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Joseph Kabila Kabange (known commonly as Joseph Kabila; born June 4 1971), is the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congomarker (DRC). He took office in January 2001, ten days after the murder of his father and DRC president Laurent-Désiré Kabila. On November 27, 2006, Joseph Kabila was confirmed as President following the July 2006 general election.


Early life and education

Kabila was born in a small village in the Fizimarker territory of the South Kivu province, in the east of Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is the son of Laurent-Désiré Kabila and Sifa Mahanya. There are however some doubts as to the correctness of this official story. He started elementary school in the public school system, in Fizimarker, South Kivu, and never finished in Dar Es Salaammarker, Tanzania. He then went on to attend primary school in Mbeyamarker, Tanzania.

Guerrilla and army years

Following high school, Joseph Kabila followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, then at Makerere University in Uganda. In October 1996, his step father launched the campaign in Zaire to oust the Mobutu regime. Joseph became the commander of the famous army of "kadogos" (child soldiers) and played a key role in major battles on the road to Kinshasa. The liberation army received logistical and military support from regional armies from Angola, Zimbabwe and Rwanda. Following the AFDL's victory, and Laurent Kabila's rise to the presidency, Joseph Kabila went on to get further training at the PLA National Defense University, in Beijing, Chinamarker.

When he returned from China, Kabila was given the rank of Major-General, and appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1998. He was later, in 2000, appointed Chief of Staff of the Land Forces, 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 during the time of the Second Congo War (1998 - 2003).


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 Citymarker, 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, 2003, an apparent coup attempt or mutiny around the capital Kinshasamarker, allegedly on the part of members of the former guard of former president Mobutu Sese Seko (who had been ousted by Kabila's father in 1997 and died in the same year), failed. 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.

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). 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.

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. 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.. These results were confirmed by the Supreme Court on November 27, 2006, and Kabila was inaugurated 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 (and then backed Kabila in the second round) as prime minister on December 30.

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.


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. [44552] 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 Pierre Marini Bodho – Presiding Bishop 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".


  1. " Kabilla II - Unravelling The Enigma" African Business, March 2001
  3. "Arrests after DR Congo 'coup bid'",, March 29, 2004.
  4. "Congo National Troops Thwart Coup Attempt", VOA News, June 11, 2004.
  5. "Coup attempt foiled in Kinshasa", IRIN, June 11, 2004.
  6. "Elections to be held on 30 July, polls body says", IRIN, May 1, 2006.
  7. "DR Congo poll deadline extended",, March 24, 2006.
  8. "Frontrunners need alliances for 2nd round of presidential polls", IRIN, August 22, 2006.
  9. "Kabila named DR Congo poll winner", BBC News, November 15, 2006.
  10. "Joseph Kabila sworn in as Congo's elected president", Reuters, December 6, 2006.
  11. Joe Bavier, "Congo names opposition veteran, 81, prime minister", Reuters, December 30, 2006.
  12. Jeff Koinange, "Congo president on military rapes: 'Unforgivable'",, June 1, 2006.

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