For the first time in twelve years a degree of democracy has been injected into elections in Zaire.
For the first time in twelve years a degree of democracy has been injected into elections in Zaire. Since he came to power in 1965 President Mobutu Sese Seko has normally picked candidates for parliamentary and municipal and parliamentary elections, who were merely given approval at public meetings. But in elections last month Zairians were able to choose among a selection of candidates. They also elected members to the new Political Bureau, the most powerful body in the country's sole political party, the Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR). The new bureau members sere sworn in at a ceremony in the capital if Kinshasa on Wednesday (23 November).
SYNOPSIS: President Mobutu, seen arriving at the ceremony, is regarded by his opponents as a dictator. They believe he has been forced to reform the political system because of the invasion earlier this year of Zaire's Shaba province. His opponents say the government lost a lot of prestige and was seriously threatened by the invasion of Katangese secessionists -- even though the invasion was unsuccessful. Katanga was the name of Shaba before Zaire, the former Belgian Congo, gained independence.
Twelve of the new political bureau members had been chosen by President Mobutu, but the other eighteen had been elected, a sign of change under Zaire's military government.