Skip to main content

Thirty Years later, Sokoine Remains a Tanzanian Statesman

Nations world over are built on the ideals of their founding fathers. Some like in America, the sheer will and dedication of the founders molded a nation while wisdom, courage and selflessness built empires, strong democracies and civilizations. Historic moments such as revolutions, civil wars, crises, constitution making, war for independence, and many others define polities. Great men also define nations. When I was growing up, tales of Tanzanian great men where told to me either by my parents or at school. Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a man whose stories were told to me as a child. I grew up listening to his speeches in the national radio, seeing his face on the currency, his grayed hair portrait hung on government offices and private businesses. During one Christmas holiday in our rural home, as I looked into my dad's high school and college books, I found Nyerere's book "Miaka Kumi Baada ya Azimio la Arusha". I read it despite not knowing exactly Ujamaa was at the time. Of course I was born after the Arusha Declaration of 1967 that made Tanzania a Socialist country in what Nyerere termed as "Ujamaa is Tanzania's unique form of Socialism" in yet another great book "Freedom and Socialism" which I read later on. Nyerere was not the only Tanzanian hero I knew while growing up. Edward Moringe Sokoine was another Tanzanian statesman whose remarkable leadership was told to me while I grew up. As an avid lover of history and politics, I read of this great Maasai man who served as Prime Minister of Tanzania on two occasions.

Reading yet another Tanzania history book "Maadili ya Taifa na Hatma ya Tanzania: Enzi kwa Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere" by Ibrahim Mohamed Kaduma, he recalls in 1980 when Edward Moringe Sokoine vied for a seat in Monduli Constituency together with a driver in the Department of Livestock and who was his supervisor. This was the Tanzania of old when character and service was the drive for power and not money, wealth and status. Prime Minister Sokoine as is written was a man with character, love for the people, and one who wanted a better Tanzania. He condemned corruption and excessive capital accumulation - some allude his death to these principles that he stood for. Reading yet another book (I can't recall the title or the author), it is written that Edward Sokoine died in a car crash. Although it is believed that he survived the crash after a collision with a car driven by a South African man by the name Dumisani Dube, it is said the man finished him off. That is a story for another day. A man who spoke openly in support of equality for the ordinary Tanzanian passed away on 12 April, 1984. Thirty years on, the Tanzania he envisioned where government is free from corruption and without excessive and exuberant capital accumulation is still there. Without wealth, riches and glory that comes with status you cannot vie for an elective post and win, ask Torongey, the man who vied for the Chalinze seat with the President's son. You cannot get a job if you don't know somebody, electoral corruption is rampant. But again, he did his best in a short stint as Prime Minister and he remains a man of honor in Tanzania.       



Popular posts from this blog

Speculating Magufuli’s absence at Uhuru Kenyatta’s Inauguration

29 November 2017 As I drove on the Thika Superhighway on the weekend before Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration on Tuesday, the road was decorated with flags of different countries. At the foot-bridge next to National Youth Service (NYS) Headquarters, the Tanzanian flag flew sublimely. Other flags including the Nairobi City Council flag decorated the Thika Superhighway that headed towards Kasarani, the venue of the inaguration. The Office of the Government Spokesman in Tanzania, had on 24 November issued a press statement saying that President John Magufuli would attend Mr. Kenyatta’s swearing in on 28 November. Days before Mr. Kenyatta’s inauguration, NASA leader Raila Odinga, a close friend to Mr. Magufuli flew to Zanzibar, where it is reported that the two met. Mr. Odinga’s trip to Zanzibar which came a few days after he jetted back to Nairobi from an overseas trip sparked debated and controversy. On the inauguration day, Tanzania’s State-House issued a press release saying that Vice Presi…

Comment: The Politics of Party Defection in Tanzania

Political party defection is a sign of unstable party democracy and/or jockeying for political positions. Defections happen from ruling party to the opposition and from the opposition to the ruling party. In African fledgling democracies, party defections are not about ideology or philosophic underpinnings. Party switching in many African states is largely driven by ethno-demographic and religious factors. These factors have also informed political party formation. Party switching is also a strategic political manoeuvring. Despite Tanzania boasting of national parties, political party strength is largely regional. We're now witnessing a surge in party defections from across the parties.
The defection of former PM Edward Lowassa from CCM to Chadema in 2015 was monumental, especially it coming just before a general election. The election season several high-profile defections. Defections from a dominant ruling party like CCM to the opposition is always huge. CCM's single party d…