More than 61 years after his death, the remains of Patrice Lumumba will be buried this Thursday, June 30, 2022, Independence Day. The culmination of a more than ten-day memorial service that began in Brussels with Belgium delivering a tooth attributed to the former Congolese Prime Minister, held during all these years by a Belgian police force.
From our special correspondent in Kinshasa,
On Wednesday, the remains were taken to the Palais de la Nation for a ceremony of very symbolic significance. It was in this room, almost 62 years ago today, that Patrice Lumumba gave a speech that went down in history. A speech, on the day of the country’s independence, in which he had rejected colonization before a dumb king of the Belgians.
And 62 years later, this speech was returned in the same room in the presence of Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi, but also by many officials. Yes, almost all the great personalities of the state were present.
A ceremony that also paid tribute to Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo. These two companions in the accident were also murdered by Patrice Lumumba, on January 17, 1961. The two families had a few days ago regretted being held alongside these memorial services. This time, the three men were posthumously decorated by the President of the Republic.
Burial in the heart of the capital This Thursday is the last line of these commemorations, with the last ceremony scheduled in the heart of Kinshasa. It is at the junction of Limete, which is the site of Patrice Lumumba’s eternal rest, next to a large monument in his honor, there is now a mausoleum where the coffin will be installed.
To get there, there were a few twists and turns. This return of the remains of Patrice Lumumba was delayed several times before finally taking place on 22 June. And even then, this funeral, in the program, was scheduled for June 29. All this was finally changed recently to make this funeral coincide with the anniversary of the country’s independence.
Must attend this funeral obviously, the family of Patrice Lumumba, but also of his two companions in accident killed the same day as him, Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo. The heads of state of the Congolese state will be announced and President Félix Tshisekedi will give a speech there. It will ultimately be his first speech since the country rediscovered the remains of Patrice Lumumba.
The funeral itself will take place in a small committee with especially Patrice Lumumba’s family, three of his children François, Roland and Juliana, and some of his grandchildren who have followed all the way for this coffin between Belgium, Sankuru, Kisangani, Haut-Katanga and of course this final stage in Kinshasa.