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Thursday, June 04, 2009

UGANDANS PRAY FOR NYERERE




Uganda`s President Yoweri Museveni has described Mwalimu Julius Nyerere as a person of extraordinary courage who sacrificed his life for the freedom of the people of Africa. Museveni, who was accompanied by his wife, Janet, yesterday was among thousands of pilgrims who attended prayers at Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine here as part of the process to canonize the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.



The prayers were also intended to honour and pay homage to the Uganda Martyrs as well as for peace in the country. The pilgrims comprised Christians from Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. The special Mass that was led by Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, was also attended by former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa, Mwalimu's widow Mama Maria Nyerere, and family members. President Museveni, who welcomed all pilgrims to Uganda , said the late Nyerere was very compassionate to people, especially the poor and oppressed. The president added that the late Nyerere was a fearless freedom fighter who managed to unite his country through the promotion and use of the Kiswahili language which went a long way to fostering unity among the people of Tanzania, making the country one of the most peaceful in Africa. He pointed out that standing up against imperialists and racists in South Africa and Rhodesia, the Portuguese in Angola and Amin in Uganda, needed an extraordinary courage, a quality the late Nyerere had. The president further said that Mwalimu was also extraordinary because, unlike president Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and prime minister Patrice Lumumba of the DRC who paid the price for similar struggle, Mwalimu also supported freedom movements in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola and Namibia. He noted with happiness that those countries that comprise one third of Africa were free today. Museveni said it was Mwalimu’s selfless sacrifice and support, together with that of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Samora Machel of Mozambique, that helped the people of Uganda to get rid of the Amin regime. On the peace now being enjoyed by the people of Burundi, President Museveni said it was Mwalimu Nyerere’s initiative that resolved the seemingly unsolvable problem in that country.
He said the late Nyerere involved the principle of democracy in Burundi and security for all, a formula that has brought about tranquility in the country. He told the Namugongo pilgrims that Burundi was today participating in the peace-keeping mission in Somalia. Museveni informed the congregation that Mwalimu Nyerere also worked tirelessly for the political federation of East Africa, a process that was currently ongoing. The president, therefore, compared the late Mwalimu Nyerere to the Uganda Martyrs, who stood for the truth even at the expense of their lives. Museveni said he had joined the pilgrims in prayer for the process of the beatification and eventual canonization of the Servant of God (the late Julius Kambarage Nyerere), who was not only a freedom fighter but also a religious person. Mkapa said the late Mwalimu Nyerere was a great leader who abhorred being worshiped. Tanzania’s High Commissioner to Uganda Adadi Rajab said the late Nyerere dedicated most of his life to the campaign for justice, freedom and peace, not only in the region, but in the whole world. Archbishop Lwanga, in his homily, commended President Museveni and the government for the peace now prevailing in the country. Other speakers included the representative of the family of the late Mwalimu Nyerere, Charles Nyerere, and Rector of Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine Rev. Fr. Deogratius Ssonko, who praised the late Mwalimu Nyerere for being an exemplary leader.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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