Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Government
Mouvement Populaire, Laurent Kabila, Popular Movement, dissidents, coup
After the Congo received its independence from Belgium in 1960, it experienced five years of political turmoil. In 1965 army chief of staff Joseph Desire Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) seized power in a coup. For 32 years Mobutu ran a corrupt, undemocratic regime, concentrating power in the executive branch and favoring those loyal to him. His party, the Popular Movement for the Revolution (Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution, or MPR), became the sole legal political party, and dissidents were suppressed. In May 1997 rebels led by Laurent Kabila seized control of the country and overthrew Mobutu. Kabila suspended the constitution and declared himself president. Kabila was assassinated in January 2001.
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