The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1997 until 2001, when he was assassinated by one of his bodyguards. He was a leader in the First Congo War, where he led Tutsis against Hutus.
He studied Political Philosophy at the University of Belgrade and later attended the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
He and his supporters founded the People's Revolutionary War in 1967 and created a secessionist Marxist state in South Kivu province, west of Lake Tanganyika, which lasted until 1988.
He was married to Sifa Mahanya and had a son, Joseph, who took over his position after his assassination in 2001.
He briefly worked with Che Guevara when the latter came to the Congo in 1965.