PIO PINTO IS DEAD!
were the dire tidings that flashed over Africa and the world on
February 24, 1965. An African Patriot had been foully murdered
in broad daylight by assassins who had sold their own conscience
and their countrymen. Kenya - and all Africa - was the poorer.
Yet, strangely, the world was richer, too. For this 38-year-old
freedom fighter had strengthened his nation's fibre, had illumined
the path ahead by his sufferings for a noble goal.
It was my privilege to have
known Pio Pinto: and I say, SUCH A MAN CAN NEVER DIE! Though
his body was struck down by the enemies of all Africa, by cowards
who think that hired bullets can stop the people's triumph, his
work, his sacrifice and his example remain to inspire others,
who will rise ten-fold and take his place.
Long before I had the pleasure
of meeting him personally, I knew of him. What African freedom
fighter did not know the name of this talented journalist - a
Kenya born Indian of Goan parentage, educated in his parents'
land but dedicated unto his death to the cause of African nationalism?
When, later, I actually ravelled
to Kenya to make contacts for our continued joint campaigns against
world imperialism, I had several meetings with Comrade Pinto.
Not only did he impress me as a dedicated fighter, heart and
soul with us: he inspired me. He revitalised my energy
and influenced me to even greater zeal in the arduous task
of reconstructing our colonialist-burdened continent, a cause
in which we have most humbly accepted to serve. In detention
and banishment, his torments undergone for the freedom of Kenya
remain as a living, everlasting monument to his unmatchable memory.
The last time I met him was
an occasion on which he had organised a small party. There, I
had the opportunity of discussing and explaining the aims and
objects of A..A.T.U. F. to several Kenyan Parliamentarians. We
assessed the difficult tasks ahead, the heavy responsibilities
Afriican workers must shoulder in the building of a continental
United Africa. Late into the night, we talked on.
Yet Comrade Pinto found the strength to be at the airport in the early morning hours to tell me good-bye. As we walked toward the plane, he continued to impress upon me that I should not forget the comrades in Kenya. Africa, he
said, must give them
all the assistance possible to ensure that Kenya take the
road to socialism.
with (left to right): Joe Murumbi, J.B. Ferguson (Ghanaian Labour
Attache at Dar.), Mzee Kenyatta, John Tettegah (Secretary General
of A.A.F.T.U.), Acieng Oneko and Fred Kubai
I listened and tried to reassure
him, little dreaming that this was to be our last meeting,
Pio Pinto fell on the battlefield
in our common war against neo-colonialism. He is not the first
person to die for the cause of emancipating Africa. He will not
be the last to pay the price for the path we have chosen. Along
with the immortal Patrice Lumumba, Reuben Um Nyobo, and Felix
Moumie, he has joined the ranks of our martyrs whose blood must
be avenged. In such honourable company, his death - like theirs
- will recruit new armies of Pintos to continue the fight in which
he died, the effort to create a united socialist Africa. That
achievement alone can repay the honesty, the sincerity, sacrifice
and love of justice that characterised the man Pio Pinto. That
alone can embody the essence of his life, through the freeing
of subject peoples.
To me, his death was
noble. It was symbolic. He died a true revolutionary socialist.
I for one can pledge to those comrades carrying on the good fight
in Kenya, as I pledged to Comrade Pinto on our last morning together:
African Labour will surely stand by Kenya in the building of socialism.
A.A.T.U.F. will redouble its vigilance, will steel its revolutionary
will, and will broaden and deepen its ideological work, work to
which Pio Pinto devoted so much time during his last years.
Comrade Pinto! You live
on in us, your fighting African trade union brothers! We
pledge to vindicate your life and your death. Your murder has
only strengthened the determination of the peoples - not only
in Africa, but in Asia and Latin America, too. No force on earth
can stem our determination to win that freedom and dignity of
man for which you lived and died !