Alphonse Massamba-Débat

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Alphonse Massamba-Débat
Alphonse Massamba-Debat.png
2nd President of Congo
2nd President of the Republic of the Congo
In office
16 August 1963 – 4 September 1968
Preceded by Fulbert Youlou
Succeeded by Alfred Raoul
1st Prime Minister of Congo
1st Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo
In office
16 August 1963 – 19 December 1963
Preceded by Post abolished 1959-1963
Succeeded by Pascal Lissouba
Personal details
Born 11 February 1921
Nkolo, French Equatorial Africa
Died 25 March 1977 (aged 56)
Cause of death Executed

Alphonse Massamba-Débat (February 11, 1921 – March 25, 1977) was a political figure of the Republic of the Congo who led the country from 1963 until 1968.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

He was born in the small village of Nkolo, Boko District, French Equatorial Africa, in 1921,[1] into a Kongo family and was a member of the Lari tribe. He attended missionary school and primary schooling at the Boko Regional School. He then received training as a teacher at the Edouard Renard school in Brazzaville.[2] By the age of 13, he was a teacher and went to teach in Chad from 1945 to 1948.[2][1] By 1940, he had joined the anti-colonialist Chadian Progressive Party and served as the general secretary of the Association for the Development of Chad in 1945.[3] In 1947, he moved back to Congo and was principal of a school in Mossendjo from 1948 to 1953, then in Mindouli from 1953 to 1956. He was also the headmaster of Bakongo Secular School in Brazzaville in 1957[2][1] and joined the Congolese Progressive Party (PPC).[3]

Career[edit]

By 1957, Massamba-Débat had joined Fulbert Youlou's Democratic Union for the Defense of African Interests party (UDDIA), stopped teaching and became the Minister of Education and two years later he was elected to national assembly. In 1959, he was made president of the assembly and remained in power, later serving as minister of state and of planning but he began to criticize the administration of Congo's first president, Fulbert Youlou, whom many perceived to be overly reliant on France.

When the President of the Republic of the Congo, Fulbert Youlou, was deposed in a coup d'état on August 15, 1963, the presidency was suspended. Massamba-Débat, Chairman of the National Council of the Revolution, was declared Prime Minister the next day, and the National Council of the Revolution was declared the only legal political party in the country. Massamba-Débat was elected President on December 19, 1963, with Pascal Lissouba standing in as the new Prime Minister.

Congo under Massamba-Débat (1963-1968)[edit]

Massamba-Débat and meeting with Romania's Nicolae Ceaușescu, 1968

The government of Massamba-Débat attempted to undertake a political economic strategy of "scientific socialism." By July 1964 Massamba-Débat's government had declared one-party rule under the National Movement of the Revolution[4] and a campaign of nationalizations began. Internationally Massamba-Débat aligned his country with the USSR and Communist China and he allowed nominally communist guerrillas to base themselves on Congolese territory.[5]

Massamba-Débat also attempted to form popular militia units and in 1966 with the help of the Cuban army.[6] For 10 days in June and July 1966 members of the military attempted to overthrow his government after he had attempted to place the military under a single command. In the failed coup attempt several hundred Cuban troops sheltered members of Massamba-Débat's government and he was eventually able to return to power after giving in to some of the coup leaders demands.[6]

On August 5, 1968, the new National Council of the Revolution (CNR) was formed, along with a new government, with 40 members including Massamba-Débat.[2]

In July 1968, he arrested Captain Ngouabi, dissolved the National Assembly and the Political Bureau of the MNR and suspended the 1963 Constitution. This resulted in a confrontation between supporters of the Civil Defense and part of the army. He was then forced to amnesty all political prisoners and deal with his opponents.[2] Following the coup tensions remained between Massamba-Débat's administration and the military and on September 4, 1968 Massamba-Débat's government was overthrown by Marien Ngouabi, the chairman of the same party that had brought Massamba-Débat to power.[5]

Life Under House Arrest[edit]

Following the bloodless coup of 1968 Massamba-Débat was forced to leave politics and Massamba-Débat returned to his home town of placed under house arrest, probably a few hours after Ngouabi's assassination.[2] When Ngouabi was murdered in 1977, many people were arrested and tried for plotting the assassination, including Massamba-Débat. Massamba-Débat was executed on the night of March 25, 1977 in circumstances that remain cloudy.[2][5][7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Marien Ngouabi : Les petits secrets d’un odieux assassinat…" (in French). DAC Presse. 18 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Liste des présidents de la République du Congo Brazzaville" (in French). Consulate General of Congo in Tunis. 17 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Database Search, Massamba-Débat, Alphonse
  4. ^ "Alphonse Massamba-Debat - biography - president of Republic of the Congo". Encyclopædia Britannica. 
  5. ^ a b c History Database Search, Massamba-Débat, Alphonse
  6. ^ a b Gleijeses, Piero (2002). Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959-1976. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 169–172. ISBN 0-8078-5464-6. 
  7. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald - Google News Archive Search". google.com. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Fulbert Youlou
post abolished, 1959–1963
Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo
1963
Succeeded by
Pascal Lissouba
Preceded by
Fulbert Youlou
President of the Republic of the Congo
1963–1968
Succeeded by
Alfred Raoul