Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Dale M. Povenmire
We just did not have the resources to compete. I did make an effort to strengthen some of those whom I considered to be the less antagonistic labor leaders. I befriended the deputy leader of the labor confederation. Here I made a tactical mistake. I went to a lot of effort to get him a grant to the Harvard Trade Union training course. It wasn't really appropriate but it was the only thing I was aware of we had to offer. After we finally obtained Washington's approval for the grant, the leader of the confederation, Moyo, objected and claimed he should have been selected — even though he had earlier rejected any overtures. I can see from his viewpoint now that he was not about to have his deputy go off for training and come back in a stronger position. So Moyo did not allow his deputy to go to the course and I learned the painful lesson that if you are going to accomplish anything, you have to work within the power structure that is there.
Q: You said that Karume, who became the first president of the Revolutionary Government, was a former head of the Port Workers Union. What were his relations later on with his own union? Was he still running the union?
POVENMIRE: No, he was very much a political figure after that.
Q: Did the union embarrass him in government by making demands that he couldn't meet? That is the common problem of a trade union leader who leaves the labor movement for government.
POVENMIRE: No, because when Karume assumed power after the revolution he did not have the character to be anything other than a despot. He was soon assassinated after imposing an oppressive, completely arbitrary government. The only thing he was interested in was the use, and abuse, of power.
Q: Was the AFL-CIO active there?
POVENMIRE: Tom Mboya was then the major friend of the AFL-CIO in East Africa. I don't recall exactly when it was that Mboya was assassinated in Kenya but it was about this time. I know I dealt with Irving Brown in setting up the grant for the Zanzibari labor leader. Zanzibar was pretty small potatoes on the African labor scene but important in the East-West confrontation because of its strategic location.
Q: You had no direct relations with Irving Brown? Because at that point he was very important with many of the Europeans.