Congo commemorates death of former PM, Patrice Lumumba
19 Jan 2017 - 10:28
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo: Thousands of Congolese people, including political and military figures flocked to the streets of major cities of the Central African state to commemorate the death of former Prime Minister, Patrice Lumumba.
The commemoration was held in a tense environment amid ongoing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo as major civil society organizations and opposition parties have been protesting against President Joseph Kabila.
Many Congolese also participated in a mass gathering at Our Lady of Congo Cathedral to commemorate his death. Some laid flowers and wept while others chanted "national hero."
Lumumba, also known as the father of independence is considered a national hero.
Fifty six years after his assassination, events are held throughout the country to pay homage to his humble service to the nation and his fight for independence.
Born in 1925, Lumumba was the first head of government of Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo ) after the country gained its independence on June 30, 1960 from Belgium.
He was arrested in Sept. 1960 and dismissed by the army Chief of Staff and former president Mobutu Sese Seko.
Lumumba was tortured and finally assassinated in Katanga province with two of his collaborators, on Jan. 17, 1961 by Belgian settlers with a local complicity.
To this day, especially for oppressed minorities, Lumumba stars as a martyr to colonialism and to Western capitalism and greed, according to the UN.