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“Mwalimu Nyerere was very courageous” – President Museveni

Thursday 1st June 2017
President Yoweri Museveni has expressed his gratitude for the declaration of former Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, as a servant of God describing him as a Pan Africanist who was very courageous in the fight for justice and unity in Tanzania and the whole of Africa.
“I am very pleased that Mwalimu was declared a Servant of God and the process is on-going. As a witness of his good works here on earth, first was his fearlessness when fighting for justice just like the Uganda Martyrs. Mwalimu was very courageous defending justice and stood for the oppressed,” he noted.
The President made the remarks today at the Uganda Martyrs’ Basilica in Namugongo, Wakiso district during prayers for the beatification of former President of Tanzania, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, to Sainthood.
The process to cause his beatification was started in 2006 in Musoma Diocese in Tanzania, led by the area’s Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Justin Samba.
The family of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, led by the widow Mama Maria Nyerere requested the Catholic Church in Uganda to allow them invoke the intervention of the Uganda Martyrs’ through prayers for her late husband to be canonized to Sainthood. The process is ongoing and every 1st of June each year, pilgrims from Tanzania, led by Mama Maria, hold special prayers at Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine for the same cause and the prayers coincide with the Martyrs’ Day celebrations held 3 on 3rd June.
President Museveni thanked the Catholic Church in Tanzania for associating Mwalimu Nyerere with Namugongo and the host the Catholic Church in Uganda for accepting our brothers and sisters from Tanzania to come and mobilize Uganda Martyrs in an effort to have Mwalimu Julius Nyerere canonized to sainthood.
Mr. Museveni observed that the occasion serves as a unifying factor for the people of East Africa as it draws them together.
“In the East African Summit, it is only leaders who come together, but now this one is for all people. I thank the Mwalimu family and the church for encouraging this and that is why I always attend the prayers and Mwalimu has brought us rain,” he said.
The President also praised the late Mwalimu Kambarage Nyerere for uniting the people of Tanzania and for supporting liberation Movements in African countries mainly in Southern Africa that were by then still being colonized.
The President, at this juncture, thanked the people of Uganda for dismantling those boundaries of sectarianism and tribalism. He noted that the recent elections held in the country manifested that more people chose unity other than sectarianism.
“Mwalimu immunized the people of Tanzania against sectarianism avoiding loss of life, property and time like was the case in Uganda where over 800,000 people lost their lives,” he said.
He added that Mwalimu helped Uganda get back to its feet and was, therefore, grateful that the Union of East Africa was continuing through the prayers for the beatification of the late Mwalimu Nyerere and also the pilgrimage for the Uganda Martyrs.
After the Mass, President Museveni, acknowledged greetings from Tanzanian pilgrims and later went to pilgrims gathered outside the Martyrs’ shrine whom he urged to maintain peace during their pilgrimage at the Basilica.
The Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, the Most Rev. Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, urged pilgrims and all Christians to cherish peace.
‘Let’s be at peace with God our loving Father and establish peace within ourselves and our families,’ the Prelate advised.
He also thanked the people of Tanzania for their annual pilgrimage to Namugongo since 1988 and assured them that the people of Uganda are with them in prayers to ask favors from God to make the great leader, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, a Saint.
Dr. Cyprian Lwanga further thanked President Museveni and the government for his contribution to the development of Namugongo Martyrs Shrine and for making the 3rd of June each year a national holiday in honor of the Uganda Martyrs.
The Archbishop described President Museveni as the luckiest President of Uganda for hosting 2 Popes in the country, first Pope John Paul the 2nd in 1993 and recently Pope Francis in 2015.
Dr. Lwanga thanked the Christians for making their pilgrimage to Namugongo and reminded them of Pope Francis’ advice to always remember the Uganda Martyrs.
Rev. Sr. Eledina Ntandu, who spoke on behalf of the family of the late Mwalimu Nyerere, thanked the people of Uganda for the warm hospitality accorded to them and the pilgrims from Tanzania. She invited Ugandans to visit Tanzania.
Rev. Fr. Anthony from Tanzania in his Homily encouraged pilgrims to emulate the late Mwalimu Nyerere by being strong in faith and loving one another other. ENDS