Patrice Lumumba

From the letter to the President of the UN General Assembly

November 11, 1960

Source: Patrice Lumumba, The Truth about a Monstrous Crime of the Colonialists, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1961, pp. 50-2.
Written: by Patrice Lumumba;
Transcribed: by Thomas Schmidt.

The continuing political crisis provoked by the head of state, Mr. Kasavubu, on September 5, 1960 makes imminent the grave danger of the Congo's complete break-up. A regime of anarchy and dictatorship has replaced the democratic regime established by the Congolese people on June 30, 1960. A tiny minority, advised and financed by certain foreign powers, is engaged in subversive activity night and day. The capital of the republic is a scene of disorder, where a handful of hired military men are ceaselessly violating law and order. The citizens of Leopoldville now live under a reign of terror. Arbitrary arrests, followed by deportation, arc a daily and nightly occurrence, and many persons are reported missing. Murder, burglary and rape of married women and young girls are committed almost daily by individuals bereft of every sense of morality and patriotism, who profess to be in the service of the national army and of Mr. Kasavubu. The presidents of the provincial governments of Stanleyville and Leopoldville, Mr. Finant and Mr. Kamitatu, recognised leaders, elected by the people, and governing between them more than six million inhabitants to the satisfaction of all concerned, are at this moment subjected to every conceivable form of brutality and torture. These two provincial presidents-men wholly dedicated to the task of improving the well-being of their people-were taken by surprise by Mobutu's thugs respectively on October 13, 1960 at Stanleyville and November 10 at Leopoldville and are now in concentration camps set up at Leopoldville by Messrs. Kasavubu and Mobutu.

The only fault of these worthy representatives of the people is loyalty to their country and disapproval of the unlawful acts of Mr. Kasavubu and his followers at Leopoldville, acts which are leading the country straight to disaster.

Mr. Joseph Okito, President of the Senate, the second highest dignitary in the state, has had the same experience. He has several times been arbitrarily arrested, beaten and then set free. Similar crimes are daily committed against the members of the majority group in Parliament and the members of the legally constituted government. They have even been officially prohibited to leave Leopoldville and return to their provinces to meet their constituents and join their families; they are restricted in their movements in Leopoldville, which after all belongs to the entire nation. At Leopoldville the majority parties in Parliament are forbidden to publish newspapers. All loyal army personnel and government officials, who wanted to have no truck with the unlawful activities and the policy of national demolition pursued by the head of state and his handful of supporters at Leopoldville, have been dismissed from their posts, maltreated and turned out into the street. Hundreds of loyal soldiers who oppose Mobutu are sent back daily to their villages; others are now in the Binza concentration camp. Soldiers are recruited on the basis of ethnic kinship with the head of state and his minority supporters, the purpose being to terrorise those who do not share their views and opinions. Those who honestly and loyally champion the cause of the people are now being butchered. The provisional institutions envisaged under the Fundamental Law drawn up by the former colonial power have been undermined and trampled in the dust by the head of state. Because it does not agree with him, Parliament has been high-handedly dismissed in violation of Articles 21 and 70 of the Fundamental Law. Mr. Kasavubu confuses the parliamentary regime, which is our system, with the presidential regime. That is why he assumes the powers vested in the Prime Minister under Article 36 of the Fundamental Law. It is not for the head of state but for the Prime Minister and my lawful government to send delegations to the United Nations, as I have done on three occasions. Parliament, the country's supreme organ, voted full powers to my government on September 13, 1960. The confidence placed in my government by the entire nation is steadily increasing. The United Nations is not entitled to choose any course other than the one indicated by Parliament. Certain slates, which are members of the United Nations, instead of conforming to the decisions taken by the sovereign Congolese Parliament, ignore them and support only the minority working against the will of the majority. Instead of helping the Congolese leaders to effect a peaceful settlement of the conflict provoked by Mr. Kasavubu, certain powers are doing their utmost to widen the breach between us, their plan being indirectly to bring about the dismemberment of the Congo. In this connection, the Congolese people as a whole deplore the attitude of the United States Government; it is with great regret that I call the General Assembly's attention to the fact that, as eloquently testified by the documents seized, the 30 million francs recently confiscated at Stanleyville from a group of persons plotting to seize power by a coup d'etat came from United States sources. In view of the foregoing, and of the fact that the United Nations has proved unable to find a prompt solution in accordance with the expressed will of the people, I propose, with the backing of the millions of inhabitants I lawfully represent, that the solution of the Congolese problem should be left to the Congolese people themselves.

No one will then be able to accuse the United Nations of partiality in any eventual decision, or of interference in the Congo's internal affairs. With this end in view, I propose that a popular referendum be held without delay with the participation of all the citizens of the republic, under the direction of the provincial assemblies and governments but under the supervision of a commission of United Nations observers. The said commission would do everything to ensure that all electors cast their votes freely. Steps would also be taken to prevent any fraud. The referendum would relate to the adoption of a presidential regime, to be followed by the election of the President of the Republic by direct suffrage. Such a referendum would enable the people to choose freely and directly the leaders they want and thus to put an end to the present crisis and to all the backstage manoeuvring. This is the one and only way of restoring immediate peace and order in the Congo and so serving the interests of the mission undertaken by the United Nations in our country.

Please accept, Mr. President, assurances of my high esteem.