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Who is Patrice Lumumba ?

Many documentaries explain in details his journey and a film titled "Lumumba" was made about his life but many Congolese of the younger generation still needs to find out about our country's hero. Here's parts of what's written on Patrice Emery Lumumba on the free, multilingual online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of volunteer contributors through a model of open collaboration, using a wiki-based editing system:


 

Patrice Émery Lumumba (...) (2 July 1925 – 17 January 1961) was a Congolese politician and independence leader who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Republic of the Congo) from June until September 1960. He played a significant role in the transformation of the Congo from a colony of Belgium into an independent republic. Ideologically an African nationalist and pan-Africanist, he led the Congolese National Movement (MNC) party from 1958 until his assassination.


Shortly after Congolese independence in 1960, a mutiny broke out in the army, marking the beginning of the Congo Crisis. Lumumba appealed to the United States and the United Nations for help to suppress the Belgian-supported Katangan secessionists led by Moïse Tshombe. Both refused due to suspicions among the Western world that Lumumba ambiguously held pro-communist views. These suspicions appeared to be supported when Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union for assistance, which the CIA described as a "classic communist takeover". This led to growing differences with President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and chief-of-staff Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, as well as with the United States and Belgium, who opposed the Soviet Union in the Cold War.


After Mobutu's military coup, Lumumba attempted to escape to Stanleyville to join his supporters who had established a new anti-Mobutu rival state called the Free Republic of the Congo. However, Lumumba was subsequently captured and imprisoned en route by state authorities under Mobutu and executed by a firing squad under the command of Katangan authorities. Following his assassination, he was widely seen as a martyr for the wider Pan-African movement. In 2002, Belgium formally apologised for its role in the assassination. Source: Wiki




Patrice Lumumba at the "Round Table Conference" in Belgium in 1960.




Lumumba arriving in New York USA on July 24 1960




 


After his release, Lumumba helped found the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party on 5 October 1958, and quickly became the organization's leader.

The MNC, unlike other Congolese parties developing at the time, did not draw on a particular ethnic base. It promoted a platform that included independence, gradual Africanisation of the government, state-led economic development, and neutrality in foreign affairs. Lumumba had a large popular following, due to his personal charisma, excellent oratory, and ideological sophistication. As a result, he had more political autonomy than contemporaries who were more dependent on Belgian connections.

Lumumba was one of the delegates who represented the MNC at the All-African Peoples' Conference in Accra, Ghana, in December 1958. At this international conference, hosted by Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, Lumumba further solidified his Pan-Africanist beliefs. Nkrumah was personally impressed by Lumumba's intelligence and ability.

In late October 1959, Lumumba, as leader of the MNC, was arrested for inciting an anti-colonial riot in Stanleyville; 30 people were killed. He was sentenced to 69 months in prison. The trial's start date of 18 January 1960 was the first day of the Congolese Round Table Conference in Brussels, intended to make a plan for the future of the Congo.

Despite Lumumba's imprisonment, the MNC won a convincing majority in the December local elections in the Congo. As a result of strong pressure from delegates upset by Lumumba's trial, he was released and allowed to attend the Brussels conference. Source: Wiki


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