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Zaire's Prime Minister Gives In to Parliament and Resigns Post

March 25, 1997|From Associated Press

KINSHASA, Zaire — Prime Minister Leon Kengo wa Dondo resigned Monday, bowing to pressure from lawmakers who blamed him for mishandling an insurgency by rebels who now control nearly a quarter of the country.

Kengo's departure came a day after his mentor, President Mobutu Sese Seko, emerged from seclusion, promising to make clear "within 48 hours" his plans to reunite the country.

Parliament had voted last week to oust Kengo, accusing him of being soft on the insurgents. The Mobutu regime initially rejected the vote, saying it was unconstitutional.

Opposition lawmakers planned to meet today to discuss a transitional government and urged all legislators to join them.

Supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi, a popular opposition leader and longtime Mobutu foe, say he should take over as prime minister and begin talks with the rebels.

Tshisekedi has pledged to negotiate with rebel leader Laurent Kabila and form a coalition government.

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