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DR Congo poll: Five things to know about the nation that powers mobile phones

Saturday - 29/12/2018 19:04
The Democratic Republic of Congo - the world's leading producer of cobalt, used to power mobile phones and electric cars - holds landmark elections in most of the country on Sunday.

Three frontrunners have emerged in the race to succeed President Joseph Kabila.

Here are five things to know about the country that through its mineral resources plays a vital role in the world economy:

1) There has never been a peaceful transfer of power

Transfer of power timeline

Since independence in 1960 violence has always accompanied the transfer of power from one leader to another.

Joseph Kasavubu became president following the 1960 election, held a month before independence, and Patrice Lumumba became the prime minister.

But Lumumba was later sacked after a power struggle. In 1961, interference by former colonial power Belgium led to him being handed over to rebels who executed him, cut up his body and dissolved it in acid.

The power behind the throne in the early years was army chief Mobutu Sese Seko, who became president following a coup in 1965.

Mobutu Sese Seko pictured in the 1970s
Mobutu Sese Seko was overthrown in 1997 after 32 years in power

After 32 years in power he was ousted by rebels supported by neighbouring countries.

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 Key: DR Congo

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