Laurent Jean-Pierre Mbariko (January 19, 1925 – December 30, 1972), from the Kwilu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was a prominent Congolese politician who played a significant role in Congo's independence from Belgium. After elementary schooling in Catholic missionary schools, he followed a fast-track training for teachers. After teaching in the Kwilu, he moved to Leopoldville, the capital, in the late 1940s. He became a leader in the scouting movement, and later became involved in the struggle for independence. His name is among those Congolese leaders who compiled key documents laying out the aspiration for independence from Belgium in the late 1950s. Page 29 of reference 1 states in French translated :"...These entities signed with Mbariko (a former catholic scout), " the memorandum of the 16" that pleaded for democracy in all institutions. These three personalities will be part of the Ileo government,....
At the first free elections in 1959 he was elected Senator on the Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA) list headed by Antoine Gizenga. He later joined the Parti National du Peuple (PNP) party. He once served as Vice-President in the Senate.
He was included in the Ileo government on September 5, 1960 as Vice Minister for Defense. He also participated in the government of national unity led by Cyrille Adoula, who entered office August 2, 1961. He held the post of Vice-Minister (Secretaire d'etat) for Planning, Development, and International Cooperation.
He is known for his strong personality and profound savvy in international affairs. President Joseph Kasavubu often sent him in numerous state missions. He represented the Congo in the Euro-African parliamentary conference in Strasbourg, France (June 19–24, 1961).
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PICTURE: UN Secretary-General at Official Reception in Leopoldville. UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld was the guest of honour at an official reception held here this evening. The Secretary-General arrived here on 13 September, in response to an invitation by Premier Cyrille Adoula, to discuss United Nations aid and support to the Republic of the Congo. Mr. Hammarskjöld as he was being greeted by Congolese Minister Laurent Mbariko. Looking on are Dr. Sture Linner, Officer in charge of UN Operations in the Congo, and Mrs. Linner. 15 September 1961 Leopoldville, Republic of the Congo Photo # 376970 (United Nations Photo)
When Mobutu came to power through a coup in 1965, Mbariko was offered but declined government assignments. It was his way of protesting against the undemocratic process. He exiled himself to his native Kwilu where he died of illness on December 30, 1972. His untimely death left the Kwilu without a valuable representative for many years. His integrity and wisdom have since been revered in tribal music.
- Scouting in Belgian Congo (1922–1960)-French-Samuel Tilman Le scoutisme au Congo belge (1922-1960): une école de l'élite pour les jeunes indigènes
- Parti Solidaire Africain (P.S.A) Documents 1959–1960 – H. Weiss, B. Verhaegen
- Congo 1959 – J. Gerard-Libois
- Congo 1960 (3 volumes)–J. Gerard-Libois, B. Verhaegen
- Congo 1961 – J. Gerard-Libois, B. Verhaegen
- Congo 1962 – J. Gerard-Libois, B Verhaegen