FROM TABORA WITH LOVE: If I listened to Mwalimu, I would have been famous

Dear nephew Milambo

GREETINGS from this land where it is alleged that the number of ‘millionaires’ has increased.

My dear nephew, I hope that by the grace of Limatunda you and your family are doing okay, and all the people of my beloved Ukumbisiganga.

We thank Liwelelo and all the Nyamwezi ancestors for taking good care of us, because life here in the big city is full of challenges.

The weather is hostile, but not as hostile as we are used to, although sometimes the sun is so hot it can leave you feeling dehydrated.

I don’t know about where you are my dear boy, but here in the big city, we have what we call ‘ratiba ya umeme’, where we are faced with a blackout at least two or three times every week.

My dear son, you can imagine the way this city is usually very hot most of the time and imagine being in the house with no electricity.

They say that the source where they generate electricity from has been affected by lack of rain, that is why the level of water which is used to generate power has gone down.

At least we in the households can get used to these regular power outages, but I am trying to imagine how it affects critical services such as hospitals, emergency services, water supply and transportation systems, which can lead to potential safety risks.

There was a time there was a prolonged power outage, which caused our refrigerator and freezer to lose power, causing most of our food to spoil.

It really pained me my dear nephew, because I had just bought enough liver and fresh fish from the market, so you can imagine how terrible that was.

I usually pity some of the youths in our area who solely rely on electricity to conduct their activities, like the barber shops, welding and so on, because when there is no power you will find them lounging around doing nothing as they wait for electricity to return.

My dear boy, I was telling one of my neighbours just the other day that a power outage puts a lot at stake in our increasingly connected world.

Loss of power is a significant challenge for homeowners and businesses that rely on technology and power to create products and serve clients.

While the first thing that usually comes to mind when thinking about a power outage is no lights, there’s a lot more that comes with electricity loss.

Anyway, we should leave it all to our government to see how they are going to rescue us from this problem, because after celebrating more than 60 years of independence, I think we should not be thinking about power cuts at this time and age.

Speaking about our independence, I hope this letter finds you before we mark 24 years since the death of Mwalimu Nyerere, who was the first president of this country.

I don’t know if I have ever told you my dear son, but there was a time I was briefly acquainted with Mwalimu those years back when he was in Tabora and I am sure if I dig deep enough, I can find one or two of the pictures we took together.

You see son, I hope when your children grow up and begin to understand what is good and what is bad, you will tell them that long after Chief Mirambo went to be with the ancestors, there emerged someone called Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.


I hope you will tell them Mwalimu was born in Tanganyika to a local Zanaki chief called Nyerere Burito, and that he was a teacher before he embarked into politics, that is why we called him Mwalimu.

From what I know, Nyerere had wanted to make this beautiful country to be self-reliant, free from indebtedness to former colonial powers or to the West.

Like other leaders of former colonies, I believe Mwalimu saw colonialism and capitalism as responsible for the subjugation of their people.

There was a time I was involved in a very hot debate about Mwalimu’s policies, where a certain fellow was telling people that most of Mwalimu’s policies failed, but I reminded him that under Mwalimu, literacy and health care surpassed anything most African countries had achieved, that is why his legacy has been described as “rich and varied” and his intentions as always noble.

My dear boy, I know several times you have seen how African heads of state have been forced to relinquish power and how some of them have been forcefully removed, but Mwalimu was the first African head of state to retire voluntarily.

I remember a few months ago I was watching TV with your aunt, and we saw how a certain African president was forcefully ‘evicted’ from state house by the military and how his people celebrated his removal.

My dear nephew, a leader is someone who can see how things can be improved and who rallies people to move toward that better vision, but it is unfortunate that some leaders in Africa have turned the definition and the pragmatism of who a leader actually is upside down.

From what we learned from Mwalimu, a leader is basically a servant, that is why I always wonder why a leader ever thinks of imposing himself on his subjects if his services are no longer needed.

My dear son, that is why I avoided politics from the word go, even when Mwalimu tried to convince me, because knowing myself, I know I was not cut out to be a politician.


I know you have your freewill and you are now a grownup, but as I always tell you my son, if it is possible, avoid politics by all means necessary.

Anyway, before I forget, that adoption place called your aunt two days ago and they told us that we might soon have a baby girl to adopt.

I think they realised they are making a mistake because your aunt called the minister and complained about the unnecessary delays and I understand the minister called them.

You should see your aunt, she has already set a special room for the baby and as I am writing this, she has just returned home from a massive shopping.

I just pray to Limatunda that the new baby will not make your aunt to forget that I am still her ‘big baby’.




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