By Honourable Saka
We must move forward, striking out tirelessly against
imperialism. From all over the world we have to learn lessons which
events afford. Lumumba’s murder should be a lesson for all of us”. — Che
“Dead, living, free, or in prison on the orders of the colonialists,
it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom
independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from
the outside…” — Patrice Lumumba, October 1960.
The World Mathaba Against Racism Imperialism Zionism Fascism and Reaction is our common fighting front -- Muammar Qadhafi, 1982
The truth surrounding the brutal murder of Patrice Lumumba is an
embarrassing event which, when exposed to the African youth of today,
will definitely send the US government scratching its head. The
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has had a troubled history since the
assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Currently there is conflict in the
eastern DRC. But who are the main actors in the conflict this time?
African leaders, it is important to remember history so that you can
appreciate what is going on today in Africa and the rest of the world.
Lumumba was a strong African revolutionary leader whose Pan-Africanist vision
of a united Congo gained him many enemies from the outside world. Like
Kwame Nkrumah, Lumumba sought for a country where the numerous resources
of the Congo will benefit not only the Congo but the African people as a
whole. In his famous first ever independence speech, a newly elected
Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba who had not been scheduled to speak,
stood up and made this speech (30th June 1960):
“You who have fought for independence, and are today victorious, I
salute you in the name of the Congolese government. We have been
subjected to insults and sarcasms, to the blows we had to endure from
morning to night just because we were Africans. We learnt that the law
was never the same according to whether it was applied to whites or
blacks. Who will ever forget the shootings or the barbarous jail cells
awaiting those who refused to submit to this regime of injustice,
oppression and intimidation?”
With this speech, it was said that he signed his death warrant. From
the very first day, the West especially the American and the Belgian
governments started to sabotage Lumumba’s government and sought the
immediate removal of Lumumba all cost.
Ludo De Witte, the Belgian author of the best book on this crime,
qualifies it as "the most important assassination of the 20th century".
His assassination's historical importance lies in a multitude of
factors, the most pertinent being the global context in which it took
place, its impact on Congolese politics since then and Lumumba's overall
legacy as a nationalist leader, writes Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, a
professor of African and Afro-American studies at the University of
North Carolina, author of “The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History”.
"Today, it is impossible to touch down at the (far from
modernized) airport of Lubumbashi in the south of the DR Congo without a
shiver of recollection of the haunting photographs, taken of Lumumba
there shortly before his assassination, and after beatings, torture and a
long, long flight in custody across the vast country which he so
loved". — Victoria Brittain, The Guardian, 2011.
Exposing The Facts and Debunking The Then Media Distortions
It is a fact that both the Belgian government and the United States
actively sought to have him eliminated. The CIA ordered his
assassination but could not complete the job. Instead, the United States
and Belgium covertly funnelled cash and aid to rival politicians (just
as they recently did in Libya) who seized power and arrested Lumumba.
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had said something [to CIA chief Allen Dulles]
to the effect that “Lumumba should be eliminated". This was revealed by
a declassified interview with then-US National Security Council minute
keeper, Robert Johnson which was released in August 2000 from Senate
intelligence committee's inquiry on covert action. The committee later
claimed that while the CIA had conspired to kill Lumumba, it was not
directly involved in the actual murder. Therefore one must ask: on whose
orders was the actual murder executed if not the United States? Which
elements in the CIA ever faced justice for such a brutal murder?
In his book, “In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story” John Stockwell
(1978), revealed that a CIA officer in Elizabethville was in direct
touch with Lumumba’s killers the night he was assassinated. Later,
another CIA agent admitted to have had the body in the trunk of his car
to try and get rid of it (p. 105). This leaked cable went on to state
that Lumumba was first picked up from the airport by "all white guards",
taken to the bush where his fate was decided and his body completely
dissolved in acid, leaving no traces whatsoever. What a horrible way to
eliminate the traces of such a hero!
Having realised the complicity of the United Nations and the world
powers, on this brutal murder, Kwame Nkrumah thus made a broadcast to
the people of Ghanaian:
“Somewhere in Katanga in the Congo- where and when we do not know- three of our brother freedom fighters
have been done to death. They have been Patrice Lumumba, the Prime
Minister of the Republic of the Congo, Maurice Mpolo, the Minister in
his government who was elected from Katanga Province and Joseph Okito
the Vice-President of the Congolese Senate. About their end many things
are uncertain, but one fact is crystal clear. They have been
killed because the United Nations, whom Patrice Lumumba himself as Prime
Minister had invited to the Congo to preserve law and order, not only
failed to maintain that law and order, but also denied to the lawful
Government of the Congo, all other means of self-protection.” Kwame Nkrumah, (Challenge of the Congo, page 129).
“History records many occasions when rulers of states have been
assassinated. The murder of Patrice Lumumba and of his two colleagues,
however, is unique in that it is the first time in history that the
legal ruler of a country has been done to death with the open connivance
of a world organisation (the United Nations) whom that ruler put his
trust”, -Nkrumah concludes (page 129/130).
I believe what happened in Libya in 2011 goes to affirm the real
agenda of the UN, as far as Africa is concerned. Just as it had always
been, it is always the same for Africa. But who cares when an African
leader is brutally murdered on the orders of Western agents? After all
we are used to it.
Between 1961 and 1973 alone, six African independence leaders
were assassinated by their ex-colonial rulers, including Patrice Lumumba
of the Congo.
Complicity of the Belgian Government
A recent report by a Belgian Commission revealed that Belgium wanted
Lumumba arrested and was not particularly concerned with Lumumba's
physical well-being. Though informed of the danger to Lumumba's life
when later arrested, Belgium did not take any action to avert his death.
Under its own laws,
Belgium was legally culpable for failing to prevent the assassination
of the leader of a country where it had colonial ties. It was also in
breach of its obligation (under U.N. Resolution 290 of 1949) to refrain
from acts or threats "aimed at impairing the freedom, independence or
integrity of another state".
In 2001, a Belgian Commission exposed that there had been previous U.S. and Belgian plots to kill Lumumba. Among them was a CIA-sponsored attempt to poison him, which might have come on orders from the then U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A CIA chemist Sidney Gottlieb was
made to devise a poison disguised as toothpaste for the elimination of
Lumumba to which the corporate media intended to blame on “opposition
elements”. This plot however backfired.
In another book, “Congo Cables”, the author details many communications by local CIA Station Chief, Larry Devlin
at the time who continually urged the total elimination of Lumumba as
the only outcome the US government wanted to see (p. 53, 101, 129-133,
149-152, 158-159, 184-185, 195).
Thanks to the power of suppression, political intimidation, as well
as the fear and panic on the part of many African leaders who surrender
at the expense of the African people. The bloody hand of colonialism,
imperialism and neo-colonialism has always fought hard to bury the
facts surrounding the brutal murder of many African heroes, African
reggae legends, and tens of thousands of the people. The African people
of today, continue to live under the illusion of so-called "independence", as foreign pressure continues to mount on their leaders
to either comply or face similar fate.
That notwithstanding, we the African generation of today, cannot sit
aside and watch our history to be distorted nor completely buried for
the sake of satisfying the wishes of the oppressor. Our revolutionary
leader Patrice Lumumba has underlined that the history of the African
people must be written. This history should not be the type that
Brussels, Paris, Washington, the United Nations nor the corporate media
will teach. Rather, Africa’s history should be written by the African
people and should be taught in all the countries emancipated from
colonialism and its current puppets… a history of glory and dignity.
African scholars and all historians of African origin therefore owe
our children, the youth and our children’s children, the responsibility
to teach them the true history of their ancestors. The future
generations have every right to know the sacrifices and the price which
many of their ancestors had to pay (with their blood) before we were
able to attain our political independence. It was Lumumba’s wish that
“Africa writes her own history, a history of glory and dignity”.
Lumumba and his kind we fall short of today, but we will get there. –A message to the African youth.
He is a true African hero who must be celebrated by the African people all over the world.
Long live Patrice Lumumba,
Long live the people of the Congo,
Long live Africa.
Video: The Assassination of Patrice Lumumba
- "Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century" available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jan/17/patrice-lumumba-50th-anniversary-assassination
- Kwame Nkrumah, (1967) “Challenge of The Congo: A Case Study of Foreign Pressures in an Independent State”, Panaf Books: London.
- Patrice Lumumba, (1972) Lumumba Speaks: The Speeches and Writings of
Patrice Lumumba, 1958–1961. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
- Patrice Lumumba, (1962) “Congo, My Country” London: Pall Mall Press.
- John Stockwell (1978), “In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story”. W.W. Norton.
- CIA document #CO 1366116.
- Plan to poison Congo leader Patrice Lumumba (page 464). pdf copy available at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB222/top06.pdf
- Biography of Patrice Lumumba, available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrice_Lumumba#Writings_by_Lumumba
- Karen De Young (2007), “CIA Releases Files on Past Misdeeds”, The Washington Post. Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/26/AR2007062600861.html?hpid=topnews
- Victoria Brittain, (2011) “Africa: a continent drenched in the blood of revolutionary heroes”. The Guardian (London). Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jan/17/lumumba-50th-anniversary-african-leaders-assassinations