President Yoweri Museveni was on Thursday at Namugongo Catholic Basilica to pray for the beatification and eventual canonization of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
He thanked the Nyerere family and the Catholic Church in Tanzania for associating his name with Namugongo.
“I also thank the Catholic church in Uganda for welcoming our Tanzanian brothers and sisters.”
“As a Pan Africanist, I am a follower of Mwalimu Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah,” Museveni said.
Museveni said he doesn’t believe in tribalism or sectarianism but patriotism.
“The Uganda martyrs and Nyerere are bringing us together. This gathering has become a summit of East Africa for the ordinary people. It is why I don’t miss coming to Namugongo for these prayers.”
Museveni was pleased that Nyerere was declared a servant of God, an important step towards canonisation.
“I have two examples that show Mwalimu was extraordinary,” he noted.
He said Nyerere was his fearlessness when fighting for justice, just like the young people, the Uganda martyrs.
“Mwalimu was very courageous, defending justice.”
In 1963, when the OAU was formed, Africa was very weak. At its formation, only 36 countries were represented. Another 20 or so were still under colonial rule, most in Southern Africa.
Whereas many other leaders were afraid to support liberation movements to free the countries under colonialism, Mwalimu Nyerere took a position to back the liberation struggle.
Secondly, the Bible says that a nation without a vision perishes. Mwalimu helped Tanzania get out of tribalism and religious sectarianism.
“That was a good vision. It’s why we, the NRM, now tell Ugandans to think about Uganda, think about Africa.”
“Ugandans are now drawing out of that sectarianism. We have held elections since 1993 and it is evident more Ugandans don’t believe in that tribal sectarianism. Even religious leaders now have a joint Inter-Religious Council.”
Museveni said he was grateful that communion is going on saying beatification is a matter of the church.
“At one time I wanted to invite freedom fighters to come pray for Mwalimu Nyerere but I was told that would be ‘siasa’.”
“I am happy with this union of East Africa. I welcome all Tanzanians who have come for this pilgrimage. This is your home. We respect Mwalimu a lot here. He helped us, gave us a good foundation. I wish you the best.”