Mobutu Sese Seko

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Mobutu Sese Seko

(mōbo͞o`tō sā`sā sā`kō), 1930–97, president of Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Born Joseph Désiré Mobutu, he returned from study in Brussels to the then Belgian Congo, joining the nationalist movement in 1956. In 1960 he led an army coup against the nationalist government of Patrice LumumbaLumumba, Patrice Emergy
, 1925–61, prime minister (1960) of the Republic of the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). A member of the Batatele tribe, he was educated in mission schools and later worked as a postal clerk.
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; Mobutu soon became the army chief of staff. In a second coup (1965), he assumed the office of prime minister (1966), then established (1967) a presidential form of government headed by himself; the constitution did not come into force until 1970, when Mobutu was old enough to become president. As part of his program of "national authenticity," Mobutu changed the Congo's name to Zaïre (1971) and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko (1972). Citizens were required to drop their Christian names; place names were Africanized. Power was concentrated in Mobutu, who, backed by Western intelligence agencies that saw in him a foil to such leftist states as Angola, established a one-party state and a cult of personality. He suppressed tribal conflicts and encouraged a sense of nationhood, but at the same time amassed a huge personal fortune through economic exploitation and corruption, leading some to call his rule "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. Mobutu died in Morocco.

Mobutu Sese Seko

 

(known before January 1972 as Joseph Désiré Mobutu). Born Oct. 14, 1930, in Lisala. Governmental and political figure in the Republic of Zaire.

After graduating from secondary and military schools, Mobutu served in the Belgian colonial forces known as the Force Publique from 1949 to 1956. Upon leaving the service he worked as a journalist, contributing to the newspaper Avenir and the weekly Actualités africaines. In 1958, Mobutu attended the faculty of sociology at the University of Brussels. In 1959 he joined the Congolese National Movement and in January and February 1960 took part in the Brussels Round Table Conference, which adopted the decision to grant independence to the Belgian Congo.

In 1960, Mobutu became a state secretary in the cabinet, then chief of the general staff. In 1961 he was made commander in chief of the army; in 1972 he received the rank of corps commander. In November 1965 the army seized power in the country; Mobutu was proclaimed president for a term of five years and soon became head of the government. At the end of 1970, Mobutu was elected president. He is chairman of the Popular Revolutionary Movement, which he founded in 1967. He is also chief of the National Executive Council, that is, the governing cabinet, and the National Legislative Council, and simultaneously holds office as state commissar of national defense, veterans’ affairs, and planning.

References in periodicals archive ?
This is the kind of thing corrupt dictators like Zaire's Mobuto Sese Seko .
But surely their President Mobuto Sese Seko, who reputedly has pounds 40 million salted away in Swiss bank accounts, should have some of his money compulsorily confiscated and used to ease the situation.
Rafael Trujillo, for example, made off with an estimated $140 million from the Dominican Republic; Juan Peron stuffed at least $140 million into Swiss accounts: Haile Selassie's legendary $6 billion hoard may be grossly exaggerated, but he was still able to withdraw $600 million from his own accounts to help finance Ethiopia's war with Somalia: the Shah of Iran and Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire managed to expatriate huge amounts of cash to numbered accounts in Europe.
At the peak of his popularity, he was at once both envied and feared in equal measure by Zaire's autocratic dictator Mobuto Sese Seko.
Between 1998 and 2003, Museveni invaded the DRC during which time he toppled President Mobuto Sese Seko, is alleged to have engineered the assassination of the former President of the DRC and the father of Joseph Kabila, the current President of the DRC because he refused to be his puppet.
A: Mobuto Sese Seko, 66, has been in power 31 years during which time he has salted away pounds 40 billion in Swiss accounts.
In order to celebrate Zaire's new constitution, Zaire's President Mobuto Sese Seko decided to stage the 'rumble in the jungle'--the heavyweight boxing championship fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
He avoided naming current names but pointed out that the net worth of ex-Zairian dictator Mobuto Sese Seko was equal to his country's national debt.