FORMER President Benjamin Mkapa has implored university graduates to contemplate the kind of country they want to build and work steadfastly towards realising their dream.
He said by doing so, they can be respected within the communities they will be serving.
The former president made the call when gracing the 22nd graduation ceremony of the University of Iringa (UoI) yesterday.
Mr Mkapa challenged the graduates to play a key role in nation building, urging while serving the country they should take into account such key aspects of unity, love, solidarity and nationalism.
“I have finished my work, but you (graduates) have just started. Start thinking about the type of Tanzania you are going to build. "This is the challenge I give you, I did my best and you do your best to earn respect in the community you are going to work for," Mr Mkapa told the graduates.
The former president highlighted the various challenges facing the world including; conflicts within and between nations, egocentricity and lack of unity.
He tasked the graduates to seek solutions to such challenges and many others affecting the well-being of nations and the citizens.
“I was in China recently attending the former heads of state summit, we discussed the emergency situation which shows that nations are increasingly embroiled on selfishness instead of fostering global cooperation,” said Mr Mkapa.
He said the self-centeredness attitude was uncalled for, insisting that people across the world are supposed to live amicably and cultivate fondness and cooperation since they're all children of God.
The former president reminded the graduates that every human being they come across whether wicked or decent remains a God’s child; so they must be loved, supported, and must be involved in building national unity for the true peace to prevail.
More than 1,600 graduates were conferred with PHD, masters, degree, advanced diploma, diploma and certificates; while the former president was honoured with an honorary degree.
He thanked the University for recognising his work and rewarding him with the honorary decoration.
The award was in recognition of his contribution towards the establishment of private universities in the country, whereas the University of Iringa was the first private institution to be established during Mkapa’s reign.
Iringa District Commissioner (DC) Richard Kasesela, Salim Abri Asas, and former students’ president of the University of Iringa, Toima Lekeni, were also presented with honorary decorations.
During the ceremony the university conferred an honorary doctorate degree to the Chancellor of UoI and former Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani; and honorary degree in Business Administration to Finland Ambassador to Tanzania, Dr Vesa Visa Viitaniemi.
In another development, the government has been asked to ensure that graduates in various health professions are deployed across the country to ensure that Tanzanians have access to quality healthcare.
Speaking during the 13th graduation of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Chairperson of MUHAS Council Ms Mariam Mwaffisi said despite efforts by the college to increase eligibility, the country is still faced with an acute shortage of health professionals.
She noted currently the doctor and population ratio in many regions of Tanzania stands at between 30,000 and 50,000 people.
She said such a ratio creates a huge burden for the doctor and could contribute to the poor service delivery.
“The government and health stakeholders should put in place strategies to ensure that the graduates are well utilised for improved healthcare provision and national development,” she said.
A total of 911 graduates were awarded degrees and diplomas in various disciplines offered by the university.
MUHAS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrea Pembe said the enrollment has increased by eight per cent for undergraduate students and 56 per cent in diploma courses compared to last year.