17 January 2019

Congo-Kinshasa: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Patrice Lumumba

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Cape Town — (1) January 17 marks the forty-first anniversary of the brutal assassination of Patrice Lumumba.

(2) He was the first and only elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Zaire - now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

(3) He was assassinated a few months after DR Congo gained formal independence from Belgium.

(4) It is alleged that his assassination was sanctioned by the Belgian and American governments.

(5) Moise Tchombe, President of Katanga - an independent province - and Mobuto Sese Seko took part in the plot.

(6) Lumumba's forthright demands for economic independence, social justice and political self-determination, and his hostility to a political setup based upon tribal divisions, which the colonialists had effectively used to divide and rule Africa, sealed his fate.

(7) His threat to appeal for Soviet aid as a last resort in his effort to free the country gave Washington the pretext for allying with the old colonial power in seeking his elimination.

(8) On 5 February 2002, the Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel apologised for his country's role in the assasination of Lumumba.

(9) Belgium offered a U.S.$3,25 million fund in Lumumba's name to promote democracy in DR Congo.

(10) After his death, Lumumba was transformed into an icon of African liberation and third world politics.

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