A special memorial mass for Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the founder of the Tanzanian nation and now the Servant of God on the way to sainthood, will be celebrated in Nairobi next month.
Farijika Family Ministry in Tanzania and Kenya, which promotes good and Christian family values, has organised the mass to commemorate the death of Nyerere and for the success of the ongoing process to the sainthood.
According to the Chairman of the Planning Committee of Farijika Ministry, Fr. Baptiste Regina Mapunda (M.afr), the mass will take place on October 16 at the Holy Family Minor Basilica with Auxiliary Bishop Rt David Kamu as the main celebrant.
Reverend Dr. Laurent Magesa from Musoma Diocese, the home of Mwalimu Nyerere, will be the preacher of the day.
Fr. Mapunda said: “In the same Eucharist we will also pray for our home Servant of God His Eminence Maurice Cardinal Otunga for the same purpose,” asking priests to bring their own alb and white stola, sisters and seminarians and the lay people from Tanzania to sing songs in Kiswahili.
The clergy of his faith have proposed the beautification of Mwalimu Nyerere who died in a London hospital on October, 14 1999 following his upright way of all life. The day marking his death is a national public holiday.
Nyerere served as the first President of Tanzania and previously Tanganyika, from the country's founding in 1961 until his retirement in 1985.
Born in Tanganyika to Nyerere Burito, Chief of the Zanaki, Nyerere was known by the Kiswahili name Mwalimu or 'teacher', his profession prior to politics. He was also referred to as Baba wa Taifa (Father of the Nation).
Nyerere received his higher education at Makerere University in Kampala and the University of Edinburgh. After he returned to Tanganyika, he worked as a teacher. In 1954, he helped form the Tanganyika African National Union.
In 1961, Nyerere was elected Tanganyika's first Prime Minister, and following independence, in 1962, the country's first President. In 1964, Tanganyika became politically united with Zanzibar and was renamed Tanzania.
After the Presidency, Nyerere remained the Chairman of CCM until 1990 when Ali Hassan Mwinyi took over. Nyerere remained vocal about the extent of corruption and corrupt officials in government.
In one of his famous speeches during the CCM general assembly, Nyerere said in Kiswahili "Ninang'atuka", meaning that he was pulling out of politics for good. He kept to his word that Tanzania would be a democratic country. He moved back to his childhood home village of Butiama in northern Tanzania.
During his retirement, he continued to travel the world meeting various heads of government as an advocate for poor countries and especially the South Centre institution. Nyerere travelled more widely after retiring than he did when he was president of Tanzania. One of his last high-profile actions was as the chief mediator in the Burundi conflict in 1996.
He received the Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1976, the Third World Prize in 1982, the Nansen Medal for outstanding services to Refugees in 1983, the Lenin Peace Prize in 1987, the International Simón Bolívar Prize in 1992, and the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda awarded Nyerere the Katonga, Uganda's highest military medal, in honour of his opposition to colonialism and Idi Amin's government in 2007.
Nyerere died in a London hospital of leukaemia on October 14, 1999.