9 December 2012

Tanzania: Dar es Salaam's Party of the Decade As Tanzania Mainland Turns 51

Photo: Robert Okanda/Daily News
President Jakaya Kikwete inspects guard of honour to mark 51 years of independence.

A GRAND parade mounted by members of the armed forces, mass display, traditional dances and a host of other festivities are some of the activities lined up to spice celebrations to mark the 51 years of independence on Sunday.

President Jakaya Kikwete will be the chief guest at the celebrations to commemorate the day when the free Tanganyika flag went up and the Queen's Union Jack lowered at 12 midnight on December 9, 1961.

Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Saidi Meki Sadiki told the 'Sunday News' in the city on Saturday that the celebrations will be held at the appropriately renamed Uhuru Stadium (formerly National Stadium) in Dar es Salaam, the same venue that hosted the historic day.

The president will also inspect the guard of honour as part of the celebrations, he said. Other activities will include traditional dances from Dodoma, Ukerewe and Zanzibar. A ballet group, Rwanda National Ballet, will also be in attendance while the evergreen Msondo Ngoma and TMK music groups will colour the celebrations.

The six foreign heads of state who have been attending the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit in the city as well as members of diplomatic corps have been invited to the occasion. In attendance, too, will be the President of Zanzibar, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, retired presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa and nine former prime ministers and other national leaders.

According to the programme, activities will start at 06:00am. "I call upon the general public to come out in big number to witness the colourful event," Mr Sadiki said, further directing the public to use the Southern Gate for entry and exit purposes.

However, he said, guests with invitation cards should use Gate Number Two while all invited leaders with cars should use Gate Number Three. And students who will take part in the celebrations should use the Eastern Gate, he said. Included in the cast of VIPs, will be a cross-section of political and religious leaders.

The city will be a beehive of activity as thousands of people are expected to stream into the face lifted grounds to witness the event, aptly dubbed 'party of the decade.' The theme of the anniversary this year is "Commitment, Integrity and Patriotism is the Pillar of our National Development."

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