THE late Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922-9 9 ) was popularly known as ‘Mwalimu’ to his overawed admirers! As he once stated, he was a school teacher by choice – and a politician by accident! In any case, ‘our’ Nyerere was an ‘instructor’ who not only guided and led other mortals by word of mouth, but also by example and deed.
He invariably ‘walked his talk,’ practising what he preached, living what he believed within the context of all those around him, compatriots and foreigners alike.
The man may’ve been the ‘Numero-Uno Citoyen’ of his country as President (19 62-85). But, he was a highly-persuasive leader beginning in the mid- 19 50s, spearheading the mass movement that secured (at least political) independence from alien rule for home-grown leadership at midnight on December 9 , 19 61!
But – that comparative socio-econo-political advantage notwithstanding – Mwalimu never, ever sought to take undue advantage of his highly-privileged position at the expense of his hapless compatriots!
Instead, he fought every which way humanly possible to create a just society at home in terms of human and constitutional rights and freedoms in the ‘liberté, é galité and fraternité’ mold.
Not only that... What with one thing leading to another, Nyerere trudged the proverbial extra mile, taking steps in noble personal efforts to achieve for other African countries what he’d achieved for his citizenry: Freedom, Independence…
That’s how countries like South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique were enabled in due course of time and events to attain the status they’re enjoying today at the national, regional and international levels: freedom, equality, dignity, human and constitutional rights and ‘privileges.’
In all fairness, it can arguably be surmised that the African Continent was more than lucky to have had Mwalimu as a son of its soil – and that Tanzanians were especially lucky to have had him as their God-given leader through interventions of the Sisters of Fate.
Let me explain… Legend has it that Mount K ilimanjaro was originally in British East Africa (K enya Colony) before Britain’s Q ueen Alexandrina Victoria (born 1819; Monarch: 1837-19 01) ‘gifted’ it to Deutsch OstAfrika (Tanganyika) as a birthday present to her eldest grandchild, German K aiser Wilhelm (1859-19 4 1).
Arguably, the cartographers were too lazy to do more than let the boundary line run straight from ‘The Kilimanjaro’ to Lake Victoria - thereby also rendering to Tanganyika by a stroke of the British royal pen a segment of K enyan citizenry, including Mwalimu Nyerere’s Zanaki tribe!
Authenticity of that version of History is disputed, though. But the truth remains just as stark: that Mwalimu is/was a Tanzanian pure and simple! So, where does that leave us? We’re still Mwalimu Nyerere’s proud compatriots, of course!
But, cruel as the Three Sisters of Fate can at times be, the much that Mwalimu achieved in socio-econo-political terms during his leadership was just as soon trashed and tossed to the Four Winds by subsequent Administrations.
His efforts to attain allinclusive socio-economic development through one of his sterling blueprints, the 1967 ‘Arusha Declaration and TANU’s Policy on Socialism and Self-reliance,’ was relegated to the back-burner less than a decade after he retired as president in 19 85! Successor governments stress that the Declaration wasn’t trashed, only improved upon!
The ‘original’ had sought “to build a socialist state in which every individual has the right to just returns for his labour; citizens together hold the country’s natural resources in trust for their descendants – and that, to ensure economic justice, the state must have effective control over the principal means of production...”
The ‘Declaration-and-TANU- Policy’ also sought “to intervene actively in the economic life of the nation to ensure the well-being of all citizens; to prevent exploitation of one person, or one group, by another – and to prevent accumulation of wealth to an extent that’s inconsistent with the existence of a classless society...”
Fifty-one years post-the Arusha Declaration – Mwalimu Nyerere’s pet socio-economic developmental programme – Tanzania is towards achieving those noble goals.
It’s, of course, not humanly possible to gauge with any degree of certitude what Tanzania would have been like today if Mwalimu had been supernatural enough to have lived and led the country to today! Indeed, wishes aren’t horses - and, so, (Tanzanian) beggars will never ride!
This doesn’t leave ordinary Tanzanians with a choice except lament the loss of our beloved Mwalimu… .reminds me of William Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar,’ in which Mark Antony went to ‘bury Caesar, NOT praise him!’ Really? “The evil that men do lives after them; the good’s oft interred with their bones...
You all did love him once not without cause; what cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him?” [‘Julius Caesar:’ Act-3; Scene-2, Lines 72-14 1...]. Oh, How I wish that Shakespeare was writing about our Mwalimu...