Interesting book. The body of the book creates a pretty harsh (but realistic) image of what Mobutu was, only for Michela to make a somewhat contradictory analysis of the man's billions and who is responsible for the pillage of the Congo over Mobutu's 32 year rule.
I found the similarities of Mobutu's past regime and Mugabe (of Zimbabwe)'s regime fascinating. Mobutu's drive for indigenization constituting little more than approval to loot the country by politicians and their families and being of little benefit to the average Zairean in the street. The need for constant access to easy funds to keep a corrupt system running - starting off with the looting of the central bank by printing of money (resulting in hyperinflation) & the following of absurd economic policies. Another tool which Mobutu used to fund his regime was the looting of state mining companies such as Gecamines & MIBA, which the Zimbabwean government now seems to do through the Zimbabwean Mining Development Corporation and the exploitation of the Marange diamond fields.
This book also highlights the amazing phenomenon of how previously oppressed liberation leaders seem to mimic the characteristics and attributes of their previous oppressors. Most important lesson from this book is that it shows that not even the Papa of the most African of African countries was immune from facing justice. Mobutu may have never been held to account through a court but he died an undignified death, is buried in an alien land, his family living as exiles relying on the hospitality of a foreign government & the only people who truly seem to have profited from his corruption were his political associates who betrayed & criticized him in his moment of need. I wonder, if the young Mobutu who was initially reluctant to take the presidency, would have declined the 32 years of excessive power & wealth if he knew how his reign, life and legacy would end.
This book would be of great use to the current Big Vegetables in regimes across Africa (such as Zimbabwe). As Michela points out, the blame for the state of these countries no longer solely lies in their colonial past and in Western powers - it is time for Africans to start taking responsibility for their own country's destiny and for them to start shaping their own future or else they will continue to exist in a constant state of national underachievement.
Again, fantastic reading. Insightful book - would recommend to anyone interested in reading about a fascinating chapter in Africa's recent history.
Michaela wrog is a wonderful writer and in this masterpiece she explores the long reign ( of Tyranny and corruption) of Mobutu former ultimate ruler of Zaire . The poor congo has had a lot inflictd on it this book details the theft of a countries assets by it's ruler. It shows the idiocy and compliance of western governments. It also shows the mistakes made by the IMF , will they make similar mistakes in the current economic climate. This is not a dry story it is littered with amusing stories some of which enthrall and others terrify. This is an essential book for any one trying to come to rems with Africa, corruption , and the mindset of tyrants.
Informative and entertaining. One of the best books I've read about Africa, and I've read quite a few. The author perfectly captures the essence of Africa, and deals with the troubled country of Congo in an engaging way. A real page turner; I'll definitely be reading more of Wrong's work!
This book has encouraged me to take an interest in the history and politics of Africa. Reading the stories beyond the headlines proved an eye opener and went some way to understanding one of the "big men" of Africa. This is a book you can read many times and learn something new on each occasion.
Very interesting reading about the Congo/Zaire under Mobutu. Really well written takes you right into the heart of the corrupt,decaying regime and the madness of it all. Mobutu's palace in the jungle was just the icing on the cake really.