Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu (1917-24 March 1969) was President of Congo-Leopoldville from 30 June 1960 to 24 November 1965, preceding Mobutu Sese Seko. Kasa-Vubu led the central government of Congo during the Congo Crisis, and he oversaw the arrest and execution of Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, the defeat of Katanga and Congo-Stanleyville, and the quelling of the Maoist Simba Rebellion. In November 1965, Mobutu overthrew him in a military coup, leading to 32 years of dictatorial rule.


Joseph Kasa-Vubu was born in Kuma-Dizi, Mayombe, Belgian Congo in 1917; he was full Bakongo on his mother's side, while he was patrilineally descended from a Chinese railroad worker grandfather. Kasa-Vubu worked as an agronomist and civil servant, serving as chief clerk at one point, and he became a political organizer while still working for authorities. In 1955, he was elected leader of the ABAKO party, and he became known as one of the first Congolese leaders to call for independence. In 1959, he was arrested for leading a violent protest against the Belgian authorities, only to be released two months later. In June 1960, he became the first President of Congo-Leopoldville, and he made the socialist Patrice Lumumba his prime minister. Kasa-Vubu had to deal with secessionist uprisings and political upheaval in the Congo, and Lumumba was imprisoned and executed by coup leader Joseph-Desire Mobutu after Lumumba began to align himself towards the Soviet Union. In 1964, he appointed former Katanga leader Moise Tshombe as Prime Minister and crushed the Maoist Simba Rebellion, only to lose the support of Tshombe and the military, led by Mobutu. In November 1965, Mobutu overthrew Kasa-Vubu in a military coup, and Kasa-Vubu died in the port town of Boma on 24 March 1969 at the age of 52.

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