ACADEMICIANS and scholars at Tengeru Institute of Community Development (TICD) have paid tribute to Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, describing him as a true pioneer of community development in Tanzania.
The TICD community, which hosted a special symposium in commemoration of the death of the Founding Father on Saturday, said Mwalimu Nyerere has left an indelible mark in community development in the country.
The academicians observed that the development attained by the country since independence, speaks volume of the kind of leader he was.
“Any community development officer has a role to play in influencing change among people they surround…we are proud that the late Father of the Nation lived up to that billing,” opined Ms Rose Mtei, a lecturer at TICD.
She said that Tanzania made great strides in vital areas of social development under Nyerere’s leadership.
For instance, infant mortality was reduced from 138 per 1000 live births in 1965 to 110 in 1985; life expectancy at birth rose from 37 in 1960 to 52 in 1984; primary school enrolment was raised from 25 per cent of age group in 1960 to 72 per cent.
Mwalimu Nyerere also had a hand in the country’s political transition whereby in 1954, he helped form Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), through which he campaigned for Tanganyika independence from the British Empire.
Influenced by the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Nyerere preached non-violent protest to achieve this aim.
In his views, TICD’s Deputy Rector responsible for Academics, Research and Consultancy, Professor George Kinyashi said the onus was on Tanzanians to emulate and spearhead his legacy, 24 years on.
The don singled out Mwalimu’s self-hyped Education for Self Reliance principle as an important factor in presenting Tanzania’s educational philosophy.
He said: Education provided must encourage development in each citizen of three things; an enquiring mind; an ability to learn from what others do and rejecting or adapting to their own needs; and a basic confidence in their own positions as a free and equal member of the society.
Professor Nyashi further heaped praise on the founding Father of the Nation for using Education in waging war against ignorance, diseases and poverty.
“We have come thus far, thanks to him,” he added.
For her part, Rehema Ally Shekuwe observed that there was much to do in paying a befitting tribute to the son of the soil.
The Assistant lecturer at TICD argued that there was still much to do in honouring Mwalimu Nyerere as the country commemorates 24 years since his death.