Constitutional Background

Congo-Kinshasa, i.e., the Democratic Republic of Congo formerly named Zaire, should not be confused with the much smaller Congo-Brazzaville, i.e., the Republic of Congo.

The old Constitution of 24 June 1967 has been abolished by the new Transitional Constitution promulgated in April 1994. There is not yet an ICL-edition of either document. In 1994, political parties reached an agreement in form of the Constitutional Act which laid down the powers of State Institutions for the country.

Politics have been dominated by President Sese Seko Mobuto and his Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR). Mobuto has been re-elected since his first success in June 1967. His main opponent in the current (1997) civil war is Laurent Kabila and his Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire (ADFL). The ADFL has its mentor in the National Resistance Army that seized power in Uganda in 1986; it also has its offspring in the Rwandan Patriotic Front that seized power in Rwanda in 1994.

History and News

  • 17 May 1997: Kabila violently overthrows president Mobutu's 30 year government with 200 soldiers dead, but to a generally welcoming Kinshasa citizenship. Mobutu flees to Togo.
  • 1 July 1995: The HCR-PT at its sitting violated the Constitution Act regarding the question of Presidency.
  • 1993: Blaming the devastating looting of soldiers and mob on the opposition, Mobutu appoints a new cabinet.
  • 1991: After outside pressure to install multi-party democracy, a National Conference declares itself sovereign and imposes an opposition Prime Minister on Mobutu. However, the merging of the Conference with parliament results in a continuation of Mobutu's power.
  • 1977/78: Mobutu crushes rebellion with the help of soldiers from Morocco, France, and Belgium.
  • 1973: Nationalization of mines and industries; Zaire produces 70% of the world's cobalt.
  • Nov 1965: Mobutu bans party politics.
  • 30 June 1960: Independence form Belgium; Mobutu is army commander and Kabila leads the regional uprising in the east.

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - 11.2.2022 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.