Congo’s first Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba will finally be buried in the Democratic Republic of Congo – 61 years after his assassination – as Belgium returns to the family of the Congolese independence hero Remains, a tooth, which was removed on January 17, 1961, the day the former leader was assassinated.
A strong delegation from Lumumba’s family and Congolese authorities, led by Prime Minister Jean- Michel Sama Lukonde is in Brussels for what is considered the official memorial service for the first Prime Minister of independent Congo.
The former Congolese leader was shot dead in Katanga in the south of the Democratic Party Republic of the Congo with two of his ministers who had remained loyal to him. His body was never found. Investigations in Belgium many years later revealed that his body had been cut up and dissolved in acid.
Fight for Independence
Lumumba is remembered for his in fondly remembered the struggle for independence and the liberation of Africans from the colonial yoke.
His intransigence towards an inhuman and cruel colonial power earned him great hostility from Belgium and the western world , who suspected him of plunging Congo into the folds of the communists at the height of the Cold War.
When Congo gained independence, he was Prime Minister under President Joseph Kasavubu’s government .
But from the first days of independence, the country descended into chaos. Patrice Lumumba, who was prime minister for only two months, was arrested and quickly handed over to his enemies in Katanga, where he was killed. But since then it has been celebrated in Congo and elsewhere, mainly in Africa.
With the return of his tooth, Lumumba is now said to “rest in peace”.
Read:Patrice Lumumba’s remains to be transferred to DR Congo
The official funeral program includes public tributes and the opening of a book of condolences in Brussels on Monday 20 June.
Lumumba’s tooth will be placed in a box, which will then being placed in a coffin. The coffin and the entire delegation left Brussels on Tuesday for a brief stopover in Kinshasa before traveling to Lumumbaville in central Congo’s Sankuru province, where he was born, on Wednesday.
In Lumumbaville – named after Lumumba – the family of the famous prime minister will officially lead the mourning.
The coffin leaves Lumumbaville for Kisangani, Lumumba’s political stronghold in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo , where his followers organized resistance against the Kinshasa government in 1964 after the death of their leader.
On Sunday, June 26, the coffin will arrive in Lubumbashi in today’s southern province of Haut-Katanga, where he was murdered.
Lumumba’s remains will then arrive at Shilatembo village, the crime scene. The coffin will return to Kinshasa on Monday 27th June. From that date, the flags will be flown at half-mast and the whole country will mourn until June 30, the historic date that marks the anniversary of Congo’s independence.
The Burial will take place in a public ceremony on the same day at the Patrice Emery Lumumba Memorial in Kinshasa.