Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has praised the contribution of the late Tanzanian leader, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, who not only united the people of Tanzania and worked for mankind, but also helped in the liberation of several African countries.
“The late Mwalimu was a Pan-Africanist who loved God and mankind. He united the people of Tanzania of different religious backgrounds and helped liberate most African countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola, South Africa and Uganda”, he noted.
The President said this on Sunday afternoon at a Mass organized at the Uganda Martyrs’ Shrine in Namugongo, to remember the former President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere for his outstanding contribution to his country and Africa but mainly to pray for his beatification and canonization as Saint.
President Museveni was the chief guest.
Canonisation, according to Wikipedia online encyclopedia, is the act by which a Catholic church or group declares a deceased person to be a saint and is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints.
The annual event is held on every first day of June and comes before the Uganda Martrys’ Day that is commemorated on the 3rd of June annually.
The service that was led by the Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, was attended by pilgrims from Tanzania, Kenya and other neighboring countries.
President Museveni told the congregation that he worked with the late Nyerere for a long time and “indeed Mwalimu deserved to qualify as a Saint.”
He pledged to visit the new Pope at the Vatican and recommend the canonization of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
The President also observed that Mwalimu Nyerere did not only make a big contribution to the liberation of African countries but also introduced universal education in Tanzania.
He said that while people in some countries were engaged in sectarian conflicts, along religious and tribal leanings, Mwalimu Nyerere united the people of his country. He further noted that, if Nyerere had not helped to get rid of Idi Amin’s regime, Uganda would not have participated in the restoration of peace in other countries like in Burundi, the Congo, Somalia, Rwanda and Kenya among many others.
He thanked Mama Maria Nyerere for choosing the 1st day of the month of June to pray in Uganda for the cause of the beatification of eventual canonization of her late husband.
The President’s request to invite leaders who used to work with the late Mwalimu to attend next year’s prayers at Namungongo Martyrs’ Shrine was accepted. The leaders include President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola and former President Sam Nujoma of Namibia and Alberto Chissano of Mozambique among others.
He also thanked Archbishop Kizito Lwanga for the time to pray for “our hero Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere”.
The President pledged to boost the capacity of Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine through provision of accommodation facilities and the sanitation system.
Welcoming the President to Namugongo, Archbishop Kizito Lwanga thanked him for declaring 3rd June annually, a national day for remembering the Uganda Martyrs whom he described as role models.
“Since you made this day a public holiday, we have seen many fruits. Many pilgrims have been coming presenting many challenges like that of sanitation”, he reported.
The Archbishop praised the NRM government for the peace now prevailing in the country.
The Mass for Julius Kambarage Nyerere Day was attended by Cabinet Ministers and MPs among many others.
Case For Nyerere’s Canonization
According to www.dacb.org, the Catholic Diocese of Musoma in 2005 opened a cause for Nyerere’s beatification. Tanzanian Catholics eagerly await the Vatican’s final decision on the canonization of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, a devout Roman Catholic and first president of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Although many people believe Mwalimu Nyerere deserves to be canonised, that can only happen after the Church’s conditions have been met.
Julius Nyerere, who was undeniably one of Africa’s key twentieth century figures, became independent Tanganica’s first president on 9 December 1962 and later became Tanzania’s leader thanks to its unification with Zanzibar.
As part of his political agenda, which was defined by a form of “African-Christian socialism”, he tried to blend socialist principles with those of the Catholic Church’s social doctrine.