Jason Sendwe

Jason Sendwe (1917 – 19 June 1964) was a Congolese politician and a leader of the Association Générale des Baluba du Katanga (BALUBAKAT) party. He served as Second Deputy Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Republic of the Congo) from August 1961 until January 1963, and as President of the Province of North Katanga from September 1963 until his death, with a brief interruption.

Jason Sendwe
Sendwe in 1960
2nd Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo
In office
2 August 1961  21 January 1963
PresidentJoseph Kasa-Vubu
Prime MinisterCyrille Adoula
President of North Katanga Province
In office
21 September 1963  15 March 1964
In office
28 April 1964  19 June 1964
State Commissioner for Katanga Province
In office
22 July 1960  28 November 1961
Commissioner-General Extraordinaire for Katanga Province
In office
28 November 1961  18 May 1963
Personal details
Mwanya, Kabongo Territory, Belgian Congo
Died19 June 1964(1964-06-19) (aged 46–47)
near Albertville, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Political partyAssociation Générale des Baluba du Katanga

Sendwe was born in 1917 in Mwanya, Kabongo Territory, Belgian Congo, to a Baluba family. He was educated in Methodist schools and nursing institutions. Unable to become a doctor due to a lack of medical schools in the Congo, he found work as a minister, teacher, and nurse. He became involved in several cultural organisations, and in 1957 founded BALUBAKAT to fight for the interests of the Baluba. He espoused nationalism and believed that the Congo should remain a united country after Belgian rule. In May 1960, shortly before the country's independence, he was elected to the newly constituted Chamber of Deputies. Sendwe sought to obtain control over the government of Katanga Province, but lost a power struggle against his rival, Moïse Tshombe, and the Confédération des associations tribales du Katanga (CONAKAT) party. Regardless, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba nominated him for the office of State Commissioner for Katanga.

In early July 1960 Tshombe announced the secession of an independent State of Katanga. Sendwe opposed the breakaway state and rejected Tshombe's entreaties for him to join the rebel government, rupturing relations between the two men. Invested with the responsibilities of State Commissioner by the Senate, Sendwe unsuccessfully attempted to restore central government control over Katanga. After a period of turmoil he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in August 1961 with the hope that he could use his political influence to win the central government support in Katanga. Four months later he was made Commissioner-General Extraordinaire for the province, nominally giving him complete authority over the area.

Sendwe's political prospects were severely damaged in December 1962 when the Senate censured him and forced his subsequent resignation from the deputy premiership. In early 1963, he increasingly focused his activities in Katanga, as the province acceded to central authority and Tshombe fled into exile. The territory was divided into new political units against Sendwe's wishes. Despite his dissatisfaction, he assumed office as President of North Katanga in September. In January 1964 he lost his position as president of BALUBAKAT. In June Simba rebels overthrew his government and killed him, though it is unclear who held ultimate responsibility for his death. Sendwe's demise greatly demoralised the Baluba, and his reputation drifted into obscurity.

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