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Julius Nyerere: Tanzanian President, Statesman, and Intellectual

Summary and Keywords

Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922–1999) was the East African nation of Tanganyika’s (from 1964: Tanzania) central political figure from the struggle against colonialism in the 1950s, through the attainment of political independence in 1961, and into the late 20th century. After briefly serving as Tanganyika’s first prime minister, he was the country’s first president from 1962 until 1985. From these positions and his thirty-five years as the chairman of the ruling party, Nyerere profoundly shaped Tanzania’s political and societal trajectory. Under the guiding ideology of ujamaa (“familyhood”) African socialism, he set out a vision of society built on egalitarian principles and the mutual obligation of its members toward one another. His commitment to this vision saw Nyerere fight for equal rights under inclusive citizenship irrespective of race, ethnicity, and religion in Tanzania and liberation from colonialism and racist rule in Southern Africa. In 1967, the famous Arusha Declaration reinforced the socialist aspects of ujamaa and resulted in nationalizations, the dramatic curbing of the ability of elites to accumulate wealth, and the reshaping of Tanzania’s rural areas in a massive resettlement campaign—notionally a first step in the building of socialist villages. Nyerere was able to override resistance to these policies through a combination of his personal authority with the public and the political class, the ruling party’s institutional monopoly he instituted in the political arena, and resort to usually mild forms of coercion. Thus imposing his vision of a just society over challenges and against resistance that he perceived as illegitimate or misguided, Nyerere practiced a politics that was often in tension with his professed democratic ideals. Although Nyerere was an authoritarian ruler, his voluntary retirement from political office and his support for the 1992 reintroduction of multi-party politics are indications that personal and institutional power had not become an end unto itself for him and that he was willing to relinquish both when holding on to them no longer seemed imperative or, indeed, effective in securing the larger political purposes he pursued.

Keywords: Nyerere, ujamaa, African socialism, African democracy, one-party democracy, villagization, Arusha Declaration

Synoptic Biographical Outline

Early Life and Education

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born on April 13, 1922, the second child of the minor chief Nyerere Burito of the Zanaki, a small ethnic group, and Mugaya Nyang’ombe, the fifth of the chief’s twenty-two wives.1 He spent his early years at his birthplace, Butiama village, near Lake Victoria in Tanzania’s northern Mara Region, Musoma District, herding goats and cattle with other young boys. While it did not make for a life of luxury, his status as a chief’s son afforded crucial access to education under the system of indirect rule that the British practiced in their League of Nations Mandate (1922) and, later, United Nations Trust (1946) territory of Tanganyika. Although Chief Burito’s eldest son, Nyerere’s half-brother Edward Wanzagi Nyerere, had already received the basic education that was deemed useful preparation for his future duties as the chief’s likely successor, in 1934 Nyerere too was sent to Native Administration School in Mwisenge, Musoma.2

School exposed Nyerere to new influences and opportunities. Studying a basic curriculum of reading, writing, and arithmetic was supplemented with discussions at a teacher’s home that ranged into history and politics, as well as with religious instruction at the Roman Catholic White Fathers Nyegina Mission Centre.3 Having excelled in his primary school exams, in 1937 Nyerere won a highly competitive place at Tabora Government School, the most prestigious secondary school in Tanganyika.4 Upon his graduation in 1942, he gained admission to Makerere College, the pre-eminent institution of post-secondary education in British East Africa. In 1943, he commenced his studies there to become a teacher and later that year was baptized “Julius” at Nyegina Mission.5

At Makerere, Nyerere studied with several important future players in Tanganyika’s politics, among them Abdallah Fundikira, David Kidaha Makwaia, Hamza Mwapachu, Vedastus Kyaruzi, Andrew Tibandebage, and Solomon Eliufoo. All but the last joined Nyerere as members of the Makerere branch of the Tanganyika-based African Association.6 The college provided the kind of milieu that saw Nyerere reflect on Booker T. Washington’s writings, win a competition with an essay on the Liberation of Women that drew on John Stuart Mill, and pen a 1943 letter to the Tanganyika Standard newspaper in which he pronounced Africans “naturally socialistic” and postulated a vanguard role for “the educated African” in steering society toward a commitment to mutual uplift and “African socialism.”7

Upon graduating in late 1945, Nyerere became a teacher at St. Mary’s School in Tabora. There he reunited with several of his African Association colleagues from Makerere in the organization’s Tabora branch and became involved in the increasingly proto-nationalist Association’s national affairs, pushing it to demand greater popular African representation in the colonial administration.8

In early 1949, he embarked on undergraduate M.A. studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. After an initial year of science, he took courses in English literature, social anthropology, political economy, economic history, moral philosophy, and constitutional law. He read John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism, Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Social Contract, Plato’s Republic, Hsiao-Tung Fei’s Peasant Life in China, and Harold Laski’s Grammar of Politics, written during Laski’s Fabian phase, among other texts.9

Against a backdrop of occasional contact with the scene of Tanganyikans and other Africans largely based in London, as well as with the Fabian Society, he wrote on race and colonial rule.10 What was perhaps his core ideological commitment—to an essentially liberal conception of human equality irrespective of race, ethnicity, and religion—was clearly in evidence already at this point. So was a relatively mild, liberal political project with a broadly democratic-socialist outlook.11 In the context of a late colonial moment, this was a positioning that Nyerere could very effectively trade on vis-à-vis both the colonial power and important Tanganyikan constituencies, crucially the economically important Asian community.

Following his graduation in July 1952, Nyerere arrived back in Tanganyika in October 1952.12 In January 1953, he was married to Maria Waningu Gabriel Magige, to whom he had been engaged prior to his departure to the United Kingdom. They would have eight children together. The following month he took a teaching job at St. Francis College, Pugu, just outside Dar es Salaam, that had been arranged by his mentor under whom he had taught at St. Mary’s, Father Richard Walsh.13

Early Political Career

Close proximity to Dar es Salaam facilitated Nyerere’s full entry to circuits of national politics, increasingly centered on the renamed Tanganyika African Association headquartered in the capital.14 Nyerere became its president in April 1953. The organization’s July 7, 1954, meeting ratified a more centralized organizational structure and an explicitly anti-colonial, nationalist agenda in its new constitution and adopted a new name, Tanganyika African National Union (TANU).15

Nyerere’s March 7, 1955, trip to New York to advocate for independence in front of the United Nations Trusteeship Council galvanized popular mobilization in Dar es Salaam and beyond.16 Two weeks later, Nyerere resigned from his teaching position.17 Over the course of 1955, he and other key organizers such as TANU’s women’s section leader Bibi Titi Mohamed and Oscar Kambona recruited for TANU across the country.18

Having insisted that Tanganyika ought to be governed democratically without regard to race and as a, hence, “primarily African” country, Nyerere nonetheless steered a resistant TANU toward participation in the 1958/9 elections conducted under restrictive franchise and a tri-racial scheme whereby voters elected a European, an Asian, and an African representative in each constituency.19 Throwing its support behind sympathetic Asians and Europeans and running its own African candidates, TANU won twenty-eight out of the thirty elected seats in the colonial Legislative Council.20 Elections in August 1960 in fifty single-member constituencies with an additional ten and eleven special seats reserved for Europeans and Asians, respectively, yielded an almost complete victory for TANU. This, and Nyerere’s show of moderation and racial inclusiveness, gave him the standing to quickly claim internal self-government in May 1961 and negotiate Tanganyika’s complete independence on December 9, 1961.21

Premiership and Presidency

After serving as prime minister under Tanganyika’s first, Westminster-style independence constitution, Nyerere resigned the office in January 1962. Rashidi Kawawa, a former trade unionist and a trusted lieutenant, replaced him. Nyerere then spent ten months setting out a vision for Tanganyika’s society, centrally in the pamphlet “Ujamaa: The Basis of African Socialism,” and traveling the country to build support for it.22 In a low-turnout December 1962 election, he was overwhelmingly elected Tanganyika’s president under a new Republican constitution running against a weakly organized opposition candidate.23 He held this office until 1985.

Two crises in January 1964 created a moment of existential threat to Nyerere’s hold on power. The bloody January 1964 revolution in Zanzibar, two main islands off the coast of Tanganyika, threatened to embroil Tanganyika in a Cold War conflict. Later the same month, the Tanganyikan army mutinied in Dar es Salaam over pay and the Africanization of the officer ranks and appeared to make common cause with labor activists. Nyerere, driven into hiding for several days, called on British help to put down the mutiny.24 He diffused the threat posed by Zanzibar by negotiating the April 1964 union with Tanganyika that forged the United Republic of Tanzania.25 The underlying issues—class tensions with a racial overlay at home, mainland Tanzania’s difficult relationship with Zanzibar, and the tension-laden geopolitical position of the country—would continue to be major themes throughout Nyerere’s political career and beyond.

These events accelerated a move toward institutionalizing in a new constitution TANU’s already existing de facto monopoly on organized politics. Nyerere instituted his Presidential Commission on the Establishment of a One-Party State within days of the mutiny’s end.26 Through it, he engineered a new 1965 constitutional framework that, while outlawing competing parties, retained elements of competitive elections that were fought between competing TANU candidates for 107 of the 199 seats in parliament.27 The resulting “one-party democracy” received much attention as an innovative experiment.28

In 1967 and 1968 Nyerere moved to translate his egalitarian, “African socialist” vision for Tanzania—traceable as far back as his 1943 letter to the Tanganyika Standard—into a policy program. The famous “Arusha Declaration” of February 1967 elevated “ujamaa,” a Swahili term denoting relations of mutual responsibility and caring between the members of a family and generally rendered as “familyhood,” to be the central guiding principle of TANU policy and Tanzania’s social contract. Its egalitarian principles were reflected in the emphasis it laid on the development of Tanzania’s smallholder agriculture, the foundation of the vast majority of Tanzanians’ livelihood. Nyerere elaborated on this vision’s implications for education, rural development, and the role of political officeholders in several follow-up speeches and pamphlets.29 The declaration heralded the nationalization of banks, large plantations, trading companies, some factories, and rental real estate. It also brought increasingly centralized state control and the expansion of parastatal activities across all sectors of the economy.30 In the agricultural sector, it ushered in the forced resettlement of the majority of Tanzania’s rural population into so-called “ujamaa villages,” most of which was accomplished between 1972 and 1974.31

Presiding over an economy slipping into an ever-more-severe crisis precipitated by the upheavals in the agricultural sector, the dramatically failing attempt to run a centrally controlled economy, and the debilitating external shocks of the second oil and the debt crises of the late 1970s, Nyerere responded by attempting to defend his policies against internal “sabotage” and external pressures.32 In January 1979, Tanzania went to war with Uganda’s Idi Amin after long-smoldering hostilities and repeated threats and intrusions onto Tanzanian soil. Achieved at great economic cost that Tanzania could ill-afford, a relatively quick and easy military victory led to Amin’s ouster. Over the next two years, Nyerere unsuccessfully attempted to engineer a stable democratic regime as Uganda drifted toward its 1981–1986 civil war.33

In 1985 Nyerere declined to run again for the presidency and handed over the reins to Ali Hassan Mwinyi. Until 1990, he retained the chairmanship of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi party (CCM, since TANU’s 1977 merger with Zanzibar’s Afro-Shirazi Party) and continued to exert considerable influence on Tanzanian politics from this position, often advocating against the free-market reforms that were beginning to take hold. In his last year as chairman he also began pushing for a return to a multi-party system, ultimately implemented in 1992, in part in order to introduce a popular check against the anti-egalitarian consequences of economic liberalization, in part because he felt that the task of building a cohesive nation had progressed sufficiently to permit organized political competition.34


Out of office, Nyerere continued to be an important fixture in Tanzania’s public life, as he argued vigorously against proposals to restructure the union with Zanzibar and—behind the scenes—exerted his influence in selecting Mwinyi’s successor, Benjamin Mkapa.35 In the international arena, Nyerere devoted his last years to mediating in the post-1993 Burundian conflict, where his hope that an inclusive political settlement would avoid further “ethnic” bloodshed reflected his deeply held beliefs that had informed his vision for Tanzania.36 Nyerere died on October 14, 1999, of causes related to leukemia in a London hospital. His funeral processions in Dar es Salaam and Butiama drew hundreds of thousands of Tanzanians and many foreign dignitaries. Obituaries from across the world celebrated and occasionally commented critically on his life and achievements.37

Nyerere, Statesman and Intellectual

Nyerere, “Moral and Incorruptible Leader”

As do his honorifics “Baba wa Taifa” (“Father of the Nation”) and “Mwalimu” (“The Teacher”), de rigueur descriptions of Nyerere as Tanzania’s “philosopher-king” appropriately reflect both his centrality to Tanzania’s politics and society during the second half of the 20th century and the nature of his leadership. Political ruler and shaper of a broad public discourse concerning societal ethics, Nyerere profoundly influenced Tanzanian history. Yet—and this is sometimes lost in a telling of that history as the history of a great man—Nyerere did not exist in a vacuum either as an intellectual or as a political leader. The teacher was also a student, and the father of the nation continuously wrestled with would-be progenitors of competing versions of that nation as well as the clashing imperatives of his own ideas.

The mutually reinforcing image and reality of Nyerere’s seemingly complete ideological hegemony—“the broad thrust of government policy since independence has been entirely determined by him,” one commentator notes—was both deliberately constructed and also enforced.38 To the outside world, Nyerere spoke for Tanzania, not least as a result of three carefully curated volumes in English of many of his speeches and writings published by Oxford University Press. The image of the moderate, modest, intelligent, and democratically minded “former teacher” that emerged from these pages was further reinforced by sympathetic writers and biographers, vis-à-vis whom Joan Wicken, Nyerere’s personal assistant from before independence into his retirement, exercised a protective gatekeeper function.39

The image thus constructed bought Nyerere and Tanzania—for his purposes, at least—much capital with the outside world.40 Around independence there was, among the British and Americans, a sense that the “moderate” and “reasonable” Nyerere was a partner they could work with; he was therefore uniquely positioned among Tanzanian politician to secure concessions.41 Likewise, from the mid-1960s, leftists, democratic socialists, the Scandinavian countries, China, and organizations as diverse as OXFAM and the World Bank found Nyerere’s sincere concern with bringing development to the poor appealing.42 Tanzania being perceived as “Nyerere’s nation” crucially shaped these various important connections.

This external reception was a factor that contributed to raising Nyerere’s profile internally as well. Although his growing monopoly on setting the terms of public discourse was also built on sidelining critics and competing voices, his articulation of a vision for an egalitarian nation beyond ethnic and religious divides also had broad popular appeal, including perhaps especially with the many activist women who had shaped TANU in its pre-independence phase—before being largely marginalized in an emerging nation led by its “father.”43

More broadly, Nyerere’s frugal lifestyle and “pomposity-averse” public persona that were, and were calculated to be, exemplary of the egalitarian principles he espoused gave him a great deal of moral capital.44 His deliberate projection of an image of a certain asceticism was not merely a matter of his public statements and modest salary and consumption patterns. Thus commentators would habitually refer to the literal embodiment of Nyerere’s frugality in his slight frame and physical thinness, as well as his habits of dress—often a simple pair of trousers and an open-collared shirt or, from the mid-1960s, a “Zhou Enlai” worker’s suit.45

Nyerere’s image was not a false façade. But this is not to say that it was not carefully crafted and managed. Joan Wicken’s explicit insistence on modest accommodations for Nyerere’s foreign trips during his retirement illustrates this well.46 Thus “leading by example” yielded both loyalty and acquiescence when Nyerere demanded a willingness to sacrifice for the common good, thereby acting as a key foundation underneath his status as an “unchallenged but not unchallengeable” leader.47 Crucially, it inoculated him against the perhaps most potent potential attack on his egalitarian political project: an accusation of hypocrisy. Thus, when Oscar Kambona attempted from exile to undermine Nyerere by leveling precisely such accusations, this appears to have fallen entirely flat.48


Nyerere did not create ujamaa (“familyhood”), the concept under which he constructed his vision of an “African socialist” society, ex nihilo. The term itself had previously featured as the core of a vision for moral society outlined by the Chagga Chief Petro Itosi Marealle.49 Indeed, Nyerere more broadly stood in a long tradition of African intellectuals crafting such visions when he picked up this term in 1962 to outline the set of guiding principles that would fundamentally structure Tanzania’s political debate and policy for several decades to come.50 Aside from such “indigenous” sources and practices, the content of ujamaa’s vision also reflected influences such as social contract theory, Fabian socialist principles, and Rousseau’s notion of the family as the primary form of society.51

The product of Nyerere’s theorizing, set out in the 1962 pamphlet “Ujamaa: The Basis of African Socialism,” systematized some of the thinking already in evidence in his 1943 letter to the Tanganyika Standard. It drew an idealized—and in important ways fictional—image of “traditional African society” as communalist and egalitarian. Building socialism, on the basis of this conception, meant not a struggle of classes—in Africa, Nyerere asserted, these did not exist—but rather a renewed and continued commitment to what was essentially “an attitude of mind” that had all members of society motivated by a concern “for each other’s welfare.”52 By contrast, capitalism was a system driven by acquisitiveness and exploitation. What a socialist society therefore demanded was in the first place not so much a particular system of production or even institutional framework but the fair distribution of society’s wealth to the production of which every member was, and felt, morally obliged to contribute.53

The core motif of Nyerere’s conception of ujamaa, the idea of extending one’s “natural” sense of obligation toward one’s family beyond that narrow bound, brought him to the “logical conclusion” not to stop at the “extended family” of the “nation” but “to embrace the whole society of mankind.”54 This pronouncement captures in a nutshell Nyerere’s humanist commitment to a fundamental equality irrespective of “tribe,” national origin, race, and religion.

The central thread running through Nyerere’s political career was his defense of this core value, in the cause of which he utilized the variety of means at his disposal: moral leadership and persuasion; his ability to strategically steer policy; and the considerable authority he yielded to enforce his visions and policies and to suppress competing ones. While the “extended family” of Nyerere’s ujamaa may have been theorized as a community of equals, Nyerere thus ruled it very much in the manner of a patriarch who felt justified in his at times hard-edged exercise of political authority by his deeply held belief that he did so “for the benefit of the people [he] served”—in his eyes simultaneously the hallmark and obligation of legitimate leadership.55 Whereas his model of authority did lean in several registers on an essentializing idiom of “traditional African” authority, Nyerere, less the “African Big Man” than the fairness-focused, liberally inclined universalist, unusually played the role of the “father of the nation” without, and indeed in explicit opposition to, the standard patrimonial model of rule, with its toolkit of personalistic or identitarian favoritism.

Support for Southern African Liberation Struggles and Regional Leadership

Although early Pan-African dreams and, despite repeated attempts, plans for an East Africa federation foundered on the rocks of colonial boundaries that entrenched political authority within their confines,56 a related area of international affairs in which Nyerere’s anti-racist humanism had a profound effect was in Tanzania’s support for Southern African liberation movements. By the early 1960s, the (South African) African National Congress and Pan-African Congress, driven underground and into exile, had a strong presence in Dar es Salaam. Mozambique’s FRELIMO was headquartered there and had military training bases in Tanzania. The 1969 assassination in Dar es Salaam of its leader, Eduardo Mondlane, was defiantly answered by a public funeral attended by Nyerere. Southern Rhodesian (Zimbabwean) ZAPU and ZANU, South-West African (Namibian) SWAPO and SWANU, and Angolan MPLA freedom fighters were likewise a presence, as were dissidents from Malawi and Congo as well as black activists from the United States. Beyond mere toleration, Nyerere actively supported military aid given through the Organization of African Unity and intervened in some of these organizations’ internal politics, including by acting as a jailer of dissident figures, among them Andreas Shipanga of Namibia’s SWAPO.57

For Nyerere, such support for liberation movements was non-negotiable, and it came at a significant cost. Most immediately, the major falling out with Britain over the Southern Rhodesian regime’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 cost him the support of Tanzania’s most significant financial and military backer. As global Cold War and liberation struggle frictions made Nyerere suspicious of the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany and resentful of being pressured against the non-aligned stance he sought, there was also a broader reorientation toward Canada, the Scandinavian countries, China, and the Eastern Bloc.58

In all this, Nyerere was not just a national but also an important and prominent regional leader. A key figure in the Non-Aligned Movement, he was likewise a central player in the Organization of African Unity, where he was an especially important protagonist among the group of front-line states organized as the African Liberation Committee headquartered in Dar es Salaam.59 Beyond continued support for liberation movements, the closeness of the bonds with which is well illustrated by the roughly 800 FRELIMO fighters that fought in the 1979 war with Uganda on Tanzania’s side, Nyerere also opened Tanzania’s doors to refugee movements sparked by a number of crises in neighboring countries.60 Long-standing and sizable material connections in this form to the recurring conflicts in Burundi and Rwanda found their natural extension in Nyerere’s 1996–1999 role as the chief mediator in the search for a settlement in Burundi, even as this history also complicated these efforts.61

Inclusive Citizenship

Internally, an early and persistent challenge to Nyerere’s core values arose around the question of the proper boundaries of citizenship. The Tanganyikan struggle against racist colonial rule crystalized into two positions, one demanding “Africa for Africans Only,”62 the other racially inclusivist, holding that “the Asian or European who has adopted Tanganyika as his home is as much a Tanganyikan as a Tanganyika-born African,” as Nyerere put it at the United Nations in 1955.63 (The 1957 census had put the number of Asians, mostly of Indian descent, and Europeans in the territory at around 75,000 and 20,000 respectively.)64

Having outfoxed the late-colonial scheme of the 1958/9 tri-racial elections by participating—over internal TANU objections and a key defection—and building alliances across racial lines by aligning with sympathetic Asian and European candidates, Nyerere temporarily gained the upper hand in this debate.65 But with independence conceded, the issue broke into the open in October 1961 in a debate on citizenship.

TANU’s proposal to grant citizenship to anyone with at least one parent born in Tanganyika and give the option of adopting Tanganyikan citizenship to anyone born in the territory as well as to long-term residents who were Commonwealth citizens sparked vehement opposition to its race-blindness in the new parliament.66 Nyerere responded angrily: “Discrimination against human beings because of their colour, is exactly what we have been fighting against . . . We glorify human beings, sir, not colour. You know what happens when people begin to get drunk with power and glorify their race, the Hitlers, that is what they do. You know where they lead the human race, the Verwoerds of South Africa, that is what they do.”67 (Perceived racist slights by expatriates were received with similar vehemence.)68 His threat that his government would resign over the issue eventually gave him the majority in favor of his inclusivist proposal.69

But the question of racial boundaries around ujamaa’s extended family continued to smolder in public discourse and policy debates. In his November 1962 inaugural presidential address, Nyerere frankly diagnosed Tanganyika’s post-independence situation: the “dividing line between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ coincides with yet another dividing line . . . In that small group of the educated and well-to-do a very large number are Indians and Europeans. For this reason there is a very real risk that the economic division can lead to racial enmity between our African and our non-African citizens.”70 When Nyerere’s egalitarian goals encountered this essential truth about the structures of inequalities in Tanzania, he largely remained a defender of liberal universalist identity-blindness first. Class and race being inextricably linked in Tanzania, this commitment significantly tempered Nyerere’s enthusiasm for anything that, in Tanzanian circumstances, could realistically achieve radical redistribution.

When had did make concessions on this front, he did so reluctantly. Thus, it was only his temporarily stepping aside in 1962 that freed Rashidi Kawawa’s government to accelerate the Africanization of the public sector, although for many the changes implemented did not go far enough. Nonetheless, on January 7, 1964, Nyerere halted the policy, announcing that racial preferences would no longer be applied to public job-hiring decisions.71 Organized labor protested; on January 19, the already restive, still largely expatriate-led army mutinied, demanding Africanization of its ranks and higher pay.72

Race, interlaced with class, was not the only potential catalyst for fissures in Nyerere’s united family. Ethnic and religious allegiances were likewise a worry. As he did with racial divisions, Nyerere condemned “the enmity which could be stirred up by the evil-minded between Muslims and Christians” and “those who would strike at our unity [who] could equally well . . . stir up animosity between the tribes.”73

One line of defense against such dangers was Nyerere’s active promotion of a broad “national” culture far beyond merely the political sphere. This far-flung endeavor found expression, for instance, in the promotion of Swahili as a pan-ethnic national language, an important enough project to Nyerere for him to translate into Swahili Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar, The Merchant of Venice, and, in his later years, parts of the Bible.74

But shoring up his moral vision of society also saw Nyerere routinely act to suppress prominent leaders and organizations that expressed or were seen a potentially giving rise to “divisionist” agendas. Religious associations, when they took on political agendas, as did the All-Muslim National Union of Tanganyika (AMNUT), were one such target.75 Likewise, tribal unions and councils, which TANU had tolerated and occasionally used in the 1950s, were forced to dissolve in 1960/1—Nyerere reportedly referencing the example of Katanga, the Congolese secessionist region, as a development he thereby hoped to avoid.76 In the same spirit, the chiefs, the central figures of “ethnic” political authority, were officially retired by the end of 1962 and chiefdoms reconfigured into districts and divisions, replacing an ethnic with an administrative logic of territorial organization.77

Tanganyika’s early opposition parties that became a home for black nationalists and other disaffected groups, including traditionalist supporters of the chiefs, were caught in the same net. Thus, the (Tanganyikan) African National Congress (ANC), founded in 1958 by Zuberi Mtemvu after his defection from TANU in protest against Nyerere’s racial inclusivism, faced harassment.78 The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), founded in mid-1962 by the labor activist and opponent of Nyerere’s race-blind citizenship proposal Christopher Tumbo, whom Nyerere had removed from the scene a year earlier by means of a posting as High Commissioner to Britain, faced similar treatment.79 When the prominent former chief David Kidaha Makwaia joined the party in Sukumaland, he was deported to another part of the country.80

Following Nyerere’s overwhelming victory in the 1962 presidential elections, the ANC mostly disintegrated, TANU declared that Tanganyika would operate as a one-party state, and the ANC was deregistered. Some activists attempted to carry on but were put in jail.81 Mtemvu and, eventually, Makwaia joined TANU. Tumbo, having refused the offer after the 1962 elections, fled to Kenya; upon his extradition in 1963, he was put in detention for four years.82

This range of trajectories illustrates that Nyerere was, on the one hand, ready to extend a hand to opponents—and thus keep them close within TANU’s “big tent.” On the other hand, he did not shy away from silencing others by way of banning their organizations, rusticating them, or using his powers under the 1962 Preventive Detention Act to jail without court hearings or appeals anyone he, as president, deemed a threat to the state.83

TANU’s assertion of a monopoly on legitimate politics also extended to the labor unions. They had been prone to disruptive and decentralized strike-action in the lead-up to independence—and because of this a worry to Nyerere and parts of the TANU establishment already then—and a key source of demands for rapid Africanization. They were reined in immediately after independence.84 Organizationally, labor was brought under the TANU umbrella, and several of the most outspoken leaders, like Tumbo and the Tanganyika Federation of Labour’s Secretary General Viktor Mkello, were jailed. After the 1964 mutiny, hundreds of labor activists were likewise arrested under the Preventive Detention Act.85

Shortly after taking these actions, Nyerere declared himself to be weary of exercising his powers under the Act. But he also argued that “conditions may well arise in which it is better that ninety-nine innocent people should suffer temporary detention than that one possible traitor should wreck the nation.” Whereas “freedom of speech, freedom of movement and association, [were] valuable things,” he could not permit anyone to “abuse” those freedoms and “sabotage” TANU’s mandate to “secure, urgently, freedom from hunger, and from ignorance and disease, for everyone.”86 Challenging, in Nyerere’s eyes, the basic commitments and purposes of the ujamaa nation—and, by extension, his methods of attaining these objectives or his and TANU’s hold on power—was, and was to be treated as, treason. Thus, Tanzania joined the broad authoritarian trajectory of post-independence African politics, even if Nyerere’s equally broadly resonant justifications for this were, perhaps at least on his part, more sincerely public-spirited in Tanzania than in many other settings.

“One-Party Democracy” in Theory and Practice

Driven, on the one hand, by a principled concern for shoring up the ujamaa nation’s integrity and values, the establishment of TANU’s monopoly in the political sphere was of course also self-serving, and certainly anti-democratic in effect. Nyerere’s most notable contributions to political thought, his theorizing of “one-party democracy,” put a philosophical scaffolding around this reality of compromises, but does not, in the final analysis, succeed in skirting it.87

It received much, typically sympathetic, contemporaneous attention. This reception was conditioned by a tendency to focus on Nyerere’s idealistic pronouncements—without subjecting the essentializing, fictionalizing, and contradictions at the heart of his argument to much scrutiny—and to either mostly ignore the tensions between statements of ideals and his authoritarian practice or to tacitly discount them, as Nyerere did, as the necessary cost of pursuing economic development and “nation-building.”88 Ignored in the international reception, and suppressed at home, were those who argued at the time that democracy in fact did require having a choice between alternative parties. (Not coincidentally, these were the same oppositional voices whose demands for more assertive “affirmative action” were quashed.) Not until 2005, for instance, was there even a mention in the academic literature of the “prescient critique regarding accountability and freedom of expression in a one-party state” developed by Jackson Saileni, the ANC’s president from December 1962, whom the government had committed to a mental hospital twice in 1963 before his eventual arrest the same year.89

Commencing with the assertion that “African society” knew no class divisions and was also otherwise united in the struggle against colonialism as well as in its “natural” commitment to the ideals of ujamaa, Nyerere proposed that multiple parties were not a necessary feature of a democratic system in African circumstances. Indeed, under the condition of fundamental unity that his essentializing and fictional portrait of African (Tanganyikan) society asserted, multiple parties were harmful to democracy. Interparty competition would inevitably create and exploit divisions based on race, tribe, and religion—and these had no legitimate place in politics. It would also distract from the crucial task of delivering egalitarian advancements for all. Moreover, party discipline, which was a necessary corollary of multi-party competition, would stifle the free discussion of ideas. By contrast, within a single party open to “all citizens of good faith” that was free from the imperative to enforce party discipline, free discussion could flourish.90 Elections contested by competing candidates of the same party were sufficient to assure the popular accountability essential to democracy.

Relegated to the subtext of these pronouncements was the acknowledgment that the space for legitimate disagreement was therefore not boundless but delimited by a set of claimed-to-be broadly agreed-upon principles of “good faith” citizenship.91 Nyerere spelled these out in his directions to the commission charged with establishing the one-party state. Tanganyika’s “national ethic” demanded that “[t]here shall be no propagation of group hatred, nor of any policy which would have the effect of arousing feelings of disrespect for any race, tribe, sex or religion.” Furthermore, good citizens were bound by the principle that the “Government shall have the duty to take all possible action to promote the economic and social well-being of the people . . . and to build a classless society.”92 Tanzanian circumstances of course implied serious tensions between these two core principles. A greater emphasis on equality and redistribution inescapably would have to imply policies with such starkly racially differentiated effects that racial “targeting” would at least be implicit. With respect to this trade-off, Nyerere’s aversion to identitarian politics—based on both principle and pragmatic reasoning—had him draw, and for a long time enforce, a far from radically egalitarian line. But others had different visions.

The institution of a one-party state in June 1965 in the image of Nyerere’s idea of “one-party democracy” left such dissidents, if they were not prepared to forgo politics, Tumbo’s choice of jail and exile or the option chosen by Makwaia and Mtemvu of stepping into TANU’s “big tent” perhaps in hopes of influencing whatever thus bounded “free discussion” could be realized within.

Nyerere’s insistence, against more unabashedly authoritarian voices, that one-party rule was to be paired with competitive elections between party-approved candidates indicates that openness and a degree of accountability were real concerns to him.93 But the tight control of candidate selection exercised by TANU’s National Executive Committee (NEC), in combination with an implied prohibition on fundamental programmatic disagreements with TANU policy and a ban on appeals to identitarian loyalties, drew clear limits around “free discussion” beyond which lay the terrain of illegitimate politics.94

While the first, 1965 single-party elections brought significant turnover and the defeat of several important TANU stalwarts,95 the shrinking space for criticism and dissent in Nyerere’s one-party democracy was soon thrown into stark relief in an episode that resulted in the expulsion from the party and, by implication, parliament of two members of parliament (MPs) in 1968.96 They had, quite accurately in light of the evidence, criticized their presidentially appointed regional commissioner’s dictatorial and incompetent handling of a campaign to further TANU’s new policy of socialist villages through a resettlement campaign. In front of the ensuing commission of inquiry, the commissioner portrayed himself as the faithful executer of TANU policy and stressed the importance of discipline and obedience once national policy had centrally been decided upon. Within this framing, the MPs found themselves accused of disrupting TANU policy. As Nyerere put it, commenting on these events, “[a] leader who disagrees with the policy of Tanu and destroys people’s unity, cannot be our friend; he is our enemy and we must take necessary steps.”97

The two MPs’ October 1968 expulsion, together with that of seven others, was a signal event in the establishment of “party supremacy” over parliament. The indirectly elected or appointed members of the carefully selected top committees of the party under Nyerere’s dominating leadership set policy and controlled access to elected positions; elected MPs were not to act in a manner that could be interpreted as challenging the centrally determined line.98

Against this reality, Nyerere’s renewed pronouncement the same month that “[e]very Tanzanian . . . , every Member of Parliament, . . . must have the freedom to speak without fear of intimidation” rang hollow.99 His rosy vision of a vibrant democracy under one-party rule had quickly been reduced to the reality of a centrally directed party with vanguard aspirations at the head of which Nyerere routinely violated his own injunction that “no one person has the right to say, ‘I am the people . . . I know what is good for Tanzania and the others must do it’.”100

The ban on alternative political organization enabled this central motif in Tanzanian politics into the late 1980s when Nyerere conceded that one-party rule was at least no longer serving the country well. His eventual push for the reintroduction of multi-partyism in the 1990s does, finally, speak to motive: Nyerere did not in the first place seek power for power’s sake but, in the fashion of the “philosopher-king” he was often made out to be, sought it as a necessary means to pursuing what he saw as the common good.101 Thus, his genuinely public-minded good intentions motivated his authoritarianism; Nyerere would argue that they justified it as well; but they do not cancel it out, as the notion of “one-party democracy” would have it.

The Arusha Declaration

The pitfalls of Nyerere’s benevolent authoritarianism are well illustrated by his signature political project, moving Tanzania toward a socialist society. Disappointment with the result of the immediate post-independence approach to economic development that had relied on a conventional path set in place during late colonialism to achieve “modernization,” the drying up due to Tanzania’s geopolitical repositioning of 1965/1966 of foreign aid that had supported this approach, and the emergence of and greater attention to alternative models all contributed to a recalibration of Tanzania’s policy direction.102 Following the consolidation of TANU’s rule that had been a major preoccupation for the first years of independent statehood and responding to the sense that Tanzania was drifting away from the classless society he had envisioned it to be and remain, in 1966 and 1967 Nyerere set out to concretize his vision of ujamaa socialism and translate it into a policy program. In January 1967, he put his proposal before TANU’s NEC, which adopted it in early February: this became known as the Arusha Declaration.103 Over the coming year and a half, Nyerere delivered several additional statements that expanded the declaration’s enunciation of broad principle and spelled out specific proposals and implications for rural development, education, and the nature of political leadership.104

In further elaborating Nyerere’s “national ethic,” now distilled into a “TANU creed” that was to be shared by all party members, the declaration embraced an egalitarian vision of society free of exploitation.105 One initiative to further this ideal was a set of “leadership conditions” that banned business ownership and second or rental incomes for TANU members in official positions. A second central thrust of the declaration was its pronouncement that Tanzania would be “self-reliant” in its struggle for development. This translated into the nationalization of banks, large plantations, trading companies, industrial interests, and, eventually, in 1971, rental housing—measures aimed at curbing profit-seeking and gaining control over national resources.106 Crucially, Nyerere also stipulated it a key implication of self-reliance that Tanzania’s development strategy had to be based on its existing resources. These, he declared, were the nation’s land and people. In a largely agrarian nation, this put a new emphasis on rural development, which accorded well with the overall egalitarian spirit of the declaration.107

The declaration’s egalitarian aims resonated widely with a public among which ujamaa had become a key idiom for making claims against privilege and accumulation, often, but not exclusively, harking back to the question of Africanization.108 This resonance with Africanization assured that the nationalizations, which predominantly affected foreign and Tanzanian-Asian owners, were received with enthusiasm by the public—mobilized to demonstrate its support at daily public announcements of takeovers—as well as functionaries. Despite thus in effect also trading on this resonance in order to secure acceptance of other aspects of the declaration, Nyerere again sought to downplay this dimension, insisting, within a week of the declaration, that “Socialism is not Racialism.”109 (The fact that the—in effect, if not official framing—most obviously racially targeted nationalizations, of overwhelmingly Asian-owned rental housing, were put off until last and proceeded only three years after party functionaries had been banned from owning rental real estate likewise again indicates Nyerere’s reluctance to entertain policies that raised the specter of “racialism.”)

By contrast to the nationalizations, the leadership conditions, just the latest and most far-reaching step in Nyerere’s crusade against official privilege, caused consternation and resistance among party officials.110 However, bundled into a package with the nationalizations, they were nearly impossible to reject openly.111 The lead-up to the parliamentary vote on the application of the leadership conditions to MPs in October 1967 also saw Nyerere effectively mobilize popular and moral pressures. Thus, the press coverage of several popular September marches in support of the Arusha Declaration’s principles reached a fever pitch when, in October, Nyerere himself marched for a week, presenting a potent image of sacrifice, asceticism, and populist leadership.112

A series of resignations, a 1968 purge of several MPs and party members, and enforcement of a commitment to the declaration at the stage of candidate selection followed.113 One prominent leader to resign at least in part over the leadership conditions was Bibi Titi Mohamed.114 The June 1967 resignation and July self-imposed exile to London of Oscar Kambona, TANU’s secretary general, an important minister, and, next to Nyerere, the most prominent politician in the country produced the biggest fallout.115 Amidst broad suspicions and allegations centered on Kambona, two of his brothers were arrested in December 1967 and their newspaper Ulimwengu was shut down.116 Kambona and Bibi Titi were later accused of plotting against Nyerere, allegations that culminated in a 1970 treason trial.117

More radical, Marxist figures made for a different front in this struggle over “socialism.” Joseph Kasella Bantu, who advocated a more radical, statist, and industry-focused course in early 1967, was expelled from TANU and, by implication, parliament in October 1968. He subsequently was jailed for several periods and accused Nyerere of silencing opponents.118 Kassim Hanga, a Zanzibari politician who had joined the mainland government in 1964 after the union with Zanzibar and favored a more orthodox Marxist development strategy focused on heavy industry and state-control, was dropped as a minister in June 1967.119 In December he was taken into preventive detention for a year, being suspected of colluding with the exiled Kambona. In 1969 Hanga was again arrested under suspicion that he was part of a plot against the increasingly dictatorial president of Zanzibar, Abeid Karume. Later that year, Nyerere extradited him to Zanzibar under heavy pressure from Karume; there, he was executed, in violation of Karume’s promise of a fair trial.120

A last prominent figure who articulated more radical positions than Nyerere, the Zanzibari Abdulrahman Babu, lasted in a ministerial post and TANU’s Central Committee into early 1972 when he fell victim to a cabinet reshuffle that he interpreted as a move to install Nyerere loyalists prior to a big push to implement ujamaa in the rural areas.121 A few months later he too was ensnarled in Zanzibari intrigue—being accused of having masterminded Karume’s 1972 assassination—and taken into preventive detention for six years, ostensibly to protect him from Hanga’s fate, before being released into exile in the United Kingdom and, later, the United States.122

While radical rhetoric was at times permitted to flourish in the government-controlled press, the repression of student and faculty radicals—Yoweri Museveni, Issa Shivji, and Walter Rodney among them—at the university in 1970 indicates that for non-politicians too there were clear limits to how much deviation from Nyerere’s line was permitted.123 The occasional temporary loosening of central control—notably in the wake of the 1971 Mwongozo “TANU Guidelines on Guarding, Consolidating and Advancing the Revolution of Tanzania, and of Africa,” when workers’ grassroots activism, factory seizures, and the upending of managerial hierarchies were accompanied by debates about hierarchy and authority in socialist society—tended to be quickly and decisively reversed.124

While few of these individual stories of detentions, exile, and repression are clear-cut and unadulterated cases of ideological purges, they nonetheless had the cumulative effect of silencing or removing almost all prominent voices of critique and alternative visions from Tanzania’s political stage. By 1970, tight strictures around “free discussion” had reduced at least much of its public side to a Nyerere monologue.

Implementing “African Socialism” in Rural Areas

A key, and for the many Tanzanians living in the rural areas deeply consequential, aspect of the Arusha Declaration was its emphasis on rural development and the promotion of so-called “ujamaa villages.”125 Based on the real-life example of an association of villages in the south of the country, the Ruvuma Development Association, such villages were the epitome of what “self-reliance” on the people and their energies was meant to look like in Tanzanian circumstances.126

In this area, too, Nyerere’s point of departure was a declaration of a both tactical and intrinsic commitment to democratic values. In his 1968 paper “Freedom and Development,” Nyerere offered this definition of ujamaa villages: “They cannot be created from outside, nor governed from outside. No one can be forced into an ujamaa village, and no official—at any level—can go and tell the members of an ujamaa village what they should do together, and what they should continue to do as individual farmers . . . For . . . if an outsider gives such instructions and enforces them—then it will no longer be an ujamaa village! An ujamaa village is a voluntary association of people who decide of their own free will to live together and work together for their common good.”127 Real development—which was “of people, not things”—was “impossible if [people] simply take orders from someone else.”128 For this reason, and because it would be counterproductive with respect to even just the material goals of development, coercion was ruled out as a means of implementation.129 Leaders were thus to simply educate and encourage people to move into closer settlement patterns that would facilitate the provision of services and, crucially, enable cooperative production, resource-pooling, and problem-solving among ujamaa communities’ members.

Yet, confronted with what he deemed insufficient progress toward the imperative transformation of the rural areas, by 1973 Nyerere was ready to abandon his defense of local autonomy and force a reluctant peasantry—cast as lazy and stubborn and accused of “inertia” and sometimes plain “stupidity”—to make a start.130 On November 8, 1973, the government newspaper Uhuru reported on the deadline Nyerere had just set for the full implementation of the policy: “living in Ujamaa villages is now an ORDER of the party.”131 This precipitated an acceleration and nationwide application of formerly localized campaigns to “villagize” rural Tanzania by coercively moving people to officially designated village areas.132 While Nyerere did speak out against some excesses of implementation, the direct pressure he put on all levels of officialdom to produce results, as well as his endorsement of “milder” measures of compulsion such as the withholding of famine aid to people who did not reside in officially designated sites, inextricably implicate him in the coercive and at times violent execution of his policy.133

In all, upward of half of Tanzania’s total population was forced to move, mostly between late 1973 and 1975. There were major disruptions to existing production and settlement patterns.134 Amidst a general climate of coercion, suspicion, and resentment, the hoped-for communal cooperation between the members of the roughly 8,000 officially recognized villages to which people were moved in what amounted to a mad scramble never materialized, except in largely token ventures that were generally neglected and soon abandoned.135 Although primary school enrollment reached near-universal levels by 1977, no doubt aided by the concentration of rural populations in school-equipped villages, in terms of service provision, the state, despite valiant efforts, had overextended itself: teacher quality was poor; the provision of safe water was a problem in many of the new settlements; agricultural extension services were inadequate; and there was a serious dearth of the managerial and administrative capacity necessary to make villages function as the basic units of management of communal production, crop-purchasing, and cooperative retailing. In many areas, ill-chosen sites, settlements that were too large, and the forced abandonment of fertile farms and perennial crops also created long-term problems for agriculture and animal husbandry.136

In 1976, Cranford Pratt diagnosed a tension between “the leadership strand and the democratic strand in [Nyerere’s] thought.” While finding that Nyerere had overall maintained a justifiable balance, it was the policy of ujamaa villages where this balance “was, perhaps, most severely strained.”137 With the benefit of greater historical distance, it is in fact clear that it was in this area that the authoritarian impulse of Nyerere’s well-intentioned paternalism shifted this balance most visibly—and to deeply problematic effect.138

Responding to Challenges, 1979–1985

From 1978 into the 1980s, Nyerere faced a set of difficult challenges. Having entered the 1979 war with Uganda reluctantly, his war aims expanded slowly from repelling the initial Ugandan intrusions, to driving the enemy’s forces out of their border positions, to, eventually, ousting Idi Amin’s regime and pushing the remaining loyalist troops out of Uganda across the Sudanese border. Although many Ugandans greeted the Tanzanian troops as liberators, the complexities of Ugandan politics quickly created divisions and derailed Nyerere’s efforts to engineer a transition to a democratic regime.139 In this respect, the war’s aftermath proved an object lesson in the many pitfalls of externally imposed regime change.

For Tanzania, a critical effect of the war was its cost in treasure. Estimated at $500 million, it was roughly equivalent to the country’s entire 1979 annual export earnings.140 The second oil crisis hit the same year, more than doubling the already high price of oil and forcing Tanzania to spend about ten times as much on oil imports in 1980 as it had in 1972. This compounded a fiscal and transportation crisis that affected all areas of the highly state-controlled economy. The already deeply troubled centralized crop purchasing and marketing system, for instance, was even more severely compromised. In the early 1980s, it was teetering on the brink of collapse, the official purchaser of maize and other staple food crops having accumulated massive debts more than five times the value of its annual crop purchases in 1981.141 Farmers, as well as workers and government employees who had seen the purchasing power of their wages erode precipitously by a combination of egalitarian, leveling-down salary policies, inflation, and the sheer unavailability of many basic consumer goods, increasingly turned to survival strategies and the unofficial and, in many of its forms, illegal “second economy.”142

The severity of the crisis was the result of a mutually reinforcing combination of an increasingly dysfunctional centrally controlled economic system, economic shocks, and a global context in which donors and international financial institutions were far less sympathetic to and accommodating of Tanzania than they had been in the 1970s. Nyerere reacted by railing against the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for changes in economic policy, blaming shocks, and largely ignoring the problematic practical realities of central control over the economy.

Internationally, this made him one of the most prominent and vociferous defenders of the Global South’s economic sovereignty against the “structural adjustment” demanded by the IMF, which he accused of arrogating for itself the role of an “International Ministry of Finance.”143 (He would continue his long-standing advocacy for a different international economic order as the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement’s South Commission he helped to establish in 1987.)144

Domestically, he again shut out dissenting voices—most prominently his minister of finance Edwin Mtei had to resign when he moved too close to IMF demands.145 As he had in the context of villagization, he reached for public exhortations to boost production and, eventually, draconian means to enforce deeply problematic and failing policies. Most notoriously, the 1983 crackdown on “economic saboteurs” by way of invoking Nyerere’s preventive detention powers and the 1984 Economic and Organized Crime Control Act intentionally bypassed the court system and due process in order to curb ill-defined offenses such as “hoarding” and “smuggling” in a context in which illicit economic activity had become a widespread survival strategy that kept the economy from total collapse.146

In a replay of the story of villagization, Nyerere, focused on the righteousness of his goals, was not inclined to critically assess the practical effects and soundness of his policies and methods, and thus escalated their enforcement. Perceptively capturing the deeper texture of Nyerere’s benevolently paternalistic authoritarianism, Reginald Green has remarked that such escalatory patterns tended to be triggered by Tanzania’s Mwalimu becoming too “irritated by disruptive ‘pupils’.”147

Bowing to donor pressure and ever-more-pressing economic realities, Nyerere and his government eventually began to change course in 1984, opening trade to private business and taking several other liberalization measures. More far-reaching changes, under the aegis of the 1986 Economic Recovery Program and an agreement with the IMF, had to await Nyerere’s relinquishing the presidency in 1985. This opened the door to a growing constituency of reformers driven as much by a different assessment of policy as by a refusal to continue to accept the severe restraints on their own consumption and accumulation that Nyerere had demanded and attempted to enforce.148

A final crisis concerned the union with Zanzibar. A 1983 call by CCM’s NEC to continue on the path of further integration of Zanzibar with the mainland that had already brought the 1977 merger of TANU with Zanzibar’s Afro-Shirazi Party and consider a more unitary structure of government met with Zanzibari pushback. In response, Nyerere forced Aboud Jumbe, the president of Zanzibar, as well as several other key Zanzibari leaders to resign.

But neither this quashing of anti-union dissent nor later episodes in which Nyerere staunchly defended the status quo resolved the real disagreements about the shape and existence of the union. Long past Nyerere’s reign, they have continued to fuel policy conflict, violence, repression, and electoral fraud. That much of this has increasingly taken on the dimension of subnationalist and—insofar as Zanzibar’s overwhelmingly Muslim makeup plays a large role in this—identitarian conflict was, and would certainly continue to be, especially painful to the champion of a universalist, harmonious society that Nyerere was.149

Assessment and Legacy

Nyerere is frequently praised for acknowledging mistakes and being prepared to change his positions—for instance, with respect to the economy, in the mid-1980s on the question of the disastrous centralization of crop marketing, or, with respect to the political system, in 1990 on the question of multi-partyism. (It is worth noting that Nyerere did not stray far from the changing contemporary conventional wisdom either in thus recalibrating or in his earlier embrace of robust, centralized political authority in the name of achieving the economic control necessary for righting the deleterious economic effects of Tanzania’s global structural position: he was in this respect very much a thinker of his changing times.)150 In an overall evaluation of Nyerere’s leadership, opinions will differ on where the emphasis should be placed: his openness to learning from mistakes or his often autocratic insistence on problematic policies that made them mistakes of arguably unnecessarily significant magnitude in the first place.

Multi-party democracy and Nyerere’s stepping down certainly did bequeath on Tanzanians formally greater political choice and a rare peaceful change from a founding father president. But assessing the results of this change on Tanzanians’ lives through the lens of Nyerere’s own goal of an egalitarian society, or, indeed, with respect to whether effective popular control of the government has in fact been advanced, ultimately does not give much cause for celebration. A quarter of a century after the advent of multi-partyism, the government remains in the hands of the seemingly unchallengeable former state party. And as the fruits of the eventual revival of the economy have largely flowed to an oligarchical class while the percentage of the population living in poverty has barely declined, one is tempted to ask, provocatively, what the majority of Tanzanians has to show for the achievement of formal choice in the political arena. The answer would disappoint the hopes Nyerere himself appears to have pinned on giving up CCM’s political monopoly.

In the final analysis, this also raises bigger questions about the degree of effective agency Nyerere—or any similarly constrained politician—was in fact able to exercise. Without ignoring either the particular hardships or the occasional successes produced by his policies, one may ask whether, at a more fundamental level, the material conditions of Tanzanians have all along been shaped to a great extent by structures and forces beyond the reach of Nyerere’s choices of policy or even his shaping of Tanzania’s political regime. In the end, was Nyerere the tragically failing hero he has been described as because the broader outcome of his battle against poverty was never really in his hands?151

Any assessment of the consequences of Nyerere’s rule thus runs up against the fact that it is far from obvious on which plausible historical counterfactual such an assessment should be based. Nonetheless, it is generally agreed, and also the officially promoted reading of history, that Tanzania’s overall social peace owes much to Nyerere’s leadership as a national and public-spirited ruler.152 Whereas his economic policies are, with good reason, not regarded as a success, the far-reaching effects of the global structural position of Tanzania’s economy, as well as specific confounding factors such as the country’s especially low degree of industrialization and deep poverty at independence and the economic shocks that dramatically deepened the crisis of the late 1970s and the 1980s, make assessing the size of “policy effects” impossible.153 There were, too, notable areas of success, in particular major advances in terms of primary school enrollment, basic literacy, and access to health services, although many of these gains were eroded under the influence of the economic crisis, austerity, and subsequent liberalization in the 1980s and 1990s.154

A different perspective on the question of legacy focuses less on the material outcomes of Nyerere’s policies than on the imprint he left on the public sphere and political discourse in Tanzania.155 In this respect, he continues to be a real presence in Tanzania’s life. This is in part because “Nyerere” has sometimes become an almost empty signifier, the ritualized invocation of which is indispensible in any claim of political legitimacy and righteousness.156 But “Nyerere” also continues to carry particular content—in the form of demands for a caring government, basic equality, and, as Susan Geiger has put it, a broad “moral claim” on leadership to “do the right thing.”157

Nyerere’s lasting legacy in this respect is that he deeply anchored in Tanzania an explicit conversation and debate about the proper ordering of society and the values it ought to aspire to and be guided by.158 His fervent advocacy of his own positions on this question was essential to the fabric of his moral leadership over the decades, and it has opened and shaped a terrain within which this conversation, rather than being foreclosed in the everyday, continues to be had.

Discussion of the Literature

Although much of the vast literature on Tanzanian history, politics, and society touches to a greater or lesser extent on Julius Nyerere, there is no full biography. Three early treatments, Judith Listowel’s Making of Tanganyika, William Edgett Smith’s We Must Run, and John Hatch’s Two African Statesmen, cover Nyerere’s early life and political career. Authored by sympathetic journalists, these books recount many key events and Nyerere’s thoughts but do not provide much analysis or critical reflection. William Duggan and John Civille’s Tanzania and Nyerere follows the same pattern. Likewise sympathetic, but empirically deeper and more analytical, is Cranford Pratt’s Critical Phase. The book offers a carefully considered and extremely well-informed discussion of Nyerere’s political career and thought up to and including the Arusha Declaration of 1967.

Andrew Coulson’s Tanzania: A Political Economy moves beyond these earlier tellings of Tanzanian history through the deeds and thoughts of its pre-eminent protagonist and by doing so situates Nyerere more firmly in his broader context. It also extends the earlier accounts’ time frame well into the 1970s, yielding a much fuller and more critical assessment of the effects of some of Nyerere’s signature policies. Dean McHenry’s Tanzania’s Ujamaa Villages adds to this with specific reference to rural development.

In line with a generally ebbing of the prolific scholarly output on Tanzania of the 1960s and 1970s, significant scholarly interest in Nyerere took a relative hiatus for most of the 1980s and 1990s, only to re-emerge after his retirement and death in a series of collected volumes that contemplate his legacy. With some notable exceptions, many of the essays contained in two prominent collections, Colin Legum and Geoffrey Mmari’s Mwalimu: The Influence of Nyerere and Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam’s Africa’s Liberation, are based on personal recollections that, while interesting, often colorful, and not infrequently hagiographical, do not generally offer scholarly and critical assessments or analytical treatments.159 This is a shortcoming too of Godfrey Mwakikagile’s nonetheless—by virtue of its extremely rich treatment—valuable Nyerere and Africa. David McDonald and Eunice Sahle’s collection The Legacies of Julius Nyerere offers similarly broad and essayistic but generally more searching and critical reflections on Nyerere.160

A more recent wave of publications has provided fresh and more scholarly accounts of Nyerere’s life and career. Thomas Molony’s Nyerere: The Early Years gives Nyerere’s life up until the mid-1950s a thorough and authoritative treatment. Without an overt focus on Nyerere, James Brennan has assembled over several contributions a much sharper picture than was previously available of the political realities of “one-party democracy” and the often racially tinged societal reception of ujamaa socialism, thus crucially situating Nyerere’s thought in its attendant political practices and effects.161 Paul Bjerk’s Building a Peaceful Nation revisits some of the terrain covered by Pratt and provides a richly detailed account of Nyerere’s political maneuvering, strategies, and goals around and immediately following the attainment of independence. Leander Schneider’s Government of Development analyzes the disjuncture between Nyerere’s early sympathies with a voluntaristic approach to rural development and his authoritarian practice in this area. Finally, building on these and other accounts, Paul Bjerk’s Julius Nyerere provides a first full, if brief, account of Nyerere’s entire life and career. Despite its brevity, it is by far the best available full biography.

A final, recent genre of writing on Nyerere has focused on how his image, thought, and memory is put to contemporary political uses. Marie-Aude Fouéré’s edited volume Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania brings together in one place most important contributions.162

Primary Sources

The three main published collections covering many of the important writings and speeches of Nyerere from the 1950s through the early 1970s are a key primary resource.163 Some of his later statements have also been published, some as pamphlets issued by the government or party, but there is no comprehensive collection.164

Tanzanian newspapers, many of them available on microfilm, closely covered Nyerere’s day-to-day movements and pronouncements. They are a valuable resource that also helps to fill in the more intermittent published record of Nyerere’s speeches post-1972. The four major papers for most of the 1960s and into the 1970s are the independent Standard and Ngurumo and the government-controlled Nationalist and Uhuru. In 1972, the two English-language papers were merged into the Daily News, which remained the government-controlled paper of record into the 1990s.

Archives and Collections

The Tanzania National Archives system headquartered in Dar es Salaam houses the slice of government records that have been remitted to it.165 Generally, its holdings are more sporadic past the early 1970s. There is also little material from State House, the most pertinent source of records directly related to Nyerere. The Dodoma archives of the successor party to TANU, the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), hold a collection of records that include recordings of many of Nyerere’s speeches; access for researchers has, however, been intermittent.

Beyond these Tanzanian archives, researchers have in recent years also begun to draw in particular on the British and American records held in a variety of archives such as the United Kingdom National Archives (Kew, Richmond), the Bodleian Library (Oxford), the United States National Archives and Records Administration (College Park, Maryland), various Unites States Presidential Libraries, and, for Nyerere’s student days, the Edinburgh University Archives.166 One crucial set of records, deposited at the Bodleian Library, that will remain inaccessible to researchers until circa 2030 are Joan Wicken’s notes on her daily debriefings over the decades with Nyerere that she had begun to organize and transcribe in the final years of her life.

Further Readings

Becker, Felicitas. “Remembering Nyerere: Political Rhetoric and Dissent in Contemporary Tanzania.” African Affairs 122, no. 447 (2013): 1–24.Find this resource:

    Bjerk, Paul. Building a Peaceful Nation: Julius Nyerere and the Establishment of Sovereignty in Tanzania, 1960–1964. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2015.Find this resource:

      Bjerk, Paul. Julius Nyerere. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

        Brennan, James. “Julius Rex: Nyerere Through the Eyes of His Critics, 1953–2013.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 8, no. 3 (2014): 459–460.Find this resource:

          Coulson, Andrew. Tanzania: A Political Economy. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1982.Find this resource:

            Marie-Aude Fouéré, ed. Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania: History, Memory, Legacy. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, 2015.Find this resource:

              McDonald, David A., and Eunice Njeri Sahle, eds. The Legacies of Julius Nyerere: Influences on Development Discourse and Practice in Africa. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2002.Find this resource:

                Molony, Thomas. Nyerere: The Early Years. Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: James Currey, 2014.Find this resource:

                  Mwakikagile, Godfrey. Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: New Africa Press, 2007.Find this resource:

                    Nyerere, Julius K. Freedom and Unity: A Selection from Writings and Speeches 1952–1965. London: Oxford University Press, 1967.Find this resource:

                      Nyerere, Julius K. Freedom and Socialism: Uhuru na Ujamaa; A Selection from Writings and Speeches 1965–1967. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968.Find this resource:

                        Nyerere, Julius K. Freedom and Development: Uhuru na Maendeleo; A Selection from Writings and Speeches 1968–1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.Find this resource:

                          Pratt, Cranford. The Critical Phase in Tanzania, 1945–1968: Nyerere and the Emergence of a Socialist Strategy. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1976.Find this resource:

                            Schneider, Leander. Government of Development: Peasants and Politicians in Postcolonial Tanzania. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

                              Smith, William Edgett. We Must Run While They Walk: A Portrait of Africa’s Julius Nyerere. New York: Random House, 1971.Find this resource:


                                (2.) Molony, Nyerere, 43–44.

                                (4.) Molony, Nyerere, 53–59.

                                (5.) Molony, Nyerere, 63.

                                (6.) Molony, Nyerere, 66, 75–77, 87; and John Iliffe, A Modern History of Tanganyika (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1979), 422, 568.

                                (7.) Molony, Nyerere, 68–74; and James Brennan, “Youth, the TANU Youth League and Managed Vigilantism in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 1925–73,” Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 76, no. 2 (2006): 226.

                                (8.) Iliffe, Modern History, 432, 508; and Molony, Nyerere, 80–82, 87–89.

                                (9.) Molony, Nyerere, 107–115, 147–170.

                                (10.) Julius Nyerere, “The Race Problem in East Africa,” in Freedom and Unity: A Selection from Writings and Speeches 1952–1965 (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), 23–29; Molony, Nyerere, 132–146, 181–182; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 38.

                                (11.) For instance, Julius Nyerere, “First Speech in Legislative Council” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 30–34.

                                (12.) Molony, Nyerere, 183.

                                (13.) Molony, Nyerere, 90–92, 176–179, 188–191; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 33–34, 36.

                                (14.) Iliffe, Modern History, 433, 507–508, 517–518; and Molony, Nyerere, 191–192.

                                (15.) Iliffe, Modern History, 508–513; and Andrew Maguire, Toward “Uhuru” in Tanzania: The Politics of Participation (London: Cambridge University Press, 1969), 175–176.

                                (16.) Julius Nyerere, “Oral Hearing at the Trusteeship Council, 1955,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 35–39; Iliffe, Modern History, 516–518; and William Duggan and John Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere: A Study of Ujamaa and Nationhood (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1976), 33–36.

                                (17.) Molony, Nyerere, 193.

                                (18.) Susan Geiger, TANU Women: Gender and Culture in the Making of Tanganyikan Nationalism, 1955–1965 (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1997); and Iliffe, Modern History, 519–520, 531.

                                (19.) Nyerere, “Oral Hearing,” 36; and Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 57; compare Iliffe, Modern History, 555–557, 560.

                                (21.) Iliffe, Modern History, 565–566; Henry Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation and Economic Development (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970), 55–56; and Pratt, Critical Phase, 54–59, 89, 94–95.

                                (22.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 114–121.

                                (23.) The low turnout in 1962 continued a trend and has been interpreted to show TANU’s weak ability to mobilize the broader population (Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 56–58, 65–66).

                                (25.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 137–139, 178–179; Bienen, Tanzania, 364–381; Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 65–70; and Bjerk, Building a Peaceful Nation, 206–227.

                                (26.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 201–202.

                                (27.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 188, 203–207.

                                (28.) Lionel Cliffe, ed., One Party Democracy: The 1965 Tanzania General Elections (Nairobi, Kenya: East African Publishing House, 1967); and Bienen, Tanzania, 382–405.

                                (29.) Andrew Coulson, “Introduction,” in African Socialism in Practice: The Tanzanian Experience, ed. Andrew Coulson (Nottingham, U.K.: Spokesman Books, 1979), 1–4.

                                (30.) Andrew Coulson, Tanzania: A Political Economy (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1982), 272–283, 290–298; Dean McHenry, Limited Choices: The Political Struggle for Socialism in Tanzania (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1994), 130–133; James Brennan, Taifa: Making Nation and Race in Urban Tanzania (Athens, Greece: Ohio University Press, 2012), 191–194; Ian Parker, “Contradictions in the Transition to Socialism: The Case of the National Development Corporation,” in Towards Socialism in Tanzania, ed. Bismarck U. Mwansasu and Cranford Pratt (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), 46–71; and Idrian Resnick, The Long Transition: Building Socialism in Tanzania (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1981), 254–273.

                                (31.) Dean McHenry, Tanzania’s Ujamaa Villages: The Implementation of a Rural Development Strategy (Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California, 1979); Leander Schneider, Government of Development: Peasants and Politicians in Postcolonial Tanzania (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014); and Coulson, Tanzania, 233–262.

                                (32.) On the economic situation, see Reginald Herbold Green, Delphin Rwegasira, and Brian van Arkadie, Economic Shocks and National Policy Making: Tanzania in the 1970s (The Hague: Institute of Social Studies, 1980); Reginald Herbold Green, “Vision of Human-Centred Development: A Study in Moral Economy,” in Mwalimu: The Influence of Nyerere, ed. Colin Legum and Geoffrey R. V. Mmari (London: Britain-Tanzania Society in association with James Currey, 1995), 80–107; Resnick, Long Transition, 165–188; Andrew Coulson, “The Silo Project,” in African Socialism in Practice, 175–178; Coulson, “The Automated Bread Factory,” in African Socialism in Practice, 179–183; Coulson, “Tanzania’s Fertilizer Factory,” in African Socialism in Practice, 184–190; and McHenry, Limited Choices, 139–149, 172–173. On Nyerere’s response, see Green, “Vision,” 79–85, 96; Aili Marie Tripp, Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 140–144, 196; Deborah Fahy Bryceson, Liberalizing Tanzania’s Food Trade: The Public and Private Faces of Urban Marketing Policy, 1939–1988 (Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development in association with James Currey/Mkuki Na Nyota/Heinemann, 1993), 24–27; Michael Lofchie, The Political Economy of Tanzania: Decline and Recovery (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), 169–171; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 107–108, 119–123.

                                (33.) Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, War in Uganda (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill & Company, 1982); Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 111–117; and Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 99–101.

                                (34.) McHenry, Limited Choices, 62–67; Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 130–132; Green, “Vision,” 84–85, 102–103; Tripp, Changing the Rules 79–89, 193–197; and Julius Nyerere, Our Leadership and the Destiny of Tanzania (Harare: Zimbabwe Publishing House, 1995).

                                (35.) Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 132–137.

                                (36.) Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 139–144; and Kristina A. Bentley and Roger Southall, An African Peace Process: Mandela, South Africa and Burundi (Cape Town, South Africa: HSRC Press, 2005), 55–70.

                                (38.) Gavin Kitching, Development and Underdevelopment in Historical Perspective: Populism, Nationalism and Industrialization (London: Methuen, 1982), 117; and Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 205.

                                (39.) Molony, Nyerere, 7. Nyerere’s early biographers are Judith Listowel (Making of Tanganyika), a British journalist who developed a more ambivalent stance on Nyerere in the mid-1960s and whom Joan Wicken accuses of inaccurate reporting (Molony, Nyerere, 5; and Brennan, “Julius Rex,” 462–464); William Edgett Smith, a Time reporter whose biography (We Must Run) and three-part October 1971 New Yorker profile of Nyerere are based on being “embedded” with Nyerere during several periods from the mid-1960s; William Duggan and John Civille (Tanzania and Nyerere), the former a former US consular official in Tanzania who was close to Nyerere (Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 42; and Brennan, “Julius Rex,” 461); and John Hatch, Two African Statesmen: Kaunda of Zambia and Nyerere of Tanzania (London: Secker and Warburg, 1976), a journalist who knew Nyerere from his Edinburgh days (Molony, Nyerere, 5).

                                (40.) For an early recognition of this phenomenon, see Ali Mazrui, “Tanzaphilia,” Transition 31 (1967): 20–26.

                                (41.) Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 234, 256; Brennan, “Julius Rex,” 462–463; Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 34–36, 38–39; and Ronald Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship in Post-Colonial Africa: The Case of Tanzania (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 82.

                                (42.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 156–171; and Michael Jennings, Surrogates of the State: NGOs, Development, and Ujamaa in Tanzania (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press, 2008), 126–179. For an example of such portrayals of Nyerere as reasonable, explicitly in contrast to other Tanzanian leaders, see Smith, We Must Run, 258–259.

                                (43.) Susan Geiger, “Engendering & Gendering African Nationalism: Rethinking the Case of Tanganyika (Tanzania),” in In Search of a Nation: Histories of Authority and Dissidence in Tanzania, ed. Gregory H. Maddox and James L. Giblin (Oxford: James Currey, 2005), 285–286; Geiger, TANU Women; and Becker “Remembering Nyerere.” On gendered dimensions of ujamaa more broadly, see Priya Lal, “Militants, Mothers, and the National Family: Ujamaa, Gender, and Rural Development in Postcolonial Tanzania,” The Journal of African History 51, no. 1 (2010): 1–20.

                                (44.) See his July 13, 1963, government circular against “Pomposity,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 223–226.

                                (45.) For a representative example, see Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 42–43; compare James Ferguson Global Shadows: Africa in the Neoliberal World Order (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006), 76.

                                (46.) Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 128.

                                (47.) Bienen, Tanzania, 167.

                                (48.) Brennan, “Julius Rex,” 472.

                                (49.) Emma Hunter, Political Thought and the Public Sphere in Tanzania (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 221–222; Bjerk, Building a Peaceful Nation, 98–99; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 58–59, 75.

                                (50.) Steven Feierman, Peasant Intellectuals: Anthropology and History in Tanzania (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990); Derek Peterson, Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival: A History of Dissent, c. 1935–1972 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012); Emma Hunter, “Dutiful Subjects, Patriotic Citizens, and the Concept of ‘Good Citizenship’ in Twentieth-Century Tanzania,” The Historical Journal 56, no. 1 (2013): 257–277; and Hunter, Political Thought.

                                (51.) Molony, Nyerere, 159; and Green, “Vision,” 82.

                                (52.) Julius Nyerere, “Ujamaa—The Basis of African Socialism,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 162.

                                (53.) Nyerere, “Ujamaa,” 162–169.

                                (54.) Nyerere, “Ujamaa,” 171.

                                (55.) Nyerere, “Ujamaa,” 168.

                                (56.) On the 1967–1976 East African Community, see Coulson, Tanzania, 307–309; on its 1976 collapse and contentious 2000 revival, see Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship, 78–79, 308–311.

                                (57.) Godfrey Mwakikagile, My Life as an African: Autobiographical Writings (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: New Africa Press, 2009), 152–168; Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 134–135; John Saul, “Tanzania Fifty Years on (1961–2011): Rethinking Ujamaa, Nyerere and Socialism in Africa,” Review of African Political Economy 39, no. 131 (2012): 119; Paul Bjerk, Building a Peaceful Nation, 183–194; Martin Doornbos, “A.M. Babu: ‘The Outline’,” Review of African Political Economy 69 (1996): 331; Andrew Ivaska, “Liberation in Transit: Eduardo Mondlane and Che Guevara in Dar es Salaam,” in The Routledge Handbook of the Global Sixties: Between Protest and Nation Building, ed. Chen Jian, Martin Klimke, and Masha Kirasirova (London: Routledge, 2018), 27–38; and Andrew Ivaska, “Movement Youth in a Global Sixties Hub: The Everyday Lives of Transnational Activists in Postcolonial Dar es Salaam,” in Transnational Histories of Youth in the Twentieth Century, ed. Richard Ivan Jobs and David M. Pomfret (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 188–212.

                                (58.) Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 130–156; Pratt, Critical Phase, 134–137; and Bjerk, Building a Peaceful Nation, 228–254.

                                (59.) Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 132–136; and Sir Shridath Ramphal, “The Whole World for His Nation: Leadership in the Commonwealth & the South,” in Mwalimu, ed. Legum and Mmari, 146–161.

                                (60.) Avirgan and Honey, War in Uganda, 66–67; Patricia Daley, “The Politics of the Refugee Crisis in Tanzania,” in Tanzania and the IMF: The Dynamics of Liberalization, ed. Horace Campbell and Howard Stein (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1992), 125–146; and Liisa H. Malkki, Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).

                                (61.) Bentley and Southall, An African Peace Process, 55–70.

                                (62.) This was the (Tanganyikan) African National Congress’s (ANC) slogan: Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 338–339.

                                (63.) Nyerere, “Oral Hearing,” 37.

                                (64.) Iliffe, Modern History, 567.

                                (65.) Zuberi Mtemvu defected and founded the African National Congress party: Iliffe, Modern History, 556–557, 572; and James Brennan, “The Short History of Political Opposition and Multi-party Democracy in Tanganyika, 1958–1964,” in In Search of a Nation, ed. Maddox and Giblin, 252–253.

                                (66.) Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship, 155–118; Pratt, Critical Phase, 112–113; and Godfrey Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: New Africa Press, 2007), 113–115.

                                (67.) Julius Nyerere, “The Principles of Citizenship,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 128.

                                (68.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 115–116; and Smith, We Must Run, 101–102.

                                (69.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 112–113.

                                (70.) Julius Nyerere, “President’s Inaugural Address,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 179.

                                (71.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 121, 124–125, 129–134; Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship, 80–88; Emma Hunter, “Revisiting Ujamaa: Political Legitimacy and the Construction of Community in Post-Colonial Tanzania,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 2, no. 3 (2008), 476; and Brennan, Taifa, 183–197.

                                (72.) Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 363, 366–369; and Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship, 86–87.

                                (73.) Julius Nyerere, “President’s Inaugural Address,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 179.

                                (74.) Kelly Askew, Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics in Tanzania (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002); Andrew Ivaska, Cultured States: Youth, Gender, and Modern Style in 1960s Dar es Salaam (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011); M. H. Abdulaziz, “Swahili as National Language,” in Socialism in Tanzania, Vol. 1, Politics, ed. Lionel Cliffe and John S. Saul (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: East African Publishing House, 1972), 155–164; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 60.

                                (75.) Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 69; Brennan, “Short History,” 250–251, 261–262; and Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 358–359.

                                (76.) On the Sukumaland Federal Council, see Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 282; on the Chagga Democratic Party, see Iliffe, Modern History, 568–569; on “de-tribalization” more generally, see Brennan, Taifa, 160–162.

                                (77.) Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 330–333.

                                (78.) Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 338–352; Brennan, “Short History,” 256–261; and Bienen, Tanzania, 54–55.

                                (79.) Bienen, Tanzania, 58; Brennan, “Short History,” 261; and Pratt, Critical Phase, 123

                                (80.) Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 353–356; and Pratt, Critical Phase, 187.

                                (81.) Brennan, “Short History,” 263–266.

                                (82.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 186; Maguire, Toward “Uhuru,” 356; Listowel, Making of Tanganyika, 416, 438; and Lionel Cliffe, “The Political System,” in One Party Democracy, ed. Cliffe, 11.

                                (83.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 184–187.

                                (84.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 110–111, 123; Cliffe, “The Political System,” 11; and Bienen, Tanzania, 208–210.

                                (85.) Listowel, Making of Tanganyika, 416; and Pratt, Critical Phase, 123, 189–194.

                                (86.) Julius Nyerere, “Opening of the University College Campus,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 312–313.

                                (87.) Julius Nyerere, “Democracy and the Party System” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 195–203.

                                (88.) On OXFAM, see Jennings, Surrogates, 126–179. Compare Cranford Pratt’s portrayal of one-party “democracy” as “a brilliant and sustained exercise in democratic leadership” in Critical Phase, 202; and Lionel Cliffe’s assessment that the system accorded with “at least one reputable definition of ‘democracy’,” in “Introduction,” in One Party Democracy, n.p.

                                (89.) Brennan, “Short History,” 265, 263–266.

                                (90.) Julius Nyerere, “Democracy and the Party System,” 201.

                                (91.) On the broader Tanganyikan/Tanzanian discursive milieu of debates over “good citizenship” and this being tied to TANU membership and loyalty in the mid-1960s, see Hunter, “Dutiful Subjects.”

                                (92.) “Report of the Presidential Commission on the Establishment of a Democratic One Party State,” extract, in One Party Democracy, ed. Cliffe, 441.

                                (93.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 203–204; and Cliffe, “The Political System,” 15.

                                (94.) Lionel Cliffe, “The Campaigns,” in One Party Democracy, ed. Cliffe, 236–237.

                                (95.) Cliffe, One Party Democracy; and Bienen, Tanzania, 382–405.

                                (96.) Schneider, Government, 99–112, 142–148; and H. U. E. Thoden van Velzen and J. J. Sterkenburg, “The Party Supreme,” in Socialism in Tanzania, ed. Cliffe and Saul, 257–264.

                                (97.) Quoted in Thoden van Velzen and Sterkenburg, “The Party Supreme,” 260.

                                (98.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 208–215; McHenry, Limited Choices, 33–40, 54–59; “Report of the Presidential Commission,” 449; Bienen, Tanzania, 166, 436–440; Bismarck Mwansasu, “The Changing Role of the Tanganyika African National Union,” in Towards Socialism, ed. Mwansasu and Pratt, 169–192; and Thoden van Velzen and Sterkenburg, “The Party Supreme.”

                                (100.) Nyerere, “Freedom and Development,” 70. On the ideological tightening within TANU around the Arusha Declaration see Lionel Cliffe, “The Impact of the Elections,” in One Party Democracy, ed. Cliffe, 350–352; compare Saul, “Tanzania Fifty Years,” 120. Pratt, Critical Phase, 260–262, disputes such vanguard tendencies.

                                (101.) Compare Pratt, Critical Phase, 252–255.

                                (102.) Coulson, Tanzania, 145–175; Pratt, 125–171, 227–232; Schneider, Government, 37–45; and Molony, Nyerere, 168–170.

                                (103.) Julius Nyerere, “The Arusha Declaration,” in Freedom and Socialism: Uhuru na Ujamaa; A Selection from Writings and Speeches 1965–1967 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968), 231–250; Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 406–447; Pratt, Critical Phase, 227–264; Coulson, Tanzania, 176–183; Jeannette Hartmann, ed., Re-thinking the Arusha Declaration (Copenhagen: Axel Nielsen & Søn, 1991); and Hunter, “Revisiting Ujamaa.”

                                (104.) The key additional statements are “Education for Self-Reliance,” in Freedom and Socialism, ed. Nyerere, 267–290; “Ujamaa Vijijini: Socialism and Rural Development,” in Freedom and Socialism, ed. Nyerere, 337–366; and “Freedom and Development,” in Freedom and Development, ed. Nyerere, 58–71.

                                (105.) Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 406–410; and Pratt, Critical Phase, 227–243.

                                (106.) Coulson, Tanzania, 179–180; McHenry, Limited Choices, 94, 130–133; and Smith, We Must Run, 239.

                                (107.) Thus the declaration warned that “[i]f we are not careful we might get to the position where the real exploitation in Tanzania is that of the town dwellers exploiting the peasants.” Nyerere, “Arusha Declaration,” 242–243.

                                (108.) Brennan, Taifa, 163–167, 174–176; Hunter, “Revisiting Ujamaa,” 476; and Pratt, Critical Phase, 240. On its reception in the rural areas, compare Priya Lal, “Self-Reliance and the State: The Multiple Meanings of Development in Early Post-Colonial Tanzania,” Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 82, no. 2 (2012): 212–234.

                                (110.) An April 1965 radio address demanded frugality (Julius Nyerere, “Frugality,” in Freedom and Unity, ed. Nyerere, 332–333); various perks of political office had been curbed (Smith, We Must Run, 224); Nyerere’s own and ministerial salaries had been cut; and a refusal by university students to submit to a public service requirement was answered with their expulsion (Pratt, Critical Phase, 233–234; Ivaska, Cultured States, 127–128, 135–147; and Smith, We Must Run, 126–132). On the reaction to the leadership conditions, see Pratt, Critical Phase, 237–240, 245; and Lionel Cliffe, “Personal or Class Interest: Tanzania’s Leadership Conditions,” in Socialism in Tanzania, ed. Cliffe and Saul, 254–256.

                                (111.) Smith, We Must Run, 238–239.

                                (112.) Smith, We Must Run, 242–253.

                                (113.) Bienen, Tanzania, 436–439.

                                (114.) Ruth Meena, “A Conversation with Bibi Titi: A Political Veteran,” in Activist Voices: Feminist Struggles for an Alternative World, ed. Marjorie Mbilinyi, M. Rusimbi, S. L. Chachage, and D. Kiyunga (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Tanzania Gender Networking Programme, 2003), 140–154; and Geiger, TANU Women.

                                (115.) When in exile, Kambona himself explained the break with reference to his opposition to the communalism of the Arusha Declaration and to the establishment of the one-party state (Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa, 368–369; Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship, 169). However, most accounts point to Kambona’s economic interests, his dislike of the provision that competitive elections were to be held at all, and his personal political ambitions as the central reasons: Lionel Cliffe, “Political Struggles Around the Adoption and Implementation of the Arusha Declaration,” in Re-Thinking the Arusha Declaration, ed. Jeannette Hartmann (Copenhagen: Axel Nielsen & Søn, 1991), 107; Cliffe, “The Political System,” 15; Pratt, Critical Phase, 188, 203–204; Brennan, “Short History,” 268; Brennan, “Julius Rex,” 471–472; and Smith, We Must Run, 259–271.

                                (116.) Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa, 367.

                                (117.) Smith, We Must Run, 259–271; Mwakikagile, Nyerere and Africa, 358–368; Aminzade, Race, Nation, and Citizenship, 169–170; and Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 194, 210.

                                (118.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 246; Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 436, 438; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 84–85.

                                (119.) Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 221–224; William Tordoff, Government & Politics Is Tanzania (Nairobi, Kenya: East Africa Publishing House, 1967), 174–175; and Smith, We Must Run, 261.

                                (120.) Smith, We Must Run, 263–269; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 98.

                                (121.) Quoted in Doornbos, “A.M. Babu,” 330.

                                (122.) Doornbos “A.M. Babu,” 330–332; McHenry, Limited Choices, 202–204, 206–207; Duggan and Civille, Tanzania and Nyerere, 102–103; G. Thomas Burgess, Race Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar: The Memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sharif Hamad (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2009), 139–140; John Saul, The Next Liberation Struggle: Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy in Southern Africa (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2005), 151; and Brennan, “Julius Rex,” 472.

                                (123.) Bienen, Tanzania: Party Transformation, 205–211, 215–217; John S. Saul, “Radicalism and the Hill,” in Socialism in Tanzania: Vol. 2 (Policies), ed. Lionel Cliffe and John S. Saul (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: East Africa Publishing House, 1973), 289–292; Saul, “Tanzania Fifty Years,” 118–119; and Ivaska, Cultured States, 152–162.

                                (124.) “The Mwongozo—TANU Guidelines 1971,” in African Socialism in Practice, ed. Coulson, 36–42; for a rundown of events, see Coulson, Tanzania, 282–289; and McHenry, Limited Choices, 134–136.

                                (125.) Coulson, Tanzania, 235–271; and Resnick, The Long Transition, 183–213.

                                (126.) Schneider, Government, 19–68; and Jennings, Surrogates, 139–159.

                                (127.) Nyerere, “Freedom and Development,” 67.

                                (128.) Nyerere, “Freedom and Development,” 67, 69.

                                (129.) Julius Nyerere, “To Plan Is to Choose,” in Freedom and Development, ed. Nyerere, 94.

                                (130.) Schneider, Government, 79–82.

                                (131.) Quoted and translated in McHenry, Tanzania’s Ujamaa Villages, 108.

                                (132.) McHenry, Tanzania’s Ujamaa Villages, 137–145; Coulson, Tanzania, 250–252; Schneider, Government, 78–83; and Jennings, Surrogates, 36–39.

                                (133.) Notably, Nyerere’s strong message against coercion in his October 1968 “Freedom and Development” was unmistakably a commentary on a local campaign that the two soon-to-be expelled MPs had complained about (Schneider, Government, 147–148); repercussions, if any, for offending officials were generally mild (51–52, 83, 149). On his broader role in coercion, see Schneider, Government, 78–83, 128–148; and Leander Schneider, “Freedom and Unfreedom in Rural Development: Julius Nyerere, Ujamaa Vijijini, and Villagization,” The Canadian Journal of African Studies 38, no. 2 (2004): 344–393.

                                (134.) Schneider, Government, 87–89.

                                (135.) Schneider, Government, 90–91; and McHenry, Limited Choices, 95.

                                (136.) On the effect on literacy, see McHenry, Limited Choices, 85; and Sonia Languille, “Ward Secondary Schools, Elite Narratives and Nyerere’s Legacy,” in Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania, ed. Fouéré, 308. For the broader effects of villagization, see Schneider, Government, 77–78, 89–92, 109–118, 124–127; and McHenry, Limited Choices, 85–89.

                                (137.) Pratt, Critical Phase, 255; but see also his later, more critical Cranford Pratt, “Reflections of a Democratic Socialist,” in Towards Socialism in Tanzania, ed. Bismarck U. Mwansasu and Cranford Pratt (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), 193–236.

                                (139.) Avirgan and Honey, War in Uganda.

                                (140.) McHenry, Limited Choices, 171; and Avirgan and Honey, War in Uganda, 196.

                                (141.) Lucian A. Msambichaka, Benno J. Ndulu, and H. K. R. Amanti, Agricultural Development in Tanzania: Policy Evolution, Performance and Evaluation; The First Two Decades of Independence (Göttingen, Germany: Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung and Göttinger Tageblatt, 1983), 62; and T. L. Maliyamkono and M. S. D. Bagachwa, The Second Economy in Tanzania (London: James Currey, 1990), 70–71.

                                (142.) McHenry, Limited Choices, 76–80; Maliyamkono and Bagachwa, The Second Economy; and Lofchie, The Political Economy of Tanzania.

                                (143.) Knud Erik Svendsen, “Development Strategy and Crisis Management,” in Mwalimu, ed. Legum and Mmari, 117; compare Green, “Vision,” 102–103.

                                (144.) Ramphal, “The Whole World,” 156–157.

                                (145.) Lofchie, The Political Economy of Tanzania, 169–171; and Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 119–120, 122.

                                (146.) Maliyamkono and Bagachwa, The Second Economy, 47; Andrew Kiondo, “The Nature of Economic Reforms in Tanzania,” in Tanzania and the IMF, ed. Campbell and Stein, 24; Howard Stein, “Economic Policy and the IMF in Tanzania: Conditionality, Conflict, and Convergence,” in Tanzania and the IMF, ed. Campbell and Stein, 66–68; and Issa G. Shivji, “The Politics of Liberalization in Tanzania,” in Tanzania and the IMF, ed. Campbell and Stein, 51–52. On the broader economic situation, compare Tripp, Changing the Rules; and Lofchie, The Political Economy of Tanzania.

                                (147.) Green, “Vision,” 91.

                                (148.) Kiondo, “The Nature of Economic Reforms,” 25–33; Stein, “Economic Policy and the IMF,” 68–75; Joel Samoff, “Theory and Practice in the Analysis of Tanzanian Liberalization: A Comment,” in Tanzania and the IMF, ed. Campbell and Stein, 183–184; McHenry, Limited Choices, 168–169; and Lofchie, The Political Economy of Tanzania.

                                (149.) Lofchie, The Political Economy of Tanzania, 194–201, 207–210; Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 132–136; Burgess, Race, Revolution, 232–237; Aikande Kwayu, “Different ‘Uses of Nyerere’ in the Constitutional Review Debates: A Touchstone For Legitimacy in Tanzania,” in Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania: History, Memory, Legacy, ed. Marie-Aude Fouéré (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, 2015), 127–140; and Marie-Aude Fouéré, “Recasting Julius Nyerere in Zanzibar: The Revolution, the Union and the Enemy of the Nation,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 8, no. 3 (2014): 478–496. Bjerk, Julius Nyerere, 139–144.

                                (150.) Compare Samoff, “Theory and Practice,” 177.

                                (151.) Compare especially Samoff, “Theory and Practice.”

                                (152.) Becker, “Remembering Nyerere,” 238, 243–248; Marie-Aude Fouéré, “Julius Nyerere, Ujamaa and Political Morality in Contemporary Tanzania,” African Studies Review 57 no. 1 (2014): 8–10; and Emma Hunter, “Julius Nyerere, the Arusha Declaration, and the Deep Roots of a Contemporary Political Metaphor,” in Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania, ed. Fouéré, 74–75.

                                (153.) For some telling overall statistics, see McHenry, Limited Choices, 139–143, 171–172; and Schneider, Government, 10–11.

                                (154.) McHenry, Limited Choices, 82–89; and Green, “Vision,” 103–104.

                                (155.) Fouéré’s edited volume Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania brings together most contributions that have assessed Nyerere’s legacy from this angle; see also Becker, “Remembering Nyerere” and Vinay Kamat, “This Is Not Our Culture! Discourse of Nostalgia and Narratives of Health Concerns in Post-Socialist Tanzania,” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 78, no. 3 (2008): 359–383.

                                (156.) Kristin Phillips, “Pater Rules Best: Political Kinship and Party Politics in Tanzania’s Presidential Elections,” PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 33, no. 1 (2010): 117, 120–122; Becker, “Remembering Nyerere,” 253; Marie-Aude Fouéré, “‘Julius Nyerere’: the Man, the Word, and the Order of Discourse,” in Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania, ed. Fouéré, 19–23; Fouéré, “Julius Nyerere,” 2, 11–12, 14; Hunter, “Julius Nyerere,” 75; and Languille, “Ward Secondary Schools.”

                                (157.) Geiger, “Engendering & Gendering African Nationalism,” 286; compare Fouéré, “Julius Nyerere”; Phillips, “Pater Rules Best”; Kristin Phillips, “Nyerere’s Ghost: Political Filiation, Paternal Discipline, and the Construction of Legitimacy in Multiparty Tanzania,” in Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania, ed. Fouéré, 97–126; Leander Schneider “Visions of Tanzanian Socialism,” Jacobin Magazine December 12, 2015; Languille, “Ward Secondary Schools”; Becker, “Remembering Nyerere”; and Hunter, “Julius Nyerere,” 74–77.

                                (158.) On this functioning of the vocabulary of ujamaa in the 1960s, see Hunter “Revisiting Ujamaa”; and James Brennan, “Blood Enemies: Exploitation and Urban Citizenship in the Nationalist Political Thought of Tanzania, 1958–1975,” The Journal of African History 47, no. 3 (2006): 387–411.

                                (159.) Legum and Mmari, Mwalimu; and Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam, eds., Africa’s Liberation: The Legacy of Nyerere (Cape Town, South Africa: Pambazuka Press, 2010). Green, “Visions,” is one of the most notable contributions to these volumes.

                                (161.) Brennan, “Blood Enemies”; Brennan, “Short History”; Brennan, “Julius Rex”; and Brennan, Taifa.

                                (162.) Fouéré, Remembering Nyerere in Tanzania; see also Becker, “Remembering Nyerere.”

                                (163.) Nyerere, Freedom and Unity; Nyerere, Freedom and Socialism; and Nyerere, Freedom and Development.

                                (164.) For instance, Julius K. Nyerere, Crusade for Liberation (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Oxford University Press, 1978).

                                (165.) For a general overview, see Leander Schneider, “The Tanzania National Archives,” History in Africa 30 (2003): 447–454.

                                (166.) See, for instance, Bjerk, Building a Peaceful Nation; Bjerk, Julius Nyerere; Molony, Nyerere; and Brennan, “Julius Rex.”