Museveni Joins World In Mourning Nyerere

New Vision (Kampala)
October 22, 1999
By Vision reporter

Kampala - President Yoweri Museveni yesterday paid condolences to President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania on the death of his friend and comrade in arms Julius Nyerere.

The President also had separate meetings with the US Secretary of State, Mrs Madeleine Albright and the French Minister for Development Co-operation, Mr. Charles Josselin.

Museveni and his wife Janet were among many leaders who converged at the National Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam for the state funeral.

They each placed a wreath at the casket, a statement issued by the President's Press Secretary, Hope Kivengere said.

After President Mkapa had placed a wreath on the coffin, he and his wife Anna joined Mrs. Maria Nyerere and her children at the mausoleum to receive leaders' condolences as they paid their last respects.

Other leaders included Presidents Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Daniel arap Moi (Kenya), Joachim Chissano (Mozambique), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Issaias Afewerki (Eritrea), Frederick Chiluba (Zambia), Gen.

Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Pasteur Bizimungu (Rwanda), and Pierre Buyoya (Burundi).

Others are Marti Ahtissari (Finland), Sam Nujoma (Namibia), Jerry Rawlings (Ghana), Bakili Muluzi(Malawi), Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia), former presidents Ketumile Masire of Botswana, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, the Vice President of the Seychelles James Alix Michel and His Highness the Aga Khan.

The British Princess Royal Anne, the Crown Prince of the Netherlands Prince William Alexander, the Vice President of India Krishna Kant, the OAU Secretary general Salim Ahmed Salim and the President of the 54th UN General assembly Mr. Theo Ben Gurirab. Other delegations were led by ministers or government officials.

In a moving address to the nation, President Mkapa referred to Nyerere as a man who was well loved and highly respected by the people of Tanzania and Africa as a whole.

He said Mwalimu taught Tanzanias that all people are created equal and they all equally aspire to freedom and dignity. He said Mwalimu dedicated his entire life to serve others.

The Speaker of Tanzanian National Assembly Mr. Pius Msekwa gave the eulogy and said Mwalimu led the people into forging one nation.

President Moi spoke on behalf of the east African leaders and referred to Mwalimu as a great pan-Africanist whose passing away signified the end of an era in African and world history.

President Ahtissari, who spoke on behalf of the European Union, said the world had lost a leader and a statesman who dedicated his whole life to promoting equality and human dignity among all people.

President Chissano, chairman of the Southern African Development Community, said Nyerere is synonymous with the long history of the liberation of the people of southern Africa. He said Mwalimu showed the people of Southern Africa the way to freedom.

President Rawlings said Mwalimu was a servant of his people and a revered son of Africa. Other leaders who spoke were Gen Obasanjo, Mr. Krishna Kant and Mrs. Madelaine Albright.

>From the stadium, the body was moved slowly on a red carriage as it started on a journey to Musoma airport where it will be received by Mara region residents.

At Butiama, the body will in the evening be taken to Chief Wancagi's residence for the traditional rituals before proceeding to Mwalimu's residence nearby.

Chief Japhet Wancagi Nyerere is the chief of the Zanaki tribe, the tribe of the late Mwalimu. Musoma residents and others from neighbouring areas will pay their last respects today before burial on Saturday.

Meanwhile, a funeral service will be held at Rubaga cathedral today at 11.00 am, a statement from the President's Office said, yesterday. It said the Government is making arrangements to send a delegation to attend the private burial at Butiama, Musoma in Tanzania on Saturday.

Copyright (c) 1999 New Vision. Distributed via Africa News Online

World Pays Last Respects To Mwalimu Nyerere

New Vision (Kampala)
October 22, 1999

Dar Es Salaam, Thursday - The words freedom, unity, peace and, most of all, Mwalimu, the Swahili for teacher, echoed across Tanzania again and again Thursday at the state funeral of former president Julius Nyerere.

Sixteen heads of state and government -- two of them currently at war with each other -- a princess, two princes, dozens of plenipotentiaries from across the globe and even a rebel leader or two joined thousands of Tanzanians for the ceremony in the capital's national stadium, also broadcast nationwide.

It was in the same stadium that some of the most notable events in Nyerere's life took place: the formal declaration of independence under his leadership from Britain in 1961, the union with Zanzibar and Pemba islands to form the Republic of Tanzania in 1964 and his stepping down from power -- almost unheard of in an African leader -- in 1985.

Nyerere, who died in London on October 14 after a battle with leukaemia, owes his sobriquet not only to his modest pre-politics profession but also to his reputation as the man who founded modern Tanzania, for better or for worse, and became mentor to its citizens and millions more across Africa.

"We thank God for peace, love and unity in this country. All this did not come by itself. Mwalimu was behind this," eulogised Parliamentary Speaker Pius Msekwa, summing up Nyerere's legacy.

Earlier, as a military band played, world leaders filed past Nyerere's body lying in state in an air-conditioned glass construction in front of the grandstand, an open casket giving them a final view of his face.

The guests of honour were: Princess Anne, representing Great Britain, Prince Aga Khan, Presidents Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, Yoweri Museveni, Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Martti Ahtisaari of Finland representing the European Union, Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, Pasteur Bizimungu of Rwanda, Issaias Afeworki of Eritrea, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Pierre Buyoya of Burundi and Col Assoumani Azali of the Comoros. Ethiopia, which has been at war with its neighbour Eritrea since May 1998, was represented by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who walked directly behind Afeworki in the procession.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright represented the United States.

"There is no question that Julius Nyerere was one of the great leaders of our time," she said in her speech. "He bequeathed to Tanzania a proud tradition of unity and tolerance," she added.

Dozens of other delegates from around the world also came to pay their respects, including Salim Ahmed Salim, the Tanzanian secretary general of the Organisation of African Unity, a body Nyerere helped to found, and a representative of the United Nations.

Rebel leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, such as Wamba dia Wamba, were present.

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa described his predecessor's funeral as "the darkest hour for the nation because Tanzanians loved and revered Mwalimu.

"If he was still with us today, he would ask us to take over his crusade against poverty, exploitation and discrimination." Moi described Nyerere as "one of the greatest sons of Africa truly committed to African freedom and unity."

"(He) caught the imagination not just of African people but of the whole world," he added.

Ahtisaari said Nyerere's death would "sadden everyone in the world who stands for peace, humility and humane development."

"He dedicated the whole of his life to promoting equality among all people and respect for human dignity," added the Finnish president, who was once posted as ambassador to Tanzania during the 1970s.

Nyerere "spent tireless years on the forefront of the liberation of Africa," said Rawlings, a reference to Mwalimu's support of freedom struggles not only in his own country but also in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.

After the service, as the body left the stadium, which tens of thousands of people had visited this week, many onlookers wept as the coffin was driven slowly to the airport.

Copyright (c) 1999 New Vision. Distributed via Africa News Online

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