Friday, April 12, 2024

DR Congo buries Patrice Lumumba’s tooth

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

More than 60 years since he was killed and his body dissolved in acid, the only part of Patrice Lumumba’s body that remained – tooth, has now been buried.

The gold-crowned tooth of Democratic Republic of Congo independence was kept by the Belgian policeman who oversaw the disposal of his body.

The police officer took the tooth as a trophy at the time only to be returned to the family last week.

The tooth was seized by authorities in 2016 as part of an investigation by federal public prosecutors on Lumumba’s death.

The court in Belgium said that the tooth should be given to Lumumba’s daughter, Juliana Lumumba.

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Lumumba’s coffin with the tooth toured several parts of DR Congo before its final burial at a newly built mausoleum.

Patrice Lumumba’s remains have been buried in a specially built mausoleum. Photo: AFP

President Félix Tshisekedi, Lumumba’s family and other dignitaries were at the private service which took place before the coffin was transferred to the mausoleum.

“May the land of our ancestors be sweet and mild to you,” said the president.

Thursday, June 30 marked 62 years since the former colonial power Belgium relinquished control of the vast country.

Lumumba, the country’s first prime minister was viewed by the colonial masters as a barrier to its efforts to maintain influence as well as hold on to important economic interests.

Lumumba teeth
Lumumba pictured in Brussels at the Round Table Conference of 1960. Credit: Harry Pot- Anefo/Wikimedia Commons (CC0)

He lasted less than three months in his position as prime minister when he was overthrown and given up to Belgian-backed separatists militias.

The British and American spy agencies were believed to have been involved in his capture and death.

The Belgian government had a role in his death as well and in 2002 issued a formal apology.


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