Name of leader          Ernest Wamba dia Wamba

 

Organization                    Rally for Congolese Democracy (Rassemblement Congolais pour la Démocratie, RCD)

 

Conflict country              Democratic Republic of Congo

 

Gender                              Male   

    

Year of birth                     1942[1]    

 

Place of birth                   Sundi-Lutete in the Kongo Central Province of the DRC[2]      

 

Year of death                   2020

 

 

Deceased

 

He died in 2020. Coded not deceased as of December 31, 2018.

 

Birth order

 

His birth order is unknown.

 

Age at start of rebel leadership

 

“The original RCD was formed on 12 August 1998 by various political elements opposing President Kabila. Key opposition leaders were called to a meeting in Goma where the movement was formed with direct support from Rwanda and Uganda…At the beginning of the war Professor Ernest Wamba dia Wamba emerged as chairman of the RCD,” so he would have been roughly age 56.[3]

 

Leader entry method

 

He was elected president of the RCD, according to his own account.[4]

 

Powersharing

 

No, there is no evidence of powersharing.

 

Education (also name universities attended, if any); note any relevant experiences while a student

 

After being raised in Swedish mission schools,[5] he went on to study English at the Experiment for International Living for a few months.[6] He then won a scholarship to the United States, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy at Western Michigan University and an MBA at Claremont Graduate School.[7] While at Western Michigan University he became involved in the Black Action Movement, African Student Association, and the U.S. chapter of the General Union of Congolese Students.[8]   

 

Ever married? If yes, age of first marriage

 

He married an American woman he met while studying for his bachelor’s degree at Western Michigan University.[9] The exact age when he married is unknown but it was before he became rebel leader.

 

Children

 

Yes, he had three children, all born in the United States.[10]

 

Religious identification

 

He was a Protestant Christian.[11]

 

Elite family background

 

Yes, he is from an elite family background.[12]

 

Political affiliations and intellectual circles; note any relevant social connections made

 

Yes, he was involved in civil rights movements including the Black Action Movement, African Student Association and the U.S. chapter of the General Union of Congolese Students.[13] In the 1980s he “became a figure in academic and political circles in Africa.”[14]

 

Physical and mental health

 

No, there is no evidence of poor physical or mental health.

 

Pre-militant leader occupation

 

He was a history professor at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.[15]

 

Experience in a state military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No, there is no evidence of state military experience.

 

Experience in a nonstate military, and role; any relevant social ties

 

No, there is no evidence of nonstate military experience.

 

Combat experience prior to assuming resistance organization leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence of combat experience.

 

Held government position prior to assuming leadership?

 

No, there is no evidence he held a government position.

 

Lived in exile?

 

Yes. Most accounts of Wamba dia Wamba’s life describe his life in Tanzania following his imprisonment as exile.[16] One source describes him as a “longtime exiled academic.”[17]

 

Study abroad?

 

Yes, he studied in the United States. See education, above.

 

Did the leader receive military training abroad?

 

No, there is no evidence he received military training abroad.

 

Did the leader have extensive work experience abroad?

 

Yes, following his studies in the United States, he taught at Brandeis University, Harvard University, and Boston College.[18] In 1980, he began working as a history professor at the University of Dar es Salaam.[19]

 

Serve time in prison? Social connections during that time?

 

Yes, in 1981 he returned to Congo from Tanzania to visit his family, and during this trip was arrested by the government of Mobutu Sese Seko for a year due to a “subversive” paper he had authored.[20]

 

Was there an assassination attempt on the leader by the state?

 

There is no evidence of an assassination attempt by the state

 

Cause of Death?

 

He died of natural causes on July 15, 2020.

 

Primary language, and other languages spoken as adult

 

He likely spoke French as his primary language, in addition to English.

 

Photo source: https://newafricadaily.com/prominent-congolese-intellectual-and-activist-has-passed-away

[1] Philippe Wamba, Kinship: A Family’s Journey in Africa and America (New York: Penguin Group, 1999), 204.

[2] “Pr. Ernest Wamba-Dia-Wamba,” CODESRIA, Accessed April 10, 2017, http://www.codesria.org/spip.php?article1480.

[3] “RCD,” Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) Database, accessed, April 10, 2017, http://ucdp.uu.se/#/actor/424.

[4] Michael C. Vazquez and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, “The Guerrilla Professor,” Transition 85(2000): 140-159, p. 148.

[5] Emizet Francois Kisangani, Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (London: Roman & Littlefield, 2016), 624.

[6] Philippe Wamba, Kinship: A Family’s Journey in Africa and America (New York: Penguin Group, 1999), 205.

[7] Michael C. Vazquez and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, “The Guerrilla Professor,” Transition 85(2000): 140-159, p. 142; “Ernest Wamba dia Wamba,” Global Philanthropy Forum, Accessed April 10, 2017, https://philanthropyforum.org/people/ernest-wamba-dia-wamba/.

[8] Philippe Wamba, Kinship: A Family’s Journey in Africa and America (New York: Penguin Group, 1999), 206.

[9] Randy Kennedy, “His Father is a Rebel Leader…” The New York Times, August 29, 1999, pg. 26.

[10] Philippe Wamba, Kinship: A Family’s Journey in Africa and America (New York: Penguin Group, 1999), 171; Randy Kennedy, “His Father is a Rebel Leader…” The New York Times, August 29, 1999, pg. 26.

[11] María Torrellas, “Interview With Wamba Dia Wamba. Part II,” DAWN, Accessed April 10, 2017, http://www.thedawn-news.org/2016/04/15/interview-with-wamba-dia-wamba/.

[12] Ernest Wamba dia Wamba in discussion with Harry Krelsler, March 17, 2004, http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people4/Wamba/wamba-con1.html.

[13] See f.n.11

[14] See f.n.2

[15] Michael C. Vazquez and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, “The Guerrilla Professor,” Transition 85(2000): 140-159.

[16] See, e.g., Michael C. Vazquez and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, “The Guerrilla Professor,” Transition 85(2000): 140-159, p. 157; “Wamba dia Wamba in Kinshasa,” The New Humanitarian, October 4, 2001, https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/report/27442/drc-wamba-dia-wamba-kinshasa.

[17] “Congo Rebel Seeks Peace but Ready to Battle On,” Relief Web, October 30, 1998, https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/congo-rebels-seek-peace-ready-battle.

[18] Michael C. Vazquez and Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, “The Guerrilla Professor,” Transition 85(2000): 140-159.

[19] Emizet Francois Kisangani, Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (London: Roman & Littlefield, 2016), 624.

[20] Emizet Francois Kisangani, Historical Dictionary of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (London: Roman & Littlefield, 2016), 624.

Wamba.jpg