In 1967 Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, the first President of Tanzania, announced the Arusha Declaration, a socio-political-economy ideology to guide the country. The Declaration was an independent and critical well thought ideology for a poor, relatively young independent state. It was consistent, coherent, and robust in its argument on self-reliance.
Of course, like many ideologies, the Arusha Declaration faced major challenges mostly on its economic policies. The Ujamaa policies failed and its flagship policy of villagization was a terrible attempt. Nevertheless, the Arusha Declaration had significant positive impact on its social aspects. The declaration embedded the nation-building strategies. The social policies that sprung out of the declaration united Tanzanians and formed the identity colored by humility, stability and union.
Rather than being critical to the declaration through a simultaneous effort of capitalizing and enhancing its strengths while ending its non-functional economic policies, Tanzanians abandoned the entire ideology out of international pressure to adopt the Structural Adjustment Policies accelerated by the then relatively small clique yet powerful oligarchy. Michael Lofchie shows how this oligarchy embraced the SAPs for their selfish business interests.
As a results of SAPs and subsequent adoption of liberal policies, we have experienced high economic growth with persistent poverty levels. Inequality. The creation of inequality in Tanzania is a sharpest antithesis to the Arusha Declaration. Inequality, using Teju Cole’s style, is an ISIS of Arusha Declaration- it has pierced into the very heart of the identity of Tanzania.
As we reflect 50 years following the Arusha Declaration, we need to look ahead. Now, even with the political changes in particular the re-introduction of multi-party system in the country, we have increasingly seen deterioration of democracy instead of its enhancement. As a reaction, consciously or unconsciously, the ruling party has strengthened its iron hand. There are legislations that have been passed in the country, which shrunk the civic space. Noteworthy, although the Arusha Declaration embedded single party system it was an ideology that was founded on freedom. It was built on the idea of freedom – human freedom, of which Nyerere linked it with development. Amartya Sen, later on, further expounded on development as freedom, an idea that Nyerere had and made it influential to his policies.
It is thus sad, how we are continuously stripping off citizens’ freedom and further oppress the majority through inequality. We have to think through this and revisit our national future, if we want to continue enjoy the stability that we have and achieve our development goals. Below is one point of recommendation, which would have required its own post- but hey my readers please bare with me…and go on…
Now, take a good break and listen to Kenneth Clark, the Conservative Party (UK), Member of Parliament….
Ok, so this video is hereby dedicated to CCM Members of Parliament and all other party members. Why so? Because as CCM is also celebrating its 40th anniversary and for its position as a ruling party, it is of utmost important for its MPs to be critical and independent in their thinking if they truly want Tanzania to develop.
Kenneth Clark shows a good example of how one can stand on his/her convictions on the basis of national interest as opposed to being merely loyal to his/her party. The very man behind the establishment of CCM and the Arusha Declaration emphasized that people should “argue”.
Let’s argue…as opposed to being “ndio mzee”.