He has been criticised for leaving the presidency of Tanzania and leaving the nation as one of the poorest, least developed, and most foreign aid-dependent countries in the world. His reign records a communist era in which he suppressed his own people. And yes, some have called his leadership of Tanzania a complete ploughing under of civil liberties and political freedoms.
But it remains true and steadfast that by far this man was one of the greatest leaders to grace and lead the African continent.
He made some extraordinary strides in charting the history of this continent and in some instances the destination of his own country.
He achieved the independence of Tanzania without war or bloodshed but just through his excellent negotiation skills and charismatic oratory skills.
He was instrumental in forging the union between the island of Zanzibar and mainland Tanganyika into Tanzania, which feat prevented Zanzibar from becoming Kenyan territory.
He preached racial and religious tolerance.
He was instrumental in supporting liberation movements in Africa to fight colonial rule and they all sought sanctuary at some point in Tanzania. He supported the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of South Africa, The Zimbabwe National Liberation Army (ZANLA) fighting British colonial rule in Zimbabwe, the FRELIMO when it fighting Portuguese rule in Mozambique. His support towards the people of Uganda ensured their liberation from the terrible leadership and reign of terror of Idi Amin.
He pushed for the coordination of the frontline states in securing majority balck rule in South Africa. The fronline states consisted of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
He was one of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)
And here a few quotes from one of the greatest minds of Africa:
“No nation has the right to make decisions for another nation; no people for another people.”
“In Tanganyika we believe that only evil, Godless men would make the color of a man’s skin the criteria for granting him civil rights.”
“To measure a country’s wealth by its gross national product is to measure things, not satisfactions.”
“Capitalism means that the masses will work, and a few people — who may not labor at all — will benefit from that work. The few will sit down to a banquet, and the masses will eat whatever is left over.”
“Freedom to many means immediate betterment, as if by magic. Unless I can meet at least some of these aspirations, my support will wane and my head will roll just as surely as the tick-bird follows the rhino.”
“Having come into contact with a civilization which has over-emphasized the freedom of the individual, we are in fact faced with one of the big problems of Africa in the modern world. Our problem is just this: how to get the benefits of European society — benefits that have been brought about by an organization based upon the individual — and yet retain African’s own structure of society in which the individual is a member of a kind of fellowship.”