Congo, Democratic Republic of the (DROC) - Famous zairians and congolese
In the period of the transition to independence, two Zairian political leaders emerged as national figures: Joseph Kasavubu (1917–69), head of the ABAKO party, became the first chief of state; Patrice Emery Lumumba (1926–61) became the new nation's first premier, and his subsequent murder made him a revolutionary martyr in Communist and many third-world countries. In 1960, Moïse Kapenda Tshombe (1919–69), who headed the government of Katanga Province, became prominent when he declared Katanga an independent state with himself as its president and maintained the secession until early 1963. Gen. Mobutu Sese Seko (Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, 1930–97), commander-in-chief of the Congolese National Army from 1961 to 1965, assumed the presidency after he deposed President Kasavubu on 25 November 1965. The MPR party congress promoted Mobutu to the rank of field marshal in December 1982. Laurent Désiré Kabila (1941–2001), seized power in May 1997 when he declared himself president and changed the name of the country back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.