Kabila, Joseph

Kabila, Joseph käbēˈlä [key], 1971–, Congolese political leader, eldest son of Laurent Kabila. He was educated in Tanzania while his father was in exile there, and after his father became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he received military training in Rwanda and China. Returning home (1998), he was made a general, named head of Congo's armed forces, and became president (2001) after his father's murder. He quickly reinstated political parties and promised democratic and economic reforms, and made a series of efforts to end the raging civil war. In 2002 Kabila signed a peace agreement with the rebels, but fighting continued. In 2003 UN forces arrived to restore order, and a transitional national unity government led by Kabila took office. After he survived two coup attempts (2004), a new constitution was finally approved (2005) and presidential elections were held (2006). Kabila handily defeated rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo in a runoff election. In 2011 he was declared reelected after a vote marred by irregularities and fraud. Unable in 2014 to secure constitutional changes that would have permitted him to run for a third term, he succeeded in delaying the next presidential contest for months, remaining in office until Jan., 2019, when opposition leader Félix Antoine Tshisekedi succeeded him. Kabila, his family, and associates have been reported to have looted millions from the Congo government.

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