At the Berlin Conference of 1885, Europe divided up the African continent. The Congo became the personal property of King Leopold II of Belgium. On June 30 1960, a young self-taught nationalist, Patrice Lumumba, became the first head of state of the newly idependent country at the age of 36. His life was cut short in office before he could achieve his aims and objectives as a new leader.
The brutal death of Patrice Lumumba is a gripping political story. The brilliant and charismatic Lumumba, called the “politico of the bush” by journalists of his time, rapidly rose to the office of Prime Minister, when Belgian conceded the Congo’s independence in June 1960. His vision of a “United Africa” gained him many external enemies.
The Belgian authorities, who wanted a much more potent role in their former colony’s affairs, and the CIA, who supported Lumumba’s former friend, Joseph Mobutu in order to protect United States of America’s business interests in Congo’s vast resources, were the architects behind Lumumba’s brutal death in 1961, just nine months after becoming Prime Minister.
Is Lumumba’s ghost taking a revenge? This is the simple question. One of the two Belgian brothers who was entrusted with the dismembering of the body of Patrice Lumumba apparently went mad. The other still lives in Belgium. The shocking part of it all was when the Belgians apologised to the world four years ago for the role they played in the assassination of this innocent man, thirty-nine years after his death.