Speaking on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of Nyerere’s death in 1999, Magufuli said the country’s founding president “did a good job of laying the foundation of peace, unity and harmony as well as self-reliance through the Arusha Declaration,” according to a statement from the directorate of presidential communications.
Magufuli made the remarks while on a visit to the Nyerere family residence in Msasani, Dar es Salaam as the nation commemorated the day. Accompanied by first lady Janeth Magufuli, he was received by Mwalimu Nyerere’s widow, Mama Maria Nyerere, and also met Nyerere’s son Makongoro Nyerere.
Before going to Msasani, the president and first lady had attended a morning mass dedicated to the late Nyerere at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Oysterbay, where Mwalimu himself used to pray when he was alive.
Mwalimu Nyerere died on October 14, 1999 from leukaemia disease at Saint Thomas Hospital in London. He was 77. The date has since been made a public holiday in Tanzania, in memory of the leader who - after winning independence for Tanganyika in 1961 - steered the mainland into a union with Zanzibar in 1964, giving birth to the United Republic of Tanzania.
Apart from prayers, Nyerere Day is also a good time for reflections on the country’s progress as per the founding president’s ideals that he held dear throughout his life – including national peace, national unity, respect for all, democracy, and people-centred development as opposed to materialistic development.