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Interview

Big Man in Congo

A Conversation With Joseph Kabila

Joseph Kabila

  • Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Title: President

Never in its history has the Democratic Republic of the Congo experienced a peaceful transfer of power. Patrice Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister after independence from Belgium in 1960, was ousted in a coup and assassinated. The military dictator responsible, Mobutu Sese Seko, ruled for more than three decades before being overthrown in 1997. The rebel leader who accomplished that, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, was assassinated in 2001, in the midst of a five-year war that ranks as the world’s deadliest since World War II. Kabila’s son Joseph succeeded him: at 29 years old, he was then the youngest head of state in the world.

Kabila fils has presided over the end of Congo’s war and the fivefold growth of its economy. But other problems still beset the country’s 80 million people: armed violence, human rights abuses, corruption, poverty. Kabila won an election in 2006 that was generally seen as fair

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