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Facts mobutu lumumba { October 14 1930 }

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Facts on Mobutu
Mobutu Sese Seko (Joseph Desire Mobutu) was born October 14, 1930 into the Ngbandi tribe in the northern village of Lisala in what was then the Belgian Congo. From 1949 to 1956 he served as a journalist in the Belgian colonial army, rising to sergeant major, the highest rank open to Africans. In the last years of colonial rule, he worked as a journalist and joined Patrice Lumumba's Congolese National Movement.
Congo became independent in June 1960, with Lumumba serving as the new country's first premier. Lumumba chose Mobutu as his private secretary and soon afterward named him chief of staff of the army. In September 1960, Mobutu intervened militarily, deposing Lumumba, who was murdered the following year. Evidence later emerged implicating Mobutu and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Lumumba's death.

In 1965, Mobutu seized power permanently, declaring himself president. In 1972, he changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa za Banga (officially translated as "the all-powerful warrior who, because of his endurance and inflexible will to win, will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake.") He began to wear his signature leopard-skin hat.

Mobutu was one of Africa's most tenacious dictators, ruling a vast country with a grip of iron for most of the 32 years that he was in power. Mobutu generally relied on a system of government that some described as "kleptocracy." Reportedly stealing billions of dollars from export earnings and Western aid, he amassed a vast personal fortune. He stayed in power by sharing the wealth with his political allies and controlling their access to sources of government revenue. However, political rivals whom Mobutu regarded as a threat were often executed or murdered.

Mobutu was credited with developing a sense of unity in Zaire, which was made up of diverse ethnic groups with no major African language as a common tongue. He promoted the use of three languages to complement the official language, French. Western nations backed Mobutu's regime until the Cold War's end because it was seen as an anticommunist bulwark in the region.

In the 1990s, Mobutu's health worsened (he suffered from cancer), and he largely withdrew from government. He spent more time away from Kinshasa at a palace near his home village of Gbadolite.

Officials of the International Monetary Fund reportedly estimated that Mobutu's fortune had peaked at $4 billion in the mid-1980s. But increased expenses--most recently the hiring of foreign mercenaries to fight Laurent Kabila's rebellion--were believed to have cut into his wealth since then.

At the time of his May 16 downfall, Mobutu still owned palaces and luxury residences in Zaire, Morocco, South Africa, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal. A wine collection at his castle in Portugal was worth an estimated $2.3 million.

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