|Speech To The P.A.F.M.E.C.A. Conference|
Feb. 02, 1962
|It is a privilege for us Ethiopians to welcome in Our midst such a distinguished gathering of African |
nationalist leaders and freedom fighters of this region on the occasion of the opening of the
Conference of the Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa here in our Capital
city of Addis Ababa. This is not the first time that Addis Ababa has acted as a host to African
leaders, and the results achieved during past Conferences give cause for pride and a sense of
accomplishment on the part of those who took part in them. We are equally certain that this
Conference, which convenes today, will contribute significantly to the goals of African
Independence and Unity.
We specially welcome the Delegations of the newly independent sister African State of Tanganyika,
whose leader Mr. Julius Nyerere has played such a prominent role in the initiation and promotion
of the ideals of P.A.F.M.E.C.A. We are also happy to note that P.A.F.M.E.C.A. is drawing into its folds,
for the first time since its inception, several Independent African States namely, Tanganyika, the
Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia. This will no doubt be a strong factor to accelerate the freedom
movement of Our region. The fact that new nations are recognizing the importance of this
movement and the impact which it can have in shaping the future region should be a source of
satisfaction and encouragement to us all.
This Conference meets at a critical juncture in the historical development of the countries of East
and Central Africa. While We rejoice at the recent accession to independence of several African
Countries, We are full of hope and confidence that the remaining dependenct territories, who find
themselves under colonial rule, will soon find themselves amidst us as members of a community of
Ethiopia, as the oldest independent African State, has had bitter experiences in maintaining the
continuity of the Independence down throughout the centuries. The bitter struggle our country
had to pass through in the 19th and 20th centuries, when our own very survival as a sovereign and
independent African State was threatened, is well known. This struggle reached its climax when
one of the then principal colonial powers launched unprovoked aggressions against Ethiopia in
1896 and in 1935. But the bravery and gallantry of the Ethiopian nationalist forces which were
amply displayed in those years not only saved our country but also contributed to a substantial
degree to the liberation of Africa. In her struggles, Ethiopia fought not only for herself but for all
Africa, and the triumph of this Continent over the forces of imperialism and colonialism is in some
small measure a vindication and a record for the hardships adn perils of years past.
|It is a historical fact that Ethiopia's struggle against colonialism and imperialism has been a source |
of inspiration to all the coloured peoples of the world. This struggle of Ethiopia had earned her the
active opposition of all the colonial powers who had systematically followed a policy of containing
and isolating Ethiopia from the rest of Africa. This was accompanied by a continuous barrage of
hostile propaganda misrepresenting Ethiopian reality to the outside world and particularly Africa.
However, this policy was frustrated and Ethiopia continued to exist as a sovereign and
independent country though the threat had never been removed. During this period the relentless
struggle of our people to maintain the independence of their country had won the sympathy and
moral support of the entire world and gave meaning and form to the present Pan-African
Movement. At this point it would be fitting to pay tribute to such distinguished personalities as Mr.
Jomo Kenyatta, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. W.E. DuBois, and others who had
completely identified themselves with our struggle against colonialism and imperialism in trying
It is common knowledge that after the close of the second World War the African Liberation
Movement had gathered momentum and penetrated the length and breadth of the entire continent
of Africa. In the period since the war We have seen the birth of over twenty-six independent
African States, who have gained full membership in the U.N. and this number will undoubtly go on
increasing as each year sees the emergence of still more new states to independence. Ethiopia is
justly proud of the role she has played in this development.
|Next October We will be happy to welcome Uganda into the community of Independent African |
States. We are confident that after the next consitutional conference which is due to take place in
two weeks time, Kenya's independence too as a unified State will not be unnecessarily delayed.
Despite the recent unfortunate events that have taken place in Ruanda-Urundi and the setback the
African nationalists have suffered in the loss of their dedicated nationalist leader, the late Prince
Rwagasore, We have to hope that Ruanda-Urundi will attain its cherished goal of independence in
March 1962 in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.
However, when We turn our attention to the Rhodesias and the Portuguese Colonies of Angola and
Mozambique and others We find the prospects rather gloomy. The recent banning of the National
Democratic Party led by Mr. Joshua Nkomo in Southern Rhodesia, and the arrest and imprisonment
of many of its leading members did not pass without arousing the indignation of all freedom loving
The situation in Northern Rhodesia is equally grave. There too We find the United National
Independent Party, which has the support of the African majority of that country led by the
distinguished nationalist leader Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, banned and suppressed in some parts of the
country. We deplore the measures taken by the colonialist regime to frustrate legitimate African
aspirations for justice, freedom and independence. We are sure that ultimately our African
brothers there will emerge victorious and attain the goal they have set for themselves.
|Compared with these two territories the prospects in Nyasaland look somewhat brighter. But even |
there We are aware that much still remains to be done. We extend, therefore, our wholehearted
support and encouragement to our distingished brother, the honourable Dr. Hastings Banda, in his
endeavour to assure African majority rule in his country.
The situation in Zanzibar too merits our full attention. It is of paramount importance in our view
that the African majority of that island nation be allowed to play the leading role in shaping the
destiny of their country unhindered by outside interference and intrigue.
As regards the tragic situtation obtaining in Angola, Mozambique and the others, We deplore
Portugal's policy of suppression of unarmed and defenceless peaceful African inhabitants who have
no other fault than demanding their right of self-determination and independence. In our view, the
Portuguese colonies are non-self-governing territories and all the good that Portugal can do in the
interest of peace is to co-operate with the United Nations and comply with its resolutions and
negotiate with the nationalist leaders with a view to working our the programme and time-table of
its colonies' accession to independence.
With respect to the question of the future status of Bechuanaland, Swaziland and Basutoland, We
are distrubed by the slow pace of political, consitutional, economic and social progress of our
fellow Africans in these territories. It is incumbent upon Great Britain to apply the same wisdom it
had applied to its former colonies in Africa and Asia and likewise to speed up the political and
consitutional advance of the African inhabitants of these territories to as to assure their early
accession to indepedence.
The apartheid policy of the racist government of the white minority in South Africa continues to
subject our African brothers, who constitute the overwhelming majority in that country, to untold
humiliation and oppression.
So much has been said in the past about sanctions and measures to be taken against South Africa,
but unfortunately little has been done to force the Union Government to change its policy. It is
therefore imperative that all those who have the interest of the Africans at heart should start
thinking in new lines than hitherto undertaken in order to effectively assist our African brothers to
deliver them out of the bondage under which they find themselves at present in that unhappy
The unfortunate condition in which our African brothers find themselves in South-West Africa
under the notorious and deplorable policy of apartheid and ruthless administration of South Africa
is equally depressing and intolerable. However, We are convinced that before long the continued
efforts of the United Nations and the legal proceedings instituded at the International Court of
Justice by Our Government and that of Our sister State of Liberia will bear fruit.
|Nineteen months have now elapsed since the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville) acceded to |
indepedence, but because of persistent foreign interference in its internal affairs that sister African
State has not been able so far to consolidate its unity and to enjoy the blessings of its
independence. Consequently the intervention of the United Nations in the Congo was made
necessary in order to assist the Central Government to restore law and order and to maintain the
territorial integrity of the country. But while We appreciate the immense difficulties posed by
disruptive outside interference, nevertheless the task of reintegrating the administration of the
territory largely remains the responsibility of the Congolese themselves. Certain of Our Congolese
brothers should let history pass a severe judgement on them because of their seeming lack of
patriotism at these critical moments. All those who aspire to leadership inthat sister country
should realize that they will be accountable to posterity for all their activities. Should they proceed
on their present course of dissention and internecine strife, they would continue to be a pawn of
neo-colonialist diplomacy and thus endanger not only their country but also the entire continent of
Africa. We therefore call upon them to take heed of this solemn warning and pursue the best
interests of their country and that of Africa.
|As We have stated earlier a greater part of Africa has got rid of colonial rule. But colonialism has |
left behind various problems. It has fostered tribal, religious and linguistic differences with the
deliberate intention of preoccupying African States with quarrels among themselves and
obstructing their development programmes and thus creating conditions for neo-colonialism to
thrive. The Africans have advanced the concept of Pan-Africanism as the best method of resolving
African problems and of further strengthening African Independence and Unity.
Ethiopia has fully indentified herself whit the Pan-African Movement, in the furtherance of which
cause she has already proposed at the 16th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations
the establishment of the Organization of African States. We are pleased to state that this same
proposal has received unanimous acceptance by the Independent African States at the recent
Conference in Lagos.
You are now meeting here to lay the foundation for the establishment of a regional federation of
the East and Central African countries. Although this objective presupposes the total emancipation
of the territories of Our region, most of which still finds itself under Colonial rule, this should not
hinder the already Independent States of our region from going ahead and working out the
practical arrangements that would give form and substance to this objective.
The eyes of all Africa and indeed of the world are focused upon this Conference and it is Our
earnest hope that the outcome of your deliberations will measure up to the expectations of the
peoples of this region and indeed the whole of Africa.
Africa, together with the rest of the non-aligned world, has emerged as a positive force for peace
and harmony on our planet. While stiving to realize our aspirations and ideals, therefore, all our
efforts and resources should as well be directed towards the advancement of this all-important
aim. May God grant you the wisdom in your endeavour to accomplish the task before you.
|Haile Selassie the First - February 2, 1962|