Mwalimu Nyerere has ‘refused to die’ and the world is celebrating him

Mwalimu Nyerere has ‘refused to die’ and the world is celebrating him

APRIL 13th 2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of the first President of Tanzania, (Baba wa Taifa), Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. The centenary era is made up by 77 years when Mwalimu lived and 23 years after his demise.

To honor him, the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation (MNF) and the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania organized a workshop where valuable topics were discussed. Over 70 participants from outside and within Tanzania attended the grand event held in Dar es Salaam on 17th May, 2022.

The event, well moderated by a gifted orator, Dr. Ayoub Ryoba, the Executive Director, Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) was a fitting remembrance of the person still cherished by nations all over the world to date. Hearing from people who worked in person with Mwalimu JK Nyerere and esteemed professors was so refreshing.

The event whose theme was ‘Leadership for African Freedom, Unity, and Economic Liberation through Self-Reliance’ was officiated by Hamza Hassan Juma, the Minister in the Second Vice President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar on behalf of Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi, the President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar Mr Joseph Butiku, the MNF Executive Director opened the discussions by giving reasons why it is important to remember Mwalimu who was a highly principled person who believed in people, individually and collectively in their equality and humanity.

“He believed in human rights—the rights of individuals and the rights of communities. Mwalimu Nyerere believed that in order to attain peace and unity, one has to observe individual and society’s equality and human rights.

For him, socialism meant equality and human rights for individuals and societies,” Mr. Butiku, one of close associates to Mwalimu for many years explained.

He described how Mwalimu believed and actually created institutions to oversee equality and human rights during his era. He believed that the first institution is an individual him/herself. In line with that he created an elaborate system within which people lived. The Father of the Nation also believed in character of an individual, a group and a nation.

That was a reason why Mwalimu J.K Nyerere once said: “To build a nation is to build a character of your people.” Mr. Butiku noted that equality among people and human rights; strong institutions to oversee those principles and the way one was brought up to develop a character to enable that person to live among others as a human being defined Mwalimu Nyerere.

In her opening remarks, the Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania, Ms. Chen Mingjian noted that reviewing history inspires the two countries to create better future. She said China and Tanzania should inherit the precious spiritual wealth of Mwalimu Nyerere, and let the two countries’ friendship flourish and bear the fruits on the fertile soil cultivated by him.

Speaking virtually, a Member of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Committee of the Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, H.E Deng Li pointed out TAZARA railway built based on a joint decision of leaders of China, Tanzania and Zambia as a permanent and historic contribution to the independence, freedom, development and revitalization of Southern and East Africa. He said the commemoration should serve to carry forward Nyerere’s legacy of courage and fortitude and help chart the course for the future of China-Tanzania and China Africa relations.

He noted that in recent years, China and Africa have achieved a triple leap in relations, from “a new type of partnership” to “a new type of strategic partnership” and to “a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership”.

H.E Li noted that President Nyerere and other African leaders of the older generation answered the questions of their times with their wisdom, and realized their ideal with their courage.

“We need to seek aspirations from their experience, and think about how to create a better future for China and Africa. This, I think, is the value of commemorating President Nyerere,” he concluded.

Mr. Wilson Mkama, a retired Secretary General of CCM analysed Mwalimu JK Nyerere’s early ascendancy to politics and why he continues to be an enigmatic figure on the Tanzanian’s political land scape.

Mr. Mkama told the audience that Mwalimu cannot be relegated into the annals of history in just 23 years after his demise. “For as it is to date, there are very few people who have refused to die. Besides Jesus, Prophet Mohammed, Mahtma Gandi, and Karl Max, we have now Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere,” he noted.

According to the presenter, Mwalimu’s magnanimous contribution is not only confined to the successful struggle for Tanganyika’s independence but also for successful liberation of the African continent.

As one of those who happened to have worked with him in higher level decision making organs, Mkama explained Mwalimu as “a political mosaic of rare embroidery and tapestry.”

According to Mr. Mkama, it is this very rare dexterity not easily discernible in the fabrics of most societies that enabled Mwalimu JK Nyerere to make astronomical jump into politics and successfully navigate his way to the helm of power.

Referring to the Chinese proverb that “even a journey of one thousand miles begins with the step”, the presenter noted that Tanganyika’s ‘long walk to freedom’ began with Julius Nyerere’s decision to become fully involved in politics.

And that was indeed a land mark decision. Dr. Beatrice Mkunde, a lecturer at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy noted that Nyerere who stood for social Justice, peace and human rights which were the hallmark for Southern Africa liberation remained a symbol that cannot be substituted many years after his death.

Prof. Samuel Wangwe from DAIMA ASSOCIATES explained that the centenary celebration has come at a time when the world is going through tremendous crises and challenges, noting that many of them arise because of not observing the key principles and values which Mwalimu stood for. He clarified. At national level economic dependence is still high.

Not much has changed in terms of the structure of the economy which Nyerere wanted to see it modified in order to break from economic dependence. Tanzania and Africa still exports raw commodities as they used to do in 1960’s and 70’s. “Nyerere used to tell people that the worst form of dependency is the mind and the colonial powers worked very hard on the mind through education.”

Knowing that, Nyerere strived to address that kind of dependency and came up with “Education for Self Reliance” policy. He knew that by tackling the dependency of the mind he would easily address other challenges afflicting the country. The renowned economist emphasized that Mwalimu Nyerere was not against market economy as argued by some people. Contrary to that belief, Nyerere acknowledged market economy as a powerful vehicle toward development; but “you must know how to drive the vehicle and where you are going.”

The professor emphasized that countries in Africa must be in a position to know how to drive these markets and in what direction. To bring value, markets should be inclusive and independent; it must be for the people. Professor Issa Shivji highlighted that one cannot talk about Mwalimu Nyerere without speaking on Pan Africanism.

It is the duty of Tanzanians and Africans to reclaim Mwalimu’s vision of Pan Africanism and that Pan Africanism is needed more than ever before.

Africa cannot withstand the onslaught of imperialism without being united. “Without unity, Africa will become a chess board for the big powers. They will play their games on the African continent and it has already started. This is because this continent is full of resources,” he cautioned.

He further noted that if there is one lesson to be learnt from Mwalimu is that development and freedom cannot be separated and that development is in freedom. Ambassador Diana Chando, African Union (AU) Youth Ambassador for Peace on Eastern Regional Zone said fighting ignorance was Mwalimu’s priority and is still unfinished task for all.

On youth leadership, the young ambassador reminded participants how Mwalimu Nyerere emphasized the spirit of patriotism and ethical leadership and how the great leader was the architect and implementer of liberation policy.

She commended and strongly supported the effort of establishing Mwalimu Nyerere Pan-Africanism Youth Leadership Fellowship which will create a platform for youth in Africa learn about the legacy of Mwalimu Nyerere. Prof Tarsis Kabwegere, former Member of Parliament and minister in the Government of Uganda explained Mwalimu as an exceptional communicator, a continuator, a liberator, and a peace builder. He noted that Mwalimu was a leader who forged unity above ethnicity and linguistic heterogeneity and above all religious complexes. “He was a limitless thinker.

He read the history of the world and located himself in the stream of history and saw himself with a mission to make a difference for the good of all humanity.

For Mwalimu; unity, collective self-reliance, peace and people centered development collectively applied to all humanity,” Prof. Kabwegere who is also a member of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation board said. Mr Lahoucine Rahmouni, the Minister Plenipotentiary and Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco to Tanzania said Mwalimu Nyerere shall be remembered by all Africans of what it is like to dedicate one’s life to peaceful struggle to achieve the best for his country, his people and for many African countries.

Prof. Humphrey Moshi, Director, Centre for Chinese Studies, University of Dar es Salaam noted that China-social economic growth has been unprecedented.

Likewise, China-Africa cooperation including Tanzania has empowered the later through investment, trade and aid to accelerate economic growth rate, speed up poverty reduction as well as industrialization.

“If opportunities imbedded in this cooperation are to be attained fully, Africa and Tanzania’s quest for rapid social-economic transformation will be realized. But, this needs adequate preparedness,” said Prof. Moshi. Mr. Gallus Abedi, a retired Regional Commissioner and Member of CCM National Executive Committee (NEC) gave an overview and genesis of Sino/ Tanzania relations focusing on social economic and military strategic issues.

Mr. Abedi noted that the good and cordial relations between Tanzania and China were established by the Founding Leaders of the two nations, Mwalimu JK Nyerere, and the President of Zanzibar Sheikh Amani Abeid Karume from Tanzania and Chairman Mao and Premier Chou en Lai from China.

The good and cordial relations have been maintained, promoted and strengthened by successive leaders of Tanzania and China. The Peoples of Tanzania throughout decades have supported and enjoyed the benefits and fruits of these relations.

The presenter noted that Mwalimu’s Centenary cerebration was an opportunity to reflect and recharge the resolve to promote and strengthen these relations.

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