Friday the 17th of January this year will mark the 59th anniversary of the assassination by the US, Britain and Belgian governments of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of Congo, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His two top aides, Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo were also killed. Career criminals and mafia from the West, in total disrespect of African people and governments, were used to carry out this atrocity.
The Belgian mercenary and criminal who shot and killed Lumumba in the head, “Colonel Huyghe” ran to South Africa following that dastardly act and was initially hosted by the white supremacist government and later the current neo-colonial ANC government. He was exposed by the Mail and Guardian about 10 years ago after living in South Africa for 50 years. So self-hating is the ANC government that it tried to honour a former Guyanese leader who was implicated in the assassination of Guyanese revolutionary and author of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Dr Walter Rodney. Intense criticism forced the ANC government to shelve the idea.
A brief account for posterity of how Lumumba was lured to his capture and ultimate assassination would be in order. Writing in his book The Judas Factor: The Plot to Kill Malcolm X published in 1992 which I reviewed the same year and is based on the examination of 300,000 declassified CIA and FBI documents, Karl Evanzz writes that Lumumba was informed by a UN representative that his young daughter was on her deathbed. “On the night of November 27, the Congolese revolutionary noticed that the house wasn’t as heavily guarded as the night before. Desperate to see his “dying” daughter, Lumumba decided to “escape.” He headed for Stanleyville, one of his strongholds before house arrest. Mobutu’s forces had no trouble capturing him, since they knew he was coming, along with two of his top aides, Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo.”
On the 28th of November, Loy Henderson held a meeting with Moise Tshombe, Godefroid Munongo, Cyrille Adoula, Joseph Kasavubu and several other Congolese politicians in Elisabethville where the question of Lumumba’s liquidation was finalised. In attendance was a Belgian mercenary and career criminal Huyghe, whose CIA code name was QJ/WIN. Huyghe hired three more mercenaries to help him execute Lumumba. They were William R. Brown of Great Britain, Colonel Julien Gat of Belgium (whose CIA code name was WI/Rogue, an indication of his notorious criminal background) and Captain Ruys.
On 11 January 1961, William Harvey sent a memo to the CIA’s accounting department requesting it to arrange payment for QI/WIN. The memo read, “QI/WIN was sent on this trip for a specific, highly sensitive operational purpose which has been completed.”
“On January 17, Lumumba and his two aides were en route by plane to a prison in Bakwanga, the capital city of one of the Congo’s six provinces, when the assassination plan hit a snag because UN forces were at the improvised airport. The plane carrying the prisoners couldn’t land without unraveling the conspiracy. The flight was redirected to Elisabethville in Katanga, the province controlled by Tshombe and Kasavubu, who were on a plane with British and Belgian mercenaries.
“During the flight, Lumumba was ruthlessly beaten by the mercenaries. Chemicals supplied by CIA scientist Sidney Gottlieb were applied to his face, making his facial hair fall off.
“After the plane landed in Elisabethville, Lumumba and his aides were taken to a safe house. While Lumumba’s hands were tied behind his back, Munongo plunged a bayonet into Lumumba’s chest. Lumumba begged them to spare his life, which angered Huyghe.
“Pray, you bastard!” Huyghe shouted. “You had no pity on women or children or nuns of your own faith, so pray!
“Huyghe put the barrel of his gun against Lumumba’s head and blew his brains out. Lumumba’s two aides were also shot dead.”
That is how Lumumba was murdered. Lawrence Devlin placed Lumumba’s body in the boot of his vehicle and later dumped it into a vat of acid supplied by the CIA.
Other people like Michael Mulroney and Frank Carlucci were also involved in this plot. UN Secretary General at the time, Dag Hammarskjold, was also accused of complicity in the assassination for failing to protect Lumumba when he asked for protection. Hammarskjold himself was killed in a mysterious plane crash about three days later.
Reports confirming the murder of Lumumba sparked worldwide riots against symbols of the United States, France, Great Britain and Belgium. Embassies officials were sacked in Egypt, Poland, France, Great Britain, Ghana, Iran, India, Moscow, almost everywhere. African Americans threw eggs at Belgian Embassy officials in Washington. Nigerian students in Chicago staged a demonstration at the Belgian consulate. There were also violent demonstrations at the United Nations.
The sad part is that people involved in the plotting and assassination of Lumumba would come in and out of Africa without any consequences. White South Africans such as Craig Williamson (who assassinated Onkgopotse Tiro) and others, would walk in and out of Botswana without raising an eyebrow. Williamson had a cigarette business in Botswana. The ANC government under Thabo Mbeki let Margaret Thatcher’s son, Mark Thatcher, off the hook for plotting to overthrow the Equatorial Guinea government. It must be a crime tantamount to capital punishment all over the continent to plot or overthrow a government and/or murder a head of state or eliminate activists because of their political or religious beliefs.
The DRC has neither known peace nor enjoyed the country’s wealth. Those governments and people who toppled the government of Lumumba and assassinated him and his aides must answer for their reprehensible deeds.
By Sam Ditshego
The author has been a political commentator and writer for more than 35 years