Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stalled Talks Fuel Zairians' Anxiety Prospect of Mobutu's Ouster Lends Hope to Oppressed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stalled Talks Fuel Zairians' Anxiety Prospect of Mobutu's Ouster Lends Hope to Oppressed

Article excerpt

Jean-Pierre Gaspard, 33, earns 30 cents a month, and the government has not paid him even that gaunt wage since February.

Jean Inana, 46, cannot afford to buy luxuries such as eggs and milk.

And Evarist Nkanda, 36, just pulled his 10-year-old son out of school because he cannot afford to pay $12 in tuition every three months. Yet all three men dared to shed those cares Friday, if only for a few moments, as they pondered the prospect of the final days of President Mobutu Sese Seko, the only leader they have known in their adult lives. They brimmed with hope at the thought that Mobutu, in power nearly 32 years, was about to enter negotiations with rebel leader Laurent Kabila that most likely will seal Mobutu's departure as ruler. By late Friday night, the fate of the talks was uncertain. First, Mobutu, battling cancer, could not climb aboard a South African naval supply ship. Then, after Mobutu reached the ship where the talks are to take place, Kabila backed out of negotiations, citing security concerns. Despite the delays, Zairians cling to their radios, waiting for updates and fashioning scenarios about what negotiations, if they ever occur, could produce. "I never thought I would see this day come," Gaspard said. "Life is so difficult here that I was sure that I would die before seeing Mobutu go." An Uneasy Wait Kinshasa, Zaire's capital, is a mix of anticipation and anxiety these days, as Zairians await talks between Mobutu and Kabila, whose forces have taken more than half the country since they launched their rebellion last October. The rebels reached the city of Kikwit, 250 miles east of Kinshasa, earlier this week and reportedly are pushing toward the town of Kenge, about 150 miles east of the capital. The anxiety that forms an undercurrent here thus springs not only from the repeated delays of the talks, but from the looming shadow of the attackers. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.