|Nyerere interview before he died|
The peace and stability of Tanzania is largely credited to its founding president, Julius Nyerere who was the country’s leader until retiring voluntarily in 1985. Even though his socialist economic experiment is largely acknowledged to have been a failure, his upstanding moral principles, genuine humility and integrity guided the nation in a direction that makes it find itself where it is.
Despite its obvious poverty, Tanzania remains far more influential in the continent than its economic muscle would allow. Retired President Nyerere died aged 77 in 1999. In Tanzania and many parts of Africa he is still revered as one of the greatest African visionaries in history. Nyerere’s leadership qualities were recognised early on in his presidency and he was the first ever African leader to grace the cover of Time magazine in the United States back in March 1964, barely 2 years into his presidency.
Even though Nyerere pursued politics of the Left economically, he was demonstrably non-aligned and was an active member of this grouping of nations. He was as vocal a critic of Soviet expansionism as he was of the United States foreign adventures.
Unlike most post-independence African rulers, President Nyerere never sought personal wealth, he led a simple life, shunned corruption and gave up power voluntarily. He was also a vocal advocate and supporter of the struggle for independence in those countries which were still under colonial rule. He hosted many of the freedom fighters from Southern Africa including future leaders such as the late Samora Machel of Mozambique. For the 14 years after his retirement from the presidency, he continued to work for economic emancipation of the developing countries chairing the South Commission. He also put a lot of energy in solving the Burundi civil war working tirelessly as a mediator for the warring factions.
Nyerere, who has always been referred to as Mwalimu (teacher) by his people is acknowledged and officially recognised as the Father of the Nation. In Africa, he is held in the same regard as Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Ten years after his death, Julius Nyerere remains one of the most revered African statesmen in history.
His passing, from leukaemia, in October 1999, 14 years after he left office was marked by a genuine outpouring of grief by his people and millions beyond the borders of Tanzania. Among those who paid tribute to Mwalimu was the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Annan said: “He was a passionate and eloquent advocate for Africa and for the entire developing world, as well as a friend and ally of the United Nations. Above all, Mwalimu Nyerere, as the founding father of Tanzania, played a key role in promoting African independence, nation-building and unity, and his willingness to step down from office voluntarily after long service to his people should be a model to all leaders. Both before and after leaving office, he gave unstintingly of his strength and wisdom in the quest for African peace and freedom. Even in his last month, he worked tirelessly to bring peace to the troubled people of Burundi”
complete story at http://www.soko-tanzania.com/julius_nyerere.html