Sep 25, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Belgian King Philippe set for six-day visit to DR Congo

Belgian King Philippe is expected to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo from June 7-13 after initial plans for the trip were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Belgian monarch will be accompanied by Queen Mathilde, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and other members of the Belgian government.

During his six-day visit to the former Belgian colony, King Philippe will visit Kinshasa, Lubumbashi (in the south of the country) and Bukavu (in the South Kivu province in eastern DRC).

King Philippe had previously planned to visit DRC in June 2020, but the trip was initially postponed due to Covid-19, most recently this year year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The visit of the Belgian sovereign, twelve years after that of King Albert II, is seen by the DRC and Belgium as a sign of normalization of relations between the two countries after the The European state froze cooperation at the end of Joseph Kabila’s term.

“This event marks a once benefit from the excellent quality of bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said the office of President Félix Tshisekedi.

During his stay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, King Philippe will address the seat of Parliament and visit the National Museum in Kinshasa.

Congo -Artifacts

Meanwhile, Belgium has also agreed to return to the Congo artefacts looted during the time of King Leopold II when the country was under colonial rule. In February 2022, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo presented his Congolese counterpart Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde with a list of artworks to be returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo that have been kept in the Royal Museum for Central Africa for more than 100 years in Tervuren in Flemish -Brabant, near Brussels.

For the royal couple, the stopover in Bukavu is also a big symbol. It is the city where the renowned gynecologist Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, lives. Join Mukwege in his efforts to combat violence against women and fight impunity for war crimes in eastern DRC.

A week after the King’s visit to the DRC, Belgium is expected to see the ravages of former Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba as part of the delivery of his remains to the assassinated hero’s family. This will be commemorated by several ceremonies in Kinshasa from June 20th to June 30th, the day commemorating the country’s independence.