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His moves alarmed many, particularly the Western powers and the supporters of President and favoured some local autonomy in the provinces.On September 5 President Kasavubu dismissed Lumumba, but the legalities of the move were immediately contested by Lumumba; as a result of the discord, there were two groups now claiming to be the legal central government.Lumumba was thereupon released from prison and flown to Brussels.The conference agreed on a date for independence, June 30, with national elections in May.The nationalists regarded this program as a scheme to install puppets before independence and announced a boycott of the elections. On October 30 there was a clash in Stanleyville that resulted in 30 deaths.Lumumba was imprisoned on a charge of inciting to riot.He was caught by the Kasavubu forces and arrested on December 2.
In January 1960 the Belgian government convened a Conference in Brussels of all Congolese parties to discuss political change, but the MNC refused to participate without Lumumba., a fact that became significant in his later political life.His two principal rivals, Moise Tshombe, who led the breakaway of the Katanga province, and Joseph Kasavubu, who later became the Congo’s president, both came from large, powerful ethnic groups from which they derived their major support, giving their political movements a regional character.His death caused a scandal throughout Africa; retrospectively, even his enemies proclaimed him a “national hero.”The reasons that Lumumba provoked such intense emotion are not immediately evident. He was for a unitary Congo and against division of the country along ethnic or regional lines.Like many other African leaders, he supported pan-Africanism and the liberation of colonial territories.
He also became active in the Belgian Liberal Party in the Congo.