Marien Ngouabi

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Marien Ngouabi
Congo 1972 (cropped).jpg
President of the People's Republic of the Congo
In office
1 January 1969 – 18 March 1977
Vice PresidentAnge Diawara
Aimé Portella
Alfred Raoul
Aloïse Moudileno-Massengo
Ange-Édouard Poungui
Preceded byAlfred Raoul
Succeeded byJoachim Yhombi-Opango
Personal details
Born(1938-12-31)December 31, 1938
Ombellé, Cuvette, French Equatorial Africa
DiedMarch 18, 1977(1977-03-18) (aged 38)
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
Political partyCongolese Party of Labor
Flag of the Congo Army (1970–1992) used during Ngouabi's rule.

Marien Ngouabi (or N'Gouabi) (December 31, 1938 – March 18, 1977) was the third President of the Republic of the Congo from January 1, 1969, to March 18, 1977.



Marien Ngouabi was born in 1938 at the village of Ombellé, Cuvette Department, in Kouyou territory to Dominique Osséré m'Opoma and Antoinette Mboualé-Abemba.[1] His family was of humble origin. From 1947 to 1953, he went to primary school in Owando. On 14 September 1953, he went to study at the Ecole des enfants de troupes Général Leclerc in Brazzaville[2] and in 1957, he was sent to Bouar, Oubangui-Chari (now the Central African Republic).

After serving in Cameroon as a member of the second battalion of the tirailleurs with the rank of Sergeant (1958–1960),[1] Ngouabi went to the Ecole Militaire Préparatoire in Strasbourg, France in September 1960[2][1] and then to the Ecole Inter-armes at Coëtquidan Saint-Cyr in 1961. He returned to Congo in 1962 as Second Lieutenant and was stationed at the Pointe-Noire garrison, he was assigned to the Pointe-Noire garrison as a deputy commander of an infantry battalion.[1] In 1963, Ngouabi was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

Rise to power[edit]

In 1965, he created the first battalion of paratroopers in the Congo Republic. Known for his leftist views, in April 1966 Ngouabi was demoted to the rank of soldier second class when he refused to be posted again at Pointe-Noire, after rebelling against the army's inflexibility in politics and voicing strong criticism to the president.[1] President Alphonse Massamba-Débat had Ngouabi and Second Lieutenant Eyabo arrested on July 29, 1968.

Ngouabi's arrest provoked discontent among the military, and on July 31, Ngouabi was freed by soldiers form the Civil Defense.[1] The National Revolutionary Council (CNR), headed by Ngouabi, was created on August 5, 1968. On 1 October 1968, he was promoted to the rank of Commanding Officer, a rank he held until his death.[2] Massamba-Débat, whose powers had been curtailed by the CNR, resigned on September 4, and Prime Minister Alfred Raoul served as acting head of state until December 31, 1968, when the CNR formally became the country's supreme authority and Ngouabi, as head of the CNR, assumed the presidency.[3]

Head of state[edit]

Once in power, President Ngouabi changed the country's name to the People's Republic of the Congo, declaring it to be Africa's first Marxist–Leninist state, and founded the Congolese Workers' Party (Parti Congolais du Travail, PCT) as the country's sole legal political party.

Ngouabi was a Koyo from the north and his regime shifted control of the country away from the south; such moves created opposition among the population in the highly politicized environment of Brazzaville. There was an attempted coup in February 1972 that triggered a series of 'purges' of the opposition, it is claimed that Ngouabi was under French pressure to annex the oil-rich Cabinda enclave[citation needed], a part of Portuguese Angola, and his refusal to act cost him French support. There is some speculation that the French financed some of the following attempts to remove Ngouabi, he visited the People's Republic of China in July 1973.

Ngouabi was re-elected to his post as Chairman of the PCT Central Committee on December 30, 1974; he was additionally elected as Permanent Secretary of the PCT, he was then sworn in as President for another term on January 9, 1975.[4] Also in 1975, he signed an economic aid pact with the Soviet Union.


On March 18, 1977, at 1430 hours,[2] President Ngouabi was assassinated by an alleged suicide commando; the persons accused of taking part in the plot were trialed and some of them executed including Massamba-Débat.

A Military Committee of the Party (CMP) was named to head an interim government with the conservative Colonel Joachim Yhombi-Opango to serve as Head of State.


March 18 is Marien Ngouabi Day in the Republic of Congo.

The country's only university is the Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville. Ngouabi is interred at the Marien Ngouabi Mausoleum in Brazzaville.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Liste des présidents de la République du Congo Brazzaville" (in French). Consulate General of Congo in Tunis. 17 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "DOSSIER DE DIGITAL CAFE" (in French). Blogspot. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  3. ^ "L'histoire du Parti Congolais du Travail: de Marien Ngouabi à Denis Sassou Nguesso." Archived 2008-03-14 at the Wayback Machine, ‹See Tfd›(in French).
  4. ^ "Feb 1975 - CONGO", Keesing's Record of World Events, Volume 21, February, 1975 Congo, Page 26964.
Political offices
Preceded by
Alfred Raoul
President of the People's Republic of the Congo
Succeeded by
Military Committee of the Congolese Labour Party