After his basic education at local schools he specialised in physical training and got diplomas in Kinshasa and at the Université Libre in Brussels. He went on to get a degree in physiotherapy.
On his return home he became a professor at Lovanium University and then joined the government Information Services, rising to Director in charge.
In the party he rapidly developed a position for himself as a secretary in charge of propaganda, information and mobilisation, particularly in PASCOL (the academic and scientific personnel at Lovanium University) which later became the MPR cell at the university. Then in December 1970 he was made Minister of Information and in June 1972 climbed even higher in the power hierarchy, with his appointment to the Political Bureau of the MPR, the second highest authority in Zaire after the President.
It was Sakombi who, on October 9, 1971, announced details of “the criminal plot by Nendaka, Bomboko and Bangala aimed at killing the President”.
Young, dedicated, ambitious and confident of his own abilities, he comes from a rich family which owns rice mills, breweries and other industries in Equatoria Province and around President Mobutu’s own birthplace at Lisala. His closeness and dependence on the President makes him widely respected. His rivals acknowledge his power and his own attitudes which make him “more royalist than the king".