May 2, 2008

MWALIMU (Vol 1.1. – First Quarter 2008)

Filed under: Mwalimu (Vol 1.1. - First Quarter 2008) — newritings @ 2:52 pm


(The views expressed in the newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views of the organisation)


This first newsletter of Transparency South Africa takes its name from Africa’s most respected figure, Julius Nyerere (1922 – 1999). The former president of Tanzania was known widely by the name of his former profession, Mwalimu (which means teacher in Swahili). Influenced by his Catholic, socialist and humanist ideas, Nyerere was an incorruptible African leader who lived a life of integrity and sincerity. We know that Julius Nyerere was not without his faults and critics but we have praise for his dedicated pursuit for social justice, self-reliance, knowledge, activism, human dignity and equality for all, and believe that he puts many of today’s leaders to shame. We, however, will not be a mouthpiece of his ideas, but provide a space for those members and allies committed to the vision of a society, where exploitation and oppression, hunger, and abuse of power, where corruption and the lack of accountability is no more. We are in particular concerned at the nexus between corruption (lack of transparency, lack of accountability, mal-governance, etc.) and sustainable development solutions. It means that we will have to grapple with corruption and the myriad inequalities that it engenders and feeds off.

Hassen Lorgat (coordinator and contributor)

Go to Contents of Mwalimu (Vol 1.1. – First Quarter 2008)



  1. It could be argued that Mwalimu Nyerere had his faults, but the disappointing record of a great number of post independence African leaders continues to remind us that Mwalimu Nyerere’s faults pale when compared to the corruption and plunder and, as you say, lack of accountability of these leaders.

    His integrity, selflessness, and his unquestionable commitment to the welfare and dignity of Tanzanians, and his devotion to the cause of the liberation of the African continent has left an indelible mark on African history.

    He made a commitment to tackle corruption by forbidding any leader to engage in business while in office. That restriction was lifted by subsequent Tanzanian administrations and the incidences of corruption by leaders has increased dramatically.

    Comment by Madaraka Nyerere — May 28, 2008 @ 7:45 am | Reply

  2. HI Madaraka Nyerere. I intend to do a short piece on Nyerere and corruption for the next edition, and maybe you can write something too. In addition I must say that I aagree with you fully that one of the key problems is persons in politics turning it into another capitalist venture. various of Nyerere´s contemporaries have lamented this trend of self enrichment at the expense of the publics – the peoples interests. Issa Shivji, in one interview with The Express ( commented on Tanzania after Nyerere thus:?
    Shivji: It is not the same. In the 60’s and 70’s when we Tanzanians were inspired for building a better society, it was a human vision. We shared it with like minded societies to create a better world, now we don’t have anything like that. Our youth no larger have a social vision.

    The Express: What do you think of the development policies of Tanzania today?
    Shivji: I don’t believe in it unless it is for the majority. I don’t think our economy is targeted for national sustainability. This shows that Mwalimu did not have the right people to carry on his work. We had a good head of state at the top but when he left, people failed somewhere to carry on.¨

    Comment by newritings — June 12, 2008 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  3. Can you please get in touch with me through my e-mail address about a possible contribution to your next edition.

    Comment by Madaraka Nyerere — July 9, 2008 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  4. The respect that Mwalimu earned through his life’s work, even from some of his most ardent critics, confirmed that he was above reproach in his leadership. He was humble, intelligent, totally incorruptible and practised what he believed and resisted such apparently mundane things as turning his village of Butiama into a ‘super village’.

    This is unlike Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta, who used his office to transform his family, cronies and himself into the richest and biggest landowners in the country; Daniel Moi, who appeared to think that he could gain immortality by transforming his remote village in to Moi this, Moi that of schools, universities and barracks; and now Mwai Kibaki, whose first action in office was to build a helipad in his rarely used rural home and refurbishing it with public funds before gleefully standing by to watch as his allies struck deals with shadowy companies to loot public funds.

    If African leaders emulated Nyerere’s humility, we could be very far. It is unfortunate that the more immediate desires to reach (misguided) economic parity with other nations, and the dictates of the need for the survival of a ruiling class bereft of ideas, Tanzania is learning to crawl under all-consuming capitalism as her leaders cut deals to export raw ore, seal corruption-inspired business opportunities and engage in unabashed corruption.

    For Africa to achieve true economic progress, she must resist the expansionism of the West. Look at Japan and China – these two are economic and political powerhouses because they resisted aping and taking orders from the West and have distinct cultures, and languages, which enable their people to imbibe and share scientific thought, all necessary in growth.

    The present situation implies that Africa shall remain behind other peoples, slaving for them as they pillage and ravage our resources; Unless we can ressurect Mwalimu through new leadership for the continent.

    Comment by Maneno Mwikwabe — September 20, 2008 @ 11:45 am | Reply

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