Internal ethnic conflicts were revived in 1992. A wave of violence began after the Nguza Karl-i-Bond deposition in the Shabar region in the southwest when members of the Lunda tribe to which he belonged attacked Luba’s, the Tshisekedi tribe; 2,000 people perished. Thousands of Lubas left the Shaba region after their homes were destroyed. Security forces only intervened several weeks after the conflict started.
According to countryaah, the 12 banks operating in Zaire temporarily closed in 1992 due to lack of funds. Inflation reached 16,500%. According to information from the Population Crisis Committee, headquartered in Washington, Zaire was among the world’s 10 poorest countries in 1992.
The government expropriated the oil companies, as they put it, to secure the national economy.
In December, the Prime Minister declared that the national currency had been withdrawn and a new one was put into circulation. Still, Mobutu continued to pay salaries to the soldiers with the old currency.
In early 1993, there were direct confrontations between Mobutu’s private guard and rebellious soldiers who were furious at receiving invalid money. These clashes led to the loss of more than 1,000 lives in Kinshasa. The city was ravaged by looting, fires and assaults by the excited soldiers.
On February 24, Mobutus tanks surrounded the building where the Republic’s Supreme Council, which was the transitional body set up by the national conference, held and demanded of the 800 members that the currency introduced under Mobutu should still apply.
As a result of the crisis, the US, Belgium and France demanded in a note to Mobutu that it agreed to share power with the Tshisekedi of the Provisional Government. In response, Mobutu deposed Prime Minister Tshisekedi. In early 1993, Faustin Birindwa was appointed his successor.
Since Tshisekedi had never been appointed by Mobutu, he was in fact without power, as he had no control over either the army or the government agencies. Mobutu retained control of Gbadolite, close to the border with the Central African Republic. The president did not venture back to the capital for months.
The US Department of Foreign Affairs requested France and Belgium to seize Mobutu’s fortunes, as a powerful remedy directly directed at him without detrimental impact on either the country’s economy or the North American and European investments. It is estimated that Mobutu – one of the world’s richest men – had a personal fortune of over $ 4 billion.
In the economic chaos and with the payment of the external debt suspended, the informal economy became dominant in the urban areas. Economic and political uncertainty continued through 1994.
The genocide in Rwanda and the ensuing massive influx of refugees – involving thousands of those responsible for the killings – created conflicts in eastern Zaire.
The rebel movement FPR’s takeover of power in Rwanda gained several western countries, including France to ease the pressure on Mobutu, who was once again considered a potential ally, following the victory of the English-speaking Tutsis in the neighboring country. It strengthened the president’s position and enabled the appointment of Joseph Kengo Wa Dondo as prime minister.
The government statement made in mid-1995 that the transitional government should remain in power for another 2 years led to a new wave of protests. Clash in late July between police and protesters demanding Tshisekedi appointed prime minister left 10 dead.