Lumumba, Patrice Emergy

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lumumba, Patrice Emergy

Patrice Emergy Lumumba (pətrēs´ ĕmârzhē´ lōōmōōm´bä), 1925–61, prime minister (1960) of the Republic of the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). A member of the Batatele tribe, he was educated in mission schools and later worked as a postal clerk. He became a member of the permanent committee of the All-African Peoples Conference (founded in Accra, 1958) and president of the Congolese National Movement, an influential political party. After the uprising (Jan., 1959) in the Congo, he fled the country to escape arrest but soon returned. Late in 1959, accused of instigating public violence, he was jailed by the Belgians but was released (1960) to participate in the Brussels Congo conference, where he emerged as a leading negotiator. When the Republic of the Congo came into existence (June, 1960) Lumumba was its first premier and minister of defense. Shortly after independence, the army mutinied, the Belgian government flew in troops to protect Belgian citizens, and Katanga province declared its independence. Lumumba appealed for aid to the United Nations, which sent troops to reestablish order. In September, President Kasavubu, his rival for power, dismissed him as prime minister and he, in turn, dismissed Kasavubu as president. Shortly afterward, Lumumba was put under house arrest by Colonel Mobutu. Lumumba escaped but was recaptured and then flown (Jan., 1961), on orders from Mobutu and Kasavubu, to Katanga, where in February, it was announced that he had been killed. Riots of protest took place in many parts of the world.

See his Congo: My Country (1962) and Lumumba Speaks (ed. by J. van Lierde, tr. 1972); study by T. R. Kanza (1972).

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