This Monday’s well-attended celebrations climaxed in a colourful multi-faceted military parade held at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza city, which hosted them at national level.
It is reported that this was only the second time the yearly event was held outside Dar es Salaam – the first time the host city being the newly crowned national capital, Dodoma.
To add vital colour to the event, former presidents and prime ministers were conspicuously in attendance and actually honoured ‘impromptu’ invitations to address the multitudes at stadium.
But even more significant was Commander-in-Chief President John Magufuli’s ‘surprise’ invitation to opposition party leaders to the rostrum to say a word as well, a move that set social media networks abuzz, many busy guessing as to what that meant.
Many praised this as a positive gesture of putting national interests before those individual political parties or their leaders.
Freeman Mbowe, national chairman of main opposition party Chadema said in his brief remarks that Tanzania needs national consensus, love and solidarity. He went to present President Magufuli as the person most appropriately placed to unite Tanzania and lead efforts to pave the way for democracy and peace to blossom and take root in the country.
Civic United Front (CUF) national chairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, generally concurred by suggesting that the onus was on President Magufuli to strengthen democracy in Tanzania ahead of the 2020 General Election.
Few will refuse to buy the proposition that Tanzania badly needs healing by reverting to the virtues, traditions, ideals and practices that will combine to ensure that the country knows lasting peace and harmony and moves in dignity towards prosperity.
We find it imperative to add here that what is being clamoured for is justice or a fair deal for all in the enjoyment of democracy, for justice is the hub from which other virtues spread out – easily the most important being peace and harmony.
Martin Luther King Jr, that legendary African-American civil rights activist, likened justice to “light” and “love” when he said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
True, the administration of justice could be tricky business, for calls for enormous strength and courage on the part of those charged with dispensing it. And this applies globally.
The overall ultimate objective of national efforts should ordinarily be the attainment of unshakable unity, peace and harmony, which we all ought to aim for.
By doing so in earnest, there will be no losers – only winners, and these will be Tanzanians of today and tomorrow in their tens of millions as well as whoever finds Tanzania a suitable place to live in or visit.
Our fight for, and observance of, peace and harmony should not wait until some catastrophe strikes – as graphic evidence from some neighbouring countries has shown.
The goodwill gestures we were treated during Monday’s Independence Day celebrations in Mwanza add beautifully to the experience we badly need to learn from.