Full Name: Joseph-Desiré Mobutu
Profession: President of Zaire
Why Famous: President of the Democratic 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.
Notorious for corruption, nepotism, and the embezzlement of between US$4 bn and $15 bn during his reign, as well as extravagances such as Concorde-flown shopping trips to Paris. He presided over the country for over three decades, a period of widespread human rights violations. He has been described as the "archetypal African dictator."
- 1980-05-01 Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko (49) weds Bobi Ladawa
- 1965-11-24 Marshal Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu becomes President of Zaire