The Congo: Fight for a Leopard-Skin Chair

Elegantly suited and vested, Premier-Designate Evariste Kimba sat on the front bench of the crowded Chamber of Deputies and tried to look confident. Three rows back, his predecessor, Moise Tshombe, tapped his foot nervously. As the Congolese Parliament met in joint session last week, about the only empty seat in the Palais de la Nation was the leopard-skin presidential chair itself: President Joseph Kasavubu, who could not vote anyway, had gone off to attend a memorial service for the nation's civil war dead.

Ostensible purpose of the session was a confidence vote on Kimba...