The action in this drama takes place in the summer of 1960 when the Democratic Republic of the Congo struggled to achieve its independence from Belgium. It follows the struggles of the former mail clerk and salesman who rose to become the First Prime Minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba. He enjoyed a very short but memorable 60 day tenure in his government position until opposition forces conspired to carry out his assassination. Lumumba is shown being sworn into office on the same day as the country's president, Joseph Kasa-Vubu, and together this pair work tirelessly to prevent their beloved country's spiral downward toward secession and lawlessness.
Joseph Mobutu is the main antagonist in the film, aided by numerous avenues of support from factions within the United States of America. Mobutu is eventually able to wrestle governmental power away from President Kasa-Vubu and Prime Minister Lumumba. Lumumba is a gripping true story of how economic and political interests led to murder and unrest in the former Belgian Congo.