Kabila, Joseph

Kabila, Joseph käbē´lä [key], 1971–, Congolese political leader, eldest son of Laurent Kabila . He was educated in Tanzania while his father was in exile there, and after the father became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he received military training in Rwanda and China. Returning home (1998), he was appointed 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 2015 in delaying preparations and elections required before the 2016 presidential contest.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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