Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Seko made his first public speech in more than 15 months in Kinshasa on Thursday (20 May).
Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Seko made his first public speech in more than 15 months in Kinshasa on Thursday (20 May). President Mobutu told an open air rally he regretted a recent incident which had endangered the country's relations with the neighbouring Congo. The Zaire Press Agency reported that the incident last month involved clashes between supporters of a Congolese football team and fans of a Zaire club. The Congolese, fans had crossed into Zaire for the match between the Congo team, Renaissance-Aiglon and a Zaire team, Imana. The Congolese Minister for Sport, M.Wilson Ndessabeka, said when he arrived for the match, he was insulted, humiliated and then physically assaulted by Zaire fans.
During his speech, President Mobutu said the genuine aim of Zaire was to find peaceful solutions to problems in order to maintain good relations with her nearest neighbours. President Mobutu said the same objectives had "prompted agreement on the normalisation of relations with Angola".
A large crowd at the May 20 Stadium heard a warning from President Mobutu to be on their guard against some foreign diplomats and militants who were spreading false rumours in order to sap the morale of the people. He also announced a major plan to combat unemployment. Under the plan, unemployed workers in the city would be repatriated to their home village and provided with work in agriculture.