TO OAU ON RHODESIA
On Our own behalf and that of the government and people of Ethiopia, We would like to extend a hearty welcome to Addis Ababa to all members of the Delegations who are here to attend the Sixth Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African Unity. There is no need for Us to tell you that you should feel very much at home in a brotherly country.
You are meeting today in this very Hall which gave birth to the Organization of African Unity barely two and half years ago in order to consider and find solution to the Southern Rhodesian situation which has posed a grave challenge not only to the Organization of African Unity but also to the independence of Our individual States and indeed to the national Liberation Movements of Angola, Mozambique, South-West Africa, South Africa, etc.
In view of this, your main task will be to discuss ways and means of how to implement the provisions of the Resolution which was passed by the recent Accra Summit Conference of the Organization of African Unity. We have already made it clear that if decided upon jointly with other African States Ethiopia is prepared to undertake whatever sacrifices are required.
The Unilateral Declaration of Independence which was announced by a racist white settler government on November 11, 1965, though expected, had shocked and terrified freedom-1oving humanity. That four million Africans should be condemned to servitude by illegal seizure of power by a rebel premier, is one of the wicked aspects of colonialism and imperialism. Although the situation in Southern Rhodesia has become a matter of serious concern to all peoples, We should not lose sight of the fact that the oppression and suffering of the four million Africans in Southern Rhodesia is in particular offensive to the dignity of Africa.
The United Kingdom Government which has constitutional responsibility to lead the colony of Rhodesia to majority rule, except for a declaration to apply sanctions, has so far failed to put down the rebellion in Rhodesia and restore law and order in that strife-torn country.
The recent Resolution passed by the Security Council of the United Nations recommending economic sanctions against Rhodesia even though it did not satisfy African demands should be fully supported and implemented to quell the rebellion which has clearly been established as threatening international peace and security. We hope that the measures so far taken will have the effect of making this illegal government realize that the policy that they have embarked on will only lead to disaster and make them reconsider their untenable position and resort to the way of sanity and reason.
Drastic Measures Needed
Following the resolution adopted by the recent Accra Summit Conference of the Organization of African Unity, We must renew our appeal to all nations not to recognize the illegal white minority regime of Southern Rhodesia.
The Conference should once again call upon the United Kingdom Government to employ drastic measures beyond economic sanctions to crush the rebellion.
As We have already pointed out earlier, the main task of this Conference is to discuss the implementation of the provisions of the Resolution on Southern Rhodesia adopted by the Accra Summit. In attempting to put into action this Resolution, the Organization of African Unity member States should enlist the support of friendly powers.
In this hour of trial for the continent of Africa, all Africans should sink their minor differences and unite their efforts to rescue their Zimbabwe brethren whose rights, liberty and freedom have been trampled upon by a settler minority racist regime which has illegally seized power in defiance of world public opinion and in violation of basic principles of international law.
Particularly, it is imperative that the Zimbabwe Nationalist Parties should put away their petty differences and forthwith form a united front in the face of their national adversity. They must be prepared to fight to the death for the freedom and independence of their homeland.
Now is the time for them to prove themselves worthy of their name – freedom fighters. Now is the time for them to commit themselves to the motto of a famous freedom fighter: “Give me liberty or give me death.” They can count on the unswerving support of free Africa.
All forces of good wherever they may be found must be mobilized to uproot the white supremacists in Rhodesia and in Southern Africa. All freedom loving peoples must co-operate to destroy this deadly cancer of human liberty and equality. After all, at issue is not the loss of freedom to four million Africans, but the survival of human liberty. The world therefore should not condone the perpetration of one of the greatest political crimes in human history.
We pray that Almighty God will give you guidance on the accomplishment of your task.
July 7, 1966.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 280 –