David Dacko

Last updated

David Dacko
David Dacko 1962 crop.jpg
Dacko in 1962
In office
14 August 1960 1 January 1966
Preceded byPost created
Succeeded by Jean-Bédel Bokassa
In office
20 September 1979 1 September 1981
Vice President Henri Maïdou [1]
Preceded by Bokassa I
Succeeded by André Kolingba
Prime Minister of the
Central African Republic
In office
1 May 1959 14 August 1960
Preceded by Abel Goumba
Succeeded byPost abolished
Personal details
Born(1930-03-24)24 March 1930
Bouchia, Mbaiki, Ubangi-Shari
Died20 November 2003(2003-11-20) (aged 73)
Yaoundé, Cameroon

David Dacko (French pronunciation:  [david dako] ; 24 March 1930 – 20 November 2003) was the 1st President of the Central African Republic from 14 August 1960 to 1 January 1966, and 3rd President from 21 September 1979 to 1 September 1981. After his second removal from power in a coup d'état led by General André Kolingba, he pursued an active career as an opposition politician and presidential candidate with many loyal supporters; Dacko was an important political figure in the country for over 50 years.

Central African Republic country in Africa

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west. The CAR covers a land area of about 620,000 square kilometres (240,000 sq mi) and had an estimated population of around 4.6 million as of 2016.

Coup détat Sudden deposition of a government; illegal and overt seizure of a state by the military or other elites within the state apparatus

A coup d'état, also known as a putsch, a golpe, or simply as a coup, means the overthrow of an existing government; typically, this refers to an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a dictator, the military, or a political faction.

André Kolingba Central African politician

André-Dieudonné Kolingba was a Central African politician, who was the fourth President of the Central African Republic (CAR), from 1 September 1981 until 1 October 1993. He took power from President David Dacko in a bloodless coup d'état in 1981 and lost power to Ange-Félix Patassé in a democratic election held in 1993. Kolingba retained the strong support of France until the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which both internal and external pressure forced him to hold presidential elections which he lost.



Early life and education

Dacko was born in the village of Bouchia, near Mbaïki in the Lobaye region, which was then a part of the French Equatorial African territory of Moyen Congo (Middle Congo) to Joseph Iniabodé and Marie Okolania. His parents belonged to the same ethnic group. [2] A M'Baka (Ngbaka), he was a distant cousin of future rival Jean-Bédel Bokassa. [3] Soon after Dacko's birth, his family moved to Boda, where his father worked in a store belonging to a European coffee planter in Bonini named Tancret. In 1937, his father converted to Catholicism, after which he decided to stay married to one wife and sent the others away, including his mother. In 1938, he was sent to live with his uncle, Jêrome Gaza in Mbaïki. [2] He began primary school in Mbaiki,[ citation needed ] where his father worked as a plantation's night watchman. [3] He continued his primary education in Bambari [ citation needed ] before being admitted to the Ecole normale of Mouyoundzi in Moyen, Congo. Studying for a career in teaching, he became schoolmaster of a large primary school in the capital, Bangui [4] in 1951.

Mbaïki Place in Lobaye, Central African Republic

Mbaïki is the capital of Lobaye, one of the 14 prefectures of the Central African Republic. It is situated in the southwest of the country, 107 km from the capital Bangui. The economy is based on the coffee and timber industries. Lobaye people and Pygmy people live in the area. There is also a waterfall near the town. Mbaïki was ceded by France to Germany under the terms of the 1911 Morocco-Congo Treaty, becoming part of the German colony of Neukamerun until it was reconquered by the French during World War I. In 1995, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mbaïki was established in the city.

Lobaye Prefecture in Central African Republic

Lobaye is one of the 16 prefectures of the Central African Republic. Its capital is Mbaïki. The prefecture is located in the southern part of the country, bordering the Congo Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It shares borders with the prefectures of Mambéré-Kadéï to the northwest, Sangha-Mbaéré to the west, and Ombella-M'Poko to the northeast.

French Equatorial Africa federation of French colonial possessions in Central Africa

French Equatorial Africa, or the AEF, was the federation of French colonial possessions in Equatorial Africa, extending northwards from the Congo River into the Sahel, and comprising what are today the countries of Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and Gabon.

Dacko took part in an experimental educational program promoted by the French colonial administration. Dacko was named principal of Kouanga College in 1955 and became a supporter of independence leader Barthélémy Boganda, who was from the same Ngbaka ethnic group as Dacko. In March 1957 Dacko presented himself as a candidate for legislative elections in Ubangi-Shari for the circumscription of Ombella-M'Poko and won a seat as a member of the "Territorial Assembly of Ubangi-Shari". When the first Council of Government of Ubangi-Shari was established that same year, Boganda named Dacko Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Water and Forests, in which position he served from 14 May 1957 until 23 August 1958. Dacko then served as Minister of the Interior and Administrative Affairs from 23 August to 8 December 1958.

Ubangi-Shari former French colony in central Africa

Ubangi-Shari was a French colony in central Africa, a part of French Equatorial Africa.

Ombella-MPoko Prefecture in Central African Republic

Ombella-M'Poko is one of the 16 prefectures of the Central African Republic. Its capital is Bimbo.

Council of Government cabinet of the Monaco government

The Council of Government of Monaco is the Prince's governing body. It consists of six members:

When the Territorial Assembly became the Legislative Constitutive Assembly on 1 December 1958, Dacko and his fellow Territorial Councilors became Deputies. Dacko remained in the government as the Minister of the Interior, Economy and Commerce (8 December 1958 – 30 April 1959). During 1959, Dacko succeeded Boganda as the main leader of the country when the latter died in a plane crash.

Political career

First term as President

President of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi during a visit to the Central African Republic. Both wearing the sash of the Grand Officier de l'Ordre du Merite Centrafricain. David Dacko - Yitzhak Ben-Zvi 1962.jpg
President of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi during a visit to the Central African Republic. Both wearing the sash of the Grand Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Centrafricain.

After independence on 13 August 1960, Dacko became Provisional President of the Republic (14 August–12 December 1960), and then, with the active French support against rival Abel Goumba, became the first President of the Central African Republic (12 December 1960 – 31 December 1965). In 1960, he also served as President of the Conference of Prime Ministers of Equatorial Africa.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Abel Nguéndé Goumba was a Central African political figure. During the late 1950s, he headed the government in the period prior to independence from France, and following independence he was an unsuccessful candidate for President of the Central African Republic four times. Goumba, who was President of the Patriotic Front for Progress (FPP) political party, served under President François Bozizé as Prime Minister from March 2003 to December 2003 and then as Vice President from December 2003 to March 2005. Subsequently, he was appointed to the official post of Ombudsman.

Dacko began to consolidate his power soon after taking office in 1960. He retained the portfolio of Minister of Defense (17 August 1960 – 1 January 1966) and Keeper of the Seals (17 August 1960 – 2 January 1963) and amended the Constitution to transform his regime into a one-party state with a strong presidency elected for a term of seven years. On 5 January 1964, Dacko was elected in an election in which he ran alone.

During his first term as president, Dacko significantly increased diamond production in the Central African Republic by eliminating the monopoly on mining held by concessionary companies and decreeing that any Central African could dig for diamonds. He also succeeded in having a diamond-cutting factory built in Bangui.[ citation needed ] Diamonds eventually became the country's most important export and remain so today, even though at least half of the country's diamonds are smuggled out of the country.[ citation needed ] Dacko encouraged the rapid "Centralafricanization" of the country's administration, which was accompanied by growing corruption and inefficiency, and he expanded the number of civil servants, which greatly increased the portion of the national budget needed to pay salaries. The difficulty of securing enough revenues to pay a large number of bureaucrats who are often inefficient and corrupt has been a major problem for the country ever since.

Diamond Allotrope of carbon often used as a gemstone

Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At room temperature and pressure, another solid form of carbon known as graphite is the chemically stable form, but diamond almost never converts to it. Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any natural material, properties that are utilized in major industrial applications such as cutting and polishing tools. They are also the reason that diamond anvil cells can subject materials to pressures found deep in the Earth.

Bangui Place in Central African Republic

Bangui is the capital and largest city of the Central African Republic. As of 2012 it had an estimated population of 734,350. It was established as a French outpost in 1889 and named after its location on the northern bank of the Ubangi River ; the Ubangi itself was named from the Bobangi word for the "rapids" located beside the settlement, which marked the end of navigable water north from Brazzaville. The majority of the population of the Central African Republic lives in the western parts of the country, in Bangui and the surrounding area.

Dacko was torn between his need to retain the support of France and his need to show that he was not subservient to France. In order to cultivate alternative sources of support and display his independence in foreign policy, he cultivated closer relations with the People's Republic of China. By 1965, Dacko had lost the support of most Central Africans and may have been planning to resign from the presidency when he was overthrown.

Overthrown by Bokassa

On the night of 31 December 1965 – 1 January 1966, General Bokassa carried out a successful coup d'état against Dacko and prevented the possible assumption of power by a rival, Colonel Jean Izamo, head of the national gendarme police force. Dacko, who belonged to the same Ngbaka ethnic group as Bokassa, was imprisoned, placed under house arrest in Lobaye, but then was released on 16 July 1969 and eventually named personal counselor of President Bokassa on 17 September 1976. When Bokassa's rule came under increasing criticism during the late 1970s, Dacko managed to leave for Paris where the French convinced him to cooperate in a coup to remove Bokassa from power and restore him to the presidency.

Restored to power

On the night of 20–21 September 1979, French paratroopers carried out Operation Barracuda, which overthrew Bokassa and restored Dacko to the presidency. In March 1981, Dacko was elected President of the Republic once again in a reasonably free multi-candidate election; his term began on 1 April. Dacko was regarded by many Central Africans as a puppet of the French and his right to rule was challenged, in particular, by Bokassa's former Prime Minister, Ange-Félix Patassé who, in addition to belonging to the largest ethnic group in the country, the Gbaya, had residential and kinship ties to other ethnic groups and was the most popular politician in the country. Dacko failed once again to satisfy either his people or France.

Overthrown by Kolingba

On 1 September 1981, Dacko was overthrown in a bloodless coup carried out by army chief of staff General André Kolingba, who may have had the support of local French security officers who are suspected of having acted without authorization by François Mitterrand's new Socialist government in France. Such allegations may never be substantiated, but Kolingba did subsequently enjoy a very close relationship with France and a presidential security team led by Colonel Mantion. Dacko, unharmed, later returned to politics to lead the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD), a party opposing Kolingba. Dacko participated in the presidential elections of 1992 and 1993 and in the latter obtained 20.10% of the votes cast.

Opposition, illness and death

During Patassé's first and second presidential terms (1993–99 and 1999–2003), Dacko continued to participate actively in politics as a leader of the opposition. Dacko and Kolingba were the main leaders of the opposition, with Kolingba having more influence than Dacko. Dacko ran for president for the last time in the 1999 elections, coming in third place with 11.2% of the vote.

After General François Bozizé overthrew Patassé and proclaimed himself president, Dacko participated in the Dialogue nationale (National Dialogue) that began on 9 September 2003, but shortly thereafter, on 27 September, Dacko suffered an chronic asthma attack and heart disease. [5] He headed to France to seek treatment, but during a stopover in Yaoundé, Cameroon on 7 November, he was taken to the General Hospital of Yaoundé where he died at 10 p.m. on 20 November. The Central African government declared a month of national mourning in his memory. On 13 December he was buried in Mokinda, near his residence.

Family and awards

Dacko was survived by his wife Brigitte, who bore seven sons and four daughters, including Bruno Dacko and Ruffin Molomadon. Dacko received many awards and honors during his lifetime, including Commander of the Central African Order of Agriculture (23 April 1963), Commander of the Central African Order of Academic Palms (26 June 1964). A major street is named after him, Avenue President David Dacko.

Related Research Articles

The history of the Central African Republic is roughly composed of four distinct periods. The earliest period of settlement began around 10,000 years ago when nomadic people first began to settle, farm and fish in the region. The next period began around 1,000 to 3,000 years ago when several non-indigenous groups began to migrate into the region from other parts of the continent. The third period involved the colonial conquest and rule of the country by France and Germany which spanned from the late 1800s until 1960 when the Central African Republic became an independent state. The final period has been the era during which the Central African Republic has been an independent state.

Jean-Bédel Bokassa Central African head of state (1921-1996)

Jean-Bédel Bokassa, also known as Bokassa I of Central Africa and Salah Eddine Ahmed Bokassa, was the ruler of the Central African Republic and its successor state, the Central African Empire, from his coup d'état on 1 January 1966 until overthrown in a subsequent coup on 20 September 1979.

François Bozizé Central African politician

François Bozizé Yangouvonda is a Central African politician who was the President of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013.

Ange-Félix Patassé former President of the Central African Republic

Ange-Félix Patassé was a Central African politician who was President of the Central African Republic from 1993 until 2003, when he was deposed by the rebel leader François Bozizé. Patassé was the first president in the CAR's history to be chosen in what was generally regarded as a fairly democratic election (1993) in that it was brought about by donor pressure on the André Kolingba and assisted by the United Nations Electoral Assistance Unit. He was chosen a second time in a fair election (1999) as well. However, during his first term in office (1993–1999), three military mutinies in 1996–1997 led to increasing conflict between so-called "northerners" and "southerners". Expatriate mediators and peacekeeping troops were brought in to negotiate peace accords between Patassé and the mutineers and to maintain law and order. During his second term as president, Patassé increasingly lost the support of many of his long-time allies as well as the French, who had intervened to support him during his first term in office. Patassé was ousted in March 2003 and went into exile in Togo.

Elisabeth Domitien served as the prime minister of the Central African Republic from 1975 to 1976. She was the first and to date only woman to hold the position.

Barthélemy Boganda 1st Prime Minister of the Central African Republic autonomous territory

Barthélemy Boganda was the leading nationalist politician of what is now the Central African Republic. Boganda was active prior to his country's independence, during the period when the area, part of French Equatorial Africa, was administered by France under the name of Oubangui-Chari. He served as the first Prime Minister of the Central African Republic autonomous territory.

Henri Maïdou is a retired Central African politician who served as Prime Minister of the Central African Empire from 14 July 1978 to 26 September 1979, and Vice President of the CAR in the cabinet of David Dacko from September 1979 to August 1980.

Bernard Ayandho was a Central African politician and diplomat. He was Prime Minister of the Central African Republic from 26 September 1979 to 22 August 1980.

Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa political party in the Central African Republic

The Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa is a political party in the Central African Republic. In its original form, it was a nationalist quasi-religious party that sought to affirm black humanity and advocated for the independence of Ubangi-Shari, then a French colonial territory.

The Saint-Sylvestre coup d'état was a coup d'état staged by Jean-Bédel Bokassa, leader of the Central African Republic (CAR) army, and his military officers against the government of President David Dacko on 31 December 1965 and 1 January 1966. Dacko, Bokassa's cousin, took over the country in 1960, and Bokassa, a military officer in the French army, joined the CAR army in 1962. By 1965, the country was in turmoil—plagued by corruption and slow economic growth, while its borders were breached by rebels from neighboring countries. Dacko obtained financial aid from the People's Republic of China, but despite this support, the country's problems persisted. Bokassa made plans to take over the government; Dacko was made aware of this, and attempted to counter by forming the gendarmerie headed by Jean Izamo, who quickly became Dacko's closest adviser.

Lieutenant Colonel Alexandre Banza was a military officer and politician in the Central African Republic. Born in Carnot, Ubangi-Shari, Banza served with the French Army during the First Indochina War before joining the Central African Republic armed forces. As commander of the Camp Kassaï military base in 1965, Banza helped Jean-Bédel Bokassa overthrow the government of President David Dacko. Bokassa rewarded Banza by appointing him as minister of state and minister of finance in the new government. Banza quickly established the new regime's reputation abroad and forged diplomatic relations with other countries. In 1967, Bokassa and his protégé had a major argument over the president's extravagances. In April 1968, Bokassa removed Banza as minister of finance. Recognizing Bokassa's attempts to undermine him, Banza made a number of remarks highly critical of the president's handling of the government. Bokassa responded by abolishing the minister of state position.

Jean-Henri Izamo was the head of the gendarmerie of the Central African Republic. He was killed following the Saint-Sylvestre coup d'état.

Roger Guérillot politician

Roger Guérillot was a French colonist of Ubangi-Shari, who was involved in the process of independence by which it became the Central African Republic. He subsequently became a national of the new country and served it in several diplomatic roles.

Central African Republic–France relations Diplomatic relations between the Central African Republic and the French Republic

Central African Republic–France relations are foreign relations between the Central African Republic (CAR) and France. Both nations are members of the Francophonie and the United Nations.


  1. Bradshaw & Fandos-Rius 2016.
  2. 1 2 Akyeampong & Niven 2012, pp. 149–150.
  3. 1 2 Titley 1997, p. 15.
  4. Titley 1997, p. 16.
  5. "CAR's first president dies". BBC News . 21 November 2003. Retrieved 11 August 2018.


Political offices
Preceded by
Barthélemy Boganda
Prime Minister of the Central African Republic
Office abolished
New office President of the Central African Republic
Succeeded by
Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Preceded by
Jean-Bédel Bokassa
as Emperor
President of the Central African Republic
Succeeded by
André Kolingba