Synopses & Reviews
Patrice Lumumba, first prime minister of the Republic of Congo and a pioneer of African unity, was murdered on 17 January 1961.
Democratically elected to lead the Mouvement National Congolais, the party he founded in 1958, Lumumba was at the centre of the country’s growing popular defiance of the colonial rule of oppression imposed by Belgium. When, in June 1960, independence was finally won, his unscheduled speech at the official ceremonies in Kinshasa received a standing ovation and made him a hero to millions. Always a threat to those who sought to maintain a covert imperialist hand over the country, however, he became within months the victim of an insidious plot and was arrested and subsequently tortured and executed.
This book unravels the appalling mass of lies, hypocrisy and betrayals that have surrounded accounts of the assassination since it perpetration. Making use of a huge array of official sources as well as personal testimony from many of those in the Congo at the time, Ludo De Witte reveals a network of complicity ranging from the Belgian government to the CIA. Chilling official memos which detail ‘liquidation’ and ‘threats to national interests’ are analysed alongside macabre tales of the destruction of evidence, putting Patrice Lumumba’s personal strength and his dignified quest for African unity in stark contrast with one of the murkiest episodes in twentieth-century politics.
"De Witte writes without stylish frills or narrative tricks, but his is a vivid and utterly compelling account of a nation strangled at birth by the West." Ronan Bennett
Starred Review. Thoroughly researched, passionately written, deeply disturbing.De Witte's book, politically passionate as it is, is an unignorable effort to bring the West face to face with its culpability in this entire sad and sanguinary tale. -- Richard Bernstein
One Belgian author has triumphed pover decades of official obfuscation: Belgium did collude in Patrice Lumumba's assassination ... It raises questions about western policy in Africa that will reverberate for decades to come. -- Michela Wrong
Whilst the battle for control over the resources of the Congo (now DR Congo) continues today this important book restores Congolese history and saves it from the official version peddled by those directly implicated in the affair.One should never underestimate the ruthlessness of British gentlemen cradling endangered shares. -- Neal Ascherson
and#8220;An excellent introduction to the political and personal life of the most enigmatic African leader of the 20th century.and#8221;
and#8220;In this well-researched book Leo Zeilig has done the valuable job of bringing to life Patrice Lumumba as a man, as well as showing the political context of Africa in the 1950s in the dying days of colonialism. This book is the key to understanding why Lumumba became such a potent myth.and#8221;
Includes bibliographical references (p. -212) and index.
Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Republic of the Congo and a pioneer of African Unity, was assassinated on 17 January 1961. His crime had been to defy the Belgian Government which sought to maintain a covert imperialist hand over the country even after independence was finally won in June 1960. Ludo De Witte reveals the appalling mass of lies that have surrounded the murder. Making use of official sources and government testimony, he uncovers a network of complicity spreading from the Belgian government to the United Nations and the CIA. This book, already translated into four languages, prompted the Belgian parliament to establish an official commission of inquiry into Lumumba's assassination. In his afterword to this new edition De Witte discusses its findings.
De Witte has performed an important service in establishing the appalling facts of Lumumba's last days and Belgium's responsibility for what happened.De Witte has assembled a staggering amount of detail to support his allegations of direct government participation in Lumumba's murder.
In January 1961, seven months after Congo won independence from Belgium, the country's first elected head of state, Patrice Lumumba, was killed because of fears that he would nationalize Belgian corporate interests in Congo.
Patrice Lumumba (1925andndash;61) was one of the most famous leaders of the African Independence Movement. After his murder, he became an icon of anti-imperialist struggle, and his picture, along with those of Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh, was brandished around the worldand#160;at demonstrations in the 1960s.
This second edition of the only full biography of Lumumba presents his life and quest for the Congoandrsquo;s liberation, which influenced how the Cold War would be fought in Africa and the nature of the independence granted to huge swaths of the globe after 1945. For those fighting for freedom, Lumumba became a figure of resistance against the imperial colonizers of the world. Including new archival material and information gained from British intelligence, this new edition is a valuable introduction to a pivotal figure of the twentieth century.
About the Author
is senior research fellow in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and senior research associate with the Research Chair in Social Change at the University of Johannesburg. He is the author of several books on African politics and history.
Table of Contents
Early years: life in Onalua
Stanleyville: Bright lights, big city
Landeacute;opoldville: City of hope
Independence: 30 June 1960
Sources and acknowledgements
Selected further readings