Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

14 January 2013

Tanzania: Rejoice! Mwalimu's Portrait Is Back At AU

THE news that the portrait of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere has been reinstated in the line-up of great African statesmen (based on geographical representation) at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is indeed sweet music to the ears.

It was surely at folly's height to remove Mwalimu's portrait from the pantheon of the continental body's history in such an abrasive manner given the big and sacred role this true and great son of Africa played in the liberation and economic and social well being of the continent.

No matter one feels or thinks about Nyerere, it was indeed outrageous, disgusting, disgraceful and discourteous to attempt to distort Africa's history in such a manner. As one writer had aptly put it: "like him or not, the truth that the man sacrificed a lot to restore the dignity of the African citizen cannot be obliterated".

When the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU, was established on May 25, 1963, Nyerere's newlyindependent nation of then two years, Tanganyika, was among the pioneer members. Nyerere has deservingly gone into the annals of African history as the man who really loved Africa to the extent of sacrificing his nation's resources to ensure the liberation of those countries then still under colonial domination.

He even looked beyond Africa. He was the voice of all the oppressed people all over the world. From Black South Africa to Arabia's Palestine, Mwalimu made his presence felt, making positive contribution to the emancipation of those lands. At the height of the liberation struggle in southern Africa and Mozambique, Nyerere provided military bases -- inside Tanzania, of course, that served as launching pads for the liberation struggle in those countries.

In the end, the liberation forces triumphed, with the credit going to Mwalimu and Tanzania. This has prompted the late president of Mozambique, Samora Machel to comment thus; "to talk about Nyerere is to speak about the liberation of Africa".

Special thanks should go to the Government of Tanzania, especially the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Bernard Membe, Tanzania's Ambassador to Ethiopia, Dr Joram Mukama Biswaro and all African countries and well-wishers who led the 'Reinstate Mwalimu's portrait' initiative. Tanzanians have all reasons to be delighted at this development. It is their moment of glory.

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