Joseph Kabila

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Joseph Kabila
Image:Joseph kabila.jpg

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Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 26, 2001
Vice President(s)   Azarias Ruberwa
Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma
Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi
Jean Pierre Bemba
Preceded by Laurent-Désiré Kabila

Born June 4, 1971
Fizi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Political party PPRD (not officially a member)
Spouse Olive Lembe di Sita
Religion Protestant

Joseph Kabila Kabange (born June 4, 1971), known commonly as Joseph Kabila, became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo after the assassination of his father Laurent-Désiré Kabila in January 2001. On November 27, 2006, he was confirmed as the first Congolese President to be democratically elected by Universal direct suffrage.

Contents

[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Joseph Kabila was born 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. He is the son of the former rebel leader and DRC president Laurent-Désiré Kabila and Mahanya Sifa Kabila. However, there are some doubts as to the legitimacy of this lineage.<ref>"Kabilla II - Unravelling The Enigma" African Business, March 2001</ref>

Kabila started elementary school in the public school system, in Fizi, South Kivu, and finished in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He then went on to attend secondary school at a Tanzanian secondary school, in Mbeya.

[edit] Guerilla and army years

In order to integrate his father's rebel forces, Joseph Kabila followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, and from the neighbouring governments of Uganda and Rwanda, after graduating from high school. In 1996, he joined Laurent Kabila's Rwandan backed rebel forces (the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, (AFDL)), as operations commander, in the campaign that is dubbed the First Congo War. Following the AFDL's victory, and Laurent Kabila's rise to the presidency, Joseph Kabila went on to get further training at the National Defense University, in Beijing, China.

When he returned from China, Kabila was given the rank of Major-General, and appointed Deputy-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Congolese Armed Forces, in 1998. He was later, in 2000, appointed Army Chief of Staff, 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 in the Second Congo War.

[edit] Presidency

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Image:Armoiries de la République démocratique du Congo - 2006.png

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Politics and government of
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Kabila rose to the Presidency on 26 January 2001 after the assassination of his father. At age 29, he was considered young and inexperienced. Joseph Kabila subsequently attempted to end the ongoing civil war and remove foreign troops from the country, with some success. The 2002 peace agreement signed at the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa, which nominally ended the Second Congo War, 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 (two other vice-presidents are representatives of the civilian opposition and government supporters respectively).

On March 28, 2004, an apparent coup attempt or mutiny around the capital Kinshasa, allegedly on the part of members of the former guard of president Mobutu Sese Seko (who was ousted by Kabila's father in 1997 and died in the same year), failed.<ref>"Arrests after DR Congo 'coup bid'", BBC.co.uk, March 29, 2004.</ref> On June 11, 2004, coup plotters led by Major Eric Lenge allegedly attempted to take power and announced on state radio that the transitional government was suspended, but were defeated by loyalist troops.<ref>"Congo National Troops Thwart Coup Attempt", VOA News, June 11, 2004.</ref><ref>"Coup attempt foiled in Kinshasa", IRIN, June 11, 2004.</ref>

In December 2005, a referendum approved a new constitution, and a presidential election was held on July 30 2006 (having been delayed from an earlier date in June).<ref>"Elections to be held on 30 July, polls body says", IRIN, May 1, 2006.</ref> 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.<ref>"DR Congo poll deadline extended", BBC.co.uk, March 24, 2006.</ref>

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%. Kabila fared better in the eastern part of the country, where Swahili is spoken.<ref>"Frontrunners need alliances for 2nd round of presidential polls", IRIN, August 22, 2006.</ref> A run-off vote between Kabila and Bemba 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.<ref>"Kabila named DR Congo poll winner", BBC News, November 15, 2006.</ref>. These results were confirmed by the Supreme Court on November 27, 2006, and Kabila is due to be inaugurated on December 6, 2006 as the country newly elected President.

Although Kabila registered as an independent, he is the "initiator" of the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (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.<ref>Jeff Koinange, "Congo president on military rapes: 'Unforgivable'", CNN.com, June 1, 2006.</ref>

Joseph Kabila claims to hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington International University, a non-traditional, distance learning university, with no classroom attendance required.

[edit] Wedding

Image:Kabila wedding.jpg
President Kabila, and his bride Ms. Olive Lembe at their civil wedding ceremony

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 Ms. Olive Lembe di Sita. The wedding ceremonies took place on June 17, 2006. [1] Mr. Kabila and his spouse have a daughter, born in 2001, named Sifa after Kabila's mother.

As President Kabila is Protestant, and Ms. Lembe di Sita is Catholic, the wedding ceremonies were ecumenical, and were therefore officiated by both the Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frederic Etsou Bamungwabi, and Mgr Pierre Marini Bodho - Bishop and President 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".

[edit] References

<references/>

[edit] External links

Preceded by:
Laurent-Désiré Kabila
President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
2001–
Succeeded by:
Incumbent


br:Joseph Kabila

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Joseph Kabila

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