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Why does that old tyrant Nyerere look so good today? Well, just look around you...

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Why does that old tyrant Nyerere look so good today? Well, just look around you...






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    By JENERALI ULIMWENGU
    Posted Monday, April 18 2011 at 00:00
    THE EAST AFRICAN


    The third Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival took place at the University of Dar es Salaam this past week, and saw the participation of many eager people, young and old, from the region and beyond, all drawn to the the ever growing image and stature of a man who died a dozen years ago.


    The question many people were asking at this festival was: How is it that Nyerere, so long after his death, still exercises such influence on young people?


    What is the mystique about the man that still keeps people, even those who never knew him, in a form of intellectual thrall?

    Answers to these questions cannot be easy, for Mwalimu was many things to many people.


    Some will remember him as the nationalist leader who led his country on a peaceful, bloodless campaign for Independence, thus avoiding the bloodbath that other movements had been prone to.


    This has been seen in some quarters as evidence of wise leadership, careful stewardship and maturity in negotiating skills.

    However, Nyerere’s subsequent leadership of Tanganyika, and later Tanzania, with the socialist policies laid down in the Arusha Declaration, has had as many detractors as it has had admirers.


    There are those who considered Nyerere’s policies doomed to failure because they ignored the basic tenets of human nature — that is, that man is selfish and that he can be motivated to work only when he is working for himself, and further that collective work cannot be productive because of what is called “the tragedy of the commons” — what belongs to all belongs to no one.


    Even at an event that is dedicated to a certain level of reverence for the man, it was not easy to avoid the perennial issues attaching to the authoritarianism of many African leaders of the Independence generation and their failure to translate national Independence into their peoples’ freedom(s).


    While our leaders resisted oppression as practised by the colonial regimes, observed a young participant in the festival, they brooked no opposition or criticism from their own people, a charge Nyerere could not be said to be above.


    So, once again, what is this mystique about Nyerere?

    I honestly don’t know, but I can only guess that the reason resides in the immortality, not of the man, but of some of the ideals he stood and fought for: The freedom and equality of peoples. Human dignity. Social justice. Integrity and ethical leadership.


    In plain English, Nyerere believed, preached and practised, to the best of his ability, the philosophy that human beings need to be treated as deserving equal rights without regard for their birth or background, tribe or creed, that leaders do not own people or nations, that thieves should go to jail and not to Government House — the simple things that should be taken for granted but are alien to our rulers today.


    It is because of these attributes of Julius Nyerere, which are so conspicuously absent in our present rulers, that the man’s lustre refuses to go away, and young men and women flock to him posthumously.

    It speaks to the absence of an heir, a leader who would have emerged from the current crop of leaders to take over the mantle of Nyerere or Nkrumah. We are bereft of leadership at a time when we sorely need to be led.

    We have had the misfortune of allowing self-serving midgets, thieves and brigands without the vaguest vision of where they want to take our nations and peoples, to take over our lives and decide our destiny.


    We have hypothecated the essence of our very being to agents of the old imperial powers that are now staging a comeback in ways that are not even surreptitious enough to call clever.


    Still, when I listened to these young people from Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Namibia, and watched them as they mingled with the veterans of struggle, led by Mzee Martin Shikuku and Prof Bereket Selassie, I said to myself, nil desperandun, do not despair, there is hope yet. Perhaps.


    Jenerali Ulimwengu, chairman of the board of Raia Mwema newspaper, is a political commentator and civil society activist based in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: jenerali@gmail.com
     
  2. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    We have had the misfortune of allowing self-serving midgets, thieves and brigands without the vaguest vision of where they want to take our nations and peoples, to take over our lives and decide our destiny.

     
  3. X-PASTER

    X-PASTER Moderator

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    Kwa sababu most of Watanzania ni rahisi sana kusahau, they are like a chicken.
     
  4. Revolutionary

    Revolutionary JF-Expert Member

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    Nyerere was a truely extraordinaire!
     
  5. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Mhhh! Mkuu! sidhani kama tuna usahaulifu kiasi hicho ndio maana baadhi ya Watanzania walibahatika kuwepo wakati wa awamu ya Baba wa Taifa wanaweza kutofautisha kwa kiasi kikubwa maadili na utendaji wake ukilinganisha na maadili na utendaji wa wale waliokuja baada yake ambapo kulijaa/kumejaa ufisadi, usanii na upuuzi wa hali ya juu.
     
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