Wednesday, June 2, 2010



Tuesday, 1st June, 2010

Kikwete, Museveni, Mama Maria Nyerere and Archbishop Lwanga after the special prayers at Namugongo yesterday

Kikwete, Museveni, Mama Maria Nyerere and Archbishop Lwanga after the special prayers at Namugongo yesterday

By Anne Mugisa
and Eddie Ssejjoba

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzanian counterpart, Jakaya Kikwete, have supported the crusade to declare former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere a saint.

The two presidents yesterday attended a special service for Nyerere at the Namugongo Martyrs’ Shrine and testified to his goodness, which they said should qualify him for sainthood.

The Catholic Church in Tanzania started the campaign to to make Nyerere a saint.

The process, which will end with Rome declaring or rejecting the petition, is currently at the stage where people who knew Nyerere come forward to give testimonies of his goodness.

According to the Archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, there will also be another side which will come up to try and dispute that Nyerere was good.
Lwanga was the main celebrant at the service, which attracted many Tanzanians, including Nyerere’s widow and family.

The Tanzanians were led by the Auxiliary Bishop of Bukoba, Method Klaini.
Pilgrims from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda also attended the service.
Museveni said Nyerere was a devoted Christian and his principles made Tanzania a united and peaceful country.

“I am a witness to Nyerere’s devotion. The Bible is clear. It says we shall know them by their fruits not by their words. Tanzania is a country of Christians, Muslims and animists but Mwalimu (Nyerere) was able to unite them by demonstrating that they are all children of God,” Museveni said.

He said he had discussed with Nyerere’s wife the possibility of inviting the presidents who worked with Nyerere to Uganda for special prayers, but regretted that this could not be possible this year because the country is hosting the AU summit in July.

“We shall arrange for all the freedom fighters to come and witness,” Museveni said, thanking Kikwete for attending the service.
“We should continue praying that Nyerere reaches the next stage of being declared blessed of God, and then saint,” he said.
Responding to a request for assistance to build a perimeter wall around the church, Museveni pledged sh229m.

The Rector of the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Fr. Nennis Ssebugwaawo, had earlier said thieves, drug addicts and murderers had invaded the place, adding that sometimes dead bodies are dumped in the lake at the shrine.
Museveni also pledged sh900m for the construction of a hotel at the shrine, which will accommodate visitors and generate income.

Kikwete said if Nyerere is canonised saint, it will make Tanzania proud.
“Anything that elevates the name of Tanzania, as president, I will be part of. We gave Nyerere the title of Father of the Nation because of the good things he did.

“For 23 years, he led the process of building a nation of several nationalities, 120 tribes and different races. He succeeded in building a united peaceful country. Tanzanians will always be grateful,” Kikwete said.
In his sermon, Lwanga urged Christians to promote peace, goodness and righteousness.

He expressed concern that Africans today are espousing strange ideologies, including homosexuality.

Lwanga said Africans should learn from the martyrs who stood their ground when they refused to be forced into sinfulness and stuck with Christ even as they faced death.