‘My Country First’ campaign on the cards
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THE government will on Friday this week unveil a nationwide “Patriotism and Nationalism Campaign” whose key objective is to restore the forgotten twin virtues in order to safeguard the sovereignty, dignity and integrity of the nation.

The Ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports would spearhead this drive to create awareness among the populace. According to a booklet issued by the ministry, the history of the country’s independence movement provides evidence of patriots and participants in the struggle against colonialism.

In the 19th century paramount chiefs throughout the country were directly involved in the resistance movement which fought colonial rule. Patriotism and nationalism had a single objective: to establish the independence of the Tanzanian nation.

With challenges aside, the campaign’s thrust of “My Country First” would be to fight moral decadence among public leaders, combating the creeping incubus of corruption in the society, fighting theft of public property, weeding power abuse among public leaders, religious discrimination, tribalism, regionalism, ethnicity and poor attitude of Tanzanians to government and its initiatives.

Some Tanzanians are given to embrace a new government with open hands, but they hardly exercise the patience in allowing it sufficient time to adjust and face the onerous business of ruling.

Scholars say patriotism and nationalism both show the relationship of an individual towards his or her nation. The two are often confused and frequently believed to mean the same thing.

However, there is a vast difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage.

Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs. Patriotism is based on affection and nationalism is rooted in rivalry and resentment. One can say that nationalism is militant by nature and patriotism is based on peace.

Most nationalists assume that their country is better than any other, whereas patriots believe that their country is one of the best and can be improved in many ways. Patriots tend to believe in friendly relations with other countries while some nationalists don’t.

In patriotism, people all over the world are considered equal but nationalism implies that only the people belonging to one’s own country should be considered one’s equal. Nationalism makes one to think only of one’s country’s virtues and not its deficiencies.

Nationalism can also make one contemptuous of the virtues of other nations. Patriotism, on the other hand, pertains to value responsibilities rather than just valuing loyalty towards one’s own country.

Since coming to power on November 5, 2015, President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli has been on the forefront telling Tanzanians that bad governance and political irresponsibility have never constructed the greatness of any human society.

The peace, progress and development of every nation are forever predicated on, and guaranteed by, responsible and visionary leadership which pilots the affairs of the state with enormous sense of duty.

History testifies to these facts. It is important to see leadership as a call to serve the masses and the zeal to inspire fellow citizens with apostolic zest unlike the nebulous college of looters that had been parading in the Tanzanian society as messiahs.

During the colonial rule, some local chiefs in various parts of the country, as true patriots, rose up against foreign domination staging battles with the invaders.

President Magufuli has for the past two years been preaching the virtues of patriotism and nationalism by appealing to leaders and fellow citizens to do what is required to make the rest of the world see Tanzania as sovereign state. He has been urging Tanzanians to learn to be different and develop the courage to have confidence in themselves and stop being diffident.

Through courage and selflessness, President Magufuli has led a ceaseless battle against corrupt elements, incompetent leaders and the outright theft of the country’s natural resources – minerals as well as wildlife.

He has done so believing that history is not about the status quo; it is about change which is speeding up, accelerating to the point where it threatens to overwhelm the management capacity of political leaders.

It is for this reason that Tanzanians must move forward with faith and never drop their determination to improve their common prospect as a nation by accepting the campaign on Patriotism and Nationalism - “My Country First” – which mobilises people of all social strata through the mass media, celebrations, lectures and art exhibitions.

Another focus of the campaign is using academic knowledge, art exhibitions and information and communication technology to evoke consciousness of the youth on national culture, art, norms and ideals and to prepare forums for discussions on national trophies, the country’s history, security and cultural regeneration.

The work of prominent freedom fighters such as Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Mzee Abeid Amani Karume, Rashid Mfaume Kawawa, Sheikh Thabit Kombo, Bibi Titi Mohamed and other famous names in the independence struggle would be put to spotlight to enable the young generation of Tanzanians understand what their forefathers did to remove the chains of political bondage.

Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Nyerere, taught Tanzanians to disavow the corrupting influence of cloying opulence and capitalism.

Why should a leader not identify with the sufferings of his compatriots? Why would a leader be seen only through the prism of affluence and not through sacrificial service that should leave him no time to amass wealth or go into so-called business?

Why would public office be a showroom of pomp, pageantry and perquisites? Why would you be richer after holding public office than before? A true leader ought to be poorer (lighter) after shedding weight, giving away part of you in order to serve!

These considerations led Mwalimu inexorably to the conclusion that Africa did not need the deadly grab-itall spirit of capitalism and exploitation of man by fellow man. He came up with Ujamaa (socialism), which emphasised cooperative brotherhood and the commitment to self-reliance as a nation.

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