Global Policy Forum


Rwanda News Agency
June 27, 2007

Documents declassified Tuesday by the US Central Intelligence Agency have revealed that it also wanted the first D R Congo President Patrice Lumumba dead and indeed he did, RNA has established.

Late Lumumba, the then democratically elected president of the former Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) was assassinated in 1965 but mystery remains as to who was responsible for the death. The CIA yesterday released 700 pages of memos and reports detailing plots to also assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro and Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican dictator - among others. It is the first time that the US security agency has openly associated to the death of the charismatic leader.

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.

In November 2001, an all-party commission of inquiry formed by the Belgian government released a report acknowledging that Belgium played a role in the murder of the Congolese leader. The commission's report concluded that authorities in Brussels and Belgium's King Baudouin knew of plans to kill Lumumba and did nothing to save him. It insisted, however, that there is no documentary evidence that Belgium ordered the Congolese leader's death. In fact, earlier investigations have uncovered elements that the assassination of Lumumba was the direct result of orders given by the Belgian government and the then US President Eisenhower administration, acting apparently through the CIA and local clients "financed" and "advised" by Brussels and Washington.

In a book - 'De Moord Op Lumumba' by Flemish historian Ludo de Witte published in 1998, there is reference to a telegram sent three months before Lumumba's death from Count Harold d'Aspremont Lynden, then US minister for African affairs, to Belgian officials in the Congo. Documentation available also shows that the then CIA's director, Allen Dulles, referred to the Congolese leader as a "mad dog".

Following widespread rioting and strikes in 1959, the colonial power surprised all of the nationalist leaders by scheduling elections for May 1960. In a chaotic rush to take advantage of the fruits of independence, 120 different parties were formed, most of them regionally or ethnically based. Only one, the Mouvement National Congolais or the MNC, led by Lumumba, favored a centralized government and a Congo united across ethnic and regional lines. In the midst of a ceremony in which the Belgians had congratulated themselves on successfully civilizing the Congolese and preparing them for self-rule, Lumumba apparently spelled out the reality of colonial oppression, describing it as 80 years of "humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force".

In 1965, Joseph Mobutu, the Congolese army leader - said to have handed Lumumba over to his executioners, staged a bloodless coup, inaugurating a 32-year dictatorship which was legendary for its corruption and greed. He renamed the territory Zaire and became Washington's closest ally on the continent, serving as a staging area for its counter revolutionary interventions against liberation movements in southern Africa.

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