Every 10 June is Reconciliation Day in the Republic of the Congo. This holiday looks back to the national conference that took place on 10 June of 1991, which ultimately resulted in the end of one-party rule of the country.
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After becoming independent of France in 1960, Republic of Congo soon fell to a Communist military coup in 1968. The coup was led by Marien Ngouabi and was actually bloodless. Within two years, Ngouabi had declared Congo Africa’s first Marxist People’s Republic and had made his own political party the only one legal in the country.
When Ngouabi was killed by an assassin in 1977, there was hope that the Communist dictatorship would crumble. Instead, it continued under new leadership and through support from the Soviet Union. But when the USSR fell in the early 90s, Communist leadership in Republic of Congo could no longer hold onto power. By 1991, one-party rule was officially ended.
Reconciliation Day is oddly named since soon after the 1991 conference the country slid into prolonged civil war. However, the holiday celebrates the end of dictatorial control over the people’s lives and a turning point in the restoration of democracy to Republic of Congo.