On 11th and 12th of August 1945 in Manchester, at the Headquarters of the African Federation, a delegates’ conference was convened representing all of the organizations that had been invited to participate in the forth coming Congress. With desperate efforts to hold the 5th PAC on the African continent and aiming at strengthening of PAM on grounds, Tunis was again selected because of its accessibility. But these plans were ruined by the French government that informed the preparatory committee that the PAC could be hold in any French city but not any where on the African continent. The congress finally took place from the 15th – 19th, October 1945 in Charlton town hall, Manchester.
Reports indicated that replies had been received from labour, trade unions, cooperatives and other progressive organizations in the West Indies, West Africa, South and East Africa, in acknowledgement of formal invitation to attend the conference.
It is the most important Congress for Africans on the Continent because of the manner in which it was organized and how wisely it addressed the issue of colonialism which set a fast gear of Independence Movement.
- The congress resolutions put much emphasis on the need for speedy decolonization on the African continent. The meeting passed a document titled “The Challenge to the Colonial Powers” stating that: the delegates to the fifth PAC believe in peace…never the less, if the western world continues determined to rule humanity by force, then the Africans, as their last resort, may have to resort to force, in efforts to achieve liberty even if that force destroys them, themselves and the world.” This was a radical departure from the benign petitions of the past that appealed to the reasonableness of the colonialists instead of proffering a direct political challenge.
- The congress unanimously approved and adopted the declaration to colonial peoples of the world which was written by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah:
“We believe in the rights of all peoples to govern themselves. We affirm the right of all colonial peoples to control there own destiny. All colonies must be free from foreign imperialist control, whether political or economic. The peoples of the colonies must have a right to elect their own government without restrictions from a foreign power. We say to the peoples of the colonies that they must strive for these ends by all means at their disposal.
- The struggle for political power by colonial people is a first attempt towards, and necessary pre-requisite to complete social, economic and political emancipation. The Congress, therefore, calls upon the farmers and workers of the colonialists, the intellectual and professional classes of colonies to awaken to their responsibilities.
- By fighting operatives, freedom to print and read literature which is necessary for the education of the masses, you will be using the only means by which your liberties will be won and maintained. Today there is only one road to effective action – the organization of the masses.”