Mobutu Sese Seko  14 October 1930 – 7 September 1997 was the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (which he renamed Zaire in 1971) from 1965 to 1997. He also served as Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity in 1967–1968.

During the Congo Crisis, Mobutu, serving as chief of staff of the army and supported by Belgium and the United States, deposed the nationalist government of Patrice Lumumba in 1960. Mobutu then installed a government that later arranged for Lumumba's execution in 1961. Mobutu continued to lead the country's armed forces until he took power directly in a second coup in 1965. As part of his program of "national authenticity", he changed the Congo's name to Zaire in 1971, and his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko in 1972.

Mobutu formed a totalitarian regime, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to purge the country of all colonial cultural influence, while enjoying considerable support from the West and China, owing to his strong anti-Soviet stance. He became the object of a pervasive cult of personality. During his reign, Mobutu amassed a large personal fortune through economic exploitation and corruption, leading some to call his rule a "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-Désiré Kabila expelled him from the country. Already suffering from advanced prostate cancer, he died three months later in Morocco.

Marshal Mobutu became notorious for corruption, nepotism, and the embezzlement of between US$4 billion and $15 billion 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. In 2011, Time described him as the "archetypal African dictator"


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