AS the dust of the latest Nyerere Day commemorations that peaked last Saturday settles, Tanzanians should endeavour to keep the spirit that the Father of the Nation personified alive.
The theme of our special supplement published on that day, ‘The Nyerere candle is burning perpetually,’ comes in handy. What emerged from the supplement, and material published elsewhere, plus sentiments voices at various commemorative venues, was that, the nation’s top leader for nearly quarter a century was a visionary.
Attendant to that, is that, in many respects, the current, President John Magufuli-led government is a reincarnation of the Nyerere governance style. It is winning much praise and raising the people’s hopes – and admiration from various quarters worldwide – because it is literally resetting a partially derailed train on the rails.
Like Mwalimu, Dr Magufuli has distinguished himself as a super patriot and a servant of over 50 million citizens, on the improvement of whose welfare he accords top priority. Other top agenda items include curbing grand corruption and protecting natural resources against plunder by foreign human sharks in league with greedy, local sell-outs.
Plus, restoring efficient and effective public service delivery that had sunk to critical levels. Others are consolidating tax collection, sealing openings of several expensive, but wasteful overseas trips by senior servants, and institutional boards of directors holding meetings at overseas venues.
The Nyerere family angle provides hints on what positive national leadership should entail. The members, under matriarch Mama Maria, lead relatively simple lives, are courteous and wonderful hosts and hostesses.
Their residences at Butiama in Mara Region and at Msasani in Dar es Salaam, are remarkably modest. Mama Maria has praised President Magufuli for his spirited mission to rectify past mistakes and re-fashioning the country afresh.
Godfrey Madaraka says the surviving Nyereres are psychologically uplifted by Mwalimu being praised for ideals that include placing national interests at the forefront. Rosemary has urged leaders, from the grassroots upwards, to emulate her departed father.
Now, and in future generations, Tanzanians should, a la Nyerere, focus on virtues like patriotism, peaceful community co-existence, and shun dehumanizing tendencies like wealth accumulation through evil machinations.
The greatest service Tanzanians can render Nyerere’s spirit is to keep his candle burning, for the benefit of the current and future generations.