Collected Speeches and Writings of Patrice Lumumba

(1958) Patrice Lumumba, “Speech at Accra”

On December 11, 1958, 34 year old Patrice Lumumba, president of the Congolese National Movement, spoke at the Assembly of African Peoples, an international Pan African Conference sponsored by Kwame Nkrumah, the Prime Minister of newly independent Ghana.* His remarks appear below.* Two years later Lumumba would become the first Prime Minister of the Congo.

We thank the organizers of the Conference of the Assembly of African Peoples for the friendly invitation they kindly extended to our movement.We would like to express our gratitude to His Excellency Prime Minister Nkrumah and to the people of Ghana for the fraternal welcome given us.

We would also like to thank the representatives of the independent peoples present here for their continued defense of the Congo in international tribunals.

I hope they will regard these words, delivered in the name of all our compatriots, as an expression of our sincere gratitude.

The Present Situation in the Congo

Up until the end of last year, there was no legislative council any where in the Congo. All the organs of the country were — and still are — consultative.

Since January of this year, the political structure of the country has undergone modification, the most important change being the creation of communes in certain cities in the Congo.

Legislation to that effect has been passed with regard to rural districts and will be applied in the course of the coming year.

But the new decrees concerning the organization of cities and rural districts have not yet granted these institutions complete autonomy.

In the urban councils, as in all the other consultative organs of the country, a system of representation has been instituted that gives the European minority and the African majority an equal number of seats. There is no need to underscore the fact that this is anti- democratic.

Realizing the progress that has been made by the various segments of the population and taking note of the demands repeatedly put forward by its subjects, Belgium has recently sent to the Congo a commission charged with the task of acquainting itself with the aspirations of the people at first hand.

We for our part believe that on this occasion the country clearly expressed its preference for self-determination.

The Belgian government has promised to deliver its solemn decision on this subject next month.

Our Program of Action

The Congolese National Movement, which we represent at this great conference, is a political movement, founded on October 5, 1958.

This date marks a decisive step for the Congolese people as they move toward emancipation. I am happy to say that the birth of our movement was warmly received by the people for this reason.

The fundamental aim of our movement is to free the Congolese people from the colonialist regime and earn them their independence.

We base our action on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man — rights guaranteed to each and every citizen of humanity by the United Nations Charter — and we are of the opinion that the Congo, as a human society, has the right to join the ranks of free peoples.

We wish to see a modern democratic state established in our country, which will grant its citizens freedom, justice, social peace, tolerance, well-being, and equality, with no discrimination whatsoever.

In a motion we recently transmitted to the minister of the Congo in Brussels, we clearly stipulated — as did many other compatriots of ours — that the Congo could no longer be treated as a colony to be either exploited or settled, and that its attainment of independence was the sine qua non condition of peace.

In our actions aimed at winning the independence of the Congo, we have repeatedly proclaimed that we are against no one, but rather are simply against domination, injustices and abuses, and merely want to free ourselves of the shackles of colonialism and all its consequences.

These injustices and the stupid superiority complex that the colonialists make such a display of, are the causes of the drama of the West in Africa, as is clearly evident from the disturbing reports of the other delegates.

Along with this struggle for national liberation waged with calm and dignity, our movement opposes, with every power at its command, the balkanization of national territory under any pretext whatsoever.

From all the speeches that have preceded ours, something becomes obvious that is, to say the least, odd, and that all colonized people have noticed: the proverbial patience and good-heartedness that Africans have given proof of for thousands of years, despite persecution, extortions, discrimination, segregation, and tortures of every sort.

The winds of freedom currently blowing across all of Africa have not left the Congolese people indifferent. Political awareness, which until very recently was latent, is now becoming manifest and assuming outward expression, and it will assert itself even more forcefully in the months to come. We are thus assured of the support of the masses and of the success of the efforts we are undertaking.

This historical conference, which puts us in contact with experienced political figures from all the African countries and from all over the world, reveals one thing to us: despite the boundaries that separate us, despite our ethnic differences, we have the same awareness, the same soul plunged day and night in anguish, the same anxious desire to make this African continent a free and happy continent that has rid itself of unrest and of fear and of any sort of colonialist domination.

We are particularly happy to see that this conference has set as its objective the struggle against all the internal and external factors standing in the way of the emancipation of our respective countries and the unification of Africa.

Among these factors, the most important are colonialism, imperialism, tribalism, and religious separatism, all of which seriously hinder the flowering of a harmonious and fraternal African society.

This is why we passionately cry out with all the delegates:

Down with colonialism and imperialism!
Down with racism and tribalism!
And long live the Congolese nation, long live independent Africa!

Jean Van Lierde ed., Lumumba Speaks: The Speeches and Writings of Patrice Lumumba, 1958-1961 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972)

(1959) Patrice Lumumba, “African Unity and National Independence”

By 1959 Patrice Lumumba was the most prominent nationalist and independence leader in the Congo.* His fame was also spreading beyond the nation’s boundaries as reflected in this speech given at the closing session of the International Seminar organized by the Congress for the Freedom of Culture held at the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria.* The speech, given on March 22, 1959, appears below.*

I thank the Congress for Freedom and Culture and the University of Ibadan for the kind invitation they extended me to attend this international conference, where the fate of our beloved Africa being discussed.

It has been most gratifying to me to meet here a number of African ministers, men of letters, labor union leaders, journalists, and international figures interested in the problems of Africa.

It is through these person-to-person contacts, through meetings of this sort, that African leaders can get to know each other and draw closer together in order to create that union that is indispensable for the consolidation of African unity.

In fact, the African unity so ardently desired by all those who are concerned about the future of this continent will be possible and will be attained only if those engaged in politics and the leaders of our respective countries demonstrate a spirit of solidarity, concord, and fraternal collaboration in the pursuit of the common good of our peoples.

That is why the union of all patriots is indispensable, especially during this period of struggle and liberation.

The aspirations of colonized and enslaved peoples are everywhere the same; their lot too is the same. Moreover, the aims pursued by nationalist movements in any African territory are also the same. The common goal is the liberation of Africa from the colonialist yoke.

Since our objectives are the same, we will attain them more easily and more rapidly through union than through division.

These divisions, which the colonial powers have always exploited the better to dominate us, have played an important role — and are still playing that role — in the suicide of Africa.

How can we extricate ourselves from this impasse?

In my view, there is only one way: bringing all Africans together in popular movements or unified parties.

All tendencies can coexist within these parties bringing all nationals together, and each will have its say, both in the discussion of problems facing the country and in the conduct of public affairs.

A genuine democracy will be at work within these parties and each will have the satisfaction of expressing its opinions freely.

The more closely united we are, the better we will resist oppression, corruption, and those divisive maneuvers which experts in the policy of “divide and rule” are resorting to.

This wish to have unified parties or movements in our young country must not be interpreted as a tendency toward political monopoly or a certain brand of dictatorship. We ourselves are against despotism and dictatorship.

I wish to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that it is the height of wisdom to thwart from the very outset any possible maneuvers on the part of those who would like to profit from our apparent political rivals in order to set us against each other and thus delay our freeing ourselves from the colonialist regime.

Experience proves that in our African territories the opposition that certain people create in the name of democracy is often not inspired by a concern for the common welfare; a thirst for glory and the furthering of personal interests are the principal if not the only, motives for this.

It is only when we have won the independence of our countries and when our democratic institutions are stabilized that the existence of a pluralist political system will be justified.

The existence of an intelligent, dynamic and constructive opposition is indispensable in order to counterbalance the political and administrative action of the government in power. But this moment does not appear to have arrived yet, and dividing our efforts today would he to render our country a disservice.

All our compatriots must be persuaded that they will not serve the general interest of the country if they are divided or if they foster such divisions, any more than they would serve it by balkanizing our country and partitioning it into weak little states.

Once the territory was balkanized, it would be difficult to achieve national unity again.

Calling for African unity arid then destroying its very foundations is hardly proof of a genuine desire for such unity.

In the struggle that we are peacefully waging today to win our independence, we do not intend to drive Europeans out of this continent or seize their possessions or persecute them. We are not pirates.

On the contrary, we respect individuals and the rights of others to well-being.

The one thing we are determined to do — and we would like others to understand us is to root out colonialism and imperialism from Africa. We have long suffered and today we want to breathe the air of freedom. The Creator has given us this share of the earth that goes by the name of the African continent; it belongs to us and we are its only masters. It is our right to make this continent a continent of justice, law, and peace.

All of Africa is irrevocably engaged in a merciless struggle against colonialism and imperialism. We wish to bid farewell to the rule of slavery and bastardization that has so severely wronged us. Any people that oppresses another people is neither civilized nor Christian.

The West must free Africa as soon as possible.

The West must examine its conscience today and recognize the right of each colonized territory to freedom and dignity.

If the colonialist governments promptly understand our aspirations, we will negotiate with them, but if they stubbornly insist on considering Africa their possession, we will be obliged to consider the colonizers the enemies of our emancipation. Under these circumstances, we will regretfully cease to be friends with them.

I hereby publicly take it upon myself to thank all those Europeans who have spared no effort to help our peoples improve their lot. All humanity will be grateful to them for the magnificent mission of humanization and emancipation they are carrying out in certain parts of Africa.

We do not want to cut ourselves off from the West, for we are quite aware that no people in the world can be self-sufficient.* We are altogether in favor of friendship between races, but the West must respond to our appeal.

Westerners must understand that friendship is not possible when the relationship between us is one of subjugation and subordination.

The disturbances that are occurring at present in certain African territories will continue to occur if the administrative powers do not put an end to the colonial regime. This is the only possible path to genuine peace and friendship between African and European peoples.

We have an imperative need for financial, technical, and scientific aid from the West aimed at rapid economic development and the stabilization of our societies.

But the capital our countries need must be invested in the form of mutual aid between nations. National governments will give this foreign capital every sort of guarantee it wishes.

The Western technicians to whom we make an urgent appeal will come to Africa not to dominate us but to serve and aid our countries.

Europeans must recognize and come to accept the idea that the liberation movement that we are engaged in throughout Africa is not directed against them, nor against their possessions nor against their persons, but purely and simply against the regime of exploitation and enslavement that we are no longer willing to tolerate. If the agree to put an immediate end to this regime instituted by their predecessors we will live in friendship and brotherhood with them.

A twofold effort must be made to hasten the industrialization of our various regions and the economic development of the country. To this end, we address an appeal to friendly countries to send us an abundance of capital and many technicians.

The lot of black workers must be appreciably improved. The wages they earn at present are clearly insufficient. The dire poverty of the working classes is the source of many of the social conflicts that exist at present in our countries. Labor unions have a great role to play in this regard, the role of protectors and educators. It is not enough merely to demand a raise in wages; there is also a great need to educate workers in order that they may become conscious of their professional, civic, and social obligations, and also acquire a clear conception of their rights.

On the cultural plane, the new African states must make a serious effort to further African culture. We have a culture all our own, unparalleled moral and artistic values, an art of living and patterns of life that are ours alone. All these African splendors must be jealously preserved and developed. ‘We will borrow from Western civilization what is good and beautiful and reject what is not suitable for us. This amalgam of African and European civilization will give Africa a civilization of a new type, an authentic civilization corresponding to African realities.

Efforts must also be made to free our peoples psychologically. A certain conformism is noticeable on the part of many intellectuals, and its origins are well known.

This conformism stems from the moral pressures and the reprisals to which black intellectuals have often been subjected. The minute they have told the truth, they have been called dangerous revolutionaries, xenophobes, provocateurs, elements that must he closely watched, and so on.

These moves to intimidate us and corrupt our morals must cease. We need genuine literature and a free press that brings the opinion of the people to light, rather than more propaganda leaflets and a muzzled press.

I hope that the Congress for Freedom and Culture will aid us along these lines.

We hold out a fraternal hand to the West. Let it today give proof of the principle of equality and friendship between races that its sons have always taught us as we sat at our desks in school, a principle written in capital letters in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man. Africans must be just as free as other citizens of the human family to enjoy the fundamental liberties set forth in this declaration and the rights proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.

The period of racial monopolies is now at an end.

African solidarity must take concrete form in facts and acts. We must form a bloc in order to demonstrate our brotherhood to the world.

In order to do so, I suggest that governments that have already won their independence give every possible aid and support to countries that are not yet independent.

In order to further cultural exchanges and the rapprochement of French-speaking and English-speaking countries, the teaching of both French and English should be made compulsory in all African schools. A knowledge of both these languages will put an end to the difficulties of communication that French-speaking and English- speaking Africans encounter when they meet. This is an important factor for their interaction.

Territorial barriers must also be done away with so that Africans may travel freely between the various African states.

Scholarships should also be set up for students in the dependent territories.

I want to take advantage of the opportunity here offered me to pay honor publicly to Dr. Kwame N’Krumah and Mr. Sekou Touré for having succeeded in liberating our brothers in Ghana and Guinea.

Africa will not be truly free and independent as long as any part of this continent remains under foreign domination.

I conclude my remarks with this passionate appeal:

Africans, let us rise up!
Africans, let us unite!
Africans, let us walk hand in hand with those who want to help us make this beautiful continent a continent of freedom and justice!

Sources:Jean Van Lierde ed., Lumumba Speaks: The Speeches and Writings of Patrice Lumumba, 1958-1961 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972)

Statement at the Closing Session of the Belgo-Congolese Round Table Conference
February 20, 1960

Mr. Prime Minister,
Mr. President,
Gentlemen of the Belgian delegations,
My dear Congolese brothers,

At this moment when the Round Table Conference is closing down, we beg to be allowed to speak in the name of the Congolese National Movement and to express its thoughts and feelings.

We are particularly satisfied with the results of the negotiations which we have just conducted with the representatives of the Belgian Government and Parliament.

We demanded the immediate and unconditional independence of our country. We have just won it.

We demanded that this independence should be complete and absolute. The Belgian Government, in compliance with our demand, assures us that Belgium will retain no measure of control after June 30, 1960. On that date, the Congo will accede to international sovereignty. The Congolese Government and the Belgian Government will be proud to sit side by side at international assemblies where they will defend their common interests.

We demanded that, between now and June 30, the Congolese be closely associated with the government of the country. We have just obtained satisfaction by means of the creation of permanent colleges attached to the Minister of the Congo, the Governor General and the Provincial Governors. From to-day on, until the proclamation of independence, the political and administrative management of the Congo will be assumed jointly by the Congolese through these colleges, and by the representatives of Belgium. No decision will be taken without our consent, either in Belgium or in the Congo.

We are overjoyed at these magnificent results, obtained by means of peaceful and friendly negotiations.

Belgium has realised the store we set by our liberty and our human dignity. She understands that the Congolese people is not unfriendly towards her, but that they merely demand the abolition of the colonial status which shamed the twentieth century.

The good will and good faith of the Belgian representatives at the Round Table Conference were truly remarkable. We encountered no systematic opposition from Belgian members of Parliament. We may assert that the Round Table Conference was to all intents and purposes conducted by the Congolese, for every time we came to an agreement between ourselves on one point or another, the Belgian Government and Parliamentary delegates rallied to it. We are all grateful to them for this.

We are now about to return home “with our independence in our baggage”, proud to be able to give our people the joy of knowing themselves free and independent.

While our brothers in Kenya, Nyasaland, South Africa and Angola are still fighting for their accession to autonomy, we ourselves have acceded to the rank of a sovereign state with no transition.

The fact that Belgium has liberated the Congo from the colonial regime we were no longer prepared to accept, has won her the friendship and esteem of the Congolese people.

We desire this friendship to be enduring and free of all forms of hypocrisy. We shall thus prove to the world that the principle of friendship between nations is one of real significance.

From to-day on we shall forget the mistakes of the past and all the causes of dissension, and concentrate solely on the wonderful future that unfolds before us.

We beg you, Mr. Prime Minister, to be kind enough to convey to His Majesty King Baudouin our heartfelt expressions of liking and friendship.

We hope that he will do us the honour of being present at the proclamation of our independence.

We thank His Excellency the Minister of the Congo and all the Belgian Members of Parliament for their kind attention to our statements.

We would also thank His Excellency Mr. Lilar, who presided over the Round Table debates with patience and deep understanding.

We would also salute that great and worthy jurist, His Excellency Mr. Rolin; his personal contribution was invaluable to us during the work of this Conference.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity of thanking Mr. Van Hemelrijck, former Minister of the Congo, who paved the way to Congolese Independence. We hope he will be present at the proclamation of the Congo’s independence, and that no more tomatoes will be flung at him.

The fact that this Conference closes in amity and to the satisfaction of all the Congolese delegations is a good omen for the relations which are to be established between the Congo and Belgium. These relations will be stamped with the seal of friendship and mutual help between our two countries.

Our independence, which is to be proclaimed four months from now, is only the first stage in our emancipation. Having conquered our political liberty after a fight lasting many months, we must now bend every effort to achieve:

1. the creation, in all parts of the Congo, of an atmosphere of confidence and calm so that the new institutions may be set up in a spirit of joy and fraternal co-operation;

2. the eradication of every vestige of colonialism, notably by the immediate elimination of every trace of racial discrimination and the unjust laws passed under the colonial regime;

3. the immediate cessation of the oppressive measures currently being taken against the local population in some regions of the Congo;

4. the consolidation of national independence by the creation of a stable and prosperous national economy. Our independence will have no significance unless it contributes to the improvement of living standards of the worker and peasant classes.

We shall also fight against every attempt to dislocate our national territory. The greatness of the Congo is based on the preservation of its political and economic entity.

As for the Europeans living in the Congo, we would ask them to stay and help the young Congolese State in building up its national strength. We need their help. We guarantee them the security of their property and their persons. It is with their collaboration that we wish to create the Congolese nation, in which all will find their share of happiness and satisfaction.

The doors of the Congo are wide open to all men of good will wishing to help us. On the other hand, we shall not tolerate any persons or powers with imperialist aims. We prefer liberty with poverty to wealth with tyranny.

Capital investment in the Congo will be respected, for we are an honest people. As for the Belgian civil servants now working in the Congo, we would ask them to serve our government with the same loyalty as they served the Belgian government. They may all be proud of their humanitarian contribution to a work of national reconstruction.

A young State, we shall need the advice and technical assistance of Belgium. We sincerely hope that this assistance will not be refused.

We would appeal fraternally to the democratic youth of Belgium to come and serve the Congolese State. Here you will find a brotherly nation in need of other brothers.

As for the tribal chieftains, we would ask them to acknowledge the need for evolution and to co-operate with the political leaders in building their country. We shall reserve them an honourable place in our future institutions.

Citizens of the Congo, we ask you to unite and combine your efforts so as to build a great, united, strong hardworking and prosperous nation in the heart of Central Africa.

Long live the Independent Congo.

Long live Belgium.

Long live the friendship between our two peoples.

Source: The Belgo-Congolese Round Table Conference, Bruxelles, Impr. C. Van Cortenbergh, 1960, pp. 43-44.

Patrice Lumumba’s Speech at the Proclamation of Congolese Independence
June 30, 1960

Congolese men and women:

As combatants for independence who today are victorious, I salute you in the name of the Congolese government.

I ask all my friends, all of you who have fought unceasingly at our side, to make this thirtieth of June, 1960, an illustrious date that will be indelibly engraved upon your hearts, a date whose meaning you will teach your children with pride, so that they in turn will tell their children and their children’s children the glorious story of our struggle for freedom.

For though this independence of the Congo is today being proclaimed in a spirit of accord with Belgium, a friendly country with which we are dealing as one equal with another, no Congolese worthy of the name can ever forget that we fought to win it a fight waged each and every day, a passionate and idealistic fight, a fight in which there was not one effort, not one privation, not one suffering, not one drop of blood that we ever spared ourselves. We are proud of this struggle amid tears, fire, and blood, down to our very heart of hearts, for it was a noble and just struggle, an indispensable struggle if we were to put an end to the humiliating slavery that had been forced upon us.

The wounds that are the evidence of the fate we endured for eighty years under a colonialist regime are still too fresh and painful for us to be able to erase them from our memory. Back-breaking work has been exacted from us, in return for wages that did not allow us to satisfy our hunger, or to decently clothe or house ourselves, or to raise our children as creatures very dear to us.

We have been the victims of ironic taunts, of insults, of blows that we were forced to endure morning, noon, and night because we were blacks. Who can forget that a black was addressed in the familiar form, not because he was a friend, certainly, but because the polite form of address was to be used only for whites?

We have had our lands despoiled under the terms of what was supposedly the law of the land but was only a recognition of the right of the strongest.

We have known that the law was quite different for whites and blacks; it was most accommodating for the former, and cruel and inhuman for the latter.

We have known the atrocious sufferings of those banished to remote regions because of their political opinions or religious beliefs; exiles in their own country, their fate was truly worse than death.

We have known that there were magnificent mansions for whites in the cities and ramshackle straw hovels for blacks, that a black was never allowed into the so-called European movie theaters or restaurants or stores; that a black traveled in the hold of boats below the feet of the white in his deluxe cabin.

Who can forget, finally, the burst of rifle fire in which so many of our brothers perished, the cells into which the authorities threw those who no longer were willing to submit to a rule where justice meant oppression and exploitation?

We have grievously suffered all this, my brothers.

But we who have been chosen to govern our beloved country by the vote of your elected representatives, we whose bodies and souls have suffered from colonialist oppression, loudly proclaim: all this is over and done with now.

The Republic of the Congo has been proclaimed and our country is now in the hands of its own children.

We are going to begin another struggle together, my brothers, my sisters, a sublime struggle that will bring our country peace, prosperity, and grandeur.

We are going to institute social justice together and ensure everyone just remuneration for his labor.

We are going to show the world what the black man can do when, he works in freedom, and we are going to make the Congo the focal point for the development of all of Africa.

We are going to see to it that the soil of our country really benefits its children. We are going to review all the old laws and make new ones that will be just and noble.

We are going to put an end to the suppression of free thought and see to it that all citizens enjoy to the fullest all the fundamental freedoms laid down in the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

We are going to do away with any and every sort of discrimination and give each one the rightful place that his human dignity, his labor, and his devotion to the country will have earned him.

We are going to bring peace to the country, not the peace of rifles and bayonets, but the peace that comes from men’s hearts and their good will.

And in order to achieve all this, dear compatriots, rest assured that we will be able to count not only on our tremendous strength and our immense riches, but also on the assistance of many foreign countries, whose collaboration we will always accept if it is sincere and does not seek to force any policy of any sort whatsoever on us.

In this regard, Belgium has finally realized what direction history was moving in and has not attempted to oppose our independence. She is ready to grant us her aid and her friendship, and a treaty to this effect has just been signed between our two equal and independent countries. I am certain that this cooperation will be beneficial to both countries. We for our part, though we shall continue to be vigilant, will respect all commitments freely made.

Thus the new Congo, our beloved republic that my government is going to create, will be a rich, free, and prosperous country, with regard to both its domestic relations and its foreign relations. But in order for us to reach this goal without delay, I ask all of you, Congolese legislators and citizens alike, to aid me with all the strength at your command.

I ask all of you to forget the trivial quarrels that are draining our strength and threaten to earn us the contempt of those in other countries.

I ask the parliamentary minority to aid my government by constructive opposition and to stay strictly within legal and democratic paths.

I ask all of you not to shrink from making any sacrifice necessary to ensure the success of our great undertaking.

I ask you, finally, to respect unconditionally the life and property of your fellow citizens and foreigners who have settled in our country. If the behavior of these foreigners leaves something to be desired, our justice will be swift and they will be expelled from the territory of the republic; if, on the other hand, they conduct themselves properly, they must be left in peace, for they too will be working for the prosperity of our country.

The independence of the Congo represents a decisive step toward the liberation of the entire African continent.

Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, my dear compatriots, my black brothers, my brothers in the struggle, that is what I wanted to say to you in the name of the government on this magnificent day of our complete and sovereign independence.

Our strong, national, popular government will be the salvation of this country.

I invite all Congolese citizens, men, women, and children, to set to work to create a prosperous national economy that will be the crowning proof of our economic independence.

Honor to those who fought for national freedom!
Long live independence and African unity!
Long live the independent and sovereign Congo!

Source:Patrice Lumumba’s Speech at the Proclamation of Congolese Independence

(1960) Patrice Lumumba, “National Radio Address”

The political situation in the Congo deteriorated rapidly after it gained independence on June 30, 1960.* By July Belgian paratroopers had arrived in Stanleyville, the capital of Katanga province, attacking the Congolese army and police in a bid to aid the province in resisting the new central government.** Lumumba in response visited Katanga to try to keep the mineral-rich region within the Congo nation.* Here is his radio address to the Congolese nation on July 19 after his return from Stanleyville. *

Mv dear compatriots,

We have just come back to Leopoldville this evening, after a two- day stay in Stanleyville, where I arrived last Saturday with the chief of state. During these two days we made important appointments within the army, the police force, and the administration. When we arrived in Stanleyville, the situation was particularly calm in Orientale Province. But Belgian paratroopers landed at Bunia at 2:30 P.M. on Monday to pursue their mission of aggression and provocation. They immediately opened fire on Congolese troops. Two Congolese soldiers were killed. The Belgian troops, moreover, seized arms and ammunition belonging to your national army. Similar acts were committed in Coquilhatville, where one soldier and one policeman were killed, and in Kindu. The Belgian troops are creating panic and unrest throughout the Congo.

Everywhere they go they mount surprise attacks on our troops. For ten days now the chief of state and I have been traveling all over the country to preach calm and examine the situation more closely. Our presence in the interior of the Congo has been beneficial in many respects and has allowed us to uncover many secret plots that threatened to plunge our country into an even graver situation than is generally believed. Having witnessed the acts committed today by the Belgian government in our country, we cannot believe what it told us yesterday for a single instant. Belgium recognized the independence of the Congo yesterday; today she is sabotaging that independence. The ministers of Belgium who signed the document recognizing the Congo’s attainment of international sovereignty on June 30, before all the nations of the world, before the Congolese nation, are the same ministers who sent us occupation troops a few days after the independence of the Congo. The Belgian government, which made it the Fundamental Law that the Congo and its six present provinces formed an indivisible and indissoluble political entity, is the same government that has instigated the secession of Katanga, for the sole purpose of keeping the Union Minière. The proof of the criminal acts of Belgium in the Congo has been clearly established by the arrest of General Victor Lundula, who was appointed by the chief of state and was in Jadotville, and now is a prisoner in Elisabethville, by the appointment of a Belgian commander-in-chief in Katanga, and by the sending of Belgian troops and special envoys to that province.

One thing is certain: Belgium has damned itself in the eyes of the entire world. Its schemes will fail. The valiant Congolese people will be the victors. We would rather die for our freedom than continue to live in slavery. All the life forces of this country have been mobilized to save the honor of the country and courageously defend its independence. The tide of solid support for the young republic is visibly mounting. Every day we receive messages of affection and solidarity, from every corner of the globe, for the just cause we are defending. History never takes a step backward. The Congolese people will let nothing stand in their way in their effort to wipe out every vestige of colonialism and imperialism from their soil. Nothing matters to us, to the Congolese government that you have elected, except the interest of our nation. And our government is determined to defend this sole interest to the very limit, even at the cost of the lives of its members.

In a letter we sent the secretary-general of the United Nations, a letter signed by the chief of state and myself, we set a deadline for the withdrawal of the Belgian troops. We had been promised that the Belgian troops would withdraw as soon as the UN troops arrived in the Congo. ‘The UN troops have been in the Congo for more than a week and the Belgian troops refuse to withdraw. They are continuing their aggression. This time limit that we set expires today, July 19, at midnight. If the United Nations cannot satisfy our people, our government will be obliged immediately to call on troops of other nations. We cannot continue to live under the unjustified military occupation of a foreign power.

I inform public opinion in the Congo and throughout the world that Katanga will not he separate from the Congo. The province of Katanga is an integral part of the independent Congo, from the point of view both of internal public law and of international law. Just as the province of Antwerp in Belgium will not become independent, neither will the province of Katanga become independent in an independent Congo. Our great, rich country will remain united, in order to play a primary role in the association of free nations of Africa.

My dear compatriots, we are standing firmly on our feet day and night with you to defend the integrity of our national territory. Those who still look upon the Congo as a conquered country, as an international market where they can come looking for gold, are mistaken. The Congo is a free country. Its women and children, its workers, its intellectuals will defend it, because the riches of the Congo belong to them. And we are going to exploit them ourselves so as to make the Congo a great and prosperous nation in the center of Black Africa. And tomorrow the Western countries that envy us today will come and seek asylum here. We will welcome them, for we are a peace-loving country.

Long live the sovereign and independent Republic of the Congo!

Sources:Jean Van Lierde ed., Lumumba Speaks: The Speeches and Writings of Patrice Lumumba, 1958-1961 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972)

Interview with TASS
Washington, July 28, 1960, TASS

Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, who is now in Washington, gave the following interview to a TASS correspondent.

Question: How, in your opinion, is the U.N. Security Council decision on the rapid withdrawal of Belgian troops from the Congo being fulfilled?

Answer: Belgium has already proved that she has no respect for Security Council decisions. The Belgian Government is continuing its aggressive actions and savage reprisals against our people. It will be recalled that as far back as July 14, the Security Council demanded in a resolution that Belgian troops should leave the Congo; it sent U.N. armed forces to our country to back up this decision. But since then not a single Belgian soldier has left the territory of the Congo. Every day the troops of the Belgian colonialists kill soldiers of our national army and massacre hundreds of Congolese civilians. These facts are not widely known in the world because the Belgian colonialists have got the press of other Western countries to write as little as possible about the doings of Belgian soldiers in the Congo.

Our government and Parliament have from the very first demanded that Belgian troops should leave the Congo. The pertinent Soviet proposal tabled in the Security Council was the only proposal fully conforming to our people’s interests. We continue to demand and declare that the immediate withdrawal of Belgian troops is the only way of restoring law and order in the Congo. That is why we ask all democratic and peace-loving countries to support our demand. The last Belgian soldier should have left the Congo long ago. The U. N. troops, which arrived to ensure implementation of the Security Council’s resolution, have now been in the Congo for over a fortnight. But the situation has not changed. I must say that the Security Council’s resolutions are being fulfilled anything but properly, although the Council had already passed two resolutions—on July 14 and 22—on the need to withdraw Belgian troops from the Congo. Such a small country as Belgium allows herself to behave in this way only because the Congo now lacks the weapons to throw out the Belgian colonialists.

Question: What is the situation in Katanga? What is your opinion of Katanga’s so-called secession from the Congo recently announced by Mr. Tshombe?

Answer: There has never been a Katanga problem as such. The gist of the matter is that the imperialists want to lay their hands on our country’s riches and to continue exploiting our people. The imperialists have always had their agents in the colonial countries. Tshombe, in particular, is an agent of the Belgian imperialists. Everything he says and writes is not his own. He merely mouths the words of the Belgian colonialists. It is well known that Tshombe is an ex-businessman who has long since thrown in his lot with the colonial companies in the Congo. But very few people know that just recently, as a result of dishonest machinations and overdrafts, Tshombe owed Belgian companies in the Congo more than ten million Belgian francs. He was arrested and was to be tried. But in view of the situation that took shape, Tshombe was “pardoned” and released by the Belgians and since then he has been obediently carrying out all their orders.

Question: What is the Congolese people’s view of the Soviet Union’s stand on the Congo’s struggle to attain genuine independence and territorial integrity?

Answer: The Soviet Union was the only Great Power whose stand conformed to our people’s will and desire. That is why the Soviet Union was the only Great Power which has all along been supporting the Congolese people’s struggle. I should like to convey the heartfelt gratitude of the entire Congolese people to the Soviet people and to Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchov personally for your country’s timely and great moral support to the young Republic of the Congo in its struggle against the imperialists and colonialists. I should also like to thank the Soviet Union for the assistance in food which it is extending to the Congo.

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 53-55.

Correspondence with United Nations General Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld
From a letter to Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, July 26, 1960
New York, July 20, 1960

I am informing you of the following facts: 50 soldiers have been shelled in Shinkolobwe, seven soldiers have been killed in Jadotville, 40 soldiers have been killed in Elisabethville and 12 soldiers have been killed in Kolwezi.

The Minister of Justice reports that thousands of Congolese citizens have been fired on in Kipushi, Dilolo, Bukama, Manono, Kabalo, Albertville, Kabongo, Kamina and Kaniamba. In addition, European settlers are killing all Congolese appearing singly on the highways.

This report has come from the general of our national army Mr. Victor Lundula.

The Minister of Justice of our republic informs us that the Belgian troops, now being withdrawn from the other provinces of the Congo, are concentrating in Katanga Province, where they have their headquarters. The Minister insists on the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of Belgian troops from the entire territory of the country.

In view of the gravity of the situation, I permit myself to insist once again on the following demand that was forwarded to you earlier: “Belgian troops must be immediately withdrawn from the Congo.”

I ask you to inform the members of the Security Council of these new facts from the Congo.

Prime Minister

From a telegram to Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, August 5, 1960

I am happy the U.N. has decided to send troops to Katanga. I am aware that with the help of cunning manoeuvres inspired by Belgian officers, whom the Government of Brussels has assigned to Tshombe, the Belgian Government has attempted to ignore the decisions of the United Nations. I firmly hope you will not give in to the blackmail of the Government of Belgium through its puppet Tshombe.

I cannot understand how Dr. Bunche could go to Katanga to discuss with Tshombe the question of the arrival of U.N. troops in that province. Such negotiations with a member of a provincial government contradict the decisions of the Security Council.

The Security Council had, after all, instructed you to take the necessary steps, in consultation with the Government of the Congo, to render us such military assistance as we may require. You should, therefore, negotiate with our Government and not with Tshombe.

In an effort to retain its troops in Katanga with the purpose of stabilising the split it has provoked, the Belgian Government asserts that its troops were sent to Katanga Province on Tshombe’s request.

With that decision the Belgian Government admits that it initiated the breakaway of Katanga Province. In its resolution of July 22, the Security Council called upon all states to refrain from any action that might hinder the restoration of public order and the exercise of authority by the Congolese Government. Similarly, it requested these states to refrain from any action that might undermine the territorial integrity and the political independence of the Republic of the Congo. By placing its troops and military advisers at Tshombe’s disposal to facilitate the splitting up of the Congo and to obstruct the actions of the United Nations, the Belgian Government openly hinders the restoration of public order in the Congo and the exercise of authority by the Congolese Government.


From a letter to Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, August 14, 1960

As it has informed Mr. Bunche, the Government of the Republic of the Congo can in no way agree with your personal interpretation, which is unilateral and erroneous. The resolution of July 14, 1960, explicitly states that the Security Council authorises you “to provide the Government (of the Republic of the Congo] with such military assistance as may be necessary”. This text adds that you are to do so “in consultation with” my Government. It is, therefore, clear that in its intervention in the Congo the United Nations is not to act as a neutral organisation but rather that the Security Council is to place all its resources at the disposal of my Government. From these texts it is clear that contrary to your personal interpretation, the United Nations force may be used “to subdue the rebel Government of Katanga”, that my Government may call upon the United Nations services to transport civilian and military representatives of the Central Government to Katanga in opposition to the provincial Government of Katanga and that the United Nations force has the duty to protect the civilian and military personnel representing my Government in Katanga. Paragraph 4 of the Security Council’s resolution of August 9, 1960, which you invoke in order to challenge this right, cannot be interpreted without reference to the two earlier resolutions. This third resolution which you cite is only a supplement to the two preceding resolutions, which remain unaltered. The resolution to which you refer confirms the first two. It reads: “… confirms the authority given to the Secretary-General by the Security Council resolutions of July 14 and July 22, 1960, and requests him to continue to carry out the responsibility placed on him thereby.” It follows from the foregoing that Paragraph 4 which you invoke cannot be interpreted as nullifying your obligations to “provide the Government with such military assistance as may be necessary” throughout the entire territory of the Republic, including Katanga. On the contrary, it is the particular purpose of this third decision of the Security Council to make it clear that Katanga falls within the scope of the application of the resolution of July 14, 1960.

My Government also takes this opportunity to protest against the fact that upon your return from New York en route to Katanga, you did not consult it, as prescribed in the resolution of July 14, 1960, despite the formal request submitted to you by my Government’s delegation in New York before your departure and despite my letter replying to your cable on this subject. On the contrary, you have dealt with the rebel Government of Katanga in violation of the Security Council’s resolution of July 14, 1960.

That resolution does not permit you to deal with the local authorities until after you have consulted with my Government. Yet you are acting as though my Government, which is the repository of legal authority and is alone qualified to deal with the United Nations, did not exist. The manner in which you have acted until now is only retarding the restoration of order in the Republic, particularly in the Province of Katanga, whereas the Security Council has solemnly declared that the purpose of the intervention is the complete restoration of order in the Republic of the Congo (see the resolution of July 22, 1960).

Furthermore, the talks you have just had with Mr. Moise Tshombe, the assurances you have given him and the statements you have just made to the press are ample evidence that you are making yourself a party to the conflict between the rebel Government of Katanga and the legal Government of the Republic, that you are intervening in this conflict and that you are using the United Nations force to influence its outcome, which is formally prohibited by the very paragraph which you invoked.

It is incomprehensible to me that you should have sent only Swedish and Irish troops to Katanga, systematically excluding troops from the African states even though some of the latter were the first to be landed at Leopoldville. In this matter you have acted in connivance with the rebel Government of Katanga and at the instigation of the Belgian Government.

In view of the foregoing, I submit to you the following requests:

1. To entrust the task of guarding all the airfields of the Republic to troops of the National Army and the Congolese police in place of United Nations troops.
2. To send immediately to Katanga Moroccan, Guinean, Ghanaian, Ethiopian, Mali, Tunisian, Sudanese, Liberian and Congolese troops.
3. To put. aircraft at the disposal of the Government of the Republic for the transportation of Congolese troops and civilians engaged in restoring order throughout the country.
4. To proceed immediately to seize all arms and ammunition distributed by the Belgians in Katanga to the partisans of the rebel Government, whether Congolese or foreign, and to put at the disposal of the Government of the Republic the arms and ammunition so seized, as they are the property of the Government.
5. To withdraw all non-African troops from Katanga immediately.

I hope that you will signify your agreement to the foregoing. If my Government does not receive satisfaction it will be obliged to take other steps.

My Government takes this occasion to thank the Security Council for the resolutions it adopted, of which my Government and the Congolese people unanimously approve and which they would like to see applied directly and without delay.

Prime Minister

From a letter from Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, to the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, August 15, 1960


I have received your letter of today’s date. In it I find allegations against the Secretary-General as well as objections to the Secretary-General’s interpretation of the resolutions with the implementation of which he has been entrusted. In your letter you also submit certain requests which appear to derive from a position contrary to my interpretation of the resolutions.

There is no reason for me to enter into a discussion here either of those unfounded and unjustified allegations or of the interpretation of the Security Council’s resolutions. As far as the actions requested by you are concerned I shall naturally follow the instructions which the Council may find it necessary or useful to give me.

I have the honour to be, etc.

From a letter to Dag HammarskjöId, U.N. Secretary-General, August 15, 1960

The letter I addressed to you on August 14 on behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Congo contains no allegations against the Secretary-General of the United Nations but rather reveals facts, which should be made known to the Security Council and to the world at large. The Government of the Republic is well aware that the position you have adopted is in no sense that of the Security Council, in which it continues to have confidence. It is paradoxical that you decided to inform the Government of the Republic only after making arrangements with Mr. Tshombe and the Belgians surrounding him. Furthermore, you at no time considered it advisable to consult the Government of the Republic as the resolution of the Security Council recommended you to do. The Government considers that you refused to give it the military assistance it needs and for which it approached the United Nations. I should be grateful if you would inform me in clear terms whether you reject the specific proposals contained in my letter of August 14.

In expectation of an immediate reply, I have the honour to be, etc.

Prime Minister

From a letter from the United Nations Secretary-General to the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, August 15, 1960


I received your letter of August 15 in reply to my letter of the same date. I presume that your letters have been approved by the Council of Ministers and that you will inform the Council of Ministers of my replies. I have nothing to add to my reply to your first communication dated August 14 and received today at noon. Your letter will be circulated to the Security Council immediately at my request. If the Council of Ministers takes no initiative which compels me to change my plans, or has no other specific proposal to make, I shall go to New York this evening in order to seek clarification of the attitude of the Security Council.

I have the honour to be, etc.

From a letter to Dag Hammarskjöld, U.N. Secretary-General, August 15, 1960


I have just this moment received your letter of today’s date in reply to the one I sent you an hour ago. Your letter does not reply at all to the specific questions or concrete proposals contained in my letters of August 14 and 15. There is nothing erroneous in my statements, as you maintain. It was because I publicly denounced, at a recent press conference, your manoeuvres in sending to Katanga only troops from Sweden-a country which is known by public opinion to have special affinities with the Belgian royal family-that you have suddenly decided to send African troops into that province.

If no member of the Security Council has taken the initiative to question the validity of your Memorandum and your plans of action it is because the members of the Council do not know exactly what is going on behind the scenes. Public opinion knows-and the members of the Security Council also know-that after the adoption of the last resolution you delayed your journey to the Congo for twenty-four hours solely in order to have talks with Mr. Pierre Wigny, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, administrator of mining companies in the Congo and one of those who plotted the secession of Katanga.

Before leaving New York for the Congo, the Congolese delegation, led by Mr. Antoine Gizenga, Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, urgently requested you to contact my Government immediately upon your arrival in Leopoldville and before going to Katanga-which was in conformity with the Security Council’s resolution of July14, 1960. I personally laid particular stress on this point in the letter I sent to you on August 12 through the intermediary of Mr. Ralph Bunche, your special representative.

Completely ignoring the legal Government of the Republic, you sent a telegram from New York to Mr. Tshombe, leader of the Katanga rebellion and emissary of the Belgian Government. Mr. Tshombe, again at the instigation of the Belgians placed at his side, replied to this telegram stipulating two conditions for the entry of United Nations troops into Katanga. According to the revelations just made by Mr. Tshombe at his press conference, you entirely acquiesced in the demands formulated by the Belgians speaking through Mr. Tshombe.

In view of all the foregoing, the Government and people of the Congo have lost their confidence in the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Accordingly, we request the Security Council today to send immediately to the Congo a group of observers representing the following countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, the United Arab Republic, the Sudan, Ceylon, Liberia, Mali, Burma, India, Afghanistan and the Lebanon. The task of these observers will be to ensure the immediate and entire application of the Security Council resolutions of July 14 and 22 and August 9.

I earnestly hope that the Security Council, in which we place our full confidence, will grant our legitimate request. A delegation of the Government will accompany you in order to express its views to the Security Council. I would, therefore, ask you kindly to delay your departure for twenty-four hours in order to permit our delegation to travel on the same aircraft.


From a letter from the U.N. Secretary-General to the Prime Minister of the Congo, August 15, 1960


Your third letter of today’s date has just been received. I have taken note of your intention to send a delegation to the Security Council to request the dispatch of a group of observers to ensure the implementation of the Council’s resolutions. This request would seem to be based on the statement which you have made that you no longer have confidence in me.

I shall not discuss your repeated erroneous allegations or the new allegations added to those which you have already addressed to me. It is for the Security Council to judge their worth and to assess the confidence which the member countries have in the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

As regards the questions asked in your letters, to which you say you have had no reply, I refer you to the explanatory memorandum transmitted to you by Mr. Bunche. In it you will find all the necessary information.

You have requested me to delay my departure in order to enable the delegation of the Congo to travel on the same aircraft with me. I do not see the advantage of that arrangement, since it goes without saying that the Council will not meet until after the arrival of your delegation. In these circumstances, and as I have made all the preparations for my departure, I shall leave as indicated to you in an earlier letter today.


Source: 1. letter: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, p. 71, the rest: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, p 49-58.

From a letter to the President of the Security Council
August 1, 1960

The trend of events in the Congo is causing my Government serious concern…..

The Belgian Government promised to withdraw its troops from the Congo as soon as the United Nations troops reached there.

United Nations troops have been arriving in the Congo since July 16, but not a single Belgian soldier has left Congolese soil.

We are at present confronted with a deliberate refusal by the Belgian Government to comply with the decisions of the highest international authority, the Security Council.

The Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of the Congo informs me in a telegram recently received in New York, a copy of which is attached, that the Congolese soldiers are being disarmed, whereas the Belgian soldiers are remaining in the territory together with all their arms. I would particularly draw your attention to the fact that no contingent of United Nations troops has so far entered Katanga, because this is opposed by the Belgian Government solely in order to strengthen the secession movement it has instigated in this province using Tshombe as a screen, in contravention of the relevant resolutions adopted by the Security Council.

There is now no justification whatever for the presence of Belgian military forces in the Congo.

The arguments put forward by the Belgian Government for the maintenance of its troops in the Congo contrary to the decisions of the Security Council are merely false pretexts. The Belgian Government’s intention is to disorganise the country and involve our Government and our people in numerous economic and financial difficulties.

To give just one example, the Belgian Government recently removed our gold reserves which were in our Central Bank in the Congo. Such measures of economic strangulation are taking place in many other sectors.

I would also inform you that the people of Katanga emphatically repudiate the attempts at secession, which the Belgian Government is in the process of organising in that province with the help of a number of collaborators, among whom is Mr. Tshombe. The present objective of the Belgian Government and of a few groups which support it, is to bring about the division of the Congo in orderto obtain a hold over our country.

The paramount problem in the Congo is that of the immediate withdrawal of all Belgian troops from Congolese territory.

I reserve the right to request a meeting of the Security Council to consider whatever measures may prove necessary.

P. LUMUMBA, Prime Minister

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 46-8..

From a telegram to the President of the Security Council
August 1, 1960

It has come to my knowledge that resorting to insidious manoeuvres and using Tshombe as its instrument, the Belgian Government is taking recourse to blackmail in order to prevent the arrival of United Nations troops in Katanga. All of Tshombe’s actions are dictated by Belgian officers, whom the Belgian Government has placed at his side as advisers.

Clearly, the Belgian Government is torpedoing the fulfilment of the decisions of the United Nations…. The Security Council has virtually authorised you to take, in consultation with the Government of the Republic of the Congo, the necessary steps in order to provide us with whatever military assistance we may need. With the purpose of keeping its troops in Katanga and thereby consolidating the secession of Katanga, which it instigated, the Belgian Government alleges that these troops were sent into Katanga at Tshombe’s request. With this statement the Belgian Government admits that it instigated the secession of Katanga.
By placing its troops and military advisers at Tshombe’s disposal in order to facilitate the splitting up of the Congo and hinder the actions of the United Nations, the BelgianGovernment is obviously opposing the restoration of legality and order in the Congo and the exercise of authority by the Government of the Congo.

I reaffirm my demand to you that United Nations troops be sent into Katanga immediately. Any delay in the strict fulfilment of the Security Council’s decisions may seriously affect the prestige of the United Nations, as well as the security of the Congo, which will be a threat to peace in Africa. In the event United Nations troops are not brought into Katanga by Saturday, August 6, in conformity with the obligations undertaken by the United Nations, by you and by my Government, I shall be compelled to re-examine my position. I continue to hope….

Patrice Lumumba

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, p 48f.

Statement at a press conference in Leopoldville
August 16, 1960

I have asked you to this press conference primarily to announce to you an important decision that the present situation has forced the Government of the Republic to take.

You shall see that we are conscious of the gravity of the hour and are not shirking our responsibilities. The reason for calling this conference is that I wanted to determine the present situation with you.
Yesterday, from the U.N. services, you received a version of the divergences between the U.N. Secretary-General and our Government. Some people are seeking to present this dispute as a question of personality, of personalities. I should like to emphasise here and now that the U.N. Secretary-General is a high officer in the service of an institution that we respect to the point that we have appealed to it (for aid-Tr.).

However, here the question is to examine, on the basis of facts, the Secretary-General’s mission and the manner in which he has or has not fulfilled this mission.

Everything was perfectly clear in the evening of July 14 in New York, when the Security Council decided, I quote the text of the resolution, “to authorise the Secretary-General to take, in consultation with the Government of the Republic of the Congo, all necessary measures with a view to giving that Government the military assistance it requires until such a time when the national security forces, thanks to the efforts of the Congolese Government and with the technical assistance of the United Nations, are, in the opinion of that Government, fully capable of carrying out their tasks”.

From this it is quite clear that the Secretary-General had no business giving his own interpretation of the order instructing him to extend to our Government unrestricted military assistance, which we required and still require and with regard to which we are the sole judges.

We asked the U.N. for assistance, and it responded to our appeal. Our attitude towards the United Nations remains one of full trust. Strong and confident of our right, we are profoundly convinced that the U.N., which has already demonstrated its insight and impartiality with regard to us, will straightforwardly carry out the decisions it has adopted.

Let me emphasise once again that the matter concerns the maintenance of peace among nations.

That is why we regret some of the actions that have been taken by the Secretary-General, and you are bearing witness that these actions are only prolonging the crisis, which we are the first to deplore.
Incidents, which U.N. troops should have stopped long ago, are taking place every day because of the behaviour of the aggressive Belgian forces and because of certain ambiguities created by some groups.
On the other hand, all the Belgian magistrates have fled, leaving their offices in indescribable disorder, with the result that civil courts no longer exist.

We have decided to take immediate steps to hold in check all trouble-makers, white or black, in order to enable our people to retrieve their dignity and to restore legality and peace.

I shall now read you the ordinance that was promulgated by the Government today.

[P. Lumumba reads the text of the ordinance.]

I shall now give you some figures to show that with goodwill each can make his contribution towards the solution of our problems.

In the period from August 1 to 8, the Matadi-Leopoldville Railway transported 6,000 tons of timber. During the past week this figure has been nearly trebled to 17,500 tons. In other words, in the past eight days we have restored the normal rhythm.

This encouraging result was achieved with only 5 per cent of the former European personnel. We greet the work that has been done by these people. The Government of the Republic takes this occasion to reaffirm the friendship of the Congolese population for the Belgian people. It confirms that it is ready to restore diplomatic relations with Belgium as soon as Belgian troops withdraw from the Congo, including the bases at Kitona and Kamina. We are prepared to renew friendly relations.

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 59-61.

Statement at a press conference in Leopoldville
August 17, 1960

At my yesterday’s press conference I stated the grave reasons that prompted the Government to ask the President of the Security Council to examine the question of immediately sending a group of neutral observers to the Congo to ensure control over the implementation of the resolution of July 14, 1960. Certain circles with interests in the Congo have qualified our position as a lack of confidence in the U.N. As I stated yesterday and repeat again, the matter here is not in a lack of trust or in any suspicion with regard to the U.N. On the contrary. The Government and the people of the Congo continue to trust the U.N. and its Security Council. What we have condemned, and that can be proved, is only the method by which the U.N. Secretary-General sought to implement the Security Council’s resolutions. He acted as though there were no Government of the Republic.

The Congolese people regard his contacts and meetings with Tshombe as well as the assurances that he gave Tshombe as treachery. Tshombe did not conceal the fact that he had official assurances from the U.N. Secretary-General. In conformity with the Security Council’s resolutions, Mr. Hammarskjöld should not have had talks with Tshombe. Furthermore, the Secretary-General did not once show any desire to consult with the Government of the Republic as he was officially advised to do by the resolution of July 14, 1960. Consequently, a line must be drawn between the personal actions of Mr. Hammarskjöld, which we brand in the name of truth and justice, and the far-sighted policy of the United Nations. In the Congo nobody approves the steps that have so far been taken in the Congo issue by the U.N. Secretary-General. His interpretation of the Security Council’s decisions clearly shows us his intentions. The Government is aware that certain circles seek to turn the Congo into a second Korea. And in order to achieve this purpose by roundabout ways, implementation of the decisions of an organ of the highest international authority is being delayed. Many crimes have been perpetrated in Katanga because of the U.N. Secretary-General’s delay in carrying out the decisions of the United Nations.

The fact of the matter is that several scores of Congolese, military personnel and civilians, were shot two days ago. These repugnant crimes have been concealed from the public. Surely the U.N. Secretary-General knows about it. The conspiracy of silence designed to delude world public opinion is noteworthy. The Belgian press and the correspondents sent to Katanga assert that order reigns there, whereas in reality arbitrary shootings and arrests are occurring every day as a consequence of Tshombe’s compact with Belgium. Every day I receive disturbing news from various parts of Katanga and every day the people of Katanga Province are asking the Government to intervene and deliver them from the oppression of the Belgium-Tshombe group. Conscience will not allow the Government to permit such a situation to continue in the country. We wanted to go to the Security Council to condemn this situation, for all to hear, believing that if our official delegation were absent the Security Council might be misinformed. I asked the U.N. Secretary-General to postpone his departure for 24 hours to enable our Government delegation to accompany him. Our request was turned down. And yet in his letter of August 15, 1960, he assured me that the Security Council would meet only after the arrival of our delegation. To my great surprise and to the surprise of the whole of Congolese public opinion, I learned that the Security Council is to meet tomorrow morning although the delegation of the Congo has not left the country because of transportation difficulties.

This morning I cabled the President of the Security Council, asking him to postpone the meeting until the arrival of a delegation from the Congolese Government.

I hope that this well-founded request is complied with. Moreover, I hope that the Government will not be compelled to renounce the services of the U.N. In the event a decision we shall consider as undesirable is taken, that is to say, if a group of neutral foreign observers will not be sent with instructions to ensure control over the implementation of the Security Council’s resolutions, the Government will, to its regret, be forced to consider other, speedier measures. More than a month of our hopes in the U.N. and of waiting has passed. It is over a month now that we have been waiting for its resolutions to be carried out.

It does not do for any country to lecture us or to tell us what road we should take if there is no desire to help us in the way we have asked and if it is contemplated to use our request for military aid to pursue other political aims. We are prepared to withdraw this request. Nobody can enter the Congo and no foreign power can set foot in our country and interfere in its affairs if it has not been specifically requested to do so by the legal Government of the Congo Republic. The Congo is a sovereign, independent and free state with the same rights as France, Belgium, Britain and the U.S.A. We are the masters of our own destinies and we shall make the Congo into what we want her to be and not into what others want. Those who reproach me for telling the truth and exposing certain manoeuvres are giving themselves away in the face of this truth, because it will triumph in the very near future. Together with our people we shall defend our country to the end, regardless of the plots and manoeuvres of the Belgian colonialists and their allies.

History will show who is right.

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 61-64.

Statement at a press conference
August 19, 1960

This morning Mr. Bunche handed me a note from the U.N. Secretary-General.

In it Mr. Hammarskjöld gives an account of a trivial incident between U.N. forces and the Congolese army. The Secretary-General and his representatives in Leopoldville have deliberately exaggerated this incident with the sole purpose of using it to further their aims on the eve of the Security Council meeting. Their purpose is to influence the opinion of the Security Council members in favour of the Secretary-General, who has compromised himself by his actions in Katanga. This manoeuvre must be publicly exposed.

What really happened is this. The Government of the Republic decreed a state of emergency throughout the country. On the other hand it was found that many foreigners are entering the Congo without the agreement of the Government of the Republic. For them the Congo has become an international market. These people are spying and continuously instigating disorders in the country.

In this situation it was decided to check the identity of all passengers of aircraft belonging to foreign powers. This check was conducted with every sign of courtesy.

Upon the arrival of two aircraft transporting Canadian military personnel, the security forces wished to check the identity of these passengers. But the latter flatly refused to produce their identification papers and hurled coarse language at the Congolese officials.

And even graver was the fact that Swedish troops of the U.N. force prevented the legal authorities from carrying out this check.

It was, first and foremost, this attitude of the passengers and then the behaviour of the European troops of the U.N. that started the incident.

Let me point out that every day troops of the National Army are attacked and unjustly insulted by U.N. European military personnel. The latter seek to take the place of the Government of the country and the legal authorities.

Moreover, some days ago I notified Mr. Bunche, the General-Secretary’s special representative, of the Government’s decision to have all the airfields in the Republic turned over to the exclusive control of troops of the National Army.

The United Nations representatives refused to comply with this decision of the supreme authority of the Republic.

In view of this insolent attitude of the United Nations white troops sent into the Congo, the Government was compelled to demand their immediate withdrawal and allow only African troops to enter the Congo under U.N. control. This will enable us to avoid a cold war, because some states are now using units sent to the Congo from certain European countries to further their own interests. This has already been proved, and for the benefit of the Security Council I stress once again that the Government of the Republic has passed a decision on the withdrawal of all military units belonging to European nations.

We have stated, on the other hand, that the United Nations special representative in the Congo has distributed U.N. armbands among Belgian nationals and that they have used this badge to attack the Congolese population.

The U.N. Secretary-General declares in his note that he will be obliged to ask the Security Council to reconsider the entire United Nations action in the Congo. This blackmail by the Secretary-General does not surprise us.

To this my reply is that for its part the Government of the Republic is prepared to renounce the services of the United Nations, because the Congo, a sovereign and independent country, is nobody’s property. We can easily and quickly restore order by ourselves and with the direct assistance that we can get from a number of countries, which have already given us their selfless support.

The Government of the Republic:

1. condemns the personal actions of the U.N. Secretary-General;
2. demands the immediate withdrawal of white troops, who were behind the latest incidents and who have shown bad intent with regard to the Republic;
3. demands and repeats its request that a group of observers from neutral countries, a list of which has already been submitted to the Security Council, be sent to the Congo;
4. confirms its desire loyally to co-operate with the United Nations in establishing peace on earth.

Patrice Lumumba concluded his statement by pointing out that it was only the intervention of some African states that forced the Secretary-General to give up his intention of placing the Congolese Government before an accomplished fact by convening the Security Council before the arrival of a Congolese delegation.

He confirmed the trust of the Congolese Government in the United Nations and the Security Council. “We appealed for the services of the United Nations ourselves,” he emphasised. “If some countries aspire to use the Secretary-General for their own purposes, we say to them that they will be condemned by the African peoples.” Lumumba pointed out that even if circumstances compelled the Congolese Government to renounce the services of the United Nations, it would not mean that the Congo would withdraw from that organisation because it did not identify the actions of individuals with the ideals of the United Nations.

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 64-7.

Speech at the opening of the All-African Conference in Leopoldville
August 25, 1960

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear comrades,

The fighting Congolese people are proud and happy to receive their brothers-in-arms in their country today.

For my Government, for us Congolese, your presence here at such a moment is the most striking proof of the African reality whose existence our enemies have always denied and are still attempting to deny. But you, of course, know that that reality is even more stubborn than they, and Africa lives on and fights. She refuses to die to justify the arguments about the backwardness of our history, a history we have made with our hands, our skins and our blood.

It is at conferences such as this that, we first became conscious of our personality, of our growing solidarity. When at our first conferences, which were held in various cities in Africa, we brought up the problem of decolonisation the imperialists never expected we would be successful. However, since the first Conference of the Peoples of Africa in Accra in December 1958 we have traversed the entire road of the liberation of our continent together.

You will recall the upsurge of the liberation struggle of the peoples of Angola, Algeria, the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Nyasaland and Rhodesia after the Conference in Accra, and of Ruanda-Urundi today. You will remember that a decisive step forward was taken after that historic Conference. Nothing, neither bullets, nor repressions, could stop this popular movement.

The work of this Conference is aimed at accelerating the movement for the independence of the African continent.

Ministers, dear fighters for the freedom of Africa, it is your duty to show the world and those who sneer at us that nothing can deter us from liberating Africa, which is our common aim. We can achieve this aim only in solidarity and unity. Our solidarity will have meaning only when it is boundless and when we are convinced that Africa’s destiny is indivisible.

Such are the deep-going principles of the work you will have to do. This meeting will prepare the ground for a Summit Conference at which our countries will have to speak on:

1) the unqualified support of all the African states in the general struggle for a Pan-African bloc;
2) a policy of neutralism with the purpose of achieving genuine independence;
3) the breaking down of colonial barriers through cultural exchanges;
4) trade agreements between the African states;
5) Africa’s position with regard to the European Common Market;
6) military co-operation;
7) the building in Leopoldville of a powerful radio station with the aid of all the African states;
8) the creation of a research centre in Leopoldville.

Ministers, you have come into contact with the reality of the Congo here, in the very heart of the crisis that we shall have to resolve.

Your confidence in the future of our continent will unquestionably help you to complete your work successfully. Your principal purpose is to prepare a meeting of our Heads of State, who will in deed establish African unity, for whose sake you have responded to our appeal.

You know the origin of what is today called the Congolese crisis, which is actually only a continuation of the struggle between the forces of pressure and the forces of liberation. At the very outset of the Belgian aggression, my Government, the guarantor and representative of the sovereignty of the Congolese nation, decided to appeal to the United Nations. The U.N. has responded. And so has the free world. Belgium has been condemned. I went to New York to show world public opinion the moving forces of the Congolese drama.

Upon our return from the United Stateswe replied to the invitation of the Heads of the free African states, who publicly adopted a definite position and unanimously extended to us their fraternal support. From this rostrum I express my gratitude to President Bourguiba, His Majesty Mohammed V, President Sekou Toure, President Tubman, President Nkrumah and President Olympio, whom I had the honour to meet at this decisive moment. I regret that material difficulties prevented me from replying to the invitation of President Nasser and His Majesty Haile Selassie.

All of them, fighting for African unity, have said “No” to the strangulation of Africa. All of them immediately realised that the attempts of the imperialists to restore their rule threaten not only the independence of the Congo but also the existence of all the independent states of Africa. They all realised that if the Congo perishes, the whole of Africa will be plunged into the gloom of defeat and bondage.

That is further striking proof of African unity. It is concrete testimony of the unity that we need in the face of imperialism’s monstrous appetite.

All statesmen are agreed that this reality is not debated but fought for so that it may be defended.

We have gathered here in order that together we may defend Africa, our patrimony. In reply to the actions of the imperialist states, for whom Belgium is only an instrument, we must unite the resistance front of the free and fighting nations of Africa. We must oppose the enemies of freedom with a coalition of free men. Our common destiny is now being decided here in the Congo.

It is, in effect, here that the last act of Africa’s emancipation and rehabilitation is being played. In extending the struggle, whose primary object was to save the dignity of the African, the Congolese people have chosen independence. In doing so, they were aware that a single blow would not free them from colonial fetters, that juridical independence was only the first step, that a further long and trying effort would be required. The road we have chosen is not an easy one, but it is the road of pride and freedom of man.

We were aware that as long as the country was dependent, as long as she did not take her destiny into her own hands, the main thing would be lacking. This concerns the other colonies, no matter what their standard of life is or what positive aspects of the colonial system they have.

We have declared our desire for speedy independence without a transition period and without compromises with such emphasis because we have suffered more mockery, insults and humiliation than anybody else.
What purpose could delays serve when we already knew that sooner or later we would have to revise and re-examine everything? We had to create a new system adapted to the requirements of purely African evolution, change the methods forced on us and, in particular, find ourselves and free ourselves from the mental attitudes and various complexes in which colonisation kept us for centuries.

We were offered a choice between liberation and the continuation of bondage. There can be no compromise between freedom and slavery. We chose to pay the price of freedom.

The classical methods of the colonialists, which we all knew or partially still know, are particularly vital here: survivals of military occupation, tribal disunity, sustained and encouraged over a long period, and destructive political opposition, planned, directed and paid.

You know how difficult it has been for a newly independent state to get rid of the military bases installed by the former occupying powers. We must declare here and now that henceforth Africa refuses to maintain the armed forces of the imperialists in its territory. There must be no more Bizertes, Kitonas, Kaminas and Sidi Slimanes. We have our own armies to defend our countries.

Our armed forces, which are victims of machinations, are likewise freeing themselves from the colonial organisation in order to have all the qualities of a national army under Congolese leadership.

Our internal difficulties, tribal war and the nuclei of political opposition seemed to have been accidentally concentrated in the regions with our richest mineral and power resources. We know how all this was organised and, in particular, who supports it today in our house.

Our Katanga because of its uranium, copper and gold, and our Bakwanga in Kasai because of its diamonds have become hotbeds of imperialist intrigues. The object of these intrigues is to recapture economic control of our country.

But one thing is certain, and I solemnly declare that the Congolese people will never again let themselves be exploited, that all leaders who will strive to direct them to that road will be thrown out of the community.

The resonance that has now been caused by the Congolese problem shows the weight that Africa has in the world today. Our countries, which only yesterday they wanted to ignore as colonial countries, are today causing the old world concern here in Africa. Let them worry about what belongs to them. That is not our affair. Our future, our destiny, a free Africa, is our affair.

This is our year, which you have witnessed and shared in. It is the year of our indisputed victory. It is the year of heroic, blood-drenched Algeria, of Algeria the martyr and example of struggle. It is the year of tortured Angola, of enslaved South Africa, of imprisoned Ruanda-Urundi, of humiliated Kenya.

We all know, and the whole world knows it, that Algeria is not French, that Angola is not Portuguese, that Kenya is not English, that Ruanda-Urundi is not Belgian. We know that Africa is neither French, nor British, nor American, nor Russian, that it is African.

We know the objects of the West. Yesterday they divided us on the level of a tribe, clan and village. Today, with Africa liberating herself, they seek to divide us on the level of states. They want to create antagonistic blocs, satellites, and, having begun from that stage of the cold war, deepen the division in order to perpetuate their rule.

I think I shall not be making a mistake if I say that the united Africa of today rejects these intrigues. That is why we have chosen the policy of positive neutralism, which is the only acceptable policy allowing us to preserve our dignity.

For us there is neither a Western nor a communist bloc, but separate countries whose attitude towards Africa dictates our policy towards them. Let each country declare its position and act unequivocally with regard to Africa.

We refuse to be an arena of international intrigues, a hotbed and stake in the cold war. We affirm our human dignity of free men, who are steadily taking the destiny of their nations and their continent into their own hands.

We are acutely in need of peace and concord, and our foreign policy is directed towards co-operation, loyalty and friendship among nations. We want to be a force of peaceful progress, a force of conciliation.

An independent and united Africa will make a large and positive contribution to world peace. But torn into zones of hostile influence, she will only intensify world antagonism and increase tension.

We are not undertaking any discriminative measures. But the Congo is discriminated against in her external relations. Yet in spite of that she is open for all and we are prepared to go anywhere. Our only demand is that our sovereignty be recognised and respected.

We shall open our doors to specialists from all countries motivated by friendship, loyalty and co-operation, from countries bent not on ruling Africans but on helping Africa. They will be welcomed with open arms.

I am sure that I shall be expressing the sentiments of all my African brothers when I say that Africa is not opposed to any nation taken separately, but that she is vigilant against any attempt at new domination and exploitation both in the economic and spiritual fields. Our goal is to revive Africa’s cultural, philosophical, social and moral values and to preserve our resources. But our vigilance does not signify isolation. From the beginning of her independence, the Congo has shown her desire to play her part in the life of free nations, and this desire was concretised in her request for admission to the United Nations.

Ministers and dear comrades, I am happy to express the joy and pride of the Government and people of the Congo at your presence here, at the presence here of the whole of Africa. The time of projects has passed. Today Africa must take action. This action is being impatiently awaited by the peoples of Africa. African unity and solidarity are no longer dreams. They must be expressed in decisions.

United by a single spirit, a single aspiration and a single heart, we shall turn Africa into a genuinely free and independent continent in the immediate future.

Long live African unity and solidarity!
Forward, Africans, to complete liberation!

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 19-25.

Concluding speech at the All-African Conference in Leopoldville
August 31, 1960

Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear comrades,

On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of the Congo we salute you for the magnificent work that you have done.

Solemnly opened on August 25 under the banner of solidarity, the All-African Conference, which we invited to Leopoldville, has successfully completed its work. You have worked as a team in a spirit of understanding and have placed the interests of Africa above our individual interests and features. The success of this Conference gives us grounds for believing in Africa’s future. Africa’s unity will not be possible until all her children become united among themselves.

This has been profoundly grasped by us and that is why we are here together in this hall.

We have only just completed a tour of the interior of the Republic. We were accompanied by delegates from African countries and by African and foreign journalists, whom we invited. Everybody has seen the enthusiasm of the people and their trust in their Government and leaders. Everybody has seen how the Congolese trust their African brothers and how sincere the inhabitants of our country are in their striving for peace and order. Everybody could see the real face of the Congo and its people.

The colonialists have created a false problem. It is, as you know, the Katanga drama, which conceals an entire headquarters of saboteurs of our national independence. This headquarters, which at present operates covertly, through intermediaries, has the sole object of stirring up trouble, creating difficulties for the Government, discrediting it abroad through carefully organised propaganda, and re-enslaving the Congo. And all this for the sole purpose of securing their own selfish interests.

The colonialists care nothing for Africa for her own sake. They are attracted by African riches and their actions are guided by the desire to preserve their interests in Africa against the wishes of the African people. For the colonialists all means are good if they help them to possess these riches.

Luckily for us, the Congolese people and their Government have shown themselves to be vigilant. Our struggle is aimed at liberating the country, restoring peace and consolidating social justice.

The Congo became independent under conditions which did not exist in any other African country. In other places the transition from the colonial regime to independence had intermediate stages, in the Congo everything proceeded differently. We gained our sovereignty without any intermediate stage. One single step took us from one hundred per cent colonial dependence to one hundred per cent independence.

We took over the country’s leadership on June 30, 1960, and only a few days later, without giving us time to organise ourselves, the Belgian Government used a false pretext to launch flagrant aggression against us. We replied to these acts of provocation and force by appealing to the United Nations.

In so doing the Government of the Republic wished to avoid war and the extension of disorders in the Congo. We placed our trust in the United Nations, convinced that it would be able to come to our assistance.
Our endless appeals to that international organisation and the many trips that members of the Government and I have undertaken to U.N. Headquarters in New York bear out how much we desire the incidents in the Congo to be stopped peacefully.

The only reason for any divergence of opinion between the Government of the Republic and the U.N. Secretary-General is that in all their actions in the Congo, contrary to the resolutions of the Security Council, the representatives of the United Nations never consulted us.

These incidents could have been avoided if from the very beginning there had been a spirit of co-operation between representatives of the United Nations and the Government of the Republic. We have never tried to cast a doubt on the work that the United Nations is doing in Africa.

Who will deny that the joint efforts of the United Nations prevented many disasters in the world?

Who will deny that for many long years the colonial peoples placed their hopes in the United Nations?

We ourselves have appealed to the United Nations many times during our struggle against the Belgian colonialism.

On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of the Congo we confirm our trust in the U.N. and in the different nations composing it. Our greatest desire is that this organisation should pursue its aims with greater efficacy for the happiness of mankind. The Government of the Republic will not stint any effort to help maintain peace and international security.

We have solemnly appealed to the National Army and the forces of the United Nations to combine their efforts in their mission to pacify the country.

Agreement between United Nations representatives in the Congo and the Government of the Republic is absolutely indispensable. It would facilitate harmony and understanding between U.N. troops and the Congolese army.

We salute the magnificent work the United Nations is doing in the Congo today.

We thank all the countries which have responded to our appeal and continue to render us all possible aid.

Many countries have spared no effort to help the Congo with food, medicines, materials and other forms of aid.

I cannot pass over in silence the fact that the Congolese appreciate the gestures of human solidarity from the friends of our freedom.

Similarly, we pay tribute to troops of the National Army for their fidelity. They are serving the Republic with a civic spirit and patriotism.

From the very outset of these events, our troops have known no rest and their ideal is to serve the Republic, their country, to defend the people and the integrity of the Republic, and they are prepared to die for this ideal. They are possessed with the idea of entering Katanga without delay and liberating their brothers. They burn with impatience. This consciousness of our soldiers is encouraging the entire people.

The Congo, dear delegates from the African countries, is inhabited by a peace-loving people, but they have decided to defend the unity of their beloved country. They are a people who really want peace and order and stretch out their hand to everybody who sincerely wishes to help them.

Europeans of goodwill, Belgians of good intentions will always find a friendly welcome in our country. We want to turn the Congo into a great, free and flourishing nation, into a land of democracy and freedom.
We are profoundly inspired by the trust that the African states are showing us today, and you may be sure, dear delegates, that we shall do everything in our power to justify that trust.

The solidarity that you have demonstrated by gathering in Leopoldville today is a vivid lesson for our people. That is why we are making a fraternal appeal for unity to all our compatriots. Unity alone can help and save us. We are very proud to note today that this has been excellently understood by the Congolese people.

Since Africa is showing her solidarity with regard to us, we, in our turn, must be more united than ever before. It is this unity, dear brothers in struggle, dear brothers in poverty, that strengthens us and enables us to hold out against the intrigues and plots of the colonialists.

The presence in Leopoldville of representatives of all African countries is helping the cause of Africa. The Western world has realised that it can no longer continue its game without the risk of completely losing Africa’s friendship.

The Western world now appreciates the value that Africa attaches to her freedom and dignity. It has realised that if it wants to live in friendship with Africa it must respect Africa’s dignity and rights.
That is the decisive step that has been taken today towards the speedy and complete liberation of Africa and her normal co-operation with the rest of the world. Peace will not be complete in Africa until the West stops its. colonial activities.

We declare that the Government and people of the Congo have no hate or hostility for Belgium or any other European nation. And yet no sooner had the Belgian Government announced the withdrawal of its troops from Katanga than it replaced them with other troops. They include, for example, the hundred Belgian gendarmes recently arrived in Katanga under the guise of “technical advisers”, who will “teach” and “train” Tshombe’s police.

Moreover, before leaving Elisabethville, General Gheysen, commander of the Belgian occupation force in Katanga, demanded the creation of a neutral zone between Kasai and Katanga and the neutralisation of the bases in Kamina and Kitona. The Belgian general did not limit himself to recommendations. He took action. The roads, bridges and strategic points in Katanga were mined under the direction of the Belgian army and on direct instructions from the Government in Brussels.

At the same time, the entire white population in Katanga was put in a state of mobilisation. Every European received a mobilisation notification signed by the commander of the Volunteer Corps and the Belgian Territorial Administrator.

I shall read you the official mobilisation order.

“Kabalo Territory,
“Volunteer Corps,
“Mobilisation Order:
“M. Gerard Vanderschrick,
“ATA, Kabalo
“An additional 25 cartridge clips have been made available for your weapon.
“Your mission is:
“To remain at the Territory Bureau, where you will be at the disposal of the Commander of the Volunteer Corps, who will give you your assignment in patrol or guard duty.
“Before reporting to the Territory Bureau you have sufficient time (fifteen minutes after the receipt of this order) to take your family to the Hotel Verret—which has been set aside for non-combatants—where they will be assured the necessary protection. You are to take with you a suitcase with clothes, a water filter, pots and a minimum supply of food.
“Commander, Volunteer Corps,
“J. Bruhiere.
“Territory Administrator,
“H. Callens.”

This document has been turned over to the press.

The Volunteer Corps is a military organisation created and maintained by the Belgian Government. It has demonstrated its resolute unwillingness to leave Katanga.

The object of this manoeuvre of the Belgian Government is quite obvious: if, for the sake of appearances, it officially withdraws its troops it will, in reality, strengthen and reinforce its occupational potential by sending other military personnel under the guise of “technicians” and mobilising all Belgian nationals residing in Katanga. On behalf of the Government and people of the Congo, we are making it clear that it is not a matter of neutralising the bases at Kamina and Kitona, but of their total and complete evacuation.

We do not want any foreign military base in the Congo, even if it is controlled and maintained by the United Nations.

Not a single square metre of Congolese territory must belong to any foreign power, and nothing can and must be done in our country without the permission of its Government, which is the custodian of the legality and sovereignty of the Congolese people.

We are simply a people who have suffered long from abasement of our dignity and our rights. We are a patient people.

We know that nothing durable can be achieved by continued rancour, and we therefore demand that the Belgians and their allies stop all activity engendering disunity and hostility.

The Government, supported by the people, will soon begin exploiting the country’s wealth with the aid of a vast programme of investments.

Political independence has no meaning if it is not accompanied by rapid economic and social development. We can achieve this progress only by tireless effort. With our own hands we shall soon build up our own economy.

The Government of the Republic of the Congo shall make an effective contribution to enable Africa to liberate herself immediately from foreign rule. We ardently desire to see the rejuvenation of Africa despite our regional, language and philosophical differences and the difference in manners and customs.

A free Africa, a united Africa, an undivided Africa, a determined Africa will play a great role in creating a better world, a fraternal world.

Such, Your Excellencies and dear delegates, are the thoughts and profound hopes of the people and Government of the Republic of the Congo.

We wish all of you a happy return home and ask you to be our intermediaries in conveying to your governments and peoples our sincere gratitude for the support you have given us in this period of ordeal that we are living through.

United as the children of one family, we shall defend the honour and freedom of Africa.

Long live African independence and solidarity!
Long live the union of independent African states!

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 26-33.

Address to Congolese Youth
August, 1960

Today I am addressing the youth, the young men and women of the Republic of the Congo.

In speaking to them, I am addressing these words to future generations because the future of our beloved country belongs to them.

We are fighting our enemies in order to prepare a better and happier life for our youth.

If we had been egoists, if we had thought only about ourselves we would not have made the innumerable sacrifices we are making.

I am aware that our country can completely liberate herself from the chains of colonialism politically, economically and spiritually only at the price of a relentless and sometimes dangerous struggle. Together with the youth of the country, we have waged this struggle against foreign rule, against mercantile exploitation, against injustice and pressure.

Young people who have been inactive and exploited for a long time have now become aware of their role of standard-bearer of the peaceful revolution.

The young people of the Congo have fought on our side in towns, villages and in the bush. Many of our young men have been struck down by the bullets of the colonialists. Many of them left their parents and friends in order to fight heroically for the cause of freedom. The resistance that the young people offered the aggressors in Leopoldville on January 4 and in Stanleyville on October 30, 1959, deserves every praise.
With deep emotion I bow in memory of these courageous patriots, these fighters for African freedom.

The time is not far distant when large numbers of young men and women were driven out of schools by their white teachers and instructors on the suspicion of having nationalist ideas. Many brilliantly gifted young people turned down the opportunity to receive a higher education for the simple reason that they no longer wished to be indoctrinated by the colonialists, who wanted to turn our young men and women into eternal servants of the colonial regime.

During the heroic struggle of the Congolese nationalists, the young people, even those who were still sitting at school desks, resolutely opposed all new forms of colonialism, whether political, social, spiritual or religious.

Their only dream was national liberation. Their sole aim was immediate independence. Their only resolve was to wage an implacable struggle against the puppets and emissaries of the colonialists.

Thanks to the general mobilisation of all the democratic youth of the Congo, the Congolese nationalists won independence for the nation. We received this independence at the price of a grim struggle, at the price of all sorts of privations, at the price of tears and blood.

After independence was solemnly proclaimed on June 30, 1960, the colonialists and their black emissaries started a barbarous war in the young Republic of the Congo. They began this perfidious aggression because the nationalist Government now in power did not want them to continue exploiting our country as they did prior to June 30, the historic day when the people of our country said Adieu to the Belgian colonialists.
Not having any support whatever, particularly among the working class, who have had their fill of colonial exploitation, the colonialists and their henchmen now want to force certain sections of the youth to serve them in order to be able to propagandise the revival of colonialism. That is why a certain part of the youth, luckily not a very numerous part, have plunged into national defeatism.

Happily, the vast majority of the young people saw through this last attempt of the imperialists, who are turning into account the dissatisfaction of some malcontents, of those who failed in the elections because they did not have the confidence of the people.

This nationalist youth recently held demonstrations in various towns in the Republic to show their absolute and total opposition to imperialist intrigues.

Young people, I salute you, and congratulate you on your civic and patriotic spirit. Young people, specially for you I have created a Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports under the Central Government. It is your Ministry. It is at your disposal. Many of you, without any discrimination, will be called upon to direct this Ministry, its different services and activities.

Today, in the free and independent Congo we must not have a Bangala, National Unity Party, Association of Bakongo, Mukongo, Batetela or Lokele youth but a united, Congolese, nationalist, democratic youth. This youth will serve the social and economic revolution of our great and beloved country.

You must energetically combat tribalism, which is a poison, a social scourge that is the country’s misfortune today. You must combat all the separatist manoeuvres, which some of the preachers of the policy of division are trying to pass off to young and inexperienced people under the name of federalism, federation or confederation.

In reality, young people, these names are only a new vocabulary brought by the imperialists to divide us in order the better and more conveniently to exploit us. Your entire future will be threatened if you do not oppose these manoeuvres, this new, disguised colonisation.

You must be proud that you belong to a great nation, a great country, a mighty power. This power, which the imperialists envy today, is embodied in national unity. This unity must be the heritage that you, in your turn, shall leave to your children.

The Government will soon send 300 young people to study in the U.S.A., 150 in the Soviet Union and 20 in Guinea, not to mention other countries.

The Congo is no longer a national reservation, a national park, a zoo which we could not leave. Tomorrow you shall go everywhere to study, to learn a specialty, and to get to know the world. Workers, working people will have an equal share in these study missions.

You shall go everywhere, to all the parts of the world. These contacts with the outside world, this direct confrontation with the reality of life will make you experienced people, whom the free and independent Congo needs today.

You will go there not as representatives of Association of Bakongo, National Unity Party, Congo National Movement or African Regroupment Centre youth. You will be Congolese citizens, simply Congolese. And by your behaviour, devotion, intelligence and political maturity you must be a credit to your Congolese motherland.

Young people, the Congo belongs to you. The national Government, the people’s Government will do everything in its power to prevent the Congo from being torn away from you.

Long live the Republic of the Congo!
Long live the people’s, democratic youth!

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 33-36.

Radio Broadcast Message
September 5, 1960

The National Radio has just broadcast a declaration by the Head of State, Mr. Joseph Kasavubu, according to which the Government headed by me must be dismissed.

On behalf of the Government and the entire nation I formally reject this information.

The Government has had no talks on this subject with the Head of State. The Government, which has been democratically elected by the nation and has won the unanimous confidence of Parliament, can only be dismissed when it loses the trust of the people.

Today the Government enjoys this trust and has the backing of the entire people.

Having adopted the decision to defend the people at the price of blood, refused to sell the country to the Belgian colonialists and their allies, and frustrated the intrigues of those who still aim to exploit our nation, the Government will defend the rights of the people with honour and dignity.

The Government remains in power and shall continue fulfilling its mission.

I ask the population, which has vested us with trust, to be calm in the face of the manoeuvres of the saboteurs of our national independence.

We elected the Head of State ourselves even though he did not have the trust of the people. We can use the same right and withdraw this confidence if he goes against the interests of the people.

Congolese people, be vigilant. The enemies of our country and the accomplices of the Belgian imperialists are unmasking themselves.

Congolese officers and non-commissioned officers, remain at your posts in order to defend the country as heroically as when you fought against the Belgian aggressors.

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp 37-38.

Solemn Appeal to the President and members of the Security Council and to all the member states of the United Nations
September 10, 1960

In a Memorandum dated September 8, 1960, and addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the President of the Security Council, the Government of the Republic of the Congo drew attention to the United Nations’ flagrant interference in the internal affairs of the Congo. Conclusive proof was given of this interference. The statement just made in the Security Council by the U.N. Secretary-General that Mr. Kasavubu had the right to depose the Government only confirms this interference.

Moreover, the position adopted by the Secretary-General runs counter to the sovereign decisions of the Congolese Parliament, which in two ballots, with a considerable majority of votes in each ballot, annulled the decree illegally issued by Mr. Kasavubu.

It is not the U.N. Secretary-General’s business to interpret the Fundamental Law of the land; that is the duty of the Congolese Parliament. Article 51 states that the “formal interpretation of laws is the exclusive responsibility of the Chambers”. In their interpretation, in particular, of Article 22, according to which the “Head of State appoints and deposes the Prime Minister and Ministers”, the two Chambers of the Congolese Parliament, which annulled the decree of the Head of State, came to the conclusion that a government can be appointed or deposed only after Parliament has passed a vote of confidence or no confidence.

The Head of State cannot appoint a government without the sanction of Parliament and that, to an equal degree, applies to the deposition of a government, which must follow the same procedure. Furthermore, in their interpretation, the Congolese legislative Chambers declared that insofar as the Government, headed by Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, and the Head of State Mr. Kasavubu, had been approved separately by Parliament, only the latter had the right to depose the one or the other.

Basing itself on the confidence unanimously expressed in the Government by Parliament, which is the only sovereign body in the country, the Government of the Republic lodges a further protest against the interference of Secretary-General Hammarskjöld in the internal affairs of the Congolese nation. This interference is a grave threat to confidence in the United Nations and its prestige not only in the Congo but also throughout Africa and, essentially, throughout the world. In addition, the Government of the Republic lodges a further protest against the repeated refusal of the United Nations authorities in the Congo to co-operate with the Government in implementing the Security Council’s resolutions.

In the interests of universal peace, the Government urgently requests the United Nations:

1. Firmly to recommend to the Secretary-General and his colleagues in the Congo that they should cease interfering in the internal affairs of our Republic directly or indirectly.
2. Not to adopt any further resolutions on the Congo insofar as the resolutions already adopted are perfectly clear and specific but have not been fully implemented because of the perfidy of the Belgian Government and its allies, who are continuing to help the illegal and rebel Government of Katanga with supplies of aircraft, arms and ammunition and with liaison and line officers.

To this is added the fact that the United Nations authorities are deliberately holding up the implementation of the concrete and unequivocal decisions of the Security Council.

The Congolese Government cannot be deceived by these intrigues, which are turning the dispute between the Congo and Belgium into a dispute between the Government of the Congo and the United Nations only ten days after our Republic formally became a member of the U.N.

The Government most emphatically protests against the contention of the Secretary-General that troops of the National Army must be disarmed. Being perfectly aware that the troops of the National Army did not submit to a similar demand by Mr. Kasavubu, who ordered the Congolese militia to lay down their arms, the Secretary-General would like to continue with a demonstration of force only in order to start a war in the Congo in which the Congolese population would find itself in conflict with the armed forces of the United Nations.

The sole purpose of all this is to establish an international trusteeship over the Congo. Moreover, by such arbitrary actions as the seizure of our national radio station and all the airfields in the Republic, the Secretary-General seeks to deprive the Government of the means of broadcasting and to prevent any outflow of information in order to allow Tshombe and the illegal radio stations that have been recently set up near Leopoldville to continue theirattempts at a coup d’etat. These stations are daily spreading active anti-Government propaganda, lies, slander and insults in order to discredit the legal Government, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.

This morning the Government informed the U.N. Headquarters for the fifth time that it must regain the use of its national radio station. Anxious to restore peace and order in the Congo and to retain good relations with the United Nations, the Government of the Republic of the Congo solemnly and passionately appeals to all the countries of the world to take steps to prevent the Congo from being turned into a battlefield of a third world war.

Patrice Lumumba

Source: Patrice Lumumba: Fighter for Africa’s Freedom, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1961, pp. 67-70.

From the letter to the President of the UN General Assembly
November 11, 1960

The continuing political crisis provoked by the head of state, Mr. Kasavubu, on September 5, 1960 makes imminent the grave danger of the Congo’s complete break-up. A regime of anarchy and dictatorship has replaced the democratic regime established by the Congolese people on June 30, 1960. A tiny minority, advised and financed by certain foreign powers, is engaged in subversive activity night and day. The capital of the republic is a scene of disorder, where a handful of hired military men are ceaselessly violating law and order. The citizens of Leopoldville now live under a reign of terror. Arbitrary arrests, followed by deportation, arc a daily and nightly occurrence, and many persons are reported missing. Murder, burglary and rape of married women and young girls are committed almost daily by individuals bereft of every sense of morality and patriotism, who profess to be in the service of the national army and of Mr. Kasavubu. The presidents of the provincial governments of Stanleyville and Leopoldville, Mr. Finant and Mr. Kamitatu, recognised leaders, elected by the people, and governing between them more than six million inhabitants to the satisfaction of all concerned, are at this moment subjected to every conceivable form of brutality and torture. These two provincial presidents-men wholly dedicated to the task of improving the well-being of their people-were taken by surprise by Mobutu’s thugs respectively on October 13, 1960 at Stanleyville and November 10 at Leopoldville and are now in concentration camps set up at Leopoldville by Messrs. Kasavubu and Mobutu.

The only fault of these worthy representatives of the people is loyalty to their country and disapproval of the unlawful acts of Mr. Kasavubu and his followers at Leopoldville, acts which are leading the country straight to disaster.

Mr. Joseph Okito, President of the Senate, the second highest dignitary in the state, has had the same experience. He has several times been arbitrarily arrested, beaten and then set free. Similar crimes are daily committed against the members of the majority group in Parliament and the members of the legally constituted government. They have even been officially prohibited to leave Leopoldville and return to their provinces to meet their constituents and join their families; they are restricted in their movements in Leopoldville, which after all belongs to the entire nation. At Leopoldville the majority parties in Parliament are forbidden to publish newspapers. All loyal army personnel and government officials, who wanted to have no truck with the unlawful activities and the policy of national demolition pursued by the head of state and his handful of supporters at Leopoldville, have been dismissed from their posts, maltreated and turned out into the street. Hundreds of loyal soldiers who oppose Mobutu are sent back daily to their villages; others are now in the Binza concentration camp. Soldiers are recruited on the basis of ethnic kinship with the head of state and his minority supporters, the purpose being to terrorise those who do not share their views and opinions. Those who honestly and loyally champion the cause of the people are now being butchered. The provisional institutions envisaged under the Fundamental Law drawn up by the former colonial power have been undermined and trampled in the dust by the head of state. Because it does not agree with him, Parliament has been high-handedly dismissed in violation of Articles 21 and 70 of the Fundamental Law. Mr. Kasavubu confuses the parliamentary regime, which is our system, with the presidential regime. That is why he assumes the powers vested in the Prime Minister under Article 36 of the Fundamental Law. It is not for the head of state but for the Prime Minister and my lawful government to send delegations to the United Nations, as I have done on three occasions. Parliament, the country’s supreme organ, voted full powers to my government on September 13, 1960. The confidence placed in my government by the entire nation is steadily increasing. The United Nations is not entitled to choose any course other than the one indicated by Parliament. Certain slates, which are members of the United Nations, instead of conforming to the decisions taken by the sovereign Congolese Parliament, ignore them and support only the minority working against the will of the majority. Instead of helping the Congolese leaders to effect a peaceful settlement of the conflict provoked by Mr. Kasavubu, certain powers are doing their utmost to widen the breach between us, their plan being indirectly to bring about the dismemberment of the Congo. In this connection, the Congolese people as a whole deplore the attitude of the United States Government; it is with great regret that I call the General Assembly’s attention to the fact that, as eloquently testified by the documents seized, the 30 million francs recently confiscated at Stanleyville from a group of persons plotting to seize power by a coup d’etat came from United States sources. In view of the foregoing, and of the fact that the United Nations has proved unable to find a prompt solution in accordance with the expressed will of the people, I propose, with the backing of the millions of inhabitants I lawfully represent, that the solution of the Congolese problem should be left to the Congolese people themselves.

No one will then be able to accuse the United Nations of partiality in any eventual decision, or of interference in the Congo’s internal affairs. With this end in view, I propose that a popular referendum be held without delay with the participation of all the citizens of the republic, under the direction of the provincial assemblies and governments but under the supervision of a commission of United Nations observers. The said commission would do everything to ensure that all electors cast their votes freely. Steps would also be taken to prevent any fraud. The referendum would relate to the adoption of a presidential regime, to be followed by the election of the President of the Republic by direct suffrage. Such a referendum would enable the people to choose freely and directly the leaders they want and thus to put an end to the present crisis and to all the backstage manoeuvring. This is the one and only way of restoring immediate peace and order in the Congo and so serving the interests of the mission undertaken by the United Nations in our country.

Please accept, Mr. President, assurances of my high esteem.
Patrice Lumumba

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 50-2.

Thysville, January 4, 1961

Mr. Special Representative,

On December 27 last, I had the pleasure of receiving a visit from the Red Cross, which occupied itself with my plight and with the plight of the other parliamentarians imprisoned together with me. I told them of the inhuman conditions we are living in.

Briefly, the situation is as follows. I am here with seven other parliamentarians. In addition there are with us Mr. Okito, President of the Senate, a Senate employee and a driver. Altogether there are ten of us. We have been locked up in damp cells since December 2, 1960 and at no time have we been permitted to leave them. The meals that we are brought twice a day are very bad. For three or four days 1 ate nothing but a banana. I told this to the Red Cross medical officer sent to me. I spoke to him in the presence of a colonel from Thysville. I demanded that fruit be bought on my own money because the food that I am given here is atrocious. Although the medical officer gave his permission, the military authorities guarding me turned down my request, stating that they were following orders from Kasavubu and Colonel Mobutu. The medical officer from Thysville prescribed a short walk every evening so that I could leave my cell for at least a little while. But the colonel and the district commissioner denied me this. The clothes that I wear have not been washed for thirty-five days. I am forbidden to wear shoes.

In a word, the conditions we are living in are absolutely intolerable and run counter to all rules.

Moreover, I receive no news of my wife and I do not even know where she is. Normally I should have had regular visits from her as is provided for by the prison regulations in force in the Congo. On the other hand, the prison regulations clearly state that not later than a day after his arrest a prisoner must be brought before the investigator handling his case. Five days after this a prisoner must again be arraigned before a judge, who must decide whether to remand him in custody or not. In any case, a prisoner must have a lawyer.

The criminal code provides that a prisoner is released from prison if five days after he is taken into custody the judge takes no decision on remanding him. The same happens in cases when the first decision (which is taken five days after a person is arrested) is not reaffirmed within fifteen days. Since our arrest on December 1 and to this day we have not been arraigned before a judge or visited by a judge. No arrest warrant has been shown to us. We are kept simply in a military camp and have been here for thirty-four days. We are kept in military detention cells.

The criminal code is ignored as are the prison rules. Ours is purely a case of arbitrary imprisonment. I must add that we possess parliamentary immunity.

Such is the situation and I ask you to inform the United Nations Secretary-General of it.

I remain calm and hope the United Nations will help us out of this situation.

I stand for reconciliation between all the children of this country.

I am writing this letter secretly on bad paper. I have the honour to be, etc.

Patrice LUMUMBA,
Prime Minister

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 68-69.
Patrice Lumumba

Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba

My dear wife,

I am writing these words to you, not knowing whether they will ever reach you, or whether I shall be alive when you read them.

Throughout my struggle for the independence of our country I have never doubted the victory of our sacred cause, to which I and my comrades have dedicated all our lives.

But the only thing which we wanted for our country is the right to a worthy life, to dignity without pretence, to independence without restrictions.

This was never the desire of the Belgian colonialists and their Western allies, who received, direct or indirect, open or concealed, support from some highly placed officials of the United Nations, the body upon which we placed all our hope when we appealed to it for help.

They seduced some of our compatriots, bought others and did everything to distort the truth and smear our independence.

What I can say is this—alive or dead, free or in jail—it is not a question of me personally.

The main thing is the Congo, our unhappy people, whose independence is being trampled upon.

That is why they have shut us away in prison and why they keep us far away from the people. But my faith remains indestructible.

I know and feel deep in my heart that sooner or later my people will rid themselves of their internal and external enemies, that they will rise up as one in order to say ‘No’ to colonialism, to brazen, dying colonialism, in order to win their dignity in a clean land.

We are not alone. Africa, Asia, the free peoples and the peoples fighting for their freedom in all corners of the world will always be side by side with the millions of Congolese who will not give up the struggle while there is even one colonialist or colonialist mercenary in our country.

To my sons, whom I am leaving and whom, perhaps, I shall not see again, I want to say that the future of the Congo is splendid and that I expect from them, as from every Congolese, the fulfilment of the sacred task of restoring our independence and our sovereignty.

Without dignity there is no freedom, without justice there is no dignity and without independence there are no free men.

Cruelty, insults and torture can never force me to ask for mercy, because I prefer to die with head high, with indestructible faith and profound belief in the destiny of our country than to live in humility and renounce the principles which are sacred to me.

The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations.

It will be the history which will be taught in the countries which have won freedom from colonialism and its puppets.

Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity.

Do not weep for me. I know that my tormented country will be able to defend its freedom and its independence.

Long live the Congo!
Long live Africa!

Thysville prison
Patrice Lumumba

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 230-231.

Letter from Thysville Prison to Mrs. Lumumba

My dear wife,

I am writing these words to you, not knowing whether they will ever reach you, or whether I shall be alive when you read them.

Throughout my struggle for the independence of our country I have never doubted the victory of our sacred cause, to which I and my comrades have dedicated all our lives.

But the only thing which we wanted for our country is the right to a worthy life, to dignity without pretence, to independence without restrictions.

This was never the desire of the Belgian colonialists and their Western allies, who received, direct or indirect, open or concealed, support from some highly placed officials of the United Nations, the body upon which we placed all our hope when we appealed to it for help.

They seduced some of our compatriots, bought others and did everything to distort the truth and smear our independence.

What I can say is this—alive or dead, free or in jail—it is not a question of me personally.

The main thing is the Congo, our unhappy people, whose independence is being trampled upon.

That is why they have shut us away in prison and why they keep us far away from the people. But my faith remains indestructible.

I know and feel deep in my heart that sooner or later my people will rid themselves of their internal and external enemies, that they will rise up as one in order to say ‘No’ to colonialism, to brazen, dying colonialism, in order to win their dignity in a clean land.

We are not alone. Africa, Asia, the free peoples and the peoples fighting for their freedom in all corners of the world will always be side by side with the millions of Congolese who will not give up the struggle while there is even one colonialist or colonialist mercenary in our country.

To my sons, whom I am leaving and whom, perhaps, I shall not see again, I want to say that the future of the Congo is splendid and that I expect from them, as from every Congolese, the fulfilment of the sacred task of restoring our independence and our sovereignty.

Without dignity there is no freedom, without justice there is no dignity and without independence there are no free men.

Cruelty, insults and torture can never force me to ask for mercy, because I prefer to die with head high, with indestructible faith and profound belief in the destiny of our country than to live in humility and renounce the principles which are sacred to me.

The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations.

It will be the history which will be taught in the countries which have won freedom from colonialism and its puppets.

Africa will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity.

Do not weep for me. I know that my tormented country will be able to defend its freedom and its independence.

Long live the Congo!

Long live Africa!

Thysville prison

Patrice Lumumba

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 230-231.


Weep, O my black beloved brother deep buried in eternal, bestial night.
O you, whose dust simooms and hurricanes have scattered all over the vast earth,
You, by whose hands the pyramids were reared
In memory of royal murderers,
You, rounded up in raids; you, countless times defeated
In all the battles ever won by brutal force;
You, who were taught but one perpetual lesson,
One motto, which was—slavery or death;
You, who lay hidden in impenetrable jungles
And silently succumbed to countless deaths
Under the ugly guise of jungle fever,
Or lurking in the tiger’s fatal jaws,
Or in the slow embrace of the morass
That strangled gradually, like the python….
But then, there came a day that brought the while,
More sly, more full of spite than any death.
Your gold he bartered for his worthless beads and baubles,
He raped and fouled your sisters and your wives,
And poisoned with his drink your sons and brothers,
And drove your children down into the holds of ships.
‘Twas then the tomtom rolled from village unto village,
And told the people that another foreign slave ship
Had put off on its way to far-off shores
Where God is cotton, where the dollar reigns as King.
There, sentenced to unending, wracking labour,
Toiling from dawn to dusk in the relentless sun,
They taught you in your psalms to glorify
Their Lord, while you yourself were crucified to hymns
That promised bliss in the world of Hereafter,
While you—you begged of them a single boon:
That they should let you live—to live, aye—simply
live. And by a fire your dim, fantastic dreams
Poured out aloud in melancholy strains,
As elemental and as wordless as your anguish.
*It happened you would even play, be merry
And dance, in sheer exuberance of spirit:
And then would all the splendour of your manhood,
*The sweet desires of youth sound, wild with power,
On strings of brass, in burning tambourines.
And from that mighty music the beginning
Of jazz arose, tempestuous, capricious,
Declaring to the whites in accents loud
That not entirely was the planet theirs.
O Music, it was you permitted us
To lift our face and peer into the eyes
Of future liberty, that would one day be ours.
Then let the shores of mighty rivers bearing on
Their living waves into the radiant future,
O brother mine, be yours!
Let the fierce heat of the relentless middaysun
Burn up your grief!
Let them evaporate in everlasting sunshine,
Those tears shed by your father and your grandsire
Tortured to death upon these mournful fields.
And may our people, free and gay forever,
Live, triumph, thrive in peace in this our Congo,
Here, in the very heart of our great Africa!

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 48-49.

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