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Patrice Lumumba's son speaks in Harlem on Zaire

By Daniel Vila, in People's Weekly World, 22 March 1997

NEW YORK - The gathering at the Harriet Tubman Learning Center in Harlem March 7 had the appearance of a victory celebration as several hundred people sensed the inevitable overthrow of Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko by a popular revolution.

Francois Lumumba, son of martyred Zairian leader, Patrice Lumumba, was the featured speaker at the event which also included Marcus Garvey Jr.

Lumumba began by saying, "This time victory is certain even if the United Nations is brought in." He linked events in this country with what occurs in Africa. It "is the same although they take different forms."

Francois, who has been active all his life in the clandestine opposition to Mobutu's government, said, "Our movement is proud to support those who have taken up arms to remove the dictatorship from our country. We have never had an opportunity like this."

Elombe Barth who is leader of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, one of the organizations which sponsored the event, said, "We have never had an opportunity like this. We are in a very good battlefield position. Mobuto's troops are throwing away their arms and the youth are picking them up."

Patrice Lumumba became prime minister of Zaire after the country's independence from Belgium in 1960. However, he was overthrown in a CIA engineered coup in 1961.

Laurent Kabila is the leader of the Alliance of Democratic Forces for Liberation which has launched a successful armed campaign, capturing up to one-fifth of Zaire. Francois told the World, "Kabila was as a youth active in the patriotic movement to overthrow Mobutu. The truth is that the only rallying point in Zaire is the Lumumba movement. And when you look in the area where the uprising is taking place, you will see that they have always supported Lumumba."

When he was asked what he would like to see in the form of solidarity towards other African countries from a post- Mobutu government Francois answered, "We must remember that it was with Lumumba's government that help to Angola [then a colony of Portugal] was begun. Like Lumumba we believe in supporting those countries which have still not been liberated."

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