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War on exploitation, dependency: Mwalimu in Socialism and Self reliance

TANZANIA is marking 20 years since the passing on of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere; the first prime minister of independent Tanganyika (1961), who later became the first president of the new state of Tanganyika( later Tanzania (after 1964).

Nyerere who is Tanzania’s F ather of the Nation was also the major force behind the Organization of African Unity ( OAU; now the African Union) and was, along with Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah, behind a move to unite all African countries, though they differed on how to arrive at a single country.

The late Mwalimu Nyerere had at heart Socialism and Self-R eliance policies, and threw his weight in implementing them throughout the country under different programs.

Many people came to learn and admire him more when he was gone, some finding it too late to achieve what he was building.

Many of the programs under his leadership were built under the famous Arusha Declaration (1967) , aiming to build a fully socialist state with the principles of socialism having being laid down in the Tanganyika African National Union ( TANU) Constitution.

Enshrined therein were principles such as all human beings are equal; every individual has a right to dignity and respect, with some of the principal aims and objectives of TANU being to consolidate and maintain the independence of this country and the freedom of its people.

Others were to co-operate with all political parties in Africa engaged in the liberation of all Africa; to see that the Government eradicates all types of exploitation, intimidation, discrimination, bribery and corruption.

In his book – ‘ Uhuru na Umoja’ (F reedom and Unity): Essays on Socialism (1967) , Mwalimu Nyerere says; “We, in Africa, have no more need of being ‘converted’ to socialism than we have of being ‘taught’ democracy. Both are rooted in our past -- in the traditional society which produced us.”

He was able to formulate other aims and objectives to see that the Government co-operates with other states in Africa in bringing about African unity and see that Government works tirelessly towards world peace and security through the United Nations Organization.

Mwalimu denounced exploitation, capitalism and feudalism rallying all people to be workers so that the society does not have two classes of people; a lower one composed of people who work for their living and an upper class of people who live on the work of others.

In his speech in 1973 in Khartoum, Sudan, Mwalimu said capitalism meant that the masses would work and a few people - who may not labor at all - benefit from that work.

The few would sit down to a banquet and the masses eat whatever was left over. He said that was not acceptable and should be fought.

He did not want anybody to exploit another person; everyone who was physically able to work had to do so, every worker had to obtains a just return for the labour they perform and the incomes derived from different types of work were not to be grossly divergent.

Mwalimu spoke of intellectuals, calling upon them to work for benefits of all members of the society: “Intellectuals have a special contribution to make to the development of our nation, and to Africa.

And I am asking that their knowledge, and the greater understanding that they should possess, should be used for the benefit of the society of which we are all members,” he so said in his book ‘Uhuru na Maendeleo’ (F reedom and Development), 197 3.

Under his type of Socialism, all major means of production and exchange were placed under the control of the peasants and workers through the machinery of their government and their co-operatives.

The major means of production and exchange were such things as: land; forests, minerals, water, oil and electricity; news media; communications; banks, insurance, import and export trade and wholesale trade.

Others were iron and steel, machine tool, arms, motor-car, cement, fertilizer, and textile industries; and any big factory on which a large section of the people depend for their living, or which provides essential components of other industries; large plantations and especially those that provide raw materials essential to important industries.

He coined further that the ruling party should be a party of peasants and workers.

Agriculture was taken, and until now, as the backbone of the Tanganyika ( and later Tanzania)’ economy.

Mwalimu Nyerere stressed from time to time about democracy; saying a state is not socialist simply because its means of production and exchange are controlled or owned by the government, either wholly or in large part.

He said that for a country to be socialist, it is essential that its government is chosen and led by the peasants and workers themselves.

“If the minority governments of R hodesia or South Africa controlled or owned the entire economies of these respective countries, the result would be a strengthening of oppression, not the building of socialism.

True socialism cannot exist without democracy also existing in the society,” said the Father of the Nation in one of his manuscripts. But he warned about ‘importing’ democracy, saying while in R io De Janeiro, Brazil in 1991: “Democracy is not a bottle of C oca-C ola which you can import. Democracy should develop according to that particular country”.

He stressed that Socialism was a belief and a way of life so it could only be built by those who believe in, and who themselves practice, the principles of Socialism.

He unveiled that successful implementation of socialist objectives depended very much on the leaders.

On Self-Reliance, Mwalimu said the party, government and country was at war against poverty and oppression; the struggle aimed at moving the people of Tanzania and the people of Africa as a whole from a state of poverty to a state of prosperity.

“We have been oppressed a great deal, we have been exploited a great deal and we have been disregarded a great deal.

It is our weakness that has led to our being oppressed, exploited and disregarded. Now we want a revolution – a revolution which brings an end to our weakness, so that we are never again exploited, oppressed, or humiliated,” he was quoted as saying.

He was sad that Tanzanians in the past had chosen money as a weapon against dependency while they did not have the money.

“We are trying to overcome our economic weakness by using the weapons or the economically strong – weapons which in fact we do not possess,” it was his cry.

Mwalimu was of the opinion that gifts and loans from other countries would endanger the country’s independence.

He noted that even if it were possible for Tanzanians to get enough money for their needs from external sources, it was not that really they wanted.

“Independence means selfreliance. Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts and loans from another for its development.

Even if there was a nation, or nations, prepared to give us all the money we need for our development, it would be improper for us to accept such assistance without asking ourselves how this would affect our independence and our very survival as a nation.

“Gifts which increase, or act as a catalyst, to our own efforts are valuable. Gifts which could have the effect of weakening or distorting our own efforts should not be accepted until we have asked ourselves a number of questions. The same applies to loans. It is true that loans are better than ‘free’ gifts.

A loan is intended to increase our efforts or make those fruitful. One condition of a loan is that you show how you are going to repay it.

This means you have to show that you intend to use the loan profitably and will therefore be able to repay it,” he stood by that throughout his leadership and even after.

Mwalimu had it that the development of a country was brought about by people, not by money. Money, and the wealth it represents, was the result and not the basis of development.

“The four prerequisites of development are different; they are people, land, good policies, and good leadership,” he said, tipping education as a tool of liberation and agriculture as a backbone of the economy.

He was the driving force behind seeing the government and the co-operative societies ensure the people get necessary tools, training and leadership in modern methods of agriculture.

He stressed that the people should always be ready to defend their nation when called upon to do so.

Mwalimu was of the view that it was necessary for party and government prepare training for all leaders – from the national level to the ten-house cell level – so that every one of them understood the political and economic policies and set a good example to the rest of the people in their lives and in all their activities.

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Author: DEUS NGOWI

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