ZAIRE: PRESIDENT MOBUTU'S VISIT (U)

Created: 7/28/1983

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DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE3

ZAIRE: PRESIDENT MOBUTU'S VISIT

Summary

Zairian President Mobutu will visit the United States in early August. Be is scheduled to meet with President Reaganugust and will also confer with other top US officials. Bo is likely to appeal for greater security and economic assistance, arguing his case by pointing to his military support for the beleaguered pro-tfestern regime in Chad and to recent Zairian economic and political reforms. Mobutu's visit comesime when his position at home appears secure. I

The Setting

Ue believe that Mobutu, whose last official trip to Washington was inees his visits here as demonstrating to Zairian and international audiences that heenior African statesman and important world figure and that he has strong US support. The visit comesime when relations between Kinshasa and Washington are good. ^Hbbbb*bBHb^bbbbbbbV

have Improved considerablyeriod of uneasiness last year when Mobutu briefly renounced US aid in reaction to sharp Congressional criticism of his regime and Congressional cuts in the Administration's aid request for Zaire. H

Mobutu's Perspective on Chad

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Developmentshad are likely to be foremost on Mobutu's

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an Zalrlan force in Chad Is assigned primarily to help protect the Chadlan capital, but Mobutu's orders also state that President Habre may use the Zairian troops in any way he sees fit. Zalrlan fighter aircraft, meanwhile, may be conducting limited reconnaissance for Habre's forces,ransport aircraft has flown logistic missions for the Chadlans.

We believe Mobutu will urgeajor portion of the recentlyillionS emergency military assistance for Habre be channeled to Zalrlan units in Chad, many of which are poorly equipped. He may also ask for direct US support to the Zalrlan contingenthad and request Increased aid to the Zalrlan armed forces more generally. He maypecific military shopping list to Washington.

In pressing for greater military assistance, Mobutu may stress that Kinshasa needs to be compensated for the military and financial resources Itxpendinghadime when Zaire is trying to cope with severe budgetary problems.

The Zairian Intervention In Chad could backfire on Mobutu. If Habre's forces meet with reverses and the Zalrians suffer casualties or are forced to withdraw from the country, Mobutu would probably come under criticism within his regime. although we do not believe his rule would be threatened.

Mobutu's Economic Agenda

Mobutu probably also hopes that he can parlay his government's defense of Western interests in Chad into increased US economic assistance. During his talks in Washington, he is likely to point to significant economic and administrative reforms he has Instituted during the past year. These measures, recommended by the International Monetary Fund and Western donor nations, have Included:

New limitations on government spending,ay cap on public sector salaries, aimed at reducing the budget deficit.

Improved accounting and marketing arrangements for cobalt and copper, designed to reduce opportunities for corruption In these key Industries.

Removal of most controls on farm prices, and liberalization of restrictions on the movement of agriculturaltipns aimed at stimulating agricultural production,

Supportew IHF Accord

Mobutu may urge that Washington respond to such efforts by Interceding with the IMF to speed negotiations now under wayne-year standby loan of0 millionompensatory fund facility of0 million.* He may argue that his government already has accepted most of the reforms the Fund Is urging and that delay In reaching an agreement would resultncreased hardship for the Zalrlan people.

Fund officials, for their part, generally appear satisfied with Mobutu's reform efforts!

Tf the country's excnange rate system,arge devaluat1on--is close to resolution.

Bilateral Aid

While In Washington, Mobutu may also solicit greater bilateral economic assistance. The United States furnishedillion in economic aid duringuch assistance has totalled5 million since Zaire's Independencemml In recent years, the US has providedood, aid to agricultural and rural development, and assistancehe nutritional and health fields. The activities of the moreeace Corps volunteers In Zaire have complemented the economic aid effort. ^|

In appealing for greater assistance, Mobutu may argue that:

ncreased aidecessary during the current period of difficult economic adjustments.

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'Zaire's last JHF1 billion loan agreement approved laapsed after only five months when Kinshasa failedide margin to meet the Fund's performance targets. fBLfj

aire's economic problems result largely from externalrecession and falling commodityver which Kinshasa has no control.

The present level of assistance is Inconsistent with the two countries' historical ties as well as with Zaire's importance and pro-Western orientation.

The United States tends to take Zaire for granted and in some instances provides greater assistance to less consistent supporters of Washington's positions on foreign pol icy issues .*

Mobutu also nay ask that Washington back his government's

efforts to get public and private creditors to reschedule5 billion medium- and long-term debt. Western nations and

private banks have periodically rescheduled Zaire's debtnd the Zairians doubtless hope that they will receive more such relief once they come to terms with the IMF. Mobutu and his financial advisers are probably hopingassive, long-term rescheduling. JtkmW

Other Concerns

On other economic issues, Mobutu may ask that Washington make additional purchases of Zairian cobalt for the US strategic stockpile. He may contend that the United States should take advantage of current low world cobalt prices and Kinshasa's willingness to make such sales on concessional terms. He may also point out that such purchases would assist his government by reducington stockpile of unsold cobalt and by putting Kinshasaetter position to repay its debts. ^KM

At the same time, he may voice concern over recent reports that the Congress plans to consider legislation to subsidize domestic US cobalt producers. The United States Imports more thanercent of the cobaltses, and nearlyercent of the imported cobalt comes from Zaire.

Mobutu may express Interest In greater US trade and Investment. US private foreign investment In Zaire totalled

which currently sits cm the UK security Council, has eupported US positions regarding Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and other issues in the UK. Tt has also opposed efforts by Cuba and other radical states to dominate the Honaligned Movement.

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Zaire are currently trying toilateral accord aimed at facilitating Increased Investment.

Economic Outlook

In the near term, we expect that Mobutu will continue to endorse economic reforms needed to secure continued Western financial support. He probably recognizes that he has few other options. Even with such assistance, however, he probably will be able to do little more than slow Zaire's economic decline until the ongoing International economic recovery results In significantly higher mineral prices. Moreover, the presence of large cobalt and copper stockpiles in some countries, as well as the availability of substitutes, will tend, at least Initially, to dampen pressures for major price increases.

Over the longer term, we are skeptical that Mobutu will display the political will needed to continue pursuing the strong belt-tightening and other measures that might turn the economy around. He has adopted economic reforms In the past with little lasting effect, and we doubt that the current recovery program will fare much better.

Political Issues

Mobutu probably believes that several political decisions he has madehe past year strengthen his case for strong US support. Takenhole, we believe these actions demonstrate that heully In control of his country andajor actor on the African scene. w|

Past Difficulties

At the time of his last visit to Washington inobutu hadear of troublesome political developments, Including:

he sudden resignation in1 of his Prime Minister, Nguzaond, who fled to Belgium and proceeded to denounce Mobutu for repression and corruption.

he theft from his residence In1 of several personal articles of symbolic importance, which Increased

oncern^abou^his personal security!

Effortsroup of former legislators toecond Zairian political party.

Indications that rebels belonging to the Front for the National Liberation of the Congohe Angola- and Zambia-based group that had invaded Zaire's mineral-rich Shaba Region twice in the, were stepping up preparations to resume hostilities.

could no longer

previously provided him with key backing, including direct military intervention on his behalf during8 of Shaba.

esult of these difficulties

Mobutu felt Increasingly beleaguered and

his

day management or the counted andeneral sense of malaise had gripped the Zairian leadership. Bmammmmmmalthe Situation did not bode well for Zaire's

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Mobutu Reasserts His Leadership

Since then, with the passage of time, Mobutu appears to have regained much of his rest for governing, in part because the Shaban rebels and other opponents failed toerious challenge. Thus when Mobutu meets with US officialsugust, he will project the Imagetrong and confident leader.

Mobutu can pointumber of domestic political achievements over the past year. In the second halfis government completed the most extensive series of local, regional, and national legislative elections ever heldaire. Organs of the official party screened all candidates to loyalty, butelections were competi tl veand^^esp^eso^ie^WTs^nceso^vote fraud--reasonabair by Zairian standards.

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Mobutu may note that late last year he gave his toughMinister, Kengo waroad mandate to Kengo promptlyarge-scale antresultinghe arrest of dozens ofand small businessmen but very few We believe the campaign was designed primarilythe United States and other Western countries, but itar

appears to have figures are unavai been jailed

ave released mostormer legislators whoast year after trying toecond political party. w orominent exiles have accepted the

Mobutu may also pointeneral amnesty he declared this May for imprisoned and exiled politicians. His government

released most political

cludingormer legislators wl

been jailed last yaar after trying toecond political party. ew prominent exiles have accepted the amnesty, but most are remaining abroad.

Very few of the several thousand Shaban rebelsngola and Zambia have availed themselves of Mobutu's amnesty^

Nonetheless,

the rebels suffer from deep actional divisions ana severe material and financial problems. We doubt that they can mount another invasion anytime soon, although militant elements within the group might carry out Isolated guerrilla or sabotage operations at some point. OC)

Despite these political trendsobutu's favor during the past year, the poor state of the economy could spark outbreaks of

warning.

living standardsaire are lowernaepenTeTfc^T^ But major disturbances that might threaten Mobutu's regime are unlikely anytime soon. In our judgment. The population's evident preoccupation with economic survival, Mobutu's proven adroitness at repression of some opponents and cooptation of others, and the relative reliability of key military unitsinshasa all work In favor of the regime's survival, at least over the next two years,

unsuccessful last year toummit of

Mobutu may year on African issues. In may note that he hosted the annual French-African summit conference in With someountries participating, this meeting contrasted sharply efforts by other African leaders

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the Organization of African Unity. Mobutu no doubt believesKinshasa summit affirmed his statuseading It" also eased his worries about his relationsSocialist government In Paris; President Mitterrandconference and privately pledged continuity 1n

The Zalrlan leader may also refer to his decision in2 to reestablish relations with Israel, making Zaire thethus far the only--Afr1can country fully to restore ties broken at the time of3 Arab-Israeli war. The move cost Zaire some Arab economic assistancemore important tohim Israeli military assistance. The Israelis have been training and helpingan brigade that is responsible for Mobutu's own security, and thejr recently beganey Army division In Shaba Region.

Mobutu probably will ask US officialstatus report on the Namlbian problem and the related Issueuban troop withdrawal from Angola. He is likely to express support for US positions and initiatives on these Issues. wlmm

Relations with Washington

Although Kinshasa's relations with Washington have generally been good during Mobutu's nearlyears in office, occasional periods of tension have arisen. 5 Mobutu, apparently fearing US complicity in an alleged plot to overthrow him, expelled the US Ambassador. Mobutu took strong exception to the human rights policies of the Carter Administration, but US logistic support to the Zairian military during the rebel Invasions of Shaba Region78 helped to mollify him.

Following Mobutu's brief "renunciation" of US aid inelations Improved with Ambassadorisit to Zaire Inobutu's meetings last summer with Ambassador-at-large Walters and other visiting State Department officials, and Vice President Bush's trip to Zaire last November, m

The bilateral relationshipikely to continue to be characterized by occasional periods of uneasiness, in part because Mobutu probably will try periodically to play off Zaire's traditionalrance, Belgium, and the United

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Statesanother, as he has in the past. But we do not expect any change in his basically pro-Western orientation.

P_rospects

He do not anticipate that Nobutu will be removed fron office in the next two years. Even If he were, we would not expect an anti-Western government to cone to power,ost-Nobutu regime night make sone adjustments in the directionore

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. most members of the c1 vl 1and distrustful of leftist Ideology; they are likely to be watchful for oviet or Libyan efforts to meddle In the post-Nobutu era.

Yet It Is conceivable, in our view, that hitherto unidentified junior military officers or enlisted men could seizepossibility almost anywhere in Africa--either while

Mobutu is in power or after he departs. We know

there has long been considerable resentment amongpersonnel over low pay, chronic shortages, Mobutu's tribal-regional favoritism, and the corruption that has enriched many senior officers. egime headed by junior military personnel night be radically leftist in orientation, although we are not aware of any leftwing sentiment within the armed forces at present. eftist military regime probably would be unstable; we believeould face challenges from other elements in the military and would lack support anong the educated cin elite.

Indeed, weesurgence of the widespreadpolitical Instability that plagued Zaire before5 willeal possibility no matter what kindsucceeds him. Strong ethnic and social tensionsZaire's present surface calm|

in 0 r judg-ien: , various bru.jp:. cook upon Mobutu's departure as an opportunity to settle old scores. The Shaban rebels and other dissidents would probably be emboldened to attempt new revolts, reating new opportunities for Soviet and Libyan meddling,

At the same time, we believe most Zalrtans want toecurrence of the anarchy and bloodshed of the. We also think therereater sense of national identity today than there was then. In view of these countervailingost-Mobutu regime's ability to minimize violence and instability may depend on the extent to which it is seen by the populace as

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