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Last Updated : December 2004
Patrice Lumumba was born on July 2nd, in Onalua, Belgian Congo. He was a member of the smaller Batetela tribe. His rivals Moise Tshomte and Joseph Kasavubu on the other hand, came from larger more influential tribes. Both of these men wanted a more ethnic-tribal based government, which empathized smaller local governments. Lumumba, unlike his rivals preferred a more inclusive political stance with a centralized government.
As a young man, he was very political and wrote essays and poems for Congolese journals and newspapers. Later on he worked for the postal service. In 1955, he became regional president of a trade union for government workers. Lumumba also became active in the Belgian Liberal Party.
During this time, he was imprisoned for a year on an embezzlement charge. After his release, Lumumba founded the Congolese National Movement (MCN) in 1958. In December of that same year, he traveled to Accra, Ghana, for the first All-African People's Conference. There he became inspired to adopt Pan-African ideals, that henceforth took center stage in his political campaign.