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Joseph Kabila

Joseph Kabila

Overview
Joseph Kabila Kabange is a Congolese
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 politician who has been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , is Congo's elected Head of State, and the ex officio "Supreme Commander" of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ....

 since January 2001. He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by his bodyguards on January 18, 2001...

. He was elected as President in 2006 and is standing for another term in the 2011 election.

Joseph Kabila Kabange was born on June 4, 1971 at Hewabora, a small village in the Fizi
Fizi
Fizi is a territory and town in the province of Sud-Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located in the south of the province, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The region has had a long history of independence from Kinshasa. It was the location of the maquis set up by Laurent-Désiré...

 territory of the South Kivu province, in Eastern Congo.
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Encyclopedia
Joseph Kabila Kabange is a Congolese
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 politician who has been President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo , is Congo's elected Head of State, and the ex officio "Supreme Commander" of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ....

 since January 2001. He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by his bodyguards on January 18, 2001...

. He was elected as President in 2006 and is standing for another term in the 2011 election.

Early life and education


Joseph Kabila Kabange was born on June 4, 1971 at Hewabora, a small village in the Fizi
Fizi
Fizi is a territory and town in the province of Sud-Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is located in the south of the province, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The region has had a long history of independence from Kinshasa. It was the location of the maquis set up by Laurent-Désiré...

 territory of the South Kivu province, in Eastern Congo. He is the son of long time rebel, former AFDL leader and president of the Congo Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Laurent-Désiré Kabila was President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from May 17, 1997, when he overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko, until his assassination by his bodyguards on January 18, 2001...

 and Sifa Mahanya.

Guerrilla and army years


Following high school, Joseph Kabila followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, then at Makerere University
Makerere University
Makerere University , Uganda's largest and second-oldest higher institution of learning, , was first established as a technical school in 1922. In 1963 it became the University of East Africa, offering courses leading to general degrees from the University of London...

 in Uganda. In October 1996, Laurent-Désiré Kabila launched the campaign in Zaire to oust the Mobutu regime. Joseph became the commander of the infamous army of "kadogos" (child soldiers) and played a key role in major battles on the road to Kinshasa. The liberation army received logistical and military support from regional armies from Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

, Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

 and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

. Following the AFDL's victory, and Laurent-Désiré Kabila's rise to the presidency, Joseph Kabila went on to get further training at the PLA National Defense University
PLA National Defense University
The PLA National Defense University is a state university administered by the PLA. It is the highest education institution for military education in mainland China.The university located in Beijing under the leadership of PLA Central Committee...

, in Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

.

When he returned from China, Kabila was awarded the rank of Major-General, and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1998. He was later, in 2000, appointed Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, a position he held until the elder President Kabila's assassination in January 2001. As chief of staff, he was one of the main military leaders in charge of Government troops during the time of the Second Congo War
Second Congo War
The Second Congo War, also known as Coltan War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power; however, hostilities continue to this...

 (1998–2003).

Presidency


Joseph Kabila rose to the Presidency on 26 January 2001 after the assassination of Laurent-Désiré Kabila. As such Kabila became the world's first head of government born in the 1970s. He remained the world's youngest head of government until Roosevelt Skerrit
Roosevelt Skerrit
Roosevelt Skerrit is a Dominican politician who has been Prime Minister of Dominica since 2004; he has also been the Member of Parliament for the Vieille Case constituency since 2000...

 became Prime Minister of Dominica
Prime Minister of Dominica
The Prime Minister of Dominica is the head of government in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Nominally, the position was created on November 3, 1978 when Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom...

 in January 2004.

At age 25, he was considered young and inexperienced. He subsequently attempted to end the ongoing civil war by negotiating peace agreements with rebel groups who were backed by Rwanda and Uganda, the same regional armies who brought Laurent-Désiré Kabila's rebel group to power 3 years before. The 2002 peace agreement
Sun City Agreement
The Sun City Agreement was an agreement that was signed between some of the warring parties in the Second Congo War on 19 April 2002 at the luxury South African casino resort of Sun City, as a result of the Inter-Congolese dialogue...

 signed at the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, which nominally ended the Second Congo War
Second Congo War
The Second Congo War, also known as Coltan War and the Great War of Africa, began in August 1998 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , and officially ended in July 2003 when the Transitional Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took power; however, hostilities continue to this...

, maintained Joseph Kabila as President and head of state of the Congo. An interim administration was set up under him, including the leaders of the country's two main rebel groups as vice-presidents
Vice Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Following the end of the Second Congo War, and until December 6, 2006, transitional institutions were established, consisting of the former warring parties, as well as representatives of the non-belligerent opposition, and representatives of the civil society...

 (two other vice-presidents were representatives of the civilian opposition and government supporters respectively).


On March 28, 2003, an apparent coup attempt or mutiny around the capital Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

, allegedly on the part of members of the former guard of former president Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko
Mobutu Sese Seko Nkuku Ngbendu wa Za Banga , commonly known as Mobutu or Mobutu Sese Seko , born Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, was the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997...

 (who had been ousted by Kabila's father in 1997 and died in the same year), failed. On June 11, 2004, coup plotters led by Major Eric Lenge
Eric Lenge
Eric Lenge in the Democratic Republic of the Congo led a failed coup during June 2004 against the Government of Joseph Kabila. He had reached the rank of Major in the Special Presidential Security Group, the branch of the Congolese military in charge of Presidential security.The coup began with a...

 allegedly attempted to take power and announced on state radio that the transitional government was suspended, but were defeated by loyalist troops.

In December 2005, a partial referendum approved a new constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

, and a presidential election
Democratic Republic of the Congo general election, 2006
General elections were held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on July 30, 2006, the first multiparty elections in the country in 41 years. Voters went to the polls to elect both a new President of the Republic and a new National Assembly, the lower-house of the Parliament.The polls were...

 was held on July 30, 2006 (having been delayed from an earlier date in June). The new constitution lowers the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 30; Kabila turned 35 shortly before the election. In March 2006, he registered as a candidate. Although the new constitution stipulates that a debate be held between the two remaining candidates for the presidency, no debates took place and this was declared by many as unconstitutional.

According to widely disputed provisional results announced on August 20, Kabila won 45% of the vote; his main opponent, vice-president and former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba
Jean-Pierre Bemba
Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is a politician in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was one of four vice-presidents in the transitional government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 17 July 2003 to December 2006. Bemba also leads the Movement for the Liberation of Congo , a rebel group...

, won 20%. The irregularities surrounding the elections results prompted a run-off vote between Kabila and Bemba which was held on October 29. On November 15, the electoral commission announced the official results and Kabila was declared the winner, with 58.05% of the vote. These results were confirmed by the Supreme Court on November 27, 2006, and Kabila was inaugurated on December 6, 2006 as the country's newly elected President. He named Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga is a Congolese politician who was Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from December 30, 2006 to 10 October 2008...

, who placed third in the first round of the presidential election (and then backed Kabila in the second round) as prime minister on December 30.

Although Kabila registered as an independent, he is the "initiator" of the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy
People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy
The People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy is a center-left political party of the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 (PPRD), which chose him as their candidate to the election.

In response to accusations that sex crimes had been committed by the Congolese military, he pointed out that 300 soldiers have been convicted of sex crimes, although he admitted that is not enough.

Wedding


On June 1, 2006, after many wedding rumors were fueled by many in top positions in the country, the head of the Presidential Household, Ambassador Theodore Mugalu officially announced the wedding of the President to Olive Lembe di Sita
Olive Lembe di Sita
Marie Olive Lembe di Sita is the current First Lady of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She was the very secretive and discreet—almost elusive—long-term fiancée of Congolese President Joseph Kabila...

. The wedding ceremonies took place on June 17, 2006. Kabila and his spouse have a daughter, born in 2001, named Sifa after Kabila's mother.

As President Kabila is Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 (Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

), and Ms Lembe di Sita is Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, the wedding ceremonies were ecumenical, and were therefore officiated by both the Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frederic Etsou Bamungwabi, and Pierre Marini Bodho
Pierre Marini Bodho
Pierre Marini Bodho , is the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Christ in Congo and former President of the Senate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo....

 – Presiding Bishop of the Church of Christ in Congo, the umbrella church for most Protestant denominations in the Congo, known within the country simply as "The Protestant Church".

External links