Eduardo Munoz/REUTERS

Big Man in Congo

A Conversation With Joseph Kabila

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 …

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