Although it was the largest of the African nationalist parties, the MNC had many different factions within it that took differing stances on a number of issues.It was increasingly polarised between moderate évolués and the more radical mass membership.On many occasions, the interests of the government and private enterprise became closely tied and the state helped companies with strikebreaking and countering other efforts by the indigenous population to better their lot.The country was split into nesting, hierarchically organised administrative subdivisions, and run uniformly according to a set "native policy" (politique indigène)—in contrast to the British and the French, who generally favoured the system of indirect rule whereby traditional leaders were retained in positions of authority under colonial oversight.Constituting a series of civil wars, the Congo Crisis was also a proxy conflict in the Cold War, in which the Soviet Union and United States supported opposing factions.Around 100,000 people are believed to have been killed during the crisis.A nationalist movement in the Belgian Congo demanded the end of colonial rule: this led to the country's independence on 30 June 1960.Minimal preparations had been made and many issues, such as federalism and ethnic nationalism, remained unresolved.
The movement was divided into a number of parties and groups which were broadly divided on ethnic and geographical lines and opposed to one another.
With Katanga and South Kasai back under the government's control, a reconciliatory compromise constitution was adopted and the exiled Katangese leader, Moïse Tshombe, was recalled to head an interim administration while fresh elections were organised.
Before these could be held, however, Maoist-inspired militants calling themselves the "Simbas" rose up in the east of the country.
The Confédération des Associations Tribales du Katanga (CONAKAT), a localist party led by Moïse Tshombe, was the third major organisation; it advocated federalism and primarily represented the southern province of Katanga.
These were joined by a number of smaller parties which emerged as the nationalist movement developed, including the radical Parti Solidaire Africain (PSA), and factions representing the interests of minor ethnic groups like the Alliance des Bayanzi (ABAZI).