Andre Kolingba was born in Bangui, French Equatorial Africa on 12 August 1936 to a Christian Yakoma family, and he served in the military of the Central African Republic after independence. In 1977, as a Brigadier-General, he became aide-de-camp to Emperor Jean-Bedel Bokassa, and he survived David Dacko's coup against Bokassa, becoming Chief-of-Staff under Dacko. In 1981, Kolingba overthrew Dacko in a coup d'etat and became the leader of a one-party state, with his nationalist Central African Democratic Rally (RDC) party being the only legal party from 1987 to 1992. Kolingba was close allies with France due to his social democratic views, and he gained financial support for the CAR. However, the fall of the Berlin Wall led to the West focusing on toppling dictatorships across the world, and Kolingba was pressured to hold elections in 1993. Kolingba lost to Ange-Felix Patasse, but he continued to lead his RDC party in elections into the 2000s.