Mobutu fled the country on this day in 1997, and went to Togo. He then moved to Morocco.
This day marked the end of Mobutu’s rule, which had lasted for about 32 years. He was a very controversial person.
In 1971, Mobutu changed the name of the Republic of Congo, and named it Zaire. The country’s inhabitants had to change their Christian names, and use the “African” names. Léopoldville, the country`s capital, was named Kinshas. Furthermore, Mobutu wanted to remove “colonialist things” and inhabitants of Zaire were not allowed to wear Western suits and ties. Mobutu himself was famous for his leopard-skin-hat.
Mobutu, however, spent far too much money. For example, he rented the French Concorde aircraft for personal use, and allegedly travelled from Africa to Paris just for shopping. Once, he also travelled to New York, where he held a speech at the UN. Mobutu built a magnificent palace in the jungle, known as the “Versailles of the jungle”, near the small town of Gbadolite (his family originated from Gbadolite). A runway was also built there, for his Concorde.
Mobutu fled Zaire on this day, and temporarily settled in Togo. He later moved to Morocco. A few months later after that, he died in Rabat, the capital of Morocco (he had cancer). At the time of his death he was 67 years old.