Zaire: IRIN Briefing Part III, 02/27/97

Zaire: IRIN Briefing Part III, 02/27/97

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Zaire: IRIN Briefing Part III: Zaire Who's Who, 27 Feb 1997

Editors Note: The following document was written as a quick and complete reference source to key political players, thus there may be repetition in some of the biographies.


On 24 April 1990, Mobutu ended the MPR one-party hegemony and legalized opposition parties. The transition to political pluralism in the 1990s, called the Second Republic, was undertaken through the creation of a national conference, Conference Nationale Souvraine (CNS), convened in September 1991, in which over 130 parties participated. The CNS drew up an Act of Transition which created an interim parliament, however, before it could get off the ground the CNS was repeatedly suspended and reconvened by Mobutu. Finally in April 1992, the then President of the CNS, Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, had the CNS declare itself sovereign, limiting Mobutu's ability to suspend it. Members of the CNS also drafted a constitution that has yet to be ratified. On three separate occasions Etienne Tshisekedi was elected prime minister of the parliament only to be dismissed by Mobutu, who then nominated his own government. On each occasion, Tshisekedi refused to acknowledge Mobutu's authority to remove him, resulting in the creation of parallel cabinets, paralyzing the government. Following each compromise aimed at reconciling the parallel governments, the name of the parliamentary governing body was changed from the Assemblee Nationale to that of the Haut Conseil de la Republique (HCR) and finally Haut Conseil de la Republique - Parlement de Transition (HCR-PT). The most recent compromise was in 1994 when many of the opposition parties agreed to support Kengo's nomination as prime minister, ending parallel Tshisekedi and Mobutu governments. This led to a major split in the opposition alliance, Union Sacree, with Tshisekedi supporters refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the Kengo government. In December 1996, amid speculation that Mobutu would reinstate Tshisekedi as prime minister, Kengo was reconfirmed as head of the new crisis government which was established to deal with the Allied Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL) attacks in the east and the transition to general elections. General Mahele was also nominated as army chief-of-staff charged with restructuring the army and leading a counter-offensive against the rebels. General elections have once again been postponed because of the war in the east and Zaire continues to lose more and more territory to ADFL forces.


B.1 President Mobutu Sese Seko Mobutu, who is 66, is from the Ngbandi tribe, one of the smaller ethnic groups located around Gbadolite in northern Equateur. Mobutu, who was perceived to be a bulwark against communism in the region, ultimately seized power in 1965 with the aid of the army -- his second coup since independence. Through the organ of the Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution (MPR), Mobutu was elected unopposed for three consecutive seven-year terms: 1970, 1977 & 1984. From 1965 to 1990, independence movements were militarily suppressed, opposition leaders disappeared from the political scene or were brought into the MPR, and the economy prospered. Mobutu consolidated and maintained his power through the specially trained military unit Division Speciale Presidentielle (DSP) and the MPR. He maintained his monopoly on power until 1990, when he was finally forced through internal and international pressure and a plunging economy, to legalize opposition parties. (refer to section A)

Mobutu's recovery from prostate cancer (latter part of 1996), rumoured to be malignant, is the source of much speculation bearing on his continued control of Zairean politics. Historically, Mobutu has surrounded himself with promising political leaders like Kengo and Kamanda wa Kamanda whose popularity and political power has been limited or intrinsically tied to his own. More recently, in the political arena, he appears to have delegated more and more to two key advisors, Felix Vunduanwe and Honore Ngbanda. Despite the emergence of over 400 political parties, no national leader or cohesive opposition movement capable of electorially challenging Mobutu's has appeared. However, growing frustration with the war and preceived government corruption is now generating broader based popular support for opposition leader Tshisekedi and army chief-of-staff General Mahele among others.

B.2 Prime Minister Leon Lobitsch Kengo wa Dondo Prior to 1990, Kengo had twice served as prime minister under Mobutu's MPR one-party state. After 1990, Kengo and his UDI party joined the opposition alliance, Union Sacree. In 1994, Kengo was elected prime minister by the Haut Conseil de la Republique - Parlement de Transition (HCR-PT) in an effort to end a stalemate caused by the existence of two parallel governments, Tshisekedi's and Mobutu's. This divided the Union Sacree between radical elements, led by Tshisekedi, and moderate elements who supported Kengo's nomination. Under Kengo the breakaway moderate elements formed the Union des Republiques et des Democrates (URD) which eventually became allied to Mobutu's Force Politique du Conclave (FPC). Kengo's selection not only won the support of many opposition forces, but also restored the confidence of the international community. Following his defection from the Union Sacree and his inability to implement promised financial reform, Kengo, who was initially considered to be a moderate, was perceived more and more as a Mobutist. This belief was reinforced by the fact that one of Kengo's children is to marry into Mobutu's family. Additionally, Kengo's attempted budgetary reforms have increased resentment against him amongst senior officers and key advisors, mainly from Mobutu's Ngbandi tribe, including General Baramoto, General Nzimbi and Jean Bemba Saolona. Kengo's future political career has been limited by the draft constitution drawn up by the Conference Nationale Souvraine (CNS). A tactical alliance between militants of the MPR and members of the Union Sacree in the HCR-PT introduced an amendment to the constituion stating that both parents of a presidential candidate must be Zairean. If Kengo, whose father is Polish and mother of mixed parentage -- one parent was reportedly from Mobutu's Ngbandi tribe and the other a Rwandan Tutsi -- is to be re-elected the constitution must be amended which will necessitate a delay in elections. Anti-Kengo sentiments amongst the population continue to grow with the failure of the counter-offensive in the east and growing accusations of diverted war-funds. The rebel leader of the Allied Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL), Laurent Kabila, has repeatedly refused to recognize Kengo's political authority and has called for his removal as a precondition to negotiations.

B.3 Gerard Kamanda wa Kamanda Kamanda wa Kamanda, a lawyer by profession and professed socialist, is from the west Bandundu region. He is number two in the current crisis government and considered to be intelligent, but intransigent once he has made a decision. In 1972, he was the assistant secretary of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). After 1990, having worked closely with Mobutu since the 1960s, he became a member of the Zairean opposition and a Tshisekedi supporter. However, he broke with Tshisekedi when he allied himself with Kengo and joined the 1994 compromise government, firmly branding himself as a Mobutu supporter. Under Kengo's government he held the post of Minister of the Interior and is currently the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As a member of the HCR-PT, he was a key player in the removal of nationality from the Kivu Banyamulenges which fuelled the Masisi conflict that eventually contributed to the birth of the ADFL rebel forces. He is also strongly against negotiating or even talking with the ADFL forces.

B.4 Felix Vunduawe Tepe Mako (a.k.a. VTP) Felix Vunduawe, who is from Mobutu's Ngbandi tribe, was a professor of law and one-time director of Mobutu's presidential Cabinet during the days of the MPR one-party state. According to many observers, since 1990, he has held the role of key political advisor to Mobutu and will continue to be a key player in political events as long as Mobutu retains power. In this capacity, he works closely with Mobutu's security advisor Honore Ngbanda. While he was Minister of the Interior, he orchestrated the tactical alliance between militants of Mobutu's Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution (MPR) and the Union Sacree which introduced the article to the draft constitution stating that both parents of a presidential candidate must be Zairean. (refer to section B.2)

B.5 Honore Ngbanda Nzambo Ayumba (a.k.a. the Terminator or Bulldozer) Honore Ngbanda, who is in his late-40s to early-50s, is Mobutu's nephew from the same Ngbandi tribe, and has been a close member of Mobutu's entourage for a number of years. Prior to the early 1990s, he held various posts, including Minister of the Interior, head of the Service Nationale d'Intelligence et de Protection (SNIP) and ambassador to Israel. He has served Mobutu mainly as his security advisor but has, on a number of occasions, also acted as Mobutu's spokesperson. He reportedly oversees a secret service and is considered to be second only to Vunduawe in his influence over Mobutu. In 1988, Ngbanda, as the head of SNIP, was implicated in a diplomatic scandal, leading to open hostility between Uganda and Zaire. Many feel that he was also responsible for Mobutu's apparent December 1996 about-face in his reconciliation with Tshisekedi, which he publically critized. On Sunday mornings, he can be seen on Zairean TV directing a bible study group.

B.6 Jean Bemba Saolona Jean Bemba Saolona, president of the Zairean business association, Association Nationale des Entreprises du Zaire (ANEZA, french-NZAR), which he represents on the HCR-PT, is a member of the MPR and a close financial advisor to Mobutu. Saolona, who is the owner of SCIBE-Zaire, is also considered to be one of the wealthiest men in Zaire. Some have also speculated that he has managed Mobutu's financial fortune, allowing Saolona to simultaneously enhance his own. Despite his close ties with Mobutu, he is a political adversary of Kengo, who has repeatedly tried to remove his tax-exempt status. As the current president of ANEZA, he conducted a media campaign, separate but concurrent to one launched by opposition forces, criticizing the crisis government's monetary policies and the issuing of new Zairean banknotes in January 1997. He stands to lose a great deal of wealth and influence if Mobutu is removed from power.

B.7 Jonas Muamba Kadiata Nzemba Jonas Muambe is considered to be an influential Kasai member of the MPR. He is president and chief-executive of Miniere de Bakwanga, Zaire's richest mining company following the decline of Gecamines. It is 80% state owned with the remaining 20% owned by Sebeka, a subsidiary of Societe Generale de Belgique. Miniere de Bakwanga is also considered to be an important financial resource to Mobutu.

B.8 Jean de Dieu Nguza Karl-I-Bond Karl-I-Bond is a member of the Lunda tribe from Shaba and the nephew of secessionist and former Mobutu-appointed Prime Minister Moise Tshombe, who led Shaba in the 1960s rebellion against Kinshasa. He is currently the leader of the Union des Federalists des Republicaines Independantes (UFERI), whose popularity, as well as his own, has been eroded through incessant flip-flopping from that of a radical opposition force to a Mobutu ally. Mobutu nominated him as prime minister for the first time in the 1970s only to imprison and then exile him in the early 1980s. While in exile he strongly critized Mobutu. However, upon his return to Zaire in 1985, Mobutu made him ambassador to Washington and later, in 1986, Minister of Foreign Affairs. In early 1991, his UFERI party joined the Union Sacree; however, when Mobutu named Karl-I-Bond as prime minister in November 1991, creating a parallel government to Tshisekedi's, the UFERI was expelled from the Union Sacree. In 1994, he was forced to withdraw temporarily from public life due to a stroke. Although he has not regained his former political stature or health, he remains the leader of Mobutu's FPC in the HCR-PT. His wife, Wiwine N'landu Kavidi, who is from Bas Zaire, was the Minister of Agriculture and is now Minister of International Cooperation in the December 1996 crisis government.

B.9 Frederic Kibassa Maliba Kibassa was at one time imprisoned by Mobutu. While in prison he met Tshisekedi and joined him in the creation of the Union pour la Democratie et le Progres Social (UDPS). In 1991 the UDPs split into two parties, Etienne Tshisekedi's UDPS-Orthodoxe and Kibassa Maliba's UDPS-Legale. He is currently the leader of the Union Sacree and considered to be the leader of the moderate elements of the HCR-PT parliament.


C.1 General Dona Mahele Bokungu Like most of Mobutu's officers General Mahele, a former carpenter and devout Jehovaha's witness, is from the Equateur region. However, he is one of the few generals not related to or from the same tribe as Mobutu. He is from the Mbuza tribe and is a cousin of General Eluki. He received his military training in France, and in the 1970s was a member of Mobutu's body guard. Like many officers he came to prominence during the 1978 Shaba rebellion, distinguishing himself as a commander of a unit of Berets Rouges. Among soldiers he is respected for his leadership skills and is seen as a professional officer who earned his rank rather than being promoted through political patronage. Following the Shaba rebellion he was promoted to general and given command of the Berets Rouges among whom his popularity grew, marking him as a potential political rival to Mobutu.

In October 1990, Mahele was given a contingent of DSP, normally commanded by Etienne Nzimbi, and sent to Rwanda to assist Habirama's Hutu-dominated government in repelling Ugandan Tutsi rebels. During the fighting Mahele was reportedly shot by a DSP soldier. He returned to Zaire to convalesce, keeping a low profile until the 1991 looting of Kinshasa. During the September 1991 riots, Mobutu gave Mahele command of a contingent of DSP and Service d'Action et de Renseignement Militaires (SARM) soldiers and ordered him to restore order. Most of those rioting and looting were poorly paid soldiers, including his own Berets Rouges. Many of the soldiers heeded his call for a cessation of looting; however, he was forced to make an example of some Berets Rouges soldiers to bring the looting to an end. Despite being forced to kill soldiers from his own unit, Mahele's popularity diminished only slightly amongst soldiers but increased with civilians.

Following the suppression of the looting, Mobutu nominated Mahele as army (FAZ) chief-of-staff, with orders to restructure the army. In 1992, as commander of the FAZ, Mahele made a presentation to the CNS in which he stated unequivocally that the army should remain apolitical, accountable to the people not the head of state. Moreover, he denounced the conditions faced by Zairean soldiers -- under-trained, lacking in equipment and unable to financially provide for their families. Mobutu, who retained political control over the army, immediately replaced him with General Eluki and scattered the Berets Rouges throughout Zaire under the pretext that they were plotting a rebellion. Mahele was made an 'attache a la presidence'-- a title with no job. For the next three years he kept a low profile pursuing business opportunities.

The ADFL rebellion and the subsequent flight and looting by FAZ forces again propelled Mahele to the forefront. Upon Mobutu's return to Kinshasa, Mahele replaced Baramoto as army chief-of-staff. Mahele insisted on control of all the military units including the DSP, a position previously held exclusively by Mobutu and the appointment of his own generals, Amela Lokima, Mokobo Mundende & Ipoma Bansheli. Mahele has been given the Herculean task of reforming the Zairean army and defeating the ADFL rebels.

C.2 General Eluki Monga Aundu Like Mahele, General Eluki, who is from Equateur province but not of Mobutu's tribe, is a professional soldier who also came to prominence during the 1978 Shaba rebellion. His tactical success made him popular within the military ranks; however, his popularity waned after 1990 when he countered Mahele's speech to the CNS, stating that the military should first and foremost be accountable to Mobutu, not the people. Eluki, who had been called back for the CNS from his post as ambassador to Israel, replaced Mahele as chief-of-staff in 1992. Following his promotion to chief-of-staff, opposition forces, notably Tshisekedi's UDPS, complained of increased military harassment. During the 1993 looting of Kinshasa, Eluki used DSP troops to quell riots. Many opposition members claim their homes were fired on by DSP troops during the suppression of the unrest. On 20 November 1996, following the successful October rebellion of the ADFL rebels, Eluki was removed as chief-of-staff for criticizing the Kengo government. He claimed that the government had not given the military the equipment and financial means to battle ADFL rebels. He also insinuated that logistical support to the army was denied when it was most crucial, because Kengo , shares ethnicity with the Tutsi rebels. Upon Mobutu's return, Eluki was made 'attache a la presidence', available should Mobutu need him.

C.3 General Kpama Baramoto Kata General Baramoto is a former police officer with little to no military training. He was promoted to general became he is Mobutu's brother-in-law, by marrage to Mobutu's first wife's sister, and is from the same Ngbandi ethnic tribe. As a political appointee he never had the support of the rank and file soldiers. Described as a hardliner, since 1988 Baramoto commanded the Garde Civile, who are dispersed nationwide and are the most feared of Zaire's armed forces by the civilian population. A close ally of Mobutu, he has also acted as one of his chief security counsellors. He is best known and resented in Shaba for the military massacre of some 150 students at Lubumbashi University following anti-government protests in 1990. He is still head of the Garde Civile, which now nominally answers to Mahele.

C.4 General Etienne Nzimbi Ngbale Kongo wa Bassa General Nzimbi, who many believe received his military command because he is Mobutu's nephew, is the commander of the elite DSP troops. He is considered to be very authoritarian and is popular with DSP soldiers. Despite Mahele's official authority over the DSP, Nzimbi remains a influential player who answers only to Mobutu.

C.5 General Bolozi Gbudu Tanikpama General Bolozi, who is from Equateur, is Mobutu's brother-in-law and is said to have gained promotion through his family connections. He was the former head of the Gendarmerie and is now head of SARM, which nominally answers to General Mahele. He was briefly popular in the late 1970s when he eliminated several of Kinshasa's gangsters.

C.6 General Likulia Bolongo General Bolongo, who is from Haut Zaire, was a former law professor at Kinshasa University. As with Mahele, his popularity grew throughout the 1980s because of his professionalism. He was the head of SNIP until 1991, when he was accused of preparing a coup against Mobutu and sidelined from politics. He threw himself into his business ventures until he was brought out of enforced retirement by Mobutu to assume the role of Minister of Defence in the December 1996 crisis government. Despite having once been sidelined by Mobutu, many consider him to be a member of Mobutu's FPC.


D.1 Force Armee Zairois (FAZ) Prior to the nomination of General Mahele as army chief-of-staff, the position included control over all the units listed below except the DSP, SARM and the Garde Civile. Although Mahele is the nominal head of all the military units, generals loyal to Mobutu still head individual units. Officially the total force is suppost to be 100,000; however, more accurate estimates place the number at some 60,000 strong. It is difficult to establish an exact number as many fictitious names, including retired soldiers, are believed to have been recorded on the payrolls and many soldiers have since deserted.

D.2 Division Speciale Presidentielle (DSP) Commanded by Mobutu's nephew General Nzimbi, the DSP is an elite Israeli-trained force estimated at some 10-15,000 strong, whose headquarters are located at Camp Tshatshi, Mobutu's main residence in Kinshasa. Most DSP soldiers originate from Mobutu's Ngbandi tribe in Equateur; however, soldiers from other tribes exist amongst their ranks. Mobutu created this elite unit to consolidate his power following his first coup in 1961. They are well trained and equipped, having access to heavy arms where other units are barely armed. DSP members form part of Mobutu's special guard and are used to defend Gbodolite, equateurs capital and Mobutu's primary residence. In the 1990s, they were known as 'les Hiboux' (the owls) because of their alleged nocturnal activities against opposition parties. DSP soldiers were recently employed by the UN from 1995-96 to provide security in the Kivu refugee camps. Despite their superior training and equipment, they were forced to flee advancing ADFL rebels, contributing to the looting of towns in their wake. Although most of the DSP are considered to be loyal to Mobutu, there has reportedly been growing dissent in their ranks since the 1990s.

D.3 Garde Civile Estimated at some 10,000 strong, the Garde Civile has been headed by Mobutu's brother-in-law, General Baramoto, since its creation in 1986. The original members of the unit were trained by Germans to emulate the German police force. Garde Civile soldiers are considered to be comparatively well trained and better fed than the regular army. They are also feared the most by the general population as the unit has often been used to quash local disturbances.

D.4 Service d'Action et de Renseignement Militaires (SARM) Once trained by the US, SARM is the most recent unit created by Mobutu, who took an active interest in its development. Members are specially selected from all the military units to form an elite force estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 strong. Scattered throughout Zaire, their primary function, in addition to a combat role, is to gather information which is then channeled to Mobutu. SARM is currently lead by General Bolozi.

D.5 Gendarmerie The Zairean Belgian-trained police force, which has existed since pre-independence, is estimated at some 21,000 strong. Like the army, its members are poorly equipped and have not been paid on a regular basis. Thus, it is not considered to be a very powerful force.

D.6 Berets Rouges - 31st Parachutiste Regiment The Berets Rouges and Berets Verts units form the bulk of the rank and file soldiers, who were considered to be fierce fighters in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1970s they were led by, and greatly respected, General Mahele. As anti-Mobutist sentiments grew from their frustration at not being paid, equipped or trained, they were increasingly thought of as the opposition's army. On the grounds that they were organizing a coup under General Mahele, Mobutu dispersed the Berets Rouges throughout Zaire in 1992. They were sent to the Kivu regions were they were neither paid nor provisioned, forcing them to rely on extortion of the local population in order to support their families. They soon became mercenary units for hire in the Masisi crisis, which further undermined their reputation among Kivu residents and the general Zairean population.

D.7 Beret Vert -- Para-Commandos The Beret Vert is the Chinese-trained infantry unit of the FAZ, with soldiers stationed in Kisangani and Kinshasa. Under-trained, ill-equipped, and irregularly paid, if at all, they have always been strong supporters of their perceived champion, General Mahele.

D.8 Service National d'Intellegence et de Protection (SNIP) The Zairean national intelligence service, which has gone through seven name changes, is not, at present, considered to be very powerful. Most of its members have not been paid in years, relying in stead on extortion and fees for service to support their families. It is currently headed by pro-Mobutist Tshimbombo Mukuna.


E.1 Etienne Tshisekedi wa Malumba

Tshisekedi, who is 64, is a member of the Muluba tribe from the Kasai region. He is said to be related by marriage to Mobutu through his elder brother, Bonaventure Kalonga, who is married to a cousin of Mobutu's first wife. For 19 years he was a chosen aid to Mobutu, holding the post of Minister of the Interior in the Second Republic. However, like many in Mobutu's entourage, he fell out of grace and was imprisoned for several years. Following his release from prison, Tshisekedi formed the influential opposition party Union pour la Democratie et le Progres Social (UDPS). During the Third Republic (post-1990) he was elected to the post of prime minister on three different occasions; each time he was sacked by Mobutu over financial differences. On these occasions he refused to recognize Mobutu's authority to dismiss him, resulting in the creation of parallel governments on three occasions. At one point, Mobutu offered Tshisekedi the post of prime minister over a Mobutu-controlled Cabinet, which he refused. Following his November 1996 visit with a convalescing Mobutu in France, Tshisekedi claimed that they had reconciled their differences and that Mobutu had promised to restore him as prime minister. Mobutu denied any such agreement, reconfirming Kengo as prime minister in the 1996 crisis government. In a move aimed at undermining the new crisis government, members of the radical opposition allied to Tshisekedi called for a total boycott of the new banknotes issued in January 1997.

Tshisekedi has surrounded himself with politically astute and intelligent young men whom many refer to as his 'young turks'. These are men who came into politics after 1990 and therefore, having never been members of the MPR, remain untouched by pre-1990 MPR politics. Young turks like Joseph Olengakhoy, Jacques Matanda and George Nsongola are most often used to muster public and union support for the UDPS.

Analysts feel that his current popularity can be attributed more to a growing sense of frustration amongst Zaireans, notably Kinshasa residents, who are ready to support the most likely vehicle for change -- any change no matter what the cost. Thus Tshisekedi's supporters have often vacillated between support for him and Kabila's ADFL rebels. He also continues to receive strong support from trade union movements. Tshisekedi's rhetoric has always been that of an opposition force, based on criticism of the government. As it is easier to be a government critic than a policy maker, it is difficult to determine what kind of leader he will make.

Throughout December 1996, Tshisekedi strongly supported negotiations with rebel leader Kabila, but let the matter drop when journalists hinted at a possible collusion between the two. Since February 1997, he has again renewed his push for negotiations. Paradoxically, Kabila has indicated that he would be prepared to negotiate with a new government in which Tshisekedi was prime minister; however, Kabila also refused to see Jacque Matanda, a Tshisekedi affiliate, when he recently paid a visit to Goma.

E.2 Antoine Gizenga Gizenga, who is in his 60s, is from the Bandundu region. In the 1960s, he was a member of former Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba's left-wing Movement National Congolese (MNC). Following Lumumba's death, he retreated to Kisangani with other MNC members where they formed an independent secessionist government in which he was prime minister. Kabila was also a fellow member and rebel leader of the Lumumbist secessionist movement. Following the defeat of the Lumumbist movement in the 1960s, Gizenga went into exile moving to Sudan, Egypt, Moscow and West Germany, returning to Zaire in 1991 following the granting of immunity to all those in exile. He refused Mobutu's and Tshisekedi's advances, forming his own opposition party, Partie Solidaire Africaine (PSA). He also formed and is the leader of the Partie de Lumumbist Unite (PALU), which is an alliance of old and new Lumumbist supporters. Rumours about the former Lumumbist movement resurfaced upon his return, inflaming old grudges between opposition forces from Shaba and Kasai. Since his return to Zaire, Gizenga has maintained a relatively low profile in the HCR-PT. In his recent call for a negotiated solution to the war in the east, Kabila proposed an interim government with Gizenga as president. Gizenga reportedly responded by denouncing Kabila.

E.3 Georges Nzongola Ntalaja Like Tshisekedi, Nzongola is from the Kasai region and considered to be anti-Mobutu. He was a professor in the USA until returning to Zaire in 1992. Soon after, he was nominated deputy chairperson of Zaire's national electoral commission (CNE), which consists of 44 members chosen among supporters of Mobutu and opposition forces. Nzongola was Tshisekedi's and the UDPS' representative on the CNE. He resigned on 3 September in protest of what he described as obstacles deliberately placed in the way of the election process by Mobutu supporters on the CNE. Nzongola, who is greatly respected by many Zaireans, is considered to be one of Tshisekedi's 'young turks' and likely to have a significant role in any Tshisekedi-led government.

E.4 Joseph Olengakhoy Olengakhoy, who moved to the USA with his mother when he was only ten, is originally from the Kasai. He returned to Zaire at the age of 29 following his father's death. When he tried to assume his father's business interests he found himself imprisoned for two years where he reportedly met Tshisekedi. He soon became one of Tshisekedi's young turks' and has often aided in the mobilization of popular support. He is currently the president of the opposition group in the HCR-PT.

E.5 Jacques Matanda Matanda is from the Bandundu region. His father was sentenced to death by a military tribunal and executed in 1968, for which he holds Mobutu responsible. He is believed to be one of Tshisekedi's 'young turks' and was a member of the Zairean CNS opposition until 1993 when he withdrew, frustrated at the ineptitude of the CNS. He then went to Angola were he allegedly aided the MPLA government, leading a contingent of exiled Zairean soldiers against UNITA forces. He recently appeared in Goma, North Kivu, requesting an interview with Kabila. Instead of an interview, Kabila gave him 48 hours to leave the rebel-held area.

E.6 Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya is the Catholic archbishop for Kisangani, who became president of the Haut Conseil de la Republique-Assemblee Nationale (HCR-later called the HCR-PT) in 1993. His perceived neutrality and dynamism propelled the HCR through many attempts to sabotage it. He often criticized the US and the international community for not putting enough pressure on Mobutu to improve the pace of the preparations for general elections. However, he eventually earned the scorn and distrust of Tshisekedi and the radical elements of the Union Sacree by failing to convene the April 1993 session of the HCR and later advocating in its stead the acceptance of the 1994 Kengo compromise government, which called for Tshisekedi to step down as prime minister. Under what many believe was pressure from the Catholic church, he partially resigned on 22 July 1994 and was finally voted out as president of the HCR-PT by Mobutu's FPC and the Union Sacree in 1995. His post remains vacant because of a conflict of interests. Normally he would have been replaced by one of the two vice-presidents, Andre Bo-Boliko of the PDSC or Celestin Anzuluni Bembe of the MPR; however, the Act of Transition specifies that the prime minister should come from a party other than the HCR-PT president's. Bo-Boliki's PDSC party left the Union Sacree joining Kengo and the URD; thus, both vice-presidents can be said to be in Mobutu's FPC, which would require Kengo to step down if one of them was made president. The post remains unfilled with the unlikely hope that the archbishop will return.

F. POLITICAL ALLIANCE PARTIES F.1 Mouvance Presidentialle (MP) / Forces Politique du Conclave (FPC) The FPC, sometimes referred to as the Mouvance Presidential, is an informal alliance of pro-Mobutist forces, the MPR being the largest party. It was created as a counter to the opposition alliance Union Sacree. Almost all members of the December 1997 crisis government were drawn from this alliance. As of the end of 1996, Karl-I-Bond, leader of the UFERI, is head of the FPC alliance.

F.2 Union Sacree de l'Oppostion Radicale et Allies (Union Sacree or USORAL) The Union Sacree is an alliance of opposition parties, initially numbering 130, of which the three most powerful were the UDPS, UFERI and PDSC. It was created in September 1991 to coordinate and consolidate opposition pressure on Mobutu to reconvene the CNS. Political affiliations within the alliance remain a fluid concept with members frequently changing from one party to another both within and outside of the Union Sacree. It has persevered despite several successful efforts to co-opt members and divide member parties. However, in April 1994, a schism developed when the moderate elements of the Union Sacree, including the Bo-Boliko's PDSC, created the Union pour la Republique et la Democratie (URD) supporting Kengo in a compromise government to end the existence of parallel Tshisekedi and Mobutu governments. In February 1996, the PDSC boycotted the Union Sacree general assembly and left the alliance. Bo-boliko also holds one of the two vice-presidents posts on the HCR-PT, that of the opposition. In March 1996, Lambert Mende's Mouvement National Congolais-Lumumba (MNC-Originel) refused to recognize Tshisekedi's authority. The alliance finally split in September 1996 between the current president Fredereric Kibassa Maliba, who is head of the UDPS-Legale and Tshisekedi's UDPS-Orthodoxe. No members of the Union Sacree were included in the December 1996 crisis government.

F.3 Union pour la Republique et la Democratie (URD) In April 1994, a schism developed within the Union Sacree between Tshisekedi's radical elements and those labeled as moderates, including the PDSC. This lead to the creation of the Union pour la Republique et la Democratie (URD) which supported Kengo in a compromise government to end the parallel Tshisekedi and Mobutu-led governments. Those remaining in the Union Sacree accused members of the URD of having been Mobutu plants in the opposition -- never true opposition members.

F.4 Partie d'Alliance des Lubumbist Unies (PALU) Alliance of old and new Lumumbist forces led by former Lumumbist Antoine Gizenga. No members of the PALU were included in the current government.


It should be noted that as of the end of 1996 some 450 parties have been registered in Zaire. Many of the opposition parties are believed to have been created or funded by Mobutist forces to divide and weaken the ranks of the 'true opposition'. Some parties have no more than a handful of members. The following is a list of the key parties.

G.1 Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution (MPR) The MPR was created in 1966 by Mobutu. Chaired by Mobutu, it progressively grew to engulf political parties, unions and all social associations, eventually duplicating and replacing all state administrative structures. Thus, prior to 1990, Zaire was a one-party state in which all political leaders were by necessity members of the MPR. Under the monopoly of the MPR, Mobutu was elected to three seven-year terms of office. On 24 April 1990, faced with increasing internal and international pressure, Mobutu ended the MPR hegemony, launching the Third Republic and permitting the creation of political parties. The MPR split into two fractions and was renamed the Movement Populaire pour le Renouveau (as opposed to Revolution). As of January 1997, Baza Mukday Nsungo is the deputy chairperson of the MPR.

G.2 Union pour la Democratie et le Progres Social (UDPS) Lead by Etienne Tshisekedi, the UDPS is considered to be the most powerful political party. However, it is viewed primarily as a Baluba (Tshisekedi's ethnic tribe) party although some attempts have been made to include members of the Bakongo tribe (first president Joseph Kasavubu's tribe). Although not unblemished, it has the most consistent record of opposition to Mobutu. In 1991, the party split between the Fredereric Kibassa Maliba from Shaba who is head of the UDPS-Legale and Tshisekedi's UDPS-Orthodoxe.

G.3 Union des Federalists des Republicaines Independantes (UFERI) Lead by Nguza Karl-I-Bond, who is considered to be pro-Mobutist, the party draws its support from the Shaba region. On 21 September 1996, the party split with the creation of UFERI-origenelle, lead by Antoine Gabriel Kyungi wa Kumwanza, who accused Nguza Karl-I-Bond of 'deviationism'. He stated that unlike Karl-I-Bond, who had fixed a deadline of 2010 for a federal state of Shaba, 'UFERI-origenielle' push for it now. Kyungi wa Kumwanza has also distanced himself from Mobutu.

G.4 Parti Democratic et Social Cretien (PDSC)

One of the three main opposition parties, it is led by Andre Bo-Boliko, who holds one of the two vice-president positions in the HCR-PT. Until February 1996, PDSC was aligned with Tshisekedi's UDPS. It is now considered to be part of Mobutu's FPC.

G.5 Lumumbist Movement The Lumumbist movement has its roots in the 1960s forming around Patrice Lumumba's Movement National Congolese (MNC); the only party not considered to be tribalist or secessionist. Lumumba and the MNC were considered to be left-wing and Marxist in orientation. Following independence in 1960, Lumumba was made Prime Minister and Joseph Kasavubu President. Independence was immediately followed by an army mutiny, the launching of the allegedly Belgian-backed Moise Tshombe's secessionist movement in Katanga (Shaba), Belgian military intervention to evacuate nationals in Shaba and the arrival, at Lumumba's request, of UN troops to deal with the rebellions. However, when Lumumba requested additional military assistance from the Soviet Union, he was immediately deposed by President Kasavubu and army chief-of-staff Mobutu. Lumumba was assassinated in January 1961 by seccessionist led by Tshombe, who was later nominated prime minister of the interim government following Mobutu's first coup.

In October 1993, Lumumbist forces eventually united under the leftist-umbrella group the National Liberation Council of the Congo Zaire (NLC), financially aided by China and the Soviet Union. Its most significant achievement was made by Nicholas Olenga and members of the 'progressive MNC' who seized Stanlyville (Kisangani), forming an independent government rivaling that of President Joseph Kasavubu,s in Leopodville (Kinshasa) from August to November 1964. In Kisangani, the new government, the People's Republic of the Congo, was lead by President Christof Nbgenye and Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga. A second rebel advance composed of Mai-Mai warriors was led by Pierre Mulele, ex-Minister of Education under Lumumba, who also had close ideological and financial ties with the Chinese. In January 1994, he launched his rebellion in the province of Kwilu east of Kisangani. The third rebellion began in the east under Gaston Soumaliot and his associate Laurent Kabila, who also established diplomatic and financial arrangements with China and supply lines through a friendly Tanzania. Soumaliot and Kabila were viewed more as opportunist than true revolutionaries. In April 1964, they launched the 'Simba' rebellion in the Rusizi lowlands near Uvira.

Eventually, low morale, dissention and charges of betrayal within the ranks of the NLC soon led to its collapse, following a military offensive aided by US military aircraft and Belgian paratroopers brought in by Mobutu to save Zaire from 'communism'. The division of the country between two governments, one identified as communist, provided Mobutu with the confusion and excuse he needed for his second coup. With the aid of foreign mercenaries Mobutu was able to suppress the secessionist movement, driving most of its members into exile.

In October 1967, Soumaliot and Kabila founded a second movement, the People's Revolution Party (PRP), with an armed wing the People's Armed Forces (PAF). The rebel group was based in Fizi and the Baraka mountains, near lake Tanganyika, and were more infamous for their interest in gold than revolution. Their ranks also included a contingent of Chinese-trained Tutsis who had fled Rwanda, following a Hutu-led massacre at the time of independence, and over 100 Cuban soldiers led by Che Guevara, who soon became disillusioned with the rebel leadership and cause. The Cubans were responsible for the rebel group's limited successes up until 1966 when they pulled out; however, the rebels continued until they were finally driven from the area in 1977.

Source: Zairean Institut National de la Statistique
Kinshasa 4,787,000 11%
Bas Zaire 2,835,000 07%
Bandundu 5,201,000 12%
Equateur 4,820,000 11%
Haut Zaire 5,566,000 13%
North Kivu 3,564,434 09%
Shaba 4,125,000 10%
Kasai East 3,830,000 09%
Kasai West 3,337,000 08%
Maniema 1,246,787 03%
South Kivu 2,837,779 07%


Most of the above information was gathered from news and wire services, the journal Africa Confidential and interviews with various local sources. Other sources include: 1. Zaire, Africa South of the Sahara, Europa publication Ltd., 1994, p.946-956 2. Zaire-Country Profile, The Economist Intelligence Unit 1995-96 3. Ethnic Confict in North Kivu, Law Group Report, 1996 4. Che Guevera and the Congo, The New Left Review, No.220, Nov./Dec. 1996, p.1-35 5. Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Zaire, UNCHR, 16/09/96 6. The Coming of Kabla, NewAfran, No.349, Feb. 1997, p.12-13

This report is part of a series of briefs designed to assist the humanitarian community understand the complexity and history of the current situation in Zaire. Part I: List of Key Political Players was distributed 24.02.97. Part II: Historical Overview of Zaire was distributed on 27.02.97 and Part IV: Eastern Zaire Who's Who will be distributed 28.02.97.

The above has been compliled from varied sources and in no way reflects the views of the United Nations. It should not be quoted in direct attribution.

Nairobi, 27 February 1997

[Via the UN DHA Integrated Regional Information Network. The material contained in this communication may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN DHA IRIN Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 23:11:53 +0300 From: UN DHA IRIN - Great Lakes <> Subject: Zaire: IRIN Briefing Part III, 27 Feb 1997 97.02.27 Message-ID: <>

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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