Marc Mahélé Lièko Bokungu (1941 – May 16, 1997) was a prominent Zairian general who served as the last army chief during the long reign of Mobutu Sese Seko.
Born in 1941, Mahélé, a carpenter by trade, was born in Mobutu's Équateur region, but unlike Mobutu, he was not from the Ngbandi tribe; he was a Mbuza.
One of the few Zairian generals not related to Mobutu, he was unique in that he attained his rank on his own merits, rather than through political patronage. Trained in France, he was a member of Mobutu's bodyguard in the 1970s, and later came to prominence during the brief Shaba II war. After Shaba II, he was promoted to general and given command of the Berets Rouge (French: "Red Berets").
In 1990, led a contingent of the Special Presidential Division that was sent to Rwanda to aid Mobutu's beleaguered ally, President Juvénal Habyarimana
Mahélé, widely perceived as being incorruptible, won massive popularity with ordinary Zairians for his suppression of rioting by Mobutu's soldiers in the early 1990s; nevertheless, he was viewed less favorably by other Zairian generals, for the same reasons. He was an outspoken critic of governmental corruption in Zaire. Afterwards, he was nominated by Mobutu to be the army chief of staff, ranked as a Général de corps d'armée, but his outspoken belief that the military should be apolitical and accountable to the Zairian people did not sit well with the President, who immediately replaced him with another general. Mahélé was assigned the essentially powerless title attache à la presidence, and spent the next three years pursuing business opportunities and maintaining a low profile.
Late in the First Congo War, he was pulled out of semi-retirement and appointed army chief of staff, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of National Defense and Veterans' Affairs and tasked with reforming the Zairian military and defeating Laurent Kabila's rebels.
On the eve of Mobutu's overthrow, Mahélé was killed by Mobutu loyalists for trying to negotiate a peaceful surrender with Kabila, in order to prevent a final battle in the capital city, Kinshasa, and spare its people from the bloodshed that would have likely ensued. Mobutu's son, Kongulu Mobutu, was suspected by some of being involved in Mahele's death, while others, including Kongulu's brother Nzanga, dispute this.