation Day in the Republic of Congo
In 1960, the Republic of Congo gained its independence from France, and Fulbert Youlou became the country’s first president. Four years later, President Youlou was forced to resign after a socialist uprising. Alphonse Massamba-Debat came to power in 1964, beginning a period of one-party Marxist rule in what was then renamed the People’s Republic of Congo.
This republic maintained ties with France but also developed ties with Cuba, the USSR, and East Germany. When the Soviet Union collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, socialism in Congo became unfeasible. It also led to enormous political pressure, which caused President Sassou-Guesso to agree to a National Conference to settle the future of Congo.
The outcome of the conference forced the President to name a new Prime Minister, dismiss the cabinet, rewrite Congo’s Constitution, and schedule free elections. Free elections were held the following year, and this is seen as a pivotal moment in the history of the country. Since then, Reconciliation Day has been observed as a public holiday in the Republic of Congo.
Facts About the Republic of Congo
- The Congo basin rainforest is the second-largest rainforest on the planet.
- About 70% of Congo is covered by rainforest.
- The Republic of Congo is a major exporter of cocoa, sugar, lumber, and petroleum.
Observing Reconciliation Day in the Republic of Congo
This holiday is observed with special political events, parades, and festivals. Many people use the day off to spend time with friends and family members. While visiting loved ones, people will often enjoy delicious Congolese dishes such as Fumbwa, Liboke, and Makayabu. On social media, the hashtag #ReconciliationDayCongo can be used to spread the word about this holiday.