How Arusha, Zanzibar declarations shook Mwinyi presidency

TANZANIA: AS the nation was slowly transitioning from Ujamaa na Kujitegemea policy (Socialism and Self Reliance) to free market economy the late Mzee Mwinyi faced a number of challenges, some of which may be described as tough ones.

One of the toughest tests that Mzee Rukhsa faced was the implementation of Arusha Declaration that had been passed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Tanganyika Africa National Union (TANU) in January 26-29, 1967.

Ujamaa na Kujitegemea was a socialist ideology that formed the basis of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s social and economic development policies in Tanganyika after it gained independence from Britain in 1961.

It should be remembered that despite the merger between TANU and ASP in 1977 to form CCM, the new party upheld the policy and ideology (Socialism and Self Reliance) crafted by the two previous political parties. Ujamaa concept was translated into the institutionalisation of social, economic, and political equality through the creation of a central democracy; the abolition of discrimination based on ascribed status; and the nationalisation of the economy’s key sector.

The Arusha Declaration included the leadership code, binding on all senior civil servants and TANU party leaders not to hold shares in public companies, have ownership of rented housing or engage in any other type of business.

The leadership code clearly aimed at deterring civil servants from developing greed which would ultimately push them into amassing wealth for their own benefits. Mwalimu had enacted the Arusha Declaration, and in particular, the Leadership Code, because he knew that without separating leadership from business it would be extremely difficult to deal with the conflict of interest.

In his book titled ‘Mzee Rukhsa : Safari Ya Maisha Yangu’ simply translates as ‘A Journey of My Life’ Mzee Mwinyi says one of the conditions stipulated in the leadership code wanted a civil servant to either be a worker or a farmer and that they should not engage themselves in any capitalist undertaking.

Mzee Mwinyi, during his leadership, analysed the conditions set in the Arusha Declaration before it became evident to him that some conditions were hard to abide by since it was possible that some individuals could now be employed in private companies (capitalist entities).

Zanzibar Declaration The situation prompted the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi to convene in Zanzibar from February 15th to 18th, 1991 during which, among other things, it reviewed CCM membership conditions or criteria and the public leadership code of ethics.

The decision by Mzee Mwinyi’s leadership under CCM to review the leadership code of ethics and CCM membership conditions caused public uproar, with some critics going an extra mile saying the decision had ‘killed’ Arusha Declaration.

However, Mzee Mwinyi defended the decision, saying it was necessitated by the economic development changes taking place in and outside the country.

On February 25th, 1991, six days after the NEC meeting in Zanzibar, Mzee Mwinyi convened a meeting in Dar es Salaam involving national leaders, heads of parastatal organisations and some selected ordinary citizens during which he explained about the rationale of Zanzibar Declaration.

In the meeting, Mzee Mwinyi told the delegates that Arusha Declaration spoke on a range of issues but what they addressed in the Zanzibar Declaration was quite a small portion of it focusing mainly on the interpretation of the CCM membership conditions and leadership ethics, ultimately keeping pace with the socio-economic development taking place in and outside the country, as the situation that existed in 1991 was now different from the situation in 1967.

In his book, Mzee Mwinyi insists that having taken the country’ s reins in 1985 it was necessary for his government to carry out policy and economic reforms between 1986 and 1991.

As the policy and economic reforms were being carried out, the nation was also mulling adopting multiparty politics instead of clinging to single party politics. According to him, there was no way the reforms carried out could not have impact on CCM membership requirements and the leadership code of ethics.

However, Mzee Mwinyi said what happened in Zanzibar was not a declaration, as some claimed, instead it was just a statement issued after the NEC meeting.

The statement, according to Mzee Mwinyi, focused on making clarification on certain issued contained in the Arusha Declaration without scrapping it.

“This was not the first time such a matter was carried out, as it is recorded that in 1971, TANU’s NEC did similar thing by coming up with Iringa Declaration known as Siasa ni Kilimo that clarified on certain issues pertaining to agriculture, a subject that was articulated in the Arusha Declaration,” the late Mzee Mwinyi recounts in his book.

Again in 1974, the late Mzee Mwinyi says, the same organ (NEC) came up with Musoma Declaration that clarified on the concept of ‘Education for Self-Reliance,’ a subject that was included in the Arusha Declaration.

Further building his case, the late Mzee Mwinyi, says in 1981 NEC issued guideline in which a clarification was made on certain issues contained in the Arusha Declaration.

“The above NEC meetings and the resultant statements serve as a proof that what the ruling party’s NEC did when it convened in Zanzibar in February 1991 was not something strange. It was just a continuation of the ruling party’s culture, the only difference is that this time around Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was no longer in power,” the late Mzee Mwinyi argues in his book.

How Nyerere set pace for review of CCM membership code of conduct

Though social and economic changes that were occurring from 1980s necessitated the changes on CCM membership code of conduct, the late Mzee Mwinyi recounted how Mwalimu Nyerere set pace for the review of the code of ethics.

In his book Mzee Mwinyi says towards the end of 1989 the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi under the leadership of Mwalimu Nyerere held its meeting during which members discussed a range of issues.

He says having concluded the NEC meeting he (Mzee Mwinyi) accompanied Mwalimu Nyerere as he was heading to his office. He says as they approached the exit of the conference venue Mwalimu Nyerere turned to him (Mzee Mwinyi) and asked him to summon Kingunge Ngombare Mwiru to his office.

According to Mzee Mwinyi, the three of them sat in the office of Mwalimu Nyerere after which Mwalimu issued directives that sounded like a plea to Mzee Mwinyi and Ngombre-Mwiru.

The departed Mzee Mwinyi recalls what Mwalimu said to them: “Sheikh Ali, our party faces some political and ideological problems, and Ngombale in charge of the party’s ideology. I now want to assign him a task. I want him to carry out an analysis, including preparing a topic on the matter pertaining to CCM membership and leadership ethics.

This is due to the fact that issues are now changing as time goes by. In this era we need to have clarity on dos and don’ts when it comes to CCM membership and leadership ethics.

For instance when I stepped down from the position of the President my brethren from Sukuma, Gogo lands and other Tanzanians offered me cattle as gift. In fact they gave me around 300 cattle, and given the existing CCM membership and leadership ethics (taboos) I am already rich.

Back home in Butiama, there is forest that is now under my watch and possession after being handed over to me by my fellow villagers. I conserve it, and I also engage myself in farming activities. I have a farm measuring between 20 and 30 acres.

Does this disqualify me from being a CCM member and a leader? We need you (Ngombele) to help us by preparing a topic that will be discussed in the next NEC meeting.” Mzee Rukhsa, as he was famously known, says Mwalimu directives were worked on by Ngombare-Mwiru and his departmental colleagues after which a topic on the matter was tabled in the NEC meeting in February 1990.

Having debated the matter, NEC members agreed to add one qualification to the list. It should be remembered that a CCM member was required to be either a farmer or worker but this time around a member was now required to also be a person engaging in any other legal income generating activity.

According to Mzee Mwinyi, ten cell leaders who were also not required to have houses for renting were now allowed to engage in the business. He says reviewing CCM membership and leadership ethics, taboos and conditions generated uproar in the NEC meeting, especially from those who were regarded as conservatives.

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