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African leaders back Nyerere’s canonization cause

Catholic World News - June 02, 2010

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Jakaya Kitwete of Tanzania voiced support for the canonization cause of Julius Nyerere (1922-99), Tanzania’s founding president. Mr. Nyerere converted to Catholicism at 21, attended Mass daily, and led a single-party state that was known for government control of the economy.

“Tanzania has been the most peaceful country in East Africa because the people have been able to harvest from [Nyerere’s] principles,” President Museveni said on June 1 at the Catholic Martyrs’ Shrine at Namugongo (Uganda). “We should continue praying that he reaches a stage where he could be declared a blessing of God.”

“Anything that elevates the name of Tanzania in the Catholic Church is something that I will always support,” added President Kitwete, a Muslim. “He left his job to lead the struggle for the independence of Tanzania and later led the process of building our country.”

Archbishop Cyprian Lwanga of Kampala celebrated Mass at the shrine; Nyerere’s widow was among those in attendance.

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