14 November 1961
On 14 November 1961 Katangan President, Moise Tshombe, and Congo President, Joseph Kasavubu, were accused of conspiracy to murder ex-premier Patrice Lumumba in a UN report. Lumumba died on 13 February 1961. It has always been assumed in liberation discourse that Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with the help of the CIA. Many argue that it was in the interests of the CIA and the American Government that Lumumba be neutralised to ensure that Congo established diplomatic ties with the West. Lumumba was known to have been keen on inviting the Soviet Union into Congo and establishing diplomatic ties with Moscow. In the entire discourse on the death of Lumumba, the role of the United Nations is seldom accounted for. Recent research has pointed out that the UN was not entirely blameless in the assassination. It is suggested both Dag Mammaskjold and U Thant, both Secretaries General of the UN in the early to mid 1960s, were opposed to Lumumba and may have covertly assisted Tshombe and Kasavubu in the elimination of Lumumba. With a growing expatriate Congolese community living in South Africa during the past decade, the assassination of Lumumba becomes a subject of heated debate. Many in South Africa believe that the regime of Mobutu Seseko benefitted from the demise of Lumumba. In fact, it has since been revealed that the army, directly responsible for the murder, was led by Seseko at the time.