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Thread: FAZ reorganisation after Shaba I

  1. #1
    Council Member
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    Oct 2009

    Default FAZ reorganisation after Shaba I

    Moderator moved this to RFI thread.

    This is technically an RFI but is posted here because it's a purely historical Zaire matter. I've been continuing to research the FAZ, and my efforts to start by sketching in the command structure are not going too well. I really need to go to the archives in Brussels, but ahead of that I wanted to pick brains, Stan and Tom in particular. I've just been reading the CGSC paper on the two Shabas and it's really good, but does not go as far as necessary on a couple of questions.

    Mobutu reorganised the command structure after Shaba I. Now what I guess is that he did away with the 'groupements,' created three Roman-numeralled Regions Militaires, and then started creating the 31st Para, 41st Commando etc.

    About this time DITRAC appears to have disappeared and the Kamanyola Division was created - I now know thanks to the paper Tom that the division was created some six months before Shaba I.

    So my question is - are my guesses about the reorganisation correct, why was the Kamanyola Division created, *before* the hasty flurry of reorganisation after Shaba I, and who were the personalities that really drove all this? Who won and who lost, and why?

    Very much appreciate your inputs - this has really been puzzling me!

    Cheers and thanks
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-13-2011 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Mod's note & PM to author

  2. #2
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu waza Banga

    The rooster that watches over all the hens.

    Not the most accurate translation (if you were uncle Mo), but indeed the most applicable and most popular

    I don’t think it’s that easy to delineate who won, lost and why. Mobutu often responded to even minor problems with reorganizing the Ministries and military. A delusion of progress for the West and a terminal state of confusion for the Zairois.

    I’m sure you are well aware of the fact that the FAZ back then was little more than a bunch of sergeants and troops. There were maybe a dozen Belgian-trained cadet officers, but little more than foreign advisers in country following independence. Typical even today, the troops are kept as far from the city and the president as possible and were kept in check by controlling their payroll (or lack thereof). Dispersing his rivals and literally exiling unruly units into the jungle kept uncle Mo from worrying and kept political and ethnic leaders from accessing the military. The 31st Para would later learn how to cope with that mentality by hijacking the very aircraft that would (should have) send them into permanent asylum.

    As for Kamanyola - In 85 one old DSP officer told me that Mobutu created the numerical military units to do away with former colonial jargon and to further his drive for authenticity (Congo to Zaire and all European place names replaced with African names). He would later name his yacht Kamanyola.
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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