Joseph Kasa-Vubu

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Joseph Kasa-Vubu
Joseph Kasa-Vubu in Israel.png
1st President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(then the Republic of Congo)
In office
1 July 1960 – 24 November 1965
Preceded by New creation
Succeeded by Mobutu Sese Seko
Personal details
Born 1910
Tshela, Belgian Congo
Died 24 March 1969 (aged 58–59)
Boma, Republic of Congo
Nationality Congolese
Political party ABAKO
Children Adolphe, Marie-Rose, Flavien, Pascal, Justine, Joseph, Alain, Viviane-Hortense, Josephine-Yvonne, Michel

Joseph Kasa-Vubu (alternatively Joseph Kasavubu, 1910 [other sources have 1913, 1915 and 1917] – 24 March 1969) was the first president (1960–65) of the Republic of the Congo, today called Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Early life[edit]

He was educated by Catholic missionaries at a student seminary from 1928–1936 at Mbata Kiela. He studied theology and philosophy at the Kabwe seminary until 1939, before becoming a teacher.

Kasa-Vubu was a leader of the ABAKO (Alliance des Bakongo) Movement of his own lower Congo River Bakongo people.

Congolese independence[edit]

Upon Congo's independence from Belgium, he was elected president by the Congo's new national assembly, taking office on 30 June 1960.

The new republic was immediately disrupted by political and military strife and regional secessionist movements, while the central government was paralyzed by conflict between the conservative Kasa-Vubu and his nationalistic prime minister Patrice Lumumba.

Congo Crisis[edit]

Main article: Congo Crisis

On 5 September Kasa-Vubu dismissed Lumumba but the prime minister refused to accept this and in turn announced Kasa-Vubu's dismissal,[1] creating a stalemate that was only ended on 14 September with army commander Joseph Mobutu's seizure of power and arrest of Lumumba. Lumumba was later handed to Moise Tshombe's secessionist forces in the southern province of Katanga and murdered.

Over the next five years, Kasa-Vubu presided over a succession of weak governments. In July 1964 he appointed former Katangan secessionist leader Moise Tshombe as prime minister with a mandate to end the Simba Rebellion. Tshombe recalled the exiled Katangese gendarmerie and recruited white mercenaries, integrating them with the Armée Nationale Congolaise. Many of these mercenaries had fought for Katanga when Tshombe was leader of the breakaway province. Despite the successes against the Simba rebels, Tshombe's prestige was damaged by the use of white mercenaries and western forces. He lost the support of Kasa-Vubu and was dismissed from the post of prime minister in October 1965.

Mobutu's coup d'état[edit]

Mobutu seized power for a second time on 25 November 1965, this time deposing Kasa-Vubu and subsequently declaring himself head of state. Kasa-Vubu was placed under house arrest[2] and died at his home in Boma, Kongo Central in 1969.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Doyle, Michael W. and Sambanis, Nicholas (2006). "Chapter 4: Making War". Making War and Building Peace: United Nations Peace Operations. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 144–196, page 175. ISBN 978-0-691-12275-5. 
  2. ^ Rich, Jeremy (2012). "Kasa-Vubu, Joseph (1915–1969)". In Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku and Gates, Henry Louis. Dictionary of African Biography 3. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 302–304, page 304. ISBN 978-0-19-538207-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kasa-Vubu, Justine M'Poyo (1997). Kasa-Vubu et le Congo indépendant: 1960–1969. Brussels: Le Cri édition. ISBN 9782871061854. 
  • Kasa-Vubu, Justine M'Poyo (1985). Joseph Kasa-Vubu, mon père: de la naissance d'une conscience nationale à l'indépendance. Brussels: Éditions de Chabassol. OCLC 17233037. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Position created on independence from Belgium
President of the Republic of the Congo
Succeeded by
Mobutu Sese Seko