Definitions for mobutu sese sekomoʊˈbu tu ˈsɛs eɪ ˈsɛk oʊ, mə-
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Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga was the President of Republic of the Congo, which Mobutu renamed Zaire in 1971, from 1965 to 1997. Installed and supported in office primarily by Belgium and the United States, he formed an authoritarian regime, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to purge the country of all colonial cultural influence while enjoying considerable support by the United States due to his anti-communist stance. During the Congo Crisis, Belgian and US-backed 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 and was killed by a Belgian firing squad; Mobutu soon became the army chief of staff. In a second coup, he assumed the office of Prime Minister in 1966 and then established a presidential form of government headed by himself in 1967. As part of his program of “national authenticity”, Mobutu changed the Congo's name to Zaïre in 1971 and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko in 1972. Power was concentrated in Mobutu, who established a single-party state and a 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 “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 prostate cancer, he died three months later in Morocco.
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- Mobutu Sese SekoNorwegian
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