(b. 24 March 1930, Bouchia, Lobaye District, Ubangi-Shari, French Equatorial Africa) A member of the powerful Mbaka tribe, Dacko was trained from youth to be a teacher. In 1951 he became a primary school teacher in Bangui. By 1955 he was headmaster of Kouanga school when he met Barthélémy Boganda. This encounter set Dacko on his political career; he was elected to the territorial assembly in 1957, at which time Boganda, now the head of government, appointed him to be minister of agriculture in the first Oubangui-Shari government council. In December 1958, after Oubangi-Shari had become the Central African Republic, Boganda appointed Dacko minister of internal affairs. When Boganda disappeared in an airplane crash on 19 March 1959, Dacko moved quickly to establish himself as the only successor to the chair of state. He brushed aside Abel Goumba, the vice president, and had himself elected head of government. At the same time, Dacko assumed the leadership of the Mouvement d'Evolution Sociale de l'Afrique Noire (MESAN) one of the two major political parties in the country. The other party, Mouvement pour l'Evolution Democratique de l'Afrique Centrale (MEDAC), was headed by Goumba, now Dacko's sworn enemy. When full independence was achieved on 13 August 1960, Dacko began his move to rid himself of his opposition. In November 1962, he abolished MEDAC and all other political parties in the country except his own MESAN party. Goumba and a number of other rival leaders were arrested. Goumba eventually moved into exile, but for the Central African Republic there was now only one party, MESAN, and one leader, Dacko. Dacko's victory was short-lived, however, as Jean Bedel Bokassa (qv) overthrew him on 31 December 1965. At first, Dacko was placed in a Bangui prison, but he was eventually allowed to return to his village. In 1976, Bokassa appointed Dacko his personal counselor. On 21 September 1979, with the aid of French airborne troops, Dacko ousted Bokassa, whose excesses by that time had created an atmosphere favorable to his removal. Bokassa was on a state visit to Libya when the coup took place. With the aid of French bayonets, Dacko simply proclaimed himself president. By 27 September 1979, a new government had been formed. Unrest began to develop, however, and, by March 1981,
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Publication information: Book title: An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1996. Contributors: John E. Jessup - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 147.
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