Sokoine: The Old Leadership in Tanzania

Dar Es Salaam 2011
Dar Es Salaam Street (2011)

After uhuru celebrations overload yesterday. Today I am reflecting on what has happened to the new order of leadership in Tanzania. I remember when I was little. I mean very little back then in the early 1980s. A young energetic prime minister tragically died on a terrible car accident close to Morogoro. He died on the-then-newly opened tarmac road from Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma. I was just a child, thus, my recollection of the events surrounding the accident may not be entirely correct.

ImageMr. Sokoine passed away from injuries he sustained after the car he was traveling-in collided with Dumisan Dube’s car at Dumila, Morogoro. Dumisan was a young South African freedom fighter living in Tanzania at the time. In the 70s and the 80s, many South African freedom fighters lived in camps in Tanzania  where they learned general life and military skills aimed at  equipping  them with necessary life and military skills to fight apartheid in their home country.

I have no idea what the court rulings were. I do not know who was found guilty. I sometimes ask myself who was at fault or whom was found guilty for causing the accident and the eventual death of the Prime Minister? I have no answers to my own questions. However, what I know is this–there is still a huge cloud of suspicion onto the manner in which the accident happened.

The one thing I vividly remember to date is this–When Sokoine died, the whole country was in tears. Real tears and not crocodile tears we often see now-days. Everyone was mourning for the death of a great promising young leader.

At the time, it was information overload in a sense. Talking about information overload back then–there was  only  one radio station on the dial. Radio Tanzania and  in some occasions the Kenyan Broadcasting Corporation. You had no choice but listen to the never-ending four weeks of the nation in mourning. I mean this, in a good way.

I could still remember this man’s burial ceremony on the radio. It was like the biggest super-ball game ever. The song “kila mtu atauchukua mzigo wake mwenyewe” was in our 277 radio. The only radio we had in the house. It felt like I was in Monduli that day–watching his casket lowered to the ground. It was surreal.

Good old days. I was  young. Like many young minds. I was wondering what happened to dead people. Do they go to hell (motoni) or do they go to heaven (peponi)? What is it with young people’s mind and death? Death is sometimes scary to them (as in being eaten by termites) and sometimes fascinating. The “goods” of not knowing “too much” of and about what is happening around you. Not entirely comprehending the laws of nature. The natural cycling of matter in the universe.

I wonder what would happen if a leader on the same stature as Edward Moringe Sokoine died on an accident today.

Would people cry?


Or will they just be consumed with indifference?

Or will they (those with power) parade people on the street to show emotion that isn’t there?

Just like what happened in Ethiopia a few years ago.

I feel like the connection between leaders and their subjects has disappeared. Disappeared and never to be seen again.

Is it because most of the new leaders have lost touch?

Choosing to serve themselves rather than the people who entrust them with the office in the first place?

Just me wondering again.

I do not wish for any of you leaders in Tanzania to die. Of course not.

I am just interested in seeing what will the reaction be?


Happy 50 Tanganyika!!!!


2 thoughts on “Sokoine: The Old Leadership in Tanzania

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