BIO. Section 2
No observer of present day Ethiopia can fail to be inspired by the high ideal, vigilance, dedication, and far-sightedness of Emperor Haile Selassie I; architect and builder of the nation.
A descendant of the oldest and longest line of royalty in recorded history, Ras Taffari, as the Emperor was known in his younger days, was born on July 23, 1892, in Harrar where he received his early training. His father, the famed soldier and astute statesman Ras (Prince) Makonnen, was Emperor Menelik's right hand man and a grandson of King Sahle Selassie.
Emperor Menelik was so struck by the attainments, intellectual powers and great personal dignity of the young Ras Tafari, that he appointed him to several important positions at an early age, including the governorship of his native Harrar in 1910.
In 1917 Ras Tafari was appointed Regent of the Realm - and it was during the fourteen years of his regency that he prepared the ground work for the great reforms like the abolishing of the legal status of domestic servitude, and education which, after 1930, he carried out as Emperor and which, by virtue of its unique nature, will forever be connected with his name.
While still Regent, the Emperor concentrated at first on foreign affairs. In 1923 he had conspicuous success in the admission of Ethiopia to the League of Nations. Thereby, giving practical expression to his desire for collective security, the pillar of Ethiopia's foreign policy.
A year later he visited several European capitals and was thus the first Ethiopian ruler to go abroad and so consolidate his realm's relations with the outside world.
One of the first things Emperor Haile Selassie did after his coronation in 1930 was to grant his people a written constitution - the first act of its kind in the country's 3000 years of recorded history. The Emperor offered the constitution, later superseded by the revised constitution promulgated in 1955, not because there was public clamor for it but because he felt that it is necessary for the modern Ethiopian to accustom himself to take part in the direction of all departments of the State and to share in the mighty task which Ethiopian sovereigns have had to accomplish alone in the past.
The Emperor then turned his attention to the expansion and reform of internal administration, the distribution of duties, the organization of security forces, of financial administration and customs service, and all the paraphernalia of a modern and stabilized Government. All these necessitated the introduction of a cadre of educated and qualified people - a stupendous task which the Emperor found all the more challenging on account of the immense volume of work which he had to carry virtually single-handed, in the early years of his reign, as indeed to a large extent now, the Emperor is not only the inspirer but also the executer of most of the diverse and intricate policies of government.
The unprovoked and unwarranted Italian invasion brought the Emperor's great works of reform and progress to a dead stop. The betrayal by the League of Nations, despite the Emperor's dramatic and eloquent plea is too well known for the details to detain us here. Suffice it to say that the first victim of aggression became, through his exploits and the unswerving faith of his patriots, the first monarch to be restored to his rightful throne. And it will forever redound to his honor and sense of justice, that upon his triumphal return in 1941, he called upon his people to show restraint and mercy to the remnants of the usurpers: Do not commit any acts of cruelty like those which the enemy committed against you.
Ethiopia is still of two worlds; the old and the new. It will always be to Emperor Haile Selassie's glory, as an admirer put it, that he has been able to bring these two worlds into harmony-gently to restrain the impatient and quietly to urge on the tardy, to preserve and to also to discard without loss of Ethiopia's ancient and historic identity.
Mr. Leon M'Ba, chief of state, and President of the Gabon Republic was born in 1902 in Libreville. He studied in a Catholic school and wound up in the College de Sainte Marie.
President M'Ba is extremely intelligent, able and at the same time far-sighted. Like many African leaders he has served his country in a variety of positions and capacities.
In the days when his country was administered
by the French, he was head of a canton, leader of the Gabon Democratic Bloc, for
whose cause in general, but Gabon in particular, he wrote a number of articles
in newspapers, that were found creditable in shaping public opinion.
Mr. Leon M'Ba at one time was elected, and re-elected to the Territorial Assembly of Gabon. He was mayor of the city of Libreville, Vice-President and President of the Governing Council of Gabon and contributed a lot in bringing about unity to the country.
In 1958, when Gabon became self-governing, but within the French Community, he became Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, and later on, President of the Republic, elected by the people of Gabon.
Dr. Nkrumah, President of the Republic of Ghana, First Citizen and Founder of the State, was born in a small village in Western Ghana in 1909. He was educated in a Catholic Mission school, and became a pupil teacher.
Later on, he joined Achimota College and received his teaching diploma. His belief in education never betrays him. When he could have taken a money-bringing job, he taught his people in the hours of their need, as he is still doing.
Then he went to the United States and joined Lincoln University, where he received his degree, majoring in Economics and Sociology. In the University of Pennsylvania, he received his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy and Education. For some time, he also lectured in political Science at the Lincoln University. In 1945 he went to London to read Law and write a thesis.
The Giant of Africa, as a man of remarkable qualities, has won the respect and admiration of the world by his meteoric and dramatic assent and unwavering strength.
President Nkrumah, the symbol of a sincere and dedicated African, true to his pledge said once: "Bury me alive, if I do not give Ghana her independence." When Ethiopia was devastated by the Italian Vikings of the 20th century, indeed when they came to civilize Ethiopia with bombs and poison gas, he earnestly prayed to God, that "the day might come, when he would play a part in the liquidation of colonialism."
Wherever he went, he never forgot his burning love for Ghana and Africa at large. Even in his capacities as a student, he organized conferences and unions - the main purpose being the freedom of Mother Africa, the blood stream of agricultural riches - and yet, a continent where her sons and daughters lived in poverty, indignation and maltreatment. In Manchester, with the help of the Honorable Jomo Kenyatta, George Padmore, T.R. Mekonnen, and the half-blooded Ethiopian novelist Peter Abrahams, he organized the Pan African Conference.
In 1946, he went to West Africa and became the General Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention's Party. Though, the then British government kept him twice in prison, on charges of sedition, and of his so called, "communistic tendencies", that was not the end of the rising tide of Africa's liberation movement. He fought for what he believed was right, and for what he was dedicated to perform. Through his writings, his personal magnetism, and patriotically inspiring oratory, he instilled in the minds of his people, the sacrifices to be made for freedom's sake, and the lasting rewards to be achieved from it.
To say that the party which he organized triumphed in the elections that -were held, that he became a prime minister, that through a universal election he became a President, that he made Ghana partly what it is "forward ever, backwards never," to a glorious era of liberty, peace, honor and prestige, is not much to a man of his caliber and capacity.
President Nkrumah is a mouth-piece of Mother Africa, and a devoted Panafricanist .In one of his autobiographies he says: "I have never regarded the struggles for the independence of the Gold Coast, as an isolated objective, but always as a part of a general world historical pattern."
In one of his memoirs again he says: "Ghana's independence is meaningless, unless it is linked with every inch of African territory." In order to promote the cause of Pan-Africanism, "Conferences of Independent African States," and "all African People's Conferences" have been held in Accra. The Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union has been achieved. When President Kwame Nkrumah paid an official state visit to Ethiopia in 1956, exchange of diplomatic missions, trade pacts, and air service agreements were signed. Among other things, His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, and President Nkrumah also agreed to continue their fights for African liberation and world peace.
When the imperialists attempted to revive the dead fashion of colonialism such as in the Congo, Dr. Nkrumah suggested that an African Military High Command should be organized. When he found out that the European Common Market is designed to enslave and exploit Africa economically, using the continent as dumping grounds for European surplus mass production, he suggested an African Common Market.
Many African leaders think of the United States of Africa as a distant goal for the far future. Instead of political unity, they suggest economic unity. But President Nkrumah believes that unless political unity is formed first, "Africa may be Balkanized, divided permanently into dozens of small states, some leaning towards the West, some to the East, and others neutral in the international struggle." Even economic unity may not be effective, since the materials produced by African States are in the majority of cases, basically the same.
President Nkrumah stands for the entire liquidation of colonialism and imperialism, in all of their manifestations, and last but not least, for peace, prosperity and happiness of the human race.
As far as Ghana is concerned, under his leadership, the country has become "dynamic, alive and bursting with energy," a country fully prepared to emancipate Africa, and will never rest until the last "vestiges of colonialism and discrimination have been obliterated" forever from African soil. The Ghanaians live today better, happier, and fuller life, than ever before.
Sekou Toure, President of the Republic of Guinea, is a dynamic politician, who traces his ancestry from Emperor Almamy Samory Toure, the great national hero of the Guineans, who heroically fought against the French until 1898.
One of seven children of a farmer, he attended a school of Koranic studies at Kankan, eventually ended up in a French technical school. Even after he was forced to leave school, he had to run after his friends, who were still going to tell him what they had learned, and read everything he could lay his hands on.
In the course of time, he became a French colonial treasury clerk in Guinea. When the treasury tried to muffle his union talks by sending him out of the country. He quit and became a full-time head of the Guinea branch of France's "Confederation General du Travail."
His stay in Paris, Warsaw, Prague, and in other cities of Europe, have left on him lasting impressions. As the founder of Guinea's first labor union, and always a staunch supporter of trade unionism, he was the master mind behind the strikes of 1953, which brought to French African workers, their first major concessions.
President Sekou Toure is a man of varied experiences and is versatile minded. He was deputy in the French Assembly in Paris, a member of the Guinea Legislative Assembly and a mayor of the city of Conakry.
When the French put through the Loi-Cadre in 1957, which kept control of each territory in the hands of a French Governor, but gave Africans the right to elect their own man as Vice-President the Executive Council, he became the number two man in his own country.
By refusing to accept the de Gaulle Referendum in 1958, he gave his country its complete detachment from the "French Community. It would he worthwhile quoting what he said in connection with this: "The idea of the French community would continue our status of indignity, and our status of subordination. We do not wish to settle our fate without France, or against France. We prefer poverty in liberty, to riches in slavery."
The Guinea Ghana-Mali Union is part of the expression of president's thought to the unity of Africa, which he expressed this way, "Nature has set a seal upon us, which we cannot disown, except at the risk of self-destruction, nor can we pit ourselves against each other, without compromising our common destiny."
His visits to the United States, the Soviet Union, the U. Kingdom, Canada, U.A.R., Czechoslovakia, Morocco, Ethiopia and other countries, have strengthened and consolidated his country's relations with them. Observers who have heard him speak say; he could hold an audience spellbound for hours, whether speaking French, his own native tongue Malinke, or Soussou. As the idol of three million people, his name gives the man on the street, a sense of security freedom.
Besides making Guinea stronger than ever, he has introduced reaching reforms such as unity, the crashing of land-lords and bringing them under the control of the central government, the even distribution of land and wealth, all manifesting the sense of goodwill and care he has for the majority of his people. It is no wonder then, that he reins supreme as the darling of the average Guinean.
He still retains that vitality and dynamism of his young days. Having the youth, the drive and the ambition all on his side, we are confidant that he will make Guinea a more prosperous nation than ever, in the years to come.
The celebrated West African statesman, President Houphouet Boigny of the Ivory Coast, was born on October 18, 1905 in the village of Yamoussockro, not many miles from the birthplace of President Kwame Nkrumah, just across the border Boigny, in the Baoul language means, battering rain.
He was educated by missionaries at Bingerville and then at a medical school in Senegal, where he graduated as a fully qualified medical doctor, and for fifteen years he earnestly served his people to the best of his ability.
Long before he entered politics, his fame and prestige and the popularity, which he established, went far beyond the Ivory Coast. Yet he had no interest in politics. The everyday problems of his countrymen, the farmers, his patients, and others led him gradually to politics.
It is worth mentioning a few of the many posts he had held in the past. At one time, he was chief administrator of his native district, secretary of the African Agricultural Union - a union through which he made France abolish her forced labor system of making Africans work on white-owned farms and plantations. He was also founder of the African Democratic Rally, mayor of the city of dispute, and last but not least, a mouthpiece for Upper Volta and Ivory Coast in the constituent and the French National Assembly.
It was here that he played a vital role in the formation of the "Labor Code" for French Overseas Territories, it was here too that he played an active part in the drafting of the loi-cadre, -which established universal suffrage and executive councils for French Overseas Territories.
This immensely smart and respectable leader is a man of cautious and pragmatic nature, interested in concrete results, rather than in ideologies. He opposes nationalization and state control of industry, but supports enterprise economic system, and foreign capital investment. Highly respected in both France and West Africa, he remains a born leader, with an almost "mystical insight", that will succeed in bringing greatness to his country.
Bio. Section 3