Early this month, I shared with you that the Belgian King Expressed his ‘Deepest Regrets’ for Colonial Past in Congo, by sending a letter to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi on the day of the celebration of the DRC’s independence from Belgium. I told you that those were empty words, and that coincidentally, King Philippe had forgotten to include the period from 1908 to the independence of Congo, and the treacherous role played by Belgium in the assassination of the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
Now the children of Patrice Lumumba, led by his daughter Juliana Amato Lumumba, have asked the Belgian king to prove his good faith by sending back the remains of their father. These remains are parts that were taken, like Lumumba‘s teeth, from his body at the time of his murder. We know from a documentary which aired in 2000 that Belgian Police Commissioner, Gerard Soete, told AFP that he and acolytes had decapitated Lumumba’s body and those of two others, Joseph Okito and Maurice Mpolo, and subsequently dissolved them in acid. In another documentary that same year, Soete showed two teeth which he said had belonged to Lumumba. He took Lumumba’s teeth as souvenir. In 2016, Ludo De Witte, author of the book “The assassination of Lumumba,” lodged a legal complaint against Soete’s daughter after she showed a gold tooth, which she said had belonged to Lumumba, during an interview with a newspaper.
According to AFP, Juliana Lumumba’s letter was written and addressed to the Belgian monarch on June 30, which happens to be the 60th anniversary of the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo from Belgium.
“We, Lumumba’s children, call for the just return of the relics of Patrice Emery Lumumba to the land of his ancestors,” Juliana said in the letter.
In Juliana Lumumba’s letter, which she said was written on behalf of her “wider family”, she said that her father was a “hero without a grave”.
“The remains of Patrice Emery Lumumba are being used on the one hand as trophies by some of your fellow citizens, and on the other as funereal possessions sequestered by your kingdom’s judiciary.”