Tanzania: Earnest Appeal to Salute National Heroes

MEMBERS of Parliament have demanded that the government should do more to recognize national heroes, including providing special national health insurance to help elders who made a lot of sacrifices for the country.

The lawmakers say the decision would help inculcate nationalism amongst the younger compatriots and those in service.

Fakharia Shomar Khamis (Special Seats-CCM) took the matter to the National Assembly floor, pressing the government to explain how the State has been taking care of the four people now-elders who took part in the symbolic ceremony of mixing the soil from Tanganyika and Zanzibar on April 26, 1964.

The heroism relate to the then two young men on their knees, holding a pot and two young women handing over calabashes to the late Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

"We see these people only during ceremonial occasions... is this the only way the government can recognize them?" she asked.

The MP proposed that the government should adopt a specific legislation that will ensure the elders are recognised for their good service to the nation.

These four young people were Sifael Shuma and Elisael Mrema from the then Tanganyika and Hadija Abbas and Hassan from the Isles.

Asha Abdallah Juma (Special Seats-CCM) and Sophia Mwakagenda (Special Seats- Chadema) also rooted for a policy for the purpose.

The lawmaker named for instance the country's founding Chief of Defence Forces, General Mrisho Sarakikya. They said the hero is widely known for being the first national to scale Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, but "he is seen as an ordinary person," said Ms Juma.

James Mbatia (Vunjo- NCCR-Mageuzi) recalled that there were a number of sectors, including education, health that had produced countless heroes, but they too needed special government recognition, including health insurance.

Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Union and Environment) George Simbachawene said there were countless people in the country who deserved to be recognised for their contribution to the country.

"This include those who took part in the 1979 Kagera War. Some people offered their vehicles and they never retained them," he said.

Technically the government recognised such heroes with the provision of the certificates of honour by the President.

He said for the sake of fair play, the government and stakeholders will have to agree on the scope and limitation of who should benefit what and for what duration.

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