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Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem

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Celebrating the life of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961-2009)

Celebrating the life of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961-2009)

http://endpoverty2015.org/english/news/dr-tajudeen-abdul-raheem-1961-2009/25/may/09

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    Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem Presentation Transcript

    • Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961-2009) 1
    • Introduction DR. TAJUDEEN ABDUL-RAHEEM – THE ULTIMATE AFRICAN It is that combination of a scintillating mind, endearing nature and spotless integrity that made A small tribute to a big visionary him a formidable force for good, raising the most difficult questions in a refreshingly different manner, offering lucid alternatives and speaking truth to power like almost nobody could. I sus- If we were to include everything that Taju himself wrote or has been written about him, this pect some of his courage of conviction came from his being a man of Islamic faith, but like ev- would be a publication that would run into hundreds of pages. We have therefore restricted this erything else he carried his faith lightly and worked vigorously with people of all persuasions. collection to a small scrapbook which simply gives a flavor of the vibrancy of the life and work of Taju’s legacy lives on in so many ideas, institutions and processes that he triggered, and of Taju. This is but a small sample of his newspaper articles picked from his vast collection of writ- course with his immediate family Ayesha, Aida and Mounira, and his countless friends, admirers ings, a sprinkling of the thousands of messages from friends, colleagues and well-wishers and a and disciples. Together we commit ourselves to keep the torch burning, to redouble our efforts very limited selection of Taju’s pictures and quotes. The different pieces we have included are to protect and promote the rights of the poor in Africa and beyond, and to continue Taju’s tire- an eloquent testimony to the massive contribution that Taju made to fighting poverty and real- less fight for economic, political and social justice. izing the Millennium Development Goals for the people of Africa. As Taju would always tell us: Don’t agonise, organize! On my part, I had often wondered how it could be possible that every single African and friends of Africa I have encountered, in any part of the continent and outside, always knew of Taju. Salil Shetty Reading the endless flow of articles on the internet and in the press about Taju in the last month, Director, U.N Millennium Campaign the answer has become crystal clear to me. If you have ever come across Taju, even if only for a few minutes, that memory would stay with you forever. Through his writings and speeches, for the majority of his ever-growing legion of admirers and disciples, he had one of the biggest and broadest minds in contemporary Africa. His incisive intellect and cutting polemic always came with gritty home truths. As has been said of another great revolutionary educationalist Ivan Illich, his ideological opponents would obviously disagree with him, but nobody, simply nobody, could ever ignore him. Of course, for those of us who had the good fortune of knowing Taju, the bigness of his mind was overshadowed by the largeness of his heart. With Taju, nothing happened in small quantities, everything, from his laugh to his love, was big and giving and always from deep inside. Taju embraced everybody he met, literally and figuratively, and showered them with his generosity of ideas and affection. I don’t know how he did it, but he always had time for everybody, even more so with young people. 1
    • 2
    • EMAIL FROM MARY ROBINSON My colleagues and I at Realizing Rights were shocked and dismayed at the tragic and untimely death of Africa’s great champion Taju. I know that you and many others feel quite devastated but I also hope you feel a true sense of pride in how many people have been touched by him and share that sense of loss. Please include us in deep condolences to his family and keep us informed of any way in which he may be commemorated. Again with deep sympathy, Mary Robinson EMAIL FROM HELLEN CLARK I know that this must be a difficult moment for the Millennium Campaign team, having to deal with this terrible loss. Please accept my sincere condolences for you and your colleagues. I hope that, in this tough time, Dr. Raheem’s legacy will serve as an inspiration to carry on his very important work in support of achieving the MDGs in Africa Helen Clark UNDP Administrator 3
    • Tribute from United Nations Millennium Campaign Africa Staff When I received the phone call at about 3.30 am on May 25th asking me to come urgently I look back at the wonderful times we shared with my dear Taju and I feel very blessed and to Nairobi hospital, I was certain that I would find Taju alive and well complaining about his privileged to have served at the feet of such a master of our trade… a man who loved Africa “forced” entrapment at the hospital. Little did I know that I would find Taju, gone… dead! I will with every fibre of his body and believed in the dream of a United States of Africa. A man who never forget that moment when the police officer told me that Taju was not more… I simply made a conscious choice to speak out against the most powerful on behalf of the marginalised. could not believe it. As a tribute to him we should all dedicate ourselves to the campaign against social injustice and poverty and push for the achievement of the MDGs in Africa by 2015. Almost a month later, I am still in total shock, the tears still flow and the sense of loss is just overwhelming. As we do our best to cope, I will always remember Taj as I called him, as a kind, May the almighty rest his soul in eternal peace and until we meet again my dear Oga Taju, caring and amazing boss who was always ready to listen to his colleagues, support their efforts kwaheri ya kuonana. and ensure that we got results. He pushed us to be innovative out-of-the-box thinkers, always Sylvia Mwichuli, Communications Coordinator, Africa, UN Millennium Campaign telling us that he was sick and tired of the same old campaigning activities that involved going to workshops and seminars to talk about poverty. He constantly dared us to be different, to focus Whence cometh another? on impact of our activities and to always remember that our campaign was about the poorest Tajudeen laughs and jokes echo in the depths of my brain; of the poor. And when I hear it, it causes me agony. How this heartache devours me night and day... Taju was able to talk about poverty and the Millennium Development Goals in a way that got But the memories of discussions, deep debates and thoughts are strong and hold that time heals the attention of even the most hard-hearted and disinterested journalist or politician. Through the agonizing , his numerous humourous and life-changing off-the-cuff speeches and media interviews, he So I dream of the future - and quiet relief. constantly highlighted the grim reality that millions of Africans experience daily, in the most A United States of Africa! dramatic fashion. He was a great intellectual, a phenomenal human being, dream spokesperson for our campaign and the greatest social justice advocate I have ever met. Yet, he was so kind and I know that this sorrow will someday subside, compassionate and totally down to earth. What he really cared about were the mama mbogas, Leaving happy memories in its place, organizing on his thoughts the security officers who looked after us and the grassroot communities we worked with. This Aluta Continua! could explain the fact that he did not care much for protocol and the high and mighty. Mwaura Kaara - Youth and Students Focal Point/ Editorial Assistant. Africa, UN Millennium Campaign Taju was above all, a man of action. He had experienced first hand the hopeless and delibitating situation many poor communities face in our continent and believed beyond any shadow of I had the rare opportunity of working very closely with Dr. Tajudeen for thirteen months. Before doubt that the dark cloud that hang over communities could be eradicated if only our leaders joining the campaign, I had read a lot of his many interesting articles on socioeconomic and were more considerate, developed and implemented pro-poor policies and responded to the political issues which he used to post regularly on various newspapers. So when a chance commitments they made when they signed the Millennium Development Goals in the year 2000. presented itself to work within the same office with him, I considered it wise to do so. One of his often reported quotes was “Africa has enough resources to fulfil its needs but not enough to meet politicians’ greed”. In reality, Taju portrayed the same image as his many articles suggested; he lived what he talked in public. He practiced great respect to fellow colleagues in the office and was the kind of skilful He taught me and my colleagues at the UN Millennium Campaign many things over the three leader who believed in the diverse abilities of colleagues. years that we worked together the most important being that nothing is impossible if you are determined, committed and have a clear strategy. He also taught me that the only person we For a man who had wide and immense knowledge of the world, with close links to many high should fear is the almighty and no leader should intimidate us into keeping our mouths shut as profile people including presidents, one would have expected that Taju would be all over his they plunder and misource public resources. colleagues in the office exercising power, pride, toughness and intimidation. But Taju was quite 4
    • different, a very firm, down to earth and gentle leader who listened to colleagues’ opinions Many of us will not relate easily with the untimely departure of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem whom with keen interest and only made practical demands while providing all the support he could to I secretly admired as a “Great Merchant Of Hope” and are deeply saddened by the fact that ensure you delivered. I know few like him. our dear brother, comrade and renowned anti-poverty campaigner perished was claimed by May his soul rest in peace a car accident on a road whose state is a source of extreme agony for many of its users and Kavengo Matundu - United Nations Millennium Campaign, Africa Office. characterizes the failure of the African state to provide decent services to its citizens. Dear Dr Tajudeen, However, we draw inspiration from the fact that he died on Africa day (25th May) a very I was only able to work with you for a very short period of time, but I feel so blessed that I was significant day which featured prominently in his celebrated achievements as he dedicated a allowed this precious opportunity. greater portion of his life towards a pan-Africanist people driven quest for a united Africa and a world order where nations respected citizens rights through delivering sustainable livelihoods Before I came to work in your office I must admit I was very intimidated by all the great stories and development resulting in human dignity. about I had heard about you every time your name was mentioned. I was so nervous about working with such a legend! When I finally met you I was struck not only by your humorous Taju often talked of passing on to the other world and had a strong feeling that he will one day character and enormous intellect but most of all by your humble nature. You would listen and fall asleep and never wake up, but alas, it was on the campaign trail that we lost him. We do respect the view of everyone whether intern or President. hope that the “Piga Debe”—make a big noise campaign on maternal health will be a befitting tribute to continue on the path versus injustice which we all bear testimony that his commitment I will never forget the long lessons you gave me about the struggles between Ethiopia and was unwavering. Eritrea, you were a master story teller, every student’s dream! We will miss Taju’s hearty laughter, ferocious attacks, brutal frankness, passionate writings and It makes me so sad that it is now, after you have passed, that I am finding out more about your speeches. life and your work. You were amazing Dr. Tajudeen. You are such an inspiration to me and so many of my generation, how I wish you were here to speak about your vision in person with Taju will be remembered as one of the most prolific Pan-Africanists in the new millennium who your booming voice, hearty laugh and wild hand gestures when you at the crescendo of your organized countless activities and penned so many excellent thought provoking pieces packaged speech! Even though you are no longer with us I will continue to be an unofficial student and as his Thursday postcard, an undying testimony to his reflections on how best people could I hope that one day we Diaspora will make you proud and contribute to the fulfillment of your possibly organize struggles that would subsequently usher in progressive change consistent vision: a United Africa. with the vision of liberation we all cherish but exposed by our dear comrade in his larger than life presence in all the countries of the world he lived in and visited. You will always be with us. Nardos Hagos – UN Millennium Campaign, Africa Thomas Muchineripi Deve Policy Analyst (Africa) Taju, I grieve your demise. Tears cannot tell of the gap you have left behind, but the joy of having United Nations Millennium Campaign known and worked with you, continues to inspire me. Fare thee well, till we meet again. Linda Odhiambo Gender Coordinator - UN Millennium Campaign, Africa Taju has been the brains behind the unification of Africa and his death is a blow to this dream but the hope we have is the work he left behind so we going to pledge ourselves to utilize the knowledge he left behind to unify Africa. Hamimu Masudi – UN Millennium Campaign, Africa 5
    • Tribute from United Nations Millennium Campaign Global Staff It’s such a tragic news! How do I begin? Please know that my heart is with you in this time of difficulty. I have not been My deepest condolences to his entire family members and friends. able to write up to this point as there is a strong part of me that is in shock and disbelief still. Rahul Sharma As if, if I do not speak the words, then it is not true. I met Taju 4 times in my life, but I absolutely adored him and his impact is so great. We all sorely miss him here, but please know that my It’s really a sadden news for me. Please accept my deepest condolences to the African team. silence was not neglect, but a difficulty to wrap my mind around the fact that this legend of a With Warm Regards, man with such great capacity for love and joy has moved on. We really would have done well to Karlina Sutaprawira have such a man continue to grow and teach us. We need such elders, capable of navigating UNDP Programme Coordinator the world with such a vibrant, bold and earth quaking love. To memorialize that type of human Local Governance for MDGs being so early is a heartbreaking & bizarre exercise in my mind. Such spirits are such a rarity and a blessing. He does leave an incredible legacy to all who were fortunate enough to know I am just in shock and don’t know what to say. him. I pray for peace of mind and spirit for each one of you and wish I could be there to give you Please accept my condolences, the Africa Team. all great big Taju hugs! Seema Rajouria In love & solidarity always, Serwah Asante Não sei onde estás, mas é por certo um lugar mais divertido desde que chegaste. Administrative and Finance Associate, UNMC (I don’t know where you are right now, but it is surely a happier place after your arrival.) Vítor Simões. Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajeoun UNMC Portugal It is with my deepest sympathy that I mourn my brother Taju; he was indeed an example of a Communications Coordinator friend, brother and colleague. I am still in shock and disbelief. His remarkable laughter and loud voice can never be forgotten and also his love for his family. Aisha and Aida, your father loved The Asia team has received this awful news with tremendous shock and disbelief. you so much and you were always on his priority list whenever he traveled, he ensured that he gets you what you asked for. I think Salil spoke for all of us when he said that Africa lost one of We believe that Taju was one of the most vibrant and prominent campaigners in Africa as he its most prominent activists for the fight against poverty. continued to be the voice for global justice, human rights, democracy and Pan-Africanism. We will surely miss his charisma and encouragement and I am sure that the UN Millennium As a part of the global movements to promote social justice, he made everlasting contribution Campaign will never be the same without Taju. We had plans together, we were supposed to to the advocacy efforts of the Southern campaigns against poverty and exclusion around the be meeting soon and wanted to do a few things together (he always had the Campaign on his world. For Asia, his energy and tireless efforts to make the world a better place by encouraging mind), but God almighty decided otherwise. We must be strong believers and accept God’s wish solidarity among poor nations across Africa and Asia were invaluable experiences that we and that he is moving to a better place now. I am sure that his legend will last forever, and that had witnessed with great joy. There is much to remember and much to be grateful for Taju. His is what we should cherish, his good qualities, his kind heart, his talent to speak up regardless passionate laugh, larger than –life vivacious personality and considerate thoughts will be part of the audience, and his dedication to the causes he strongly believed in and overall, we all will of our memories for times to come. His words and wisdoms will always remain in our hearts and remember his laughter. thoughts making our resolve stronger than ever. We also shared the love for chili pepper, football, and Italy! With our sincere and deepest condolence for Taju’s family, the Africa team and his large network of friends and comrades spread all around the globe. Taju my friend, may God almighty bless your soul and accept you with his forgiveness into his Minar Pimple heavens. Deputy Director, Asia Ehab Burawi (UN Millennium Campaign- NY) 6
    • Tribute from United Nations Millennium Campaign Global Staff Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajeoun Bangkok in January 2009 … but it was sufficient to become connected! I still can hear his loud It is with deep regret that I mourn the death of my dear brother and friend Taju. We were together and open laughter, witty comments to make any discussion brighter and colorful, his promise to the whole of last week in Monrovia, and Dakar. Our last moments together were Friday prayers come to Bangladesh though he was afraid of water (he knew that flood is a regular phenomenon at the airport mosque in Dakar and he insisted having a photo with me at the mosque to add to in Bangladesh)! his collection of mosque pictures, then a big hug at the departure lounge with the last words… my brother see you in Rome in July, I will bring you the shirts you left in the hotel in Nairobi. I really dont know how his wife and children and family and friends will recover the loss who were connected with him deeply! Behold, this was the last time I was to see or speak to him but “If both Allah and man need the same thing, man loses out” which is the case here and so we accept the will and call of Allah the My deepest condolence for his family and Africa team! He will remain in my heart as an almighty. Brother Taju may Allah, the almighty forgive you and grant you eternal rest. inspiration! Monisha To the wife and two beautiful girls, this is beyond the imaginable but let us remember that it is (UN Millennium Campaign- Bangladesh) the will of Allah. Please accept my heart-felt condolences. Sering Falu Njie (UN Millennium Campaign NY) I am now at home, and I can’t believe you were here less than two weeks ago laughing and chatting with the team, James and Julia, celebrating the Civil G8. I am shocked and moved by this tragedy. I cannot imagine that somebody who is so much full of life and passion is gone. This is beyond what words can describe. I remember our joyful and animated discussion on the dress you chose for the TV interviews on the first day; and the subsequent decision we took that I would be your fashion adviser from now My deep and respectful condolences to his family, the African team and to the colleagues that on for Italian and European TV. The following day, it was very sweet to see you wear a traditional shared his enthusiasm and dedication. African dress. In deep sadness, I could write pages about both the funny and also the substantive discussions we had. I remember Sebastian (UN Millennium Campaign -NY) when you gave me a full 3 hour training session on the Kenyan political crisis to prepare me for a tough TV interview. The world had become a lonelier place without Taju’s resounding laughter, quick-witted remarks, unwavering commitment to change the world, and his overall presence. Or I recall when you welcomed me in Nairobi at my hotel while I was having Campari, you were having an African tea which you beautifully described as” in Africa we drink the tea with We have lost one of our greatest Campaigners and friends. Africa has lost one of its great leaders. everything in it”. But what makes me reflect most profoundly is the memory of when you told Our retreats will never be the same again without Taju’s hearty laughter and impassioned me why you quit smoking when we were in Milan… You said that a few years ago you oldest comments and remarks. At the January 2009 Bangkok retreat, I looked forward not only to Taju’s daughter had asked you to quit smoking, because she wanted you alive for her. jokes and laughter, but to his wonderfully beautiful ‘Royal’ outfits. This conversation replays continuously in my head, and shows again and again how much your To Taju’s family, our sincerest condolences from the Philippines. love for life and your family were always with you. To the African team, we mourn with you. Taju will be in our hearts for always. Dulce Saret (UN Millennium Campaign -Asia) Hugs forever, Marina (UN Millennium Campaign- Italy) I still can not believe it … Taju is no more! He so lively and full of spirit, passion and wit … how can he suddenly become a photograph! I met him only once … during the global staff retreat in 7
    • Tribute from United Nations Millennium Campaign Staff Two days have passed already and I still can’t find the right words to express this most tangible When we first met in Delhi I said to him “Hi Taju, it’s nice to finally meet you, I’d heard so much of losses. I try to visualize the void that dear Taju has left behind both at work and at home and about you from Ryce and Som”. He said “don’t believe a word they say”. I said “No? but they can only see something that is fathomless. speak highly of you”. And we started laughing insanely… That said, I feel a richer person, honoured by the fact that our paths did manage to cross on Speaking from a person who’s so far away and only met him a couple of times — I’m bumped. So this earth, and especially for such a noble cause. I have faith that for many more years Taju will I’m sending my prayers and thoughts to all of you to stay strong through this difficult time. Please nonetheless continue to be one of the Millennium Campaign’s principle guiding lights. also pass my condolences to Taju’s family and his loved ones. Philip Gorman With love, Jasmine (UN Millennium Campaign-Asia) Your laugh, smile and words will remain alive my friend. In solidarity, Whenever I think of Taju I always remember the first time I met him, at the Asia-Africa retreat Luis last May – his laugh, his warm bear hug and his booming voice saying ‘Mandira, you are as crazy as the rest of us in this campaign and we will make you crazier!’ I joined the campaign My heart goes out to Taju’s family, the Africa team, the entire Millennium Campaign, and all because of the energy and the vision that I saw in that small room and the belief that it is only those that were touched by Taju’s passion and good humor. As I write I’m listening to Femi Kuti passion that brings about change. and other Afro-beat musicians, mindful of their struggle against corrupt regimes and for a better life for their countrymen and women, and how Taju also embodied those ideals. Taju lit up any room, any conversation, and his passion showed in every word he said. He was truly an inspiration. I met him only a few times but those few were enough to know he had a clear With the exception of perhaps Serwah and myself, Taju was the greatest Obama supporter heart and a deep compassion which showed through his work and his life. I feel privileged and on the Campaign. The few times I met him in person he greeted me with chants of “Obama blessed to have have known him and to have shared his life for such a short time. Having met Obama,” and he, along with all our colleagues, shared our joy on election day in November and Taju I truly believe that a few people like him are enough to change the world. on inauguration day in January. I had told him that on his next visit to the States he’d have to come to Washington, where I’d get him a White House tour and perhaps he could help ME get a My prayers and thoughts are with his wife and children and family and colleagues and friends meeting with the President! It will make this year’s Stand Up all the more meaningful if President and all the people who knew and loved Taju. Obama participates in Stand Up. I will dedicate this effort to Taju. At this moment of grief I would like to remember Taju loudly singing his favourite Hindi film Yesterday was Memorial Day in the US, and President Obama asked Americans to ring a bell at song… Rest in peace Taju, We will miss you. 3pm in honor of the fallen. I had learned of Taju’s passing only a few minutes before so I took Mandira (UN Millennium Campaign-Asia) that time to ring my family’s wind chime in his honor. Taju didn’t wear a uniform, but he did wage battle against injustice, was a soldier in the war against global poverty, fought for the rights of Thinking about Taju a smile appears on our faces. Probably everybody who has ever met him the poor and marginalized, and believed deeply that the MDGs must be achieved. remembers a very special and very personal moment with him. He had the talent to make He will be missed. everybody feel special, to make everybody feeling to be taken in serious. Love, When the G8 took place in Germany in 2007, we were very lucky because we were able to enjoy Anita (UN Millennium Campaign-Washington) Taju’s presence over some days. His time management was a real challenge for good German punctuality, this for sure. But although not caring about any rule or convention, everybody who I was deeply shocked and speechless that I couldn’t pull myself to write yesterday. Last night, I met him seemed to love him! had a dream about him and I woke up in the middle of the night — thinking it was only a dream — all this must be only a dream, but sadly not. Another unforgettable situation was in Cairo on the market place when Taju was bargaining with an Egyptian market woman over 10-20 gifts to bring back to his children, nieces and nephews. 8
    • Tributes and Condolences The market women never had so much fun before and at the end she sold the gifts at the lowest He was known in all the political circles in London before the Abdul Rahman Babu requested price ever. And in Milan, at our retreat the special leisure programme was a speedboat trip on a his service within the Pan African movement. Tajudeen excelled and emerged at the forefront canal. Taju preferred to lie down in the secure centre of the boat and cried out with a big smile of the international educational, political and cultural arena. He claimed this stage to press forth in his face and fear in his eyes “I am a son of the desert – I can not swim”. the claims of the oppressed for emancipation. He was not shy to remind us in his writings that he was the son of a “hardworking woman who was a petty trader.” In his last communication he These are only a few situations we will always remember, when thinking of our wonderful reaffirmed that he was driven to support the rights and dignity of hardworking men and women colleague and dear friend Taju. We will always keep him in our heart. from the grassroots. Tajudeen was a living example of what Walter Rodney wrote about when he observed that the task of the black intellectual was to place himself or herself at the service Nobody understands the big plan – maybe Taju has been called to an even more important of the people. mission now. The UN Millennium Campaign German campaign team: Renée, Steffi and Ralf Tajudeen was introduced to me from afar as the brightest student to pass through Oxford University. We met soon after in 1990 when he was one of the organizers of the Walter Rodney Great Minds are motivated by dynamic projects. This is a statement about the thinking of human commemoration activities in London. We reconnected again, a year later at the launch of the beings who want dignity and a better quality of life. In our generation of Africans who matured African Research and Information Bureau (ARIB). Since those early years we formed a bond after the period of independence, it was the belief that our dignity would be enhanced by the and worked on many projects to carry forward the ideas and practices of African emancipation. unity and freedom of our peoples. The project of the unity of the peoples of Africa is one that had Tajudeen was a builder and hard worker who threw himself into the tasks at hand. This level energized millions. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem worked tirelessly for the African unity. He worked in of energy was manifest in the organization of the 7th Pan African Congress in Kampala in 1994. the ranks of the people and was present at both the levels of government and at the discussions It was a meeting that brought out all of the contradictions between the old variants of Pan of the people. His was a voice for the power of the people. As one of our Rodneyite sisters Africanism, the question of the place of Sudan in the Pan African movement and most importantly, summed up the life of Tajudeen, “he was like an angel sent to us to enrich our lives.” the centrality of the grassroots women in the movement for freedom. It was in Kampala where the Pan African Women’s Liberation Organization (PAWLO) was formed. Tajudeen was born in Funtua, Katsina state, Nigeria in January 1961. Breaking through the repressive culture of the militarists and feudalists, Tajudeen like millions of Nigerian youth The Kampala meeting introduced Pan Africanists to the challenges of transcending divisiveness, yearned for a society where the youth could soar and beyond the civil war that tore his society genocidal thinking and narrow racial conceptions of who is an African. The Rwanda genocide apart while he was a young person. Excelling in educational system Tajudeen could not be accelerated on the last day of the 7th Pan African conference and Pan Africanists were forced contained. The Nigerian University system produced many fine minds and Tajudeen was one of to take a principled stand on genocide and genocidal violence. This genocide and the ensuing the finest to graduate from Bayero State University, graduating with first class honors. Tajudeen wars that engulfed Central Africa consumed the energies of Tajudeen for many years. He was more than once related the story of the interview for the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. on first name basis with Laurent Kabila, Yoweri Museveni, Meles Zenawi and other leaders. Despite the challenge to the interviewers about the legacies of Cecil Rhodes, Tajudeen was Working for peace he penetrated the duplicity of these leaders and was quick to discern the simply too bright for these gatekeepers to keep him out of Oxford University. It was probably hypocrisy and greed associated with the military forays of Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame their hope that the rituals of Oxford would tame and intimidate Tajudeen. Instead Tajudeen used into the Congo. Although Tajudeen broke early with these leaders he remained in Kampala as his years in Oxford to earn his doctorate in political science and while he was a student built General Secretary of the Pan African Movement, in so far as he felt that Pan Africanists had to networks of networks working in different formations dedicated to change. Whether it was in the work from African soil. This was a principled position that he took at the time of the congress anti-apartheid formations, the formations to support the peoples of Palestine, the anti dictatorial in 1994. struggles in West Africa or the global peace and justice movement, Tajudeen emerged as a force and a voice for good. Tajudeen was committed to ending the violence and divisions and he dedicated his life to opposing genocidaires. It was a strange twist that Tajudeen was again heading to Kigali, Rwanda on May 25, 2009 to engage those forces in Rwanda who wanted to fight poverty instead of spending 9
    • Tributes and Condolences money on senseless wars of plunder. Like Shaban – Wilson Rutasyire (who was consumed by Behind the joyous and jocular exterior Tajudeen carried a lot of pain. A deep pain of love was the Rwandan nightmare in 2000), Tajudeen was looking for a solution to the violence, plunder, hidden from most by the bonhomie. This pain soared to new levels at different points in his rape and widespread violation in Central Africa. life. Yet, Tajudeen silently endured the pain and ache that came when he was unable to join in the celebration of the life of his mother when she joined the ancestors in 1997. The military In his work within the Pan African movement, Tajudeen was a consummate diplomat. Behind dictatorship of Sani Abacha was terrified of Tajudeen. Their earlier attempts to silence him had his disarming wit lay a critical understanding of the need to reach the people. Tajudeen knew failed and Tajudeen did not want to give them another opportunity. Tajudeen was a major figure the social movements across Africa. Within the Pan African movement he had to interface with in the June 12 movement of Nigeria that fought to end the military dictatorship in Nigeria. He many of the leaders who had come to power through the movement for change. From Kampala, was not satisfied with the veiled authoritarianism of Obasanjo and he was a force behind many Tajudeen worked tirelessly with the movement for peace in the Sudan. Opposition to wars and different formations fighting for democracy and justice in Nigeria. Tajudeen was also opposed genocide was not an intellectual matter for Tajudeen, it was a matter of urgency that required to the pseudo anti imperialism of the Mugabe leadership in Zimbabwe. skilful negotiation of African politics. Tajudeen was as opposed to the senseless war in Northern Uganda as he was opposed to the militarism and genocidal violence in the Sudan. He wanted Taju threw himself into the work of liberation and travelled constantly. In addition to his to ensure that he was able to be effective as an opponent to these violations and betrayals. At work in Africa and Europe, the North American, Caribbean and South American branches of times the betrayal was most painful as in the moment of the tragic death of John Garang of the the movement also benefitted from Tajudeen’s insights. Tajudeen also worked with us in the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement. The record of the meetings for peace convened in Walter Rodney Commemoration Committee in 2005 to celebrate the ideas of Walter Rodney on Kampala remains a record to be built upon by those committed to the Pan African principles of emancipation and liberation. Tajudeen was passionate about the need for democratic change in peace. his own country. He was involved in the building of a community college in his home community of Funtua. He used his weekly postcard to communicate with all sections of the Pan African World. Whether in Barbados, Guyana, Atlanta, Berlin, Accra or Abuja, those who were active kept connected In the face of the religious intolerance and bigotry against followers of Islam after September through Tajudeen. He was like a glue keeping so many of us together. 11, 2001, Tajudeen, made a conscious political decision to observe Friday prayers in whatever Servant of the people community he lived in. This religious identification was borne out of the need to make a stand against the persecution of the followers of Islam. At the same time, Tajudeen was a force for The Pan African world is indebted to the family of Tajudeen, especially his widow Mounira and peace between Christians, Muslims and non believers in all parts of the world. He was mortified daughters Aida and Aisha. Tajudeen was a devoted father to his two daughters. At a great by the fundamentalism that was promoted in the name of religion to demobilize the youth. sacrifice to his family, Tajudeen had served as the General Secretary of the Global Pan African movement for more than ten years. It was service borne out of love for the people of Africa. In He was insistent that peace was a prerequisite for the reconstruction of Africa. He opposed the process he paid a great price because the bureaucrats of the Ugandan government sought Xenophobia of all forms. Tajudeen wanted to motivate all young people to oppose all forms of to starve him in order to break the movement. As this humble servant of people, he could not tyranny. It was his understanding that the challenge of motivating the youth was not simply a financially contribute to the support of his family. Yet, Tajudeen persevered and worked to moral issue but an urgent political task in a world where the most conservative and fundamentalist build an infrastructure to keep together Pan Africanists in all parts of the world informed and forces mobilized the energies of the youth into directions of death, destruction and intolerance. inspired. Tajudeen was involved in a number of formations to build the African Unity of peoples. Tajudeen had worked with Abdul Rahman Babu and he carried forward the traditions of Babu In all of his work as a freedom fighter, diplomat, journalist Tajudeen never forgot his humble to work with a constituency that was not limited to Africa. Tajudeen was part of a wider global roots. In the last years, Tajudeen worked for the United Nations as the African Director in the peace and justice movement. Promoting the ideas and practices of Babu, Tajudeen and his Millennium Development Goals. He did not allow his service as an international diplomat to friend Napoleon Abdulai organized the send off for Babu when Babu joined the ancestors in silence him in relation to the exploitation and impoverishment of the poor. He used this position 1996. as another platform to be an advocate for the oppressed. Tajudeen was my friend, brother and comrade. 10
    • Tributes and Condolences Tajudeen lived a full life and exhibited a free spirit, the spirit of an angel who was motivated It’s a sad day for Africa, and the tragic of the story is that when Dr Tajudeen visited KTN news by more than one dynamic project. We are committed to completion of one these projects, the station as part of G-20 London Summit debates in April 1 2009. He did not miss word as he used full unity of the peoples of Africa in a democratic union of the states and peoples of Africa. He to while talking about bad governance and did with clarity talk about bad road as a major cause was part of a new wave of humans who refused to be restricted and confined. In passing to the of road accident across the continent. But what moved all us in the newsroom and in think the ancestors on African Liberation Day, his life and spirit will be forever associated with African viewers at large is the way is drew significance between the fact that the political elite across liberation and African freedom. It is incumbent upon us to continue his work to ensure the goals Africa have turned into driving ‘big cars’ at the expense of the impoverished African tax payer of African unity and emancipation and peace for all peoples throughout the world are realized. as a way of protection against the bad road. I will stand to be corrected; this was probably the He will be missed, but never forgotten. We thank him for all that he has shared with us. last interview he ever had in a studio setting before his tragic end. Horace G. Campbell It’s a sad day in that bad governance in Africa has claimed a passionate and gifted African who had dedicated his life to the cause of the Africa poor. A man who could have been among http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/Tajudeen/56535 the most senior UN officer at New York, but one who opted to work within his Africa despite countless opportunity. This is indeed a wonderful tribute to my dear friend Tajudeen. I miss him very much and I, too, shared wonderful memories with Taju since the 1980s in London. In a different way, Taju and I For the better part that I meet Dr Tajudeen is the last three years, he had changed my life in shared much in common. Even though we came from different backgrounds, Taju in many ways different ways, above all to think about to search for an Africa solution within Africa. Strong reminded me of my dad, Kwame Nkrumah, even though Taju and I are roughly the same age. believer in the inherent ability of the African despite the odds, a fact he able to put across through his writings, interactions with who ever he met, through his charismatic nature and not Both Nkrumah and Taju married women from North Africa, and Mounira is a close friend of forgetting his laughter. mine. More interestingly, Taju’s daughters are roughly of the same age as my own sons, Karim Kwaku and Youssef Yaw. So we often used to joke that we should marry off our children: each Africa is now poorer without Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. I put him in the same category as late son of mine would marry one of Taju’s daughters. Well, that may still happen one day and it pains Julius Kabarage Nyerere, Lat Hastings Okoth-Ogendo, Leopold Sedor Senghor, and others. me that Taju would not be around to see those weddings if they do take place in the future. At For how will Africa continues to lose its best so tragically any rate my heart goes out to Mounira who stood by Taju, tirelessly looking after their daughters. Patrick Mugo Mugo And may Aida and Aisha gladden their mother’s heart by marrying great men like their dad, the Senior Researcher, KTN –Kenya Pan-African giant who was my dear friend. They say Nkrumah never dies, I say Taju never dies too. Forward Ever, Gamal Nkrumah. It is said that those we love, the gods love more. And it is also said that we never realise the Gamal Nkrumah extent of our love until it is lost. Dear Taju’s Families and friends, I have courageously passed many bad days. This heartbreaking Both sayings are true, as was brought brutally, painfully home to me over the past two weeks. news is one of the hardest to accept and live with it. Though physically, he will not be with us, First by the loss of the brother of one of my closest friends. I believe the legacy he left under each of us will live forever and be remained deep in our heart and mind. May God keep his soul in peace. I wish strength for all his families and friends. And then by the death this past Monday of Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, probably best known for Girma B Hailu, MDG Support Country Advisor, UNDP-Ethiopia his role as secretary general of the Pan African Movement. I wish all the strength in the world to his family to cope with this tremendous loss. What a great But he had many other roles as well. Kenyans exiled and resident in London through the 1980s guy he was and remains in my memory! Inspiring, warm, wonderful activist, fantastic to work knew him as one of their strongest allies in the struggle for democracy — not just in Kenya but with him on GCAP. I will miss him. in Ghana and Nigeria as well as for the struggle for Eritrean independence. Paul Groenewegen, Oxfam Novib 11
    • Tributes and Condolences The outpouring of grief from across the continent and beyond, from Africa’s foremost talked to him one to one; I loved his humour and above all his intelligent, wisdom, understanding thinkers, from the highest levels of leadership to the most normal of citizens is, I think, without and knowledge about everything under the beauty of Africa and the world. precedent. He believed in young people and supported them believe in themselves. He facilitated initiatives There is no other African who was so known by so many from all walks of life in all African states that made young people engage at all levels and fully march to realizing their full potential. — and this without being a head of state of Nelson Mandela’s calibre. He was loveable and just the man you want as a friend, spokesperson in your wedding and THIS GRIEF IS MANIFESTING ITSELF in ways that will last — apart from the memorials already father to the bride!” conducted in Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Pretoria and planned for Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania and the United Kingdom. His home state in Nigeria will be naming a school or May his light continue shinning through his family, friends, colleagues and generations after street in his honour. generations. For he was such an extraordinary person. Big in body, laughter and voice, he could be heard coming a mile away. Big in engagement with all things African, big in spirit in terms of his I am very much sure he will be proud of his favourite youth from above there! embrace of any African concerned about the continent. Hellen Tombo, Regional Advisor, Plan International I met him first a decade and a half ago, at a conference in Arusha — ostensibly convened It is with profound shock that we learnt of the untimely death of our brother and colleague, to discuss the Rwandan refugee crisis in the region only a year after the genocide, but more Comrade Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. I personally am terribly distressed at the loss of such an importantly, to address the politics around humanitarian aid in the Rwandan refugee camps, ebullient person; one that was such a dear, committed and dedicated friend to Africa’s well- in which it was already clear the Interahamwe had taken control, effectively preventing the being. Rwandan Patriotic Front from demobilising them. Taju, as he was fondly known, has spent a life of dedicated service to the Pan African cause for But beyond the angry debates — aimed at shifting the key international humanitarian actors in which he will be remembered and greatly missed. the region — there was the side of Tajudeen that anybody and everybody he drew into his ambit knows so well. We at African Monitor owe a debt of gratitude to Taju – it was his very presence at our launch at Bishopscourt, Cape Town, in 2005, and at many of our key events subsequent to that, that allowed The evenings filled with food and laughter — as well as the inevitable arguments about African us to reach hitherto inaccessible audiences and mobilise resources for the operationalising of politics, the dissections of the players therein and all of their relationships. this vision.The only fitting tribute we can pay him is to commit to continue the work of fighting bondage, poverty, inequality and injustice. From him, over the years, I learnt a huge amount about Africa and its movers and shakers. And, through him, I met many of them — with his benediction, as so many of us found, doors swung Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues, and those closest to him. open, not just politically and professionally, but personally. Archbishop Njongo Ndungane President and Founder, African Monitor http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/opOrEd/comment/-/434750/604872/-/am1tlt/-/index.html L Muthoni Wanyeki, Kenya Human Rights Commission Tajudeen-You Walked the Talk and Fought the Good Fight-Fare Thee Well I have lost an icon, a coach, a mentor and a true friend. I was privileged to work with you since the year 2000 on the transition from the OAU to the AU and in shaping the AU. He called me his favourite Youth and I called him my favourite Elder. He made us laugh, cheer, node, and cry in agreement of what he said in his speeches or when one I shared many platforms to present the voice of the common African citizens. It was not always easy but you appreciated very well what we were up against. 12
    • Tributes and Condolences I will forever remember your words ‘it is not the bureaucrats in the AU Commission and Members Life is to us a beauty in death it still is only that we are in tears. Let these tears be memorable for States who are going to unite this continent, it is us the peoples’. what he was and still is to us, A TRUE SON OF AFRICA!! Till we meet again You never ceased to remind us the power of the people to move things. You emphasised many Wahu Kaara times that we have to work with and sensitise the citizens on the importance of integration. More than 24 hours have gone since Taju was taken away from us and still the tears do not stop I still remember the many sessions we held especially with the younger generation that is often flowing. I had the privelege of being taken under his wing when I was at Oxford University as very pessimistic about the future of our continent. You were always quick to remind them that a young South African exile in 1987. He taught me so much. I remember him giving one of the the great obstacle to our advancement is not our capability but the colonisation of our minds by best talks I have ever heard at the Oxford University African Society, in 1988: The Nkrumahist ‘Afro-pessimism’. version of Pan-Africanism is more relevant than ever before. That one speech changed my life from someone who was narrowly focused on my own country to embracing the vision of african I will miss how you told the truth to everyone: from the heads of state and government, comrades political and economic integration. He introduced me to West African food and I had my first in the movement and citizens that you met at the grassroots level. Your ability to put in beautiful plantain with him at his humble abode at the North Oxford Overseas Centre. We did not see words what was not palatable, pass your message and leave a smile and inspiration even in the each other often, but when we did it was as if we never were apart. Coming from within the faces and hearts of the people you criticised the most. liberation struggle against apartheid at the age of 22, my knowledge about struggles of other African countries was limited; yet he never made feel bad about this and helped in my learning. Taju, I regret that I missed the most important party you have ever invited me to on May 23, 2009. I lost the opportunity to eat your food and share in your laughter and your insights and those of It was one of the greatest joys to have our worlds intersect in 2005 with the formation of the the guests that always congregated at your house. Global Call to Action Against Poverty. He was a fierce critic of many of the strategies and of the conduct of some of the participants in the movement but that never made any difference But the insights, passion, commitment and dedication to Pan Africanism that you have shared to our friendship. It is what I loved most about Taju. You could disagree with him tactically and with me over the years are in a safe place in my heart and mind. strategically without it being personal. I pray to God to help me put all my efforts towards the realisation of your vision for our beloved My last time we saw each other was in Ghana in September where he lamented about continent. “remunerated solidarity” from the north and the “protest by per diem” culture taking root in Africa and elsewhere in the South. Taju, you loved us in no small measure. I am not sure that we loved you even as half as you loved us and our continent. I know you gave your all to this continent. You did not spend a lot of Most of all, like so many others, who knew Taju, I will miss his warmth, his infectious laughter, time with your wife and daughters as you wished. I can see the pain in your face when told me his sense of humour and his wisdom. Hamba Kahle Taju. You will live on in our hearts and minds that your daughter asked to ‘Dad, why do you love Africa more than us?’. I know your struggles and you will continue to inspire us even though your physical presence will be deeply felt. to balance your passion for Africa and your daughters. Your fears that your daughters may one On behalf of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, we express our deepest respects and day ‘hate’ the Africa you loved because it always took you away from them. I believe your love condolences to Mounira, Aisha and Aida. to them, the quality time you spent with them and the values that you have instilled in them will Kumi Naidoo keep them going for a long time and that Africa will always have a special place in their hearts. Co-Chair, Global Call to Action Against Poverty From the tributes I have read and heard about you, I am assured me that YOU ARE LOVED in a BIG WAY!!!!! and your spirit will live on. Fare Thee Well Beloved Brother...... Mary Wandia, OxfamGB, Pan Africa Office 13
    • Tributes and Condolences We received with shock and deep sadness the news of the death of our Chair, Dr. Tajudeen a period of abstention. In those early days, as he set about steering the young Pan-African Abdul-Raheem. He died early this morning, 25th May 2009 in an accident while on his way to the Movement, Taju exuded confidence and certainty on the outside but constantly wrestled with Airport in Nairobi, Kenya to catch a flight to Rwanda to meet with the county’s President on the the contradictions of leading a movement that had been launched by Heads of States. It took current maternal mortality rate campaign. him little time to realize that the movement would have to keep more than an arm’s length from officialdom if its name was to amount to a real claim. Should the Pan-African Movement draw Tajudeen was the Deputy Director (Africa) for the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC). its resources from sympathetic African states or from supportive foreign donors? How could a He was a leading development activist at the world level and an inspiration leader of the Pan movement launched from the top develop roots on the ground? Would a Pan-African civil society African Movement and has been the Secretary-General of the Pan-African Movement. He is be any different from the assortment of NGOs that have ceased to be membership organizations also a Director of Justice Africa and the chair of PADEAP in London. A Rhodes scholar at Oxford but are instead accountable to donors that provide them with resources? University, where he received a D Phil in Politics and was President of the Africa Society, Dr Abdul-Raheem has extensive experience of political and social movements in Africa and has I often wondered what sense to make of Taju’s move from a full-time Pan-African job to a full- been at the forefront of several campaigns. He was editor of Pan Africanism: Politics, Economy time UN job. Was it an admission that a healthy Pan-African movement could not be built from and Social Change in the Twenty-first Century (Pluto Press, 1996). He has also written extensively the roof down but would require so many national building blocks, as its constituent elements? and some of his works include: Nigeria, Oil and Democracy [Journal Article, Review of African The most abiding memory I retain of Taju is that of eternal optimism, the determination that it Political Economy, 1986]; The Left in Nigerian Politics and the Struggle for Socialism: 1945-1985 is possible to proceed whatever the odds, and that the proof of genius lies in the ability to build [Journal Article, Review of African Political Economy, 1986]; Nigeria, Crisis Management under with materials on the ground, to take a leap from text to life. He broke decisively with the ‘theory the Buhari Administration [Journal Article, Review of African Political Economy, 1985]. first’ orientation of his older comrades. Taju honored no rules, no commandments, no limits except those he encountered on the ground. He could work with anyone, whether government, The Centre for Democracy and Development expresses its heart-felt sympathy and condolences UN, donor or NGO. The worth of a relationship for him did not lie in the identity of the other side, to his immediate and extended family, the UN system, particularly the Millennium Campaign but in who set its agenda. It is worth recalling the signature with which he ended every note: Team, the Pan African Movement and his large circle of friends and comrades over this sudden “Don’t agonize, Organize!” and devastating loss of this accomplished human rights activist. May Allah grant him eternal rest and give his family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. Whatever the contradictions of life, Taju’s person always seemed big enough to contain them. Jibrin Ibrahim Set in an always-smiling face, his eyes were ever alert, as if trying to see around the corner. His Director Centre for Democracy and Development hand always stretched out in a gesture of friendship, the firm grip at the end of it was a constant Jibrin Ibrahim, Centre for Democracy and Development reminder of his unfailing strength. Everything about Taju affirmed, not just that his embrace was always larger than life, but that he himself was more often than not perched at its very edge. He I was introduced to Taju by Abdul Rehman Babu in the early 90s. Taju came to Kampala as was like a force of nature. If nature has reclaimed him, we must draw from his life an example Babu’s nomination to Museveni for Secretary General of the newly established Pan-African for us all. Movement. We invited Taju to Centre for Basic Research to give a talk. His opening salvo was Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government Dept of Anthropology, MEALAC, and a bitter indictment of Africa’s post-independence leadership: “If an American ship docked at Political Science, and the School of International and Public Affairs Columbia University Lagos port today, with a huge banner reading ‘Slave ship to America,” there would a queue of millions of Nigerians wanting to get on that ship.” This was classic Taju: there is no time for January 1993, I have worked with Taju and other Panafricanists of all ages, persuasions and formalities, or pleasantries; the time at hand is short. generations -Irungu, Jenerali, Dismas, Namtasha, Ika, Isa Blyden, Thomas Deve, Muthoni, Taju never looked for a comfort zone. He was impatient with boundaries in thought as he was Horace, Atsango, Ondonga, Ahmed Cheikh Gueye, Napo, Gamal, Kwame Toure, Karim Essack, with protocol in life. There was nothing moderate about Taju. A practising Muslim, he refused to Chidi, Noble, Mzee Chango, old Wankulu – Africans all ,from the continent and its Diasporas men believe that rituals could take the place of life itself. He combined Friday prayers and Ramadan and women some of whom have preceded him .Irrespective of the place and the setting Taju fasts with often raucous evenings drinking, feasting and debating comrades and colleagues at loomed larger than life before during and after the 7th Pan African Congress with all the personal open air bars in Kabalagala, just outside Kampala. If he was not feasting, he was in an interlude, political and professional challenges. Tajudeen weathered every storm, never wavering in his 14
    • Tributes and Condolences resolve with wit, biting sarcasm and wicked humour in pursuit of the ultimate that binds us all: I first came to know Tajudeen in 1983, at a particularly dark era in Kenya’s history, when he Pan African Liberation .He always sought alternatives where the mainstream had boxed us into joined us at protest meeting against the repressive Daniel Arap Moi and his ruling KANU party a corner , never one to retreat from an impasse he’d always quote Amilcar Cabral:Claim no regime in London. Hundreds of Kenyans had been rounded up by the Kenyan government and easy victories , tell no lies. He fought global injustice –debt, asymmetrical trade, poverty while detained without trial or sentenced to long jail terms on trumped up charges. reserving a special place for the sisters. I cannot forget that a few weeks ago, I was working on his moving tribute to African women losing their lives as they give life and all because of skewed Just a year before, we had formed the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in priorities. I called him with a lump in my throat. Thank you Taju for speaking up for the women of Kenya to expose and bring to international attention the terrible human rights violations being Africa Yes Jjaja, he said: Women should not lose their lives while giving life. Not in my wildest committed by the Moi-KANU regime and mobilize support for the democratic struggle in Kenya. dreams could I have imagined that our final conversation would be on life and rights. Oh Taju The Committee attracted a cross-section of African, Caribbean and British personalities and that you should lose your own life fighting for women’s health rights, breathe your last on Africa for much of its existence was led and chaired by the Trinidadian-born Pan Africanist John La Liberation Day. That one who dealt with so many should pass away alone in the dead of night. A Rose. Pan Africanist alone on a highway that is the lifeline to millions of Africans. That one who fought long and hard for free movement of Africans in their own continent without let or hindrance Tajudeen quickly energized the committee’s activities and was rarely absent at many of our should come to such an abrupt end in full flight. weekend meetings and protests, so much so that for a while the Kenyan intelligence that kept beady eyes on the opposition in London mistook him for a Kenyan. Pan Africanists young and old are mourning those he nurtured, educated and mentored. His sad passing has left an irreparable gap in our lives and our hearts go out to Mounira, their In 1987, when together with Wanjiru Kihoro, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Abdilatif Abdallah, and Shiraz two beautiful little girls he loved so much Aida and Aisha, his siblings, sisters especially his baby Durani, we formed the first exiled-based political movement – UKENYA - to challenge the Moi- sister Amina who was here with us in Kampala as well as the extended family in Funtua KANU dictatorship, when many of our liberal supporters had fallen back, he was steady fast in To all the survivors of 1994.We have lost an intrepid combatant, a fearless crusader and an his support and applauded the important milestone that the Kenyan resistance to dictatorship unrelenting militant but the struggle must continue on all fronts. Indeed as Taju himself said: had reached. Don’t agonize, organize. Tajudeen was a complex figure – a comrade, a loving father, a unifier and a brilliant intellectual Hamba khale, old warrior, - and above all - a solid Pan-Africanist. He brought vigour and urgency in what ever progressive A luta continua. cause he espoused, and founded a number of influential organisations such as the Africa Fatoumata Toure Research Information Bureau (which I served as its first chair), the Centre for Democracy and Development and Justice Africa. It is an immense loss for our continent and for all the progressive movement around the world. Yes, he was a giant by any measure. He was genuinely committed to the liberation of our A charismatic and larger than life figure, he had a strong and overwhelming presence, deploying continent. Maybe after all, it was no coincidence he passed away on africa’s liberation day! his decisive mind and powerful voice to articulate the rights of the dispossessed and have-nots He was full of life, full of great dreams for his continent! May his example inspire millions of in Africa and the diaspora. He had a great sense of humour and was formidable debater. He was young africans to continue the struggle to which he dedicated his life! a forth right speaker who feared no power when it came to the realities facing ordinary Africans and the tragic failure of its leadership. May his soul rest in peace! In great sadness. Though studying for a doctorate at Oxford, where he was Rhodes Scholar, he was always in Demba Mousaa Dembele London, gathering Africans and people of African descent, from South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia, as well as, from the African has lost a great icon, an outspoken champion of the people, a passionate defender of Caribbean, to discuss and debate the African predicament and seek answers on how to turn human rights and a tireless advocate for continental freedom and unity. around the troubled continent and spark an African renaissance. 15
    • Tributes and Condolences In 1990s a period of sweeping changes which rekindle the hope of a resurgent Africa, he became behalf on Africa. Africa will be poorer without Dr. Tajudeen. a magnet and mentor for a new cadre of Pan-Africanists in his new base in Kampala. Tajudeen Our deep-felt condolences go to the bereaved family, all the comrades at the Pan African helped sensitized many young Africans about the continent’s long and illustrious history and win Movement, Justice Africa, Centre for Democracy, the UN Millennium Development Campaign many adherents for Pan-Africanism and its ideals. and all others that were blessed to know Taju. He played a pivotal role in East African and Great Lakes politics working closely with Yoweri May God offer you comfort and strength to go through this very trying time and rest his soul in Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Laurent Kabila of the eternal peace. DRC, John Garang of Sudan and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. Col.(rtd) Dr. Kizza-Besigye, Kizza-Besigye, Forum for Democratic Change(FDC) In March 2006, Tajudeen was appointed the Deputy Director of the UN Millennium Campaign in Africa and was posted to Nairobi. I had only returned from exile some few months earlier, but Indeed it is with sadness that we celebrate this Africa Day 2009. One of the main propagator it was really a great pleasure to welcome Tajudeen to Kenya, which had taken its first steps TAJUDEEN ABDUL RAHEEM has been claimed by forces higher than what we would have towards multi-party democracy. But it was also a period marked by tragedies and upheavals. wished. Tajudeen was also a personal friend. His vivaciousness,joy, his clarity of thought in the He saw Kenya’s tortured journey to democracy at a close range and the ugly face of its political most dire circumstances, his spirit of fairness and his will to take on what is not just is what he elite. He was in Nairobi, when one of our leading democratic and human rights campaigners has calcated for the continent. He used every opportunity and every incident to raise issues and long-time friend Wanjiru Kihoro died in October 2006, after being in coma for more than of the continent in that most distinguished voice of his. May your spirit of committment to the 36 months, and in January 2008, when Kenya was torn asunder by the deadly Post-Election continent spread and live forever. You will be missed by many of us. violence that claimed the lives of many and displaced thousands of others. Fatma Alloo Tajudeen was a born optimist and harbinger of hope. He never lost faith in the ability of the This was very, very sad news which we heard this morning. When I invited Tajudeen to attend African people to transform their lives and control their destiny. He remained at the front line the Julius Nyerere Intellectual Festival Week in April, he immediately replied that he would of Africa’s quest for political, social and economic change and fearlessly fought for a free and reschedule his duties to make space - he couldn’t possibly miss it. Unfortunately, at the last united Africa. He was in pursuit of that dream criss-crossing the continent, eloquently and moment, he couldn’t make it. Now we will miss him for ever! passionately campaigning for an end to poverty and inequality when he met his end. Tajudeen kept the universal torch of pan-Africanism alive. I say universal because for Tajudeen The cruel hand of death snatch him away on the streets of Nairobi on Africa Liberation Day on 25 Pan-Africanism was NOT sub-Saharan only, or Black only, or Muslim or Christian or Yoruba or May, enroute to Kigali on another stop in his mission to change Africa and the world. Ogoni only. It was truly Pan-Africanist. He wouldn’t give in to culturalism or into what Nyerere Go well Comrade, Aluta Continua! once called, these territorial divisions caused by ‘imperialist vultures’. Yusuf Hassan As we grieve the fall of our comrade Pan-Africanist, the Mwalimu Nyerere Chair is planning to We have received the news of Dr. Tajudeen’s death with profound shock, almost disbelief. organise a Memorial Seminar in Tribute to Tajudeen’s Struggle for Pan-Africanism sometime in Tajudeen was so full of life that his sudden departure is difficult to internalise. July. Please share with us your ideas, availability, contribution, convenient dates etc. Issa G. Shivji, Mwalimu Nyerere Professor of Pan-African Studies University of Dar es Salaam Tajudeen was truly of Africa and entirely for Africa. He will be remembered for his intense concern for the welfare and progress of the African people. He was eternally committed to This is terrible news. What a great loss. Sam working for Africa, a task he undertook with an extraordinary display of energy, intellect, Prof Sam Moyo, African Institute For Agrarian Studies (AIAS) comradeship, modesty and humour. I received the news of the tragedy this morning from Salim A. Salim. I was deeply shocked. Salim It’s no wonder that God chose to call him on Africa Day, while on an early morning mission on could not believe what he had been told and asked me to check and confirm. I did and confirmed 16
    • Tributes and Condolences the tragic news to Salim and friends.Tajudeen was deeply committed to Pan-Africanism. With Taju’s passing we have lost not simply a library, but a huge a databank that will be Someone will have to tell the younger generation of Taju’s inspiring work when, for many impossible to restore physically. In choosing to end this journey on Africa day, he has left us years, he was the SG of the Pan-African Movement in Uganda.Taju was not only committed but a powerful metaphor. Taju has remained true his captivating style at storytelling. Yes, he has tirelessly advocated for Pan-Africanism at the top of his voice and to whoever will listen. moved on, leaving many stories unfinished, yet reminding us that rather than agonize, we have to organize. He was honest, courageous and fearless. Once he told President Mbeki at a public Meeting of African academics - Mr.President you used to to come in and out of Nigeria and even lived Taju, you are an icon that will never fade. You carved a path on this journey that will remain clear there without a visa. But now when we want to come to South Africa we get a lot of problems and admirable to those of us that care to look. Because of you many of us walk taller today as obtaining a visa. Africans – and we will carry on the journey prouder for having known you and richer because of you. Where is your Pan-Africanism? - The President did not answer! Taju was applauded by the entire assembly. Taju had an incredible sense of humour - never a dull moment with him. But his Go well. We will miss your physical presence and will cherish your memory. humour was generally used to mock our political class and the political culture created by Ezra Mbogori - Akiba Uhaki Foundation this class. His family, his friends and even those who did not agree with him will miss him sorely. Our condolence and greetings to his parents, wife and children and all relatives - and the entire It is with deep sense of shock and regret that CISLAC recieved the news of the untimely death Pan-African family. of one of its Board Members, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the Deputy Director (Africa) for the Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ileyhi Rajiuun. United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) who died in a fatal motor accident in the early By Abdalla Bujra, Executive Director, DPMF hours of today, 25th May 2009 while on his way to the Airport in Nairobi, Kenya to catch up with a flight to Rwanda to meet with the county’s President on the current maternal mortality rate I weep for all that we have lost in the passing away of friend and Pan Africanist comrade Tajudeen campaign. in Nairobi last night. Go well brother and greet Babu, Hansen and all of your dear friends... Irungu Houghton The sad news was broken to us at exactly 5: 45 am this morning by Kavengo Matundu, one of the staff working with him on the UN MDGs campaign in Nairobi-Kenya. Tajudeen will always remain a giant among us – not just for his pan-Africanist ideals and the admirable way he lived to them, but more for the life he gave to every situation he found himself The late Dr. Tajudeen, one of the world’s most re-known development activist was also scheduled in. I cannot recall a time or place where silence could be observed in Tajudeen’s presence. to depart Rwanda for Nigeria tomorrow, 26th May 2009 to attend a meeting which CISLAC had He was the consummate communicator, the captivating storyteller, where the need arose, the arranged for him with the National Assembly House Committee on MDGs and other civil society rabble-rouser, the sympathizer and ultimately the African that had the solution to whatever groups on the burning issues of poverty and Maternal Mortality as part of the campaign for the manner of problem. He exhorted us not to agonize, but rather organize… and as we all now, he effective implementation of the Millennium Development Goals across African. lived his life to the last, organizing. CISLAC therefore wishes to express its heart-felt sympathy and use this medium to extend its So what does one say when you are told that this great icon of African unity has breathed his condolence to his immediate family, the UN system, particularly the Millennium Campaign Team last? and the entire development sector over this sudden demise of an accomplished human rights activist. Indeed, this has created a huge gap for us and other Nigerian partners as we struggle I thought immediately of his reaction to news of the passing of an old African that he respected to engage our government and elected representatives on the need to attain the Millennium immensely. To emphasize what a loss it was for Africa, he reminded us that we lose a library Development Goals in Nigeria by year 2015. every time an old African dies. We did not spend enough time exploring where one draws the line, to determine who is ‘old’. May Allah grant him eternal rest, and the family the fortitude to bear this irreparable lose. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani Executive Director CISLAC 17
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    • Tributes and Condolences I have struggled over the last eight hours to accept that Dr. Tajudeen is dead. Taju, you were I have been touched/inspired/encouraged by Taju...Yes, if it wasn’t for him all the negative my mentor...you represented the type of people that Africa needs, if it trully will be liberated. responses I got to my Pan Africanist tendencies would have put me down...he reinforced a lot You called it as you saw it, and your fight for global justice, rights of the poor and for Africa’s of my thoughts...Spirit Father...grateful to have been blessed with your presence...We will take it liberation was really passionate. I cannot believe that your death came the same day when forward...We won’t agonise but organize! RIP Dr. Tajudeen Abdul Raheem Africa’s liberation is meant to be celebrated. Worse still, you died at a time that we were meant Addisalem Tesfaye (Speak Africa) to meet within the course of this week. Taju...I would ask God so many questions, but I won’t. All I will do is to pick-up the job that you have passionately done, and ensure that it will not be left to die. Taju, we loved listening to your sessions whenever there was any...irrespective of sector...you were such a gifted person with wide knowledge on almost every issue that affects All of the above tributes can be found at http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/ our beloved country. We loved you Taju, but God loved you most. May your soul rest in eternal Tajudeen/56535 on this website alone there are close to three hundred tributes peace. R.I.P... Benson Ireri, Social Economic Rights Foundation - SRF celebrating the life and work of Dr. Tajudeen. It’s Africa Day, dark and sorrowful, As we mourn a great Son of the soil. Taju, how deeply hurt and woeful, The hearts and minds that you have fed with toil. The laughter fades with every passing hour, And sighs grow heavy inside our breasts. The ink fades from your script But your words with us forever rest. Adios amigo, Adios my friend. Eve Odete, Pan Africa Policy Officer- Social Justice Oxfam GB I know my tears will make nothing in bringing back Taju’s life...but I can’t hold it back. The last two days I was browsing some websites in memory of African Liberation Day and Taju came to my mind so many times with his powerful,energetic, truly African and inspiring words. The events that I attended while he made a speech were more than any thing that I would want to strengthen my committment for my vision. He was my Spiritual Leader in my current youth activism and future engagement in our continet’s issues....it’s a gloomy African Liberation Day... Taju...your spirit, your genuine commitment for our people, your words, your sense of humor... and everything will be with me always... Eyob Balcha 20
    • Tributes and Condolences On behelf of the whole UNIC Lagos staff, I wish to express our deep condolences for the sudden On behalf of my colleagues in the MDG-F Secretariat, I wanted to express my deepest regrets demise of Tajudeen early this morning. for the loss of your colleague Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. Unfortunately, it was Taaka who came to conduct a survey on the Stand-up campaign who had I know that he has been a pillar in the work of the United Nations Millennium Campaign and to announce this sad news to us. a strong voice advocating for the MDGs in Africa and beyond. I recall his tireless efforts to mobilize people to Stand Up Against Poverty in Africa from my time working in Cameroon. We had a great pleasure of working with Taj personally for the Stand-up campaign of 2008. If I do hope you can find the strength to overcome this difficult time and continue the exemplary you recall, he himself requested to come with us to one of the schools to observe the stand-up work that Tajudeen was known for. action, although he could not do so because of his hospitalisation. We were therefore looking Best wishes, forward to working with Taj again for the campaing this year. Sophie de Caen Director, MDG Achievement Fund Incidentally, the Secretary-General called on the UNCTs to orgnise broad Stand-up campaigns this year. Paying tribute to the huge and successful efforts Taj made throughout the African I am so so sorry to hear about what happened to dear Taju…. You never can be prepared continent, we at UNIC Lagos wish to organise stand-up actions in a bigger scale than we did last for such a shock and I know it must be very painful for all of you to lose such an amazing year. We shall keep close contact with your office for the planning of this action. colleague. May Taj’s soul rest in peace. I just wanted to join the thousands of other voices in expressing my sadness about this, but also Tetsuo Maximilien Ohno to say that even in my sadness I feel a sort of reassuring smile come to my face when I remember Director Taju’s loud voice, colourful clothes and wonderful soul, what he stood for, the things he said and UN Information Centre how he made people around him think and feel…....... he was such a beautiful person. Lagos, Nigeria I know Taju is pretty irreplaceable, but I hope his absence won’t make us feel empty but will I am so completely shocked that I cannot even think straight. What an incredible loss for the make the passion in us burn a little stronger. Campaign, the UN, UNDP, Africa and Taju’s family … I share the team’s sorrow , grief and I guess life gives you these gifts along the way, but they are not always for you to keep and sadness! when they get taken away we have to try to feel happy about what they gave us when they were around..not only sad that they are gone… Stay strong - our work continues ! Yves Sassenrath In Spanish we have a little saying for times of sadness…it says: The Staff Council would like to express its deepest sympathy with the passing of our dear “Don’t cry if the sun hides away… colleague, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who had made an impact in the UN system with his Your tears might not let you see the stars” contribution to the UN Millennium Campaign Please extend our condolences to his family as All the best.. well as his colleagues. He will surely be missed. May his soul rest in peace. we’ll miss u ya tajudeen! Layla Saad Sincerely, MDG Achievement Fund Dimitri Samaras Chairperson, UN Staff Council 21
    • Tributes and Condolences He has left a huge legacy that we must strive to uphold even in the face of harassment and This is indeed sad news and a big lost for the MDGs promotion in Africa. Taju was among those intimidation. Current and future generations of Africans will forever be grateful to Tajudeen for who believed that good governance is key for the MDG achievements. We all enjoyed reading his vision, courage and uncommon passion for African development and unity. his weekly post cards. He will definitely be missed. Please convey to his family our condolences The struggle continues… and may his soul rest in peace. Babatunde Omilola Moustapha Deputy Regional Director The untimely death of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem is among the worst news for Africa and Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP) Africans because late Dr. Tajudeen believed in Pan-Africanism and loved unity of our continent in the true sense of the word. No words can express the helplessness , hopelessness I feel . how can I accept that you are gone? I have not quite. I had plans of things to do with you. We have lost Tajudeen, Nyerere, Nkrumah and Sankara. Justin Rusandazangabo Our paths have crossed so many times, and each time we met, you were the same Taju, with the same big dream of a united, free, strong, prosperous, compassionate Africa. The same optimism, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the most irrepressible Pan Africanist of his generation. the same bursting energy, infectious laughter, subtle sensitivity, charm and poise. Taju, your dream will come true. We, Pan Africanist, will work to realise it and pass the baton on His friends and colleagues are stunned at the loss of a man who was so full of life and humour, when it is time to leave the race. – just like you have done. I will miss you – I will miss bumping such a determined Afro-optimist, and such a devoted father to his children, Aisha and Aida. into you in the most unexpected spots on our continent, debating loudly, laughing, and nudging Africa is impoverished by his untimely death. each other on. Rest in peace my brother. You have not died, you are alive. From your sister, Tajudeen never allowed his critical sense degenerate into cynicism or disillusion. His confidence Winnie Byanyima in Africa and Africans to resolve their problems, whatever the setbacks, was always undimmed. His untimely death leaves a vacuum of human energy and hope that will be difficult to fill. I heard the news with deep regret and sorrow for the course that he led. He is truely a Pan Alex de Waal – Justice Africa Africanist and his name will not be missed in the books of the MDGs and Africa as a whole. As a former Assistant Coordinator for the MDGs, Ghana, I came to understand and know the path We should not agonise but organise as Taju had always equiped.This great son of Africa made that he led to make African governments responsible for achieving the MDGs. May his soul rest footprints on many African nations.His spirit of panafricanism will remain with us.May his great in perfect peace. work here on earth inspire many to follow in the true spirit of Pan-Africanism. Ironically, Taju Frederick Ofori died on May 25, Africa day!! Fare thee well gallant son of Africa. You may not be here right now but your ideas will live forever. We may not be able to hear your Akinyi Janet voice now but you are the voice of the African people. You are not dead but alive in our hearts. Even though you were born a Nigerian from Yoruba parents, you were a Pan Africanist to the I had never met Tajudeen, but I felt that I knew him and that he was a colleague and friend. He core. We will never forget you. Sleep well. managed to inspire the many people he met in person or with his pen. He will be sadly missed, Michael Akinola but we will keep his memory alive. He combined in his large personality integrity, intellect, wit, Washington,DC humour and razor sharp honesty. My God rest his soul in peace. Reverend Amos Kasibante I write this message to you with tears in my eyes and pain in my heart. May I first of all thank Anglican Priest, Church of England you whole heartedly for being a part of my existence and a positive role model in my life. No superlatives or praise I heap upon you will ever do justice to the debt of gratitude I owe you personally. Indeed the only regret is that I never met you earlier on in my life, for surely I would 22
    • Tributes and Condolences began my work in the struggle for the emancipation of the African people much earlier and with countries including the Chairperson and vice chair had ratified the charter which gives them no more vigour. However, through you I understood the value and dignity of the Pan African ideals moral and political credibility to ask other countries to ratify. The following week I read about his and agenda. You did not just talk about it you lived it in ever way. The only tribute I can pay you travel to Sudan and his thoughts on that meeting in details in his weekly postcard. By the time Taju my brother is to carry on this legacy and never waiver in my drive and belief in the cause of we reached the meeting venue, we had laughed heartily at idea that one African country even the African peoples. The pessimism that pervades the interaction with Africa must be rooted out claimed to have lost the documents on the charter and therefore was “unable” to sign. with ever last strength we possess. With this I say good bye but you are forever in my heart and I am better off in every way having met you. Aluta continua Whenever I met Tajudeen our conversation was on that kind, reflecting on how to change Africa John Ochola in his specific ways mixing humor with deep thoughts. Very few people are as willing, tireless, Christian Aid full of ideas, hopeful and as obstinate as Tajudeen was, when it comes to fighting for social justice and change in Africa. It is really touching to see how so many people from all over the world have gotten together to keep Tajudeen’s memory and spirit going. It is clear that we are all from very different education Later that day in the evening at the welcome dinner, I was at a far distance in the room engaged backgrounds, cultures and religions but we do have one thing in common, our appreciation for in a very deep discussion with some people when I suddenly heard someone calling my name this man who was ready and willing to keep the struggle for a better and more equitable Africa out really loud. It was Tajudeen inviting me to take a picture with other Africans attending the going. civil G8 meeting. How could I imagine this was the last picture with him, 21 days before his death? Reading all the news and tributes to Tajudeen, I realized that I am probably one of the last persons to have known him. I first met him in March 2006 at GCAP global assembly in Beirut My last physical meeting with him was May 06th in Rome after the civil G8 meeting. I was rushing where I was introduced to him by Salil Shetty as United Nations Millennium Campaign Deputy to the airport to come back to Dakar when a lady at the reception of the hotel came to me and Director for Africa. Then, the three of us had a short but deep conversation on the need to w ork handed me campaign materials and a T-shirt Tajudeen had left for me. When I reached the together to drive the MDG campaign in Africa. At this very moment I realized that I had not met reception desk to clear out my bill I saw him there and we had a brief discussion and he told a colleague but a friend. The rest of our stay in Beirut confirmed my initial feelings. We were me he will be in Dakar the following week and that we will meet. He did come in Dakar but he buddies and during our whole stay in Beirut, went out, had drinks and chatted every evening as was down with malaria and we could not meet. I could only call him and heard for the last time if we had been childhood friends. I clicked with Tajudeen from day one as surely many of his his strong and confident voice on May 14th, 2009 on his way to the airport to Nairobi. However I friends. Later we met many times in different African countries. think with Tajudeen it is never the end. My last meeting with him was at civil G8 meeting last May in London. Both of us were staying at As I look back now, in spite of the work related differences and approaches we had that often the same hotel. In the morning on May 04th, he invited me to sit next to him during the bus rides led to misunderstandings, I feel honored and special to have known such a man who had an from the hotel to the meeting venue and we had light hearted but very insightful conversations amazing positive energy and wonderful sense of humor to go with it and who was devoted to the on some developments in Africa, for example African leader’s selfish and fool habits to change struggle for a better life for African people. things when they get to power which in itself kills institutional memory and take us backward as any new political regime would bring in news things and would hardly recognize the merits Everyone, family, friends and colleagues, let us all take a moment of silence wherever you are of the former one. Then, he told me about a recent African Union meeting on the popularization to just reflect on the full life he lived. A moment to project and look at the future of Africa that and ratification of the AU Charter on democracy, elections and governance he had attended in Tajudeen had in mind and see how each one of us can help make that a reality. Sudan. He said it is ridiculous because Sudan has not ratified the Charter and was hosting that Christophe Zoungrana meeting. He pointed that out to the assembly and said that a good sense should have been to hold the meeting in a country that has ratified to show a good example to follow. Of course many AU people were uncomfortable as there is no meaningful answer. This is typical to Tajudeen raising issues that would push people to reflect. He explained to me that none of the AU commissioner’s 23
    • Tributes and Condolences Africa Coordinator Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP) Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem was well noted for his outspokenness and strong leadership The news of Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem’s death has hit us so suddenly as if some foreign in campaigning for global justice, good governance, public accountability, human rights, object from outer space has landed on us. WHAT A SHOCK!!!! democracy, regional integration and Pan Africanism. We of the MDGs/GCAP campaign in Ghana express our condolence to his wife and children at such a time as this and do stand by you with our prayers!! To the colleagues in Kenya,in the Born in Nigeria, he became best known for his role as general secretary of the Pan-African Africa office of the UNMC and the UN system we pray for strength and wisdom in these times!! Movement and was a great follower of the ideals of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which he To our Africa-wide and world-wide fraternity of the ENDPOVERTY movement, we say courage always celebrated. brother though the path be dark as night!! At such a time may we all find the LORD’s peace to rule our hearts. Although Dr. Tajudeen has been taken away by death too soon, he will forever be remembered MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE. for his great exploits in the fight for social justice. A great son of the soil is gone too soon and Albert Kwabi mother Africa is crying of his departure. Ghana MDGs/GCAP Campaign Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance. It is with deep sorrow and grieve that I write this piece in memory of the late great Pan-Africanist, Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem. I have been trying to find reasons why he had to die on a special It is a choice Dr. Tajudeen chose to live a life that matters. The best that the African continent day in the history of the African continent, the African Union (AU) day. can do for such a great son of the land is to champion his ideal which still lives on. I could not control the shock of his death, especially at a time when the African continent needed Bravo Dr.Tajudeen...a life well lived and well loved. more people like him to champion the cause of mother Africa. Leonard Ackon Abibimman Foundation -Ghana My first encounter with Dr. Tajudeen was in the year 2008 and could be coined a great blessing and privilege. I met him when he was in Ghana to participate in the Aid Effectiveness Jana I returned to Taju’s grave in Funtua. They put him to chat up a little “kuka”/baobab tree. Its Conference which took place in Accra. I sat down with him for about fifteen (15) minutes in a ancient will in the Sahel-savana is to grow big with a fat trunk but sparse leaves. The talakawa/ meeting to discuss a project proposal on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on behalf wananchi climb to yank those leaves from the sky; dry, pound and make a much cherished of Abibimman Foundation. Fortunately for me I went into that meeting with my pen and scribbling “stew”/soup from it. The family had early on the morning of 27th May, 2009, given Taju a courtyard pad because what he shared with me within that fifteen (15) minutes was something that I would made of two cement-and-sand brick blocks. Sheep and goats and little boys trotted around, have rarely gotten or would have taken me so many months to acquire. One nugget of his which welcoming him back to roots in this sahel-savana. I heard back to him his familiar wish to a I will never forget in that meeting was ‘Don’t agonise, Organise’. His deep sounding sense of travelling comrade: “Safari Njenga !”; and we travelled back on a five-hours drive to Abuja. humour during my encounter with him continues to linger in my mind and that always reminds Okello Oculi me of that valuable knowledge I acquired from him at no cost. Indeed, I will never forget that encounter I had with the late Dr. Tajudeen, it was a life transforming one. Tajudeen has been the Chair of our Council since its inception and with Kayode Fayemi guided the organisation through its infancy. He was one of Africa’s inspirational young thinkers; an As a young journalist and civil society activist, I was always keen in listening and reading views ideas man whose landscape was Pan-Africanism and he ensured that CDD’s conception of Dr. Tajudeen on issues pertaining to the development of the African continent. His role as reflected this. Issues of poverty and social inequality concerned him greatly. He also believed the Deputy Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) was indeed a great that the dignity of the African cannot be protected if there are no rights or laws. His life was an landmark for the continent since he was already noted for championing the livelihood of the less embodiment of many things, but always about class, solidarity, social justice and fairness. He privilege in the society. was a person of prodigious energy; he worked very hard to bring improvement to the lives of ordinary people. He was one of those rare individuals who was able to combine intellect and wit. 24
    • Tributes and Condolences It was always enjoyable to be in his company. His knowledge of Africa was encyclopaedic. He We at African Braille Centre send our deepest condolences to his wife, children, family, was concerned with social justice, addressing social inequalities and formulating policies that colleagues and friends. We pray that God in His mercy will console them. would practically change lives of ordinary people. Tajudeen was an idealist and a pragmatist, May God rest his soul in eternal peace. With deepest sympathy too. He led the IGC with wisdom and enthused members of staff because for him, CDD was a Rosemary Kombo crusade for Africa’s progress. The organisation’s ideal was to be the harbinger of change. We African Braille Centre wish you a cheerful journey home, Comrade. This is indeed very sad news. We pray that his spirit as always expressed through his enthusiasm On behalf of the IGC I think this is the appropriate moment to use one of Tajudeen’s favourite for the course he stood for will live long after him. May those left behind embrace that spirit in phrases, Forward Ever, Backward, Never. accomplishing the set goals for the UNMCA office. I urge them to take courage and let us use the example of Tajudeen in addressing the course of justice for all. Paul Okojie, On behalf of the IGC Samuel Kabue Anthem for Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1961- 2009) Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, A Programme of the World Council of Churches. We Are Proudly Perched on a Rare African Baobab We join all the friends, colleagues and brothers to express our sincere condolences to the entire team of UNMC. We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. Charisma, vivacity and integrity spout from him like water from the Mosi-oa-Tunya. His unforgettable presence, wisdom and brilliance A big loss for the Afique the GCAP and other grassroots social movement. constantly guide us through life. That land to be slight and Allah within his vast paradise AMINE We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. His majestic tangle of branches shelters us Oumar SOW from self-doubt, and spurs us to fight for freedom, human rights and justice. GCAP Senegal We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. His two heavenly beautiful daughters are far Words are difficult to find now, we know that the Lord gives, and the lord take away, from being his only fruits. From his robust branches dangle millions for whom he is an everlasting our prayers and thoughts are with his wife and children as they go through their bereavement, source of knowledge and inspiration. our sincere condolences. We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. From his imposing trunk ooze an infinite Erasmo Mabunda & Linda Mulapha love for Africa and a passionate belief in its peoples that fill us with strength and courage on all ABIODES occasions. May his soul rest in peace. We’ll always remember him as a great fighter against poverty. We are proudly perched on a rare African baobab. From his mighty Pan-African roots we draw the energy and determination to heed his advice - organise rather than agonise-, and constantly Regards, shout like him, “Nothing for us without us!” Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell Ruth Cangela Centre for Democracy and Development – International Office XIVUNO 25
    • Tributes and Condolences It is a sad day for campaigners in Liberia, Africa and world at large for the sudden death of Dr. Dakar, June 24th 2009 Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who just visited Liberia, we have lost a great man, the UN Millennium Campaign has lost great man. Let us keep the courage and advocate against injustices. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Attn.: The United Nations Millennium Campaign Alphonso K. Weah Dear Dr. Salil Shetty, YOCADS The Board and Staff of ANCEFA express their deepest The death of Dr Taju Deen is a big loss not only to Africans, but to all those struggling for a sympathy to you, the United Nations Millennium Campaign, Mrs. free and just world around the globe. We will sadly miss his forthright, educative and thought Mounira Abdul-Raheem, Aisha and Aida, and indeed the entire family provoking analysis of political and social justice issues in his numerous articles and academic and friends of Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem following his untimely death. papers. Dr. Tajudeen was a courageous man who never faltered in his determination to rid Africa of Poverty. He made a difference in the lives May his soul rest in perfect peace. of millions of people through the Millennium Campaign and other Sallieu T. Kamara initiatives. He was also a great supporter of ANCEFA’s work in Africa Director, Knowledge Management and Communication (KMC) and beyond. Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the late Deputy Director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign Please accept our heartfelt condolences at this difficult time. We will forever truly miss him. (UNMC) was a very peaceful and friendly man who sincerely had in his heart the desire to bring positive change to Africa with regards to unity, poverty reduction, excellence in governance amidst others. He was a man who devoted almost all his energy and efforts in campaigning Sincerely yours, vigorously and tiredlessly towards the achievement of the MDGs in Africa in spite of the high illeteracy rate of Africans, devastating poverty, bad governance among others. Mrs. Jennifer Chiwela In Ghana, precisely in the northern regional capital, Tamale, everybody was anxious to see Dr.Taju on his arrival to participate on a Youth Awareness Seminar on the MDGs. Haven heard about the coming of Dr. Taju to Ghana, people could not wait to see him especially in Tamale regarding the sort of speciality or reputation associated with him. He was lovely and cheering to everybody who met him and we wished he had spent some more days with us. ANCEFA Board Chairperson Brimah Saibu NORDESO Again our commiseration’s on Tajus departure from this our far from perfect world. CC: Mrs Mounira Abdul-Raheem and the Abdul-Raheem family The accolades and celebration of his life demonstrate that he did more than his fair share to improve the conditions of Africans during his time with us. RESEAU AFRICAIN DE LA CAMPAGNE POUR L’EDUCATION POUR TOUS (ANCEFA) Rotimi Zone B Rue 111 Villa N° 24 A, BP 3007 DAKAR – SENEGAL, Tél : +221 33 824 22 44/ Fax : +221 33 824 13 63 Email: ancefa@orange.sn, Web site: www.ancefa.org Coordinator, Africa Public Health Alliance & Campaign 26
    • Newspaper Articles SATURDAY MONITOR | May 30, 2009 Page 5 Comment INSIDE DAILY Tuesday, May 26, 2009 No. 156 USHS 1,200 Ksh80 RF650 Tzsh1,200 Juba Ushs 2,000 Better Information, Best music SATURDAY MONITOR Messi, Truth Every Day Ronaldo hold MONITOR Managing Director Tom Mshindi key to Managing Editor Daniel K. Kalinaki Editor Moses Sserwanga Champions 29/35 8th Street; P.O. Box 12141; Kampala, Uganda Phones: 0414-232367, 0412-231541, 031-260018 League crown Fax: 0414-232369 Email: editorial@monitor.co.ug Registered at the GPO as a newspaper Truth Every Day www.monitor.co.ug PAGE 42 NRM ‘rebels’ plot Briefing Police must curb City official admits flouting these acid attacks market tender rules. Page 4 anti-Museveni coup Police should carry out an inventory to establish which laboratories and industries are in custody President Museveni has ordered Justice Mwondha out of office until Court rules on whether Parliament should vet her reappointment as IGG. of acid. That way it can track it’s movement. We cannot afford to continue losing people... S tate Minister for Higher Education, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana’s wife Gloria is the latest victim of a grisly acid attack. Ms Rukutana is Bernard Tabaire Cash crisis may Section wants chair, now fighting for her life at the International Hospi- tal Kampala (IHK) and will require skin grafting for Inside Source push Police out poll candidate separated Declare Museveni 2011 Remembering Taj and missing him a reasonable facial restitution. In short, her life will never be the same. Like in the majority reported cases, of North, candidate: MP Kakooza police is yet to apprehend her assailants and there is Karamoja. Page 7 Monitor Reporters a strong likelihood that these gangsters will remain at Kampala large. T According to Assistant Inspector General of Police he caller said Dr Tajudeen Abdul- West African dissidents, especially Ghana- in the United States. And in March 2007, President Museveni and in charge of political commissariat, Mr Asan Kas- Raheem wanted to see me. What ians who had long-soured on Jerry Rawl- as my own (short) sojourn in Oxford was other top NRM officials were for? To chat, just that. Ah! The chat ings, dropped by. An odd Kenyan dissident ending, I returned to my room at the locked in back-to-back meet- ingye, 30 cases of acid attacks are registered every ings yesterday to prepare a year across the country. The assailants in almost all in his office at the Pan-African Movement passed through as well. On such occasions, North Oxford Overseas Centre on a Sunday common position against a secretariat in Kampala lasted two hours. I kept silent and listened. evening to find a handwritten note. Taj potential palace coup in to- the cases are never arrested and yet they live with I was starting out as a journalist and had Only once did I see Taj show a sense of had driven down from his home in London us. Kasingye says the Criminal Investigation Depart- day’s meeting of a top party penned a comment in the Daily Monitor frustration. It was just the two of us in unannounced with his two little girls. They organ. ment (CID) is going to set up a new unit to fight the that Taj (he preferred that to Taju) liked. his office early in 2000. He talked about had bounced. Later, in a long telephone Today’s meeting of the On that November evening in 1996 was how it was becoming difficult for him to conversation, I learnt that the man had gruesome acid crime phenomenon. This is a belated knee-jerk reaction to a problem that has been with us born a comradeship that would gradually run the secretariat because almost all the lived at the same centre while completing ’Axed’ Busoga NRM’s second highest deci- sion-making body is expected for years. take on a big brother-little brother feel. It is unlikely I would have accepted Taj’s countries that had pledged support at the Congress had not followed through. All he his doctorate in politics 20 years earlier. (The centre, or the nooc, was founded premier stays to set the stage for a show- down between President Mu- According to the provisions of the National Drug Pol- invitation had I not seen him in action a wanted was seed money to start projects upon the inspiration of William and Salah in office. seveni’s loyalists who want icy and Authority Act, acids are restricted drugs which couple of times at Makerere University. In from which the secretariat could get Nagenda, Mr John Nagenda’s parents, and him to retain his grip on the the run-up to and after the Seventh Pan- revenue to use to expand its work. I think the library there honours the couple.) Page 7 party and the country, and can only be sold under a license. The penalty for contra- African Congress in April 1994, Taj and Taj’s journey into the UN system started Taj’s interest in my fortunes went DUTY CALLS: NRM National Executive Council those who want him out. vention of these provisions of the law attracts a penalty To comment on these At least 600 members of others gave public talks at the university. partly with that souring on the idea of an beyond the intellectual. He was wont to members arrive at the party headquaters on Plot 10 of Shs4m or five years imprisonment, or both. Taj was mesmerising with his ideas and unfunded secretariat, which is why I never good-naturedly grill me on my continu- DM and other stories in the Kyadondo Road, Kampala yesterday. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE the National Executive Coun- speaking style. He wrote very well but I still ribbed him on it. But it also made sense to ing “singleness”. Once, he cracked: “Just Daily Monitor go to: cil (NEC) of the ruling party’s Police should find Ms Rukutana’s as- thought he spoke even better. Most people me that he chose to work for the Millen- get married and ask questions later.” www.monitor.co.ug National Resistance Move- ment are scheduled to meet sailants and prosecute them to send a I know write better than they speak. Really, Taj! So he was excited to receive Shock, sorrow greet Tajudeen’s death at State House Entebbe today signal to all those harbouring any idea Apart from his office balcony (where a lot of boiled maize-on-cob was eaten) and As for you, Big Brother, I me, in fair company, in December 2007 at his offices in Nairobi. He immediately THE LIZARD to chart the party’s path to of misusing this chemical his house in Kisugu and later Kabalagala, know the belly of Funtua’s announced that MDG 1 is partly about the 2011 election. Officially, the meeting we hang out at Lorina’s, a humble neigh- bourhood joint that served up delicious nurturing earth will forever eradication of hunger and therefore we must go eat lunch and talk. Monitor Team Kampala/Nairobi continent’s most illustrious sons. coordinator for Africa Mil- lennium Campaign, said in a their leaders to the delivery of the Millennium Develop- is supposed to discuss the party’s corporate plan, its Similarly, gangsters who are involved in targeted Kenyan ugali, nyama and kachumbari to keep you warm, comforted, After that, it was communication via “It is with deep sadness press statement. ment Goals”. roadmap to the 2011 election, acid attacks, like in the case of Ms Rukutana can be which Taj always added what I swear was a deadly amount of pilipili – even by Nige- and rested. You deserve it email on things like switching his column from the New Vision to the Daily Monitor, A wave of shock and grief tore through Africa – and the that we announce the passing on of Dr Tajudeen in a road Fondly called by associates/ friends as Taju, the Nigerian Witnesses say Dr Tajudeen, 53, who was rushing to JKIA proposed amendments to its constitution, and reconstitu- prosecuted for causing grievous bodily harm or at- rian pepe standards. and his encouragement last year as I con- world - yesterday following accident on Mombasa road political scientist was the to catch a flight, lost control of tion of the national discipli- tempted murder, both of which are serious crimes Conversation flowed as did hard sidered relocating to Nairobi. “It would be the death in a car crash of Dr en-route to Jomo Kenyatta UN’s Millennium Campaign his car at around 1am on Sun- nary committee. which upon conviction, one is liable to seven years Ugandan liquids. A combination of Taj nium Campaign. Questions of poverty, of great to have you close by in Nairobi,” he Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the International Airport in Nai- deputy director, working to day night and then smashed and Jimmy Dean guaranteed an uproari- social justice, occupied him. And if he had wrote. Then we both went silent for five secretary general of the Pan- robi, Kenya,” Ms Sylvia Mwi- “inspire Africans to become and life in prison, respectively. African Movement, one of the chuli, the communications more proactive in engaging CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 If the law is in place, as indeed it is, how then does ously fulfilling evening. Those two men to work for the UN, it would have to be on months. On January 16, he emailed: “My – they must be bantering on the other those issues. brother, where on this earth are you?” acid end up in the hands of criminals? Custodians of side already – told endless jokes as they If I let the UN bit pass, I could not the “Well, Taj, I am in crappy Kampala and these very dangerous chemicals are clearly flouting skewered dictators big and small. In that fact of his having been a Rhodes Scholar, I am all right. The only little issue though the rules governing them. Police should carry out an midst, Taj let his supple mind range over thanks to strong encouragement by a is driving through pulsating Kabalagala, inventory to establish which laboratories and indus- stuff from African politics and the west’s Ugandan professor of his at Bayero Univer- which I have to do daily, without think- tries are in custody of acid. That way it can track it’s dodgy engagement with the rest to African sity named Yolamu Barongo. What did he ing of you and recalling those vivid nights literature and the living styles of Nigeria’s have to say about his association with that and more. As for you, Big Brother, I know movement. We cannot afford to continue losing peo- and Uganda’s rich. man Cecil Rhodes? “I simply went to re- the belly of Funtua’s nurturing earth will ple to this barbarism. It was during those Kabalagala days that claim some of what the colonialists looted forever keep you warm, comforted, and Police should as a starting point find Ms Rukutana’s I saw many people Taj knew – days before from Africa,” Taj would say laughing. rested. You deserve it.” assailants and prosecute them to send a signal to all his older daughter “shamed” him into Speaking of school, Taj gave me $100 in those harbouring any idea of misusing this chemical. throwing away his then-ubiquitous pipe. August 2000 as I left for graduate work bentab@hotmail.com 27
    • Newspaper Articles DAILY MONITOR | Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Page 3 National Tajudeen Abdul Raheem: a giant is lost on African Liberation Day OBITUARY by Firoze Manji Shock, sorrow greet Tajudeen was a true son of the continent Dr Tajudeen’s death Okello Oculi Nigeria Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, af- fectionately called “Taju”, by Tajudeen Abdul Raheem: a giant is lost on African Liberation Day 25 May is Africa Liberation Day. What a day to learn the terrible news that one of the leading his multitude of friends and CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 “comrades” who literally span the African continent, into the General Motors - Enterprise Road intersec- died on “active duty” while travelling from his home in proponents of Africa’s liberation - Tajudeen Abdul Raheem - should be so tragically lost in a tion. He died about an hour Nairobi to Jomo Kenyatta later on the way to hospital. In a cruel twist of fate that International Airport on his way to Kigali, Rwanda, where senseless car accident in Nairobi. Messages have been pouring in from across the world as we all fail to hold back our tears at this loss. none of the continent’s best he was to meet President Paul storytellers could have wo- Kagame. ven, Dr Tajudeen died on A former foundation mem- Africa Liberation Day which ber and Chair of the Inter- commemorates the date – national Governing Council May 25, 1963 – when leaders of the Centre for Democracy of 32 independent African states met to form the Organ- and Development (CDD), he died while serving as Deputy- Tajudeen led Justice Africa’s work with the African Union since its early days. He combined isation of African Unity, now renamed the African Union. In Kampala, admirers led Director for Africa of the UN Millennium Campaign – an agency created under the this with his role as General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement, chairperson of the Centre by President Museveni ex- pressed sadness that Dr Taju- Secretary Generalship of Kofi Annan to raise awareness and for Democracy and Development, the Pan-African Development Education and Advocacy Programme, and was a fighter in the struggle to get the UN’s Millennium Development Campaign deen, a renowned Rhodes/ sustain the momentum for Oxford University scholar in the implementation of meas- the early 1980s, passed away ures for the realisation of before realisation of a single African unity government. “I extend my deepest con- goals sets in 2001 as the Mil- lennium Development Goals, MDGs. to support meaningful programmes. There was hardly a pan African initiative that took place dolences to the family of late Dr Tajudeen and the Pan Af- RIP: Mourners at Tajudeen’s home in Kansanga, Kampala, yesterday. BELOW: Mr Khauka-Mafabi . PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE At CDD, Taju and his team (which included Dr. Kayode without Tajudeen’s inimitable presence, support, humour and perceptive political perspectives. rican Movement,” the Presi- Fayemi, the current pugilist dent said in a statement de- in the protracted fight for the livered by his Press Secretary Governorship of Ekiti State Tamale Mirundi. He added: “I enjoyed his ernance on the continent.” ricanism and social justice, in south-west Nigeria), built what he himself described Quite how he managed to combine all of this with writing his weekly ‘Pan African Postcard’ that skillful writings and never Indeed in his syndicated both inside and outside the as a “flagship institution and had any problems with him; his was an intellectual debate TAJUDEEN’s POSTCARD’ column for this week, (pub- continent.” He added: “His towering in- resource-of-first-instance on public policy and scholarship were published regularly in Pambazuka News and in several newspapers including The Monitor (Uganda), Weekly Trust (Nigeria), The African (Tanzania), Nairobi Star (Kenya) and the Weekly and criticism.” lished on Page 10), he wrote, tellect, moral fibre and cour- within the (West-) African re- Mr Museveni’s comments “the majority of Africans con- age of conviction allowed him gion”. were apparently aimed to tinue to survive not because to speak truth to the power- The non-governmental or- calm nerves amid reports that, although initially a com- of government but in spite of governments.” ful like nobody could. It is ironical that on Africa Day ganisation mobilises academ- ic talent to conduct research Herald (Zimbabwe), has always been a mystery to us. You could always rely on Tajudeen to rade, he fell out with Dr Taju- “They eke out a living to [25 May], Africa has lost one that is used to drive dialogue deen over his strong criti- cism of the 2005 lifting of the keep body and soul together, provide for their families, of its greatest voices and our most credible advocate.” on vital issues of “govern- ance, poverty, constitutional, draw our attention to the most significant aspects of the latest political event in Africa - just as constitutional term limits, enabling the Ugandan leader keep in power as long as he doing all kinds of dirty work with little pay or selling any- thing that is buyable hawking Mr Michael Khauka-Ma- fabi, the Uganda country director of the Pan African security sector transforma- tion” in countries coming out of cultures of repression, you could rely on him to provide guidance and encouragement during hard times, restoring in us stands and is voted or rigs the polls. all kinds of household wares, Development Education and Advocacy Programme, an or- state violence against oppo- sition groups and civil soci- the courage for the longer struggles ahead for emancipation of the continent. Taju’s bond with Uganda ‘He was an all- ganisation dedicated to the ety (including student groups was apparently deepened promotion of refugee rights and trade unions), as well as in 1994, when officials from rounder; concerned and co-founded by Dr Taju- convulsions of horrendous about the welfare of Kampala in a Hollywood mov- ie-style operation, rescued Dr Tajudeen from certain death all Africans and an deen, said such intellect of Dr Tajudeen charmed critics and leaders as he worked to sup- civil wars in the region. These concerns and issues fed into what the UN would Tajudeen’s departure leaves a massive hole in all our lives. We all need to grieve the loss of this in the hands of Gen. Sani Abacha’s henchmen. unrelenting critic of bad governance on port the less fortunate and provide hope that “Africans lay out as the MDGs. Under his leadership CDD had be- giant of a man. But, if his life is to mean anything, we must follow his call in the signature line of his every email - ‘Don’t agonise, Organise! Uganda’s current Trade were capable of solving their come a vigorous source of Minister, Maj. Gen. Kahinda the continent,‘ own problems.” alternative policy visions and Otafiire and chairman of the Gen. Kahinda Otafiire “He was focused that what- voices to what government Pan African Movement, who Trade Minister ever the circumstances, all leaders were providing, and headed the daring mission, set goals must be achieved was Ms Fatoumata Toure, a native Katsina State. He is not providing, through action said they smuggled Dr Taju- fruits, vegetables and myriad and he had the ability to find strong Pan Africanist, who survived by a wife and two and inaction. deen from a Lagos jail and got him out of the country on of consumer items.” On the fateful trip, he was infectious humour in almost everything - that he provided has worked closely with Dr Tajudeen in the last 16 years. daughters. Taju, the first student from Northern Nigeria to at- http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=20889 a falsified identity “because heading to Rwanda to launch positive attitude to life and “He worked with great dedi- See Tajudeen’s piece on tend Oxford University as a those fascists ruling Nigeria a campaign to promote ma- made working with him less cation and passion to ensure Page 10 and related stories Rhodes Scholar – a fellow- then wanted to kill him.” ternal health, one of the eight formal and more binding,” that the dream of a united on Page 34. ship that was stiffly competed Gen. Otafiire said: “Taju’s Millennium Development said Mr Khauka-Mafabi. Africa is achieved; he didn’t What are your memories for by candidates from all death is a very big blow to Goals, and later meet Presi- There was scheduled to be a keep grudges and was very of Dr Tajudeen? Post them parts of Nigeria - was strong- the Pan African Movement dent Paul Kagame. vigil for him at his ‘exile’ home clever.” on www.monitor.co.ug ly influenced by a tradition of of which he was the secretary In his condolence message, in Kabalagala, a Kampala city By press time, the body of fighting against an alliance general. He was an all-round- UN Millennium Campaign surburb, where friends and Dr Tajudeen, was due to be Reported by Tabu Butagira between feudalism and colo- er; concerned about the wel- Director Salil Shetty said: associates had begun assem- flown to Lagos from where in Kampala, Emeka Mayaka nial imperialism in Northern fare of all Africans and an “Taju was amongst Africa’s bling by last evening. it would be transported for Gekara and Samwel Kumba in Nigeria. unrelenting critic of bad gov- foremost voices for pan Af- Among the mourners burial to Funtua town in his Nairobi CONTINUED TO PAGE 34 28
    • Newspaper Articles Renowned African scholar dies in Nairobi crash Renowned pan-africanist, Dr Tajudeen dead By DAILY MONITOR Posted Monday, May 25 2009 at 13:10 Hargeisa, 25 May 2009 (Somalilandpress) — Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, a renowned pan- In Summary Africanist and accomplished scholar is dead. s He died in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday morning. He was the General Secretary of the Global Pan African Movement, based in Kampala and also Director of Justice Africa, based in London. He was a Nigerian national. s The Nigerian national was heading to Rwanda for a meeting. Dr Tajudeen who has also been a regular columnist for the Daily Monitor on issues of poverty, Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, a renowned pan-Africanist and scholar is dead. governance and global politics died in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday morning. He was driving to Jomo Kenyatta International airport to board a plane to Rwanda for a meeting. He died in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday morning. He was driving to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to board a plane to Rwanda for a meeting. A vigil for the fallen scholar will be held at the Pan-African movement offices in Kamwokya and also at his home in Kabalagala today. Dr Abdul-Raheem was the General Secretary of the Global Pan African Movement, based in Kampala and also Director of Justice Africa, based in London. He was a Nigerian national. He was highly recognized for his outspokenness and strong leadership in campaigning for global justice, good governance, public accountability, human rights, democracy, regional integration He was recognised for his outspokenness and strong leadership in campaigning for global and Pan Africanism. justice, good governance, public accountability, human rights, democracy, regional integration and Pan Africanism. Since 2006, Tajudeen has been based in Nairobi as Deputy Director (Africa) for the United Nations Millennium Campaign; ensuring that civil society voices continue to be heard in the Since 2006, Dr Abdul-Raheem has been based in Nairobi as Deputy Director (Africa) for the global effort against poverty and injustice. United Nations Millennium Campaign; ensuring that civil society voices continue to be heard in the global effort against poverty and injustice. For more than 2 decades, Abdul-Raheem has been engaged with leading African civil society organizations and social movements across Africa and in the Diaspora. For more than two decades, he has been engaged with leading African civil society organisations and social movements across Africa and in the Diaspora. http://somalilandpress.com/5747/renowned-pan-africanist-dr-tajudeen-dead He was also a regular columnist for the Daily Monitor, a Ugandan publication, on issues of poverty, governance and global politics. A vigil for the fallen scholar will be held at the Pan-African movement offices in Kamwokya and also at his home in Kabalagala today. http://www.nation.co.ke/News/-/1056/602814/-/ujokkk/-/index.html 29
    • Newspaper Articles SUNDAY VISION Mao says his death was a big blow on the millennium Development Goals since his contributions will be missed. Pan Africanist Tajudeen is dead Tajudeen holds Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford university and was appointed the Dr. Raheem Tajudeen, the general secretary of the Global Pan African Movement is dead. General Secretary of the Pan African Movement Secretariat in Kampala, Uganda. According to one of his best friends, Gulu LC V chairperson Norbert Mao, Tajudeen died at He was acting deputy Director Africa for United Nations Millennium campaign that meant to around 1:00 am in a motor accident while rushing to Jomo Kenyata international air port. ensure that civil society voices continue to be hared in the global effort against poverty and injustice. His flight to Rwanda had been set for 3:00 am. David Mafabi who worked with the late describes him as a man who was so passionate of his He was a New Vision columnist for more than ten years. He has also been a lecturer at Makerere continent University. The late was Chairperson of the Centre for Democracy and Development, based in Abuja and Lagos; and of the Pan-African Development Education and Advocacy Programme based in Obituary Kampala and Abuja. Dr Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who died in a tragic car accident on his way to Jomo Kenyatta Published on: Monday, 25th May, 2009 airport, Nairobi, in the early hours of 25 May was a pleasant, colourful and larger-than-life figure. Many will remember his smile and great charm and the gap in his front teeth which gave Pan-Africanist dies in car crash his smile a special quality. Renowned Pan-Africanist Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem has died in a car crash in the Kenyan capital, He was more than one thing - a consummate conversationalist, a thoroughbred intellectual, a Nairobi. dedicated father, a comrade and a fighter for people’s rights – but above all else he was the frontline carrier of the pan-Africanist banner. Born in Nigeria in 1961, he became best known for his role as general secretary of the Pan- African Movement. He was also a director of the UK-based campaign group Justice Africa and History has a way of throwing up ironies. And Taju’s death – on Africa Day - is one of them. Death wrote prolifically for newspapers and journals across the continent. robbed Africa of Dr. Abdul- Raheem Tajudeen Africa’s famous columnist on African issues read by millions in Africa and globally in different media houses including The New Vision. Firoze Manji, editor of online forum Pambuzuka News, told the BBC he had the ability “to see through hypocrisy”. “He will be remembered for his humour, his warmth, his support and above Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, a Nigerian national, was based in Nairobi, Kenya where he was all for being a strong pan-Africanist,” Mr Manji told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme. conducting his work of the all Africa Conference of Churches, one of the Campaign’s key partners in the global project to promote the Millennium Developments Goals in Africa. “ He was a wonderful person but an editor’s nightmare ” Firoze Manji Editor Pambuzuka News Gulu LC5 Norbert Mao one of his great friend says Tajudeen’s death has robbed Africa of a pan African who was so resourceful. “I have met few people who have been so committed to that one ideal and for so long, despite all the setbacks that we’ve had in Africa.” The late joined the Millennium Campaign in March 2006 as the Deputy Director for Africa after serving as the Director of Justice Africa, a non-profit organization based in London. 30
    • Newspaper Articles He said Mr Abdul-Raheem was “a wonderful person but an editor’s nightmare”. Tajudeen was a Pan-Africanist who like Ghana’s founding President Kwame Nkrumah and other Africans believed in the idea of a united Africa. Mato said all progressive forces should do “His respect for deadlines didn’t exist and he typed as he spoke and thought. “He simply sent everything to carry on Tajudeen’s dream of a united Africa. us copy that was unpunctuated, no spell checks - straight off the cuff - a nightmare and yet worthwhile because what he had to say was always pertinent.” Mr Manji said it was poignant “The struggle for the actualization of a more united Africa, I think, it’s something that has to that he died in the early hours of 25 May, designated Africa Day. be continued by all progressive forces with the view to perhaps seeing Africa becoming more unified in terms of economic and political development. “He insisted it be called Africa Liberation Day, not just Africa Day, because that sounds like celebrating something in the past whereas Africa’s liberation is a struggle still to be achieved.” I think what those of us that are left behind will continue to do is to really continue to carry the How will you remember Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem? Did you know him personally? Was he an flag that ‘Taju’ as we popularly called him carried to an invariable height while he was living,” inspiration to you? Send us your comments: Mato said. Story from BBC NEWS: The Nigerian-born Tajudeen fled his native country after being imprisoned by Nigerian http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8067260.stm military leader Sani Abacha. Mato said Tajudeen played a leading role in bringing about the Published: 2009/05/25 16:40:50 GMT democratization that Nigerians are enjoying today. © BBC MMIX “Taju actually became a rallying point in the United Kingdom where a lot of Nigerian groups who were concerned about the tyranny which characterized that government…And I think to Africa Mourns the Tragic Death of a Pan-Africanist a large extent that succeeded because at the demise of General Abacha, the next government that came to power really prosecuted a transition which invariably gave birth to this democratic By James Butty era that we are experiencing in Nigeria,” he said. 26 May 2009 The late Tajudeen was also deputy director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign One of Africa’s most respected intellectuals lost his life over the weekend in a tragic car accident. motivating Africans to be more pro-active in engaging their leaders to meet the U.N. Millennium Nigerian-born political scientist Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, who was also secretary general of Development Goals. the Pan-African Movement died when he reportedly lost control of his car while enroute to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Mato said Tajudeen also stood tall for the ordinary African and that the vacuum created by his death will obviously remain unfilled. Taju, as he was popularly known was also deputy director of the United Nations Millennium Campaign motivating Africans to be more pro-active in engaging their leaders to meet the U.N. “I remember the last major function that we had with ‘Taju’ in Nigeria was sometimes last year Millennium Development Goals. He was 53 years old. when he came and we all stood up against poverty. This was really a remarkable thing because he got the highest office in the country to recognize the need for a collective fight against Professor Kabiru Mato, head of the political science department at the University of Abuja told subjugation and poverty. We will continue to remember him. In fact the vacuum that his death VOA the death of Tajudeen has created a vacuum in the African people’s struggle for self- has created obviously will remain unfilled,” Mato said. identity. http://www.voanews.com/english/Africa/2009-05-26-voa4.cfm “It was a big shock and horror for us when we received the news of the death of our friend and colleague, Dr. Tajudeen Abul-Raheem. We deeply regret the news of that tragic loss of a very committed global citizen who has spent all his life working for a global community,” he said. 31
    • Newspaper Articles Africa Action Mourns the Loss of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem: Thinker, writer and prodigious orator who campaigned for the peaceful unification of Africa “Don’t agonise, Organise!” Friday, 29 May 2009 WASHINGTON - May 27 - This week Africa Action mourns the death of one of the most distinguished pan-Africanist, and United Nations Millennium Campaign Deputy Director, Dr. Passionate, ebullient, witty and above all a mighty talker: Abdul-Raheem addresses a meeting Tajudeen Abdul Raheem. He passed away May 24, 2009 in a road accident in Nairobi. on Pan-Africanism Dr. Raheem was a prolific writer and activist. His work was a great source of inspiration and Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, who has died in a car crash in Nairobi, dedicated his life to the Pan- insight. Throughout Africa Action’s long history as the oldest organization working on U.S.- Africa African vision and the peaceful unification of Africa. He leaves a wife, Mounira Chaieb, and policy, Dr. Raheem was a regular source for counsel and guidance. During Africa Action’s two daughters, Aisha and Aida. A thinker and writer but above all a mighty talker, he inspired annual Baraza (Kiswahili for “Assembly”), held in Washington, DC, Dr. Raheem participated in and influenced a whole generation of Africans and Africanists with his mixture of passion and strategic discussions on U.S.-Africa relations. humour. It is ironic that he died on 25 May – Africa Day. “Dr. Raheem worked tirelessly towards social, political and economic I first met “Taj” in Kampala as Secretary General of the Pan-African movement, and I confess, I expected to be lectured by the high priest of Afrikan political correctness. I met someone justice in Africa. His passion, humor, and spirit will live on and we honor quite different. Stocky, bearded and dressed as if for battle in the bush, he looked fierce and his vision by continuing our work in solidarity with African people,” said frightening. But his brilliant, ebullient eyes lit up and a huge gap-toothed grin cracked open Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action. his face. And then he started talking, body swaying, arms flailing, his flowing speech rising to crescendos that broke into great cackles of laughter. In the face of insurmountable challenges, Dr. Raheem demonstrated great optimism and energy. In e-mails to Africa Action over the months and years, he signed: “Don’t agonise, organize!” This I saw him make speeches on several occasions but I never saw him use a note. It just flowed out simple, but powerful unity message has resonated around the world. of him, direct, passionate, only diverting to pursue a witty paradox or a ridiculous contradiction. He could not resist them. His Marxism was dressed in stupendous African colours and laced UN Millennium Campaign Director Salil Shetty said “Dr. Tajudeen’s towering intellect, moral with jokes and laughter. If imperialism and capitalism could have been overthrown by hilarity, fibre and courage of conviction allowed him to speak truth to power like nobody could. It is Taj would have been master of the universe. ironical that on Africa Day (25 May) Africa has lost one of its greatest voices and the Millennium Development Goals, its most credible advocate in Africa.” He once addressed a meeting at Parliament for African diaspora leaders to meet MPs. Dressed in African robes, he stunned his audience by praising the City of London: “the richest square Michael Stulman, Associate Director of Policy and Communications added that, “We offer our mile on the planet” full of wealth, banks and trading houses. But, he said, with a wonderful role sincerest condolences to the family of Tajudeen Abdul Raheem.” Tajudeen was married to of those eyes, “at night you leave, and WE move in and take over”. A frisson passed through Mounira Chaieb and has two daughters, Aisha and Aida. the gathering. He went on, “We guard it for you, clean it for you, ready for your return in the morning.” The point was brilliantly, gently made; Africans are here, please acknowledge us, and http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/05/27-11 respect us. While he used humour and charm to win over those who were usually the targets of revolutionaries, he reserved his rage for the rulers of Africa and their corruption, greed and incompetence. As he 32
    • Newspaper Articles wrote last week, this ruling class “only looks at the welfare of the minority rich and powerful, at http://www.justiceafrica.org/2009/05/25/in-memoriam-tajudeen-abdul-raheem-1961-2009/ the expense of the impoverished and powerless underclass.” In Memoriam: Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, 1961-2009 Born in Funtua, Nigeria, Tajudeen attended a madrassah but also a Catholic school. After university in Nigeria, he won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford, where he impressed his teachers May 25th, 2009 with his knowledge and ability to debate – though less so with his inability to deliver essays. Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, the most irrepressible Pan Africanist of his generation, died in In London, he helped found a number of radical think tanks and Africa organisations such as Nairobi on 24 May 2009. His friends and colleagues are stunned at the loss of a man who was the Africa Research Information Bureau, where he edited its journal, Africa World Review. He so full of life and humour, such a determined Afro-optimist, and such a devoted father to his was also the founding chairman of the Centre for Democracy and Development and helped children, Aisha and Aida. Africa is impoverished by his untimely death. Tajudeen was born in found Justice Africa. His position as Secretary General of the Pan-African movement gave him Funtua, Katsina State, Nigeria, in 1961. His commitment to his home town and family remained international status and access to African leaders, but little protection from the rulers in his own undimmed throughout his life. He was educated at Government Schools in Funtua from where country. Back in Nigeria, Taj campaigned against the generals who had seized power and ruled he went to Bayero University, Kano, where he graduated with a first class honours degree. He and robbed the country for most of his life. In 2002 he was arrested as he was trying to return to was winner of the Nigerian Government’s Merit Award as the best student of Political Science London and had his passport confiscated. More recently, he took a job with the United Nations between 1980-82 at Bayero University. After his National Youth Service, Tajudeen applied for a in Nairobi to promote the achievement of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. He challenged the selection committee by dressing in traditional style for his interview and exam and demanding why they should want to associate someone like Throughout all this, he kept lecturing and writing – always signing off his emails with: “Don’t him with the name of the grand imperialist, Cecil Rhodes. To the credit of the Rhodes Scholarship, agonise, Organise!” they selected him and Tajudeen spent three years at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, writing his DPhil degree in politics. While there, he invigorated the Africa Society (serving as president) and I sometimes wondered if they were a reminder to himself. Taj was not always reliable. Editors injected his unique mix of humour, anecdote, sharp political analysis and enthusiastic optimism were frustrated by him. He would promise essays, articles and books and would continue to into the university’s African debates. Tajudeen was engaged in an astonishing range of African promise long after three or four deadlines had passed. And when they did arrive, the words and anti-imperial activities including the Pan African Movement, the All African Anti-Imperialist looked as if he had poured them on to the page and walked away. Despite – or maybe because Youth Front, the Movement for Awareness and Advancement, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, of his fluency – he never worked at his written texts or checked them. The one commitment the Save the Sharpeville Six Campaign and several magazines including the Africa Research he kept was to write an essay every week in the form of his Thursday Postcard. Pertinent, and Information Bureau (ARIB). Tajudeen was an energetic journalist and writer, commenting trenchant, passionate and witty, Thursday Postcards appeared without fail and were syndicated regularly on contemporary Africa in newspapers, magazines, journals and radio. Those who knew to newspapers throughout Africa. They carried his message of African self-confidence and him cannot forget his rapid one-fingered typing, bold and articulate and immediately dispatched solidarity to a vast audience. into the public realm without a spell-check. He was fearless in denouncing hypocrisy or abuses wherever he encountered them, from whatever quarter. He was as resolute in condemning Richard Dowden the violations of Africa’s dictators and warlords as he was in pointing the finger at the double standards of international agencies and the shortcomings of Africa’s would-be liberators. Dr Tajudeen Abdul Raheem, Pan-Africanist: born Funtua, Katsina State, Nigeria 1956; Tajudeen’s candid lack of guile and good humour enabled him to say things that for many others married Mounira Chaieb (two daughters); died Nairobi 25 May 2009. were unsayable, and to ask the most difficult questions without provoking defensiveness. At the time of the constitutional referendum in Zimbabwe, he demanded of the government, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/tajudeen-abdulraheem-thinker-writer-and- “what happens if you lose?” and of the opposition, “what happens if you win?”, discovering prodigious-orator-who-campaigned-for-the-peaceful-unification-of-africa-1692533.html that neither had planned for this. He castigated his Pan Africanist allies in government without hesitation when they fell short. When told that Kofi Annan had won the Nobel Peace Prize he 33
    • Newspaper Articles famously retorted, “For what?” Tajudeen broadcast for the BBC’s World Service Programmes of African liberation had passed away without writing their memoirs, and that the treasures of on Africa both in Hausa and English and Voice of America (VOA). He was editor of the journal, Africa’s history, as forged by Africans and written by Africans, were passing without record. It is Africa World Review and edited the book Pan Africanism in the 21st Century (Pluto Press, 1996) a sad irony that much of his own life will remain insufficiently recorded, though still vibrant in the which included contributions from the OAU Secretary General, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, President memories of his innumerable friends. Tajudeen was a Director of Justice Africa, Chairperson Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Professor Horace Campbell and other leading figures in the Pan for the Pan African Development Education and Advocacy Programme (PADEAP) and Chair of African Movement. Tajudeen wrote many academic and specialist journals, including Review of the International Governing Council of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD). He African Political Economy (ROAPE), Journal of African Marxists (JAM), Southern Africa Political joined the United Nations as its coordinator for outreach on the Millennium Development Goals Economy Monthly (SAPEM), New Internationalist, and International Journal of Development. in Africa, and was living and working from a base in Nairobi in recent years. Tajudeen never He became widely known for his regular column Tajudeen’s Thursday Postcard for Uganda’s allowed his critical sense degenerate into cynicism or disillusion. His confidence in Africa and largest selling national newspaper, The New Vision, which was syndicated in a number of Africans to resolve their problems, whatever the setbacks, was always undimmed. His untimely other African newspapers such as The Weekly Mirror (Harare), The Daily News (Harare) The death leaves a vacuum of human energy and hope that will be difficult to fill. Tajudeen was Weekly (Dar es Salaam), The Weekly Trust (Kaduna) and occasionally in the Business Day married to Mounira Chaieb and has two daughters, Aisha and Aida, to whom he was completely (Johannesburg). Tajudeen was also a columnist for the journal, Democracy and Development, devoted. Our thoughts are with them in their inconsolable loss. published by the Centre for Democracy and Development, of which he chaired the International Governing Council. Tajudeen lectured at a number of colleges including the School of Oriental Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem and African Studies (SOAS), London and Goldsmith College London and several universities in the USA. He was a visiting UNESCO professor at the Centre for Global Studies, University of Respected pan-African activist, campaigning journalist and editor Trier, Germany. Beneath his exuberant public persona and wit, he levelled incisive analysis and · http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jun/10/obituary-tajudeen-abdul-raheem a sound elaboration of the political economy of African crisis. Tajudeen’s lectures were always unforgettable due to his refreshing honesty, command of language and superb sense of dramatic The untimely death of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, at the age of 48, has come as a deep shock timing. Speaking to a human rights conference in the UN conference centre in Addis Ababa in to a large number of Africans and people committed to the future of Africa. He was both an 1996 on the then-unfolding war in Zaire, the electricity suddenly went off and he declaimed, “Even intellectual and an activist who worked tirelessly for the causes he supported, of which the speaking of Mobutu makes the lights go out!” In the same hall a few years later he challenged greatest by far was the unity of the African continent. His life’s slogan was “don’t agonise, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, noting that European and American delegates to the organise”. While it is cruelly tragic that he should have died in a car crash on the way to the conference could get an Ethiopian visa at the airport—but not Africans. “How can this happen airport in Nairobi, it is fitting that he should have been on a mission to Rwanda as part of his in the capital of Africa?” he demanded. Prime Minister Meles said that no answer could match continuing pan-African efforts, and even more emblematic that it should have been on 25 May, the passion of Tajudeen’s questioning. A couple of weeks later the Ethiopian government waived which is marked internationally as Africa day. visa regulations for African delegates to international conferences. In 1992 Tajudeen was appointed General-Secretary for the Secretariat organizing the Seventh Pan African Congress He was born in Funtua, in Nigeria’s Katsina state, where he was also buried. He was educated at in Kampala, Uganda. Held in 1994 with delegates from 47 countries, this was the largest Pan government schools and went on to Bayero University, in Kano, where he obtained a first-class African gathering for twenty years. The theme was ‘Africa: Facing the Future in Unity, Social honours degree in political science and then won a Rhodes scholarship to St Peter’s College, Progress and Democracy’. But the Congress was overshadowed by the unfolding genocide in Oxford. His tutor there was the influential radical Gavin Williams, under whose guidance Rwanda. A delegation from the Pan African Movement travelled with the RPF to Rwanda, falling Tajudeen obtained a PhD with a thesis on party politics in Nigeria. With his talent for intellectual into an ambush near Kigali from which Tajudeen was lucky to escape unscathed. Thereafter, he debate and his restless energy, he was swept up in a multiplicity of diverse political activities, was closely involved in the Pan African mobilization to respond to the crisis in the Great Lakes as well as embarking on a side career as a journalist, contributing to and, on occasion, editing and Zaire—though he became critical of the record of the liberation movements in power and at journals, both academic and popular, and broadcasting on BBC African and Hausa services. In the time of his death was working on a historical account and political analysis of the liberators the late 1980s, he worked as a research officer at the Institute for African Alternatives run by the and where they had gone astray. Tajudeen often bemoaned the fact that so many of the giants South African Marxist Ben Turok. 34
    • Newspaper Articles Tajudeen’s most important career move was when he became secretary general of the seventh may well have a deeper impact and influence than that of those who currently enjoy the fruits of Pan-African Congress held in Kampala in 1994. If the congress itself was perhaps not all its office in presidential palaces. organisers had aspired to, he was not discouraged, and the position gave him a base in Africa He is survived by his wife, Munira, and two daughters, Aisha and Aida. for several years. A book arose from this period: Pan-Africanism: Politics, Economy and Social Change in the Twenty-first Century, published in 1996. During the 1990s he was also involved Cameron Duodu writes: Tajudeen was the composite man par excellence - everything about him in the political crisis in Nigeria, and helped found the Centre for Democracy and Development hung together to create a persona that was impossible to ignore. His large oval face, expressive (CDD) in 1997, in the worst period of General Sani Abacha’s dictatorship. In a way his pan- eyes, loud voice and unbounded energy all fused together to compel everyone to take notice Nigerianism helped form the basis of his pan-Africanism. The CDD is still a thriving campaigning of him. His message was simple and clear: “I love Africa and I want you to do the same.” Even Africa-based organisation, with tentacles way beyond Nigeria, and Tajudeen remained its when he was alive, he was already a legend. There is a story that once when the military dictator chairman. Abacha had him detained in Nigeria, intelligence operatives from Uganda went there, sprang him out of jail and flew him out on a false passport. But this did not spare the Ugandan leader In 1999 he also helped to found a London-based organisation, Justice Africa, which offered responsible for his rescue, Yoweri Museveni, from being lashed by Tajudeen’s tongue when a further platform for his views. Of late it was regularly putting out his “Thursday postcard”, Museveni changed the rules of tenure in office, in order to continue his rule. actually begun in the 1990s, long before blogs were blogs, which he sustained almost unfailingly each week, always finding something new to write about. It was reproduced by several African No one could take Tajudeen for granted. His analysis of Africa’s problems was incisive and newspapers and on the internet by the popular East African Pambazuka News website. The ruthless - it could not be dismissed on the grounds of ideology, religion or any -ism. Nor did he postcard carried each week the dictum of Kwame Nkrumah “forward ever, backward never”. allow his views to be softened by personal affection. The last one, dated 22 May, incisive and outspoken as ever, was entitled “city beautification is destroying livelihoods”, and was about how planners in cities such as Nairobi drive out His work for Africa will live on: his “postcard” columns are to be compiled and published. And street traders. He asks: “Of what use is a beautiful city peopled by citizens who have lost their there are proposals for a Tajudeen prize, even a Tajudeen day. livelihoods?” And what about him? He would just have laughed boisterously and shaken his head on hearing Friends say that the cause of pan-Africanism increasingly became his most important motivating of all of that. factor, and all his commitments were in that direction. In 2006 he took a UN post as director for Africa for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, but his friends felt this was “But that’s crazy!” he would have said, after wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes. What a perhaps marking time, although it mattered to him having a base in Africa. man to lose at such an early age. I knew him as a fellow trustee of the Africa Centre in London, where I witnessed at first hand his • Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, pan-African activist, born 6 January 1961; died 25 May 2009 combination of idealism and pragmatism in pursuit of solutions, always forged with diplomacy and humour. In an age when African leadership has all too often shown itself to be self-seeking and corrupt, he presented in his life, his work and his writing, another face of the continent, representing a generation that has dreamed of something different. It might have seemed a lonely struggle, in that while trying to work from within civil society, he was mostly outside the main power networks in Africa. There has, however, been such a widespread wave of great emotion at his unexpected death, that one may presume to surmise that the influence of his life and his thinking 35
    • Newspaper Articles Road accidents claim the life of Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, and another 1.3 Safety is calling for a part of the spending to be set aside to promote public safety. million people this year The UN system is rumbling into action on this. The First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety meets in Moscow in November, hosted by President Medvedev. For background on I read with sorrow but no great surprise about the death of yet another outstanding activist in numerous national and international road safety initiatives see here. Lets hope it helps stem the a road crash. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, a renowned pan-Africanist, journalist and campaigner, carnage. died in a car crash in Nairobi, Kenya on 25 May - Africa Day. For an obituary and hundreds of affectionate farewells see Pambezuka News. He was to Africa what Che Guevara was to South America Tajudeen (pictured), a Nigerian, was a fearsome debater, and a huge News Written by Dimas Nkunda Wednesday, 27 May 2009 16:21 character. I remember introducing him to my elderly mother, who had loyally sat in the studio audience of an ‘Any Questions’ radio panel in which MIDRAND, South Africa- It is 4.30a.m. I have been tossing in the bed for the last two hours. I had Taj duly gave me a rough ride (in my capacity as a representative of aid just been having a chat with Brian Kagoro and Thomas Debe at this Town Lodge Hotel, much of imperialism). Guffawing heartily, he promptly engulfed her in an enormous the talk about Dr. Tajudeen Raheem. embrace – something she has never forgotten. We retired to bed early in readiness for the celebration of African Liberation Day with the Pan And now he is gone, along with so many community leaders, aid workers and African Parliament, on May 25. Then shortly after 4.30a.m., a text message came in. Dr. Tajudeen activists over the years, whose constant movement around the roads of poor countries seems to is dead in a car accident. My answer to the message was, ‘please this is not April Fools day!’ leave them particularly vulnerable (Tajudeen died while on his way to the airport to catch a flight But another text came in, ‘yes he is dead!’ That is how my Monday morning began. A group of to Rwanda to meet with the country’s President on the current maternal mortality rate campaign us were gathered to meet with the Pan African Parliament (PAP), a body that Tajudeen had so and to Nigeria for a meeting with the MDG Committee of the National Assembly). much wanted to have legislative powers so that it could speed up the integration of Africa; a continent that was so close to Taju’s heart. Beyond the personal tragedy, there is a wider issue. Road traffic accidents are one of those overlooked sources of death, insecurity and suffering, particularly in poor countries. According Twice, the Parliament gave a minute’s silence in remembrance of an African icon; a man who to a report by the Campaign for Global Road Safety, road crashes kill at least 1.3 million people knew every single leader on the continent; a man who never minced his words, even in the face each year and injure 50 million, a toll greater than deaths from malaria. Ninety percent of these of the most ruthless dictators, like his former President Sani Abacha who had wanted to kill him. road casualties are in low and middle income countries (see map). Britain has a fatality rate of Many people thought that Taju was Ugandan. So when word came through that his remains one death per 10,000 vehicles; in Ethiopia and Uganda it is over 190. Each year 260,000 children were being flown to Funtua, in Katsina State, north-western Nigeria, that is when it dawned that die on the road and another million are seriously injured, often permanently disabled. By 2015 he actually was more Ugandan than Nigerian. And that was precisely because he had lived most road crashes are predicted by the WHO to be the leading cause of premature death and disability of his life in Uganda as Secretary General of the Pan African Movement. for children aged 5 and above. A man bigger than his size, he was the only man who knew everything about this continent. Each At the family level, traffic accidents are a health shock that can tip families into long term day he had a new idea and for many his charm, deep laughter and humour that weathered the poverty as they lose a breadwinner or sell off precious assets to pay hospital fees. Yet initiatives souls of even the most stone-hardened individuals, made Taju a man of all people. in a number of countries in recent years have shows that the death toll can be swiftly curbed if governments put effort into vehicle maintenance standards and road safety. This is really Taju was supposed to travel to Midrand, South Africa, with us. But at the last minute, he decided simple stuff - when researchers put signs in Kenyan minibuses (matatus) urging passengers to travel to Kigali, Rwanda. He was a close friend of President Paul Kagame. Kagame preferred to criticize reckless driving, injuries and deaths fell by a half (for paper see here). With a spate to call him Dakitari. of infrastructure spending on roads going on around the world, the Campaign for Global Road 36
    • Newspaper Articles Taju was the only person I know who could walk up to any president and tell them off about the messes in their countries. One time he walked up to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and demanded to know why his country was denying Africans visas to visit that country. Speaking loudly, as he always did, he told Zenawi that Ethiopia was not his garden and for sure the next day visa restrictions were lifted. On our way back to Uganda Tuesday night, I asked Taju’s best friend, Brian Kagoro (Advocacy Director ActionAid), who was himself looking like a shell after getting the sad news, what he would say about Taju. A distant look in his eyes, Kagoro said Taju was for Africa what Che Guevara was for South America. He was involved in liberation struggles in Namibia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Nigeria. And his last statement before he left for the airport was, according to his workmate Thomas Debe, was question, “Whose responsibility is it to liberate Africa?” We might never know the answer. As the procession headed to Taju’s final resting place, Taju’s youngest daughter, Aisha who is nine, asked to have the last ride in the same vehicle with her father. It was a teary moment for those who knew how much Taju loved his family. Taju is survived by a wife, Mounira who is Tunisian, and two daughters; Aida 12 and Aisha 9. Originally published at http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=34:news&layout=blog &Itemid=59 By Dimas Nkunda 37
    • Selected articles by Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem The United Nations Millennium Campaign commissioned a report on maternal mortality to draw that the majority of our people are condemned to inferior access to good medical facilities. Even attention to the alarming number of women who continue to die while giving birth or as a result in the capital cities, your residential area and economic well being determines your access. of complications during pregnancies. Many of these deaths are preventable and their prevention is definitely less costly both in human and material terms to the families involved and the society Our people try to cope with every calamity, many of them avoidable, preventable and human- in general. made, by insisting that “It is God’s will”. Since God does not protest and has no instant rebuttal department, everything can be blamed on Him. The paradox of the situation is that millions of children in Africa now have a better chance of living beyond the age of 5 years. If more children are living, why are the mothers dying in It is not God’s will that children should be brought up without their mothers. It is the way in such scandalous numbers? Who is going to nurture and care for these children with improved which we plan our society that leads to women being penalised for doing what is natural to chances of living beyond 5, enjoying universal access to education and more opportunities womanhood. beyond 2015? It is unacceptable that governments can find money for unjust wars, the private security of the While statistics can educate and raise awareness, they remain statistics. We do not see human president and his wife or wives and concubines, not to talk of ministers and other state officials beings in them. Until they are humanised, we may not feel their impact directly. instead of providing for citizens who badly need these services. It is not about lack of resources, but lack of people-friendly public policies in setting government spending/budget priorities. If the I have been banging on about Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) for quite some time now. But it hit Minister of health of a country goes abroad on the flimsiest of health reasons and the minister of me directly recently. A young sister of mine, Asmau (better known as TALATUA) aged 33, died education does not have any of his or her children in the educational facilities his or her ministry two hours after delivering her second child, a boy, whom she never held. is providing, why should the public trust the services? Asmau was not an illiterate woman. She was a senior science teacher, while the husband It is not possible for majority of the citizens to privatise their way out of public services whether is a college principal. Both are better than the so called ‘ordinary man and woman’ as their in health or education. Therefore citizens’ pressure must be placed on governments so that income could ‘buy’ them better access to health facilities. My sister died in a ‘private’ clinic, public policy responds positively towards better provision of these services to the citizens. one of many that have mushroomed in response to the crisis in the public health sector. Most of these “private” clinics are owned by Doctors and other Medical staff ‘working’ in the public It is neither morally nor politically right and it cannot be acceptable that mothers die giving sector. So really the only dividing line between public and private is the ‘extra’ money that those life. In memory of my mother who sacrificed everything for her ‘first child’ and other children; who can afford pay in order to buy themselves extra care and time of the overworked public my grandmother who nurtured and loved me unconditionally; my great grandmother whom I professionals. was privileged to know; my eight sisters who are now reduced to seven because of Asmau’s untimely death; and in honour of my two wonderful daughters, Aida and Ayesha and their mum, But it is all a game of chance because many of these ‘private’ clinics do not have requisite Mounira and my numerous nieces, women cousins, sisters-in-law and all women, I have pledged facilities and often fallback on the privatised sections of public facilities. So the closer one is myself to support the PIGA DEBE Campaign on women’s rights of the United Nations Millennium to better public hospitals and other medical establishments with dedicated gynaecological, Campaign with particular focus on maternal health. Mothers should not die giving life. paediatric and other specialist hospitals like university teaching hospitals, the better one’s chances of buying off a slice of the public service for one’s health. Consequently, regardless of your economic status, your access to better public or private health facilities is predetermined by the location. If you are closer to the big cities, your chances are better. In a continent where most of our people still live in rural areas, it is highly precarious that the health and life span of mothers and other citizens are based on such a random selection. It means 38
    • Selected articles by Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem Q&A: “A Threat to One is a Threat to All” TA: They have written off debts of some countries. Studies have shown that where debt has Joyce Mulama interviews TAJUDEEN ABDUL RAHEEM, panafricanist been written off, and when you have a responsible government, debt relief can work. Malawi, Tajudeen Abdul Raheem: ‘Don’t agonise, organise!’ Uganda, and Ghana are good examples where money that should have been used to service Credit:Justice Africa debt has been transferred into social and economic programmes. IPS: Where has there been progress in Africa with the MDGs? But the biggest threat by the rich countries is the unjust nature of international trade. Africa loses Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem: When you look at specific countries there has been some progress, as a result of tariff barriers, the dumping of cheap goods from the industrialised world and denial especially on education, child mortality and also HIV/AIDS. A country like Uganda now has free of access to its markets. Our farmers are using hoes to farm, they are not subsidised -- while primary and secondary education, where millions of children who were not able to go school the European farmers are subsidised, yet they are the ones with tractors, and employ all sorts of are now going to school. Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana have also made modern farming methods. This is killing the capacity of our farmers to compete even locally. It tremendous progress in providing free primary education, even though there are still many is important that the rich nations address this matter. If Africa does not achieve the MDGs, the challenges. A country like Malawi, which used to be among the poorest countries in the world, reason will not only be internal but also external dimensions, because the rich countries are not has dropped infant mortality by 30 percent; it is only second to Peru globally. Rwanda, which collaborating, especially on goal eight (to “Develop a global partnership for development”). has just come out of genocide...is actually doing pretty well on a lot of these issues -- including education, technology and women’s empowerment. It has more women’s representation in IPS: Is there enough pressure to compel rich countries to honour their commitments regarding the parliament than most Western countries. This shows (that) if priorities are set well and there is MDGs? political will, it is possible to achieve MDGs. TA: Civil society has been active in holding international campaigns against the selfish interests of the West. It is critical for the world to realise that a threat to one is a threat to all, that the IPS: Which MDGs are you most concerned about? prosperity of the West is structurally linked to the extreme poverty of the South. It is in their own TA: One of the biggest scandals in the implementation of MDGs, and one that civil societies and interest to make sure that we create a better world for all. the media really need to focus on, are the MDGs in relation to women. Indeed, all MDGs are about women because they are the majority, and therefore real development cannot take place without full participation and empowerment of women. If you look at many countries, because of providing vaccinations in time, mosquito nets and other interventions, there is a decrease in child mortality -- like in the case of Malawi. But across Africa, the maternal mortality rate is scandalously high, and you ask yourself: if our children are living longer, why are our mothers dying? MDGs need to be seen as an integrated platform to address maternal health. Many women die due to complications at child birth. Many more die as a result of lack of transport to access health centres. If you have to transport a woman in labour on a bicycle or carry her -- literally -- by the time you reach the centre she will have died. Some of these centres do not have doctors, nurses or midwives, because we are losing a lot of trained medical staff to better pay and better working conditions abroad. To achieve MDGs effectively, we have to look at all these aspects. IPS: To what extent have wealthy nations met their part of their bargain with helping achieve the goals? 39
    • Quotes by Dr. Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem “…whenever they say government, many of us, because we are so frustrated, alienated, so to be improved…but…the most important in my view is to remove the unfair trading practices removed from our government, so bitter at them, that when we say government you think it that is perpetrated by western countries….yes it is a global village, but it is global village in will be a replication of Nigerian government, Kenyan government, Uganda government, the which the majority of people of Africa are still struggling to reach their own village! government of Ghana or the government of D.R.C. That’s our idea of government, that’s why we are so scared. And rightly so, because Africa is the only place where many African’s do not Many countries in Africa can deliver on MDGs and can do even more than deliver on MDGs, say ‘our government’ they say ‘the government’ . It is only on this continent that when you are actually richer countries across Africa, all middle income countries should be ashamed of in trouble you do not run to the police, you run away from the police” Speaking at the African themselves that they are judged by MDGs, MDGs is too low a target,because what are MDGs? Union, 2007 That our children die before the age of 5? That our women are not dying in childbirth? That we should educate our children? What is the purpose of government if it cannot deliver on this?... Excerpt from radio interview with Dr. Tajudeen. there is enough resources to fulfil these commitments by 2015 and do more”. “In my view, poor people are poor because they are powerless and they are powerless because http://www.upfrontafrica.com/2009/06/widgethosthttpaffiliate.html they are poor. Poverty has nothing to do with destiny, it is an indication of the way in which a society reproduces itself, and the way in which the produce of the society is shared among “No African country has ever refused to go to war (many of them unjust ones) because the IMF/ the people of that society…Africa has all kinds of resources from Cape Town to Cairo so why World Bank, Western NGOs or the so-called donors say there is no money. It is only when it should Africa be rich in resources, human and material, and the people of Africa should be comes to feeding our peoples, educating our children, building roads and hospitals, creating poor? So it is not about the availability of resources, it is in terms of the way these resources jobs and looking after the welfare of our peoples that our governments plead lack of resources. are shared between the different classes and groups of people on this continent. It means that Until we are able to transform the seemingly infinite capacity of our states for war into one for the resources, the rich resources of this continent, is not used for the benefit of the majority peace and prosperity for our peoples we shall remain victims. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4670744.stm of people of this continent….Poverty has many faces, unfortunately the one people often concentrate on is will be the material poverty…but beyond that poverty expresses itself at many levels, there is poverty of ideas, there is poverty of ideology, there is spiritual poverty, there is a “The dilemma of democracy is not just about leaders. It is about us as a whole and about creating poverty of the mind, poverty of ideas is what is responsible for a leadership on the continent that a democratic culture that tolerates difference, manages diversity and respects the rights of can sit on these vast resources and still allow its own people go hungry….how come we cannot every one of us whether as children and parents, old and young, women and men, bosses and transform all the high intellect and skills of our people into making life better for majority of our employees” people? There is something wrong in the way our society is organized….You know, the political response to poverty and underdevelopment on this continent should not come from the west. “You see our people lining up in front of Western embassies, young people mostly! You ask them, The political response needs to come from Africans themselves…in Africa; the first duty is to ‘What you wanna go do in Europe and America?’ They say ‘Anything!” Anything is the voice of a make our political institutions, our political leaders, from local through regional, from national slave. What will it take to encourage more young Africans to invest in Africa’s Development?” to state level to be responsive to the needs of their people, it’s about accountability, without an accountable leadership you will continue to experience this mass poverty on one end and mass “Hope is not something that somebody else bestows on you. It is what you give to yourself” http://www.newint.org/issue326/impact.htm affluence on the other…. Addressing poverty and underdevelopment in Africa….has both internal and external Pan-Africanism is no longer a utopian ideal. It is a precondition for the survival of Africa dynamics….if you look at the MDGs that we campaign only 7 goals are within the control of and Africans… A united Africa is essential for us to seize control of our destiny. the nation state…you can have the most accountable government, if it is burdened by debt… A people without a dream to work towards will suffer nightmares. debt accumulated by dubious means…and trade remains as unequal as it is…and the quantity Has Africa not had enough nightmares? and quality of aid is so low…the leadership in that country will only be accountable for poverty rather than prosperity….that’s why goal number 8 of the MDGs talks about debt relief…aid has http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4670744.stm 40
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