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Undervalued Private Accumulation in a Socialist Democracy: Nyerere & Agricultural Development in Rural Tanzania

B.A. Thesis Project by Samuel Chereskin Part of the requirements for a Bachelor of the Arts degree in International Studies The University of Chicago

May 21, 2010


List of Abbreviations IMF – The International Monetary Fund PCILM – The Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters TANU – Tanzanian African National Union UN – The United Nations WB – The World Bank SAP – Structural Adjustment Package IBRD – The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development NEC – National Executive Committee (TANU)


Introduction Objective of the Study Tanzania has a population of 41 million people. 21.23 million people are part of the workforce, and eighty per-cent of that 21.23 million engage in agriculture as their primarily livelihood. Agriculture however only contributes 24.6% of GDP today.1 Like the rest of sub Saharan Africa, Tanzania used to be a net agricultural exporter. Africa in the 1950s and 60s used to produce 10% of the world’s food. Now it produces 1%, and the populations of sub Saharan Africa have grown. 2

Tanganyika gained its independence from Great Britain in 1961, Zanzibar in 1963, and the United Republic of Tanzania was formed in 1964. Under the stewardship of Julius K. Nyerere (1961 to 1985) Tanzania not only failed to raise standards of living for its population, failed to achieve development in real terms, but went into decline instead. Drought, the oil crisis of the mid- to late-1970s, and an ever-increasing trade deficit precipitated the structural readjustment of the Tanzanian political economy starting in 1985.3 The objective of this study is to holistically examine President Nyerere’s contribution to this economic transition. He was a dictator although he was a benevolent


CIA World Factbook,, accessed 10/19/10 2

World Bank, 2008 World Development Report: Agriculture, EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/EXTWDRS/EXTWDR2008/0,,menuPK:2795178~pagePK: 64167702~piPK:64167676~theSitePK:2795143,00.html 3

Townsend, Meta K., Political Economy Issues in Tanzania: The Nyerere Years, 1965-1985. (Lewstin, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998)


one.4 What parts of the decline of Tanzanian socialism can be traced directly to the Twentieth Century’s favorite African political leader?5

President Nyerere’s project was an economic, ecological and social disaster that forced the relocation of the country’s entire rural population.6 African socialism, Ujamaa as it was later called, was a massive high-modern endeavor that forcibly moved between five million and thirty million people, and that achieved the opposite of what it attempted – it reduced the productivity of the Tanzanian rural economy.7 How did President Nyerere do it, and why did he keep going in the face of 20 years of declining economic performance?

The answer is that Nyerere’s socialist project was built on top of a foundation of five central dualisms – elementary concepts and considerations that had two facades, two faces, and, like two faces, had two possible interactive trajectories. President Nyerere’s government interacted with all ten faces of these five dualisms in his attempt to develop Tanzania. He contradicted himself often, and many of these contradictions are eventually reconciled over the course of Nyerere’s presidency. There were five however that remained, and because the bureaucratic functions of Tanzanian political life after 4

Scott, James C., Seeing Like a State (New Haven: Yale University Press: 2001)


Based on Official Development Aid bequeathments by the international community from 1961-1985. Nyerere’s Tanzania almost received more development assistance per capita than anyone else on the continent. Source: OECD Statistical Database URL: x=2&y=6&f=3:51,4:1,1:1,5:3,7:1&q=3:51+4:1+1:1,2+5:3+7:1+2:169+6:1960,1961,1962,1963,1964,1965, 1966,1967,1968,1969,1970,1971,1972,1973,1974,1975,1976,1977,1978,1979,1980,1981,1982,1983,1984, 1985,1986,1987,1988,1989,1990,1991,1992,1993,1994,1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2002,2003, 2004,2005,2006,2007,2008 6

Scott (2001), Townsend (1998), See Sheridan, Michael J., The Environmental Consequences of Independence and Socialism in North Pare, Tanzania, Journal of African History 45(2004), pgs 81-102 7

Scott, pg. 223 & 403 n. 1


independence made it so that President Nyerere was tantamount to the state unto himself these contradictions became law and policy. Each of these five dualisms represents a contradiction, a tension embedded in Nyerere’s platform; these tensions (and I believe earnestly) were never completely dissected by the President. This is evidenced in his prolific collection of writings that are the mainstay of the third section of this essay. All of these tensions-•

dichotomistic perception of wealth creation as either beneficial or detrimental to society,

perception of the peasantry as either ‘the people’ or ignorant, reactionary masses slowing his socialist vision,

the rhetorical abandonment of colonial policies versus his continuation of colonial land policy,

emphasis on cash crop production while rhetorically insisting that food security is a fundamental right of man,

and ocillating in either protecting or rejecting traditional concerns in light of modernity as seemed appropriate—

influenced rural policy and land policy. By engaging both sides of these dualisms Nyerere’s state maintained itself by doing and saying what was necessary to persist, but the state was correspondingly unstable. President Nyerere’s platform was unstable and, since rural policy was so firmly vested in the actions and beliefs of one man, the state was unstable.

Like Tanzania today, Nyerere’s Tanzania was a rural state where smallholder agriculture was the population’s main livlihood. President Nyerere’s attempt at a socialist state in developing mid-century Africa was an attempt at rural socialism. Resultantly, the


measures taken to institute rural socialism--communalization of farming, villigization, and later forced migration--all impacted Tanzania’s agricultural development from 1961-1985. The objective, as stated before, is to create a whole picture of President Nyerere’s individual contributions to this project, and identify what aspects of the project’s failure he contributed specifically. Section one of this paper will analyze his political contributions, and section two will analyze his economic contributions to decline. But when looking at an individual and his decisions one must ask “why?”. Why did President Nyerere continue an economic and political system that was in decline for 24 years? Why the hell did he do it? He’s not your typical African Big Man.8 His ideology wasn’t Marxist - there was to be no violent overthrow of the owning class in rural tanzania. He had hard economic data spelling out his state’s decline. Where did his ideology come from, and why did he make the decisions he made? Of the five decisionmaking sciences (political science, economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology) we have political and economic analysis screaming, “you are making a mistake.” We don’t have a pschological data set for President Nyerere and we don’t have the sociological (or disiplinarily, social psychology) lens necessary to interpret that data if it were to exist. All we have left is anthropology and culture. Section three of this paper reinvestigates the five dualisms and conducts a rhetorical analysis of all of Nyerere’s speeches in order to contribute to the fledgling literature that truly characterizes African political economy.


Dowden, Richard, Africa: Altered States Ordinary Mircles, 42, 65


This paper is a start, and only a start, of the research necessary in order to Africanize the discrouse about Africa’s political economy. In doing so we identify a new reason for why President Nyerere’s socialist project was a failure; it drastically underestimated how much the Tanzanian system needed private wealth accumulation to persist.

Structure of the Paper Agriculture and Private Accumulation in Nyerere’s Tanzania African socialism is not solely Marxist. It is also Africanist; it has to do with race and culture. Marxist and Africanist interpretations of Sub Saharan independence movements swirl around each other. Marxist independence would be independence of from the repression of a colonial productive system that alienates and classifies individuals and groups as materially less than. The Africanist rationale is more the regaining of self-faith and the rejection of alien rule based on race. Africanists are often more Marxist than the Marxists are, and the Marxists often invoke race in their Sub Saharan State rallies. Nyerere’s Tanzania was most definitely both Africanist and Marxist and in being so Nyerere created something different.9

As stated, this study is primarily about Tanzanian agricultural development and Section 3 rounds out the paper by revisiting the five dualisms mentioned above and using them to


Dowden, Richard, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (London: Portobello Books, 2008) explains the differences between Marxist and Africanist independence narratives on page 79 and distinguishes them from ‘doctrinaire’ socialism, and Scott (2001) supports this on a practical level in stating that the actions of Nyerere’s Tanzania, while brutal, were not of the same scale or levels of coercion of other socialist or communist countries on pg 223.


implicate Nyerere in having a complex predisposition against private or familial wealth accumulation.

The African family unit and its functions were the theoretical starting point for the type of equality that Nyerere envisioned.10 Nyerere isolated the African family’s social function from its economic one in a way that is not explained in any one of his papers but that can be seen in all of them.

On the period of 1958 (when the first speech examined by this paper was written, and when Nyerere was an aspiring politician searching for Tanzanian independence) to 1985, President Nyerere created a state that he hoped would blend Western productivity and development with the African or Tanzanian cultural and economic characteristics that he knew so well. He called his idea of socialism Ujamaa; taken from the Swahili root jamma meaning young man or relation Ujamaa literally means family and relations. Nyerere was the first person to use it to describe a political and economic situation – the first person who made it mean African socialism. President Nyerere called his program Ujamaa because he recognized the importance of family networks in Africa, and he desired that Tanzanians share and take care of each other in the long march from poverty in a way somehow encapsulated in this word.11 Coining this word was part of the creation of a


Nyerere, Freedom and Unity, Ujamaa – The Basis for African Socialism (Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press, 1967) 11

Nyerere, Freedom and Socialism, Tanzanias long march is economic, pg. 33


national and unique socialist ethic.12 It rejected both the Capitalist notion that one could build a happy society on the basis of the exploitation, however small but reapeating and perpetual, of men by men, while it simultaneously rejected ‘doctrinaire socialism’ in its assumption that a happy society could exist under the constant shadow of inevitable conflict between men.13 Julius Nyerere wanted a developmental platform that bound a rural populous together with a similar ‘attitude of mind’, and that promoted that they were all “friends.”14

The African situation creates a singular blend of communal thought—propagated by a traditional moral dualism that affects wealth accumulation and particularly wealth production—that places economic accumulation in irretrievable limbo between communal and private production. By this I mean that if the African extended family unit is used as an allegory for the state, then individual members of the family produce for the collective benefit, but they do not produce for other family units or individuals not known to them. Private accumulation, henceforth reference as such, is in this way individualesque in as much as there are individual economic groups that accumulated for only their benefit within the traditional economic function of the Tanzanian territory. The family unit is to Africa as the individual is to the West. Both production for all and for one’s family unit are pivotal to what was Tanzania’s economic system, but the ties of


Nyerere, Freedom and Unity, Ujamaa – the basis of African Socialism, pg 163, & The Importance of a National Ethic, pg 174 13

Nyerere, Freedom and Unity, Ujamaa – the basis of African Socialism, pg 171


Nyerere, Freedom and Unity, Ujamaa – the basis of African Socialism, pg 162


familyhood—Ujamaa—couldn’t extend as far as to span a state.15 President Nyerere’s plans for wealth distribution and the list of promises his government couldn’t keep are proof of this. Nyerere’s position and policies always simultaneously underlyingly enforce and outwardly deny this dualism between communal and private accumulation, and it can be most clearly seen in his land policy. 16

President Nyerere’s land policy changed over his presidency. The president evolved his plans as failures and delays racked up, and as his socialist vision continued unrealized. In 1963 President Nyerere’s vision was unregimented communal farming induced by persuasion. His goal was that once people centralized their rural production, the state could provide necessary services more efficiently even with limited state resources. 17 He thought that the people would rally around his idea and, after an edcuactional sensitization campaign, voluntarily join socialist villages to pool their resources and raise their standards of living. It didn’t happen, or it didn’t happen fast enough. By 1973, after gauging general resistance to voluntary communal cooperatives, Nyerere put the full weight of the state behind forced relocation and villagization.


Nyerere, J.K., Freedom and Unity, Ujamaa – The Basis for African Socialism (Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press), Nyerere described Ujamaa as translating to ‘familyhood’ in English. 16

US Aid defines as land tenure as the institutional (political, economic, social, and legal) structure that determines: (continued in footer of the next page) * How individuals and groups secure access to land and associated manage land resources. Resources, including trees, minerals, pasture, and water. * Who can hold and use these resources -- for how long and under what conditions. Land tenure may also have both spatial and temporal dimensions and are typically defined through statutory or customary law. Land policy is the tool employed to outline a set of goals and measures for meeting objectives related to land: tenure, use, management, property rights and administration, and administrative structures. 17

Nyerere, J. K., Freedom and Unity, pg. 184


Farmers living in these villages were required by law and government oversight to work a communal plot creating cash crops. Seed choice was determined by the government. Men and women, after working communally for the required amount of time each week, could return to farming their allocated familial plots (shambas) for subsistence (See Figure 1 below). Any surplus had to be sold to the state at government controlled prices (See Section II). It was as if creating food for one’s self and family was taxed, not in shillings, but in hours. Rural development schemes had the material trappings of private accumulation in the end; communal farms changed into highly regulated villages of individual smallholders.18

But Nyerere’s government still put a stranglehold on economic freedom by regulating with physical and political infrastructures that couldn’t possibly meet the requirements of his plans. He acknowledged his government’s shortcomings often, but he still kept searching for a way to make his plan work - to the end when he finally stepped aside days before Tanzania accepted the World Banks’ (WB) Structural Readjustment Package (SAP).19 The point of this paper is to explain why he consistently undervalued the possibility of less regulated private production and wealth accumulation. He walked a tightrope and doomed his project to the depths that exist on either side of a balancing act.


Scott 241-3, Diagram source: Boesen, Jannik, Socialism From Above (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1977) 19

See the conciliatory pretense Nyerere presented in the introduction to Tanzania’s Second Five Year Economic Plan. Ministry of Development and Finance, Second Five Year Plan 1 General Analysis (Dar es Salaam: Government Printer, 1969)


Figure 1 - Plan for a ujamaa village: Majazu Mapya, Omulunazi, Rushwa, Tanzania. Large communal farms, where housing was provided next undifferentiated communal lands was outmoded by a series of individual plots (shambas) organized around a communal area. This change, which occurred during the 1973-6 forced villagization campaign, was an unarticulated move towards reinvesting communalism in the family unit rather than on the scale of the village or country. This alteration, which could be seen as a reduction in supervision over agricultural producers was buttressed by a strict cultivation and production schedule that was reviewed by political party cadres (TANU) at the village level. Diagram source: Boesen, Jannik, Socialism From Above (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1977)

Section I - Political and Beuraucratic Analysis Independence and Socialism in Tanzania – State Structure The United Republic of Tanzania was formed on April 26, 1964 in a merger between independent Tanganyika (the Tanzanian mainland) and independent Zanzibar. It is an aid-dependent developing country in eastern Africa whose dependence on aid


progressively grew during Presiden Nyerere’s tenure.20 It is a unitary state that is divided into 26 regions, and 99 smaller districts. Officially it is a socialist state that purports an ethos of self-reliance. Internal and external political and economic shocks disrupted Tanzania’s socialist political economy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. President Julius K. Nyerere stepped down in 1985 amidst these shocks. His successor signed a structural adjustment agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that same year. While the state’s constitution is still explicitly socialist, Tanzania’s political economy has liberalized over the last twenty-five years.

The pre-liberalized constitutions of the United Republic of Tanzania endowed the office of the national executive with extraordinary powers.21 Tanzanian political structure before 1985 placed the President as the head of the government and the president of the only political party.22 President Nyerere was the father of the Tanzanian state, as well as its chief executive and was able to organize a political structure that limited the state’s diet to a nominally important role. The ministries, the district bureaucracies all the way down to city, municipal, and village councils were under the umbrella of the President’s government. (See Chart Below)


OECD General Statistics of Official Development Aid (ODA) 1960-2008, see URL above


See the Interim Constitution of The United Republic of Tanzania (1965), and the Permanent Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (1977). 22

Tanzania is now a multi-party state. Act No. 4 of 1992 legalized multiparty elections, and the first multiparty elections took place in 1995. The state is still dominated by the “Revolutionary Party” CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi). This party, the contemporary iteration of President Nyerere’s party still holds 93 per cent of the seats in Tanzania’s highest parliamentary body, the National Assembly.


Figure 2 - Flow of Information and Influence in President Nyerere of Tanzania's Government

Caption - 1 'Action' here describes practical application of any policy by the government including service provision, commerce, taxation or population relocation. Source: Original

Nyerere’s Tanzania was both top-down and outwardly people centered. What I mean by this is that the structure of the independent Tanzanian state amplified the President’s speeches, radio addresses, and declarations to being tantamount to policy declarations that carried the full weight of the Tanzanian bureaucracy behind them as he spoke of the necessity of working for the people. President Nyerere was president of TANU, then the country’s only political party, and the head of the Tanzanian State. The collection of works by President Nyerere from before, during and after his presidency were printed by


the Government printer of Tanzania and by Oxford University Press. 23 President Nyerere was the principal in dictating all development and land policy; He was not a legislative body, but his proclamations skirted the boundaries between executive order and political statement. His proclamations have to be understood as both. They are tantamount to an articulation of his political ideology, and equitable to a written record of Tanzanian government policy, and development policy, until 1985. The President had discretionary powers of patronage and appointment within all branches of the government, and as head of TANU all members of the party (equitable to all members of the government by requirement) looked up the party’s ladder towards him. He had all branches of the government looking to him for direction. Graphic No. 1 (above) provides visual representation of his influence. It is how President Nyerere’s government was structured in a way that gave him almost no effective checks to his power.

His Influence on the Party Most African countries abandoned multiparty politics soon after independence; Tanzania was no different.24 The traditional African method of election or of dealing with an contentious matter is to gather together and, after heated discussion, reach a unanimous decision. Such discussions, continent wide, are described as ‘endless;’ they go on until everyone is in agreement.25 It seems that decisions have to be taken by a group rather 23

Oxford University press released three wonderful volumes of President Nyerere’s Speeches and writings ordered chronologically. Freedom and Unity covers 1952-65, Freedom and Socialism covers 1965-67, and Freedom and Development covers the time period from 1968-73. Together they comprise the majority of Nyerere’s policy and thought on socialism, leadership, and development. 24

Dowden, Richard, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (London: Portobello Books, 2008) pg 79


Dowden (2008) pg. 82


than by an individual, but when one decision is made everyone is expected to fall in with the results. President Nyerere described this form of democracy as being consensual communal, and “under the trees.” 26

President Nyerere believed in this form of debate and wanted his democracy to function under its principles.27 As stated he was both president of the country and of its one political party. No one could gain entry to the party with out some nod of loyalty to President Nyerere. From local cadres to district representatives, and all the way up to the National Executive Committee—the highest deliberative body in the Party to which President Nyerere was chair—all relied on his approval, however distant they were from his personal acknowledgment. Local party and political meetings were not forums for discussion. They were one-sided lectures instead.28 Each level of party and government dealt with the challenges of their office in a manner that reported what President Nyerere wanted to hear.

Nyerere’s Influence on Parliament President Nyerere also indirectly controlled parliament. He did so through party mechanism and through the mechanisms of the Tanzanian constitution. Parliament changed from a constitutionally revered seat of democratic sovereignty in 1962 to one of political and constitutional unimportance in 1977. By 1975 out of 218 members only 98 26

Dowden (2008) pgs. 73-5


Nyerere, Freedom and Development, Freedom and Development (Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press, 1973) pg 60, “Under the trees” meaning grassroots. 28

Scott (2001) pg. 237


Members of Parliament were directly elected. The rest were appointed or ex-officio officers of the country’s only political party, the Tanganyikan African National Union (TANU).29 The President and the executive branch of the government had supreme control of Tanzanian policies all of which were accountable to the President’s personal vision.

Party formality, and eventually constitutional amendment, made it so the majority of Members of Parliament (MPs) were pocket politicians under the influence of the President. 30 It was possible to be independently elected to office, but sections of parliament were reserved for appointed officials and party members whose placement had no popular democratic oversight. This practice in turn directly influenced the selection of Ministers for various high positions about the civil service. According to the Independence Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, Ministers were chosen from the entire body of the National Assembly including from the appointed members of parliament. It was then within the power of the president to appoint anyone he wanted to any part of government without legal oversight.31 President Nyerere admitted to and defended himself for appointing a TANU party member to parliament who had lost his


See “People’s Representatives: Theory and Practice of Parliamentary Democracy in Tanzania,” edited by R.S. Mukandala, S.S. Mushi, and C. Rubagumya. 30

See “People’s Representatives: Theory and Practice of Parliamentary Democracy in Tanzania,” edited by R.S. Mukandala, S.S. Mushi, and C. Rubagumya. 31

Nyerere, Freedom and Socialism, Opening the New National Assembly (Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press, 1968) pg. 96


district race. He was first appointed to the National Assembly and then again to the post of Minister of Economic and Development Planning in quick succession.32

Land Policy and Local Governments Village habitation has been a common characteristic of sedentary agricultural and semisedentary agro-pastoral communities on Mainland Tanzania.33 Government controlled systemic settlement schemes designed to effect rural development are a post-WWII phenomenon however. Such schemes started in late colonial history with the ill-fated Kongwa and Nachingwea Groundnut projects and the Ardai and Ipper Kitete Wheat Schemes of the 1950s.34

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) report on the Economic Development of Tanganyika (John Hopkins, 1961) was hugely influential in determining what happened next.35 Directly after independence, this report distinguished between ‘improvement’ and ‘transformation’ approaches to agricultural development. Improvement was the broad scale modernization of peasant agriculture through education, mechanization, and advisory services. Transformation was characterized by contrast as the efficient funneling of resources to agricultural efforts that would make quick returns on investment; transformation did not improve the whole of Tanzanian


Ibid. 97

33A Report

of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters (Dar es Salaam: Ministry of Lands, Housin and Urban Development, Tanzania, 1994), pg.40 34

Scott, Seeing Like a State, 228-9


Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters (1994), pg. 40


agricultural practice but instead transformed production in certain areas so that the state as a whole wouldn’t have to. Improvement was seen to have too many disadvantages in the early days of independence, including its slow pace of development through incremental changes to Tanzanian production. 36 Transformation was the selected approach, and and the government of Tanzania chose to promote village settlements in the best agricultural areas. This strategy was adopted in the setting up of the Rural Settlement Commission in 1963 in an Act of Parliament of the same name followed by the passage of the Land Tenure & Village settlements Act, 1965. 37

Under the provision of these two acts the Minister would grant the right of occupancy under the Land Act to the Rural Settlement Commission. The Commission would then give the villagers, as part of the settlement, the right to hold the land under one of three derivative rights: 1) licenses for use and occupation; 2) leases; or 3) easements, ways, way leaves and profits. 38 Under no circumstances were villagers or even villages the owners of the land. Beyond these derivative rights, the villagers had no powers to assign, transfer, exchange, mortgage, or change land they held. Transfers of leases or licenses for use and occupation required the approval of the Commission. A right to that land could be forfeited for any number of specified reasons including breaches in the rules set down by the commission regarding development, cultivation of the land, marketing or harvesting of crops, etc. Breaches attracted criminal penalty including imprisonment. The result was






Ibid. Pg 41


that transformation of Tanzanian agriculture was a strategy that was over capitalized and relied on voluntary participation but endowed only unstable tenure rights to participants, dealt out high levels of state control into everyday practice of these settlements and farms, and enforced a top-down management of the farmers that lacked outlets for popular participation in planning. 39 The land-reform scheme from 63-68 failed.

In 1967 President Nyerere produced the Arusha Declaration - six years of experience solidified into Tanzania’s formal social and state vision. It was the start of Ujamaa. Soon after, Nyerere’s pamphlet Socialism and Rural Development (1968) created the basis for post Arusha villigization.

Nyerere based his socialist plans on the basic blueprint of African extended familial networks. Living and working together with some form of communal land ownership was the conceptual cornerstone of Ujamaa and its villages.40 The transformation approach to changing Tanzanian agriculture had failed, and President Nyerere acknowledged this. Ujamaa, the state-wide instead of selecting implementation of the transformation approach, was his response; the President said that the settlement schemes of the previous years that were viable enough to continue would be folded in with the Ujamaa campaign. 41

In the first few years after the Arusha Declaration these villages were to be created

voluntarily by the villagers themselves. This was emphasized in Presidential Circular No. 39

Ibid. 41


Ibid. 42


Second Five year Development Plan I, 1969-1974 – General Analysis, Presidential Speech by J. K. Nyerere (1969) pg. xiv


1 of 1969.42 The official role of the party and the state apparatus was to encourage and facilitate the process of Ujamaa rather than compel people to join or start such villages.

Villagization as a program and an ‘operation’ was first lunched in areas frequented by floods and famine. This operation was called ‘ Operation Vijiji’, and was meant to spur the creation of Ujamaa villages in areas of Tanzania where the benefits of collectivization were seen to be most in need, and where natural factors (again, like flood and famine) were most likely to counter any organic creation of Ujamaa villages.43

Villagization was slow between 1969 and 1972. 44 The TANU biennial congress decided that the results of Vijiji were too slow, and that living in villages was the concern of all regions. November 6th, 1973 President Nyerere declared that living in ‘proper’ villages was compulsory and no longer voluntary. He wanted the entire rural population to have moved into villages by 1976. This was the christening of ‘Operation Tanzania,’ Nyerere’s massive forced villigization campaign.

The ‘operation’ was carried out with considerable force, little evironmental planning, and planning that did not involve the villagers. 45 Bureaucratic pathologies were rife in Nyerere’s Tanzania. James C. Scott cites a Tanzanian civil servant in Seeing Like a State 42

Julius K. Nyerere, Presidential Circular No. 1 of 1969, (Dar es Salaam: Government Printer, 1969)


Presidential Commission of Inquiry into land matters, pg. 42


Ibid. 42 & Second Five Year Development Plan 1 – General Analysis, (Dar es Salaam: Government Printer, 1970) pg. ix 45

Presidential Commission of Inquiry into land matters, pg. 42


saying it was a “traditional outlook and unwillingness to change” that required the entire series of agricultural schemes, from Ujamaa villages to forced relocation to the supervised cultivation launched by the colonial and the independent regimes.46 The selection and supervision of village sites was ecologically arbitrary. No consideration was given to the carrying capacity of the land before an Ujamaa village was surveyed, crops were selected, and construction began.47 Many of the villages, even before the all out villigization campaign of ‘Operation Tanzania,’ were surveyed and titled in a few days. Scott feels that the scale of “Operation Tanzania” compounded the expedited processes further, and all steps of the village creation process were done even more rapidly. 48 These villages were also created with little thought to existing customary land rights while not solidifying their own legitimacy in law. The presidential commission of Inquiry into Land Matters called it “a major reform of the land tenure system being carried out without having been conceived as such.”49

No preceding legislation allowed for villigization. The ‘Land Planning and Utilization Act’ of 1973 was meant to be proscriptive and not enabling, but it gave unlimited discretionary power to the President to designate any region of the country to be a


Scott (2001), 241, 409 n. 67 Quoted in Coulson Tanzania, pg. 255) Tanzania: a political economy, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982) 47

Scott (2001), 262


Scott, 263 and see Appendix 3 for a diagram depicting how Ujamaa villages did not correspond with previllagization cultivation patterns. The diagram marks where previous cultivation took place, which would be the areas that traditional knowledge and settlement taught locals where the best arable lands were in the region. The map shows that planning for the village took none of this ecological or local data into account when selecting a site. Diagram source: Boesen, Jannik, Socialism From Above (Uppsala: Scandinavian Institute of African Studies, 1977) 49

Presidential Commission of Inquiry into land matters, pg. 43


‘specified area’ for villagization.50 Once that was done the Minister for regional administration was empowered to make regulations to ‘control virtually any land use in such an area from building through farming to mining and gardening’. 51 Also, the Minister in charge had the power to make regulations for his complete discretion in regards to revocation or amendment to any tenure arrangement a villager may have. He also provided for the complete nulling or modification of any land tenure rights (presumably customary) that might fall in part or in whole within the bounds of the newly created village.52 In light of this the executive was able to disavow previous (presumably customary) tenure arrangements throughout Tanzania and to create new ones when he had no official legal auspice by which this could be done.

The ‘Land Planning and Utilization Act’ of 1973 was not officially brought to bear on the en masse villagization of the 1970s; the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters of 2001 could find no official orders from President Nyerere creating any ‘specified areas’.53 The act that came next and was used to promote villagization, The Villages and Ujamaa Villages Act of 1975, had no direct language describing land titling and tenure arrangements. Instead it provided for the registration and organization of the new villages.


Ibid. 43


Ibid. 43


Ibid. 43


Ibid. 44


Tanzania’s local governments, in periods when they were not outlawed, were territorially organized and means for the central government to exert control over lands and people.54 The 1975 Villages act provides for the two organs in the village, the village assembly and the village council. The village assembly is made up of all of the adult residents of a village over the age of 18 years old. The village council is composed of members elected by the village assembly. The council’s chairman and secretary are respectively the Party chairman and secretary of that village however, and they have wide ranging powers, which are exercised through the council’s various committees including one that deals with land.55 The Ujamaa Villages act further stipulates that the village council and the village assembly shall perform their functions under the auspices of the Party. Additionally, the regional Minister has the ability to create regulations about all village councils in his region, a category of them there in, or any particular village council. The Minister also had discretionary powers over the council, and the council was obliged to ‘give effect to such direction’.56 All power rested at the confluence of the Party and the village council under this act, and the council itself was subject to the area commissioner and the regional Minister. Land was distributed under these conditions, and every household was to receive a piece of farmland and an acre of land to build their houses on; bequeathments could not transfer or dispose of this land without the approval of the village council.


Liviga, Athumani Juma, Ph.D., Local Government in Tanzania: 1926-1992. (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms International, 1994) (Dissertation for the University of Pitsburgh, 1993) UMI order number 9406375, pgs.18-19 55

Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Land Matters (1994), 44


Ibid. 44


Where did this land come from? The district councils and village councils, even the village council committees on land, had no legal basis for distributing land in leasehold agreements to settlers. The ‘Land Planning and Utilization Act’ did allow for the creation of new tenure agreements and the cancellation of existing ones, but it was never invoked. It seems that operation Tanzania was illegal even by the constitutional and statutory regulations of Nyerere’s Tanzania. President Nyerere had great discretionary power with which to influence the making of laws, but there seems not to have been a law that allowed for forced villagization. The Villages and Ujamaa Villages act was repealed in 1982 by the Local Government Act of that year, but the point remains that previllagization customary land rights—recognized by colonial law and maintained in Tanzanian law—collide with post-villagization allocations. That the President was able to act in the spirit of the law instead of in the name of it is testament to President Nyerere’s enormous, even dictatory power, in Tanzania.

Section II - Economic Analysis The Role of and Problems with Parastatals in Nyerere’s Tanzania Parastatals were the semi-autonomous nationally owned corportations that were the economic interface between the people of Tanania and the government. They had tremendous economic importance as the only entities that could engage in large scale commerce legally.57 They suffered from gross inefficiencies though that were partly derived through the same bureaucratic pathologies through which Nyerere influenced other parts of the national apparatus in Tanzania. 57

World Bank, Tanzania Agricultural Sector Report, 1983, pg. 69


Until the mid-1930s the private sector handled all wholesale and retail agriculture – from commerce to financing, processing, transport, sector servicing and repair. The majority of these traders were South and East Asians. From then until the mid-1960s this private sector had to compete with a growing voluntary cooperatives movement, usually in areas where African farmers were starting to produce large crop surpluses. These cooperatives were fostered both by a desire by Africans to throw off the yoke of what they perceived to be the exploitative behavior of the Asian traders and by a desire to reap the benefits of growing business opportunities that come with increased agricultural output. The most rapid expansion occurred in the 1950s up until independence. The number of cooperatives grew from 172 in 1952 to 857 in 1961.58

Cooperatives were abolished in 1976 and all of their economic activities were transferred to state run crop authorities as part of the 1975 Villages Act. The most robust of these cooperatives were consumed by villagization as Ujamaa villages were built around them. After 1976 the crop authorities had a legal monopoly on crop procurement of all crops – export crops and major and minor food crops. They also controled processing and input distribution.

By 1983 most all of these organizations were operating at an economic loss. The total loss of all crop parastatals excluding the National Milling Corporation (NMC) totaled at


World Bank, Tanzania Agricultural Sector Report, 1983, pg. 68


TSh 210 million. NMC alone lost TSh 470 million. Combined all crop authorities registered a loss of TSh 679 million that year, or 17% of their combined annual turnover.59 These losses were covered by overdrafts and loans and to the government needed to expand money supplies over and above the government’s budget by TSh 5 billion, or 12% of GDP in 1983. This expenditure, and others like it, were not been matched by increases in government income. Inflation rose and put more pressure on a beleaguered economy. The inflation caused a rise in real prices that wasn’t matched by official state prices at the parastatals, so a second illegal and parallel market emerged through what weaknesses in regulation it could find – over porous borders, busy urban markets, back roads—and parastatal revenues dropped even further due to the resulting fall in turnover.60

The result was that the parastatal sector was unable to cope with even the disappointing service repertoire it was supposed to deliver at any given time. Being shorthanded in most technical positions and over staffed in all the others, the majority of parastatals suffered from inefficient uses of human capital and managerial incompetence.61 The confluence equaled massive costs to the government and huge wastes in personnel that exacerbated problems with Nyerere’s agricultural development project.


Ibid. 72-3


Ibid. 75


Ibid. 91, & Nyerere, Arusha Declaration Ten Years After, (Dar es Salaam: Government Printer, 1977)


The problems with Tanzania’s parastatals articulated in the previous section, overdrafts and gross inefficiency, left these companies with reduced revenue streams. The official prices offered to Tanzanian farmers for their crops, the product of their work and their sole livelihood, were too low. Regardless of whether they produced said crops on the communal farm or later on their individual shambas, the farmers were not adequately rewarded for their labor. 62 Many people were dissatisfied.

Section Analysis Eighty percent of Tanzanians still engage in agriculture as their main productive mode today. The figures are roughly the same as they were in 1967 and 1983, and these people and their crops contribute up to 20% of the country’s GDP.63 The majority of these producers are peasant smallholders. This is what the parastatals were trying to cater to and these are the people who villagization was meant to hem in.

Agrarian societies are always intensive or expansive. Intensive agriculture utilizes capital, improved seed varieties, irrigation, and chemical inputs to increase yields on a finite parcel of land. Expansive agriculture increases yields by expanding the amount of land in cultivation in order to grow more plants without modern inputs. Pre-intensive agricultural communities are expansive by default. Without the ability to increase returns on a single piece of land each new inhabitant to a region (born or settled), each new unit of labor, causes a decline in marginal returns to that same land. New arrivals or the young will 62

Scott called the prices ‘confiscatory’. Scott (2001) pg 408


World Bank, Tanzania Agriculture Sector Report, 1983; CIA World Fact Book, 2010; Second Five Year Plan, 1969.


eventually find it more attractive to settle in the uninhabited areas with lesser soils than to farm in the overcrowded center. 64 This is the key feature of expansive agriculture along with spontaneous resettlement due to environmental factors that give the expansive method its name. What happens when a pre-intensive agricultural society is coerced into staying put and into denying the expansive nature of their production? That was one of the effects of President Nyerere’s villigization project. Villages were sited arbitrarily as explained above. The consequence was non-complacent dissatisfaction on the part of great numbers of those who were moved into the villages of ‘Operation Tanzania.’

James Scott explains that the functions of the state are narrow, and that many aspects of the human condition exist outside of the State’s ability to compute, bureaucratize and render decisions. Seeing Like a State explains the emergence of high-modernism in the early part of the 20th century and the emergence of the corresponding global fascination with rationalizing human space. Scientific agronomy, immanent domain, rural electrification, etc. were all part and parcel of the State’s attempt to harness nature and its people to its purposes. Scott’s subtitle (How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed) refers to how many of these rationalizing projects were done for the greater good, if not for the good of all. Scott called this rationalization of the world, the capturing of the landscape and population into ordered bits that the state could compute and control “legibility.”


Bates, Robert H., When Things Fell Apart, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 77,79


Nyerere’s socialist project was a failure. It failed economically, socially and politically. 65 The Ujamaa villagization campaign was an attempt to make rural Tanzania legible to the URT/TANU government. Villages were built to be ‘hubs’.66 There were designed to be rational collections of people in space and time that could allow for the efficient utilization of Tanzania’s scarce resources for communal production and service provision. The service provision was the major reason for site choice of Ujamaa villages.67 They were put next to pre-existing roads for the convenient delivery of health provisions and clean water; they weren’t chosen due to the productive capacity of their even though it was primarily deemed an agricultural project. Understanding what Scott means by legibility, and how it overtly channels state control over the inseperable duo, resources or people, to control the other member of the pair allows us to better dissect the elements of control inherent in Nyerere’s policy and how they logistically, simultaneously, disenfranchised the rural masses from the political process and from their own subsistence production – it helps explain how the population of Tanzania couldn’t feed itself and how the external shocks of the late 1970s precipitated a situation where the government couldn’t feed them either. Legibility helps us explain how and (the majority of) why Nyerere (inadvertently) doomed his project, but according to Scott the twentieth century track record of all major high-modernist social engineering projects should have been enough of a forewarning of failure already.


Scott (2001) 224


Report from the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, pg. 44




If we look at graphic 1 again we can recap how Nyerere controlled the only political party, parliament, and all legally constituted outlets for commerce and export (in the parastatals). I feel that Scott’s analysis explains the political and statist mechanisms and reasons for how and why President Nyerere conducted his villagization project and created the socialist state he did. Scott doesn’t explain Nyerere’s writings, his emphasis on African cultural cues as the foundations of his policies however. So in that much Scott can tell us a great deal, but there’s still more to why Nyerere constructed his state the way he did. It’s beyond the scope of this paper to say whether Nyerere liked power. He was president for 24 years, but he did not parasitically leach money from the state the way other African leaders have. He lived in a modest home, and devoutly adhered to the TANU regulation that his source of income would be his state salary. Robert Bates gives a culturally economic rationale for elite parasitism in Africa that Nyerere doesn’t fit. 68 We’re still looking for impetuous for 24 years of rule and failure. So without political, economic, or elite cultural reasons broader cultural tenets about Tanzania and East Africa are all we have left. Rounding out and dissecting those cultural cues in Nyerere’s writings is the focus of the next section of the paper in a build up to understanding why Nyerere’s project ended.

Section III - Anthropological Analysis Rhetorical Inspection of Nyerere’s Speeches – Tantamount to Policy


Bates, Robert, When Things Fall Apart: Stat Failure in Late-Century Africa. (London: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 18


President Nyerere was primarily concerned with the economic development of his country both before and after he became the country’s first president. He explained in an address to the United Nations in 1961 that “the basis of our actions, internal and external, will be an attempt, an honest attempt to honor the dignity of man.”69 He said that individual men and women are the “purpose of society,”70 and that the Government of Tanzania (then independent Tanganyika or what is now mainland Tanzania) was waging ‘war’ on poverty and the individual indignity it causes.71 President Nyerere’s response to this ‘war’ was the creation of a socialist democratic government, a national ethic built on his idea of cooperation and ‘proper’ wealth distribution, and a land program that he dreamt would ensure the popular participation and privilege of his newly born agrarian nation.72 In his inaugural address he outlined a later address called Freedom and Development (1968) by explaining that the creation of new roads, tarmacs, and high-rises —the tangible products of development—does not equate to creating dignity in Tanzania. President Nyerere called on all Tanzanian citizens to engage in economic and social development through his government’s platform.

Over-arching Tenets


Nyerere, Julius K., Independence Address to the United Nations (December, 1961) in Freedom and Unity (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), pg. 145 70

Ibid. Pg. 147


Nyerere, Julius K., President’s Inaugural Address (November, 1962), in Freedom and Unity (London: Oxford University Press, 1966), pg. 177 72

The author is attributable for the word ‘proper’ in quotation marks. It is an extrapolation from Nyerere’s ‘Ujamaa—The Basis of African Socialism’ (in Freedom and Unity; Oxford University Press, 1966, pg. 163) where he talks about what socialism means in the impoverished African context, and from Nyerere’s Socialism and Rural Development (1968) where he outlines the villigization project and cites the construction of ‘proper villages’; Scott, Seeing Like a State, 231


President Nyerere’s approach to economics and economic development wasn’t static. His speeches and policies writings evolve over his tenure as president. His approach wasn’t, and his policies – the palpable manifestation of what could be called his approach aren’t, simple and they fulfilled many roles. President Nyerere’s presidency was a complex confluence of party and state government politics that are purview to his centralized executive stewardship. His expanding experience, international influence (some through international visits; Nyerere visited every member of the Soviet Bloc during his time as president), and continuing academic inquiries into socialism influenced changes in his political language over time – but central tenets of a moral philosophy are present throughout his work.

Nyerere as President, Teacher, Chief, and Father – Nyerere’s Moral Leadership and How it Pushed on All Sides President Nyerere - like other men (e.g. Obote) in his class of African leaders, the first presidents of newly Independent states - earned his position and his respect from being highly educated in comparison to his fellow nationals. Before a life in politics he was a teacher. Nyerere was also the son of pre-colonial chiefs. 73 And he created a national conception around himself and his rhetoric about Ujamaa and extended family while dispensing his wisdom and understanding in every speech he made – quite literally every speech and pamphlet distributed with his name gave some executive endorsement or


Dowden, Richard, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (London: Portobello Books, 2008) pg 76


admonishment of a moral tenet. He was like a national father in this way. He was President, Teacher, Chief, and Father of the nation of Tanzania.

I’ve looked over all 156 of President Nyerere’s published speeches (listed in chronological order in Annex II). I then selected 57 of those to analyze in depth. That list is reproduced below. They were selected on the basis of their title and their content. I excluded all speeches about African Unity, the Commonwealth or any other part of Foreign Policy barring economic policy. This report was on the domestic efforts of the Nyerere government during the period of `61-`85, so I deemed these papers as not being central to this analysis of domestic policy.

I also excluded any speeches that were solely designed to impart wisdom. As stated, President Nyerere spent a great deal of time being a moral and intellectual leader of Tanzania and a host of his speeches are concerned with the advancement of intellectualism or the denial of social, and not economic, exploitation. If these messages did not have an implication on land policy then they were excluded from the selected 34

pieces from which I extrapolated the five central contradictions in Nyerere’s platform those listed on page 5 of the introduction.

Development to Nyerere was about “man” and man’s rise towards “self reliance.” His ideas as a governmental and political leader—and as a practitioner of development— spoke of capital accumulation, investment and modernization. By 1969 he explicitly outlined the development goals of TANU and the United Republic in Tanzania’s Second Development Plan; he saw the government’s role in development as providing the facilities necessary for “an adequate and balanced diet… sufficiently good, and if possible attractive clothing… decent housing… and educational opportunities [for all Tanzanians].74” But even before these concrete development ends were articulated in the Second Plan, President Nyerere articulated that development should be founded on an idea mutual respect for all Tanzanians and for the world at large.75 He said: “Development to a man can, in fact, only be effected by that man; development of the people can only be effected by the people.”76 This line indicates that development to him was a democratic idea and institution. President Nyerere understood freedom and development to be inextricably linked. He outlined three forms of freedom in the opening 74

Nyerere, Julius K. Speech by the President, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, to the T.A.N.U. Conference—28th May 1969 (Introduction to: Second Five Year Plan for Economic and Social Development 1st July, 1969 – 30th June, 1974) pg. viii. 75Nyerere,

Julius K., Presidential Inaugural Address, 181. President Nyerere explains that all Tanzanians must face the disparities wrought by colonialism between demographics, but that understanding on the part of Tanganyikan [Tanzanian] is expected, and actual. President Nyerere uses this speech to provide the rudiments for the Tanzanian national ethic. He defends the need for this ethic in an essay called “Importance of a National Ethic” (London: Oxford University Press, in light of conflict between Tanzania and Uganda, and he codifies this ethic in the 1967 Arusha Declaration. 76

Nyerere, Julius K., Freedom and Development in Freedom and Development. (Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press, 1973), pg. 60


paragraphs of his piece Freedom and Development. He articulated that his Tanzania strove for national freedom, freedom from disease and poverty, and personal freedom for the individual and he described it like it was a war. To him no one of those conceptions of freedom could be enacted without economic development. National freedom was not just enforced by the military but also by autarky; freedom from blights required wealth for institutional health provision and housing; and personal freedom, one’s rights, can only be individually enforced when a person knows what their rights are – as part of a developed educational system.77 Development in his mind was not simply economic development, but human development. To him development, including household livelihood development, is a basic human right and many have described him as moralizing because of it. 78

Nyerere presents development in a very personal way that rhetorically endows agency to the people of Tanzania – to the people who are building and making active choices towards material betterment, to the people who are working for and as part of development. The President’s narrative was remarkably personal: “Governments by themselves cannot achieve rural development. They can only facilitate it and make it possible. They can organize, help and guide; they cannot do. For rural development is people’s development of themselves, their lives and environment.”79


Nyerere, Freedom and Development in Freedom and Development, 58-9


Green, “Vision of Human-Centered Development: A Study in Moral Economy”, 80


Nyerere, Julius K., On Rural Development (Dar es Salaam: Official Government Printer, 1979), pg. 8


His tone is important in this speech, as well as in the remainder of his papers and briefs. It is happy; it is positivist, and above all he is encouraging. It stands in direct contrast with other development documents from major development agencies and the majority of development practitioners that are proscriptive but bland and never personal (see World Bank). President Nyerere’s writings are rife with such personal affect as mentioned in the section describing him as a moral leader. Even The Arusha Declaration, which was the “economic blueprint” for the 1973 planned villagization project, seems to imply that President Nyerere placed grate emphasis on the social and moral aspects of his socialist program.80 But he was also condescending. Whether it was elitism or frustration, Nyerere said several times, a trend that emerged into his presidency, that while democratic involvement in development was the Tanzanian way he acknowledged that he and his government would force policies for the people on the people if they did not acquiesce voluntarily. Frustration with the Peasantry - Introduction of the Five Dualisms/Tensions Nyerere was the terminus of this stream of bureaucratic pathologies working from the top down, and the propagator of the policies that dictated the pathologies’ effects on the people. Coulson says, “Nyerere entirely agreed with the majority of the extension officials who believed that their job was to “overcome [the farmers’] apathy and attachment to outmoded practices.”81 Coulson said again:


Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters (1994) called the Arusha Declaration the ‘blueprint’ of villagization, pg 47. 81

Coulson, Anderw, Tanzania: A Political Economy, 182; Scott, Seeing Like a State, 242


By 1973, having gauged the general resistance to villagization on government terms, Nyerere’s language concerning the role of the peasantry changed. His early writings and policy ideas, including the Arusha Declaration, were full of the ideas behind the President’s [dream] of socialism and ‘self-reliance.’ Villagization was to be voluntary, and development was supposed to be orchestrated by the people for the people. The government’s role at that time was to facilitate Tanzania’s transformation. While it was underexposed before, Nyerere’s latent contempt for the backward and ignorant came to the fore by 1973. This contempt is equivalent to elitism, and was tantamount to his waning faith that the people (peasants) were able to take care of themselves or be vessels to their own change.82

His contempt for the peasantry is hard to trace, but it is possible to see in this passage about the ‘war’ Tanzania was waging against backward ways and poverty:

“If you have cotton unpicked on your shamba, if you have cultivated half an acre less than you could cultivate, if you are letting the soil run needlessly off your land, or if your shamba is full of weeds, if you


Coulson 158, Scott, Seeing Like a State, 231


deliberately ignore the advice given you by the agricultural experts, then you are a traitor in the battle.”83 Early in his tenure as head of state he argued that those who do not engage in the active elimination of the problems of Tanzania were traitor to the country and their people. The centralizing government created a bottleneck - President Nyerere and his government made it so the people could only fight Nyerere’s war the government way. By the point when voluntary villagization had obviously been stalled Nyerere was ready to commit to how “It may be possible—and sometimes necessary—to insist on all farmers in a given area growing a certain acreage of a particular crop until they realize that this brings them a more secure living, and then do not have to be forced to grow it.”84 The sentence immediately preceding this one in the same speech was “socialist communities cannot be established by compulsion.” It is contradictions like this that constitute the central aspects of what I have been calling Nyerere’s dualisms. He talked two ways.

Five Dualisms – The Irreconcilable Tensions in Nyerere’s Personal Platform In explaining the workings of Nyerere’s Tanzania first politically and economically, and second through his speeches, I have exposed you to the dualisms alluded to in this paper. We have seen contradictions concerning: 1) Trust of the Peasantry - Nyerere doesn’t trust the peasantry he is leading. In one breath, as is noted just above in the section on forced adherence to government policy on pages


Nyerere’s first broadcast as prime minister in 1961, Nyerere, “Broadcast on becoming Prime Minister” (May 1961), in Nyerere, Freedom and Unity, pg. 115, Scott 242 84

(Quoted freedom and socialism pg. 356)


32 - 34, he says that villigization is voluntary and that the Ujamaa brotherhood cannot be created through coercion or force. In the next breath he outlines that when simple persuasion is not enough then it may be necessary to force the issue. 2) Role of Wealth Accumulation - We saw that there is a traditional dichotomy between the role of work and business in African societies. Nyerere described it in depth in Ujamaa – The Basis of African Socialism when he said, “acquisitiveness for the purpose of gaining power and prestige is unsocialist.” He used this piece to say that (a) that kind of accumulation as ‘unsocial’, (b) that work is the important part of human contribution not monetary reward, and (c) his assertion that African socialism is based on the concept of the extended African family.85 In the context of an African family all work and wealth are distributed amongst its members. Work is the only input to the process that is controlled by the individual, and by coming to work with others in a consistent way that work is socially reproductive. 86 On the other hand individual enterprise can also be construed as exploitive when work is done to create personal advancement over others.87 Work derives both ends, but one is good and one is bad in this traditional metric. Capitalist accumulation allows for a latent level of exploitation in its understanding of competition. Nyerere never sways from this cultural truth in his own dealings that exploitation is antithetical and deleteriously conceived in the salient conception of family-based social reproduction through work. He is always skeptical of private accumulation, but it becomes more and more necessary as communal ventures are failing 85

Nyerere, Freedom and Unity, pg. 162,164, 168, 170 respectively.


Comaroff, Jean and Comaroff, John L., Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991) 87



all over the country from 1961-1985. The public record doesn’t show that he inspected the reasons, but it dows show that he maintained course in the face of growing evidence of economic decline and gross public disincentive. 3) Extension of Colonial Practice - It is obvious that President Nyerere has brought a western style parliamentary democracy to and African setting, but he doesn’t check how many of his own policies are actually continuations of colonial practice. Land tenure for instance was solidified as a leasehold system for most of the country during colonial times – colonial policy solidified customary holdings in a grey area of benighn political neglect. As stated previously, villagization occurred in the space in between two laws and that President Nyerere had no legal authority to order mass relocation and villagization. His acting in the spirit of the law rather than in step with it, referenced on pages 19-21, continued this neglect of customary tenure arrangements. Forced relocation was another example in itself; the colonial government thought it knew what was best for the people in the Tanganyikan territory and forcibly moved and controlled segments of the rural population as well. Nyerere drove for independence and self reliance for all Tanzanians, but did not alter some tenets of the colonial political organization he inherited. The root question is whether Nyerere’s “Democracy under the trees” is actually compatible with a Westminster Style government.88 4) Cash versus Food Crops - Nyerere’s drive for development emphasized cash crop production overwhelmingly over food crop production. Both are exportable, but his plans for collective farming--after the major ground nut failure of the early fifties and the failed


Scott (2001), pg 225


demonstration wheat farms at independence--largely ignored the possibility of growing collective food. Private accumulation of foodstuffs by smallholders was left to individual production on shambas after communal hour requirements were met - as enforced by the 1975 Villages act.89 If his development policies already were creating situations where something as meaningful as life and death subsistence was reliant on private efforts and not on communal or governmental service provision why would it be imperative that the government stop individual families and farmers from selling their crops themselves instead of the confiscatory parastatals? 5) Traditional versus Modern - Nyerere’s policies never answered whether he thought traditional or modern social policies were the best. Ujamaa was rooted in traditional understanding of the African family, but Nyerere’s plans for service provision in rural Tanzania were part and parcel of the service provision package seen in the Tennessee Valley Authority.90 His idea of how the people should organize themselves and what they should engage in once they did was dichotomistic – one was traditional and one was modern, respectively. He seemed to be trying to synthesize the two epistemological systems and seemed unable to reconcile it.


Scott (2001) 241-43, World Bank Tanzania Agriculture Sector Report (1983), pg 146


World Bank, Tanzania Agricultural Sector Report (1983), pg. 156, Scott (2001) pg 224


“Nyerere and Land Policy” – The Fear of The Lion Nyerere was remarkably ahead of his time in categorizing the moral link between development and freedom, but his analysis was not transparent and totalizing.91 James C. Scott, The Presidential Commission of Inquiry, and Richard Downed all attribute several aspects of Nyerere’s economic and political policies to traditional African (if not only Tanzania or Tanganyika specific) sensibilities.92 James Ferguson casts light on the anthropological cues in Global Shadows.93 For my inexperience in Tanzanian Anthropological matters, I defer to him and his scholarship in the next few paragraphs.

Scott alludes to Nyerere’s traditional understanding of exploitation when he mentions that Nyerere’s land tenure policy was based on a traditional understanding that land could not be owned like one would own a material possession. As mentioned above, Scott uses this as a political consideration in his book about high-modern political economy. Scott’s presentation of cultural concerns is tantamount to a footnote. It is impossible to completely understand Nyerere’s policies—why they took the form they did—without a cultural account of what ‘traditional’ elements influenced Nyerere and thusly his African socialism. Nyerere was the movement’s most famous high priest, and influences to his 91

See Amryta Sen’s brilliantly articulated conceptual work Development as Freedom. Sen’s work, including Development as Freedom, won him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998. Development as Freedom articulates many of the same links between development and personal freedom that Nyerere does, but Sen does so within a rigorous technical and academic body of work. This book, while designed for mass consumption, rests upon a techno-economic framework that is in itself a closed system of reference that allows Sen to describe the link in economic rather than moral terms. 92

Scott, James C. Seeing Like a State (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); The Commission of Inquiry on Land Matters, pg. 42; Dowden, Richard, Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles (London: Portobello Books, 2008) pg 76 93

Ferguson, James, Global Shadows Africa in the Neoliberal World Order. (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006) pgs. 71-6


socialist project in Tanzania color the historical appreciation of African socialism on the whole. Green adds,

“One characteristic of Mwalimu’s thought is that it is rooted in African thought (tradition) but is also clearly innovative (individual talent) at the same time it is also influenced and informed by political and social thinking from traditions outside African and in a style accessible both to Africans and globally. That is relatively unusual as most writing grounded in African tradition interacts only to a limited extent with other traditions, while most Western-influenced African though (as with most Sovietinfluenced though) appears to have rather shallow African roots.”94 I agree with Green that Nyerere’s roots are deep, but I do not agree that all aspects of Nyerere’s thought is accessible to audiences that are not deeply familiar with African traditional social structures. There are aspects of his thought and policies that can be traced to being “traditional” but without greater insight the World Bank and others could not understand the dynamics of or importance of these cultural cues.

Ferguson explains, “The relation between wealth, production, and prosperity, on the one hand, and moral and cosmological order, on the other, are pervasive throughout Africa.”95 Ethnographies often deal specifically with local particularities, but Ferguson’s scholarship however draws out that the broad ethnographic region that Tanzania is a part of has almost ubiquitously common moral themes. Most broadly the production of wealth in central, southern, and eastern Africa is inextricable from the production of social relations. The production of wealth can be understood as pro-social, morally valuable 94

Green, “Vision of Human-Centered Development: A Study in Moral Economy”, 103


Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World, Ferguson explains that his observations are primarily gathered from Southern and Central Africa but explains that Nyerere acts on the same presumptions that he outlines. Pg. 71


“work,” “producing one’s self by producing people, relations and things.”96 Alternatively it can be seen as anti-social, morally illegitimate and detrimental exploitation that can be deleterious to community life. The common contrast can be described as the honest work one sweats over, which builds something shared and communally valuable, or the trickery or artifice by which one erodes the positive work of another. It is important to note this idea and how work, when positive, is inextricably positive, and when wealth accumulation is negative it does not only exploit the individual as would be salient in Western understandings of wealth. Instead it deletes the social production inherent in what positive wealth production may cultivate. In this way, exploitation is viewed not simply as one man seeking rent from another (e.g.) but simultaneously understood as the exploitation of the social whole – the robbing of the possibility and actuality of positive social reproduction.

Ferguson explains that sorcery, or the endowment of nature or the social ether with agency, can and often is applied to socially deleterious exploitation and accumulation. It is important to note that the idea of sorcery is ubiquitous across much of traditional Africa, and can be a familiar sanction against illegitimate accumulation—“in which it would have a leveling role”—or it can be the force by which exploiters can exploit with


Comaroff, Jean and Comaroff, John L., Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991) pg. 143. Quoted in Ferguson, Global Shadows, pg. 72


impunity. 97 Regardless, what is important for our purposes is that the meaning of production and accumulation is widely interpreted in moral terms. 98

If political and economic decisions are universally understandable terms of reference within the world development order, propagated by 300 year convergence in managerial tenets culminating in the neo-liberal world order, then there are also sociological, cultural, and psychological factors that are legitimate and particular means of social aggregation that influence the decisions of individuals, towns, districts, and states. These factors matter, and when development literature is top-down and not a down-up push, as it has been for the majority of the 20th century, then these cultural influences on political decisions can be concentrated in the national elite as they were in Tanzania.

Exploitation was only seen as a possible trajectory for wealth accumulated, but Ferguson explains that both the positive and the negative implications of wealth production were tied to the cultural archetype of the chief. The chief, in turn, is commonly used in metaphors where he is described as either man or lion. Key metaphors for ‘positive’ accumulation involve rain feeding the people; ‘negative’ accumulation is compared to cannibalism and blood sucking. In this way, the chief either promotes social reproduction and bounty, or ‘eats’ his people through exploitation.


Ferguson, Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World, 72




This sounds very much like western conceptions of the dualistic nature of capitalism. The difference is that Marx’s fetish endows materials with the abstract accumulation of our labor. To Marx, value is imputed into the object by a natural process of the system. Ferguson says this can’t be more wrong for Africa. He says the ethnography of Africa is not that a human world is ruled by powerful objects, but that “all of the world, even the natural,” bears the traces of human agency.99 Ferguson creates a general argument that the power of the state and urban elites in Africa must be in terms of indigenous moral cosmology. Socialism in Africa actually drew part of its legitimacy through language that engaged relevant moral consolations—Nyerere included. 100 As stated previously, socialism in Tanzania was, first, a state of mind. Nyerere was wickedly popular and faced opposition not from conflicting modes of production, but from conflicting indigenous moral orientations. He had to reconcile selfishness versus slowing exploitation versus solidarity, individual acquisition versus communal mutuality. Socialism was a rejection of selfishness, and exploitation was understood as a moral fault and not a latent condition of an economic structure like it is in the West.

To expand on this, we must go back to the metaphors associated with the accumulation of wealth in Africa: the chief as the provider and the chief as the lion. Nyerere gained and maintained legitimacy for twenty-four years as Chief of State because his policies and public pronouncements vehemently cast him as a center of morality as the provider. His policies mirrored this and his avoidance of private accumulation and the possibility of 99

Ferguson, 74


Ferguson, 75


exploitation. Government pathologies compounded this avoidance to the point that within Nyerere’s Ujamaa Tanzania, there was no place for the private cultivation of your family’s shamba without compulsory expropriation of a family’s surplus at confiscatory prices.101 Subsistence was marginalized by the government’s pathological pursuit of Nyerere’s policies. Shortages of cash crops—the preferred cultivar of the independent regime for its export-import potential further diminished Nyerere’s tacit support of subsistence farming and private accumulation until the foreign exchange deficit of 1978-85 choked the life out of Nyerere’s Tanzania


President Nyerere ruled as an educated founder, a chief (son of chiefs), and a teacher. His conception of Ujamaa, of family and relations leaves room for a leader, a father or elder, and he fills that role as the moral and intellectual leader of his country.

The situation with parastatals to prove his overwhelming power over the political economy of the country and to demonstrate that true communalism without any private or familial ownership wasn’t in the cards. The villigization efforts were drifting back towards the improvement approach, explicitly, and were coming to have the material auspices of private accumulation. Why then did Nyerere continue with such firm aversion to private accumulation? Why did he deny the family, the basic organizational unit of Tanzanian society, from contributing to its own economic subsistence?


Scott (2001)


African culture and spirituality come with certain archetypes. The giver and the taker. Ferguson explains that there are two sides of wealth in African societies: socializing and exploitative. Equally there are two sides to the chief: a man and lion – the builder or eater of men. As the chief he spoke of the equality of men countless times, that no person should be the master of another. His insistence on regional and national unity was part and parcel of his energy for fostering an egalitarian democracy newly removed from the shadows of colonialism. Whether it was a craze, obsession, or passion he longwindedly— his entire professional life from the mid fifties to his death in 1999—worked for and spoke of equality. There are a host of writings on Nyerere, and on parts and the whole of the failure of his socialist project. Few attempt to chronicle Nyerere’s direct contribution to that failure. Most descriptions of the lead up to structural readjustment in Tanzania describe principal-agent miscommunication or bureaucratic pathologies or the confluence of external economic factors that finalized its decline. None explain the link between his psychology and the imperfections of Tanzanian socialism from 1961-1985. His basis for socialism was the African family and freedom, but he denied the opportunity for free economic decision making to every Tanzanian family in the name of the national good – a national good that failed economically, ecologically, and politically. Structural adjustment through complete market liberalization addressed this undervaluation of private accumulation. President Nyerere was wrong. He undervalued private and family level accumulation and that level of economic freedom in his understanding of economic management.


Anthropological tenets have real bearing on the political economy of African states. They are a lens by which the West can can to understand the last 50 years of states policies in Africa. The West normally uses a litany of negative descriptors to characterize African states: poorly governed, undemocratic, parasitic, genocidal, uneducated, under developed, backwards, unhelpable just to name a few. In looking at 60 years of development initiatives in Africa, we ask ourselves why so many of them have failed. Political science and economics are the two disciplines of rationale most often applied to African states and their people, but were still left asking “why did these things fail?� Looking at Tanzania from 61-85 is an unique case; State structure was such that it became valid to inspect one man, President Nyerere, and use him as an allegory for the state. It is just a beginning. Africa is not a land of exotica, and anthropology is not simply about what social groups make what pots and how. Black Africa on the whole is more divorced from the universal tenets of the Neo-Liberal world order than any other continent. Anthropology is the means by which the West can understand not just African or Tanzanian villages, but African states. This report, a requirement for graduating, was a preliminary attempt at proving just that.


Annex I

List of Tanzanian Parastatals in 1983

List of Parastatal Services Agricultural Marketing: i. Sole rights to buy food grains domestically and to import them, National milling Corporation (NMC) ii. Sole rights to market, export and import sugar, Sugar Development Corporation (SUDECO) iii. Sole rights to purchase and export cotton, coffee, pyrethrum, tobacco, tea, sisal, chashenuts, and a range of minor crops: Tanzania Cotton Authority (TCA), Coffee Authority of Tanzania (CAT), Tanzania Tea Authority (TTA), Tanzania Sisal Authority (TSA), Cashewnut Authority of Tanzania (CATA), General Agricultural Products Export Corporation (GAPEX) Agricultural Production iv. Crop production, principally wheat and rice, National Agriculture and Food Corporation (NAFCO), and sugar, Kilombero Sugar Corporation, Tanganyika Planting Company and Mtwiba Sugar Estates v. Livestock and Milk production, Dairy Farming Corporation (DAFCO), Livestock Industry Development Agency (LIDA) and National Ranching Corporation (NARCO) Agricultural Credit: vi. Provision of agricultural credit and inputs, Tanzania Rural Development Bank (TRDB) Agricultural Inputs: vii. Importation of agricultural inputs and equipment, Agricultural and Industrial Supplies Company (AISCO); viii.Sole rights to import vehicles and vehicle parts, State Motor Corporation (SMC) ix. Production and marketing of fertilizer and seed, Tanzania Fertilizer Company (TFC) and Tanzania Seed Company (TANSEED) Agricultural Research Extension and Education: x. Generation of new technological packages, Tanzania Agricultural Research Organization (TARO), Tanzania Livestock Research Organization (TALIRO), Uyole Agricultural Center (UAC), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) xi. Provision of extension (CAT), (TCA), (TAT), (TTA) xii. Agricultural education and training (UDSM and UAC) xiii.Transport and retailing: xiv.Food crop retailing, Regional Trading Corporation (RTCs) xv. Provision of transport services, Regional Transport Companies. Source: World Bank 4052-TA Tanzania Agricultural Sector Report, 1983 pg 66 51

Annex II List of All of President J. K. Nyerere’s Published Speeches Nyerere's Speeches 1952-1973 From Freedom and Unity 1952-1965 1 The Race Problem in East Africa 2 First Speech in Legislative Council 3 Oral Hearing at Trusteeship Council 4 Statement to UN Fourth Committee 5 Oral Hearing at Trusteeship Council 6 Why I Resigned 7 National Property 8 Non-Violent Methods 9 A Widening Brotherhood 10 Tanganyika will be predominantly African 11 Principles of Water and Land Ownership 12 Five TANU Ministers 13 Individual Human Rights 14 A Candle on Kilimanjaro 15 Race Problem Demands Economic Action 16 Responsible Self-Government Proposals 17 Corruption as an Enemy of the People 18 East African Federation 19 Africanization of the Civil Service 20 The African and Democracy 21 The Death of Lumumba 22 The Commonwealth, South Africa, and Tanganyika 23 Broadcast on Becoming Prime Minister 24 The Future of Africa 25 Membership of the Commonwealth 26 ‘Groping Forward' 27 The Functions of Leadership 28 The Principles of Citizenship 29 Education and Law 30 The Challenge of Independence 31 Tanganyika and the Commonwealth 32 Independence Message to TANU 33 Receiving the Instruments of Independence 34 Independence Address to United Nations 35 Resignation as Prime Minister 36 Unity of the African Youth Movements 37 Ujamaa - The Basis for African Socialism 38 African Unity and the Commonwealth 39 Importance of a National Ethic 40 The President's Inaugural Address


1952 5/25/54 3/7/55 12/20/56 6/18/57 12/16/57 5/12/09 5/27/58 6/20/58 10/15/58 10/17/58 3/19/59 Sep-59 10/22/59 Dec-59 Dec-59 5/17/60 Jun-60 10/19/60 1961 2/15/61 3/7/61 5/1/61 Jun-61 6/5/61 7/29/61 8/1/61 10/18/61 10/25/61 Dec-61 Dec-61 Dec-61 12/9/61 12/14/61 1/22/62 3/16/62 1962 6/15/62 6/28/62 12/10/62

41 The United States of Africa Jan-63 42 Democracy and the Party System Jan-63 43 The Second Scramble 2/4/63 44 Relations with Private Capital Investment 2/11/63 45 Policies and Purposes of Pan-Africanism 1963 46 Addis Ababa Conference 5/24/63 47 Inauguration of the University of East Africa 6/28/63 48 The Meaning of Equality 6/29/63 49 Pomposity 7/13/63 50 Independence and Solidarity 7/15/63 51 United Nations Day Message 10/24/63 52 McDougall Memorial Lecture - F.A.O. 11/18/63 53 Republic Day Broadcast 12/9/63 54 Tanganyika Citizenship 1/7/64 55 Guide to One-Party State Commission 1964 56 The Courage of Reconciliation - Dag Hammarskรถld Memorial 1/23/64 Lecture 57 O.A.U. Emergency Meeting of Foreign Ministers 58 The Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar 59 Desire for a Federation in East Africa 60 Comment on the Mutineers' Sentences 61 African Unity - O.A.U. Cairo 62 Opening of University College Campus 63 Mahiwa Young Peoples' Training Center 64 The Value of Private Investment 65 Policy for the Sisal Industry 66 State Visit to China - Rally in Peking 67 State Visit to Mali - Reply to Toast 68 Official Visit to the Netherlands 69 Frugality 70 The Nature and Requirements of African Unity

2/12/64 4/15/64 5/10/64 5/13/64 7/20/64 8/21/64 10/15/64 2/11/65 2/13/65 2/26/65 4/10/65 4/21/65 4/26/65 Jul-65

From Freedom and Socialism 1965-1967 1 Tanzania's Long March is Economic 2 Dissolving the Independence Parliament 3 Relations with the West 4 Tanzania Unjustly Accused 5 Treatment of Leprosy 6 Problems with East African Cooperation 7 Unemployment is no Problem 8 Election Broadcast 9 Congress on African History 10 Opening of the New National Assembly 11 Agriculture is the Basis of Development 12 The Importance and Pleasure of Reading 13 The Judiciary and the People 14 The Honour of Africa 15 New Trading Partners 16 Leaders must not be Masters

6/4/65 6/8/65 6/23/65 7/15/65 7/26/65 8/10/65 8/16/65 9/10/65 9/26/65 10/12/65 11/18/65 11/29/65 12/7/65 12/14/65 2/11/66 Feb-66


17 Rhodesia in the Context of Southern Africa 18 The Tanzanian Economy 19 Inauguration of the Bank of Tanzania 20 The Role of Universities 21 Principles and Development 22 The Dilemma of the Pan-Africanist 23 Africa must not fight Africa 24 The Power of Teachers 25 Foreign Exchange Reserves 26 The Arusha Declaration 27 Public Ownership in Tanzania 28 Socialism is not Racialism 29 Economic Nationalism 30 Education for Self-Reliance 31 A New Look at Conditions for Unity 32 The Varied Paths to Socialism 33 Address to the Trade Unions 34 The Purpose is Man 35 East African Treaty 36 Zambia and Tanzania 37 Socialism and Rural Development 38 Policy on Foreign Affairs 39 After the Arusha Declaration 40 Progress in Schools

Apr-66 6/13/66 6/14/66 6/27/66 Jun-66 7/13/66 8/23/66 8/27/66 12/9/66 1/29/67 2/12/67 2/14/67 2/28/67 Mar-67 4/9/67 4/10/67 7/27/67 8/5/67 8/8/67 8/16/67 Sep-67 10/16/67 10/17/67 12/11/67

From Freedom and Development 1968-1973 1 A Peaceful New Year 2 Implementation of Rural Socialism 3 Unity Must Incorporate Differences 4 Unity Must Be Worked For 5 The Intellectual Needs Society 6 The Party Must Speak for the People 7 The Supremacy of the People 8 Equality in Sovereign Relationships 9 Rice Means Socialism 10 Work Targets 11 The Tazama Pipeline 12 Freedom and Development 13 Things We Must Correct 14 To Plan is to Choose 15 A Tribute To Canadian Attitudes 16 Stability and Change in Africa 17 Socialism and Rich Societies 18 The -Co-operative Movement 19 Visit to the USSR 20 Adult Education Year 21 Kibaha Nordic Center 22 Yugoslavia's Experimentation 23 A Survey of Socialist Progress

1/1/68 1/21/68 1/26/68 2/28/68 2/29/68 6/7/68 6/18/68 6/21/68 6/24/68 7/6/68 9/2/68 10/16/68 12/9/68 5/28/69 9/30/69 10/2/69 10/3/69 10/4/69 10/8/69 12/31/69 1/10/70 1/26/70 2/5/70


24 Developing Tasks of Non-Alignment 25 Arusha Declaration Parliament 26 Learning from Hungary 27 Relevance and Dar es Salaam University 28 At the United Nations General Assembly 29 The Church and Society 30 Choosing a Representative 31 The Tanzania/Zambia Railway 32 East African Cooperation is Alive 33 South Africa and the Commonwealth 34 The Indian Ocean as a Link 35 Socialism and Law 36 Ten Years After Independence 37 Welcome to Olof Palme 38 A Long-Term Optimist 39 East African Industrial Co-operation 40 Rumanian Independence 41 Decentralization 42 After the Pearce Commission 43 International Unity 44 All Men are Equal 45 A Call to European Socialists 46 The Rational Choice Total No. of Speeches 156


4/13/70 7/6/70 8/23/70 8/28/70 10/15/70 10/16/70 10/24/70 10/28/70 11/27/70 Jan-71 1/23/71 3/31/71 Sep-71 9/25/71 1/13/72 2/8/72 3/27/72 May-72 6/3/72 7/3/72 8/21/72 Nov-72 1/2/73

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Undervalued Private Accumulation