|View of the Kinsuka rapids from the Grande Corniche|
Allard, an artist and estranged from his banking family in Belgium, had come to Congo at the beginning of the war. He first sought to join the Belgian Congo Force Publique, then the Free French to support the allied cause. Governor General Ryckmans sought instead to involve Allard in less active support of the troops and Allard was induced to use his artistic talent to support the war effort.
On June 11, 1942, Ryckmans was informed by the Sureté, the colonial intelligence service, of a plot against himself and the government planned for the weekend of June 20. The Sureté launched an investigation and three days later, while attending a Fancy Fair for the war effort at Sacre Coeur Church (See. Jan. 17, 2012), Ryckmans was informed of the details of the plot, which included use of the new mechanized brigade equipped by the Americans and led by Emile Janssens (whose later intransigence as commander of the Force Publique at Independence in 1960 led to the army mutiny which plunged Congo into chaos). The plot was Royalist in sentiment and intended to maintain Colonial Minister de Vleeschauwer over Ryckmans.
Many of the named co-conspirators were probably not aware they were part of Allard’s plot. Allard was detained, and after a brief stay in the mental ward of Clinique Reine Elisabeth (See.Jan. 17, 2012), was released to house arrest in his aerie on the Corniche (the ladder was pulled away after his meals were passed up). Ryckmans apparently did not consider him a serious threat because in August Allard was credited with the decoration of the Welcome Center for Belgian and Allied Military personnel and in November, he obtained a building permit for the tower that would provide him panoramic views of the river for his art. Allard eventually left the colony and went on to found Oxfam Belgium.
- “Le Courrier d’Afrique”, Leopoldville, 1942
- Johnson, Marion, 1952. “Congolese and Romanesque Sculpture, A Comparison”, The Studio.
- LeJeune, Denis, 2012, “La Tour du Baron Allard à Kinsuka”, Memoires du Congo, Août 2012, pp.10-11.
- VanderLinden, Jacques, 1994. Pierre Ryckmans 1891-1959: Coloniser dans l'honneur, DeBoeck Superieur.