Educated locally in Kasai and at Likasi in Shaba (Katanga) before going to the Kabwe seminary to do higher studies at the trade union training school at Lubumbashi.
He became a full-time trade unionist in 1957 and was elected municipal councillor in Lubumbashi in 1958. A leader of the Mouvement National Congolais (Kalonji section) he was elected to the provincial assembly of Katanga in 1960. When Katanga seceded after Congo’s independence in July, he joined the Conakat party and acted as the diplomatic representative for the then autonomous state of South Kasai, in the Katangese Assembly. Finally he was arrested at the time Kasai dropped its own secession.
With the collapse of the revolt in Katanga in January 1963 he was released and continued trade unionism, rising fast in the General Federation of Congolese Workers, FGTK, to become president in 1966. Then he played a major part in the unification of the Congolese unions as a member of the National Council.
After President Mobutu’s coup in November 1965 he stood for Mbuji Maji as a member of the Mouvement Populaire de la Revolution, MPR. He was appointed Administrator of Gecomin after the state took over the Union Miniere copper concessions at the end of 1966; in 1967 joint secretary- general of the National Union of Congolese Workers, finally becoming Minister of Labour on December 7, 1970.
A Baluba from Kasai, very sociable but politically cautious, he started his trade union career on the copperbelt where he was educated. Caught up in Katangese secession, he was arrested and later released to resume his union activities, rising to the highest positions in the principal trade union confederations and playing a major part in their unification.
He was made Minister of Labour as a result of party manoeuvres to take him out of the running for the more important trades union leadership. As Councillor in charge of Labour he promulgates decrees and carries out a mechanical function, but has little to do with the direction of labour policy.