Tuesday, April 24, 2007


President Joseph Kabila of The Democratic Republic of Congo

Joseph Kabila was born in 1971 in a small town Hewa Bora, in the Fizi territory of the South Kivu province, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He is the son of the former rebel leader and DRC President Laurent Desire Kabila and Sifa Mahanya. The eldest of ten children, Joseph Kabila was born in eastern Zaire (DRC) and raised in exile in Tanzania. He attended an elementary school in Kivu and secondary school in neighbouring Tanzania. After graduating from high school in 1996, he joined his father’s Rwandan backed rebel forces the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo as operations commander.

In 1996 Kabila’s father began leading a rebellion against Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, and Joseph joined the fight in eastern Zaire. Laurent Kabila succeeded in overthrowing Mobutu in May 1997 and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Joseph Kabila was then sent to China for military training, returning to the DRC in 1998 to serve as the army’s chief of staff.

Civil war erupted again in August 1998, when Rwandan and Ugandan armies backed another rebellion in the eastern DRC. Joseph Kabila worked with the forces of Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia to defend his father’s regime. Laurent-Désiré Kabila was subsequently assassinated by one of his bodyguards in January 2001. The administration named Joseph the new president of the DRC despite the fact that most Congolese people were unfamiliar with him. Joseph initially appeared somewhat out of place in the capital city of Kinshasa. Brought up in East Africa, he was more comfortable speaking English and Swahili than Lingala and French, the languages of western DRC.

President Kabila took on one of the most difficult jobs in the world- running a chaotic and war engulfed DRC

After taking office, Joseph Kabila committed himself to finding a peaceful settlement to the country’s bloody civil war. In 2002 he arranged the withdrawal of Rwandan and Ugandan troops from the country. In April 2003 Kabila’s government concluded a peace agreement with the two main rebel groups in the DRC. Under this agreement Kabila, the leaders of the rebel groups, and representatives of the civilian political opposition entered into a power-sharing government. Kabila also took steps to restore the shattered DRC economy by lifting foreign exchange restrictions and bringing down inflation.

Joseph Kabila and DRC First Lady Olive di Sita at his Presidential Inauguration ceremony December 2006
Photo by Digital Congo

In December 2005, a referendum approved a new constitution, and a presidential election was held on July 30, 2006.The new constitution lowered the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 30. Kabila having turned 35 shortly before the election registered as a presidential candidate on March 2006. According to provisional results announced on August 20, Kabila won 45% of the vote; his main opponent, vice-president and former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba, won 20%. A run-off vote between Kabila and Bemba was held on October 29 and on November 15, the electoral commission declared Kabila the winner, with 58.05% of the vote. Kabila was inaugurated in lavish ceremony on December 6, 2006 as the country's newly elected President. He named Antoine Gizenga, who placed third in the first round of the presidential election as prime minister.


After many wedding rumors were fueled by many in top positions in DRC, the head of the Presidential Household, Ambassador Theodore Mugalu officially announced the wedding of the President to Olive Lembe di Sita. The couple wed on June 17, 2006. Mr. Kabila and his spouse have a daughter, born in 2001, named Sifa after Kabila's mother.

Joseph Kabila with his mother Sifa Mahanya at his wedding ceremony
Photo by Digital Congo


When asked what the greatest challenge DRC faces,,

"The number one problem of Congo today is to bring peace to the nation. Everyone is working towards this here in the area of the Great Lakes. The objective of my trip was to explain to the international community the stakes involved in the current conflict, the war and aggression of which the Congolese people are victims."

As to whether there is a leader or form of governance Kabila looks up to and seeks to exemplify:

"As for leaders, it would be Patrice Lumumba and my late father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, of Congo. But what is there in Africa? Total misery. No, there's not really any model."

How would you define yourself - as a politician, a soldier or a democrat?

" As a Congolese citizen."

More on the interview Click here

DRC President Joseph Kabila Official Site


Anonymous said...

Hey Kabila is not from Congo, He was adopted by Laurent Kabila. Joseph kabila is originally from Rwanda. and also his mother is not Sifa as he says.

Suzanne said...

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

mmhhhhhh, seems like you tried to be as accurate as possible but I have a question: what did he achieve and do in his presidency other then bonding and allying with rebel groups? The country is in its highest inflation ever, there is no functioning education system as well as no frunctioning transportation. International money support is simply disappearing...such a rich country but so poor and corrupted.
And the heartburn is, that it is not the only country who's people are suffering through so much...

Anonymous said...

DO SOMETHING FOR THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONGO: help put pressure on president Kabila, the Congolese government and the Congolese Parliament to take urgent action to compensate victims of sexual violence crimes in East of DR Congo. The petition can be signed at http://www.gopetition.com.au/online/26180.html