Thursday, January 28, 2016

Asante Sana, Mwalimu
January 28, 2016
Features, Opinion & Analysis
President Robert Gabriel Mugabe

The time is now to recognise the role played by Julius Nyerere in the political liberation of Africa, and to enshrine his legacy to reside with the present and future generations of Africans.

MWALIMU Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who lives in our collective memory as a symbol of freedom in Africa, is especially close to our hearts in southern Africa.

A firm believer in the unity of the people and the continent of Africa, he first unified his own country through the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar as a United Republic of Tanzania. Thereafter, he set out to support the liberation of the subcontinent, knowing that this new country of Tanzania would never be politically free until the rest of Africa was also free from colonialism and apartheid.

Firm in his principles, warm with friends and tough with adversaries, he was always there for us as the liberation movements in southern Africa as our mwalimu, our mentor.

At the first assembly of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1963 which I had the privilege to attend as the leader of a liberation movement, Mwalimu Nyerere was one of the visionaries who founded the continental body. But he went a step further when he offered to host the OAU Liberation Committee in his capital, Dar es Salaam, and that is where liberation movements went for diplomatic support, for materials, logistics and training.

He gave us a dedicated and deeply principled, hard-working cadre to act on his behalf in the endeavour, Brigadier-General Hashim Mbita, who was Executive Secretary of the Liberation Committee for 22 years and later Patron of the Sadc History Project. As sadc we recently honoured Brigadier-General Hashim Mbita but sadly he soon passed away leaving many of us in deep sorrow.

And when we gained our independence in Mozambique and Angola in 1975, in Zimbabwe in 1980, Namibia in 1990, and a new democratic dispensation, in South Africa in 1994, we said . . .

Asante sana, Thank you, Mwalimu

sadc recognised the contribution of Mwalimu Nyerere as one of its founders in the development of a regional community when we honoured him as the first person to receive the Sir Seretse Khama Sadc Medal, presented to him at the Summit in Angola in 1986.

Mwalimu Nyerere was honoured this year by the African Union with the naming of the AU Peace and Security headquarters after him. He has also been the recipient of the highest national honour that my country bestows on a person from outside Zimbabwe, the Royal Order of Munhumutapa.

He never lost sight of the challenges that remain in Africa for people to be empowered, and for them to direct the economic destiny. Africa is richly endowed with resources, too rich to be poor, a point often made by Mwalimu Nyerere.

Mwalimu Nyerere himself is the author of this volume as the text is entirely his, taken from his speeches and statements made over 40 years from 1959 to 1999, and thus an important part of our history.

The book is a collection of photographs and excerpts from his numerous speeches and is an appropriate tribute to an icon in African freedom and development.

The time is now to recognise the role played by Julius Nyerere in the political liberation of Africa, and to enshrine his legacy to reside with the present and future generations of Africans.

He told us many times that “Knowledge is Power”. The editors of this book are commended for a well-researched, precise documentary which should be welcomed and embraced by Africa and Africans.

This is the foreword by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Chairperson of the African Union 2015, immediate past chairman of sadc to the book Julius Nyerere: Asante sana, Thank You, Mwalimu launched in Harare yesterday.

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