‘Kikwete: Lets honour Mandela via forgiveness’

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The president of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete has advised Tanzanians to develop the spirit of forgiveness as a sign of remembering the first President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

Dr Kikwete said it today when he was addressing the public at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam during the 52 years celebrations of Tanzania Mainland Independence.

He said that people thought Mandela would have revenged against his political rivals after his imprisonment, but the situation was vice versa, he forgave them.

“Mandela declared forgiveness to all the people who involved in one way or another is isolating the Black South Africans and he formed a special commission for negotiation between the white minority and the black Africans so as to build unity among them,” Said Dr Kikwete and added,

 “What Mandela has done shows his political maturity which Tanzanian leaders and other leaders in the world have to honour him for developing the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness.”

He said that since the era of TANU, Tanzania has been working closely with liberation political parties in Africa including the African National Congress (ANC) which was led by the late Nelson Mandela, so he urged Tanzanians to develop this good relationship with other countries.

The final hours of a revered man

Mzee Nelson Rolihlahla Dalibunga Mandela spent his last moments surrounded by close family members, including his wife, Graça Machel, former wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, daughter Makaziwe and grandson Mandla.

This is contrary to some earlier reports that Winnie wasn’t around when South Africa’s first black president died.

According to details from close family members, the last hours of Madiba were very critical to the family members as they watched the global icon fighting his final moment after the life-support machine was switched off.

According to the details gathered by The Citizen, which is the only newspaper in Tanzania to have reported last week that the anti-apartheid hero was on his deathbed, Mandela was not on a life-support machine and had been breathing on his own when he died.

Mandla, his heir, had been urgently summoned from Mvezo in the Eastern Cape to his grandfather’s bedside early on Thursday morning.

One of the last people to see Mandela alive was South Africa’s United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa.

Mr Holomisa, who was very close to Mzee Mandela for many years, said he arrived at the Houghton, Johannesburg, home on Thursday at about 5.30pm after he received a call that the former statesman “was not well”.

“I went straight to see him in his room. I was sad to see that his situation, from the last time I saw him, had deteriorated very badly,” Mr Holomisa said.

He spent more than an hour with Madiba and left the house just after 7pm. “Little did I know it would be the last time I would see him alive,” Holomisa was quoted by South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper

Madiba died at 8.50pm.

Earlier last week, there were hints that something was up, first with Mandela’s eldest daughter Makaziwe’s unusual comment that her father was putting up a courageous fight from his “deathbed” where “he is teaching us lessons; lessons in patience, in love, lessons of tolerance”.

On Tuesday night, last week, President Zuma learned of Mandela’s deteriorating condition and that his death was imminent.

On Wednesday, word came from his house in Houghton that his already critical condition had worsened. He was fading fast.

Mandela had not spoken a single word for months and on Thursday night, he was entering the final moments of his life. His former wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was there and preparing to stay overnight. Those in the house speak of an overwhelming sadness that engulfed it.

Family members were allowed into his room in pairs or in threes and allowed private moments with him.

Mandela’s two youngest daughters, Zindzi and Zenani, were in London at the royal premiere of Long Walk to Freedom when they received the news of their father’s death. They immediately left the cinema.

After President Jacob Zuma was informed of Mandela’s death – as required by protocol – close family friends gathered at the house.

As Mandela’s body left his home – in a casket draped in the South African flag – Mandla continued to sing his praises with the words “Aah Dalibunga” and was joined by family members and the political leadership who were present.

The former president’s body was still lying in his room on the upper floor of the house.

At about midnight, the military arrived with a casket to collect Mandela’s body so it could be taken to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria.

“The family was very strong, but the mood was sombre. The toughest moment came when the military arrived to collect Madiba’s body around midnight. When they came from his room upstairs with his lifeless body followed by Mandla, it started to sink in that Madiba was gone. We all stood up to observe the moment and joined in when Mandla sang his praises … Aah Dalibunga,” said someone who was present.

The former president has, over the past few years, become increasingly frail and was hospitalised numerous times. His last stay in hospital lasted 86 days after he was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on June 8.

Mandela’s funeral on Sunday, this week, is expected to be one of the biggest global gatherings in history as world leaders prepare to converge in unprecedented numbers on South Africa.

US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, will travel to South Africa with former first couple George W and Laura Bush.

The Bushes will be making the trip with the Obamas on Air Force One at the first couple’s request.

Former president Bill Clinton, who was in office when Mandela came to power, also said that he would be making the trip to attend the funeral, with his family.

“I wouldn’t miss this,” said Clinton. “He was a genuine friend to me, and he was a really fine partner as president. So my whole family will be there and we’re looking forward to having the chance to say goodbye one last time.”

Other heads of state who will attend include French President François Hollande, Chad President Idriss Déby, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and representatives from China, Iran, Cuba, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The British delegation is expected to include senior royals, presumably Prince Charles and possibly Prince William, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron.

The prince and princess of Monaco announced on the palace’s official website that they would attend Mandela’s funeral.

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene said Mandela was “an example, a symbol of reconciliation, a great man who, through his courage, selflessness and generosity, was able to change the course of history and make his life a fight for justice and respect for human dignity”.

There will be a memorial service for Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Tuesday.

His body will lie in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria from Wednesday to Friday. It will be transported to the Union Buildings each day from the mortuary at 1 Military Hospital. Government communications chief director Neo Momodu said the public would be allowed to line the route as the motorcade carrying Madiba’s coffin parade through the capital’s streets.

Access to Mandela’s lying in state will be strictly controlled and no photographs or video recordings will be allowed.

Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said yesterday that it was not certain “at the moment” whether Mandela’s casket would be open or closed. Chabane said all venues – the Mandela house, FNB Stadium and the Union Buildings – would be cordoned off and that access would be controlled.

On Saturday, Mandela’s remains will arrive in Qunu, where he grew up and where he will be buried alongside his children Makgatho, Thembekile and Makaziwe on Sunday.

Security was tightened outside Mandela’s home in Qunu yesterday with a heavy military presence.

Police on horseback were also patrolling the streets in the village.

Today, Zuma will attend a service at the Bryanston Methodist Church in Johannesburg to mark the national day of prayer and reflection called to remember Mandela.

Zuma reiterated the call to all South Africans to go to stadiums, halls, churches, temples or synagogues today to celebrate the life of Madiba.

“As South Africans, we sing when we are happy and we also sing when we are sad to make ourselves feel better. Let us celebrate Madiba in this way, which we know best. Let us sing for Madiba,” said Zuma.

By The Cizen reporters and agencies

 

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