US official sees Mobutu staying as president




Mark Huband in Abidjan

The Guardian, 14 December 1991

Zaire’s President, Mobutu Sese Seko, could continue to play a role in taking the crisis-torn country towards democratic rule despite widespread demands for his removal, the top US official on Africa said last night.

Herman Cohen, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs said in an interview that Mr Mobutu should be allowed to stay in office as a way of averting a further decline in the country’s political and economic condition.

Mr Cohen’s statement comes after Mr Mobutu’s seven-year term legally expired on December 4. On the same day violent demonstrations in the capital, Kinshasa, and the southern city of Lubumbashi flared amid demands for his resignation.

Mr Cohen yesterday met Zaire’s new prime minister; opposition leader Nguza Karl-I-Bond, in Washington where he is seeking foreign aid.

But US officials said Mr Karl-I-Bond would not get American support unless it was clear that I state finances were out of Mr Mobutu’s hands.


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