Comrade President of the ETUF,
Given the very limited available time for this statement, and on behalf of the workers of the DR Congo, our country, we want to convey to you our greetings and thanks for having thought of us and for inviting us to participate in this important activity about the workers’ movement in Africa in the 21st century.
In principle, it is a matter of awareness that we must have as Africans today, an awareness of what Africa should be tomorrow, an awareness so that Africa stop being a tank of raw materials where it is the multinationals and the imperialists who must utilize them, while the populations live in poverty, and where the exploitation of man by man is established as a lifestyle, and where the wars are becoming common place in order to exploit, to plunder the raw materials and thus leaving the peoples of Africa in distress.
We believe that today, when we are talking about challenges, because this is the case, when we are talking about priorities and necessities, i.e. what the workers’ movement must be today, as workers we have to ask ourselves and examine what is happening in Africa, so that we can, as it was underlined earlier, return to the path of those heroes of Pan-Africanism, who fought so that Africa can be a united Africa, so that Africa can be a strong Africa, so that Africa can be an Africa able to ensure dignity for its population , an Africa able to effectively contribute to the development of the world by involving at the same time its own population.
Because today, we must also call on our political leaders to stop this looting of raw materials. We must call on trade unionists and say that we want to stop playing yellow trade unionism, which is a movement of collaboration, which participates and supports the policy of states and multinationals who come to plunder Africa, who divide the Africans, who oppose the Africans one another so as to exploit the wealth of their soil and subsoil, who cause unemployment, insecurity and wars and leave an unhealthy environment. We must not accept that multinationals act in Africa at the expense of the rights of working women and men; we must not support their policy of meager wages, of non-respect of conventions or of conventions to the detriment of the workers, of the non-respect of laws and other legal provisions.
We talk about safety, we talk about health, we talk about hygiene, but do all these partnership agreements with these multinationals and with these States, which come to exploit our home, Africa, bring us anything essential?
By the way, it is important to talk about help to Africa from certain countries because there are some States who really think about helping us.
But we must understand what kind of help it is, because today we must not have illusions, as you know. True development can only come from a real economic sovereignty. When we put our economy at the service of our people, we will then be truly responsible and sovereign; we will then be truly independent. But how we will achieve this, if we do not have leaders who understand the necessity to put the economy, to put Africa at the service of the Africans. This is important and this is how we can talk about sustainable development.
When we see diamonds, gold, cobalt, copper, etc. and the way they are exploited, there raises the question of knowing the gain that Africa has from it. So, through these meetings we are questioning. Today, it is a challenge, a challenge for every leader, for every African political elite to think about redefining the terms of development so that today the wealth of Africa, the production that takes place in Africa, can benefit the Africans, without excluding other peoples, without excluding other nations because we accept that we can have the win-win partnership, but this win-win partnership should ensure the peoples’ gains , it should also ensure the workers’ gains.
So, today, concerning this issue which is very challenging, we must not limit us to words but we must get into action after the conference; this is even more true especially for us, trade unionists in Africa, because we need to walk with the WFTU, we need to walk with Leaders who have understood, leaders who have realized that we must refuse the alienation, that we must refuse the exploitation of the others so that we can advocate the ideology, the true ideology of development. We must struggle so that income sharing be fair.
That’s why and that’s what we need. We do not need tied aid, aid that does not allow integrated and sustainable development. We do not want relationships of “dominant over dominated” which do not promote development. When a country in Africa wants to build a raw material processing factory, as was the case in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the project to build a copper processing plant in KOLWEZI, we saw, under unclear pretexts, the colonizer oppose it and impose an unjust war which resulted in the destruction and total abandonment of the project.
So, when Africa wants to get up, when Africa wants to raise its head, when we want, for example, to refuse the “FCFA”, there are those who say no, by threatening with destabilization either of the African leaders or of the countries concerned. But we have to manage at some point, to also say no, so that Africa real benefits its peoples.
This is the fight we must give, this is the challenge, these are the priorities and the necessities for a real workers’ movement in Africa and we cannot do it in a better way than along with the WFTU.
It is undeniable that today, the ITUC, together with the IMF, together with the WB, together with some imperialist states, does everything to support the policies of exploitation and domination of others, whom consider as weak.
Should we continue like this? Should we continue to tolerate them?
We must question ourselves, we must say NO, so that these yellow unions stop. And, it is us, the leaders, who must play this role of the workers’ struggle.
Let us not be seduced by the false training projects of trade unionists, by the false integration projects that only lead us to go with the flow, in order to accompany the capitalists in their strategies of exploitation of man by man and also to maintain the maximization of the multinationals’ profits, to maintain poverty and misery, to maintain wars.
So today we think that what was decided at the 17th Congress of the WFTU must guide us to make Africa a great continent. So we must not sell our ideology which is an ideology of struggles, an ideology of fighting, an ideology of liberation. Not only political sovereignty but mainly economic sovereignty will be necessary, because without it Africa will always be subject to domination and exploitation.
THAT’S WHAT WE MUST REFUSE!
We thank you.
KAPENGA KANDOLO Vincent
SGA / CTP