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The Day Nyerere Was Handed Ultimatum From Gaddafi

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by nngu007, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Joined: Aug 2, 2010
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    By Makwaia wa Kuhenga

    'The Western media is awash with the huge war effort to tame Colonel Gaddafi as if he were some invincible force. Those of us who witnessed his troops being mowed down are not convinced. I saw scores being buried near my former school along Entebbe Road. The rest were rounded up and returned home with bowed heads.
    It is said Gaddafi wanted to pay huge sums for their return but Nyerere typically refused the money and assured him Tanzania does not trade in human beings...'

    Ugandan journalist, Joachim Buwembo, writing for The East African weekly newspaper last week.Thirty-three years ago, that is slightly over three decades, is a long time. The majority of today's Tanzanian youth were in their most tender age.
    The fact that Tanzania went to war with Uganda's General Idi Amin after the latter annexed and occupied part of the Tanzanian territory is something that they are being informed in narrations by their parents or history textbooks.

    But also the fact that there was a country in Africa that actually intervened militarily in support of Uganda and deployed thousands of troops and sophisticated military hardware to beat back "enemies of Islam" - as Tanzania was being described then - when it sought to beat off Uganda's invasion which had occupied part of its territory in the Kagera salient may have escaped immediate memory today given the lapse of time.

    That African country which threw its weight behind dictator Idi Amin is Col Gaddafi's Libya, which is paradoxically facing a Nato military onslaught ostensibly to check a "sick man's regime" on the loose to slaughter its own people. That event in this part of the world 33 years ago and what is happening today involving western powers in North Africa provide a paradox and analogy of this perspective today.

    But to refresh the memory of that event 33 years ago in October 1978 that led to a year-long war that ended on April 11,1979 with the toppling of Idi Amin and his flight to Saudi Arabia where he eventually died, it is interesting to recall the day Col Gaddafi handed an ultimatum to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzanian founder President.

    My sources say the Tanzanian intelligence way back in October 1978 had alerted Mwalimu Nyerere what to expect when the Libyan ambassador to Tanzania those days, a Libyan of African origin, asked for an appointment to meet him. [Libya, like South Africa, is a rainbow nation with white and black people forming the population].

    Mwalimu Nyerere was a modest, slightly built man but with a striking personality. But his physique could be frightening especially when challenged on questions of principle, human equality and dignity!

    He was expecting the Libyan ambassador. He received him with his typical humour and made him sit next to him. Nyerere signaled his guest to speak after customary pleasantries, severely eyeing the envoy directly in the eye.

    The ambassador was clearly shaken because he dropped his note at least two times before it could reach its recipient who actually helped him to pick it up!

    It was an ultimatum from Col Gaddafi serving notice to his Tanzanian counterpart to withdraw his troops or face the full might of Libyan armed forces. Perhaps sympathising with his now sweating guest, Mwalimu Nyerere invited Gaddafi's envoy for a seaside walk where he chatted him on the follies of his boss.

    "Can my brother Gaddafi swear in the name of Allah that he has his facts right about his friend Idi Amin?" Nyerere is said to have queried his guest as he walked him along the beach near his residence at Dar es Salaam's Msasani suburb.
    What became of the ultimatum is what is quoted above at the launch of this perspective from a recent article by a Ugandan journalist in The East African, a weekly regional newspaper published by the Nation Media Group. Of course, that incident is now history.

    But it is an important piece of history. Whereas Tanzania has been ready to forgive the Gaddafi stance to throw his country's weight behind Dictator Idi Amin, western powers never forgive a Third World leader who is independent minded. Nobody would dispute the fact that Gaddafi has been no power's marionette or puppet.

    But there is also the factor of double standards on the part of western powers. The current scenario in the Arab world is a case in point. Western powers have not imposed and do not contemplate imposing "no fly-zones" in other economically less lucrative countries in the Gulf and the Middle East now engulfed in uprisings and similar cases of state brutality against civilians.