Mobutu Sese Seko


October 20, 2021

Mobutu Sese Seko, full name Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Zabanga (literally "Mobutu the warrior who goes from victory to victory without anyone being able to stop him") born as Joseph-Désiré Mobutu (Lisala, 14 October 1930 - Rabat, 7 September 1997 ), was a politician, military and dictator of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which he renamed Zaire. Settled and supported mainly by Belgium and the United States, he organized an authoritarian regime, accumulating enormous personal wealth and attempting to cleanse the country of all colonial influences, while receiving strong US support in his anti-communist positions. During the 1960 Congo crisis, Belgium and the CIA helped Mobutu carry out the coup against the government of Patrice Lumumba. Lumumba was the country's first leader to be democratically elected and was killed by a Katanghese firing squad. Mobutu, who had been appointed chief of staff by Lumumba himself only a few months earlier, then concentrated much of the effective power in his own hands. He came to power in November 1965 after ousting President Joseph Kasa-Vubu in a second coup. As part of his "national authenticity" program he changed the name of the state from Congo to Zaire in 1971 and his name became Mobutu Sese Seko in 1972. When Sese Seko came to power, the nation was formally called "Democratic Republic of the Congo", but it was also often informally called "Belgian ex-Congo", "Congo-Léopoldville" or "Congo-Kinshasa", to distinguish it from the former colony. of French Equatorial Africa, which in the 1960s took the name of the People's Republic of Congo (today only the Republic of Congo). Mobutu imposed single-partyism in the country, with all power concentrated in his hands, and became the object of a strong cult of personality. During his regime he created a highly centralized state system and amassed huge fortunes through economic exploitation and corruption, so much so that the system has been defined as kleptocracy. The nation suffered uncontrolled inflation, large public debt and severe current devaluations. In 1991 the deteriorating economy and riots convinced him to share power with opposition leaders, although he used force of arms to avoid regime change until 1997, when the rebel forces led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila they expelled him from the country. Suffering from prostate cancer, he died three months later in Morocco. Mobutu became famous for corruption, nepotism and for being among the three men in the world who have confiscated the most money from the state for strictly private use (confirmed to be more than five billion dollars, but some estimates also report the figure of fifteen billion ), as well as for some extravagance, such as when he took a Concorde flight for a shopping trip to Paris. During his thirty-year rule, a great diffusion of human rights violations was recorded, so much so that he was defined as the "archetype of the African dictator".


Origins and training

He was born in Lisala, in the Belgian Congo and belonged to the Ngbandi ethnic group. His mother, Marie Madeleine Yemo, worked as a waitress in a hotel in Lisala after escaping from the harem of a local village chief. His father, Albéric Gbemani, was a cook for a Belgian judge and died when the boy was 8 years old. He was then raised by his grandfather and uncle. The judge's wife had taken a liking to Mobutu and taught him to read and write in French, her mother, in return, assisted the lady's four children; the family often moved. Mobutu's first studies were in Leopoldville, later his mother sent him to his uncle in Coquilhatville, where he attended the Christian Brothers School, a Catholic mission, studying as an accounting secretary. Endowed with an imposing physical structure, do

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