These words kujipanga and mkakati are usually used to neutralize the reality! As I have mostly wrote in this column, we want to see things moving lest we fall again in the same trap of the last fifty years. Perhaps I should start with what could be said the land mark of our country’s history in those last fifty years that nobody can deny the role our country played in the liberation struggle of Southern Africa.
As a country what do we have to show as part of the history to the next generation and the people of the world apart from reading history written by revisionists? Do we have Continental historical heritage to show our people. We talk of Kongwa, Farm 17 Nchingwea, Mazimbwe, Mkumbo and other areas which are very fast becoming wasted areas. Go to Zimbabwe or South Africa they will show you their national historical heritages which remind them their struggle.
In Zimbabwe they have the Heroes Acre where they bury their dead who have distinguished themselves as heroes of that country so as in Namibia and South Africa. It is not possible to have heroes’ acres here as we are very proud of our roots. It could be a crisis to exhume the body of Mwalimu Nyerere and that of the former Prime Minister Edward Moringe Sokoine and rebury them in that so called Heroes Acre! Should this authentic liberation history of Africa just slip our generation like this?
Tanzania has been referred to as Mecca of African Freedom fighters and treasures historical heritages, but how do we do that? Some of these countries like Namibia and Mozambique have been yelling to immortalize those historic monuments that remain as ruins in Kongwa and Nachingwea!
What are those countries, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique intending to do as a token of appreciation to Tanzania’s role in Southern African Liberation? Last August in Namibia, six former liberation movements of the Southern African countries converged at the Windhoek City to deliberate several things including this one. The summit was attended by three Presidents, Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and the host Dr Hifikepunye Pohamba.
The CCM Secretary-General Wilson Mukama was also in attendance. Namibian and other frontline countries, acknowledge the sacrifice undertaken by Tanzanian in hosting the co-ordination committee for the liberation of Africa, with its headquarters in Dar-es-Salaam, and training bases at Kongwa, and later at Morogoro and Nachingwea, in Tanzania. The OAU also provided all-round political and material support to all freedom fighters from FRELIMO, the MPLA, ZANU and ZAPU, as well as SWAPO, the ANC and PAC of South Africa.
Liberation movements with assistance of countries like Tanzania have undergone a difficult historical terrain of long exploitation and servitude, fraught with painful and harrowing experience. There are two different committees which have been assigned to work on an authentic picture of the liberation struggle of Africa. One is that known as Hashim Mbita Project sponsored by SADC.
Mbita committee was involved in writing three chapters, the first one being the real fighting and countries involved in those liberation wars.
The second chapter is on the people, children and other related characters involved with the war information and the last chapter is on other countries outside Africa which in one way or another assisted the liberation wars. The hundred dollar question is when are we going to get this report? Unlike the Mbita project the other committee mainly made up of sister ruling parties of the former front line states also found it logical to have such a project that would see the African history been written in its true perceptive.
A delegation from Tanzania visited Namibia in 2004 led by the then CCM Party Secretary-General, Philip Mangula with personalities like Ambassador Christopher Liundi, Professor Maliamkono and Ms Hooda Kibacha. This group was charged with the responsibility of writing the liberation struggle history for those countries under SADC, but this one goes further in building museums, monuments and historic features. It will be involved in building research centres and other academic related issues pertaining to liberation struggle.
In this first meeting, it was agreed that each country should form a Chapter that will work on identifying and documenting historical events that need to be included in the liberation history. This committee met again in Namibia on February 2008 and was more authoritative as suggested in the previous meeting. The strong Tanzanian delegation included the Executive Director of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation Mzee Joseph Butiku, the Executive Secretary of Unesco National Commission, Prof. Elizabeth Kiondo, Ambassador Christopher Liundi the Chairperson of the Tanzania National Chapter.
Others were Dr Daniel Ndagala, Prof Mohamed Sheya a Tanzanian Deputy Permanent delegate to UNESCO Paris. Indeed the two different Committees should have come up with what we want but there is too much talk and travelling than expected outcome. On the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of Tanganyika’s independence, an important meeting was held in Dar es Salaam revealing that Tanzania would host a multinational programme that would recognize everyone who took part in the continent’s liberation struggles. This programme known as “Roads to independence:
The African Liberation Heritage Programme” jointly run by the Ministry of Information Culture and Sports and UNESCO is about the memory of what Africa was able to achieve by working together across linguistic and cultural lines. This organization, African liberation heritage programme is required to build a strong foundation that will enable to show the Roads to independence in Africa: the African liberation heritage. We need actions and not much talk and travelling! Those historical monuments should be seen coming to Tanzania!
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