49 years of fighting the three enemies



Feb 26, 2010


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49 years of fighting the three enemies

By Editor, The Guardian, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

9th December 2010

Tanzania is today marking 49 years of Tanganyika’s independence from colonial rule. It is an opportune time to reflect on the achievements recorded during the nearly five decades and the challenges that the nation has had to deal with.

Indeed one of the enduring achievements was the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964 whose focus was to build a united, peaceful and prosperous country.

Father of the Nation, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere in defining what the 1961 independence meant for the poor, young nation and its people, spelled out three basic areas of focus.

Mwalimu, the first president of Tanganyika and the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964, said then that the country had three main enemies, namely poverty, disease and ignorance.

He said defeat of the three would free the people and enable them to engage more ably in other areas of building a strong nation. He called on every citizen to join in the fight to rid the country of the three enemies.

The people responded to the call with unparalleled enthusiasm, and within a few years the country had recorded significant successes, in many areas.

Almost all children of school age were enrolled into classes under the Universal Primary Education, while literacy levels rose under a special adult education campaign, putting Tanzania at the top in Africa.

Mother and Child health delivery also improved with the construction of health centres in almost all villages.

Our pride today is that despite being a young nation, greatly lacking in human, technical and financial resources, we were able to register those achievements.

Sadly it was also at this time that the economy went into a steep decline, limiting the nation’s capacity to sustain the services. The situation was made worse by the war against Idi Amin of Uganda, which diverted more resources from the basic public services into the war effort.

Today, nearly 50 years later, the people are still shackled by poverty, disease and ignorance, raising questions about the nation’s ability to eventually free the people from the three enemies.

The reality is that the nation now faces a bigger challenge. It is being called upon to also fight against corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement, all of which if left to thrive, will entrench poverty, diseases and ignorance.

It therefore needs to carefully plan and execute strategies to establish and enforce accountability, safeguard public property and reinforce good governance, if it is to win the bigger war against the three enemies.

For the resources which the nation could use to enhance the campaign to root out poverty, ignorance and disease are being diverted to serve selfish ends, in some cases with impunity.

The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has routinely exposed embezzlements and mismanagement, but action to punish the culprits has been slow and in some cases lacking, holding back the pace of the nation’s progress.

That is why in marking 49 years of independence, the nation needs to reflect on the progress recorded and act more decisively in the fight against corruption, embezzlement and mismanagement and in establishing accountability and good governance at all levels.


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