May 17, 1997: Zaire Renamed Democratic Republic of Congo

0 Posted by - May 17, 2018 - Black History, BLACK POLITICS

On this day in Black history, Zaire is renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to the installation of Laurent Kabila, the country was ruled by Mobutu Sese Seko for close to 40 years.



Mobutu took over in a coup in 1965 and changed the country’s name to Zaire six years later. The country was mired in corruption and human rights violations for decades resulting in resentment toward his rule. Whatever coups planned were put on hold as Mobutu had close ties with the U.S. because he halted Communism’s growth in the nation.

Those close ties waned after the Cold War ended. This gave groups opposed to Mobutu’s rule a boost to flex demands. Mobutu Sese Seko’s approach of doing the minimum to placate his opponents and the fallout of the Rwandan Civil War eventually lead to him fleeing Zaire in 1997.



Mobutu final years saw him ordering Tutsis to leave the country following the Rwandan Civil War. With the formation of opposition forces backed by Uganda and Rwanda, Mobutu’s forces weren’t able to hold the country.

The second president of Zaire would flee the country in early 1997.  Opposition leader, Laurent Kabila would declare himself President on May 17 and renamed the country the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mobutu would remain on the run until his death in September 1997. Kabila’s term as President would end in 2001 in an attempted coup. His son Joseph Mobutu, head of the DRC’s military became President following his death.



  • Mkina May 17, 2017 - 8:23 pm Reply

    It is my dream that one day I tour Zaire now Congo. I grew up with their music. In fact I listen to their music more than local music here. One thing I could not understand is how they made a foreign language and culture their own. They speak and act like French people – from home to school. But still they kept their tribal language -Lingala. Well we have neighbors here who speak Spanish and English without accent for each. I am told French people are not racists compared to English or Germans. Is there truth in that? Somebody reading this posting should know. Please tell us.

  • Gaby December 17, 2018 - 3:08 pm Reply

    Mkina, the most vile and evil racist people on earth are the French. Most of Africa’s conflicts are masterminded by them. They build their country on the blood of Africans

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