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President Joseph Kabila

President Joseph Kabila and Olive Lembe at their wedding ceremony

Joseph Kabila

weds

Olive Lembe

 

If there was an award for the top ten youngest presidents, Joseph Kapila will surely be on the list.

Joseph was only 29 years when he become the president of 60 million people. The year 2001 will forever remain on the mind of Joseph Kabila.

This is because he had a baby girl with his beautiful fiancée called Olive, lost his lovely Dad and become a president.


 Joseph Kabila was born in Hewa Bora II, South Kivu, in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is the son of the former rebel leader and DRC president Laurent Desire Kabila and Mahanya Sifa Kabila.

Kabila started elementary school in the public school system, in Fizi, South Kivu, and finished in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. He then went on to attend secondary school at a Tanzanian secondary school, in Mbeya.

In order to integrate his father's rebel forces, Joseph Kabila followed a military curriculum in Tanzania, and from the neighbouring governments of Uganda and Rwanda, after graduating from high-school. In 1996, he joined Laurent Kabila's Rwandan backed rebel forces (the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, (AFDL)), as operations commander, in the campaign that is dubbed the First Congo War. Following the AFDL's victory, and Laurent Kabila's rise to the presidency, Joseph Kabila went on to get further training at the National Defense University, in Beijing, China.

When he returned from China, Joseph Kabila was given the rank of Major-General, and appointed Deputy-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Congolese Armed Forces, in 1998. He was later, in 2000, appointed Army Chief of Staff, a position he held until the elder President Kabila's death, in January 2001. As chief of staff, he was one of the main military leaders in charge of Government troops, in the Second Congo War.

When Kabila rose to the Presidency on 26 January 2001, at age 29, he was considered young and inexperienced. Joseph Kabila has since attempted to end the civil war and remove foreign troops from the country, with some success. The 2002 peace agreement signed at the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Sun City, South Africa, which nominally ended the Second Congo War, maintained Joseph Kabila as President and head of state of the Congo. An interim administration was set up under him, including the leaders of the country's two main rebel groups as vice-presidents (two other vice-presidents are representatives of the civilian opposition and government supporters respectively).

On March 28, 2004, a coup attempt or mutiny around the capital Kinshasa, allegedly organized by supporters of the late president Mobutu Sese Seko, failed. On June 11, 2004, coup plotters led by Major Eric Lenge allegedly attempted to take power, declaring that the country's peace process was not working, but were defeated by loyalist troops.


In December 2005, a referendum approved a new constitution, and presidential elections are currently planned for July 30, 2006 (having been delayed from an earlier date in June). The new constitution lowers the minimum age of presidential candidates from 35 to 30; Kabila has recently turned 35, however, prior to the election. In March 2006, he registered as a candidate.

Although Joseph Kabila registered as an independent, he is the "initiator" of the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), which chose him as their candidate to  the election.

When confronted with a report of sex crimes being committed in the Congolese military, Kabila squirmed in his chair and stated that the violent rapes were unforgivable. He pointed out 300 soldiers have been convicted of sex crimes, although he admitted that is not enough.

Joseph Kabila holds a BA (Bachelor of Arts) in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington International University, a non-traditional, distance learning university.

 

President Joseph Kabila, and his bride Ms. Olive Lembe at their civil wedding ceremony on June 1, 2006, after many wedding rumors were fueled by many in top positions in the country, the head of the Presidential Household, Ambassador Theodore Mugalu officially announced the wedding of the President to Ms. Olive Lembe di Sita. Mr. Kabila and his fiancee already have a daughter, born in 2001, and named Sifa, after Kabila's mother. The wedding ceremonies took place on June 17th, 2006.

As President Kabila is Protestant, and Ms. Olive Lembe di Sita is Catholic, the wedding ceremonies were ecumenical, and were therefore officiated by both the Catholic Archbishop of Kinshasa, Cardinal Frederic Etsou Bamungwabi, and Mgr Pierre Marini Bodho - Bishop and President of the Church of Christ in Congo, the umbrella church for most Protestant denominations in the Congo, known within the country simply as "The Protestant Church".

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