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Let May 25th be African Liberation  Day in honour of Mwl Nyerere

Let May 25th be African Liberation Day in honour of Mwl Nyerere

THE government and people of Tanzania have come together to recognise and commemorate the life and work of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere the founding president of Tanzania in this centenary year of his birth, 1922-2022.

In the mark, the Global Pan African Movement wishes to build upon this centenary celebration of Mwalimu Nyerere’s life to draw attention to the core elements of Pan Africanism that underpinned his life, his works and philosophy and, to advance his legacy of love and commitment to African people and Africa.

The Pan African Movement recognises that to truly commemorate and honour Nyerere and his contribution to the liberation and unity of Africa, the global African family should recommit to the Pan African Agenda for social and economic justice, cultural selfdetermination, political integrity and African unity that embraces Africa and all people of African descent globally.

The Pan African Movement therefore, calls on African Governments, Civil Society Organisations, African Parliaments and Regional Economic Groupings to create programmes and activities to revive the passion, dedicated commitment and love for Africa that will invigorate the Pan African agenda for peace, unity and shared prosperity.

In as much as Mwalimu’s dream of a Self-reliant, Independent and United Africa remains finished task before us in his legacy, his ideas and the underlying principles that he believed in and practiced remain important and relevant for our time and the future.

It is with this in mind that the Global Pan African family, during this Centenary year of the birth of Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere, is calling on the people and governments of Tanzania, East Africa and East African Legislative Assembly, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union, to designate, declare and legislate for May 25th, African Liberation day, to be an official national holiday, an Africa wide holiday in honour of Nyerere’s contribution to the liberation and unity of Africa throughout his life.

African Unity and Liberation

African unity and African liberation were the primary focus of Mwalimu Nyerere’s thought and life’s work. The predominant historical circumstances Mwalimu responded to in his life were colonialism and its policies of dehumanising racism, cultural alienation, political oppression and economic impoverishment. He summarised Africa’s colonial experience as ‘a history of oppression, humiliation, exploitation and discrimination!’

As a result of the successful use of tactics of divide and rule, societal fragmentation and disintegration are among the long term consequences of the colonising powers’ exploitive and dehumanising regimes imposed on African peoples.

In 1963 Mwalimu, the Pan Africanist argued in a paper entitled “United States of Africa,” that African unity already existed in one sense. He asserted that this unity existed in the “sentiment of ‘African-ness’ a feeling of mutual involvement, which pervades all the political and cultural life of the continent.” Nyerere warned that “African nationalism is meaningless, is anachronistic, and dangerous, if it is not at the same time PanAfricanism.” He was central in launching the Pan African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA) in 1958.

The organisation broadened its scope to include Southern Africa and changed the name to Pan African Freedom Movement for East Central and South Africa (PAFMECSA) in 1962. As the Chairman of PAFMECA in 1960 and as the President of Tanganyika after December 9, 1961, Nyerere advocated for the idea of an East African Federation.

As a result of PAFMECA’s programme of unity, mutual support among African freedom movements, and the commitment of its leaders to use Pan Africanism as a tool for liberation the organisation became a unifying force in the fight for freedom and independence in the region and a precursor to the OAU Liberation Committee.

The organisation helped bring together competing groups in Zanzibar laying the foundation for the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar to become the United republic of Tanzania. It mobilised the movement for a successful campaign to boycott South African goods, helped advance the struggle for independence in Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia).

This same analysis and dedicated purpose in Mwalimu informed all the institutions, strategies and policies that he was associated with as founding father of the United Republic of Tanzania, Founding member and leader of the OAU/AU, the East African Community, the OAU Liberation Committee, The Frontline States and SADC and The Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation.

These institutions, their purposes and activities associated with them are hallmarks of Mwalimu’s life as well as hallmarks of the history of Africa.

After years of struggle and organising various Pan African groups and acts of emancipatory resistance, the Organisation of African Unity came into being On May 25, 1963. Support and alliances emerged within the African continent and the historical African Diaspora.

Together with some nations from the non-aligned movement and anti-colonial struggles in Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean were collectively part of , arguably, the greatest accomplishment and leaps forward in people’s human and cultural rights of the 20th century, that being, the liberation of people from under the yoke of colonial imperialism and racism.

The purpose of the OAU was, to lead the movement of African Liberation and Unity and galvanise resistance to racist oppression on the continent and in the African diaspora.

On the same day, African Liberation Day (ALD) was launched as a day to raise awareness in Africa and African Communities worldwide for on-going progress of the Liberation movement and African People’s global struggle for freedom, dignity and self-determination. Africans and African Communities recognise this day annually on May 25 across the world.

There is now a palpable danger of the complete obliteration of this global legacy, history and heritage of African people’s movement for justice, equity and self-determination from the records and living memories of successive generations.

The need is urgent to preserve this great accomplishment of humanity in Africa and among the African Diaspora in the physical, philosophical and historical sense. Struggles for social, economic, political and cultural rights converged in a unity of purpose with regards to the anti-colonial and anti-racist movements on the African continent.

The ideological expression of this phenomenon was articulated as Pan Africanism. Inherent in this Pan African formulation was the recognised need and stated objective of strengthening Unity! Pan Africanism and Pan African solidarity was a very central element of the founding of national ethos and identity of the people and state of Tanzanian.

Globally it remains a central aspect of Mwalimu Nyerere’s legacy. Mwalimu Nyerere was a founder of the OAU and the East Africa Community as well as ‘The Front-line states which was the predecessor of SADC and the South Commission.

Tanzania hosted the OAU Liberation Committee and provided material resources, employment and political support to the organisations and parties still struggling against colonialism and racism in what were then Portuguese colonies of Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau; Southern Rhodesia and South Africa.

Significantly, the first Pan African Conferences to be held on the continent of Africa, the 6th Pan African Conference was convened in Tanzania.

The previous 5 Pan African Congresses were held in Europe and North America. Tanzania was also the first and only nation that purposely established a programme, The Pan African Skills programme, to recruit Africans from the Diaspora to come and participate in its national liberation and nation building endeavours.

These actions evidence the centrality of unity of purpose and action and the historical ethos are part of the legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere that substantiate and inform our programmes to further the aims and objectives of the unity imperative. To reiterate: It is with this in mind that the Global Pan African family, during this Centenary year of the birth of Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere, is calling on the people and governments of Tanzania, East Africa and East African Legislative Assembly, SADC and the African Union, to designate, declare and legislate for May 25th, African Liberation day, to be an official national holiday, an Africa wide holiday in honour of Nyerere’s contribution to the liberation and unity of Africa throughout his life.

The Pan African Movement both at the level of African governments and the level of the people’s Pan African organisations require policies and programmes that necessarily and pro-actively address the current institutional manifestations of the above mentioned inequitable social, economic and power dispensation.

Noting that many of the internal forces that disrupt social cohesion and unity in any one particular African state are often replicated in several states within Africa and amongst communities and states constituted by the African Diaspora, directly related the manner in which national boundaries in Africa were demarcated, African states inherently have a multiplicity of differences and contradictions that present challenges to creating unity and prosperity and sustaining peace, these include issues of the borders themselves, regionalism, xenophobic fears, racism, religious intolerance, electoral politics and economic ideology.

The residual effects of this history are manifest in structural weakness, social dissonance, and vulnerability of African societies to outside forces and manipulations that reverberate today as challenges in every aspect of social cooperation and economic activity within national boundaries, regional economic groupings, and the AU continental level as well as globally.

To adequately and effectively resolve these problems and contradictions, unity within specific African states, the African continent as a whole, as well as among states and communities constituted by the African Diaspora in the global arena is indispensable.

A consensus of a Pan African ethos and unity of purpose that informs the work of the people and sustains social cohesion, economic justice and cultural self-determination must become the social norm amongst African communities and states.

It is in this context that the Pan African Movement prioritises Unity as a critical strategic objective and means for addressing these common challenges that Africa and African people face.

Underpinnings of the Unity Imperative “Together, we, the peoples of Africa will be incomparably stronger internationally than we are now with our multiplicity of unviable states. The needs of our separate countries can be, and are being, ignored by the rich and powerful. The result is that Africa is marginalised when international decisions affecting our vital interests are made. Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and the African people to be disregarded and humiliated.

And it will, therefore, increase the effectiveness of the decisions we make and try to implement for our development… My generation led Africa to political freedom.

The current generation of leaders and people of Africa must pick up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuel it with their enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward.” Mwalimu Nyerere….(To be continued tomorrow)

● The writer is Global Pan African Movement Secretary General reachable via +222-765867536 and Email:- kwabongo@gmail.com

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Author: Prof IKAWEBA BUNTING

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