Bo-Boliko Lokonga Edit Profile
Educated at Catholic missions and at St Raphael Middle School in Kinshasa. In 1955 he went to the Heverlee Louvain Social Studies School in Belgium, where he gained a diploma in December 1958.
As a keen Catholic, it was natural that he should join the Catholic union on his return home in January 1969. He rose to National Administrative Secretary of the Confederation of Congo Christian Unions, CSCC, in November. The union became the Union of Congolese Workers, UTC, in April I960, with himself as Secretary-General, and later in December 1961, President. In the union he did important work on commissions set up to investigate work contracts, collective bargaining and labour legislation generally. Twice in 1962 and 1963 he was imprisoned for brief periods as a result of the stand he took on trade union affairs.
But gradually he became indispensable to the government which gave him increasing responsibility as administrator in the Institute of Social Security, in the electricity authority, SOGELEC, and on nationalisation of the copper mines, in 1967, in GECOMIN, the government mining corporation.
He was assistant secretary-general of the Pan African Union of Catholic Workers, UPTC, until June 1967, when he managed to persuade the two Catholic and lay unions in the Congo to forget their differences and come together in the National Union of Congolese Workers, UNTC (now UNTZ). He became secretary-general and also president of the National Council of Congolese Trade Unions.
When President Mobutu restored the National Assembly on December 2, 1970, he needed a man of authority to control the 420 new members and make them toe the MPR line. Bo-Boliko was chosen for the job and he has dominated the National Assembly ever since.
As a member of the Political Bureau he holds additional power and he still actively controls the labour unions. Well known internationally, he is a regular delegate to the June conferences of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, and a member of the ILO African Consultative Commission.
He is one of the Zaire politicians whose influence transcends party and tribal loyalties. His critics say this urbane, civilised man lacks driving ambition and competitive spirit, but this may be precisely why he has maintained a position of power for so long in Zaire. As a leading Catholic layman he was thought to have been sympathetic with Cardinal Malula in the dispute over formation of MPR cells in the church.