Monday, April 11, 2011

Edward Moringe Sokoine the Prime Minister people loved

Kesho April 2011 ni siku ya kukumbuka kifo cha hayati Edward Sokoine Moringe. Hebu tutafakari mengi aliyofanya wakati wa uhai wake. Je angekuwepo leo uchafu unaofanywa na ccm ungefanyika?????????

By Mangengesa Mdimi

Twenty-three years ago today, this nation lost treasure, a true son of our soil, the greatest patriot this country has ever produced, a man of great character, a leader dedicated to the development of his people and country. Edward Moringe Sokoine. May God Almighty rest his soul in eternal bliss. Amen.

Edward Moringe Sokoine was then Prime Minister, and what a Prime Minister he was. He commanded and won respect from over 98 per cent of all Tanzanians.

He deservedly won the respect of the then President, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

Edward Moringe Sokoine was a darling to all patriots because he was a great patriot, to all honest people because he was the most honest man, to all hard working people because he was himself the epitome of hard work, to all practical people because he was a man of few words. He was action-oriented. He wanted to see things done and done now, not tomorrow.

But Edward Moringe Sokoine was a terror to majambazi (bandits) because he hated them like poison, he was poison itself to embezzlers; and saboteurs feared him like death.

He was no friend to lazy indecisive workers and managers alike. He was a man of the people, indeed.

Sokoine died in a horrible road accident in mysterious circumstances at Dakawa area on the Dodoma - Morogoro Road that dark April day in 1984 at the tender age of 56 short years.

The news of his death stunned the country; people talked in subdued voices as if death was breathing down their own necks.

Because he was hard working, Mwalimu loved him. Those who had the opportunity to work with him told mourners at his funeral how many hours he was in his office and wondered whether he had any time for his family and private matters.

Because he was honest, Mwalimu trusted him with the management and administration of the government, and he passed with flying colours.

We were told no minister would take any issue to the President without consulting the Prime Minister first, and that Prime Minister was Edward Moringe Sokoine. He was, indeed, head of government. And the ministers respected him.

Sokoine was a darling of the people because he listened to them. He did not only sympathise with them, but he also fought hard to find solutions to their problems. One of the nagging problems in Dar es Salaam, for example, was and still is public and private transport.

Maybe we cannot talk of public transport these days because it is virtually non-existent. During his time, there was UDA (Usafiri Dar es Salalam), which could not cope with the growing population of the city.

It was Edward Moringe Sokoine, the Prime Minister (then) who allowed private minibuses (daladala), which were operating illegally, to operate officially.

These minibuses were charging five shillings per trip, no matter the distance in the city and the five shilling coin was nicknamed dala (I don?t know why), hence, daladala.

But then Sokoine directed that the vehicles ferrying people should be properly designed and the first vehicles to come out following the directive were named chai maharage (city people know why). He was a practical man. Daladala owners and Dar residents have a debt to pay to Sokoine.

Before he was appointed Prime Minister, Sokoine excelled himself as Minister for Defence and National Service.

He served as Prime Minister for a time and resigned to attend to his health during which time he pursued studies in Bulgaria. When he came back he was appointed Prime Minister again, which showed Mwalimu?s trust and confidence in him.

Edward Moringe Sokoine was dismayed at the way the government was being run. It was the time when corruption and all sorts of vices were at their peak.

It was the time when a few young men and women went about with stacks of currency notes tucked under their socks because there was no room in their pockets, but the majority went about with half empty bellies.

Sokoine came to the people`s rescue. ``The government has not gone to sleep,`` he said and launched the all famous Operation economic saboteurs (oparesheni wahujumu uchumi).

It was hard to believe what we saw, huge stocks of various consumer goods, including huge sums of hard cash, were thrown away on the roadsides or dumped into the ocean. The name Sokoine meant terror to them.

One of the areas of his priority was agriculture; Sokoine had vowed to improve this sector to modern standards. He worked hard against the removal of government subsidies to farmers and peasants.

His reward was the establishment of a University of Agriculture in his name - Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA).

Edward Moringe Sokoine was a soft spoken man and you could have mistaken him for a soft man. But his soft-spokenness was deceptive, because he meant every word that came out his mouth.

He was a man of his word and he made close follow ups to every directive he issued to ensure that it was carried out the way he wanted it.

A day before his death, he had promised people from his constituency, Monduli, who had gone to visit him during a Bunge session in Dodoma, that he would be in Monduli in two weeks time and that was when they should see him.

That was the one public promise he never fulfilled, because he died the following day when his car was involved in that fatal accident in Morogoro.

He surely must have made other promises and directives during the previous days or weeks, promises that he never fulfilled, and directives that might have died with him.

Sokoine`s death touched many a heart in Tanzania. But, apart from his family, I doubt if there was anyone more devastated by the sudden death of Edward Moringe Sokoine than Mwalimu Nyerere.

The only time I saw Mwalimu cry was at the death of Edward Moringe Sokoine. Those who did not see Mwalimu announcing the death of Sokoine, must have noticed the tremour in his voice.

Shall we ever have another Edward Moringe Sokoine in our country? Let us be guided by what he stood for and what he fought for. That is the best way to remember him.

SOURCE: Guardian


No comments: