DRC honours Patrice Lumumba 60 years after his assassination

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President Felix Tshisekedi pays tribute to firebrand political chief at a website in Kinshasa the place a memorial is to be put in.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has honoured independence hero Patrice Lumumba, marking 60 years since his assassination in a plot linked to the fledgeling nation’s colonial grasp, Belgium.

President Felix Tshisekedi on Sunday paid tribute to the charismatic political chief at a website within the capital, Kinshasa, the place a memorial is to be put in in his honour.

Lumumba turned the nation’s first democratically elected prime minister after independence from Belgium in 1960. His authorities lasted simply three months earlier than he was overthrown and assassinated by firing squad.

Lumumba’s physique won’t ever be recovered, nonetheless. Shot by Katangan separatists and Belgian mercenaries on January 17, 1961, throughout the first, chaotic months of independence, his physique was dissolved in acid.

The one a part of his physique ever recovered was a tooth seized from a Belgian policeman who, by his personal account, took it whereas serving to to eliminate the physique.

Final month, Tshisekedi mentioned Belgium would return the tooth to his household in time for independence anniversary celebrations on June 30.

Troopers guard Patrice Lumumba, proper, and Joseph Okito, left, following their arrest in December 1960 [File: AFP]

Juliana Lumumba, the slain chief’s daughter, wrote to Belgium’s King Philippe final 12 months, on the peak of Black Lives Matter protests, asking for its return.

Distinguished Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, additionally paid tribute to Lumumba, calling him “one of many best heroes in historical past”.

Lumumba was a “man of dedication who fought to the tip for the liberty, the sovereignty of the #DRC”, he wrote on Twitter. “A mannequin of braveness for the youth.”

Lumumba was faraway from his publish as prime minister shortly after independence after which delivered to his dying by the hands of the Katangan separatists and the mercenaries. His supporters and a few historians accuse the CIA of getting ordered his killing.

In 2001, a Belgian parliamentary committee acknowledged that the nation was “morally accountable” for his dying. In 2012, a Brussels appeals courtroom went additional, describing his homicide as a struggle crime.

An investigation in Belgium for struggle crimes is in its last part, in keeping with lawyer Christophe Marchand, who filed a grievance in 2011 on behalf of Francois Lumumba, a son of the slain chief.

“It was the Belgians who deliberate Lumumba’s dying and who carried it out,” mentioned Congolese historian Guillaume Nkongolo, referring to not too long ago opened archives.