Thoughts on Assassination in Africa
Perhaps no international treaty betrays a greater sensitivity to the risk of assassination than does the Charter of the Organization of African Unity. The Charter consecrates its disapproval of this phenomenon in Article III, in which it expresses its "unreserved condemnation, in all its forms, of political assassination, as well as of subversive activities on the part of neighboring States or any other State."' Independence is a beginning. So is the month of January every year, sometimes spilling over into February. For some reason a disproportionate number of the historic acts of violence in Africa since independence have tended to happen in the months of January and February. It was in January 1961 that Patrice Lumumba was handed over to Moise Tshombe, his enemy in Katanga. That was the prelude to one of the most significant assassinations in Africa's history. The following month the death of Lumumba was announced.