|Speeches on Development (COSTECH, 1999, 181 p.)|
When I was requested to write the Foreword to this very special book, my initial reaction reminded me of the response made by Biblical Moses, upon being commissioned by the Lord to undertake a specific mission: "... Who am I?" (Exodus 3:II).
Indeed I strongly felt unqualified for the task, and I gave a long list of more senior, more qualified, and more eminent citizens of our country who might have been asked to write it. But at the insistence of members of the Chagula family I have accepted what is both an honour and a challenge.
I am a product of Ambassador Dr Wilbert Chagula's leadership during my undergraduate study period at the then University College, Dar es Salaam. We met very early in my academic career and he was a great source of inspiration to me. We also had very extensive discussions a year before his untimely departure. I remember him expressing great interest and satisfaction in the pioneering work I had done towards catalysing the introduction of seaweed farming technologies to our poverty-stricken communities along our coasts - an innovation which, over the years, has created job opportunities for some 30/000 villagers in Tanzania/mostly women, and a breakthrough which tallied with his vision on the role of university academics as agents for promoting social change, natural resource development, and the economic empowerment of the people.
The great blessing of having responded positively to the invitation is that it has enabled me to read each individual chapter of this great book thoroughly and analytically. In so doing, I have been enlightened enormously, and I have come to a better realisation of the intellectual depth, broadmindedness, hypermetropic [far sighted] vision, thoroughness, academic excellence and scholarship, and inspiring leadership acumen of Ambassador Dr Wilbert Chagula.
As you read through this collection of speeches, which cover a wide spectrum of themes ranging from science and technology for development, to challenges on rural development, to academic research and national development, co the economic and political challenges confronting Tanzania, Africa, and the Third World as a whole, you cannot but admire and salute his deep sense of purpose, his clarity of thought, expression, and eloquence, and his courage, frankness and independent thinking. Many of the issues covered in the various suggestions and recommendations he had made along the way, still merit serious consideration by our many Universities today, by our many Governments in Africa, and by the international community. Indeed, a number of the statements he made several decades ago were very prophetic, as the reader familiar with subsequent events will witness in the process of browsing through the book.
Few individuals in Tanzania, or anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, can claim to have had a more solid academic, administrative, political, and international experience and exposure than the late Ambassador Dr. Wilbert Chagula. In the course of his varied career he served as a university lecturer, the first African Principal in what is now the University of Dar es Salaam, President of the East African Academy, a member of Parliament, a cabinet Minister in several Ministries, an Ambassador of eminence, and as Chairman, or member, of many national and international Boards, including those in the United Nations system. His role as Founding Chairman of the Tanzania National Scientific Research Council (now COSTECH) makes it especially appropriate for COSTECH to be the publishers of this volume.
The speeches published here profoundly depict his versatility, his dynamism, and his commitment to research-based statements. His culture of reading, research and scholarship is, indeed, abundantly reflected in each of the selected speeches contained in this book. That is why the book generates a magnetic appeal to readers of varied academic backgrounds and walks of life. It has something to say to university professors and students, senior managers in government and the private sector, politicians, diplomats, and personnel in the United Nations system.
Thanks to members of the Chagula family, Dr Alison McCusker, and the Director General and staff of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology, whose cumulative commitment and dedication have enabled this important publication to see the light of day.
Long live the tested wisdom of Ambassador Dr Wilbert Chagula recorded in this book!
Keto E. Mshigeni
Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs &
University of Namibia
UNESCO/UNU ZERI AFRICA Chair