Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

This is a list of Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zaire.

Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Célestin Mbala

since July 2018
Ministry of Defence
Reports toMinister of Defence
AppointerPresident of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Formation30 June 1960
First holderVictor Lundula

The available information on the following officers is incomplete and sometimes contradictory. In addition to armed forces chiefs of staff, in 1966 Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Malila was listed as Army Chief of Staff.[1]

Democratic Republic of the Congo (1960–71)Edit

No. Chief of the General Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
1Lundula, VictorMajor General
Victor Lundula
November 196019610–1 yearsLand Forces.
2Mobutu, Joseph-DésiréLieutenant General
Joseph-Désiré Mobutu
1961October 19642–3 yearsLand Forces[3]
3Mulamba, LéonardMajor General
Léonard Mulamba
October 196425 November 19651 year, 1 monthLand Forces.
4Bobozo, LouisGeneral
Louis Bobozo
25 November 196525 July 19726 years, 243 daysLand Forces[6][7]

Republic of Zaire (1971–97)Edit

Following Mobutu Sese Seko's take over of Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country was renamed the Republic of Zaire.

No. Chief of the General Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
1Moaso, BumbaBrigadier General
Bumba Moaso
25 July 197219774–5 yearsLand Forces.
2Malobia, Babia ZangiGénéral de corps d'armée
Babia Zangi Malobia
September 197819812–3 yearsLand Forces.
3Boyenge, Mosambaye SingaGénéral d'armée
Mosambaye Singa Boyenge
198119853–4 yearsLand Forces[9]
4Aundu, Eluki MongaGénéral de Division
Eluki Monga Aundu [fr]
(born 1941)
1985October 19871–2 yearsLand Forces[9]
5Wa Botembe, LompondaAdmiral
Lomponda Wa Botembe [fr]
(born 1936)
October 198719891–2 yearsNavy.
6ba Embanga, MazembeGénéral d'Armée
Mazembe ba Embanga
198919911–2 yearsLand Forces.
7Bokungu, Donatien Mahele LiekoGénéral
Donatien Mahele Lieko Bokungu
1991February 19931–2 yearsLand Forces[10]
(4)Aundu, Eluki MongaGénéral
Eluki Monga Aundu [fr]
(born 1941)
February 199320 November 19963 years, 9 monthsLand Forces.
(7)Bokungu, Marc Mahélé LièkoGénéral
Marc Mahélé Lièko Bokungu
20 November 199616 May 1997 †177 daysLand Forces.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (1997–present)Edit

No. Chief of Staff Took office Left office Time in office Defence branch Ref
1Kabarebe, JamesGeneral
James Kabarebe
(born 1959)
17 May 199716 July 19981 year, 60 daysLand Forces[11]
2Kifwa, CélestinCélestin Kifwa16 July 199815 August 199830 daysLand Forces[11]
3Kabila, JosephMajor General
Joseph Kabila
(born 1971)
15 August 199819992001Land Forces[13]
4Lwetcha, SylvestreGeneral
Sylvestre Lwetcha
(born ?)
199919 August 20034 years, 1 monthLand Forces.
5Liwanga, BaudouinAdmiral
Baudoin Liwanga Mata
(born 1950)
19 August 200321 June 2004307 daysNavy.
6Sungilanga, KisempiaLieutenant General
Kisempia Sungilanga
(born ?)
21 June 200412 June 20072 years, 356 daysLand Forces[15][16]
7Kayembe, DieudonnéLieutenant General
Dieudonné Kayembe
(born 1945)
12 June 200717 November 20081 year, 158 daysLand Forces.
8Etumba, DidierArmy General
Didier Etumba
(born 1955)
17 November 200814 July 20189 years, 239 daysLand Forces[17]
9Mbala, CélestinLieutenant General
Célestin Mbala
(born ?)
14 July 2018Incumbent2 years, 22 daysLand Forces[18]


  1. ^ Promoted major-general 23 January 1961.[2]
  2. ^ Chief of Staff since October 1964, until named Prime Minister after coup of 25 November 1965.[4]
  3. ^ Commandant en chef de l'Armée nationale congolaise. Bobozo was a Major General in 1965 and appears to have been a full General by 1972. Entered the Force Publique on 23 June 1933; after training, joined 3rd Company, 14th Battalion Service Territoriale at Lisala 3 September 1935; promoted Corporal 1 May 1938; promoted Sergeant 19 April 1940, took part in Abyssian Campaign; 1st Sergeant 1947; First Sergeant-Major 1 January 1951. Despatched to Adjutants' School for the Force Publique at Luluabourg, 5 September 1959. Part of 4 Brigade, Thysville, 1960, and became commander of the brigade after 30 June 1960. Promoted in 1961 to Colonel. Tasked with organising units for operations in Katanga; became commander of 4th Groupement, Elisabethville, 1964 and promoted to Major-General.[5] Became C.-in-C. 25 November 1965; retired 25 July 1972.
  4. ^ former commander of the Airborne Division (DITRAC: Division de Troupes Aeromobiles Reinforcee de Choc). From Equateur; Crawford and Young describe him as 'illiterate, but a forceful personality.'[8] One of a number of military leaders who entered the Popular Movement of the Revolution (MPR) Political Bureau in 1975, when the MPR was merged with the state, and in 1975 became one of the eight permanent members of the Political Bureau. Captain General of the Forces Armées Zaïroises.
  5. ^ Former Director-General of the Defence Ministry, and graduate of the Belgian defence academy.[8]
  6. ^ Took control of the army after Celestin Kifwa was removed as Chief of Staff by Laurent-Desire Kabila.[12]
  7. ^ Reappointed 8 March 2001 in accordance with Decree 010/2001.[14]


  1. ^ Miami News, 18 June 1966 and Sydney Taylor (ed), The New Africans: A Guide to the Contemporary History of Emergent Africa and its Leaders, Paul Hamlin, London/Reuters, 1967, p.95, 102
  2. ^ Ludo de Witte, 'The Assassination of Lumumba,' Verso, 2001, 127.
  3. ^ Le 3 novembre 1965, il est nommé au grade de Lieutenant-général de l'Armée Nationale Congolaise.' Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  4. ^ Sydney Taylor, The New Africans, 1967, p.102
  5. ^ Editions Service d'Education d'Information, 'L'Armée nationale congolaise 1960-1970,' Etat-Major General de l'ANC, November 1970, via Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.
  6. ^ Le Potential, 24 novembre 1965 : le communiqué du coup d'Etat du Lieutenant-général Mobutu. Bobozo was made C-in-C under Mobutu when Mobutu seized power, and it was stated initially that he would act as C-in-C 'while Mobutu was acting as President of the Republic.'
  7. ^ Colonel S.C. Davis, British Military Attache Kinshasa, Report on the Zairean Armed Forces for the Period Apr 1971 – Apr 1972, DA/KIN/76, 5 May 1972, FCO 31/1170, accessed at Public Record Office, Kew
  8. ^ a b M. Crawford Young and Thomas Turner, The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State, 1985, ISBN 0-299-10110-X, p.265
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Canadian Government Immigration Review Board, Issue Paper: Zaire: The Balance of Power in the Regions Archived 2005-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, April 1997
  11. ^ a b, Congo developments XXIV Chronicle: 1 June – 26 August 1998
  12. ^ POLITICS-D.R.CONGO: Rebels Control Power, Kabila Flees Capital
  13. ^ Les chefs d’état-major général successifs de la RDC depuis 1960
  14. ^ Decree 010/2001, Portant Nomination du Chef d'etat-major inter-armées et du chef d'etat-major Q.G. Also Gerard Prunier, 'From Genocide to Continental War: the 'Congolese' Conflict and the Crisis of Contemporary Africa,' Hurst & Co., London, 2009, ISBN 978-1-85065-523-7, p.263 (see also p.230; there is also a confusing reference to General Lwetcha being made FAC chief of staff in September 1999).
  15. ^
  16. ^ [1] République Démocratique du Congo : L'armée doit arrêter l'utilisation d'enfants soldats, Bruxelles, 19 avril 2007, Human Rights Watch
  17. ^ Xinhua, [2]. See also U.S. State Department cable on his appointment:
  18. ^ Fardc: Joseph Kabila names Lieutenant-General Celestin Mbala Munsense General Staff., 16 July 2018.