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It shall take Africa ages to produce another philosopher like Nyerere

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by mfianchi, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. mfianchi

    mfianchi JF-Expert Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    Joined: Jul 1, 2009
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    Wandugu nimeipenda hii habari kutoka kwa mchambuzi nguli wa mambo ya kijamii Baraka Muluka kutoka huko Kenya kama alivyoaandika katika gazeti la The Standard wakati wa maadhimisho ya kifo cha Mwl Nyerere:

    It shall take Africa ages to produce another philosopherlike Nyerere

    Published on14/10/2011
    Barrack Muluka

    It was Prof Ali Mazrui who coined the term Tanzaphilia.Borrowing from one of the four ancient Greek concepts of love, Tanzaphilia isan expression of the brotherly love that Tanzanians feel towards each other.

    It will be recalled how at the apogee of the politicaleconomy of Ujamaa, every Tanzanian adult male was ndugu (brother). Every adultfemale was dada (sister).

    But if Mazrui coined the word, the late Mwalimu JuliusNyerere grew and nurtured Tanzaphilia. This is not to say that if you want togo to heaven you go to Tanzania. Nor is it saying that Nyerere was a saint. Iam aware that there have been suggestions that the Catholic Church should beginexploring the possibility of canonising Mwalimu.

    I have not taken them seriously; believing as I do thatMwalimu was no saint. He made enough mistakes of his own, like every humanbeing must make mistakes sometimes. Like all other African leaders of his time,Mwalimu got things his way when he had to. In 1964, he made Tanzania aone-party state almost by fiat. In 1967, he pressed for the introduction of thefailed Ujamaa system.

    Because of his style, Mwalimu fell out with some of the moreliberal minded principal architects of the country’s independence. Among themwere former Tanu Party Secretary and Foreign Minister, Oscar Kambona. There wasalso freedom fighter Bibi Titi Mohamed. Kambona fled into exile afterintroduction of Ujamaa. Bibi Titi was jailed for treason in 1969.

    Although she enjoyed a presidential pardon in 1972, shelived in grim solitude for the next 28 years. At the continental level, Mwalimurejected the notion of African Union Government. In 1963, in Addis Ababa, heaccused President Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana of nursing megalomaniac ideas likeNapoleon Bonaparte, and of imagining that he was a latter-day African god.Regionally, he made his own contribution to the breakup of the old East AfricanCommunity in 1977, with his unremitting barbs against the Kenyatta government.He called Kenya a man-eat-man society, which was probably true.

    He also liberated Uganda from the claws of Idi Amin andplaced it in the jaws of Milton Obote.

    Mwalimu Nyerere, however, remains a giant among Africanleaders, even as his country marked the 12th anniversary of his deathyesterday. He ranks among the very best post-colonial leaders in Africa.Nyerere was not just a king in the notion of Plato of ancient Greece; he was aphilosopher king.

    Writing in the little volume, Ujamaa and the Destiny ofTanzania, Nyerere is himself full of praise of Platonic thought on rulers. ForPlato says that the best people to rule are philosophers, or philosopher-kings.This is because, first, they know how to rule. But equally important is thatphilosophers do not love to rule. It is such people who should rule becausethey will rule well – for they know how to rule – and they will quit when thetime comes, for they do not love ruling. He exemplified this when he retired in1985.

    At this time, Mwalimu made an audit of his tour of duty andwrongly concluded that he had failed. He said in his valedictory message to thenation: "Our Ujamaa policy has failed and our one-party politics has alsofailed. I intended well, but I failed. I failed you. Forgive me for failingyou, fellow Tanzanians."

    We could say with Mark Antony regarding the demise of JuliusCaesar, "When comes such another?"

    Here was the one philosopher-king who not only knew when towalk away, but also was also meek enough to apologise.

    Three years after Mwalimu voluntarily stepped down andopened up Tanzania to multi- party politics, US President Ronald Reagan and UKPrime Minister Margaret Thatcher declared, in Lisbon in November 1989, the endof the Cold War. The Iron Curtain was veritably lifted, the door opened topolitical agitation all over the world, beginning with Mikhail Gorbachev’sPerestroika and Glasnost in the Soviet Union. The USSR itself disintegratedinto the component states. It was the beginning of bad news for many an Africanleader who wanted to cling to power under one-party dictatorships. Many aclinger was hounded out of office.

    Nyerere foresaw it all and made way, well ahead of theSoviet Glasnost and Perestroika.

    What shall we say of this man who not only wrote volumes ofbooks but also translated Shakespeare from 17th century English into modernKiswahili?

    In the prime of our youth, Juliasi Kaizari and Mabepari waVenisi were regular ‘A’ Level Fasihi set books. You were fascinated by the texton the front cover, Kimetafsiriwa na Julius K Nyerere. What shall we say ofthis humanist who kept the struggle against apartheid in South Africa alive andwell, to the very end? Indeed, what shall we say of this man who made Dar-es-Salaama haven of peace and the home of hope for African liberation movements?

    Friends, what shall we say of this man who edified Kiswahilito the extent that when Tanzanians speak it is you do not want them to stop?

    Here is one man who detribalised diverse peoples and madethem one nation, brimming with Tanzaphilia. This was the one leader who madeyou feel truly proud to be an African.

    Again, in the prime of our youth, we loved to tune in toRadio Tanzania Dar-es- Salaam on the short wave band, to listen to his dailytalk after news.

    Mazungumzo Baada ya Habari was a must for every progressiveyouth. This was not propaganda. This was philosophy and wisdom. JuliusKambarage Nyerere of Butiama was a man of his kind, a man for all seasons. Itwill take a long, long time for Africa to produce another philosopher- kinglike Mwalimu Nyerere.

    It was a privilege to have lived in the same age and spacewith him. God bless his soul. What about the rest of us?

    The writer is an editor and media consultant.