Saturday, October 14, 2006


(Photo courtesy of Issa Michuzi)
Sometimes last year, a friend of mine asked me a tough and funny question. He asked me, if given a chance to select four people, dead or alive, which I would like to have dinner with, who would they be? The question included additional guidelines that my parents should not be on the list. He probably knew in advance how I feel, just as you may be, about my parents.

Frankly speaking, I had more than four people in my mind, quickly. However, because the given choices allowed only four people I had to come up with four names. My selection included Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and
Julius Kambarage Nyerere. Unfortunately, my dear friend did not know who Julius Kambarage Nyerere was. That did not surprise me; he was not popular with western media. In fact, I doubt whether they ever liked him. He was a devoted socialist; he died a socialist believer. On the other hand, may be a modern socialist believer as times changes. I am sure he was rarely mentioned in history classes around here.

From the list of my dinner guests above, you can imagine the kind of conversation that could come on the table. I wish I could tell you my reasons of inviting those people. Allow me to reserve that tête-à-tête for next time.

Today, October 14th, 2006 marks seven years since when Nyerere, famously known as Mwalimu to mean “a teacher” passed away in a London hospital. For the benefit of some of you, like my friend above, who did not know who Mwalimu was, he was one of the greatest African political leaders. He was the first president of Tanzania (then known as Tanganyika before union with Zanzibar). When I came to this world, the world I share with Osama Bin Laden and George Bush, he was my immediate president.

As Tanzanians (including me) commemorate the demise of Nyerere, I have decided to honor him by allowing a dialogue (if possible) to replicate and understand the kind of man he was, what he believed, what he tried to do, where he failed and most important, the kind of a leader he was. One of the famous documents that he died still deeply in love with was
The Arusha Declaration (please read it). Has there been a better approach towards true development, in africanism context than what this declaration points out. Is globalization a modernity of the declaration? Do you think there was anything wrong with the declaration? What was wrong?

In terms of leadership, can you compare Mwalimu with any living leader in Africa? What has happened to pure, unconditional love to one’s country? Please share your thoughts. R.I.P Mwalimu.


Scout said...

jeff, i'm sorry my friend, i just can't read through all of the declaaration. BUT from what i did read, it sounds a lot closer to the iroquois constitution (considered the world's truest form of democracy) then anything i've seen in a long while. faux democracy is too rampant in north american and the rest of the western world, and that is what the imperialists are trying to impose on other nations.....faux democracy! bizarre and ironic.

i would think that would be a most excellent dinner!!!!

Jeff Msangi said...

Thanks Scout,
Who would you have invited for "dinner" if given same chance?

Scout said...

oh geeze jeff....hmmm......sitting bull, medicine woman molly molasses, buddha, mary magdellan

Amelopsis said...

I know I say this all too often, but I agree with Scout.
Didn't read it all, but it certainly seems to be worded in such a way as to preserve the intention of such a charter, rather than to ensure the creation of a thick bureaucracy to profit from it, mangle it, and claim adherance to the letter.

Good stuff, Jeff. It's important to me to learn of individuals past and present who had integrity and respect for human rights.

Trio Kaka said...

Jeff, you know the problem was and still is that most Tanzanians-assistants to top leaders are not honest, they lack intergrity, they do not respect the law of the land. As a result most of them are corrupt, inefficient and could care less about productivity.

Had all ministers, RCs, DCs and other political and government leaders believed in Azimio la Arusha like Nyerere did, Tanzania would have been better off today.

We would have been at least in the likes of Portugal, Sweden, nk.

To understand how bad corruption is, I always tell people my situation. Ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to become an accountant because I knew that is where the money is, I knew that is where deals are made.

I stuck with my plans all the way, I did every thing possible to be an accountant but most unfortunately I never had a chance to make those deals and some how I saw how corruption is not the best way of life. I figured if I become rich with illegal monies, I won't be able to proud myself for my riches, neither would I be open to tell anybody how I made money.

That was only one kid with a dream of becoming a corrupt accountant, am sure other kids had similar plans and followed them through. You see, that is why some of them grown up dare to fake their educational credentials for they want to fulfill their fantancies at any cost.

In short Mr. Jeff most people who worked with Nyerere did not share the passion of developing our Nation like Nyerere did.

Indeed, Nyerere would be one the people I would want to have dinner with!

Scout said...

i'd like to change my selection of molly molasses to white buffalo calf woman. woke up this morning and that was the first thing that leapt into my mind.

trio, i amire your will pay off with a richness of soul that can't be bought.

corruption is rampant and saddest when indigenous people take on the role of the conqueror. a few more years, just a few more years, and the clan mothers will rule again :)

The Intolerant One said...

Jeff...Bill Clinton? Seriously???

Jeff Msangi said...

I am with you,the past helps us to shape the future.
What made you change the "guest"?
@Intolerant One,
Yes Bill Clinton.I know this suprises you,it does suprise me too.But after reading his book "My Life" I thought there are lots of questions that I would like to ask him.So he could be the most uncomfortable guest!Who would you invite?

Scout said...

jeff, i changed my guest because i woke up the next morning and white buffalo calf woman popped into my mind with a message saying 'that's who your guest should be instead of molly molasses'. it didn't take much thought after that to realize there should be no argument with a thought like that coming into your mind.

Scout said...

jeff, i changed my guest because i woke up the next morning and white buffalo calf woman popped into my mind with a message saying 'that's who your guest should be instead of molly molasses'. it didn't take much thought after that to realize there should be no argument with a thought like that coming into your mind.

canadian said...

Dr. Julius Nyerere was a good friend of Pierre Trudeau.

He remains one of the few African presidents to step down willingly and peacefully, thus setting a good example for those who would come after him.

A great African statesman indeed.

The Intolerant One said...

I like your question. Thanks for the invitation to respond.

1.) Jesus Christ (for obvious reasons)
2.) Stephen Harper (Because that would bother Amelopsis LOL)
3.)Amelopsis (because she would have to exercise her table manners at the same table with Stephen Harper)
4.)George Bush (because that would drive her over the edge ROFLMAO)

OK, for real now.

1.) Jesus
2.) Jack Layton (I would enjoy a good debate with him. I think he is a little misguided on some, not all, human rights issues)
3.) Billy Graham
4.) Charles Darwin (just so I could pick at his theories)

You are right. There are so many others that run thru my mind so I put the ones I thought would make the best dinner conversation. Afterall, dinner is not just about the meal. It is also the most crucial time for people to connect.

Jeff Msangi said...

Thanks for reminding me about the friendship of Nyerere and Trudeau
@Intolerant One,
Your guest list is heavy.Have you watched a documentary titled Darwin's Nightmare?

The Intolerant One said...


No I have not seen it. The title alone sounds interesting. I will look into it and see if I can review it online somwhere.

The book "Darwin on trial" is also a page turner.

Amelopsis said...

Intolerant I wouldn't mind excercising my table manners, but I'm sure I wouldn't have any appetite ;)

Ok Scout, please tell me who are Molly Molasses and White Calf Woman. Sorry - I'm totally ignorant of them ... can you point me to an informative link if that's easier?

I'd choose my grandfather (died long before I was born, but had a reputation as a community mediator), hmmmm maybe Gandhi and then, Sitting Bull (but that might change when I know who Scout's historical ladies are...) I'm sure my list would change if I gave it more thought. Three people doesn't seem like enough with all of history to choose from.

Scout said...

amelopsis....molly molasses was a famous medicine woman

but if you read about white buffalo calf woman you'll be able to see why i awoke and changed my mind.....basically she's the one who brought the first peace pipe to the lakotas, and she's supposed to return shortly after the brith of a white buffalo calf (there was one born several years ago named miracle, who died, but one was just born again). arvol lookinghorse is the 19th generation keeper of the peace pipe.

i can't find the link i like best but if you google here there's more to be learned. thanks for asking, and i think your grandfather and ghandi are a great start!!!!


Jeff , ndani ya masaa kadhaa nimeshindwa kufungua blogu yako iliyo Afrika.Je, ni mimi peke yangu?

Jeff Msangi said...

Hata mimi mwenyewe ninapata tatizo hilo.Leo nilikuwa na vijishughuli vingi kidogo.Nitaangalia kwanini baadaye.

Amelopsis said...

Thanks for those links, Scout. I do remember hearing about the birth of a white bufallo calf a few years back, but then nothing more....sure would be a good time for a visit from her