Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents


Fragmented Exile Movements

For the most part, groups in exile, including the Lumumbists, remained fragmented and unable to pose much of a threat to Mobutu. Their weakness is exemplified by the meeting held in Switzerland in 1987. Thirteen Zairian opposition movements took part and agreed to establish a government in exile, the sole aim of which was "to overthrow the Zairian dictator by any means." But no sooner had the composition of the government in exile been announced than the supposed "president of the Constituent Assembly" denied his participation and appealed to exiles "to return to the country to take part in the immense task of national reconstruction."

An earlier attempt to unite the exiled opposition was the Council for the Liberation of the Congo (CLC), set up by former Lumumbist politician Bernardin Mungul-Diaka. Mungul-Diaka had been a minister under Mobutu, then fled the country in 1980, and surfaced in Brussels as head of the CLC. This council supposedly brought together five organizations, including the FLNC, the PRP, and the Progressive Congolese Students, all of which identified the country by its former name, rejecting "Zaire" as a creation of Mobutu. It was clear that the FLNC and PRP existed; it was less clear that the CLC would be able to coordinate their activities, or indeed to survive the return of Mungul-Diaka from exile. Equally ephemeral were the Congolese Front for the Restoration of Democracy, created in 1982 by Nguza Karl-i-Bond, and the African Socialist Force (Force Socialiste Africaine--FSA), formed by Cléophas Kamitatu in 1977. Such opposition groups competed with one another for aid from foreign supporters and were vulnerable to the co-optation of their leaders by Mobutu. They were important in that they managed to publicize abuses of the Mobutu regime but posed little threat to its endurance.

Data as of December 1993