Background Forced to enlist in the Belgian Congolese army as a student Became a journalist and met young Congolese intellectuals challenging colonial rule Secretary for anti-colonial leader Patrice Lumumba
Independence June 30, 1960 Coalition government headed by Lumumba as Prime Minister and President Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Congo Crisis Army mutinied against remaining Belgian officers Belgian government supported rebel movements Results: Mobutu appointed Chief of Staff of the Congolese Army Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for assistance which led to division between Lumumba and the President with Mobutu in the middle
Rise to Power September 14, 1960 Mobutu took control in a CIA-sponsored coup Ousted Lumumba and accused him of pro-communist sympathies Kasa-Vubu remained president Mobutu: Remained General of the army Solidified support from the U.S. by condemning communism November 24, 1965 Bloodless coup during another struggle between Kasa-Vubu and new Prime Minister It has taken the politicians five years to ruin the country, therefore for five years there will be no more political party activity in the country. State of emergency proclaimed and Mobutu assumed absolute power
Mobutus Politics Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR) All citizens required to be a member Slogan: neither left nor right (and later nor even center) Trade unions centralized and used as a political apparatus to support Mobutus policies Set up several military forces whose sole purpose was his own protection
Political Opponents Torture Political opponent lured out of exile on the assumption that he would be granted amnesty He was brutally tortured and killed Execution Four cabinet members executed in front of 50,000 spectators Patronage Keep your friends close but your enemies closer Musical chairs in the government Arrest and torture dissidents and then pardon them and reward them with high office
Mobutus Economics Zairianization – nationalize industry, force Europeans out Backfired – late 1970s tries to woo European investors back into the country 1984 – personal wealth estimated at $5 billion USD Owned fleet of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and numerous palaces Meanwhile, the nations infrastructure collapsed Civil servants pretended to work while the government pretended to pay them. Kleptocracy
Mobutus Society 1971 – renamed country the Republic of Zaire Africans ordered to change their European names Priests faced five years in prison if they baptized an African with a European name Western attire and ties were banned; men forced to wear a Mao-style tunic )
Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake.
Mobutus Foreign Policy Capitalized on Cold War tensions Three largest donors: Belgium, France and the U.S. 1970s – solidified ties with China and was heavily influenced by Mao Zedong Relations with the U.S. cooled but they found common ground again during the Angolan Civil War
U.S. Relationship Warm relationship with President Ronald Reagan [Mobutu is] a voice of good sense and goodwill. End of Cold War U.S. and other Western powers pressured him to democratize his regime 1993 – denied a visa by the State Department
Fall from Power 1990 – Mobutu reinstated other political parties and allowed elections Coalition government formed in 1993 Austerity measures and free-market reforms put in place First Congo War Mobutu overthrown by group supported by Rwanda, Burundi, and Ugandan governments Zaire renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo Mobutu died in exile of prostate cancer on September 7, 1997
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