Podcast Sejarah

Sese Seko Mobutu

Sese Seko Mobutu


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Sese Seko Mobutu dilahirkan di Lisala, Congo, pada tahun 1930. Mendidik di sekolah misi Katolik, dia bertugas di tentera penjajah Belgia. Pada tahun 1960, dia telah mencapai pangkat kolonel dan menjadi ketua kakitangan Tentera Kongo.

Selepas pilihan raya parlimen pada Mei 1960 Patrice Lumumba menjadi perdana menteri Kongo yang baru dan segera membicarakan perlunya perubahan sosial dan ekonomi di negara ini. Keputusannya untuk mengadopsi dasar luar yang tidak selaras mengakibatkan CIA menjadi tertarik dengan perkembangan di Kongo.

Negara ini diperintah dari Leopoldville (Kinshasa). Di Kantanga, sebuah wilayah perlombongan yang kaya, berada di bawah kendali Moise Tshombe. Pada bulan Julai 1960, Tshombe, yang disokong oleh tentera upahan putih dan syarikat perlombongan Belgium Union Minière, mengisytiharkan Katanga bebas. Lumumba merayu bantuan PBB dan Dag Hammarskjold bersetuju untuk mengirim pasukan pengaman untuk memulihkan ketenteraman.

Bulan berikutnya Kolonel Mobutu, dengan sokongan Amerika Syarikat dan Belgia, memimpin kudeta tentera dan menggulingkan Patrice Lumumba dari kekuasaan. Lumumba ditangkap oleh tentera Mobutu dan dipindahkan ke Elizabethville, Katanga, di mana dia dibunuh pada 17 Januari 1961.

Pada bulan September 1961 pertempuran antara tentera Katanga dan pasukan PBB yang tidak bertempur. Dalam usaha mendapatkan gencatan senjata, dia mengatur untuk bertemu Presiden Moise Tshombe. Pada 17 September 1961 Dag Hammarskjold terbunuh ketika pesawatnya terhempas berhampiran dengan lapangan terbang Ndola.

Majlis Keselamatan PBB meluluskan resolusi menuntut penyelidikan mengenai keadaan kematiannya. Ini ditolak oleh Moise Tshombe tetapi bukti muncul kemudian bahawa pemerintah Belgia berada di belakang peristiwa di Katanga.

Pertempuran terus berlanjutan dan rejim bebas dibentuk pada waktu yang berlainan di Katanga, Stanleyville dan Kasai. Untuk sementara waktu Tshombe tinggal di Eropah tetapi kembali menjadi perdana menteri Republik Kongo pada bulan Julai 1964. Setelah mengadakan pilihan raya yang korup, dia terpaksa melarikan diri dan tinggal di Sepanyol.

Jenderal Mobutu melakukan kudeta tentera yang lain pada bulan November 1965. Dia mengadili Moise Tshombe untuk pengkhianatan kerana tidak hadir dan dihukum mati. Pada bulan Julai 1967 Tshombe diculik dan dibawa ke Algeria. Moise Tshombe mati di penjara kerana serangan jantung pada 29 Jun 1969.

Mobutu memutuskan suatu kebijakan Afrikaisasi dan pada bulan Oktober 1971 dia menukar nama negara itu menjadi Zaire (nama negara itu pada abad ke-14). Tiga bulan kemudian, Undang-undang Kebangsaan memutuskan penghapusan semua nama Eropah untuk orang dan tempat.

Di sebalik tindakan ini Mobutu terus mengatur perjanjian perdagangan dengan syarikat asing yang terlibat dalam mengeksploitasi simpanan tembaga berharga di negara ini. Dia juga mendapat sokongan dari Amerika Syarikat yang membantunya mengembangkan satu parti, anti-Komunis, diktator.

Dua pemberontakan selanjutnya berlaku pada tahun 1977 dan 1978 dan hanya dihentikan dengan bantuan tentera Perancis. Zaire terus menderita masalah ekonomi dan pada Mei 1997 pasukan pemberontak yang dipimpin oleh Laurent Kabila memaksanya untuk melarikan diri dari negara itu.

Sese Seko Mobutu meninggal dunia di Maghribi pada tahun 1997.


Ideologi rasmi MPR, seperti yang dinyatakan dalam Manifesto N'sele pada Mei 1967, menggabungkan "nasionalisme", "revolusi", dan "keaslian". Revolusi digambarkan sebagai "revolusi benar-benar nasional, pada dasarnya pragmatik," yang menyerukan "penolakan kapitalisme dan komunisme." [2] Salah satu slogan MPR adalah "Baik kiri maupun kanan," yang akan ditambahkan "atau bahkan pusat" pada tahun-tahun kemudian. [2] Meskipun demikian, ada bukti liberalisasi ekonomi selama pemerintahan Mobutu ketika dia melantik Léon Kengo wa Dondo, penyokong terkemuka reformasi pasar bebas, sebagai perdana menteri.

Dari penubuhannya pada tahun 1967 hingga 1990, MPR adalah de facto satu-satunya parti undang-undang di negara ini. Perlembagaan 1967 secara eksplisit membenarkan kewujudan dua pihak. [3] Namun, MPR adalah satu-satunya parti yang diizinkan mencalonkan calon dalam pemilihan presiden dan parlimen yang diadakan pada bulan November 1970. Sebulan kemudian, pada 23 Disember, perlembagaan telah diubah untuk secara rasmi mengisytiharkan MPR sebagai satu-satunya parti yang dibenarkan secara sah. [4] [5]

Perlembagaan 1974 menetapkan status MPR sebagai pelopor negara. Ia menyatakan bahawa "ada satu institusi, MPR, yang dijelmakan oleh Presidennya," bahawa "Presiden MPR adalah ex officio Presiden Republik, dan memegang banyak kekuasaan, "dan bahawa" Mobutism "adalah doktrin perlembagaan. Semua warga Zaire menjadi anggota MPR ketika lahir. [6] Akibatnya, pemerintah adalah tali pusat untuk MPR .

MPR memilih presidennya setiap tujuh tahun pada konvensyen nasionalnya (lima tahun sebelum 1978). Pada waktu itu, presiden MPR secara otomatis dicalonkan sebagai calon tunggal selama tujuh tahun sebagai presiden republik itu dia disahkan memegang jawatan oleh referendum nasional. Mobutu terpilih tanpa presiden tiga kali di bawah sistem ini, dengan angka rasmi menunjukkan 98 persen atau lebih pengundi yang tidak masuk akal menyetujui pencalonannya menentang paling banyak 1,8 persen sama ada mengundi "tidak", membuang undi kosong atau merosakkan kertas undi mereka. Setiap lima tahun, satu senarai calon MPR dikembalikan ke badan perundangan, dengan sokongan sebulat suara atau hampir sebulat suara. Semua calon ini dipilih secara berkesan oleh Mobutu.

Pada tahun 1975, pemilihan formal dikeluarkan secara keseluruhan. Sebagai gantinya, senarai MPR telah disetujui oleh calon-calon penghargaan yang dibawa hanya di stadium dan tempat awam lain dan disambut oleh penonton.

Untuk semua maksud dan tujuan, MPR dan pemerintah adalah satu. Ini memberi Mobutu kawalan politik sepenuhnya ke atas negara ini.

Sistem satu pihak berlangsung sehingga 24 April 1990, tarikh pengisytiharan Republik Ketiga. Pada tarikh itu, Mobutu mengatakan bahawa tiga parti politik akan dibenarkan. Puak "sederhana" dan "garis keras" MPR akan membentuk parti yang terpisah, sementara pihak ketiga akan menjadi Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). [7] Di bawah sistem multipartai yang baru, Mobutu mengatakan bahawa dia akan berada di atas parti politik, dan dengan demikian dia mengundurkan diri sebagai presiden MPR pada tarikh yang sama, walaupun dia sekali lagi menerima jawatan presiden parti setahun kemudian, pada 21 April 1991. [8]

Parti itu tidak mempunyai ideologi lain selain sokongan untuk Mobutu. Oleh itu, ia hilang dalam waktu singkat ketika Mobutu digulingkan oleh Laurent-Désiré Kabila pada tahun 1997, semasa Perang Kongo Pertama. Nzanga Mobutu, anak Mobutu Sese Seko, adalah ketua Kesatuan Demokrat Mobutuist (UDEMO), sebuah parti politik Mobutis di parlimen.


Kandungan

Kehidupan awal

Joseph-Desire Mobutu dilahirkan di Lisala, Congo Belgia pada 14 Oktober 1930 dari keluarga Ngbandi. Ibu Mobutu adalah pembantu hotel yang melarikan diri dari harem untuk menikahi juru masak Afrika untuk hakim Belgia, dan Mobutu dididik oleh hakim Belgia setelah kematian ayahnya. Mobutu belajar berbahasa Perancis dengan fasih, dan dia selalu berdiri dan membetulkan mubaligh Belgia setiap kali mereka melakukan kesalahan tatabahasa (bahasa pertama mereka adalah Belanda) semasa mengajar bahasa Perancis di sekolah Katoliknya. Pada tahun 1949, dia diperintahkan untuk berkhidmat selama tujuh tahun dalam tentera kerana berusaha untuk menaiki kapal untuk bertemu dengan seorang gadis, dan dia mendapati disiplin dalam kehidupan tentera. Mobutu menjadi wartawan sambilan setelah membaca tulisan Charles de Gaulle, Winston Churchill, dan Niccolo Machiavelli dalam tentera, dan dia kemudian bersahabat dengan Patrice Lumumba dan bergabung dengan partai Gerakan Nasional Kongo sebelum menjadi pembantunya. Namun, dia dipercayai telah disewa oleh perisik Belgia sebagai pemberi maklumat dalam gerakan nasionalis Lumumba.

Krisis Congo

Mobutu sebagai pegawai tentera, 1960

Mobutu dilantik sebagai Panglima Tentera Darat ketika Krisis Kongo bermula pada tahun 1960, memimpin tentera Congo-Leopoldville menentang pemisah. Mobutu berjaya mendorong banyak tentara pemberontak untuk kembali ke barak mereka, dan dia terbukti sebagai jenderal yang mampu. Namun, Mobutu menghadapi krisis ketika Perdana Menteri Patrice Lumumba - seorang ahli politik yang berpihak kepada Soviet - dan Presiden Joseph Kasa-Vubu - seorang ahli politik yang berpihak kepada AS - masing-masing memerintahkan Mobutu untuk menangkap yang lain. Mobutu mendapat tekanan besar, tetapi bawahannya meyakinkannya untuk berpihak kepada Kasa-Vubu, kerana AS dan negara-negara Barat yang lain membantu membayar gaji askar dan perwira. Pada bulan November 1960, tentera Mobutu menangkap Lumumba setelah menuduhnya sebagai komunis, dan pemerintah Belgia meyakinkan pemerintah Kongo untuk menyerahkan Lumumba kepada skuad tembak Katang pada Januari 1961. Pada 23 Januari 1961, Kasa-Vubu mempromosikan Mobutu menjadi Major- Jeneral, bertujuan untuk memperkuat tentera, sokongan tunggal presiden, dan kedudukan Mobutu dalam tentera. Pada tahun 1964, ketika Pierre Mulele memimpin pemberontakan partisan yang lain, Mobutu membalasnya dengan menghancurkan pemberontak pada tahun 1965.

Bangkit untuk berkuasa

Mobutu dengan pakaian seragam jeneral

Pada tahun 1965, negara itu sekali lagi terperangkap dalam kebuntuan politik ketika Presiden Kasa-Vubu gagal menunjuk Evariste Kimba sebagai Perdana Menteri baru dan pengganti Moise Tshombe. Mobutu, yang akhirnya memutuskan bahawa Kasa-Vubu adalah pemerintah yang tidak efektif, merebut kekuasaan dalam kudeta tentera pada 25 November 1965 dan mengisytiharkan keadaan darurat. Mobutu melarang kegiatan parti politik di negara ini selama lima tahun, dan dia mengurangi kuasa Parlimen, mengurangi jumlah provinsi, dan memusatkan pemerintahan. Pada tahun 1967, Mobutu mengasaskan Gerakan Popular Revolusi, yang merupakan satu-satunya parti hukum di negara satu-satunya Mobutu hingga tahun 1990. Dia memajukan revolusi, nasionalisme, dan otentik, menolak kapitalisme dan komunisme yang mendukung pragmatim politik. Mobutu mewujudkan kesatuan buruh di seluruh negara untuk menyatukan semua kesatuan pekerja yang lebih kecil, menggunakannya untuk mengawal semua buruh di negara yang dia melarang semua kesatuan bebas. Mobutu menindas pembangkang dengan kejam di negaranya, menumpaskan bekas perkebunan kebun Katang dan juga pemberontakan Kisangani oleh tentera upahan putih pada tahun 1967. Mobutu melaksanakan saingan politik, pemisah, perancang rampasan kuasa, dan penentang rejim lain, dan dia memutuskan untuk mengubah Zaire menjadi " sahih "negara Afrika. Mobutu ni sahih pergerakan melarang pakaian Barat, mengancam akan menjatuhkan hukuman penjara lima tahun pada pasangan yang memberi nama anak mereka kepada orang Eropah, dan memaksa lelaki memakai & # 160abakost& # 160tunik (mirip dengan saman Mao Zedong). & # 160 Menjelang tahun 1970, undang-undang dan ketertiban telah dibawa ke semua bahagian negaranya, dan dia menjalin hubungan persahabatan dengan pemerintah Belgia. Pada tahun 1972, Mobutu mengganti namanya menjadi "Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za ​​Banga", dan dia mengambil gambar klasik: kacamata abacost, berbingkai tebal, tongkat kaki, dan toque kulit macan tutul.

Peraturan diktator

Mobutu menasionalisasi syarikat milik asing dan memaksa pelabur Eropah keluar dari negara itu, tetapi dia menjalin persekutuan dengan Perancis, Belgia, Amerika Syarikat, dan China, selain memupuk hubungan baik dengan negara-negara Afrika seperti Maghribi, Mesir, dan Sudan. Pada tahun 1977, dia berhasil mengalahkan pemberontakan Shaba I oleh Front yang disokong Soviet untuk Pembebasan Nasional Kongo (FNLC), dengan menggunakan tentera Belgia dan Perancis dan sokongan logistik AS. Mobutu menikmati gaya hidup mewah, terbang dengan turbojet Concorde untuk perjalanan membeli-belah di Paris. Mobutu membiarkan korupsi dan nepotisme berkembang di bawah pemerintahannya, dan dia menggelapkan hingga $ 15,000,000,000 selama pemerintahannya. Mobutu mengekalkan sokongan Barat sepanjang Perang Dingin kerana anti-komunisme yang keras, tetapi kejatuhan Tembok Berlin dan berakhirnya Perang Dingin pada tahun 1990 menyebabkan Barat mengakhiri sokongannya terhadap Zaire. Pada tahun yang sama, Mobutu terpaksa mengakhiri larangan terhadap parti-parti politik lain, dan dia dipaksa untuk membentuk pemerintah gabungan dengan parti-parti pembangkang kerana ketidakpuasan rakyat terhadap pemerintahannya. Keadaan ekonomi sangat mengerikan, jadi dia melantik pasar bebas Leon Kengo sebagai Perdana Menteri Zaire pada tahun 1994. Mobutu menjadi lemah secara fizikal, dan dia mendapatkan rawatan perubatan di Eropah. Semasa dia pergi, Tutsis & # 160dari Rwanda menguasai sebahagian besar Zaire timur, mengejar pasukan Interahamwe yang melarikan diri dari Perang Saudara Rwanda. Limpahan konflik akan menyebabkan kejatuhannya.

Jatuh dari kuasa

Seorang tentera yang berdiri di hadapan sebuah mural Mobutu

Pada bulan November 1996, Mobutu memerintahkan agar Tutsis meninggalkan Zaire dengan hukuman mati. Pemberontak Tutsi sebaliknya bersekutu dengan Uganda dan Rwanda, dan Perang Kongo Pertama meletus. Pasukan Sekutu berbaris di Kinshasa, dan Mobutu yang sakit hati tidak dapat mengkoordinasikan penentangan terhadap tentera yang menyerang. Pada 16 Mei 1997, setelah rundingan damai yang gagal, Mobutu melarikan diri ke Togo, memungkinkan Laurent-Desire Kabila dan pasukannya mengambil alih negara ini. Mobutu kemudian melarikan diri ke Maghribi, dan dia meninggal kerana barah di Rabat pada 7 September 1997 pada usia 66 tahun.


Joseph-Désiré / Mobutu, Sese Seko Kuku Waza Banga Mobutu (1930-1997)

Joseph Mobutu, bernama Joseph-Désiré Mobutu semasa lahir, adalah presiden kedua Zaire (sekarang disebut Republik Demokratik Kongo) dari tahun 1965 hingga 1997. Mobutu dilahirkan pada tahun 1930 di Kongo Belgia dan belajar kewartawanan.

Pada tahun 1958, Mobutu menjadi setiausaha negara dan kemudian dinobatkan sebagai ketua kakitangan Tentera Kongo oleh Perdana Menteri Patrice Lumumba dan Presiden Joseph Kasavubu ketika negara itu memperoleh kemerdekaan dari Belgium pada tahun 1960. Setahun kemudian, Mobutu membantu Presiden Kasavubu menggulingkan Lumumba. Mobutu menjadi perdana menteri baru. Pada tahun 1965, Mobutu mengasingkan Kasavubu dalam kudeta tentera dan mengumumkan dirinya sebagai presiden, membentuk sebuah negara satu pihak di sekitar Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution (MPR).

Dengan sokongan dari Amerika Syarikat dan kuasa barat yang lain kerana sikap anti-Komunisnya yang tegas, Mobutu menjadi pemimpin Kongo yang tidak tertandingi, yang memerintah negara ini selama 32 tahun ke depan. Pada tahun 1971, Mobutu menukar nama negara itu menjadi Zaire dan memaksa semua warganegara untuk menggunakan lebih banyak nama yang berbunyi Afrika. Dia sendiri menukar namanya menjadi Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbedu Waza Banga. Mobutu berpendapat bahawa perubahan nama semua warga Zaire memungkinkan orang-orang merasakan rasa kedaulatan dan identifikasi dengan budaya Afrika, terutama setelah bertahun-tahun pemerintahan kolonial. Tindakan itu juga membantu mengesahkan Mobutu sebagai diktator autoritarian.

Sebagai Presiden, Mobutu hidup mewah dengan banyak istana dan kereta asing sementara sebahagian besar penduduk Zaire hidup dalam kemiskinan. Ketika Mobutu mengumpulkan kekayaan pribadi di bawah kleptokrasi, ekonomi negara itu hampir runtuh. Pada tahun 1990 di bawah tekanan dalaman dan antarabangsa yang semakin meningkat, Mobutu mengakhiri pemerintahan diktatornya secara rasmi. Dia membiarkan parti politik nasional muncul semula sambil tetap memanipulasi pilihan raya tempatan dan nasional untuk memastikan dirinya dan penyokongnya berkuasa.

Menjelang tahun 1994, presiden Mobutu terancam ketika pemberontak Rwanda menyusup dan mengganas pelarian genosida Rwanda yang melarikan diri ke wilayah Zaire timur. Kegiatan pemberontak mendorong pemberontak pribumi untuk mencabar kekuatan Mobutu & # 8217s. Dua tahun kemudian, Mobutu didiagnosis menderita barah prostat dan mengabaikan banyak tugas politiknya, menghabiskan sebahagian besar waktunya di luar negeri ketika dia menjalani rawatan. Pada tahun 1997, pemberontak pemberontak Laurent-Désiré Kabila menggulingkan rejim Mobutu. Kabila menamakan semula negara itu sebagai Republik Demokratik Kongo. Joseph-Désiré Mobutu yang diasingkan meninggal dunia akibat barah prostat pada 7 September 1997, di Maghribi.


(1965 & ndash 1997)

Mobutu Sese Seko adalah pemimpin yang mampu mengeringkan negaranya sehingga kering sambil menikmati sokongan negara-negara seperti Amerika Syarikat kerana sikapnya yang anti-komunis. Mobutu Sese Seko mengetuai kudeta d & rsquo & Atilde & copytat dengan bantuan Belgium menentang presiden yang dipilih secara demokratik Patrice Lumumba. Patrice Lumumba terbunuh dan Mobutu Sese Seko mengambil alih jawatan ketua kakitangan tentera pada tahun 1960. Pada tahun 1965 dia mengambil alih kuasa secara langsung dan menyatakan dirinya sebagai pemimpin Kongo. Dia kemudian akan mengganti nama negara Zaire tetapi akan menjadi Republik Demokratik Kongo ketika Mobutu digulingkan dari kekuasaan.

Dia mewujudkan negara satu pihak yang menumpukan semua kuasa di tangannya. Dia menciptakan budaya yang didasarkan pada pemujaannya dan dia sering memamerkan pemborosan peribadinya untuk membangun kultus keperibadiannya. Pemerintahannya yang sangat berpusat membolehkannya menjarah peti negara tanpa hukuman, menyebabkan banyak pihak memanggil pemerintahnya sebagai & ldquokleptokrasi & rdquo kerana sejumlah besar dana yang dicurinya. Dia memaksa semua pelabur asing dari negara ini dan menasionalisasi semua syarikat milik asing. Pengurusan firma tersebut diserahkan kepada saudara-mara atau sekutu yang hanya akan mencuri aset syarikat. Dia menjalani gaya hidup mewah dengan dana negara dan mengumpulkan kekayaan peribadi lebih dari $ 5 bilion.

Pemerintahannya juga dipenuhi dengan pelanggaran hak asasi manusia. Dia akan memenjarakan, menyiksa dan membunuh lawan politiknya secara terbuka. Dia akan memikat lawan yang diasingkan dengan menjanjikan amnesti hanya untuk menyeksa mereka setelah mereka muncul. Pemerintahannya keganasan dan pencurian berakhir dengan Perang Kongo Pertama ketika Laurent-Desire Kabila mengambil alih pemerintahan dengan sokongan Rwanda, Burundi dan Uganda.


(1971) Sese Seko Mobutu, & # 8220 Alamat kepada Conseil Nationale Extraordinaire, Dakar, 14 Februari 1971 & # 8221

SIni Seko Ngbendu Waza Banga Mobutu, yang awalnya dikenali sebagai Joseph Desire Mobutu, berkhidmat sebagai setiausaha swasta Patrice Lumumba & # 8217 sebelum dilantik sebagai Panglima Staf dan yang kedua sebagai panglima tentera ketika Kongo mendapat kemerdekaannya pada tahun 1960. Pada bulan November 1965 Mobuto memimpin rampasan kuasa yang menjadikannya Presiden Kongo. Dalam alamat di bawah, yang diberikan di Dakar, Senegal pada 14 Februari 1971, Mobutu menggambarkan pemerintahannya di Kongo.

M.P.R., PERGERAKAN NASIONAL, POPULER DAN REVOLUSI ADALAH PERGERAKAN UNTUK TINDAKAN YANG BERTUAH DARI PENGALAMAN KONOLESE.

Dia memerangi wabak yang telah merebak ke semua negara Afrika: ketiadaan kesadaran nasional—

Setiausaha Jeneral U.P.S., saudara saya yang tersayang Anggota Biro Politique, rakan-rakan saya di Conseil nasional,

Rakan-rakan yang dikasihi,
Sebilangan daripada anda mungkin terkejut bahawa Presiden Republik Demokratik Kongo sering meninggalkan negaranya untuk mengunjungi saudara-saudaranya di tempat lain di Afrika. Bahkan ada yang boleh bertanya adakah kita benar-benar menyukai negara kita sendiri & # 8230 Jawapannya, seperti yang anda duga, adalah positif. Kita sangat menyukai negara kita yang indah tetapi, jika kita telah bertekad untuk mengunjungi semua saudara kita di Afrika yang merdeka, jika kita menganggapnya sebagai kewajiban suci untuk mengikat diri, tubuh dan jiwa kita, terhadap perang persahabatan yang tulen ini, itu adalah bukan hanya kerana kita mesti menjaga hubungan yang menyatukan negeri dan rakyat kita, tetapi juga kerana kita terinspirasi oleh kehendak untuk mengembalikan ke negara kita tempat yang ada di hati masyarakat Afrika yang hilang melalui dasar para pemimpin yang berkuasa sebelum kita dari tahun 1960 hingga 1965.

Sejak 24 November 1965, saya terpaksa membawa banyak pesan perdamaian dan persaudaraan di pedalaman negara saya dan di luar negeri kepada orang-orang Kongo dan saudara-saudara kita di Afrika. Saya juga harus menghilangkan rasa tidak percaya yang sejak sekian lama telah mengelilingi sebuah negara yang sebilangan orang suka disebut sebagai 'orang sakit' Afrika. Hari ini kita secara sah dapat berbangga dengan penghargaan dan persahabatan yang kita dapat dengan senang hati dijumpai di mana-mana: di tebing Sungai Nil, Tasik Tanganyika dan Victoria, di sekitar Ubangui, Niger, Chari dan Sénégal, atau di pantai Laut Atlantik, yang membasahi pantai anda seperti yang kita lakukan sendiri.

Tetapi tugas suci ini untuk mengunjungi saudara-saudara Afrika kita yang dikasihi memungkinkan kita, sepanjang lima tahun amanah kita, untuk mengetahui dari orang-orang bijak benua kita pengetahuan yang tidak pernah kita pelajari dari negara-negara maju industri - Dan saya selalu menaruh hati dengan memperhatikan pengalaman yang telah dipromosikan oleh setiap saudara saya melalui semangat rakyat mereka, dengan berusaha menerapkannya untuk meningkatkan perkembangan kita melalui kaedah kita sendiri.

PENCARIAN UNTUK KAEDAH
Pengalaman kami pada mulanya didasarkan pada pencarian kaedah, yang saya percaya kini telah kami temui. Kami tentunya tidak bermaksud menjadikan kaedah ini menjadi resipi yang kami harapkan dapat dilihat oleh semua orang, kami tidak akan membuat tuntutan ini. Tetapi kami merasa berhak untuk menjelaskan kepada saudara Afrika kami cara kami mengatur kehidupan dan pembangunan negara kami. Dan inilah yang ingin saya bicarakan hari ini dengan militan parti saudara kita: Union Progressiste Sénégalaise.

Di Kongo, kami selalu yakin bahawa untuk memiliki pengalaman kerja yang sebenarnya di negara membangun, seseorang harus melihat terlebih dahulu di negara membangun, dan tidak mengimport kaedah seperti itu yang berfungsi di negara-negara yang mendapat manfaat dari pengembangan teknikal dalam jangka panjang .

Kepentingan sepenuhnya di sebalik usaha, usaha dan ziarah kita di benua Afrika ini adalah bahawa kita sedang mencari keaslian kita, yang akan kita dapati kerana kita ingin, melalui setiap inti kehidupan kita, untuk mengetahui lebih banyak tentangnya setiap hari. Dengan kata lain, kita orang Congo lain ingin menjadi orang Kongo yang sahih.

Siapa yang dapat memahami lebih baik daripada anda, Tuan Setiausaha Jeneral, betapa pentingnya kita mementingkan keaslian kita mengenai penemuan semangat Afrika yang sejati ini, seperti yang telah dibuat dari hari ke hari oleh nenek moyang yang kita berhutang dengan warisan mulia tanah air Afrika kita yang hebat?

KEMBALI KE KEBENARAN
Sekiranya kita ingin berharap bahawa organisasi antarabangsa, yang diciptakan untuk mempertahankan kepentingan Dunia Ketiga, sama ada mereka adalah Afrika semata-mata, atau Afro-Asiatik, dapat diilhami oleh kekuatan yang benar dan padu, masing-masing negara yang dibentuknya mesti menang mencapai pengembalian keaslian mereka.

Ini nampaknya menjadi syarat asas yang harus kita perhatikan dalam perjuangan untuk membangun.

Kerana tidak berguna untuk membandingkan apa yang berlaku di negara kita, misalnya, dengan situasi di Afrika Selatan, dengan dalih tunggal bahawa Afrika Selatan dan Afrika Hitam adalah kedua-dua bahagian dari apa yang telah disebut Dunia Ketiga: Dunia Ketiga, jika saya mungkin menarik perhatian kepada sebutan terminologi ini, ungkapan yang diciptakan bukan oleh penduduk Dunia Ketiga, tetapi oleh lebih kurang ahli yang bermaksud baik dari dunia perindustrian tertentu yang mereka harap suatu hari nanti kita akan menyerupai.

Oleh itu, ahli teori dunia lama dan baru terbiasa membuat penilaian pasti mengenai taraf hidup negara-negara Dunia Ketiga melalui rujukan mengenai kriteria pendapatan per kapita. Namun, terlintas di fikiran - apakah ini memang tidak terbukti? - bahawa kriteria ini jauh dari mutlak, bahawa tidak ada yang memaksa kita untuk menerimanya sebagai satu-satunya tolok ukur yang memungkinkan seseorang mengatakan bahawa negara tertentu maju atau terbelakang.

Tidak, nampaknya kita harus mempertimbangkan pengalaman orang yang mengalami kesulitan yang sama seperti kita. Di sana mudah bagi kita untuk menyedari bahawa kesulitan-kesulitan ini jauh lebih sedikit daripada yang sama dari satu hujung benua yang kita sayangi ke ujung yang lain, sepanjang kita orang Afrika biasanya mengalami situasi asas yang sama. Kami dilahirkan dalam keluarga yang merupakan teras masyarakat kita. Kita dibesarkan di sebuah kampung di bawah arahan ketua kampung, kita telah dijajah pada waktu yang hampir sama oleh orang Eropah dengan kualiti yang baik dan buruk yang sama. Kami mengalami dekolonisasi pada masa yang sama. Dan pada masa yang sama kita telah menyaksikan awal neo-kolonialisme pecah, sehingga boleh dikatakan. Akibat dari semua ini adalah bahawa di setiap negeri yang baru, dengan sedikit variasi, kita dapat melihat kesulitan yang sama setelah merdeka, kesukaran yang masing-masing cuba kita atasi dengan caranya sendiri, dalam kebanyakan kes lebih kurang berjaya (walaupun kadang-kadang tidak sama sekali).

Bagi kita, rakyat Congo, sudah cukup untuk mempercayai bahawa jika kita mempunyai pelajaran untuk diambil dari suatu tempat, kita harus melihat kepada rakan-rakan Afrika kita. Di satu tempat mereka mempunyai pemahaman yang baik mengenai masalah pertanian, tetapi di tempat lain mengapa tidak? Di satu tempat mereka telah berjaya membangun kerangka kerja untuk massa melalui sebuah parti nasional, dan di tempat lain ini adalah kegagalan. Di mana sahaja kita masing-masing mempunyai sesuatu untuk dipelajari antara satu sama lain, dan ini, pada pendapat saya, adalah mustahak.

PENGALAMAN KONGOLESE: REFLEKSI YANG LUAR BIASA
Pertama sekali, pengalaman orang Congo sejak 24 November 1965 memberikan renungan mendalam.
Mungkin ada beberapa negara Afrika yang telah mencapai kemerdekaan dalam kereta api yang berjalan dengan cukup baik, tetapi yang paling tidak berfungsi dengan baik. Mereka diperlihatkan bagaimana mereka bekerja, dan, setelah waktu tertentu, mereka ditinggalkan dengan petunjuk, dan juga harapan terbaik untuk perjalanan.

Tetapi jika kereta api seperti ini sudah ada, kita sendiri tidak menjumpainya ketika kita merdeka, dan hari ini saya dapat mengakui bahawa saya dan rakan saya tidak menaiki kereta api seperti ini pada awal pagi 24 November 1965 .

Sayangnya kami tidak menemui kereta Congo yang miskin di jurang. Tetapi bagi kami ia lebih serius daripada itu. Bukan rel yang berada dalam keadaan buruk, juga mekanik yang mabuk, dan kereta tidak terawat dengan baik, tetapi di kereta api kita pada tahun 1965 semuanya berkeping-keping, tersebar di sana-sini dan kita harus meletakkan kepingan ini bersama-sama agar kereta ini berfungsi semula.

Oleh itu, kami berani mengambil ini, dan, izinkan saya memberitahu anda, ini memerlukan banyak keberanian! Kami mendapati diri kami berhadapan dengan situasi yang berbeza dari yang lain dan kaedah kami terdiri daripada membahagikan masalah kepada beberapa sektor. Ini menyebabkan komitmen awal untuk menyelesaikan masalah dasar dalaman kita, kemudian dasar luar, sektor ekonomi, dan akhirnya sektor sosial, tentu saja.

Dalam bidang dasar dalaman, kami telah melakukan yang sebaliknya, seperti yang telah dilakukan oleh orang lain sebelum ini dan yang menurut saya agak bergaya. Memang, desentralisasi dan regionalisasi banyak diperkatakan sekarang. Dasar desentralisasi atau regionalisasi adalah baik kerana setiap entiti yang telah dibuat dapat dilaksanakan, atau dapat dilaksanakan. Tetapi sejauh yang kami khawatirkan, kami menghadapi Kongo yang terbahagi kepada dua puluh dua wilayah kecil yang tidak dapat dilaksanakan, walaupun, dari sudut geografi, masing-masing entiti ini (yang disebut tempatan sebagai 'Provincettes') mewakili kawasan geografi yang setanding dengan negeri-negeri tertentu yang kita tahu, tetapi mereka sendiri mampu wujud sendiri.

Oleh itu, dengan cepat kita sadar bahawa kita harus membina semula kesatuan nasional, dengan mengurangkan wilayah kita dari dua puluh dua menjadi lapan, angka yang sesuai dengan ekonomi kita dan juga realiti sosiologi kita.

Berikutan analisis kami mengenai masalah yang kami hadapi, kami melihat bahawa salah satu malapetaka dalam kehidupan masyarakat kita, dan penyebab utama anarki, adalah kebebasan yang telah diserahkan kepada salah satu dari dua puluh satu juta warga Kongo untuk membentuk sebuah parti politik.

Dasar membiarkan parti dibentuk, dari mana kita masing-masing menderita, dipromosikan oleh orang-orang dari negara maju berdasarkan apa yang mereka sebut sebagai hak individu.

47 PIHAK POLITIK
Atas nama hak-hak ini, empat puluh tujuh parti politik diciptakan di negara kita, di mana sejumlah orang yang dilahirkan pada waktu malam tidak melihat akhir hari berikutnya, kerana mereka tidak sampai di luar batas etnik mereka kumpulan atau keluarga.

Tetapi setelah meneliti pertanyaan itu dengan teliti, kami dapat memberikan komen bahawa para pendendam dari negara-negara maju, yang suka berbicara mengenai pluralitas pihak dan hak individu, jauh lebih murah hati ketika mereka harus menghadapi pembungaan pihak-pihak di bidang kebangsaan mereka sendiri.

Oleh itu, orang-orang Anglo-Saxon, dan siapa yang boleh mendakwa bahawa demokrasi Anglo-Saxon bukanlah demokrasi yang sebenarnya? . Bukankah pernah mengejutkan anda, misalnya, bahawa Amerika Syarikat, yang memandang seluruh dunia sebagai model demokrasi, hanya mempunyai dua parti politik?

TRADISI AFRIKA: TIDAK PERNAH DUA KETUA
Dan kemudian, tidakkah kita ingat bahawa dalam tradisi Afrika kita, tidak pernah ada dua ketua? Kadang-kadang ada pewaris semula jadi ketua, tetapi ada yang dapat memberitahu saya apakah dia pernah mengenali sebuah perkampungan Afrika di mana terdapat dua ketua?

Inilah sebabnya mengapa, kita orang-orang Kongo, dalam keprihatinan kita untuk mematuhi tradisi benua kita, telah memutuskan untuk mengumpulkan tenaga rakyat negara kita di bawah panji-panji satu parti nasional.

Ini adalah keprihatinan yang sama terhadap keaslian yang telah menghalangi kita untuk membentuk polisi mengikut perintah dari kepentingan asing. Di Kongo, seorang ketua mesti, dan ini adalah suatu keperluan, mencari dewan dari orang-orang bijak. Dia mesti diberitahu, tetapi setelah mengambil nasihat dan mendapatkan maklumat, dia harus membuat keputusan sendiri dan menyelesaikan persoalannya sendiri, dengan mengetahui sepenuhnya fakta-fakta. Kerana terserah kepada ketua untuk membuat keputusan sendiri, menilai keadaan dan menanggung akibatnya. Dia hanya akan dapat melakukan ini kerana dia sendiri akan memberikan masalah dengan pertimbangan sewajarnya. Dengan syarat ini sahaja - kerana dia akan mempertimbangkan akibatnya terlebih dahulu dan menerima tanggungjawab penuh atas semua risiko pilihannya - bahawa keputusannya yang diambilnya akan jujur, oleh itu demi kepentingan rakyatnya dan benar-benar demokratik, menurut tafsirannya.

Tetapi jika ketua membiarkan penyelesaian dipaksakan oleh orang lain, penyelesaian ini akan selalu dicurigai kerana penasihat ini tidak perlu menjalani atau mempertimbangkan dengan tepat keputusan ketua, dan dia tidak akan, bagaimanapun, harus membayar kerosakan. Di atas segalanya, anda selalu dapat melihat dengan teliti jalan penyelesaian ini (yang mengisyaratkan seorang perancang), memperlihatkan minat peribadi, yang bukan merupakan kepentingan anda sendiri, dan lebih sedikit lagi dari orang-orang yang anda putuskan untuk membimbing menuju kebahagiaan. Dengan kata lain, anda akan menjadi pengawal yang dikawal oleh rentetan yang mendorong anda.

Di Kongo apa sahaja yang difikirkan oleh seseorang, dan bahkan jika itu mengganggu beberapa orang, kita selalu menolak untuk meminjamkan diri kepada sistem marionettes, kerana kita, dalam semua keadaan, dipandu oleh satu perhatian untuk mencari keaslian
Dalam pilihan dasar dalaman yang disesuaikan dengan keperluan rakyat kita, kita selalu menyedari bahawa massa kita perlu mempunyai maklumat tertentu yang relevan dengan keadaan mereka dan infrastruktur sosial yang tulen, dan mustahil untuk memerintah sebuah negara tanpa adanya satu pesta.

PERGERAKAN NASIONAL, POPULAR DAN REVOLUSI
Oleh itu, kita telah membentuk parti nasional. We have called this a ‘movement’ rather than a party because it was designed to sustain the movement of ideas drawn from our commitment to permanent action.

We have used the word ‘popular’ to qualify this movement to show our concern that it should involve the entire population. And finally, we wanted this popular movement to be the ‘popular movement of the revolution’, M.P.R.* so as to immediately publicise the new significance that we want to give to our actions, which imply a break and a change, a total break and a radical change in relation to preconceived ideas and methods, which had failed before we came to lead the Congo.

It is significant to note that even the method adopted for the creation of this movement is revolutionary.

Indeed the M.P.R. is not an amalgamation of two or more political parties, but an original movement created from the Congolese experience, this experience drawn from the anarchy caused by the plurality of political parties and by the ascendancy of imported ideologies, spread through empty slogans. We have had to wipe the slate clean of all previously existing parties.

The M.P.R. is a movement for action.

However, we have stated that unity for this action must be guaranteed, that we should make principles and hard and fast rules.

We have elaborated our doctrine from our experience, a doctrine which should respond to our concern for authenticity: we have adopted the doctrine of authentic Congolese nationalism.

Our nationalism, which is centered on the Congolese man, is an aggressive humanism, a communal humanism, an effort, even a sacrifice, in order that the national community may flourish.

NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS
This doctrine should provide for us an effective arm for fighting this plague which has spread to all African countries: the absence of national consciousness.

This difficulty for our people to feel part of a single nation is indeed understandable: national boundaries, delineated in the nineteenth century by our colonisers only respond to their own interests and did not correspond to the logic and feelings of our populations. And it is in this way that a population was often cut in two, and it was not unusual to find families divided into two different linguistic zones on both sides of the frontier. Nor was it unusual to find a mixture of ethnic groups, who did not necessarily get on well together, limited by the same frontiers. In consequence, it sometimes needed a trivial incident for problems to appear, problems which in certain situations took on the dimension of actual bloody secessions, only to the advantage of neo-colonialists.

We have, we Congolese, suffered too much from this to run such risks again: this is why we have, without the slightest delay, consecrated all our strength in forging national consciousness. And we can state that this national consciousness is today spread throughout the expanse of our vast territory.

Having resolved our problem of internal politics in this way, we undertook to define and apply a foreign policy which was and is marked with the stamp of the same realism. For these reasons, our foreign policy will have been above all a crusade of friendship. And because we are realists, our crusade of friendship has lead us first of all towards our African neighbours and brothers.

AFRICAN BROTHERHOOD
We have considered that we could not like the Chinese before liking the Central Africans, the Brazzavillians, the Sudanese, the Ugandans, the Rwandans, the Burundians, the Tanzanians, the Zambians and the Angolans. We have thus searched for a good understanding with the countries bordering our own. And these countries have, without exception, become the Congo’s friends. This is the true significance which we have always wanted to give to the idea of African brotherhood. And this significance has, happily enough, found its justification in the reciprocal attitude that our initial step has aroused among others.

We have also taken care that our foreign policy does not involve the slightest interference in the policies of others and it should be said that we were the first to understand this concern for noninterference. Indeed, we have suffered more than any other nation from outside interference in our own affairs.

Proceeding in this way, we have discovered that our policy of good neighbourliness and good relations inevitably leads to an active policy of cooperation. For how could we admit, for example, that the eighteen African and Malagasy countries associated with the European Common Market do not meet among themselves and only have provision for co-operation in the framework of this single community, unless there exists relations and markets between them?

PRIORITY TO INTER-AFRICAN RELATIONS
We have therefore equally made this priority of inter-African relations the ‘leitmotiv’ of our economic contact. Obeying this principle, it seemed to us that we could only aim to have a genuine feeling of ‘African-ness’ in our contact with brother countries if we first of all became masters of our own destinies in the economic field. We therefore had to have absolute responsibility for our economy, which unfortunately had not been the case up to 1965.

We have always considered that political independence has no true content without economic independence. And I repeat, this economic independence doesn’t wish to imply living in a vacuum or retiring within oneself or even shutting the door on others, but only to live as master of the orientation of one’s economic policy. In this sense, we can say with complete modesty that we have succeeded: this economic independence exists in the Congo. The scepticism, or even pessimism engendered by our struggle for economic independence has been dispelled by the expansion that we are experiencing at the moment in all sectors of our economy, something which appeared to be unthinkable until now.

We believe then that we can say, from now on justifying ourselves through the experience acquired in the five years’ struggle for our independence of mind and economic expansion, that it would be very wrong for us Africans to consider ourselves as unfortunate men because we do not see the appendages of the notion of the so-called developed countries around us. And this is a question that I should like before ending to consider for a moment with you.

We have given ourselves the task of harmoniously achieving our development. But this concern for harmony forces us, as I interpret it, not always to follow those for whom development and happiness consist in having a television today, a colour television tomorrow, and in believing themselves obliged the day after tomorrow to curse and swear because they do not possess the latest television model, whether it be in black and white or colour, with an electronic operating system.

If these fruits of the technological age are nice to taste, they are not sufficient in themselves for our happiness. Is it not striking that precisely the most aware of the thinkers in those countries which are currently the best equipped concentrate their interest on denouncing the dangers and crimes of a technological civilisation which no longer allows man, the human, or humanism, the role which is his in a harmonious society?

THE ‘SHOCK OF THE FUTURE’
One of these thinkers, the American writer Alvin Toffler,—and it’s not just by chance that he belongs to the most technologically advanced country of the modern world—has just dedicated a complete book warning his contemporaries to be on guard against what he calls the ‘shock of the future’. And he gives us Africans, through this, the opportunity to rejoice at living until now sheltered from such excesses, from these hypertrophies of material progress without any parallel spiritual development.

This shock of the future can take on the appearance of riches which leads the nouveaux riches to suicide because their lack of preparation does not allow them to see any meaning in their money. In a general manner we could say that we feel threatened each time that a change in our way of living finds us without any preliminary defence.

We do not need extensive developments to realise that I have put my finger on the danger which threatens us and our developing country, if we are not concerned to prepare our populations to assimilate the fruits of material progress, through the preservation of the spiritual heritage which we have inherited from our ancestors.

It is this concern that we are nurturing in our national Congolese party, the Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution, through action orientated precisely towards helping our citizens to assimilate innovations quickly and t& welcome the achievements of material progress painlessly.

This sensible and objective information system, systematically renouncing illusions, depends at first on the wisdom which consists in satisfying oneself with what one has, without however abandoning the desire to increase one’s belongings. While it may be true that we have not always the means to travel at supersonic speeds, it is no less true that we have not got to suffer from the harmful effects of eternal pollution!

I wish to show through this illustration that our situation in a so-called underdeveloped or developing country often carries worthwhile advantages.

PREPARING OURSELVES FOR THE 21st CENTURY
We therefore have to take these things into consideration and to prepare ourselves for the twenty-first century. In choosing from among the benefits of progress, our actions call for those things which will not destroy our art of living, this way of being African that the whole world envies.

Thus we have no hesitation in Kinshasa in soon inaugurating a station for communication by satellite, because we know that it will enable us to instantly communicate with the world, without generating at the same time this atmospheric pollution which for years has been in the headlines of the newspapers of the industrialised world.


Sese Seko Mobutu - History

The Belgians left a country that was ill-equipped to govern itself - and within days of independence the Congo was threatening to split apart.

The new state was intended to have a unitary structure and be governed centrally from Leopoldville by President Joseph Kasavubu and Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.

Five days after independence, the army mutinied against the Belgian officers who still controlled it.

Less than a week later, the mineral-rich province of Katanga announced it was seceding, a move backed by Belgium and the United States.

Prime Minister Lumumba called for the help of UN troops to crush the rebellion, but the Security Council blocked the action of UN forces.

In January 1961, troops loyal to Colonel Joseph Mobutu seized, tortured and murdered Mr Lumumba.

There have been reports of Belgian and US complicity in the killing of a leader who made it clear that he was not prepared to become a puppet of Western or Soviet interests.

After several years of repeated rebellion in the north and east of the country, Mobutu seized power in a coup d'etat in 1965.

Mobutu renamed the country Zaire, and began to use the name of Mobutu Sese Seko.

He eventually became president of Zaire in 1970. It was the Mobutu regime that gave rise to the term "kleptocracy" - rule by thieves.

As Mobutu stashed much of the country's economic output in European banks, Zaire became the most notorious example of a country where state institutions came to be little more than a way of delivering money to the ruling elite.

But the politics of the Cold War ensured Western backing, with the US using Zaire as a springboard for operations into neighbouring Angola, where the US supported Unita rebels against the Soviet-backed government.

When Mobutu's soldiers threatened to rebel over unpaid wages, he would either order the printing of more banknotes to pay off the troops in a downward-spiralling currency - or simply give the soldiers to pillage to their own satisfaction.

It took the end of the Cold War - followed by the 1994 Rwandan genocide - to prompt a successful rebellion against Mobutu.

The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front government, which took over after the genocide, was concerned that perpetrators and supporters of the mass killing were still living with impunity in the east of Zaire.


Tiny Rwanda invaded its vast neighbour to try to flush out the Hutu extremists who had committed the genocide. The corrupt and disorganised Zaire army fled before the Rwandan soldiers - who together with anti-Mobutu rebels then pushed all the way to Kinshasa.

Prominent among the rebels was Laurent Kabila, who had been active as a revolutionary in the east since the 1960s.

He was installed as president in 1997, and the country reverted to its former name of Congo.

The "Democratic Republic" tag was added to distinguish the country from its northern neighbour, though it has yet to hold an election.

A rift between President Kabila and his former Tutsi allies sparked a new rebellion in the east - backed by Rwanda and Uganda, who remain fearful of the continuing presence of Hutu militants on Congolese soil.

The country enters its fifth decade divided more or less in half, between President Kabila's forces and the rebels.

The economy is barely functional. Mobutu's siphoning of the country's wealth gave way to large-scale looting as the ageing dictator lost his grip on power in the early 1990s - and the mining industry has scarcely functioned since then.


Where Concorde once flew: the story of President Mobutu's ➯rican Versailles'

For posturing dictators, only putting a new city on the map will do. Fifty years on from Mobutu Sese Seko’s ascent to the presidency of Congo, David Smith explores what’s left of his personal Xanadu, Gbadolite

Last modified on Thu 15 Oct 2020 14.34 BST

“O ne hundred thousand trees, 20,000 tons of marble are the ingredients of Xanadu’s mountain. Contents of Xanadu’s palace: paintings, pictures, statues, the very stones of many another palace — a collection of everything so big it can never be catalogued or appraised enough for 10 museums the loot of the world . Since the pyramids, Xanadu is the costliest monument a man has built to himself.”

So trumpets a voiceover in the opening scenes of Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, the story of a plutocratic newspaper baron and empire-builder: “America’s Kubla Khan”. But we have already seen that Kane is dead and his Florida folly slowly turning into a dilapidated ruin. The same fate has befallen the grandiloquent mansions of other men before and since. But never, perhaps, quite so violently and definitively as that of another journalist turned billionaire with passions for art and politics: Mobutu Sese Seko.

President Mobutu’s personal Xanadu was his birthplace, deep in the jungle of what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the biggest country in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the world’s poorest and longest-suffering. In the early 1970s, Gbadolite was a remote village of 1,500 people living in mudbrick huts and not even marked on maps. But thanks to unlimited hubris and riches, a new town was hacked out of the tropical rainforest, with houses, schools, hospitals, municipal buildings, a five-star hotel, a 3,200m runway for the supersonic Concorde and – the pièce de résistance – three palaces of kleptocratic kitsch.

Gbadolite remains the vision of a totalitarian master builder, like Astana in Kazakhstan, Naypyidaw in Myanmar, Oyala in Equatorial Guinea and one that never got off the drawing board: Adolf Hitler’s Germania. For posturing dictators it seems the transience of power and wealth is not enough. Only putting a new city on the map, shaped in their own image, will do. Each seems determined to take the inscription on Christopher Wren’s tomb at St Paul’s Cathedral to a new level: “Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.” (If you are seeking his monument, look around you.)

This year’s 50th anniversary of Mobutu’s ascent to the presidency of Congo will be no cause for celebration. Congo had just emerged from the catastrophe of Belgian rule: King Leopold II, arguably the most egregious of all colonialists, turned it into a personal fiefdom, killing and enslaving the population to enrich himself with ivory and rubber. But when the CIA helped Belgium assassinate independence prime minister Patrice Lumumba, opportunity knocked for Joseph Desire Mobutu, who had worked as a reporter and editor before returning to the army and climbing the ranks.

In 1963 he was invited by president John F Kennedy to the White House and effectively recruited to the capitalist side in the cold war’s African battleground. Two years later he declared himself head of state, renamed his country Zaire, renamed himself Mobutu Sese Seko Koko Ngbendu wa za Banga (meaning “the all-powerful warrior who, because of endurance and an inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake”) and adopted his infamous leopard-skin hat.

The ‘African Versailles’ emerged from the remote jungle village where President Mobutu was born. Photograph: Sean Smith

America, his patron, appeared willing to bankroll or turn a blind eye to any excess. Mobutu rapidly set the tone for his rule by ordering the public hanging of four former ministers at a sports stadium for an alleged coup plot. He continued with a Machiavellian combination of murder, detention and torture on the one hand and bribery, corruption and patronage on the other. The mineral-rich nation’s coffers were looted on a mind-bending scale as Mobutu amassed an estimated fortune of $5bn and lavish properties around the world. “When he left power he was universally excoriated as Africa’s greatest kleptocrat,” noted Mobutu’s obituary in the Guardian in 1997.

Government soldiers inside Mobutu’s Gbadolite palace in 2001. Photograph: Saurabh Das/AP

There was no greater symbol of excess than Gbadolite and its palaces, for which he hired the Tunisian-born French architect Olivier Clement Cacoub and Senegal’s Pierre Goudiaby Atépa. His private palace, seven miles outside town in Kawele, brimmed with paintings, sculptures, stained glass, ersatz Louis XIV furniture, marble from Carrara in Italy and two swimming pools surrounded by loudspeakers playing his beloved Gregorian chants or classical music. It hosted countless gaudy nights with Taittinger champagne, salmon and other food served on moving conveyer belts by Congolese and European chefs.

Visiting in 1988, a New York Times journalist recorded: “At a marble-tiled terrace, voices rose from banquet tables set against a backdrop of illuminated fountains. Liveried waiters served roast quail on Limoges china and poured Loire Valley wines, properly chilled against the equatorial heat. ‘Bon appetit,’ said the 58-year-old president.”

Guests over the years reputedly included Pope John Paul II, the king of Belgium, French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros Ghali, self-declared emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic, American televangelist Pat Robertson, oil scion David Rockefeller, businessman Maurice Tempelsman and William Casey, director of the CIA.

“It was an African Versailles,” says politician Albert Moleka, who reckons $400m was spent and recalls how in 1985 France’s Gaston Lenôtre, the leading pastry chef in the world, flew in on Concorde with a birthday cake for Mobutu. “It was a big decorated cake with white cream. Another time he invited Paul Bocuse and other top chefs from Europe for a special occasion. Normally Mobutu liked traditional local food, like antelope, and fish and eels. He also had one of the best wine cellars in the world.”

Mobutu once presented Moleka, now a senior member of the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress, with a bottle of Cheval Blanc of 1928 vintage. He lost it when the president was toppled by rebel Laurent Kabila and Moleka’s home was ransacked.

The end of the cold war had left Mobutu living on borrowed time and, suffering from prostate cancer, he fled the country when Kabila’s troops marched a thousand miles to Kinshasa, the capital, in 1997. He died in Morocco shortly after, aged 66. The home of the looter-in-chief was now itself stripped bare by soldiers who smashed furniture, tore down silk wallpaper and stole everything down to the last bauble in an orgy of pillaging.

A decaying brown-and-gold gateway still marks the edge of Mobutu’s former estate. Photograph: Sean Smith

Just 18 years later, this Xanadu is a pathetic and pitiful shell, a mockery of Mobutu’s insane opulence. A decaying brown and gold gateway still stands on the edge of the grand estate opposite a cluster of small homes made from mud, wood and dried grass. Mami Yonou, 26, who lives among them, comments: “We are not happy how much Mobutu spent while local people were suffering, although he brought us gifts and clothes and money.”

Children heave rusting pieces of scrap metal to allow vehicles access, past vegetation and anthills and the control box where security staff would once have vetted visitors, up a winding drive of nearly 3km – doubtless once intended to intimidate or awe those in each Mercedes back seat. Finally, through a tunnel clad with rough red bricks, there it is: a tiered fountain in the style of Versailles that used to play instrumental music. Now the giant circular bay that once held water is dry, cracked and sprouting weeds.

Beyond it is the imposing entrance arch and, up four steps, what was once the atrium with a dozen marble-clad pillars and what was presumably another fountain with statues of lions on each corner. Only two of the forlorn big cats are still in position. Slightly off centre is a long corridor that leads to Mobutu’s old bedroom. Here the showman could proudly flick a switch and, through a hidden mechanism, panels would slide apart to reveal his bed, rising from the floor as if by magic, flanked by bronze sculptures of females named “The Sleep” and “The Wake”. Now that same alcove contains a pond of green slime.

A bed would rise up through the floor of Mobutu’s palace bedroom. Photograph: Sean Smith

The entire roof of the palace has gone, leaving only a skeleton of red steel girders punctuated by tall trees. Mattress foam, smashed marble and slivers of glass crunch underfoot. Slowly but surely, the palace is being reclaimed by the jungle. Bushes, flowers, vines, weeds, even trees shoot up through every available crevice in a living testimony to the fragility of civilisation. Hives and nests cling to the walls. From a winding marble staircase springs a single pink flower. In what is said to have been the bedroom of one of Mobutu’s sons, who was nicknamed “Saddam”, a spiky tree trunk rises higher than what used to be the ceiling.

At the back of the palace is a veranda where, in a screenwipe of imagination, one can picture dapper-suited diplomats sitting on sultry evenings, making smalltalk over a gin and tonic and watching the setting sun amid a chorus of crickets. One thing remains unchanged – the vista is stupendous: the green, tree-dotted, hilly landscape of an Africa seen in so many nature documentaries and tourist fantasies.

The old kitchens lie empty save for graffiti and ominously hanging insects. In other rooms are the twisted remnants of chandeliers, four cables dangling at crazy angles, and two shards of an Asian vase portraying a red fish. The surrounding terrain includes a toilet bowl discarded in thick grass and the rusting skeleton of a burned-out car succumbing to the embrace of a tree.

Down an overgrown staircase at one side are two swimming pools, their crumbling blue tiles again yielding to multiple flora and long grass, with algae dominating the little vestige of water. Bees buzz and make honey above the bigger one. The former garage has been gutted and coated with sharp-edged rubbish, but above, sections of a faux-classical ornamental wall are still intact.

Francois Kosia Ngama in the dried-up swimming pool at the president’s palace. His grandmother taught Mobutu’s mother. Photograph: Sean Smith

Yet the shattered palace is not quite deserted. It is still haunted by a handful of Mobutu loyalists whose parents or grandparents used to work here. They charge visitors $20 for a tour, carry out routine maintenance to prevent it turning to dust, and hope that one day the old autocrat’s children, who continue to dabble in politics, will restore it for the nation. Among them is Francois Kosia Ngama, 30, whose grandmother was a teacher to Mobutu’s mother. In its heyday, he recalls, the palace employed 700 to 800 chauffeurs, chefs, servants and other staff, plus more than 300 soldiers. There are many more rooms underground that can now longer be accessed, he says. “When I used to come here, I would feel I was in paradise. Ianya indah. Everyone would eat according to his wish.”

Remembering the days when Concorde came to town, he beams and stretches his arms wide. “It was this big. Its nose pointed up. Before it arrived, Mobutu informed everyone and sent lorries to take them to the airport.

“People were poor but at the time we couldn’t see it. We thought everyone was OK. The army was organised and well paid. There were clothes from the Netherlands and women had money to buy them. In education, teachers were on good salaries and couldn’t complain too much. Some needed big bags to carry all the money each time they were paid. Most teachers had their own means of transport but now it is not the case. Coca-Cola employed 7,000 people but now they are unemployed.”

The decline of Mobutu’s palace fills the jobless Ngama, who has been caring for it for 10 years, with sadness. “A white man from France came here and when he saw it, he wept. I take care of this place because it’s from one of our own. Although Mobutu died, he left it for us.”

This palace and two others in Gbadolite – one designed as a cluster of Chinese pagodas, the other for state business and now occupied by the military – are in terminal decline, but the town itself survives with a population of 159,000, a bustling marketplace and a sprinkling of bars and restaurants. It has more night-time brightness than many remote parts of Africa thanks to a hydro-electric dam that Mobutu built on the Ubangui river in 1989.

Gbadolite’s water ministry building was halted mid-construction and now serves as a school. Photograph: Sean Smith

Without presidential patronage, however, Gbadolite too has seen better days. The Coca-Cola bottling plant shut down and was turned into a UN logistics base. Concrete multi-storey municipal buildings were halted mid-construction and became improvised schools, breaking every health-and-safety rule in the book as they throng with children in blue and white uniforms. The once pristine Boulevard Mobutu has lost its lustre.

The compound that oversaw industry during the boom years now has a fading, almost unreadable sign and a deathly hush. Jean-Nestor Abia, 50, who has worked here since 1984, says: “We are weeping because Mobutu is no longer alive. He was like my father. I loved and worshipped him. He was not a dictator – he was a good man who wanted to unify people.

“At the palace I was at ease, I was happy. He would hold my hand and say, ‘You are a good friend of mine.’ I thought, how could I be with the president of the republic? It was exciting. He would joke with me: when I was eating, he would take my spoon and eat with it. At that time we thought Mobutu would never die. We thought he was eternal.”

Gustave Nbangu, coordinator of the once five-star Motel Nzekele. Photograph: Sean Smith

The five-star Motel Nzekele, opened in 1979 with decor to match, still has an image of Mobutu at the front gate but can only offer ghosts in its shabby reception, arid fountains and pools, red-walled bar and nightclub with exotic paintings of bare-breasted women. The empty cinema has ripped seats and holes where the projector used to be. To stay in one of the hundred rooms costs $50 a night.

The pope, the Belgian king and French president François Mitterrand all stayed here, says coordinator Gustave Nbangu, 49, explaining: “It was a beautiful hotel, five stars. It was a great centre of development. Remember this was once a jungle, a forest, with nothing here. But Mobutu was born here and when he became president he decided to build this and settle his people. He was like the father of the family.”

No one could accuse Mobutu, who brought Muhammad Ali and the eyes of the world to Kinshasa for “the rumble in the jungle”, of failing to think big. Gbadolite airport enabled him to charter Concorde, the fastest passenger plane in the world, for extravagant trips to Europe. In 2015 the vast runway, bordered by wild growing grass, welcomes only two or three tiny aircraft a week from the UN and one commercial operator. Most of the portable staircases lie idle and broken near the remnant of a helicopter engine and a row of flagless poles while, at the top of the defunct control tower, two windows lie shattered on the floor.

The mural of President Mobutu outside the mayor’s office in Gbadolite. Photograph: Sean Smith

At the check-in desk a luggage conveyor belt appears long dead, while wall paintings of topless women and muscle-bound men are peeling away. Up a stairway that lacks bannister or handrail, 25-year-old mosaics of African villages are surrounded by graffiti. At the nearby VIP arrivals lounge, uniformed soldiers camp out with music pounding from a stereo. The airport office has no record of Concorde’s flights here. The paperwork was lost for ever when the town fell and, like so much else in Gbadolite, that moment in the sun is fading into mythology.

But Mobutu survives in another image outside the mayor’s office. The painting depicts him in crisp white military tunic with cap, spectacles and green sash, his hands gripping a rail as if surveying an adoring public. Egide Nyikpingo, who has been mayor for seven years, says industry died out with Mobutu. “When I arrived in 2008 I was sad at the way the airport looked. When I drove from the airport to downtown, I felt very sick. We destroyed our most beautiful town. I still feel sad about it.”

Nyikpingo, 42, is aware of the ambiguities around Mobutu’s legacy. “He was a dictator. Everybody knows that. But the local people don’t mind the way he was behaving. They still like him. He did well when he decided to build this town, but the social conditions were not equal for everyone.”

Sculptor Alfred Liyolo sold several bronzes to the president. Photograph: Sean Smith

Seven hundred miles to the south, in Kinshasa, there are still some who remember Xanadu’s landlord fondly. Alfred Liyolo, 71, one of Congo’s leading sculptors, sold several bronzes to the palace in Gbadolite and designed a church and tomb for Mobutu’s first wife all were lost or destroyed in the looting. “He was a dictator, that’s right, but he was also a builder,” Liyolo insists. “He was a man of culture who wanted his home furnished by local artists. He was generous and allowed local artists to be known throughout the world and immortalised.

“But after his death, people destroy and don’t preserve. Today the town is just a shadow and nature has taken back its right. If I went back there today, I would feel desolation.”

Elias Mulungula, who was Mobutu’s interpreter for four years, echoes the sentiment: “If I go to Gbadolite today, I can’t avoid crying just as Jesus cried when he beheld Jerusalem.”

‘Mr Interpreter’: Mobutu’s translator Elias Mulungula, who went on to become a government minister.

Mulungula, 52, went on to become a government minister but admits: “I always feel more proud when people greet me as ‘Mr Interpreter’ than when they say ‘former minister’. Being interpreter for Mobutu was a privilege. He was a very kind leader, a gentleman. He couldn’t eat without making sure other people had eaten already. He was open and liked making jokes.”

Unswervingly devoted, Mulungula adds: “President Mobutu was a positive dictator, not a negative one. He knew what methods to use to preserve unity, security and peace for his people. You could feel at home anywhere in the Congo under Mobutu’s regime. There is no freedom without security. He understood what the people needed at the time.”

Even Mobutu’s long-time foes suggest that he was preferable to the current president, Kabila’s son Joseph, whom they accuse of corruption, human rights abuses and attempting to cling to power beyond his term limit. Joseph Olenghankoy, arrested 45 times by Mobutu’s regime and subjected to electric shocks in prison, argues: “With Mobutu we had a state, but he was a dictator. Today we don’t have a state – it’s a jungle. Kabila is killing more than Mobutu. Kabila is three times richer than Mobutu. Mobutu was respected in the international community Kabila is doing things in a wild and brutal manner.”

Olenghankoy, president of the opposition Forces for Union and Solidarity party, also expresses sorrow at the decline of Gbadolite. “Mobutu is a man, he is gone, but all these things should remain state property. The mistake of this country is they have destroyed and looted everything. They were doing that to rub out Mobutu’s memory, but the history should be preserved. The history might be positive or negative but it remains our history and we should pass it from one generation to another.”

The palace at Gbadolite is testament to the death of memory. In the final scenes of Citizen Kane, the protagonist’s childhood sledge, “Rosebud”, is thrown on a fire and lost. For Mobutu, the final surrender is to flowers, leaves and the African wilderness.


The Luxury Abacost Suit Perfected By Mobutu Sese Seko For Africans

Africa has always been a force in experimenting with clothing from the Western world. Many of us have not heard about abacost. Abacost came to Africa with a cost.

One of African’s unpopular leaders, Mobutu Sese Seko wanted something unique that have a touch of the French people. He came up with a suit that has a touch of “à bas le costume” from French. Abacost became a distinctive outfit that men started wearing in Zaire.

He promoted this suit that was light and doesn’t need a tie. However, you can wear it with a cravat. If you are a lover of the Mao suit, you may love the abacost. The Mao suit is a beautiful stylish suit that can be in short sleeved or long sleeved versions.

For our fashionistas, who want to try hands on a suit that is unique and attracts attention, abacost can be that pick. The history of abacost revolved around Seko who wanted something African and little of their colonial past.

He had banned the Western suits that come with shirt and tie. The reign of this suit was around 1972 to 1990. The suit became popular among the supporters of the leader.

Though, Seko allowed the Western suits including ties to be used in his country in the 90s but abacost was the favourite of some of the men. The suit was considered as the country’s national outfit.

Arzoni, who lived in Zellik, Belgium was the master designer who produced some of the finest abacost suits on earth. It was Arzoni’s employee, Alfons Mertens that made Seko’s suits including that of his entourage.

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Now that the suit has become unpopular, you can resurrect it by making it a signature. With the thousands of designers scattered in Africa, one of them can help you recreate this Seko’s suit.
We don’t need to be celebrities before we can give our bodies an awesome fashion treat. These days, many of us are experimenting with fabrics to produce suits that are simply out of this world. If you are yet to make your mark on that red carpet, why don’t you start with a suit that no one will wear?

We love attention when it comes to outfits. Abacosts have made their mark on some of the world’s fashion stages over the years.
For those of us who have not had the opportunity of rocking this suit, the time to do that now has come. It does not matter the colour you want to use for the stylish outfit, what matters is what you do with the design.
You are the mastermind when it comes to making this suit stand out in the crowd. You can never tell how good this suit will turn out to look on you.


Mobutu Sese Seko

Mobutu Sese Seko was the dictator of the Congo from 1965 to 1997.  He was installed into power via a revolution supported by the CIA.  Why? Because the US government wanted him to fight off communists in Angola. So, Mobutu received bags and bags of US government money which went to himself while his people suffered.

Joseph-Desiré Mobutu was born in the Congo while the Belgians controlled it. As a kid, he was rebellious and was sent to a Catholic school. He was later kicked out for being too obnoxious and stealing from the library. He was forced to join the army for moving away to Leopoldville. Mobutu was somewhat disciplined during his service in the army and refused to be married in a church because of his hatred of the Catholic priests at his old school.

After Belgium granted the Congo independence, the Congo Crisis occurred and the nation was divided.  The prime minister was Patrice Lumumba, a friend of Mobutu.  Anarchy spread throughout the Congo and Lumumba asked the Soviet Union for help. Because of this, the US government declared that the nyata reason the USSR was aiding the Congo was to spread Communism to Africa. The president of the Congo was upset about Soviet aid too and Lumumba declared the president, Joseph Kasa-Vubu, deposed. Each one ordered Mobutu to fire the other and Mobutu was put in the spotlight of the world. The Western World wanted the Soviets expelled so Mobutu sided with them and a CIA-sponsored coup took place. Kasa-Vubu got to keep his office and all of the Soviets expelled. Lumumba was accused of being a pro-communist and fled to Stanleyville where he set up his own government. Lumumba was captured in 1960 and publicly beaten. He was murdered shortly after.

In 1961, Mobutu was promoted to major-general.

In 1965, the Congolese Parliament refused to recognize the loser of the elections as president and the country fell into disorder. Once again, Mobutu led a coup and took full control of the Congo. Parliament was destroyed and one sole political party led by Mobutu was formed. All citizens automatically become members of the party when born (No joke, look it up). The party was against communism and capitalism, but supported nationalism and militarism.

"Mobutu bucks" 1 US $ = 2,529,000 (March 1993)

Mobutu was a corrupt leader and executed all of enemies early on. During the 1970 elections, there were two choices: green for hope or red for chaos.  Mobutu won with 10,131,699 votes to 157 (Again, no joke, look it up). Mobutu supported a return to Africanism and changed the Congo's name to Zaire, the currency to the zaire (Z) and his own name to "Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga" which means "The all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake."  Mobutu also disapproved of cars, but he and his friends constantly drove them and used a Concorde, compliments of Air France. Mobutu had an odd political strategy. For example, he fired his foreign minister in 1977 and sentenced him to death and to be tortured. Then, Mobutu changed his sentence to life in prison, released him a year later, and appointed him as his prime minister (Seriously, look it up).

Mobutu received a lot of money in aid, but most of it went to his pocket.  He had roughly US $5,000,000,000 in 1984. His government was known as a kleptocracy. While he had a vast fortune, the people of Zaire were famished and starving. The only reason most of the world didn't care was because Mobutu was anti-communist.

As the Cold War closed, the people of Zaire demanded elections and more political freedoms. Mobutu still kept most of his power but a coalition government was formed.

Mobutu was overthrown during the First Congo War. Soon, the rebels captured the capital of Kinshasa and Mobutu fled to Morocco. Zaire was renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He died in 1997.



Komen:

  1. Wulfgar

    Saya menyesal, bahawa saya tidak dapat mengambil bahagian dalam perbincangan sekarang. Ia tidak mencukupi maklumat. Tetapi tema ini sangat banyak minat.

  2. Chanoch

    Saya menganggap, bahawa anda tidak betul. Saya yakin. Saya boleh mempertahankan kedudukan.Tulis kepada saya dalam PM, kita akan bercakap.

  3. Fenribei

    What suitable words ... the phenomenal, brilliant phrase

  4. Duwayne

    Baru berani buat lagi!



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