Mobutu Sésé Seko quotes

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Mobutu Sésé Seko

Birthdate: 14. October 1930
Date of death: 7. September 1997

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Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga was the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo 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 installed a government that 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 developed a totalitarian regime, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to purge the country of all colonial cultural influence. At the same time, he was given considerable support by the West and China, owing to his strong anti-Soviet stance. He was 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. He was known for extravagances such as shopping trips to Paris via the supersonic and expensive Concorde. He presided over the country for more than three decades, a period of widespread human rights violations. In 2011, Time magazine described him as the "archetypal African dictator".

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Quotes Mobutu Sésé Seko

„Who taught us corruption? I believe it was you, frankly… It's an import.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko
In an interview with a French reporter, as featured in "Mobutu: King of Zaire."

„Treating me as a thief is a grave, unacceptable, intolerable insult which stems from contempt and racist condescension.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko
Mobutu, in response to claims by the Belgian media that he was taking Belgian aid for himself. Harden, p. 52

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„If I could do it all again, I'd be a farmer.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko
Mobutu to his national security advisor, Honoré Ngbanda, "the Terminator". Meredith, p. 532

„Zaire is the country that has been the most heavily exploited in the world. That is why farms, ranches, plantations, concessions, commerce, and real estate agencies will be turned over to sons of the country.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko
November 30, 1973, on the eve of "Zairianization". Zaire: A Country Study, "Zairianization, Radicalization, and Retrocession" http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+zr0044)

„Between a brother and a friend, the choice is clear.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko
Mobutu announcing the break in diplomatic relations between Zaire and Israel at the United Nations Security Council, November 4, 1973. Young and Turner, p. 138

„I cannot sleep at all on a plane and I am terribly scared of sleeping pills. To accuse me of wasting money - no, I am sorry. Just think of the time I save.“

—  Mobutu Sésé Seko
Mobutu, asked by a German journalist to justify the expense of his Concorde while the nation's economy was in crisis. Meredith, p. 532

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