Antoine Wendo Kolosoy (April 25, 1925 – July 28, 2008), known as Papa Wendo, was a Congolese musician. He is c...
Joseph Kabila Kabange (known commonly as Joseph Kabila, born 4 June 1971) is a Congolese politician who has be...
Laurent-Désiré Kabila (November 27, 1939 – January 16, 2001), or simply Laurent Kabila, was President of the D...
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga; born Joseph-Desiré Mobutu; 14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997) was...
Joseph Kasa-Vubu, alternatively Joseph Kasavubu, (1910 [other sources have 1913, 1915 and 1917] – 24 March 196...
Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first democr...
Unis par le sort,
Unis dans l’effort pour l’indépendance,
Dressons nos fronts, longtemps courbés
Et pour de bon prenons le plus bel élan, dans la paix,
O peuple ardent, par le labeur, nous bâtirons un pays plus beau qu’avant, dans la paix.
Citoyens, entonnez, l’hymne sacré de votre solidarité,
Fièrement, saluez, l’emblème d’or de votre souveraineté, Congo.
Don béni (Congo) des aïeux (Congo),
O pays (Congo) bien aimé (Congo),
Nous peuplerons ton sol et nous assurerons ta grandeur.
(Trente juin) O doux soleil (trente juin) du trente juin,
(Jour sacré) Sois le témoin (jour sacré) de l’immortel, serment de liberté
Que nous léguons, à notre postérité, pour toujours.
United by fate,
United in the struggle for independence,
Let us hold up our heads, so long bowed,
And now, for good, let us keep moving boldly ahead, in peace.
Oh, ardent people, by hard work we shall build,
In peace, a country more beautiful than before.
Countrymen, sing the sacred hymn of your solidarity,
Proudly salute the golden emblem of your sovereignty, Congo.
Blessed gift (Congo) of our forefathers (Congo),
Oh beloved (Congo) country,
We shall people your soil and ensure your greatness.
(30 June) Oh gentle sun (30 June) of 30 June,
(Holy day) Be witness (holy day) of the immortal oath of freedom
That we pass on to our children forever.
Note: The words in parentheses are to be sung by a choir; the rest are to be sung by soloists.
Antoine Wendo Kolosoy (April 25, 1925 – July 28, 2008), known as Papa Wendo, was a Congolese musician. He is considered the “Father” of Congolese rumba, also known as soukous, a musical style blending son cubano, beguine, waltz, tango and cha-cha.
Wendo was born in 1925 in Mushie territory, Mai-Ndombe District of western Congo, then under Belgian colonial rule. His father died when he was seven, and his mother, a singer herself, died shortly thereafter. He was taken to live in an orphanage run by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa, and remained there until he was 12 or 13, expelled when the fathers disapproved of the lyrics of his songs.Wendo began playing guitar and performing at age 11.
Kolosoy became a professional singer almost by chance after having worked also as a boxer, sailor and longshoreman in Congo, Cameroon and Senegal. From 13 Wendo traveled as a worker on the Congo River ferries, and entertained passengers on the long trips. Between 1941 and 1946 he traveled as a sometime professional boxer, as far from home as Dakar, Senegal.
His birthname was Antoine Kalosoyi (also spelled Nkolosoyi), which he eventually regularised to Kolosoy. Later he was called “Windsor” (a homage to the Duke of Windsor and a play on the British Royalty theme of his band “Victoria Kin”) which evolved into “Wendo Sor” and simply “Sor”. He is most widely known as Wendo or Papa Wendo.
“Father” of Soukous
In the mid-1940s, he began playing guitar around the capital Kinshasa (then Leopoldville) with his Cuban style band Victoria Bakolo Miziki. He had met Nicolas Jéronimidis, a Greek businessman, on a steamer returning to Leopoldville from Dakar in 1946, and in 1947 Jéronimidis agreed to record Wendo’s music for his new Leopoldville based record label Ngoma.
Victoria Kin Orchestra
Imitating the bandleader Paul Kamba, Wendo and Me Taureau Bateko created the “Victoria Kin” orchestra, which later became “Victoria Bakolo Miziki”, recording for Ngoma, but also other Congolese labels.Fronted by Wendo’s echoing and soaring vocals, the group was also famous for its dancers, called “La reine politesse” directed by Germaine Ngongolo.
Wendo and Victoria Bakolo Miziki released their first full record in 1949, “Mabele ya mama” which Wendo dedicated to his late mother.
His first international hit, in 1948, was “Marie-Louise”, co-written with guitarist Henri Bowane. Through the publicity of “Radio Congolia”, along with the controversy which followed the song (a back-and-forth between Wendo and Henri over Wendo’s pursuit of a girl, thwarted by Henri’s wealth, with salacious undertones), the song became a success throughout West Africa. With its success came trouble: the song had “satanic” powers attributed to it by Catholic religious leaders. Stories from the time even claimed that the song, if played at midnight, could raise the dead. The furor drove Wendo out of Kinshasa, and resulted in a brief imprisonment by the Belgian authorities in Stanleyville and his excommunication from the Catholic Church. The combination of African lyrics and vocals with Afro-Cuban rhythms and instrumentation (particularly son cubano) spawned one of the most successful African musical genres: soukous, popularly known as “Congolese rumba”. Wendo’s time on the ferries also contributed to his success as one of the first “national” artists of the DRC: he learned the music of the ethnic groups up and down the river, and later sang not only in his native tongue of Kikongo, but also in fluent Lingala and Swahili.
Congolese popular music
Cover of the 1996 re-issue of Ngoma records early singles, including “Marie-Louise”. Wendo is pictured, c. 1950, in the center, in front of the Ngoma Records touring van.
Wendo’s success rested upon the burgeoning radio stations and record industry of late colonial Leopoldville, which often piped music over loudspeakers into the African quarters, called the “Cite”. A handful of African clubs (closing early with a 9:30PM curfew for non-Europeans) like “Congo Bar” provided venues, along with occasional gigs at the upscale white clubs of the European quarter, “La ville”. The importation of European and American 78 rpm records into Africa in the 1930s and 1940s (called G.V. Series records) featured much Cuban music, a style that was enjoyed by cosmopolitan Europeans and Africans alike. One writer has argued that this music, sophisticated, based on Africa music, and not produced by white colonialists especially appealed to Africans in general, and newly urban Congolese in particular.Greek and Lebanese merchants, a fixture in colonial Francophone Africa were amongst the first to bring recording and record pressing equipment to tropical Africa. Jéronimidis’ “Ngoma” company was one of the first and most successful, and Wendo was his star artist. Jéronimidis, Wendo, and other musicians, barnstormed around Belgian Congo in a brightly painted Ngoma van, performing and selling records. The music culture this created not only propelled Congolese rumba to fame, but began to develop a national culture for the first time.
In 1955, Wendo, along with two other singer/guitarists (Antoine Bukasa and Manuel D’Oliveira) formed an all-star orchestra known as the “Trio Bow”, recording new variations on the rumba and other dance musics for Ngoma, with hits such as “Sango ya bana Ngoma”, “Victoria apiki dalapo”, “Bibi wangu Madeleine”, “Yoka biso ban’Angola”, and “Landa bango”.Although he never achieved comparable international success similar to that of Papa Wemba or Zaiko Langa Langa, he played throughout Africa, Europe and the USA and is recognized as one of the fathers of modern African music and an elder statesman of Congolese Soukous. In reviewing the recent film on Wendo, a writer in the Kinshasa daily Le Potentiel wrote that “One cannot speak of modern music without evoking the name of Wendo Kolosoy.” Soukous musicians who have come after him have referred to the 1940s and 1950s as “Tango ya ba Wendo” (“The Era of Wendo” in Lingala).
50 year hiatus
At the height of his fame, Wendo developed friendships with some of the DRC’s future independence leaders, most notably Patrice Lumumba. The murder of Prime Minister Lumumba in 1961, followed by the 1965 seizure of power by Lieutenant General Mobutu Sese Seko, soured Wendo on politics, music, and public life. He decided to stop performing, citing use of music by politicians as his reason.
“Because political men at the time wanted to use musicians like stepping stones. That is to say, they wanted musicians to sing their favors. Me, I did not want to do that. That’s why I decided it was best for me, Wendo, to pull myself out of the music scene, and stay home.”
When Laurent-Désiré Kabila returned to power in 1997, he (and later his son Joseph Kabila) supported Wendo in restarting his recording and touring career. Performing with old members of his Victoria Bakolo Miziki band and his “Dancing Grannies” backup dancers, Wendo toured across the Africa and Europe, recapturing audiences in a fashion similar to the Buena Vista Social Club and Orchestra Baobab. Original members of Victoria Bakolo Miziki who returned to Wendo’s reformed big band included Antoine Moundanda (thumb piano), Joseph Munange (saxophone), Mukubuele Nzoku (guitar), and Alphonse Biolo Batilangandi (trumpet).
Kolosoy gave his last public appearance in Kinshasa, DR Congo in 2004. The last known recording from that time, the album Banaya Papa Wendo was released on the IglooMondo label in 2007. A compilation called The very best of Congolese Rumba – The Kinshasa-Abidjan Sessions was released in 2007 with Papa Wendo and two other soukous/rumba legends; Antoine Moundanda and the Rumbanella Band. In 2008, prior to his death, French filmmaker Jacques Sarasin released a biographical documentary about Wemba’s life, entitled On the Rumba River.
He took ill in 2005, and ceased performing publicly. At the time he returned to his disgust with politicians, claiming that the Kabila family, who had resuscitated his career in 1997, had abandoned him financially.Wendo Kolosoy died on July 28, 2008, in Ngaliema Clinic in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Joseph Kabila Kabange (known commonly as Joseph Kabila, born 4 June 1971) is a Congolese politician who has been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January 2001.
He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. He was elected as President in 2006. In 2011, he was re-elected for a second term.
Early life and education
Joseph Kabila Kabange was born on 4 June 1971 at Hewabora, a small village in the Fizi territory of the South Kivu province, in eastern Congo. He is the son of long time rebel, former AFDL leader and president of the Congo Laurent-Désiré Kabila and Sifa Mahanya.
Guerrilla and army years
Following high school, Joseph Kabila followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, then at Makerere University in Uganda. In October 1996, Laurent-Désiré Kabila launched the campaign in Zaire to oust the Mobutu regime. Joseph became the commander of the infamous army of “kadogos” (child soldiers) and played a key role in major battles on the road to Kinshasa. The liberation army received logistical and military support from regional armies from Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and Zimbabwe. Following the AFDL’s victory, and Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s rise to the presidency, Joseph Kabila went on to get further training at the PLA National Defense University, in Beijing, China. When he returned from China, Kabila was awarded the rank of Major-General, and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1998. He was later, in 2000, appointed Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, a position he held until the elder President Kabila’s assassination in January 2001. As chief of staff, he was one of the main military leaders in charge of Government troops during the time of the Second Congo War (1998–2003).
Kabila in 2002, with Thabo Mbeki, George W. Bush, and Paul Kagame.
Joseph Kabila rose to the Presidency on 26 January 2001 after the assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila, becoming the world’s first head of government born in the 1970s. He remained the world’s youngest head of government until Roosevelt Skerrit became Prime Minister of Dominica in January 2004. At age 30, he was considered young and inexperienced. He subsequently attempted to end the ongoing civil war by negotiating peace agreements with rebel groups who were backed by Rwanda and Uganda, the same regional armies who brought Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s rebel group to power three years before. The 2002 peace agreement signed at the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa, which nominally ended the Second Congo War, maintained Joseph Kabila as President and head of state of the Congo. An interim administration was set up under him, including the leaders of the country’s two main rebel groups as vice-presidents (two other vice-presidents were representatives of the civilian opposition and government supporters respectively). On 28 March 2003, an apparent coup attempt or mutiny around the capital Kinshasa, allegedly on the part of members of the former guard of former president Mobutu Sese Seko (who had been ousted by Kabila’s father in 1997 and died in the same year), failed. On 11 June 2004, coup plotters led by Major Eric Lenge allegedly attempted to take power and announced on state radio that the transitional government was suspended, but were defeated by loyalist troops.
The ceremonial first train on the newly reconstructed Lubumbashi-Kindu railway, 2004, bearing a portrait of Joseph Kabila.
In December 2005, a partial referendum approved a new constitution, and a presidential election was held on 30 July 2006 (having been delayed from an earlier date in June). The new constitution lowered the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 30; Kabila turned 35 shortly before the election. In March 2006, he registered as a candidate. Although Kabila registered as an independent, he is the “initiator” of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), which chose him as their candidate to the election. Although the new constitution stipulates that a debate be held between the two remaining candidates for the presidency, no debates took place and this was declared by many as unconstitutional.
According to widely disputed provisional results announced on 20 August, Kabila won 45% of the vote; his main opponent, vice-president and former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, won 20%. The irregularities surrounding the elections results prompted a run-off vote between Kabila and Bemba which was held on 29 October. On 15 November, the electoral commission announced the official results and Kabila was declared the winner, with 58.05% of the vote. These results were confirmed by the Supreme Court on 27 November 2006, and Kabila was inaugurated on 6 December 2006 as the country’s newly elected President. He named Antoine Gizenga, who placed third in the first round of the presidential election (and then backed Kabila in the second round) as prime minister on 30 December.
In December 2011, Kabila was re-elected for a second term as president. After the results were announced on 9 December, there was violent unrest in Kinshasa and Mbuji-Mayi, where official tallies showed that a strong majority had voted for the opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi.Official observers from the Carter Center reported that returns from almost 2,000 polling stations in areas where support for Tshisekedi was strong had been lost and not included in the official results. They described the election as lacking credibility. On 20 December, Kabila was sworn in for a second term, promising to invest in infrastructure and public services. However, Tshisekedi maintained that the result of the election was illegitimate and said that he intended also to “swear himself in” as president.
In January 2012, Catholic Bishops in DR Congo also condemned the elections, complaining of “treachery, lies and terror”, and calling on the election commission to correct “serious errors”.
On 19 January 2015 protests led by students at the University of Kinshasa broke out. The protests began following the announcement of a proposed law that would allow Kabila to remain in power until a national census can be conducted (elections had been planned for 2016). By Wednesday 21 January clashes between police and protesters had claimed at least 42 lives (although the government claimed only 15 people had been killed).
In 2006, Kabila responded to evidence of widespread sex crimes committed by the Congolese military by describing the acts as “simply unforgivable”. He pointed out that 300 soldiers had been convicted of sex crimes, although he added that this was not enough.
Kabila married Olive Lembe di Sita, on 1 June 2006. The wedding ceremonies took place on 17 June 2006. Kabila and his spouse have a daughter, born in 2001, named Sifa, after Kabila’s mother.
As President Kabila is Protestant and Ms Lembe di Sita is Catholic, the wedding ceremonies were ecumenical, and were therefore officiated by both the Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frederic Etsou Bamungwabi, and Pierre Marini Bodho – Presiding Bishop of the Church of Christ in Congo, the umbrella church for most denominations in the Congo, known within the country simply as “The Protestant Church”.
Laurent-Désiré Kabila (November 27, 1939 – January 16, 2001), or simply Laurent Kabila, was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by one of his bodyguards on January 16, 2001. He was succeeded by his son Joseph eight days later.
Kabila was born to a member of the Luba tribe in Baudoinville, Katanga Province, (now Moba, Tanganyika District) in the Belgian Congo. His father was a Luba and his mother was a Lunda. He studied political philosophy in France, and in Yugoslavia at the University of Belgrade.
Later he attended the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
When the Congo gained independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960 and the Congo Crisis began, Kabila had a role as a “deputy commander” in the Jeunesses Balubakat, the youth wing of the Patrice Lumumba-aligned General Association of the Baluba People of Katanga (Balubakat), actively fighting the secessionist forces of Moise Tshombe. Within months, Joseph Mobutu overthrew Lumumba, and in 1962 Kabila was appointed to the provincial assembly for North Katanga and was chief of cabinet for Minister of Information Ferdinand Tumba.
Kabila established himself as a supporter of hard-line Lumumbist Prosper Mwamba Ilunga. When the Lumumbists formed the Conseil National de Libération, he was sent[by whom?] to eastern Congo to help organize a revolution, in particular in the Kivu and North Katanga provinces.
In 1965, Kabila set up a cross-border rebel operation from Kigoma, Tanzania, across Lake Tanganyika.
Che Guevara assisted Kabila for a short time in 1965. Guevara had appeared in the Congo with approximately 100 men who planned to bring about a Cuban-style revolution. Guevara judged Kabila (then 26) as “not the man of the hour” he had alluded to, being too distracted.
This, in Guevara’s opinion, accounted for Kabila showing up days late at times to provide supplies, aid, or backup to Guevara’s men. The lack of cooperation between Kabila and Guevara contributed to the suppression of the revolt that same year.
In Guevara’s view, of all of the people he met during his campaign in Congo, only Kabila had “genuine qualities of a mass leader”; but Guevara castigated Kabila for a lack of “revolutionary seriousness”.
After the failure of the rebellion, Kabila turned to smuggling gold and timber on Lake Tanganyika. He also ran a bar in Tanzania.
Marxist mini-state (1967–1988)
In 1967, Kabila and his remnant of supporters moved their operation into the mountainous Fizi – Baraka area of South Kivu in the Congo, and founded the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRP).
With the support of the People’s Republic of China, the PRP created a secessionist Marxist state in South Kivu province, west of Lake Tanganyika.
The PRP state came to an end in 1988 and Kabila disappeared and was widely believed to be dead. While in Kampala, Kabila reportedly met Yoweri Museveni, the future president of Uganda.
Museveni and former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere later introduced Kabila to Paul Kagame, who would become president of Rwanda. These personal contacts became vital in mid-1990s, when Uganda and Rwanda sought a Congolese face for their intervention in Zaire.
First Congo War
Kabila returned in October 1996, leading ethnic Tutsis from South Kivu against Hutu forces, marking the beginning of the First Congo War. With support from Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, Kabila pushed his forces into a full-scale rebellion against Mobutu as the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL). He used children in the conflict and it was estimated that up to 10 000 children served under him.
By mid-1997, the ADFL had almost completely overrun the country and the remains of Mobutu’s army. Only the country’s decrepit infrastructure slowed Kabila’s forces down; in many areas, the only means of transit were irregularly used dirt paths. Following failed peace talks held on board the South African ship SAS Outeniqua, Mobutu fled into exile on May 16.
The next day, from his base in Lubumbashi, Kabila proclaimed himself president. Kabila suspended the Constitution, and changed the name of the country from Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo—the country’s official name from 1964 to 1971.
He made his grand entrance into Kinshasa on May 20 and was sworn in on May 31, officially commencing his term as president.
The Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo used by Kabila.
Kabila had been a committed Marxist, but his policies at this point were a mix of capitalism and collectivism. He declared that elections would not be held for two years, since it would take him at least that long to restore order.
While some in the West hailed Kabila as representing a “new breed” of African leadership, critics charged that Kabila’s policies differed little from his predecessor’s, being characterised by authoritarianism, corruption, and human rights abuses. As early as late 1997, Kabila was being denounced as “another Mobutu.
Kabila was also accused of self-aggrandizing tendencies, including trying to set up a personality cult, with the help of Mobutu’s former minister of information, Dominique Sakombi Inongo. Sakombi Inongo branded Kabila as “the Mzee,” and posters reading “Here is the man we needed” (French: Voici l’homme que nous avions besoin) appeared all over the country.
By 1998, Kabila’s former allies in Uganda and Rwanda had turned against him and backed a new rebellion of the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD), the Second Congo War.
Kabila found new allies in Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, and managed to hold on in the south and west of the country and by July 1999, peace talks led to the withdrawal of most foreign forces.
Joseph Kabila succeeded his father
In the afternoon of January 16, 2001 Kabila was shot by one of his bodyguards, Rashidi Muzele, who was killed as he attempted to flee the scene. According to a Rwandan former intelligence chief and allegations made by Democratic Republic of Congo’s officials; his assassination was committed by some of his bodyguards and masterminded by Rwanda. According to the documentary film Murder in Kinshasa, made by Marlène Rabaud and Arnaud Zajtman; A Lebanese diamond dealer allegedly organized the logistics of the assassination.
Eleven Lebanese nationals were executed in the evening of the assassination as part of a punitive campaign by the DRC’s authorities who managed to keep power, despite the assassination of their President. The exact circumstances are still disputed. Kabila reportedly died on the spot, according to DRC’s then health minister Dr Mashako Mamba, who was in the next door office when Kabila was shot and arrived immediately after the assassination. The government claimed that Kabila was still alive, however, when he was flown to a hospital in Zimbabwe after he was shot so that DRC authorities could organize the tense succession.
The Congolese government announced that he had died of his wounds on January 18. One week later, his body was returned to Congo for a state funeral and his son, Joseph Kabila, became president eight days later. By doing so, DRC officials were accomplishing the “verbal testimony” of the deceased President. Then Justice Minister Mwenze Kongolo and Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s aide de camp Eddy Kapend have reported that Laurent Kabila had told them that his son Joseph, then number two of the army, should take over, if Laurent-Désiré Kabila was to pass away.
The investigation into Kabila’s assassination led to 135 people – including 4 children – being tried before a special military tribunal. The alleged ringleader, Colonel Eddy Kapend (one of Kabila’s cousins), and 25 others were sentenced to death in January 2003, but not executed. Of the other defendants 64 were jailed, with sentences from six months to life, and 45 were exonerated. Some individuals were also accused of being involved in a plot to overthrow his son. Among them was Kabila’s special advisor Emmanuel Dungia, former ambassador to South Africa. Many people believe the trial was flawed and the convicted defendants are innocent.
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga; born Joseph-Desiré Mobutu; 14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997) was the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (which Mobutu renamed Zaire in 1971) from 1965 to 1997. He also served as Chairperson of the Organisation of African Unity in 1967–1968. Once in power, Mobutu formed an authoritarian regime, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to purge the country of all colonial cultural influence, while enjoying considerable support from the United States due to his anti-communist stance.
During the Congo Crisis, Belgian forces aided Mobutu in a coup against the nationalist government of Patrice Lumumba in 1960 to take control of the government. Lumumba was the first leader in the country to be democratically elected, but he was subsequently deposed in a coup d’état organised by Colonel Mobutu and executed by a Katangese firing squad led by Julien Gat, a Belgian mercenary.Mobutu then assumed the role of army chief of staff, before taking power directly in a second coup in 1965. As part of his program of “national authenticity,” Mobutu changed the Congo’s name to Zaire in 1971 and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko in 1972.
Mobutu established a single-party state in which all power was concentrated in his hands. He also became the object of a pervasive cult of personality. During his reign, Mobutu built a highly centralized state and amassed a large personal fortune through economic exploitation and corruption, leading some to call his rule a “kleptocracy.The nation suffered from uncontrolled inflation, a large debt, and massive currency devaluations. By 1991, economic deterioration and unrest led him to agree to share power with opposition leaders, but he used the army to thwart change until May 1997, when rebel forces led by Laurent Kabila expelled him from the country. Already suffering from advanced prostate cancer, he died three months later in Morocco.
Mobutu became notorious for corruption, nepotism, and the embezzlement of between US$4 billion and $15 billion during his reign, as well as extravagances such as Concorde-flown shopping trips to Paris. Mobutu presided over the country for over three decades. He has been described as the “a hero by the people of Congo kinshasa.
Joseph Kasa-Vubu, alternatively Joseph Kasavubu, (1910 [other sources have 1913, 1915 and 1917] – 24 March 1969) was the first President of the Congo-Léopoldville (1960–65), today the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Little is known about Joseph Kasa-Vubu’s early years, including his actual date of birth. It is known that he was born in the village of Kuma-Dizi, and his early education was in the Kikongo language. Kasa-Vubu was the grandson of a Chinese laborer, brought to the Congo to work on a railroad line between Matadi and Léopoldville. His mother was a member of the Bakongo tribe. In 1925, he took the Christian name Joseph and his parents sent him to receive a Catholic education in Mbata Kiela Kasa-Vubu went on to study theology and philosophy at the Kabwe seminary until 1939, but before graduation, opted to become a teacher, rather than a priest. He later converted to Protestantism.
Kasa-Vubu went on to work as an agronomist, book keeper and civil servant, before attaining the rank of chief clerk, the highest level of employment available to Congolese under Belgian colonial rule. Kasa-Vubu began semi-clandestine political organizing work while still employed by colonial authorities.
In 1955, Kasa-Vubu was elected leader of the Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO) composed primarily of his own people from around the Congo River. Under his leadership, the group swept the first open municipal Leopoldville elections in 1957, and Kasa-Vubu was elected mayor of the Dendale district of the city.
Kasa-Vubu quickly became known as one of the first Congolese leaders to call for independence. At first, he advocated for independence from Belgium on a 30-year timeline, but shortened the timetable as the ABAKO movement gained in strength.In his inauguration speech as mayor of Dendale, Kasa-Vubu reiterated his demand for independence, drawing a reprimand from Belgian colonial authorities, which only strengthened his image as a Congolese leader.
On 4 January 1959, an ABAKO political gathering, organized by Kasa-Vubu erupted into violence, sparking the 1959 Léopoldville Riots, a pivotal moment in the Congolese struggle for independence. Kasa-Vubu was set to address the crowd on African nationalism, but colonial authorities banned the meeting. Unable to calm the crowd, thousands of Congolese began rioting. Kasa-Vubu was arrested, along with several other leaders, and imprisoned for inciting the riot. He was released two months later.
Upon Congo’s independence from Belgium, Kasa-Vubu’s ABAKO party won a significant number of votes in the new parliament, but did not win an outright victory. In a political compromise, it was agreed that Patrice Lumumba, of the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) would be prime minister, and Kasa-Vubu would face Jean Bolikango, a former mentor in the ABAKO movement, for the presidency. Kasa-Vubu was elected president by the Congo’s new national assembly, taking office on 30 June 1960.
The new republic was immediately disrupted by political and military strife and regional secessionist movements, while the central government was paralyzed by conflict between the conservative Kasa-Vubu and his nationalistic prime minister Lumumba. While Lumumba advocated for a stronger central government, Kasa-Vubu leaned towards a more decentralized form of government that gave autonomous powers to provinces under a federal system.
Kasa-Vubu was regarded as rather mysterious in his motivations and his actions, frequently preferring to stay silent or give ambiguous answers when confronted. His role as head-of-state was theoretically ceremonial and far less influential than Lumumba’s role as prime minister. During the immediate upheaval following independence, Kasa-Vubu took few steps and made few definitive statements, even as Lumumba appealed for international assistance—to the Americans, the United Nations and the Soviet Union.
Main article: Congo Crisis
On 5 September Kasa-Vubu dismissed Lumumba but the prime minister refused to accept this and in turn announced Kasa-Vubu’s dismissal, creating a stalemate that was only ended on 14 September with army commander Joseph-Désiré Mobutu’s seizure of power and arrest of Lumumba. Lumumba was later handed to Moise Tshombe’s secessionist forces in the southern province of Katanga and murdered.
Over the next five years, Kasa-Vubu presided over a succession of weak governments. In July 1964 he appointed former Katangan secessionist leader Moise Tshombe as prime minister with a mandate to end the Simba Rebellion. Tshombe recalled the exiled Katangese gendarmerie and recruited white mercenaries, integrating them with the Armée Nationale Congolaise (ANC). Many of these mercenaries had fought for Katanga when Tshombe was leader of the breakaway province. Despite the successes against the Simba rebels, Tshombe’s prestige was damaged by the use of white mercenaries and western forces. He lost the support of Kasa-Vubu and was dismissed from the post of prime minister in October 1965. Mobutu seized power for a second time on 25 November 1965, this time deposing Kasa-Vubu and subsequently declaring himself head of state.
Death and legacy
Mobutu placed Kasa-Vubu under house arrest, before eventually allowing the deposed president to retire to his farm in Mayombe. Kasa-Vubu died in a hospital in Boma four years later in 1969, possibly after a long illness.
Kasa-Vubu had six children. Following his death, his family went into exile, first to Algeria and then Switzerland. One of his daughters, Justine M’Poyo Kasa-Vubu eventually returned to the Congo (then Zaire) in the 1990s. In 1997, she was appointed a cabinet minister by Laurent Kabila and then ambassador to Belgium.
Patrice Émery Lumumba (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese independence leader and the first democratically elected leader of the Congo.
As founder and leader of the mainstream Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party, Lumumba played an important role in campaigning for independence from Belgium.
Within twelve weeks of Congolese independence in 1960, Lumumba’s government was deposed in a coup during the Congo Crisis following his attempt to solicit support from the Soviet Union against Katangan secessionists.
This led to growing differences with President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and chief-of-staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu as well as foreign opposition from the United States and Belgium.
Lumumba was subsequently imprisoned by state authorities under Mobutu and executed by firing squad under the command of the Katangan authorities.
The United Nations, which he had asked to come to the Congo, did not intervene to save him.
Belgium, the United States, and the United Kingdom have all been accused of involvement in Lumumba’s death.
MATEMBELE (SWEET POTATO LEAVES)
NGAI-NGAI (SOUR SOUR) VEGETABLES
THE ACTUAL PRESIDENT OF THE DRC
Copyright © 2015 - 2016 CONGOKIN | All Rights Reserved |MEGGA