This article lists the heads of state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) since the country's independence in 1960.

The current head of state is President Joseph Kabila, since 17 January 2001.

Heads of state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1960–present)

(Dates in italics indicate de facto continuation of office)

Republic of the Congo (1960–1964)

NameBirth–DeathTook officeLeft officePolitical Party
1Joseph Kasa-Vubu1910–19691 July 19601 August 1964ABAKO
Antoine Gizenga
1925–31 March 19615 August 1961Parti Solidaire Africain
(Gizenga faction)

Democratic Republic of the Congo (1964–1971)

(1)Joseph Kasa-Vubu1910–19691 August 196424 November 1965ABAKO
2Joseph-Désiré Mobutu1930–199724 November 196527 October 1971Military /
Popular Movement of the Revolution

Republic of Zaire (1971–1997)

(2)Mobutu Sese Seko1930–199727 October 197116 May 1997Popular Movement of the Revolution

Democratic Republic of the Congo (1997–present)

3Laurent-Désiré Kabila1939–200117 May 199716 January 2001Independent
4Joseph Kabila1971–26 January 2001
Acting since 17 January 2001
IncumbentIndependent /
People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy

Rank by time in office

RankPresidentTime in office
1Mobutu Sese Seko31 years, 173 days
2Joseph Kabila (Incumbent)16 years, 318 days
3Joseph Kasa-Vubu5 years, 146 days
4Laurent-Désiré Kabila3 years, 245 days

See also


  1. Rebel government at Stanleyville, during the Congo Crisis
  2. Deposed in the 1965 coup d'état
  3. Previously named Joseph-Désiré Mobutu; changed name on 10 January 1972 due to the policy of Zairianisation
  4. Deposed in the First Congo War
  5. Assassinated