(born July 2, 1925 in Onalua, Belgian Congo - and died murdered January 17, 1961 in Katanga) is the first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo from June to September 1960. He is, with Joseph Kasa-Vubu, the one of the main figures of the independence of the Belgian Congo. Patrice Émery Lumumba is considered in Congo as the first "national hero".
Patrice Lumumba was born in Onalua (territory of Katako-Kombe in Sankuru, Belgian Congo, in the present Democratic Republic of Congo). He attended the catholic school of missionaries then, brilliant student, a Protestant school held by Swedes. Until 1954 (the year of the founding of a secular education network and the first university) colonial Belgium has little developed the education system, entirely entrusted to religious missions. The school gives only a rudimentary education and aims more to train workers than clerics, but Lumumba, self-taught, immerses himself in history textbooks.
He worked as an office worker in a mining company in South Kivu province until 1945, then as a journalist in Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and Stanleyville (Kisangani), during which time he wrote in various newspapers.
In September 1954, he received his "registered" card, reserved by the Belgian administration to some remarkable elements of the country (200 registrations out of the 13 million inhabitants of the time).
He discovered, while working for the mining company, that the raw materials of his country play a capital role in the world economy, but also that the multinational companies do not do anything to mix Congolese executives to the management of these riches. He militates then for a united Congo, being distinguished in that of the other independentist leaders whose parties constituted more on ethnic bases are more favorable to the federalism2. The Congolese historian Isidore Ndaywel E Nziem states: "Lumumba, because of its Tetela identity, had its" natural "electorate dispersed throughout the country, which forced it to play a unitary nationalist card" 3
He does not plead for immediate independence, especially since he has become aware that the borders of the Belgian Congo and the neighboring French, English and Portuguese colonies are arbitrary, fixed by the colonial powers, which will one day raise the question to distribute wealth among future independent African countries.
In 1955, he created an association "APIC" (Association of indigenous staff of the colony) and will have the opportunity to talk with King Baudouin on a trip to Congo on the social situation of Congolese. At the time, the Belgian minister in charge of colonial politics, Auguste Buisseret, wanted to change the Congo and, in particular, develop public education. Lumumba adheres to the liberal party, party of this minister, and attracts Congolese notables. In 1956, he then spreads a circular letter among the members of the association of evolved Stanleyville which he is the president and in which he affirms All Belgians who attach to our interests are entitled to our recognition ... We do not We have no right to undermine the work of the continuators of the brilliant work of Leopold II. 4 And, in the company of several Congolese notables, he goes to Belgium at the invitation of the Prime Minister.
It was at this time that Patrice Lumumba wrote a book under the title Congo, land of the future, is it threatened? In this book he pleads for a peaceful evolution of the Belgian colonial system of which he remains partisan. Carried away by the rapid evolution of events that will lead to independence, Lumumba will not take the time to publish this book (it will appear in Brussels after his death) 5.
The fight for independence
In 1956, he was tried for embezzling funds from Stanleyville's postal check accounts and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. Released by anticipation, he resumed his political activities and became sales manager of a brewery. In that same year, he was president of the Stanleyville Evolved Association6. It is precisely at this time that the Belgian government takes some liberalization measures: trade unions and political parties will be authorized for the municipal elections to be held in 1957. The Congolese political parties are sponsored by those of Belgium and Lumumba, classified pro-Belgian by his speeches and his relations with the Belgian liberals, is included in the liberal friendship.
In 1958, on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of Brussels, the first of its kind after the war and which has a great impact in the world, Congolese are invited to Belgium, including Patrice Lumumba. Unhappy with the unflattering paternalistic image of the Congolese people presented by the exhibition, Lumumba stands out from the liberals and, with some political companions, makes contact with anti-colonialist circles.