Mobutu Sese Seko. His name conjures up the same images time and time again: the leopard hat, the cane, the pink champagne, the jungle palaces.
And beyond that: the Congo. The country he ruled and brought to ruin in the 32 years he was in power. With greed as his polestar and Western power ever at his side, Mobutu plundered his home nation, vastily rich in resources , and turned it into an economic wasteland. Kleptocracy became the word for his government, and when rebel forces toppled Mobutu 4 years ago, “destroyed” was the best way to describe the country he left behind.
Journalist Michela Wrong spent 7 years covering the heart of Central Africa, witnessing first hand the last days of Mobutu’s power. We’ll talk with her about her new book that goes beyond the Leopard’s legacy and into the mind of the man who brought a nation to its knees.
Michela Wrong, author of “The Congo: In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz”
Suliman Baldo, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, has been following the Congo for 5 years