ZANZIBAR: A LOT has been written and published about the Tanzanian retired Ambassador Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, with many authors and analysts focusing on his innovation and style of performing his duties to the satisfaction of the public and his leaders, especially Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and the late Mzee Aman Abeid Karume.
Of late there have been fresh calls to promote economic diplomacy centred on boosting tourism industry and attracting investors into the country, efforts that are now being led by President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi.
However, observers say these efforts can be enhanced and bear fruits only if ambassadors credited to represent Tanzania abroad will abandon the ‘business-as-usual’ attitude and emulate economic diplomacy style that Dr Salim initiated.
For instance, in November last year, both Zanzibar President Dr Mwinyi and President Samia emphasised that the country’s foreign policy needs to be reviewed to keep pace with the political social and economic changes occurring in the world.
Understandably, the roles of the ambassador are focused on promoting and protecting Tanzania’s economic, social, political and cultural interests through active diplomacy, including strengthening bilateral cooperation with states.
Ambassadors are also charged with the responsibility of promoting cooperation in regional and international organisations through participation in multilateral forums; respecting the sovereignty of nations and promoting and protecting human rights.
The diplomat, who is the President’s highest-ranking representative in a specific nation or international organisation abroad, is a person who is required to be a strong leader, a good manager, a resilient negotiator and a respected representative of his/her country.
According to Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and former Zanzibar Second Vice-President, the current Tanzanian ambassadors serving in different countries should adjust themselves and walk in the path of Dr Salim, who splendidly throughout his period of service as an ambassador, set a performance yardstick.
“The ambassadors appointed today to represent Tanzania abroad are lucky because they can learn from Dr Salim, whose innovative leadership style in promoting his country and the continent of Africa together with spearheading the struggle for political independence of all countries of Africa, were exemplary,” he pointed out.
He made the comments during a special interview with the ‘Daily news,’ where journalists from the Tanzania Standard Newspapers (TSN) Limited met him at his Kama residence at Mangapwani Village, about 25 Kilometres North of Stone Town.
Ambassador Iddi described Dr Salim as a diplomat who performed extraordinarily by opening up and connecting Tanzania to the world, adding that until today the nation continues to have good reputation on the global stage.
He said one of the indicators that show that Tanzania commands respect on the global stage is the trust bestowed upon it in peace keeping missions.
“Most of the ambassadors appointed to represent the country abroad today are above age of 40 years, but Dr Salim was only 22 when he was trusted and appointed the Tanzanian ambassador to Egypt,” he further said.
Elaborating, Amb Iddi noted how Dr Salim’s ability in diplomatic matters enabled him to be trusted by all the founding leaders: the first being President of Zanzibar- late Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume and the Father of the Nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
“We should be proud of Dr Salim because he was an experienced diplomat who had a great power of influence in the politics and liberation movements that showed his talents, especially when he was studying in Cuba, where he developed a culture of debating politics with fellow students from Africa,” he added.
Zanzibar’s retired Second Vice-President further narrated that Ambassador Salim shined in diplomacy by being able to represent Tanzania well in various countries in the world including India, the Republic of China and being the Permanent Ambassador to United Nations.
He says that one of the unforgettable legacies of Dr Salim when serving in the United Nations Security Council was standing firm to support membership of China to the Security Council, adding that the “move was one of the successes for developing countries at that time.”
He also narrated how his representation of Tanzania to The Netherlands, China and Kenya helped African countries such as Mozambique and Cape Verde, adding: “I personally long for Dr Salim’s performance in diplomacy, I ask ambassadors representing Tanzania to imitate the good things done by Dr Salim.”
In recognition for his remarkable work in diplomacy, various countries in the world have awarded Dr Salim with the highest honour for his distinguished service based on dignity, personality and protecting the foundations of good governance.
In 2019, the government of the People’s Republic of China awarded Dr Salim Ahmed Salim for his contribution regarding the country’s UN membership before the President of Cape Verde awarded the decorated diplomat for his great work in stabiliSing the small country in West Africa.
In the course, President Samia has renamed the Centre for Foreign Relations (CFR) after the renowned diplomat, indicating that the former Prime Minister deserved the credit due to his outstanding role in the area of diplomacy.
When launching ‘The Salim Ahmed Salim Digital Archive’ in Dar es Salaam, recently President Samia showered praises on the great leader and Pan-Africanist, describing him as a person of high leadership, integrity, resiliency, humility and patriotism.
“Since charity begins at home, it’s true that we all acknowledge that Dr Salim was a renowned diplomat. That being the case, we have agreed to name CFR after him…it’s now official the college will be identified as Dr Salim Ahmed Salim Centre for Foreign Relations,” Dr Samia was quoted as saying.