DRC honours Patrice Lumumba 60 years after his assassination | Information Information
President Felix Tshisekedi pays tribute to the brand’s political leader at a location in Kinshasa to be erected on a memorial.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has honored the independence hero Patrice Lumumba, who 60 years after his murder passed in a conspiracy with the colonial master of the young country, Belgium.
President Felix Tshisekedi paid tribute to the charismatic political leader on Sunday at a location in the capital Kinshasa, where a memorial is to be erected in his honor.
Lumumba became the country’s first democratically elected Prime Minister after Belgium gained independence in 1960. His reign lasted only three months before he was overthrown and murdered by a firing squad.
However, Lumumba’s body is never restored. Shot dead on January 17, 1961 by separatists and Belgian mercenaries from Katangan during the first chaotic months of independence, his body was dissolved in acid.
The only part of his body that has ever been recovered was a tooth that was confiscated by a Belgian police officer who claims to have taken it and helped dispose of the body.
Last month, Tshisekedi said Belgium would return his family’s teeth in time for the June 30 Independence Day celebrations.
The soldiers guard Patrice Lumumba (right) and Joseph Okito (left) after their arrest in December 1960 [File: AFP]Juliana Lumumba, the daughter of the murdered leader, wrote to King Philippe of Belgium at the height of the protests against Black Lives Matter last year asking for his return.
Well-known Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, also paid tribute to Lumumba and called him “one of the greatest heroes in history”.
60 years ago, one of the greatest heroes in history, #PatriceLumumba, was assassinated. A determined man who fought to the end for freedom, the sovereignty of the #DRC and the erection of the heads of our people. A model of courage for the youth.
– Denis Mukwege (@DenisMukwege) January 17, 2021
Lumumba was a “determined man who fought to the end for the freedom, the sovereignty of the #DRC,” he wrote on Twitter. “A model of courage for the youth.”
Lumumba was removed from his post as prime minister shortly after independence, and then put to death by the Katangan separatists and mercenaries. His supporters and some historians accuse the CIA of ordering his killing.
In 2001 a Belgian parliamentary committee admitted that the country was “morally responsible” for his death. In 2012, a Brussels appeals court went further and described his murder as a war crime.
According to lawyer Christophe Marchand, who filed a complaint in 2011 on behalf of Francois Lumumba, a son of the murdered leader, an investigation in Belgium is in its final stages.
“It was the Belgians who planned and carried out Lumumba’s death,” said the Congolese historian Guillaume Nkongolo, referring to recently opened archives.