Mobutu in Togo as Zaire rebels assume leadership
South Africa says new Kabila government due on Tuesday
May 19, 1997
Web posted at: 1:52 p.m. EDT (1752 GMT)
(CNN) -- Deposed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko was in Togo on
Monday after fleeing rebels who had captured his jungle
palace in northern Zaire. Laurent Kabila, who took over as
the country's self-declared president, is expected to name a
multi-party transitional authority on Tuesday.
The new leadership, however, would not to commit to a date
|South African Deputy President
Thabo Mbeki on Kabila's government:
(289K/25 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
In Kinshasa, the streets filled with people returning to
work, giving the capital a feeling of normalcy following a
Vehicles full of armed rebel soldiers cruised among the
workers, a reminder of the bloodshed that left 200 people
dead, including government soldiers whose bodies burned in
the streets and others who were summarily executed.
Next stops: Morocco, France?
After a weekend of confusing reports on Mobutu's whereabouts,
CNN confirmed on Monday that he was in Togo, escaping there
early Sunday just ahead of rebels advancing on his home in
the northern Zairian village of Gbadolite.
Mobutu -- who fled Kinshasa on Friday, the day before rebels
entered the capital in force -- was resting in a residence
belonging to his old friend, Togolese dictator Gnassingbe
Eyadema, government officials in the West African nation
It was not immediately clear when Mobutu would go from there,
but his next stop is believed to be Morocco. Officials there
have said Mobutu would stay briefly in Rabat, Morocco's
capital, while waiting out French elections -- due to end
June 1 -- before continuing on to France.
Mobutu, 66, has a villa on the French Riviera, where he has
spent much of the last several months recuperating from
France is one of many nations, including the United States,
that had supported the Zairian president during his 32 years
Meanwhile, his eldest son, Kongulu, and 109 members of the
deposed leader's extended family were stuck across the river
from Kinshasa, in Brazzaville, Congo, because a flight crew
refused to fly them out.
Kongulu, a senior army officer, was the son most closely
associated with his father's brutal excesses. Zairians
trashed his house on Sunday.
Elections promised but no date set
Kabila, who has renamed Zaire the Democratic Republic of
Congo, will announce his new government on Tuesday night,
South African Deputy President Thabo Mbeki said on Monday.
"It will be a broad-based government, as inclusive as
possible of the various political forces," Mbeki, a key
negotiator in the peace efforts for Zaire, told reporters in
Even Mobutu's party had indicated that it would work with the
new government, said Mbeki, who met with Kabila on Sunday in
the southern Zaire city of Lubumbashi.
Kabila was not expected in Kinshasa for several days, perhaps
a week. But other officials from the new alliance government,
who are already in the capital, told reporters on Monday that
the Kabila regime was committed to free and fair elections.
However, no date has been set. "Before elections, you need
preparations. You have to have a civic spirit," said Deo
Bugera, the alliance's secretary-general.
Holding elections too soon would mean counting votes of
people who may have been brainwashed by Mobutu's autocracy,
South Africa and seven other African countries have announced
their official recognition of the Kabila-led government.
The United States has recognized Kabila as the "de facto"
president. But Bugera rejected pressure from the West for
elections. "We need to enter a partnership based on respect.
We don't want to be dictated to."
Soldiers surrender weapons
About 200 people were killed during Saturday's rebel takeover
of Kinshasa, according to Red Cross spokesman Nick Sommer.
The rebels ordered government soldiers to surrender their
Thousands of soldiers, unpaid by the previous regime and
eager for change, readily complied, tying white cloths around
their heads to show support for Kabila. They marched into
military camps past taunting crowds.
Taking Kinshasa with hardly a fight may have been the easy
part for the rebels. The tough job may be coping with a
country that has a devastated infrastructure, banks that have
been closed for months and millions of citizens barely able
to earn enough to eat.
"We don't need air conditioning," said Bugera. "What we do
need is technology that is in sync with our country."
Correspondent Peter Arnett
and Reuters contributed to this report.
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