Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s national hero

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By: Pedro Antonio García / Source: / The Dawn News / January 2012

In the last free elections that took place in the old Belgian Congo in the period 1960 to 2006, Patrice Lumumba was elected by an overwhelming majority and became the first head of state of his country after the Independence. He promoted a nationalist policy, something that the imperialist forces did not like, at all.

The old metropoli, Belgium, decided to start a destabilization campaign and supported the Katanga Secessionist forces, which declared their rich province independent from the Congo. It also took its specialists out of the country in order to provoke the economic paralysis of this recent African State.

Meanwhile, the CIA and the intelligence services of other European powers were working day and night in the recruitment of Congolese agents, while highly subsidizing natives who showed loyalty to the imperialist regime.

Under the guise of protecting the property of citizens of their country, Belgium sent troops to Katanga (Shaba) to underpin the secessionist movement in the province. Lumumba quite naively appealed to the United Nations (UN) to expel the Belgians and help restore the country’s order.

Belgian troops refused to evacuate the country, and continued to support the secession of Katanga. Meanwhile, UN troops refused to intervene in support of the central government and in fact, when they finally entered the country, led to the destabilization of the new government and, ultimately, to Lumumba’s harassment and overthrowing.

The Congolese leader sought help from the Soviet Union. In mid-1960, Soviet military advisers and agents began arriving to Congo. Lumumba also asked the main African leaders to show their solidarity to the government of Congo.

Worried by Lumumba’s defiance, the then President of the United States, Eisenhower, ordered to remove him from power. To carry out this operation, CIA agent Frank Carlucci, who later became Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of Defense, was sent to that country.

A coup overthrew Lumumba in September 1960. Lumumba was detained, first in October and then in December, by the “puppet army”, organized and driven by Belgium. The UN troops did nothing to prevent him from being brutally tortured by European mercenaries and Congolese traitors.


On January 17, 1961, in an open field in the middle of the Katanga savannah, lit only by the lights of cars of his murderers, a Belgian mercenary tied him to a huge tree. Lumumba could barely walk because of the tortures he had endured.

The execution squad was consisted of four men, armed with FAL rifles and pistols to blow the “coup de grace”. The Belgian mercenary gave the order to fire.

Days before his murder, Lumumba had written to his wife: “No brutality, mistreatment or torture has bent me, because I prefer to die with my head held high, with unshakable faith and deep confidence in the future of my country, than living subdued and trampling sacred principles”.

“One day history will judge us, but it won’t be Brussels, Paris, Washington or the UN: it will be our own, the one that belongs to countries independent from the colonialists and its puppets.

Patrice Emery Lumumba was born in the territory of Katakokombe, in the former Belgian Congo, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, on July 2, 1925. He studied at schools of Christian missionaries. Lumumba worked first as an office clerk and then as a journalist.

In 1958, he founded the National Congolese Movement (MNC) and claimed before all of Africa the right of his country to become a nation. Due to his “independentist activities”, Lumumba was arrested. He was judged in January 1960 and sentenced to six months in prison. He spent only a few days in jail.

Congo’s independence was proclaimed on June 30, 1960. And the first head of government of this country that had ceased to be a colony was Patrice Lumumba,  winner of the popular election in May that year.


National hero

After his assassination on January 17, 1961, the mercenaries of imperialism and mining transnationals dissolved his lifeless body in sulfuric acid, then they dismembered and scattered his remains so that he could not be recognized.

Radio stations, at the service of the CIA, at first announced that he had been killed by armed peasants. Then they spread various rumors to make the Congolese population believe that their leader was still alive.

But the truth came out. In November 2001, the Belgian Parliament acknowledged the role of the State in the death of the Congolese leader.

Nowadays, articles speaking of the death of Patrice Lumumba, only recall the names of the executors of the crime. Instead, the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo is, since 1966, the national hero of his country, by mandate of its people.



Read more on the history of Patrice Lumumba and the struggle of the Congolese people

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