Nguzo imeanguka
(A pillar has fallen)

Nguzo imeanguka
Kingunge wa itikadi ametoweka
Majirani na marafiki wamekusanyika
Siasa zimetikisika
Tulikuzoea sana mzee
Hatukuota ndotoni
Siku moja utatuacha
Bila kutuaga
Waislamu watasema
Innalillahi Wainnailaihi Rajiun
Wakristo bwana asifiwe
Kila mmoja na sala yake
Kwako kifo ni uthibitisho
Wa kanuni za dialectics
Kiumbe kinazaliwa, kiumbe kinakua
Kiumbe kinazeeka, kiumbe kinakufa
Miongo sita ya mchango wako
Imeandikwa mioyoni mwetu
Hautafutika, hautachafulika
Ukipindwa ukinyooshwa
Vyovyote vile daima utakumbukwa
Kwa nusu karne ulikuwa kamaradi wangu

‘Kamaradi Ngombale’ ilikuwa heshima kwako
Sikukuamkia shikamoo
Hukutarajia shikamoo kutoka kwangu
Uliteleza uliterereka
Ndio ubinadam – ulijisahihisha
Ulipandishwa ulishushwa
Hukususia hukugeuka
Nilifarajika ulipokosoa chama chako
Sikukuelewa ulipojiunga na upande wa pili
Nasikitika sikuwa na ujasiri wa kuuliza
Nikihofia mabishano yasiyo na ukamaradi
Buriani kamaradi
Tutaonana huko
Kuendeleza mapinduzi
Popote pale tulipo

~~~

A pillar has fallen

A pillar has fallen[1]
Kingunge of ideology is no more
Neighbours and friends have gathered
Politics are shaken
We were so used to you, our Mzee,
We never dreamt
That one day you would leave us.
Without a goodbye.
Muslims will say
Innalillahi Wainnailaihi Rajiun
Christians, praise the lord.
Each with their own prayer.
For you, death is proof
Of the laws of dialectics.
The creature is born, the creature grows,
The creature grows old, the creature dies.
Six decades of your contribution,
Is written in our hearts.
It will not be erased, it will not be soiled.
Whether your contribution is used or abused
You’ll always be remembered,
It won’t matter, your memory won’t fade.

For half a century you were my comrade,
‘Comrade Ngombale’[2] I addressed you with respect,
You never expected the loaded shikamoo from me
At times you slipped, At times, you dithered
It is human – but you corrected yourself.
You got promoted and demoted,
You did not brood nor change course.
I felt proud when you criticized your party,
I failed to fathom, when you joined the other side.
I feel sorry that I lacked the courage to ask,
Fearing un-comradely exchange.
Goodbye Comrade,
We will meet over there
To continue the revolution
Wherever we are.

February 2, 2018


  1. In tribute to Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru, a long-time ideologue of the ruling party TANU and then CCM. Ngombale was a self-declared Marxist. After 2015 general election, in protest at his party not nominating Edward Lowassa as the party’s presidential candidate he resigned from the ruling party and joined the campaign of the presidential candidate (Edward Lowassa) of the opposition party CHADEMA.
  2. Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru was so known for his ideological stand that his first name became part oc Kiswahili vocabulary signifying ‘an expert’, and ‘accomplished’ person.

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Poems for the Penniless Copyright © 2019 by Issa G Shivji. All Rights Reserved.

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