The Founding Fathers of The O. A. U.



In April 1963, the Imperial Ethiopian Government was able to present the biographies of the founding fathers in a book titled, "The African Summit Conference."



The short biographies, which were published by the Imperial Ethiopian Government (IEG) in April 1963, will hopefully be a starting point for those who are interested in finding out more about the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity. The IEG's presentation covers the years prior to April 1963. The biographies demonstrate the hopes, dreams, and aspirations that the African leaders had during that time period.


    Mr. Ben Bella, the symbol of Algerian Independence, hope and pride, was born 46 years ago, in Marnia near the Moroccan border. He is a tall athletic man, well known in those turbulent years, not only as a soccer player, but also as the hot shot captain of a local football team.

    After High school he underwent a pre-military training in the Chantrers de la Jeunesse in Algeria. As a master sergeant in the French army, he has a brilliant record, and a chest full of decorations, which he won in World War II.

    All these years, his major concern was the status of his country-men. He thought of nothing else but Algeria's freedom. After the war, he returned to Marinia and entered politics to become not only a municipal officer, but also a devoted member of the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties.

    Mr. Ben Bella was one of the six initial leaders of the Nationalist Revolution, which years in advance, planned and engineered the November, 1954 revolution.

    In 1949, he organized the daring hold-up of the post office in Oran. Mr. Ben Bella was captured by the French the following year, and given a life sentence of hard labor. He escaped from the Blida prison and lived underground in Europe and North Africa. During that time time, he visited President Nasser and President Habib Bourguiba. Both Presidents Nasser and Bourgiba gave him arms and support, which he found extremely indispensable for carrying out his plans.

    In 1957, while carrying out a  mission, en route from Rabat to Tunis, the pilot of the plane received radio instructions from the French authorities to land in Algiers, which he did. Mr. Ben Bella was then imprisoned in the Island of Aix in the Atlantic Coast of France, and then in Chateaux.

    Whether in the French army, or in the French prisons, be it for his country's independence, or its future prosperity, Mr. Ben Bella clashed with France for many years. The French thought that the imprisonment of Mr. Ben Bella and his colleagues would solve the problem. On the contrary, it added fuel to the flames that burnt more passionately and brilliantly than ever.

    On the part of Mr. Ben Bella, his imprisonment gave him the adequate time which he needed, for filling up the gaps of his education. He read works on economics, politics, history, and almost anything he could lay his hands on. He also learnt English, German, and literary Arabic. In Algeria he became a man of almost legendary prestige ---- indeed a martyr on whom the enthusiasm of his people was pinned.

    On September 26, 1962, he was made Algeria's first Prime Minister by the Algerian National Assembly. He has said that he wants to convert Algeria into a socialist state. And ever since the time he took the reins of power, he is seen struggling to restore the economy of Algeria, which has been brought to the verge of disaster by seven and half years of war.

  • BENIN (formerly Republic of Dahomey)

    Mr. Hubert Maga, President of the Republic of Dahomey, was born at Parakou in 1910. He was educated up to secondary level in Dahomey and then became a teacher.  As the headmaster of a school, indeed as a teacher too, he was vigorously interested in youth problems and aspirations. Among other things, he was the first to organize scout troops in northern Dahomey.

    President Maga's political career began in 1947, when he was made a territorial councilor. At one time, he was elected and re-elected deputy for Dahomey to the French National Assembly. He was also the founder of the Democratic Dahomeian Movement.

    Of the many posts in which he served, mention has to be made of his being Grand Councilor for Art for Dahomey, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, France's Secretary of State for Labor in the Gaillard Government, his election to the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Dahomey, and last but not least, his membership to the Senate of the French Community in 1959.

    On May 18, 1959, Mr. Maga was elected Prime Minister of his country because of his ability, as a compromising figure in leading a coalition government. After the adoption of a new constitution on Nov. 25, 1960, Mr. Maga was elected President of the Republic of Dahomey.

  • BURKINA FASO (formerly Upper Volta)

    H. E. Maurice Yameogo, President of the Council of Ministers and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Upper Volta, was born in 1921 in the town of Koudougou. After completing his secondary school studies at Pabret, he began his career as a teacher.

    Of the many posts he has held in the past, mention has to be made of the Territorial Assembly and the Grand Council of French West Africa, to both of which, he was elected and has made substantial contribution.

    At one time, he was an active member of the French Confederation of Christian Workers, and became vice-president of the Confederation's Territorial Office. He was also a member of the Voltaic Democratic Rally, minister of agricultural economy, minister of interior, minister of information, minister of justice, of war veterans, and last but not least, president of the Government Council of Upper Volta. Among other things, he encouraged his country to join the Conseil de l'Entente.

    It is natural and right therefore, that a man of his caliber and sagacity should rise to eminence and prestige to lead his people to a prosperous era.


    His Majesty Mwami Mwambusta IV of the Kingdom of Burundi was born in the town of Murwvya in 1912. At the age of three, when his father Mutaga died, he succeeded him to the royal thrown, and ruled through the aid of a regent council.

    Both the Germans and the Belgians who exercised authority in his country, recognized him as the ruler of Burundi. On December 16, 1915, the official coronation ceremony took place. Later, the regency, which used to assist the sovereign in carrying out his duties, was dismissed. Since then, he has been governing the country by himself. His Majesty's position as head of state was consolidated on July 1, 1962, when Burundi became an independent state.


    President Ahamadou Ahidjo of the Cameroon, was born in 1924 in Garoua in the Benoue region. After primary and secondary schooling, he attended the Ecole Superieur d'Administration in Yaounde. From then on, he worked in the telegraph office and during World War II he distinguished himself as a radio operator.

    This hard working and industrious young man began to be interested in politics--an interest that finally resulted in his election to the Assemblee Representative du Cameroon as a deputy from the Benoue Region. Mr. Ahamadou Ahidjo became General Secretary and then president of the administrative division, and he finally became vice-president of the whole assembly. In October 1955, he became Conseilleur de l'Asgemblee of the French Union, and after the elections of December 23, 1956, he became president by acclamation of the Territorial Assembly of Cameroon.

    The influence he exerted on the Assembly debates, through his oratory skills, demanding a new status for his country, was enormous. On May 16, 1957 Ahidjo became deputy premier and minister for internal affairs. When Cameroon received its internal autonomy, its first prime minister was Andre Marie M'Bida, founder of the Parti Democrate Chretien, who resigned after clashing with the French high commissioner.  Through the request of the Assembly, Mr. Ahidjo formed a second government and was elected premier. He addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations, and made a lasting impression on the minds of the U.N. delegates when he appealed for the reunification of his countrymen.


    Mr. David Dacko, President of the Central African Republic was born in 1930, at Bouchia in the district of M'Baiki in the southern part of the Central African Republic. He was educated up to secondary school level in Bambari, and then in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), where he qualified as a teacher. Mr. David Dacko became a headmaster of a primary school in Bangui, and soon became very active in the teachers trade union.

    In 1957, he was elected to the Territorial Assembly. From May 1957 to August 1958, he served as Minister of Agriculture, Cattle-Breeding and Forestry in the Boganda government. From August to December 1958, he served in the capacity of Minister of Administrative Affairs, in the Government Council of Ubangi-Shari. For some time, he was Minister of Interior, Commerce, and Economics.

    After the tragic death of Mr. Boganda in an airplane crash, his cousin, who was a renowned statesman in French Equatorial Africa, Mr. David Dacko was unanimously chosen President of the Government by the Legislative Assembly. When the Assembly created the post of President of the Central African Republic, on August 14, 1960, he was elected to that office.

  • CHAD

    President Francois Tombalbaye, who serves his country as President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense and Justice, was born at Bedaya in 1918. The deep scars on his face bear his tribe's distinguishing marks.

    After the Second World War, he became a businessman. Then joining the Gabrielle Lisette's Progressive Party, he turned out to be a politician.

    In 1952, he was elected representative of the middle Chad region, and became a member of the Territorial Council. Again in 1957 he was re-elected. In 1958, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and later on, became a member of the legislative assembly.

    For two years he represented Chad in the Grand Council of French Equatorial Africa. Besides this, he also served as Vice-President of the Grand-Council for a year. In 1959, he became the prime minister of the then Fourth Provisional Government of Chad. At the same time, he fully endorsed the plans of his party, seeing to it, that it appealed to the insistent demands of his country.


    Mr. Fulbert Youlou, the stocky, jovial and friendly President of the Republic of the Congo, was born on June 1, 1917 at the town of Moumbouolo, to the west of Brazzaville. At the age of 12, he entered a seminary at Brazzaville. Proving himself a good and intelligent student, he was sent to the Cameroons to complete his theology and philosophy studies. The friends he met there, particularly Boganda, who later became the first Prime Minister of the Cameroon Federation, have left deep and lasting influences on him. History, theology, philosophy, and the future of Africa were among their favorite subjects of discussion. After completing their studies both promised each other to fight for the independence of their respective countries.

    Fulbert Youlou came to his country and taught for some years. As a priest he met European clergymen engaged in missionary activities in the Congo. The fruitful discussions he has had with them, have also enabled him to form political convictions and principles of his own.

    Though his bishop opposed his idea of standing for election, in 1955 he campaigned for a seat in the National Assembly and lost. But then, failure being a stepping stone to success, he never despaired, never lost heart and faith in his ability to attain his life-long ambition.

    Soon he went to Paris for a variety of reasons, and this opportunity enabled him fill the gaps of his education. He returned home to the Congo, and with the help of friends organized the UDDIA party. The party won half of the seats in the National Assembly. Mr. Youlou first became the Mayor of the city of Brazzaville and then Minister of Agriculture. After that, it was not difficult for his towering personality to move on to the premiership and then to the Congolese Presidency.


    President Gamal Abdel Nasser was born in January 1918 at Benimor in Upper Egypt. He was educated in Cairo, and after one year's reading of Law at the University, he transferred to the military academy in 1937.

    He began his military career as sub-lieutenant at Mangabad, Asiuth province. In 1939 he was transferred to an infantry unit in Alexandria. There, he met likeminded officers, who together with him discussed the overthrow of the Faruk regime. Dissatisfied with conditions in the army, Nasser secured a transfer to the Sudan, where he spent two years. The Sudan period was followed by the military academy. There, he soon acquired many friends, who later became his close assistants, sharing adversity and happiness with him.

    In the war in Palestine in 1948, Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was the front line, was seriously wounded. He was, thus, twice awarded the Fuad Star for bravery. In 1949, with seven of his closest friends, he formed a secret organization of progressive officers, which carried out a coup d'etat in the early hours of July 24, 1952, overthrowing the monarchy and driving king Faruk into exile. Delays in reforms, corruption in public offices, exploitation of Egypt by local and foreign capitalists, the poverty and indignity of the toiling farmers who were left with nothing, the stationing of British soldiers on the country's soil were some, if not all, the reasons for Gamal Abdel Nassrer's success.

    H.E. Gamal Abdel Nasser was later elected as the country's first president.


    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.


    President William V. S. Tubman, The Head of State, Chief Executive, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, National Standard Bearer of the Party, was born in November 1895 at Harper in Eastern Liberia to an old African-American family.

    He was educated at Cape Palmsa Seminary and qualified as a lawyer. He was a recorder in the Monthly and Probate Court, a Collector of Internal Revenues, a Country Attorney, and a Senator for the True Whig Party. In 1928 he became a law preacher in the Methodist Church, thus representing Liberia at a Methodist Conference in Kansas City, United States. He was also the Deputy-President of the Supreme Court and finally he became President of the Republic of Liberia in 1944.

    The moment he took office, he extended the vote, reformed the fiscal and legal systems, and traveled widely throughout the country to wield and unify the various elements of the population. He had been elected and re-elected time and again. During his administration, facilities for education and the rise of the people's standard of living have gradually improved, women have been given the chance to vote and many of them play important roles in the government. Under his administration the country's economy is steadily rising.

    President Tubman is a very intelligent and hard working person. He dominates Liberian internal and external politics. All in all, under his leadership, from the tribal farmer to the businessman, a new spirit moves on in Liberia, a spirit of significant national awakening that can be seen in ever endeavor of life in the country.


    His Majesty King ldris I of the United Kingdom of Libya was born on March 13, 1890. He is the grandson of the late Mohammed Ali Ben es-Senussi, who was the founder of a powerful Moslem fraternity known as "Senussiya". In 1917, Britain, Italy and the Senussi chiefs recognized him as the Grand Senussi. In 1920, he was given the hereditary title of Ami with jurisdiction over Kufra, Jaghhub, Jalo, Aujila and Jedabia.

    During the Italian occupation of his country, King ldris found refuge in Egypt, but struggled for the liberation of his country. During World War II, he assisted the British 8th Army by raising a national battalion to fight against the Italians and the Germans. By 1947, he returned to Cyrenaica and established himself in Benghazi and was recognized by Britain as the ruler of the area. Three years after, the then National Assembly, comprising representatives from the three provinces, chose him as the first King of Libya.

    When Britain and France relinquished their administrative authority, King ldris I proclaimed the independence of the United Kingdom of Libya.

  • MADAGASCAR (formerly Malagasy)

    Mr. Philibert Tsiranana, President of the Malagasy Republic was born on October 18, 1912 at Anahidrano, in Majunga province. He often recalls how he used to till the soil on his grandfather's piece of land at Majunga, and looked after goats as a child. He completed his early studies in his native town, and went to France for further studies. After that, he taught in the technical school at Tananarive until 1955.

    President Tsiranana at one time was elected to the Provincial Assembly of his own province, to the Representative Assembly of Madagascar, and then to the French National Assembly. Inspired by the ideas of Christian Socialism - a socialism that led him to achieve noble performances for his people, he founded the Madagascar's Social Democratic Party, and later on became its secretary-general. When he became Vice-President and then President of the Government Council of Madagascar, he fought diligently for the adoption of the Constitution of the 5th Republic in the referendum of 1958.

    After he became head of state, and indeed throughout his entire public career, he made it clear that political independence means practically nothing, unless it is followed by rigorous and overall economic freedom.

    His entire life has been dedicated to the task of making his countrymen happy and duty minded.

    He is always active, full of life and vigor. He rises at dawn and goes to bed after mid-night. Many observers believe that under his careful but strict leadership, his countrymen are achieving tremendous progress in many respects.

    He attaches great importance to socialism so much so that many of his people are now convinced that under this system, the hopes for greatness to Malagasy will not be distant. He often tours the country, speaks to the people, listens attentively to their problems, and in turn, reassures them that the day when their country will be one of the finest in Africa, is not far; that they must not sacrifice the luxury of political freedom to the degeneration of economic slavery; that they in turn should not ask what "Malagasy will do for them", but what "they will do for the young republic"; that they should not abuse and pay lip-service to their citizenship, but prove it by concrete results, such as hard work, intelligence, dedication and commitments of the mind, that can bring lasting rewards to all.

  • MALI

    Mr. Modibo Keita, President I the Republic of Mali, is one of the most powerful and able leaders West Africa has ever produced. He presents a figure of immense astuteness, dignity, and respectability. He deeply saturated in French culture and knows Africa's problems inside out.

    He was born in Bamako on May 4, 1915. He is a devoted Moslem, and is the descended of the famous Keita dynasty of the ancient African can Empire of Mali. He was educated at William Ponty Ecole Normale in Dakar and taught for 10 years before becoming active in politics. In 1945, with the assistance of friends like Mamadaou Konate, he formed the Soudan Bloc, which later aligned itself with the French socialist parties. The French government jailed him for a year on charges of his so-called "extreme policies", and "radical tendencies." In the years to come, he embarked upon a number of calculated risks, which in the end, worked out to his favor and popularity. Before occupying his present office, he served his country and the Government of France in a variety of capacities and posts.

    At one time, he was secretary-general of the Soudanese section of the RAD; member of the first Soudanese territorial assembly; a Deputy in the French Assembly, and later on, turned out to be its firs African vice-president; Secretary of State for French Overseas Territories; Secretary of State of the president of the council in the Gailard Government; and last but not least, he was mayor of the city Bamako.

    Turning towards the concept of West African Federation, a meeting between Upper Volta, Soudan, Dahomey and Senegal was held in Bamako. In January 1959, he was elected President of the General Council of French West Africa, and worked energetically for a federation of West African states. When Dahomey and Upper Volta withdrew from the proposed federation, Senegal and the Soudan merged to form the Federation of Mali. Modibo Keita became Secretary-General of the new Federation. In April of that year, he became premier and advocated a unitary government, but Senegal preferred the federal system.

    Personality clashes among other things, led to the failure of the Federation. Modibo Keita became President of Mali and followed a more radical policy drawing closer to Guinea and Ghana. Besides signing a number of agreements with the heads of foreign governments, in 1961 he attended a Summit Conference at Casablanca, thus making the Republic of Mali, a member of the Casablanca group of African States. Thanks to his competency, Mali's shaky economy has been made stable, and the country has been able to avoid its pitfalls and overcome its initial struggles.


    Mauritania's first premier, Mr. Mokhtar 0uld Daddah was born in 1924. He studied in the school of interpreters in St. Louis, Senegal, and in the School of Oriental Languages in France. He is not only a French Senegalese trained lawyer, but also an Arabic Scholar.

    The Mauritanian premier has displayed considerable talent - talent that he proved in a variety of posts before becoming Prime Minister of the Islamic republic. At one time he was a lawyer in Dakar; a member of the Territorial Assembly of Mauritania; Vice-President of the Government Council Minister of Youth, Sports, Education, Information, and Intra-Territorial Affairs. He was also Secretary-General of the Provisional Executive Committee of the Mauritanian Regroupment Party. When Mr. Daddah was elected to the Mauritanian Assembly, he became the Deputy to the Constituent Assembly of the Republic.

    The prime minister strongly emphasizes the development of an "educational system deeply impregnated" with the original culture of the country - an educational system, adapted to the needs of a modern state.

    He is very much committed to the modernization of the young Republic. And to this day, he offers constructive and remunerative roles to all educated Mauritanians. He insists that people assigned with responsibilities, must set aside minor points of difference, and work in harmony towards the achievement of a common end.


    King Hassan II, Head of State of the Kingdom of Morocco, and the son of late King Mohammed V, was Loin on July 9th, 1927 at the city of Rabat. He accomplished most of his early Arabic and Western education under private tutors in Morocco. Later on, he obtained a degree in law at Bordeaux University. He has always been assisting his father in both government, and in private affairs. In 1953 when King Mohammed V, the national symbol of resistance to French rule, was deported to Corsica and then to Madagascar (Malagasy), by the French authorities, he was closely associated to him.

    In 1955 he returned with his father to the homeland, continued the long and arduous struggle for the liberation of Morocco, and assisted him in the negotiations in Paris, which resulted in Morocco's independence in 1956.

    Among other things, he was Supreme Commander of the Moroccan Army, which under him was completely reorganized; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense; and Chairman of National Commission for the Construction of the city of Agadir, which was destroyed by an earthquake of 1960.

    In 1957, he was formally declared Crown Prince and heir apparent to the throne. In the absence of his father, he carried government responsibilities, and played increasing roles in the political life of Morocco, which, apparently, have earned him a name among his countrymen.  As Crown Prince he was known as Mouly Hassan. When King Mohammed died, he became King Hassan II.


    Mr. Hamani Diori, President of the Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger, was born in 1916 at Soudoure in Western Niger.

    A graduate of Ecole Normale in Dakar, he began his career as a teacher in Niamey, Maradi, and Paris. Among the variety of posts he had, it would be worth noting that he was a headmaster a of school, one of the founders of the Niger Progressive Party and deputy vice-president, and last but not least, a member of the French delegation to the European Parliamentary Assembly.

    In 1958, when his country became self-governing, he became president of the provisional government and the following year, president of the council of ministers of the young Republic. Ever since he became president, he has traveled extensively throughout his country. He acquaints himself with the problems of the people, asks them of their desires and aspirations, trying to find common denominator to a solution.

    He is just as much at home in the deserts of Niger, as he is in Niamey. Wherever he goes his people receive him enthusiastically. He is simple in his manners, and in the way he speaks to the people, stating clearly the policy of his government: National unity, higher living standards, and economic development.

    As a form believer of the new Africa, he signed Conseil de l'Entente together with leaders of Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, and Dahomey.


    Men are not alike in capacity or in character. People who work hard are reasonably praised and respected. Some men are endowed with energy and imaginative wisdom that they distinguish them from others. One such person is Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. Many call him an outstanding statesman, a top-notch intellect, a self-sacrificing saint, who will die in defense of Africa. Others call him a hair-lifting orator who brings people to the brink of hysteria. Some recognize him as being the father of Nigerian nationalism and others see him as a talented athlete.

    Governor-General Nnamdi Azikiwe was born fifty-nine years ago in the town of Ontisha, in Northern Nigeria. Educated in his native town and in Calabar and Lagos, Dr. Azikiwe displayed his capacity for leadership and ability to learn vary. Dr. Azikiwe studied for nine years in the U.S.A. Yet, nothing came easily for him. First and foremost, there were the numerous problems of Nigeria; problems that he could not have changed with a mere stroke of the pen. Secondly, the lack of fund to finance his studies used to worry him. Nevertheless, he carried his problems with dignity and courage.

    Governor-General Azikiwe studied in Storer College, Howard, Lincoln, Pennsylvania and Columbia universities. He has degrees in Philosophy, Anthropology, History, and Political Science. For sometime, he was also an instructor in History and Political Science at Lincoln University. As a journalist of a considerable reputation, he established a chain of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria. His newspapers, like the African Morning Post and the West African Pilot, inspired nationalism in West Africa at large. The result, needless to say, proved exactly what he expected.

    As a scholar, he wrote a number of books such as "Liberia in World Politics," "Political Blueprint of Nigeria", "Economic Reconstruction of Nigeria" and "Renascent Africa".

    In his book "Renascent Africa", among other things, he speaks of "the flowering of Ethiopia in antiquity and of Songhai in the Middle Ages", "of the slave trade and the devil of imperialism that contributed a lot to holding the African to the point of status quo." As a politician first, and a statesman second, he was a member of the Executive of the Nigerian Youth Movement, Organizer of the Nigerian Reconstruction Group, President of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon, leader of the opposition in Western Nigeria's Assembly, Premier of Eastern Nigeria, and President of the Federal Senate. And today, he is not only Governor-General of the Federation of Nigeria, but also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President of the Lagos Football Association and the Nigerian Amateur Athletic Association.

    He often says, "Selfish men cannot build lasting unity. Morally defeated men, motivated by self aggrandizement cannot rise above self interest." Having the intellect, the drive and almost a legendary prestige among his countrymen, one can only wish him the age and the well being in the role he plays to Nigeria's growing maturity.

    Alhaji Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the Prime Minister of the Federation of Nigeria, was born in 1912 at the village of Tafawa Balewa, in Northern Nigeria, where he completed his elementary and secondary school studies. Later on, he joined Katsima College and qualified as a teacher.

    He taught for three years, and went to London University for advanced studies. Though he wanted to be a teacher by profession, he was destined to be an astute and impressive statesman by nature. It was during his short stay in London, that he found politics to be his cup of tea. What he saw, heard, and studied in London, coupled with his natural magnetism and inclination, gave him the necessary ammunition to fight the problems of life and the burdens of politics. He came to Nigeria, joined the Northern People's Congress Party, and worked his way through with determination and tact.

    Before assuming his present post, to mention a few, he was Minister of Works, Minister of Transport, leader of the Northern People's Congress Party, and the Nigerian representative at the Commonwealth Conference in London. In 1960 when Nigeria became independent, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, knighted him with the title "Sir".

    The Nigerian Prime Minister symbolizes the dignity, hopes and aspirations of the "African Elephant". His unshakable integrity and skillful administrative ability, keep him popular and respected.

    He is reserved and unassuming - never a flamboyant politician. His rolling resonant oratory and superb command of the English language, have earned him the nickname of "the Golden Voice."

    In his effort to lift and drive his developing country, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa is cautious, moderate, and diplomatic. He believes in gradual reform and evolution rather than revolution. His short stay in the USA in 1955 for instance, completely changed his outlooks on Nigerian Unity. To this effect he said, "In less than two hundred years this country was wedged together with people of different backgrounds. They built a mighty nation and had forgotten where they came from and who their ancestors were. They had pride in only one thing: the American citizenship. If the Americans can do it, so can we."


    President Groire Kayibanda, head of state, head of the government and commander-in-chief of the national army of the Republic of Rwanda, was born in the town of Kitega in 1924.

    After studying the Humanities and Philosophy in Usumbura College, he became a school inspector. The invaluable services which he rendered his countrymen as chief editor of the Kinyamateka newspaper by way of enlightening them on various topics and subjects has left a deep impression on the minds of the people. Mr. Kayibanda was also one of the national leaders who signed the 1957 Bahutu Manifesto, which demanded justice, equality an freedom for the masses.

    Before assuming his present post, he was a deputy at the Provisional Council, founder of the Movement Social Hutu Party, Prime Minister of the Provisional Government in 1960, a Deputy to the Parliamentary Assembly in 1961, and then, he was appointed Prime Minister of the second government of Rwanda and finally President of the Republic of Rwanda.


    President Leopold Sedar Senghor was born on October 9, 1906, in the fishing village of Joal, Senegal. He began his primary and secondary school education in Dakar, and then went to Paris for further studies. There, he obtained a degree in Education with distinction, and taught diligently for some time in a number of French secondary schools. Needless to say, he is a man with a versatile mind. He fought with the French as an infantryman in World War II; he had been an active member of the teaching staff of the National School of France Overseas; the Senegalese deputy to the Constituent and French Assemblies; and the Secretary of State for scientific research for the French Government.

    On top of these, he had participated in a number of international seminars and conferences, and had played a distinguished role in UNESCO. He was also elected to the General Council of Senegal and the Grand Council of French West Africa. He was the mayor of Thies and founder of the African Regroupment Party and an architect of the former Mali Federation. In 1959, he became President of the Legislative Assembly of the Federation of Mali, which included Senegal. When the Republic of Mali broke off from the federation, he was unanimously elected President of the Republic of Senegal. President Senghor is an opinionated, brilliant scholar, and also a reputed statesman. He wrote a number of books, essays, and poems that have earned him an established literary prestige.


    Sir Milton Margai, the 65-yearold Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, was born at Gbangbatoke of a family of eighteen children of whom he is the eldest. He is a very deeply religious man, belonging to the Evangelical United Brethren Church, in whose schools he was educated. He qualified as a medical doctor in Britain in 1926.

    His knowledge about every village and district in his country, which he acquired during his years of medical practice, gives him a wider understanding of his country's problems, unmatched by any politician in the country.

    He turned the Sierra Leone Organization Society, founded to further agricultural development and cooperation, into a political party. He was the brain behind the first Chief's Conference in Rotifunk, which later led to the first political association culminating in the final milestone in the country's destiny. Sir Milton was unanimously chosen as the first prime minister of Sierra Leone. This achievement assures him of a niche and perfect place in the history of his country.

    The Prime Minister is a frail and quiet man, very simple and unostentatious. He is reserved but astute in politics, whose uncanny insight puts him on equal footing with contemporary politicians of West Africa. Observers say he is warm and enjoyable in private conversations, but rather shy and self-conscious in public speaking. He is also frank and straightforward as leader of great probity. Asked about the problems his country faces, he said, "We have many problems, but meet these, we have also a great deal of courage, purpose and determination. Our difficulties are not insuperable. We shall surmount them because we the unified will of our people is that they should be surmounted."

    In it Prime Minister, Sierra Leone a statesman, a leader, and a father for whom April 27th 1961 marked the fulfillment of his cherished dreams, and the realization of all his lifelong ambition.


    Mr. Abdella Osman, President of the Republic of Somalia, was born in 1908 in the town of Beledwein. He completed his formal education in Mogadishu and then served his country, which was then under Italian administration, in a variety of offices and responsibilities from 1929 to 1941. Before assuming his present post, he was an active member of the Somali Youth League, until he turned out to be its leader and reputed president. He was also the president of the legislative assembly, and Somalia's representative at the Moslem conference in Karachi, and at the UN Territorial Council.

    The President speaks and writes Italian, Arabic, and English. His cooperative actions and farsighted vision in leadership brought Somalia its independence in one of the most constructive acts of statesmanship. President Abdella Osman is a quiet, intelligent and efficient man. In his effort to lift the standard of living of his people, he inclines towards moderation and prudence. Knowing that stability and gradual development are the sure means to success, he prefers a slow but sure national evolution to a radical upsetting revolution.


    Marshal Farik lbrahim Abboud, President of the Supreme Council, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and President of the Republic of the Sudan was born in 1900 at Mohamed-Gal near the Red Spa. Educated in the Department of Engineering at Gordon Memorial College in Khartoum, and in the United Kingdom, he joined the Military Academy as a cadet, and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in the Sudanese battalion of the Egyptian Army. Before he assumed his present office, Marshall lbrahim Abboud was a military engineer, a staff officer in the Camel Corps, Commander of the Sudanese Service Corps, Principal Staff Officer of the Sudanese Defense Force, a Major-General and the first native born Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces.

    His Excellency President Abboud has received many decorations for the distinguished roles he played in World War II campaigns against Italy in Libya and Ethiopia. He has proved himself as a tough soldier, distinguished himself as an able leader, and proven himself as an energetic administrator. As a man of valor, courage, and discipline, he has earned not only a name, but also a respect and an admiration from the entire world. As a far-sighted statesman, knowing that a new day will dawn for the Sudanese people, in the face of opposition, extremely hard times, and political intrigues, he still struggles for the realization of social reforms, a fair and just administration, and the progress of the Sudan at an accelerated speed.

    Most of the plans has had on paper, are now fulfilled. He has also demonstrated his ability to create order, do away with corruption, organize the economy, and increase production. His former opponents are now his supporters. H. E. President Abboud is nothing but an exemplification of the Sudanese people in courage, character, and resourcefulness.

  • TANZANIA (formerly Tanganyika)

    Dr. Julius Nyerere, President of the Republic of Tanganyika is one of the most able, modest, and democratic minded statesmen Africa has ever produced. He is man who is hailed by contemporary historians and politicians, as being a leader of superb qualities, wide vision, and intellect. He was born in 1923 in Northern Tanganyika. He went to school at the age of 12. He attended Makerere College in Uganda, from 1943 to 1945, and obtained a diploma in Education. The next four years were then devoted to teaching in a Catholic Mission School in Tanganyika. Entering the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, in 1949, Dr. Nyerere graduated with a Masters degree in Economics and History.

    When he came home to Tanganyika to teach, he found his people making restless efforts in order to achieve independence, but without a leader to spearhead their demands. He therefore joined The Tanganyika African National Union. Under the leadership of Dr. Nyerere and his party, Tanganyka has been able to achieve its independence smoothly and in an orderly manner. It has also been termed as an island of peace in the ocean of instability and agitation.

    Dr. Nyerere has made it clear that he looks upon any immigrant, who has made his home in Tanganyika, as a Tanganyikan born African. On June 1960, he advocated an East African Federation at the Conference of Independent African States in Addis Ababa and announced that he was prepared to postpone Tanganyikan independence if this will further the independence of the other East African States.

    When South Africa applied to remain a member of the Commonwealth after she became a republic, his intervention along with other leaders, led to South Africa's withdrawal from membership. Dr. Neyere was quoted as saying, "The principles of the Commonwealth will be betrayed. To vote South Africa in is to vote us out…" Dr. Neyere is generally regarded as moderate politician, who is able to form long-term policies and decisions. He is an avowed socialist, and a devoted Panafricanist, who is courageous and determined to end racism.


    If there is a true nationalist Tunisian leader, who fought till the last fiber of his being, to rid Tunisia of foreign exploitation and domination - it is president Habib Bourguiba. Born in a small fishing village near Tunis in 1903, he went to a French Lycee and read Law in Paris. Returning to Tunis, he practiced law for some time, and then joined the Destour Political Party. But since the aims of this party were too mild and moderate to suit his radical and nationalistic views, in 1934, he found the NeoDestour Party. It is true that able and educated people rallied around him. But in the majority of cases, it was due to his large efforts and abilities that his dearest and enlightened dream of liberating Tunisia from France could materialize.

    The French arrested President Bourguiba and kept him in prison for twelve and half years. In 1942, when the Germans occupied Marseilles, they removed him from the fortress there, and handed him over to the Italians, who sent him to Tunisia. Though the German motive behind this act was based on the idea of trying to win Tunisia to the German side, he did quite the opposite. All he was interested in was to win freedom and independence for his homeland. In 1955, the French Government was obliged to come to terms with Mr. Bourguiba. In the same year, Tunisia was granted internal autonomy by the French. When Tunisia was declared an independent state in 1956, he was made prime minister. When the monarchy was abolished in 1957, he was elected President of the Republic of Tunisia, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

  • TOGO

    Togo was granted internal autonomy by the French authorities on October, 1956. In the elections of 1958 that were supervised by the United Nations, the CUT party of the late President Sylvanus Olympio won 32 of the 36 seats in the Togolese National Assembly. Mr Grunizky then became leader of the opposition.


    President Sylvanus Olympio

    The late Sylvanus Olympio was leading his country until he was assassinated on January 1963. Mr. Nicolas Grunitzky, who was living in Dahomey aloof from Togolese politics, returned to Togo upon the death of the late President and became provisional President, promising the people that he would only assume control of the government until a general election takes place.


    Prime Minister Obote, head of the government of the sovereign state of Uganda, is an astute politician, who has moved to his present post with vigorous determination in less than five years. He is also considered by many observers, as one of the most skilled parliamentary debaters and hair-lifting orators in East Africa.

    Mr. Obote was born in 1925 in Lango district of Uganda. The early days of his childhood were devoted to studies in Lira Protestant Mission School, and the Gulu Junior Secondary School at Lango. He Graduated from Bugoga College and then from the University College of Makerere. He then went to neighboring Kenya, where he worked with the Mowleem engineering firm, the Standard Vacuum Oil Company, railway services, and in a sugar factory.

    Mr. Obote was also a founder member of the Kenya African National Union, which was, and to this day remains, under the leadership of the Honorable Jomo Kenyatta. Later on, he became a very close friend of Mr. Mboya. After 1957, he embarked on a political career in Uganda. Going to Lango, he took over the branch leadership of the Uganda National Congress (UNC), and in 1958, he was elected to the legislative Council. He revitalized the truncated UNC central organization, and became the African representative in the Legislative Council. From there, he moved on to the Presidency of the Uganda People's Congress.

    As a member of the Wild Committee, he had much to do with framing the constitutional proposals, which gave Uganda an almost wholly elected legislature in 1961. The manner in which he handled the difficult transition period since he took office, has won him the respect of his people. Though deeply concerned with the problem of national unity, he sees it as essential prerequisite for the development of the national economy. Mr. Obote contends that every member of the community has to fight and win the massive revolt against poverty, illiteracy, and diseases.