General Hashim Mbita was born in Tabora, Tanzania where he grew up and went to the famous Tabora School, known for nurturing luminaries of the immediate post-independence government from Mwalimu Julius Nyerere to Chief Said Abdallah Fundikira. He worked as Press Secretary to President Nyerere and later as the Tanganyika African National Union’s Publicity Secretary. Given Nyerere’s overhaul and rebranding of the army following the 1964 army mutiny, including the introduction of political education, Mbita was sent for military training in the United Kingdom and then appointed Political Commissar in the army. This was a position at the time that was called for courage and commitment because it was highly dangerous.
In 1970 he was appointed Party National Executive Secretary. In 1972 he was appointed Executive Secretary of the then Organisation of African Unity’s (OAU) Liberation Committee. He focused on expediting support for the armed struggle, resulting in cracks appearing in Lisbon, which would eventually see a coup against the Caetano fascist regime leading to the liberation of Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde in 1975. But his greatest challenge was over Zimbabwe.
At the Final Meeting of the OAU Liberation Committee in Arusha in August 1994, Nyerere praised General Mbita for “his contribution to the liberation of the continent.” General Mbita faced many challenges. Firstly, not withstanding the Cold War, the Eastern bloc – which supported the liberation struggle – was itself divided with the Soviet block and China supporting different movements in each colonised country. General Mbita’s work and commitment to liberation is known in all the African countries that went through the armed struggle.
The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in Gold, for
His exceptional and gallant support of African liberation movements and tireless efforts in ensuring that the struggle for freedom in the African Continent bears the fruits of freedom.