President Museveni Drums Up Support for Mwalimu Nyerere Institution

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has called upon leaders under the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to support the construction of the much-needed Mwalimu Nyerere Institute describing it as a seminary for developmental and pan Africanist ideas fronted by the former leader of Tanzania, Julius Kambarage Nyerere also known as Mwalimu Nyerere.

“When the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation brought this idea, I supported it fully because I know what it is. It is like saying why are you building a seminary for the Roman Catholics. They need a seminary to preach about Jesus. We need a seminary for Mwalimu Nyerere ideas,” H.E Museveni said.

The President made the remarks on Saturday 20th January 2024 at the luncheon he organized for delegates of the Non-Aligned Movement who have been attending the Heads of State and Government Summit at Speke Resort Convention Center, Munyonyo. 

President Museveni said Mzee Nyerere whose ideas he started following in 1963 will continue to be remembered because he was a good socio-economic doctor who made correct political diagnosis to solve socio-economic problems of all the people without basing on their identity (tribe, religion or gender) like many leaders in Africa at that time.

“Mwalimu came into a fragmented situation of the country of Tanganyika with many tribes and religions, but he was able to say no, what is important is not who you are but what you need (food, clothes, jobs, healthcare). So therefore, because of that, everybody would listen to him because he was not talking about identity,” President Museveni noted, adding that Mwalimu’s first contribution which Africa will forever remember him for was to fight colonialism and promote the politics of unity. 

According to the President, Mzee Nyerere even went ahead together with Kenyatta of Kenya and Obote of Uganda to try forming  a Federation of East Africa in 1963, which faced some obstacles.

“If we had formed the federation at that time, this part of the world would be very far now and many of the problems here would not have happened,” H.E Museveni said, adding that his ambition was to have a united Africa for shared prosperity.

“If you want to know whether Mwalimu was right or wrong, look at the Americas. The countries of South America are richer in terms of natural resources than the United States of America but are not prosperous. That is why they keep walking on foot to the United States, running from problems in South America, to prosperity in the United States. So, what is the difference? In my view it is what Mwalimu saw that if we don’t unite the African countries, we shall not create a market big enough to support the prosperity of our people,” the President emphasized.

As a devoted student of Nyerere, Gen. Museveni hailed Nyerere as a fighter against colonialism to liberate the rest of African countries, saying that when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded in 1963, the members were only 36. Another 20 countries were still not independent and that’s why he (Mwalimu) had to work with Mzee Kaunda and others to create the frontline states to support the liberation movements in Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Guinea Bissau.

“When we say we build an institute, I compare it to a seminary for the ideas.  I support this effort and I’m fronting the idea, and through bilateral consultations with Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation and the government of Tanzania we shall see what each one of us can do,” H.E Museveni further noted.

According to the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, the institute which will be constructed in Tanzania will cost about 150 million US Dollars.

The Prime minister of Tanzania, Hon. Kassim Majaliwa expressed appreciation to Ugandans and particularly President Museveni for availing Nyerere Foundation as a platform to share their great idea.

He said Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the founder of the Republic of Tanzania was a devoted supporter of the Non-Aligned movement since joining the same in December 1961 until his retirement as President in 1985.

“Despite the pressures, Mwalimu Nyerere and his fellow leaders in the NAM, stood firmly to the principles and objectives of this movement, namely;unity, humanity, freedom and respect to all which remain alive to date. Therefore, it is appropriate to honor those ideas and I believe the Nyerere Leadership Institute, once established, will promote these values for many years to come,” Hon. Majaliwa noted, describing the gesture as a sign of unity.

“We are not just raising funds but raising hope, prosperity and future leaders. On behalf of Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, I want to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude for your support to make the long-desired goal possible,” he added.

The event was also attended by the Head of the Chinese delegation to the NAM Summit Mr. Liu Guozhong who is President Xi Jinping’s special representative. Mr Liu hailed Nyerere as a great leader in Africa’s national liberation movement and a firm Pan Africanist who still enjoys firm prestige and respect both in Africa and among the Chinese people.

“We need to commemorate President Nyerere’s remarkable contribution and follow the Nyerere spirit of safeguarding common interests of developing countries and embarking on our own development path and voice our support for solidarity, coordination, development and rejuvenation of the global south. We are also confident that the Nyerere Foundation will play an even more important role in promoting the peace and development of Africa and the solidarity and cooperation among developing countries. China is ready to provide support and assistance to the best of its ability,” Mr. Liu said.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician and political theorist. He governed Tanganyika as Prime Minister from 1961 to 1962 and then as President from 1962 to 1964, after which he led its successor state, Tanzania, as President from 1964 to 1985. He was a founding member and chair of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) party, and of its successor Chama Cha Mapinduzi, from 1954 to 1990. Ideologically as an African nationalist and African socialist, he promoted a political philosophy known as Ujamaa.

The ceremony was attended by the President of South Sudan H.E Salva Kiir Mayardit, Mzee Joseph Butiku who is the Chairman Board of Directors-The Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, the Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon Robinah Nabbanja, the Prime minister of Rwanda Édouard Ngirente, Foreign ministers from South Africa and Mozambique, among others.