Gbadolite or Gbado-Lite (pronounced [ɡ͡badolite]) is the capital of Nord-Ubangi Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The town is located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of the Ubangi River at the border to the Central African Republic and 1,150 kilometres (710 mi) northeast of the national capital Kinshasa. Gbadolite was the ancestral home and residence of Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, later self-styled as Mobutu Sese Seko where airport, colleges, malls, supermarkets and libraries were built by the President in a program of modernization. Gbadolite is where Mobutu led the summit that would produce the Gbadolite Declaration, a short lived ceasefire in the Angolan Civil War, in 1989.

Provincial capital and city
Ville de Gbadolite
Aerial view of the town
Aerial view of the town
Gbadolite is located in Democratic Republic of the Congo
Coordinates: 4°17′N 21°01′E / 4.283°N 21.017°E / 4.283; 21.017
CountryDR Congo
Zone (territoire) de GbadoliteDecember 8, 1972[1]
Cité de GbadoliteMarch 25, 1982[1]
Ville de GbadoliteJanuary 10, 1987[1]
 • MayorJoseph Mulegbe Damba[2]
 • Total278 km2 (107 sq mi)
462 m (1,516 ft)
 (2015 estimate)[3]
 • Total198,839
 • Density720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (WAT)


Mobutu built Gbadolite into a luxurious town often nicknamed "Versailles of the Jungle".[4] He built a hydroelectric dam on the nearby Ubangi River in Mobayi Mbongo, an international airport, Gbadolite Airport, which could accommodate a Concorde, and three large palaces. As a result, the people of the town had no trouble finding jobs. During Mobutu's regime, Gbadolite also had companies such as CDIA Zaire for farming productions, SOZAGEC for road construction, and SAFRICAS for house construction. The town had a general hospital with high tech facilities, supermarkets or malls, which were destroyed in 1997. Gbadolite had also College Presidentiel, a high school famous for its academic excellence and administered by Jesuit Fathers to whom Mobutu gave the school. This school had a chemistry lab, physics lab, computer lab, Olympic game facilities, and band instruments of all kinds. The town was also famous for its Chapelle Marie la Misericorde, a luxurious church in which Mobutu buried his first wife Mama Mobutu.

Two palaces were built outside Gbadolite at Kawele. One was an elaborate complex of Chinese pagodas while the other was a modern mansion. Both were used as residences for Mobutu and guests. The three story palace in Gbadolite was used primarily for public functions.

Mobutu also built a nuclear bunker that could house more than 500 people and was the largest in Africa; this was the only nuclear bunker in Central Africa. The bunker was connected to the Ubangui River by a secret tunnel, giving access to the military harbour at the village of N'dangi.[5]

When Laurent Kabila successfully led a rebellion and ousted Mobutu in 1997, Gbadolite was raided, and most of what was in the palaces was looted.[6] The palaces are now being overrun by vegetation.

In 1998, the Ugandan backed MLC (Mouvement de Libération du Congo) rebel group, led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, captured Gbadolite from Kabila's government and it became the MLC's headquarters.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Villes de RD Congo - Gbado-Lite" (in French). MONUC. 2006-05-29. Archived from the original on 2003-12-31. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
  2. ^ "Kabila Nomme les Maires et leurs Adjoints". Forum Des As. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  3. ^ "Ville de Gbadolite". CAID. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Legacy of corrupt and ruthless dictator who built Versailles in the jungle". The Independent. London. May 5, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  5. ^ L'Express, 22 December 2008, page 13
  6. ^ Michela Wrong (2000). In the footsteps of Mr Kurtz: living on the brink of disaster in the Congo. Fourth Estate Ltd (Harpercollins Publishers). p. 229. ISBN 1-84115-421-0.


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 4°17′N 21°01′E / 4.283°N 21.017°E / 4.283; 21.017