Scores of invited dignitaries and thousands of city residents were treated to traditional pomp and pageantry as the country marked the big day at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam. Members of the armed forces and especially commando units stole the show with a display of combat skills, thrilling those gaping at the performance.
Members of the army, the police, the Prisons Department and the National Service mounted a nearly flawless parade and match past, saluting the Head of State and visiting presidents.
This was followed by a show of what men and women in uniform can do in combat situations—a segment that drove spectators to wild applause throughout.
President Samia inspected a guard of honour to commemorate December 9, 1961 when Tanganyika hoisted its flag as the country became independent within the Commonwealth, retaining the Queen of England and Great Britain as Head of State for one year, until it attained republican status on December 9, 1962.
It was the first time President Samia attended such event since assuming office, and also coinciding with its being marked with a special flavor as the country completed six decades of self rule.
Neighbouring country presidents at the podium were Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Othman Ghazali (the Comoros) and retired Malawian President Joyce Banda.
Those on the main stand included retired top government officials, those in the public service at present, political leaders, members of the diplomatic corps, MPs, business community leaders, while the rest of the stands had thousands of viewers from the general public.
Independence Day traditions typically include cultural performances, defense and security forces show, choirs, artists and young performers especially from primary schools.
President Samia saluted all invited guests attending the event and the general public, extolling the work of those made the event especially successful.
In an address to the nation on the eve of the festivity, the president said the success the country has registered during the six decades of independence was powered by democratic administration and observance of the rule of law.
“Our country has a system that allows citizens to exercise their freedom of expression without disturbance,” she said, noting that conditions for media activity had improved, with the number of news outlets increasing from just a few in 1961 to hundreds today.\
Other successes registered include vast improvements in community services like access to clean water, health facilities, schools and tarmac roads connecting regions and districts.
Vast increases in the number of pupils and students enrolled in secondary schools and universities across the country were also visible, plus accessing loans for higher learning needs in the past two decades.
While Tanzania marks 60 years of independence, it also marks the inspiring action where Lt Alex Nyirenda carried a torch to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, as s sign of light for those still under colonial rule.
To celebrate 60 years of independence, more than 300 Tanzanians reenacted the pilgrimage to Mount Kilimanjaro, renewing the pledge that the torch was a symbol of liberation.