Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Commentary: Does Patrice Emery Lumumba deserve to be a political martyr?

Over a half a decade after his death Patrice Lumumba, born on 2nd July 1925 and murdered by Belgian forces on 17th January 1961, still plays an important role not only in his country DRC but also the world.

He still inspires formation of political parties from his pan-africanist ideology against neo-colonialism hegemony in his country.

Current president Joseph Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) claimed to be motivated by his ideology. Two of his five children by the wife Pauline, Francois Lumumba and Guy-Patrice Lumumba are politicians with the latter leading his father’s party Mouvement National Congolais-Lumumba (MNC-L) with the other being an independent candidate.

To his supporters lead by UUSR 1961 commemorative stamp, several geographical landmines and choice of his name to children, see him as a martyr against neo-colonial control of the world.

To them Lumumba is “the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent” according to Malcolm X echoing Algerian born Cuban revolutionary Che sentiments in 1964. He was a pantheon of revolutionary akin to Frantz Fanon bellicose writings.

On the other hand, critics see his own restless energy; mercurial temperament and outburst against his aides, the western governments and UN send to help him as his undo into fomenting the cauldron of chaos that killed him just seven months into DRC’s independence.

“His dealing with the UN quickly deteriorated into a bewildering series of plea for assistance, threats and ultimatums” A senior UN official Brian Urquhart is quoted by Catherine Hoskyns The Congo Since Independence, January 1960- December 1961 (OUP, 1965). “He issued impossible demands and expected instant results”

Following a political stalemate on 27th November against UN wishes buffering him against Mobutu’s forces at the PM’s residence, he sneaked out to his stronghold Stanleyville (Kisangani) only to be captured four days later as he insisted on stopovers with the villagers.

His outburst squandered all the goodwill with UN in fear of its disintegration in local politics refusing to help while the Soviet bloc and Czech were already expelled by Mobutu in his first coup on 14th September1960.

Later his threat to the western interests was later realized to be blown out of proportion especially the exodus of white expatriates during the DRC turbulent years. Additional his opportunistic call for Soviet bloc to shore his power when cold war was at its fever pitch had dire ramifications.

“The Soviet danger in Congo was overrated “according to Allen Dulles the CIA in a TV interview in 1962.

His death had a far reaching scale in disintegrating DRC to date to be a battle field of warring factions, mercenaries, foreign soldiers and advisers in plundering the country’s vast resources.

A case to note is the 1964 Stanleyville massacre, his stronghold, where supports massacred over 20,000 people mostly ‘intellectuals  anti-reformers’ at his monument publicly.

Patrice Lumumba
“We must move forward, striking out tirelessly against imperialism. From all over the world we have to learn lessons which events afford. Lumumba’s murder should be a lesson for all of us” Che Guevara, 1964.

1 comment:

  1. Is pitiful them killed my man for apiece bread shame on them