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Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku NGbendo Wa Za Banga, President ruler of Zaire

1930-1997, president of ZAïRE (1967-); b. Joseph Désiré Mobutu. He became prime minister of the former Belgian Congo in 1966 after staging a coup that toppled the government of Joseph KASAVUBU. In 1967 he established a presidential form of government headed by himself, and in 1971 he changed the Congo's name to Zaïre. As head of a one-party state, he suppressed tribal conflicts and encouraged a sense of nationhood. At the same time he amassed a huge personal fortune, and corruption became widespread in the country. In 1991 continuing economic deterioration and unrest led him to agree to share power with opposition leaders, but he subsequently used the army to thwart change

Mobutu Sese Seko, ousted as president of Zaire in May after three decades of near absolute power, has died in
exile in Morocco after losing a long battle with prostate cancer.

The official Moroccan news agency MAP said the 66-year-old ex-president died at 9.30pm on Sunday at Mohamed V
military hospital in Rabat "after a long illness'' in 1997.
As cancer and a growing rebellion took hold in Zaire, Mobutu lost his grip on power which he had held virtually
unchallenged for three decades.

Mobutu was one of Africa's longest-serving strongmen who used the Cold War to cement his hold on power, as the West and
Soviet Union vied for influence in Africa and control of Zaire's uranium and other minerals. He enjoyed virtually absolute
power since a 1965 coup, riding the tidal wave of popular support for multi-party democracy that swept around the world
with the collapse of Soviet-style communism in the late 1980s.

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga, loosely translated "The all powerful warrior who because of endurance and will to win, will go from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake."
In English this means "head rooster with access to all the hens in the henhouse."
The locals have their own version: "The cock who jumps all the chicks in the farmyard."

"Mobutu awa, Mobutu kuna, Mobutu partout" means Mobutu here, Mobutu there, Mobutu everywhere.

To Zaire