At a mass in memory of the late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the international community to carry on the legacy of the former Tanzanian President, who he called an "indefatigable fighter for freedom, justice and peace."
Underlining the "profound humanity and integrity" of Mr. Nyerere, who passed away in October 1999, the Secretary-General said, "Let us pay tribute to Mwalimu by showing the same level of commitment as he did to justice, lasting peace, development and the betterment of people's lives all over the world."
The Secretary-General said that much remained to be done to ensure that all the world's people were free from fear and want. In Africa, in particular, he emphasized, "poverty, ignorance, disease, conflicts and wars continue to affect many millions of people."
"Today, corporate social responsibility is a major international issue; the need to preserve the environment for future generations is universally acknowledged; the debt issue is high on the global agenda," Mr. Annan said, noting that in all those developments, Mr. Nyerere, "speaking clearly and eloquently for the weak in the world of the strong" had played a key role.
Mr. Nyerere served as Tanzania's first President following its independence from Britain in 1961. After voluntarily stepping down from the presidency in 1985, he played a lead role in numerous initiatives to promote peace on the African continent, including as mediator for the Burundi peace process.