Portrait of a Leader

Democratic Republic of Congo 5 Makuta 1967 
 Democratic Republic of Congo 5 Makuta 1967 (scaled to about 250dpi)

It was with the backing of the U.S. government that Joseph-Désiré Mobutu got to be the President of Democratic Republic of Congo. This was in 1965 during the Cold War. President Mobutu is portrayed on the coin above:- 5 Makuta of 1967. This is one of only a handful of different coins from this part of the country's history. President Mobutu changed the name of the country to Republic of Zaire in 1971, the word "Zaire" being much used locally as a name for the huge River Congo. The following year President Mobutu changed his own name to Mobutu Sese Seko. In 1997 Mobutu was forced out of the country and at the same time the country's name was changed back to Democratic Republic of Congo, as it remains to this day. A list of Africa's top ten dictators of all time on the pages of puts Mobutu at position number 4 and his successor Laurent Kabila, not quite so tyrannical, at number 7. Nowadays coins are not in use in Democratic Republic of Congo, not even the coins that look like normal coins have ever been intended for circulation. The earlier coinage from this country; that of the predecessor state “Belgian Congo”, is a lengthier series and is somewhat more varied.

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