Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that former Tanzania President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was perhaps the most important person in human history.
Museveni who was speaking at the annual Julius Nyerere Memorial Mass at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo on Saturday, said Nyerere was unique in fighting and promoting for African unity.
Museveni said that in all the past and current years of African history, no person fought for the struggle for African Unity and independence like Nyerere did.
He added that for many years the western world labelled Africa a dark continent, a reason they often refer to her history as dark ages of Africa.
Museveni applauded Nyerere’s widow, Maria for keeping the legacy of her fallen husband alive and praised the more than 500 pilgrims from Tanzania for being committed to their faith.
Museveni also urged pilgrims in and outside Uganda to encourage more people to visit the martyrs shrines because it’s not a political ground but a place that promotes oneness in Africa.
Uganda Catholic Church gazetted June 1, as a special day of prayer in remembrance of Julius Nyerere, a former head of state, whom Tanzanians equate to a Saint. The day has been celebrated in Uganda since 2009, following a request by the former Tanzanian president’s family, as part of the quest for his beatification and canonization.
Nyerere, fondly known as Mwalimu, a Swahili word for teacher, was the first president of Tanzania after independence. He was known for his active prayer life and frequent fasting with several publications referring to him as a devout Catholic who attended Mass daily throughout his public life.
He died in 1999, revered by his people as the father of the Nation (Baba wa Taifa). Following his death, Tanzanian bishops in the Diocese of Musuma, opened a cause for his beatification, with Vatican approval, in 2006.
This years mass was led by Kampala Archdiocese Vicar General Msgr Charles Kasibante.