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New biography explains for beatification cause for Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere

December 05, 2012

A new Italian biography of Julius Nyerere, the 1st president of Tanzania after independence, explains why the African leader is now a candidate for beatification, writes Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa.

Nyerere, the president of Tanzania from 1964 until his retirement in 1985, advanced a policy of ujamaa, his own brand of African socialism, which emphasized education, self-reliance, equality, and local production. But his one-party government, dogged by corruption, left Tanzania impoverished and completely dependent of foreign aid.

A convert to Christianity, Nyerere was a daily communicant, known for his active prayer life and frequent fasting. He died in 1999, revered by his people as the father of their country. The Tanzanian bishops opened a cause for his beatification, with Vatican approval, in 2006.

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