African unions in the struggle for liberation
Introduction The tioning countries independence the cannot role be struggles of complete African of without many workers African men- and countries cannot be complete without men- tioning the role of African workers and trade unions. It is also a matter of pride that a number of the founding fathers of the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU) were trade union leaders. Not only did they use trade union tactics, but also, the trade union platform to launch the struggle for independence. The late Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Congo Leopoldville/ Kinshasa) was one of the African political libera- tors, who was murdered in the prime of his youth, after the independence of his country. The late Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea was a trade unionist and political leader who mobilised the Guinean people to vote for independence from France in 1958 when other political leaders voted yes to the French Referendum to choose between continued French colonialism and instant independence. Sékou Touré was a found- ing father of the former OAU. The late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania was a trade unionist who led the then Tangayika to independence from British colonialism. Nyerere was a visionary, honest and dedicated statesman, who pioneered the Union of Tangayika with the Islands of Zanzibar to form the Republic of Tanzania. He was also a found- ing father of the former OAU. President Kenneth Kaunda, founding President of Zambia, and a founding father of the OAU was also a trade unionist. So also was his imme- diate successor, Frederick Chiluba. It should be said in passing, that the Kaunda era in Zambia was more glorious than that of Chiluba. The late President Hamani Diori was the founding President of Niger, and a founding father of the OAU. He was a trade unionist as well as an astute political leader who fought against French colonialism in Niger. The late President Modibo Keita of Mali was the first President of Mali and a founding father of the OAU. He was a trade unionist. He was a visionary Pan-Africanist, who, along with the late President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and late President Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guinea started the Ghana, Guinea, Mali Union, which although did not last long, can be considered the first gen- uine attempt at African unity.