By Reuben Olita
in Musoma, Tanzania
PRESIDENT Museveni has posthumously decorated former Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, with Ugandaâ€™s highest military medal â€“ the Katonga.
The medal was in honour of Nyerereâ€™s heroic struggle to liberate Africa from colonialists and Uganda from the Idi Amin dictatorship. The Katonga is given for heroism.
In a colourful ceremony at Nyerereâ€™s home in Butiama, northern Tanzania, Museveni yesterday also honoured Nyerereâ€™s widow, Maria and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
Kikwete received the Grand Commander of the Pearl of Africa medal, while Mrs. Nyerere got the Grand Master of the Pearl of Africa.
Nyerereâ€™s Katonga medal was a confirmation of how Ugandans valued his contributions to shaping the destiny of the continent, Museveni said, describing Nyerere as the greatest African.
â€œIn order to secure the future of the Black race and other African peoples, the present and future generations of African leaders must do more than pre-colonial chiefs, the colonialists and the post-colonial leaders have done; they must emulate the actions of Mwalimu and Sheikh Karume when they united Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964,â€ said Museveni
â€œMwalimu, almost single-handedly, stood by the people of Uganda when we were being decimated by Idi Amin. He rejected the notion that Idi Amin has a right to misuse the sovereignty of Uganda and kill us at will.
The Uganda National Liberation Front in 1979, and the National Resistance Army in 1985, got substantial material support that enabled us to create a new Uganda. No other African or blackman has made such a contribution throughout the five million years of our history,â€ he added.
Kikwete said: â€œNot many people bother to remember those who have done good. President Museveni, you are very different.
You know how to appreciate and many times you have remained steadfast in remembering what Mwalimu did for Africa and your country.â€
Upon arrival, Museveni and first lady Janet laid a wreath at Nyerereâ€™s mausoleum.
Recounting the role Tanzania played in liberating Uganda and Africa, Kikwete said if it were not for their indulgence inÂ war, Tanzaniaâ€™s economy would have been different. â€œBut we had to help our brothers and sisters,â€ he added.
Nyerere ruled Tanzania from Indepedence in 1961 up to 1985 when he handed over to Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
Museveni arrived at the Tanzania border of Sirare at 11:45am from Kisumu, Kenya, where he spent the night, to a tumultuous welcome from Tanzanians led by Mara Resident Commissioner, Isidori Shirima.