18 May 1997
On 18 May 1997, Laurent Kabila, at the head of a rebel army, overthrew the despotic regime of Mobutu Se se Seko. For the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this seemed like a ray of hope, after the excesses of Mobutu regarding the pilfering of the national coffers, persecution of minorities and the elimination of political opponents. Kabila, however soon proved to be not much different from Mobutu. Other than renaming the country from Zaire to the Democratic Republic of the Congo Kabila also refused to honour the national debt accrued by the country, nor would he allow the United Nations to conduct an investigation into suspected massacres of Rwandan refugees on his march to power. After his allies, Uganda and Rwanda, turned against him, Kabila managed to stay in power with the support of Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Rapidly becoming unpopular, Kabila was assassinated by one of his presidential bodyguards. He was succeeded by one of his sons, Joseph Kabila. To this day the Congo remains politically unstable, whilst being one of the wealthiest countries mineral wise in Africa. References: Laurent-Desire Kabila (online), available at: http://www.answers.com [Accessed 10 May 2010] The Congo: Unanswered questions surround Kabila's assassination (online), available at: http://www.wsws.org [Accessed 10 May 2010]           Profile: Laurent Kabila (online), available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk [Accessed 10 May 2010]