Issue 10 cover

Bulletin of Tanzanian Affairs No.10 – July 1980

The Economy
Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank
The National Milling Corporation
The Sisal Industry
The Debate on Ujamaa: Villagisation and food production
– Comments on three articles on Villagisation and Food Production published in recent editions of the Journal of Modern African Studies – John Arnold
– Review of ‘Ujamaa Villages in Tanzania – analysis of a social experiment’ by Michaela von Freyhold – J. Roger Carter
Digest of Tanzanian News – Graham Mytton
A comment on ‘Towards Socialism in Tanzania’ by Mwansasu & Pratt – Daniel Mbunda

Editor’s note

The arrangement of the contents of the Bulletin attempts to distinguish between contributions which simply report events and those which provide opinion and interpretation.

The information sections depend on what we believe to be reliable sources, but there will inevitably he some discrepancies, which we can only hope will be clarified in future reports. For example, I have seen at least three widely varying figures for the amount and terms of the World Bank loan to Tanzania.

Where opinions are expressed, they are, of course, those of the contributors and not of the Society and readers must form their own judgments where opinions differ.

John Arnold
Department of Adult Education,
University of Southampton,
SO9 5NH.


1980 is being described as the worst year since Independence. The economy continues to suffer from the effects of the war in Uganda and a poor harvest due to inadequate rain. These problems come on top of the steady decline in the production of export crops and stagnant or falling world prices. From her declining earnings of foreign exchange, Tanzania has to pay increased prices for imports, particularly for oil, which this year is expected to take about 45% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. In 1972, Tanzania spent 29 million dollars on oil. In 1978, the figure was 278 million dollars.

Petrol is rationed and its sale restricted. In March, the price per litre was put up to sh.7-90. Then, in the budget in June, pump prices were put up between 10 and 50 cents more. As a result of higher prices and controls on sales, consumption in the country of diesel oil and petrol fell by 11.4% between August, 1979, and April this year.

Despite these measures and strict import controls, the value of imports continues to run ahead of exports and the delay in external payments has now reached the equivalent of nine months’ imports. Serious interruptions continue to occur in fuel industrial sector due to shortages of spares and raw materials.

It is now clear that this year’s harvest will be seriously deficient. The short rains, which should have come last November and December, failed, or were insufficient, in 10 out of the 19 Regions and the long rains were very late. The situation has been aggravated by a shift in cultivation from drought resistant crops in some areas, such as cassava and millet, to crops dependent on a reasonable rainfall, such as maize.

Many appeals have gone out for assistance from both the developed world and the oil producers. Tanzania has received some help from OPEC, but nothing approaching the sums OPEC members have received from Tanzania in increased oil payments. Of the oil producers individually, Algeria has lent 30 million dollars at only 3% interest specifically to help Tanzania to recover from the cost of the war with Idi Amin. Algeria was one of the few countries in Africa to come out openly in support of Tanzania’s action. And Iraq has granted a low interest loan of 8 million dollars. Iraq has also guaranteed Tanzania the oil supplies that it needs. Iraq lent Tanzania 30 million dollars last year.

It is interesting to note that in Sweden, Tanzania has now replaced Vietnam as that country’s most favoured aid recipient. Between July, 1980, and July, 1981, Swedish aid to Tanzania will total 95 million dollars. West Germany is to give Tanzania a grant of 732 million shillings to finance a number of development projects during the next financial year. The grant will finance a water project in Arusha town and the reinforcement of bridges on the Central Railway line, the purchase of railway engines for TAZARA (the Chinese-built railway) and road construction in the Usambara hills. Under an agreement signed in Dar es Salaam on 25th. April, the Netherlands granted Tanzania a loan of 420 million shillings for water, livestock, sugar and industrial development projects.

May Day was marked in Tanzania by the announcement of new policies to boost productivity. Chama cha Mapinduzi (the Party) announced that in future workers’ pay would depend on results. For example, if a state owned factory made a loss, none of its workers or managers would be eligible for a pay rise or promotion. Workers might even be liable for pay reductions. But bonuses would be payable where there was increased productivity and profits. The new policy is intended to answer the criticism that Tanzanian socialism offers no incentives. The CCM statement said that financial rewards would be given to scientists and others who made discoveries that boosted economic growth and that workers or managers who failed to perform specific tasks would be penalised.

The National Price Commission has been ordered to scale down the many items on which it controls prices and allow a free market to operate. Meanwhile, the President announced a 20% rise in the national minimum wage to shs.480 a month for an urban worker and shs.340 a month for a rural worker.

In the June Budget, taxes on beer, cigarettes, petrol, spirits and soft drinks were put up. Beer now sells at Sh. ll.OO per half litre. Budgetary expenditure in the coming year will total Sh.l6,382.8 million. Sh.9,342 million is earmarked for development expenditure; the rest is recurrent.

At the meeting of the National Executive Council of the CCM in May a 20 year plan for Tanzania was approved. The plan is scheduled to commence in July next year. Between 1981 and 2001 the CCM plans to increase the GNP from Sh.42,334 million to Sh.136,032 million. Per capita average annual income wi11, it is hoped, be increased from Sh.2,423 to Sh.3,845, and life expectancy is to be raised from the present 47 to 55 years.



It is evident that the I.M.F. was shaken by the break-down of their negotiations with Tanzania and the somewhat similar rupture with Jamaica, and was clearly taken aback by the address of President Nyerere to the Diplomatic Corps (see Bulletin of T8nzanian Affairs No.9). Members of the I.M.F. staff are now emphasising that no conditions had been laid down by the Fund, nor any ideological position adopted. The Fund’s sole concern had been to ensure that any facilities provided brought tangible benefits and did not run into the sand. The Fund retains a high regard for the financial integrity of Tanzania, the lack of corruption and the outstanding leadership of President Nyerere.

The Fund claims that it has no wish to dismantle the import control system, but to help it to work more beneficially for the economy. It also accepts that the liberalisation of import controls in 1977 on the heels of the coffee price boom was over-done – not only in Tanzania, but also in Kenya, Columbia and other coffee producing countries and had led to a ‘spending spree’, rather than providing an opportunity for re-equipment, or other measures of more permanent value.

On the wider issue, the Fund’s officers maintain that they are not trying to force Third World countries to rely solely on the teachings of pure market economics. Their only interest is to secure such changes within the philosophical assumptions of the recipient country as are conducive to economic progress and an improvement of the foreign trading position. The only condition expected by the Fund was, therefore, evidence of a readiness to encourage changes likely to produce permanently beneficial results.

The rupture that took place in January had now, it seemed been repaired and a deputation from the Fund went to Tanzania in April to reopen negotiations for an Extended Fund Facility. This would place resources at the disposal of Tanzania for disbursement over 3 years and refund over 7 years at the Special Drawing rate of interest. The facility, which would not be tied to imports, would probably be much larger than any programme lending by the Bank, or any bilateral facility that the UK, or any other country, would be likely to provide. There seemed every expectation in the Fund and in the UK Office that negotiations would succeed this time.

Earlier this year Mr. Macnamara visited President Nyerere, and as announced in the Press, there was talk of a Structural Adjustment Loan from the World Bank. This is a new type of programme aid just being introduced by the Bank. It is not tied to particular projects, but is designed to help Third World Countries to make structural changes in the face of the energy crisis and the widespread economic problems generated by foreign exchange deficits, inflation and recession. The offer which has now been made to Tanzania is a long term interest free loan of $50 million a year over the next five years.

In late June and early July, about fifty delegates from both developing and industrial countries met in Arusha to discuss the I.M.F. Delegates studied ways of making the I.M.F. more responsive to Third World needs. Later this year the I.M.F. holds a major meeting in Washington at which criticisms of its operation arc expected to be voiced.


Energy is, of course, easily the largest single cause of Tanzania’s economic problems. With nearly half of her foreign exchange resources now being devoted to oil purchases, a solution of the country’s energy problems is clearly urgent. In the short run, the foreign exchange situation can only be relieved by an increase in exports, since appreciable fuel savings are hardly possible. In the longer run, the country may expect some relief from the closure of oil-burning power stations with the progressive substitution of hydro-electric power (see Bulletin of Tanzanian Affairs, No.8 p.4). There is also some hope that exploitable domestic oil resources may be found on and near the coast. A seismic survey recently carried out by NORAD now suggests that oil is present in appreciable quantities and consideration is being given to World Bank support for an oil exploration project based on two wells on the mainland at Songo Songo and two offshore islands. Natural gas supplies are also available and the possibilities of conversion for the manufacture of nitrogenous fertilisers is being studied. A power sector study financed by Canada (CIDA) is dealing with electricity supply prospects. The International Institute for Environment and Development has been commissioned to produce a medium term energy policy which it is hoped will be available in time to be included in the next five year plan.


The state purchasing agency for foodstuffs, the National Milling Corporation (NMC), naturally plays a central part in providing the population with basic food supplies. The NMC has earlier been criticised and this criticism has continued during this year. The NMC fulfils only to a very limited extent its undertaking to furnish the population with necessary basic foodstuffs, while at the same time putting up with serious losses. The NMC’s problem is that it is limited by the aims of the government’s agricultural policies, which among other things provide that the NMC is to buy at the same price everywhere in the country, while at the same time being commercially profitable. Moreover, the NMC also suffers from the deterioration of the transport network and the increasing difficulty of getting spares for vehicles, while a large proportion of the storage silos are of an inferior quality. Denmark and the World Bank have now decided to help Tanzania by building a large number of silos. CCM (the Party) has resolved that the NMC’s role as an organisation must be looked into, so that in future it may be enabled to fulfil its role in a more consistent manner.


The state of the sisal industry has been a dominant influence on the economy of East Africa since the industrialised world began to take an interest in the area. Since the end of the commodity booms of the 1950’s the world price of sisal has declined due to changes in technology (the introduction of combine harvesting abolished the need for sisal binder twine) and competition from synthetic fibres. The falling price has made it difficult for Tanzania’s estates to be maintained and output has fallen from a peak of 230,000 tons a year in the 60’s to an estimated 90,000 in 1979.

The falling price of sisal was used by Julius Nyerere to illustrate the weakness of primary producers in his statement on the economic relationships between the developed and underdeveloped worlds – ‘The Economic Challenge – Dialogue or Confrontation’.*

The increase in oil prices and hence in the raw materials for sisal’s artificial competitors may now at last produce an increase in demand for sisal. West Germany is to provide funds for the renovation and repair of decorticators (the machines which remove the fibre from the leaf) and more sisal cutters are to be recruited.

The Tanzania Sisal Authority has reached agreement with New Zealand to meet all its requirements for sisal fibre, rope and twine. There are also plans to process sisal within Tanzania and find new outlets. A new sisal bag factory being built at Morogoro will produce 10 million bags a year which is equal to half of the country’s total requirement. At Kilosa the Irish Government is financing a sisal factory.

* Address given at the Royal Commonwealth Society on 5th. Nov. 1975

(The above notes were compiled from information supplied by C.M. Axford, Graham Mytton, Kaj Persson (from an article in ‘Habari’, the journal of the Svensk-Tanzaniska Foreningen) and J. Roger Carter)


The ‘Guardian’ of 5 July 1980 carried a report of an F.A.O. study which estimates that the current harvest is 40% below normal and will provide only 25% of the maize required to feed the country. A shortfall of 289,000 tonnes must be imported adding to Tanzania’s foreign exchange debts.

The last time Tanzania was forced to make substantial imports of food was in 1973 and 74. The causes of that crisis are still being disputed and the arguments have an immediate relevance to the current situation.

The following reviews are concerned with aspects of the debate on Tanzania’s rural and agricultural policies.

By Michael F. Lofchie – Journal of Modern African Studies 16/3 (1978)

Comments on Lofchie’s article by Philip Raikes (Centre for Development Research, Copenhagen). Journal of Modern African Studies 17/2 (June 1979)

and John Briggs (University of Glasgow). Journal of Modern African Studies 17/4 (December 1979).

When a country like Tanzania with an economy almost entirely dependent on agriculture has to import large amounts of grain to feed her population as she did between 1974 and 1976 it is essential that the cause of the problem be clearly established. This, however, is proving difficult. The reasons for changes in agricultural output are rarely simple and interpretations of events in Tanzania tend to be influenced by the writer’s political ideology.

There were three major influences on Tanzania’s agricultural production during the early 70’s: the vil1agisation programme, Government pricing policy and the drought of 1973 and 1974. The key questions are what was the relative importance of these factors and was any one decisive? At the time the Tanzanian Government maintained that the disastrous harvests and consequent economic crisis were due to the widespread failure of the rains for two successive years. More recent research suggests that the drought may have come on top of what was already a substantial reduction in planting of food crops.

Michael Lofchie (Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles) is in no doubt that what he refers to as Tanzania’s policy of ‘rural collectivisation’ was the major cause of the slump in agricultural production. He argues that the policy failed to gain general acceptance among the great majority of the peasants and that they had to be coerced into moving to villages where they were unable or unwilling to produce a surplus of food for the urban areas:

‘The years of plummeting production and skyrocketing imports coincided precisely with the period of intense col1ectivisation. Though the major import crisis did not occur until 1974/75 Tanzania had to purchase large amounts of grain in each of the two preceding years.’

‘It is possible that some peasants deliberately lowered their production of maize, or withheld it from the official markets as a form of deliberate political protest… This form of protest should be understood as one of the factors which induced T.A.N.U. to forego the collective features of villagisation.’

and he concluded his article:

‘… some Tanzanian leaders may still not understand that the agrarian crisis of 1974/75 was partially rooted in the peasantry’s unwillingness to produce under socialist conditions, and not in any general inability or disinclination to produce an agricultural surplus.’

Articles in learned journals may be actually read by comparatively few but their influence can be estensive as second and third hand versions become established as ‘fact’. The challenges to Lofchie’s version from both Raikes and Briggs are to be welcomed and deserve equal publicity.

Writing from different standpoints (Raikes is a Marxist) both make the point that Lofchie’s use of the emotive term ‘collectivisation’ to describe Tanzania’s rural policy from 1967 to 1974 is highly misleading. Lofchie either does not appreciate or ignores the distinctions between the voluntary movement into cooperative production after the Arusha Declaration, the speeding up of this process under Party and Government encouragement between 1970 and 1973 and the change of policy to concentration of peasants into non-cooperative development villages after 1973. There is a crucial error in Lofchie’s account of the sequence of events; he dates the policy change from cooperative farming to villagisation as ‘the fall of 74′ i.e. when the food shortage was already apparent. In fact this decision was taken by the Party the previous year before the food shortage began.

Research into levels of peasant production suggests that there is a keen awareness of potential return and that production by peasants is very responsive to changes in real price. In Tanzania maize prices had been declining up to 1974 since there had been surplus in several years which had been exported at a loss; there was, therefore pressure to encourage the production of alternative crops which could be exported profitably.

Prices were also being depressed by the administrative costs of state trading and marketing cooperatives and the ability and incentive to produce were reduced by shortages of consumer goods, fertiliser and tools.

The Party resolution on villagisation plus the stories about how it was being implemented produced a state of great uncertainty among peasants who naturally responded by planting only for their family needs. The moves into villages were not planned to take account of harvests, some crops were destroyed, some people were moved too far to be able to return to tend or h8rvest the crop they had planted. The construction of homes in the new villages reduced the time and labour available for new planting. Some of the new villages were not well sited and there would h8ve been none of the knowledge of local soils and climate which peasants acquire by years of hard experience. Some people were also moved more than once and this possibility was a further disincentive to plant more than the minimum th0ught necessary for survival.

So the drought came in years when planting was only intended to meet family needs. Usually a poor harvest means that there is no surplus to be marketed but poor harvest from low planting meant that there was not even enough to feed the family hence the need for imports and relief food.

The implication of the Raikes and Briggs analysis might be that once the new villages have become established and given suitable prices and reasonable rains Tanzania will be able to feed itself. In fact, Raikes, like Lofchie, but for totally different reasons, doubts whether the civil service and Government will learn what he sees as the right lesson which is the need to transfer real power to the villages

…those who assist from the outside must seek to develop among the villagers the idea that if they are united they can increase not only their welfare through production but also their political strength.’

The ability of the new villages to produce sufficient food for themselves and the urban areas as well as export crops to finance development also depends on a further factor which the political scientists have largely overlo0ked, the ecological effects of villagisation.

Prior to vi11agisation there was a relationship between settlement patterns and the type of agriculture which the land and c1imate would support. At the extremes the pastoral, nomadic Masai moving in response to the availability of pasture and water and the Chagga with permanent homesteads made possible by fertile soil and constant water from furrows. Over much of mainland Tanzania the size of village or hut clusters depended on how long the land had to be left fallow before it could be re-cleared and cultivated, the longer the period the more scattered the population. The relationship could be disrupted by other factors, for example in her book reviewed elsewhere in this Bulletin, Michaela von Freyhold argues that the population of Handeni was over dispersed as a result of the rinderpest epidemic of the late 19th. century and unable to obtain the best use of the land as a result of this historical catastrophe.

Accounts of the implementation of the villagisation programme refer to the speed of the operation, which frequently left inadequate time for planning- even if the administrative and agricultural skills had been available. This speed and the poor planning are the likely causes of many of the mistakes over the location and size of the new vi1lages. There are similar references to villages being sited on unsuitable land in the Articles by P.L.Raikes and Andrew Coulson in the Review of African Political Economy No.3 and in the first hand account by Juma Mwapachu in The African Review Vol. 6/1.

Adolpho Mascarenhas, Director of the Bureau of Resource Assessment and Land Use Planning, University of Dar es Salaam, writing in ‘After Vi1lagisation – What?’ (his contribution to ‘Towards Socialism in Tanzania’) describes the variation in average size of new village populations as ‘startling’ – from over 25O families in Shinyanga to just over 500 in Morogoro and Pwani. There is no apparent relation between these variations and the agricultural quality of the land on which the villages were sited. Indeed, the figure of 250 families (about 1,250 people), the official minimum seems to have been calculated to provide a population for which it is economic to provide a school and other services rather than having any re1evance to the capacity of land to support that number with the knowledge and tools they are likely to have available.

Helge Kjekshus (‘The Tanzanian Villagisation Policy: Implementation Lesson and Ecological Dimensions’, Canadian Journal of African Studies X1/2), claims ‘it is doubtful whether the change of settlement pattern is consistent with the fundamental requirements for economic development in the Tanzanian ecology.’

This view would surely be shared by anyone who has seen the very large new settlements strung along the Iringa/Dodoma road in concentrations which seemed to preclude the possibility of the inhabitants being involved in any form of viable agriculture.

Mascarenhas gives only very guarded comments in his less than half page on ‘implications of size of villages’ but he does refer to the need for care in fragile environments where land must be frequently rotated and ‘consequently there is a village size beyond which the villagers would waste too much effort getting to and from their fields.’ Later in the same article discussing the problems arising in the villagisation programme Mascerenhas lists along with the potential advantages of villagisation the immediate risks ‘of hazards such as disease, fire and water contamination: ‘Longer term problems will depend on the nature of the particular village site, a sudden concentration of population means a demand for wood for houses and fuel which destroys the trees around the new village, similarly livestock can exhaust the immediate grass cover ‘in such situations villages are rapidly surrounded by barren land that will be quickly eroded by rains’; and later ‘unless it is accompanied by a successful effort to introduce agricultural practices that will be more appropriate to the more dense and permanent cultivation … villagisation may even lead to declining productivity’.

There is some evidence that at the official level there is some awareness of the need for positive conservation measures to offset the impact of larger concentrations of people and animals. In ‘The Arusha Declaration – 10 Years After’ Julius Nyerere commends those villages which had planted trees and there are reports that this practice is to be encouraged nationally. Discussions are beginning on the next mass radio education campaign which could be on environmental protection and conservation.

If the size or site of a village is unsuitable the effects on its agricultural land and output are likely to begin to show after four or five years. The thousands of villages established between 1970 and 1975 are now facing the test of ecological viability.


The following review argues that the political explanations for the failure of ujamaa commonly advanced are misleading and offers prima facie evidence from one Region to show that ujamaa is there evolving in a direction that should prove beneficial and productive.

UJAMAA VILLAGES IN TANZANIA – Analysis of a social experiment
by Michaela von Freyhold. London Heinemann, 1979. £3.95.

Twelve or thirteen years ago world-wide interest was aroused by the pioneering efforts of groups of Tanzanians to create new rural communities based on principles of consent, self-reliance, equality and individual responsibility for the common good. Originally, the impetus towards ‘ujamaa’, as the new way of life was called, was sustained by the enthusiasm and conviction of its practitioners. Widespread dissemination of ‘ujamaa’ depended on the manifest success of these pioneering efforts in providing an attractive way of living, a shield against the recurring hazards of the natural environment and a marked increase in material prosperity.

That the hopes of the pioneers, at least in the form in which ujamaa was originally conceived, have remained largely unfulfilled is now a matter of history. The reasons for this misadventure have been sedulously explored by numerous scholars. Were the impediments to success the emergence of political obstacles, or was the psychological leap forward greater than the average peasant could comprehend or accomplish, or were the technical advantages of cooperative production too modest to provide the necessary unquestionable proof of superiority? It was questions like these that have been posed and the general verdict has not been encouraging.

The book by Professor von Freyhold can be counted among the most serious, the most informative and the most perceptive of the recent accounts that have appeared on this subject. Based on field research in the Handeni District of Tanga Region and a study of more than 100 reports on ujamaa villages throughout Tanzania, Professor von Freyhold has reached sombre conclusions about both the success hitherto of Tanzania’s ujamaa experiment and its future prospects. It is not an unsympathetic study. She speaks of the gratitude to the villagers of her team, who ‘shared their houses, their food and their thoughts’ and her regret that they ‘could not make a more practical and constructive contribution’. Nevertheless, the author felt bound to conclude that the reasons for failure were not attributable to any lack of technical advantage that could be secured by communal enterprises, but to the absence of motivation and a political will to make this mode of production succeed. She sees this mood among the villagers as the result of the failure of the ruling party, TANU (now CCM), to support poor and middle peasants against an authoritarian bureaucracy and the failure of the bureaucracy to see to it that technical officers served the villages loyally and intelligently. Repeated attempts at compulsion by the bureaucracy on colonial lines, official interference with incipient local initiatives and government assumptions of superior wisdom had, she feels, destroyed faith in the possibilities of democratic communal enterprise, given positive encouragement to individualist attitudes and, in some places, to the emergence of a petty capitalist or ‘kulak’ class. These developments are described and documented at considerable length in the main part of this book devoted to ‘General Analysis’.

On the author’s assumptions, it is difficult to find fault with the main diagnosis of the failures of ujamaa, notwithstanding some generalisations that seem unsupported by the evidence. For instance, speaking of the former village development committees, Professor von Freyhold maintains that ‘in practice, those ten-cell leaders who attended these meetings were usually immediate neighbours of the village executive officer and wealthier peasants who expected that contacts with officialdom might he of some use to them’. The reference on which this generalisation is based is found in a report of research in three villages in the Mwanza Region. But leaving aside such risky conclusions, the evidence as presented leaves little room for doubt about the general truth of the claim that ‘the creative potential of the peasantry remained submerged under kulak and bureaucratic hegemony’, however much this diagnosis requires to be modified in the circumstances of particular areas.

However, in spite of the painstaking and careful analysis, there are important respects in which I believe the interpretation falls short and as a result fails to provide a reliable guide to the future prospects of ujamaa. I do not feel that Professor von Freyhold has adequately assessed the psychological and moral problems of regional administration and I believe, on the contrary, that she has appeared to accept the general validity of a stereotype, which is unsatisfactory even for the colonial district officer. It is unfair and misleading to regard the activities of a bureaucracy as being mainly motivated by the conscious or unconscious protection of their own class interests. Professional skill, insight and esprit-de-corps also deeply influence official behaviour, often in a direction that has little recognisable connection with self-interest. The problem is not primarily that of neutralising the class aspirations of the bureaucrats, but of increasing official awareness of the attitudes they must adopt and the actions they must take in fulfilment of their professional role.

Two influences can be seen to have impaired the official capacity wisely and disinterestedly to fulfil the tasks set before them in the villages. First, both in time and importance is the continuing influence of the colonial myth that the proper modus operandi of an official is to assert his authority and to order people around. The word ‘myth’ is appropriate, because it is not always the facts about colonial officialdom that have been influential in forming the stereotype which ignores the service of many wise and enlightened colonial officers, who to this day have remained staunch friends and supporters of independent Tanzania and who regarded their service as a preparation for that outcome. Nevertheless, there were sufficient colonial officials of a more thoughtless and arbitrary stamp whose handling of shifting agrarian and settlement policies certainly lent colour to the stereotype and whose actions laid bare the irresponsible nature of colonial power.

This inherited view of the work of administration persisted for some time. It was not at first perceived that a very different mode of administration was needed in independent Tanzania. The problem was intensified and prolonged by the rapid increase of the official class after Independence and the promotion of inexperienced officers to commanding positions as a result of the ‘localisation’ of posts, whose own initial insecurity often prompted recourse to arbitrary action and impatience with divergent opinions. The kind of administrative finesse needed to deal constructively with the spontaneous ujamaa communities called for a degree of maturity, based for the most part on long experience, which at the time was in very short supply.

It is important to understand the delicacy of the task which often confronted regional officers in the villages and the sophistication needed for a proper response to it. In essence, this consisted in creatively fusing the spontaneous aspirations of the villagers with national aims and the knowledge and resources of the bureaucracy, in such a way as to encourage village self-determination. There is little doubt that in the early seventies the importance and difficulty of this task was lost on many of the officers entrusted with the implementation of policies of ‘ujamaa’ and ‘kujitegemea’. Moreover, as government intervention grew from the time of Presidential Circular No.1 and climaxed with the villagisation programme, the officials were in an increasingly impossible situation. To expect them to encourage spontaneity in ujamaa terms, while at the same time enforcing villagisation, was asking for the unattainable. In the end, it was villagisation that largely succeeded, while ujamaa was seriously undermined.

The second adverse influence was a growing disequilibrium between unity and diversity in Tanzania. Like the initially limited professional capacity of the administration, this development was an inevitable concomitant of the early years of independence. In common with other new African states, Tanzania faced the problem of creating a sense of nationhood in an area artificially delineated by the colonial powers, in which hitherto the strongest loyalties had been tribal in character and local in their range of operation. There seemed, therefore, to be a strong justification for those unifying influences, which might be expected to emphasise the claims of the nation over against those of the tribe. In Tanzania, moreover, the endeavour to develop and implement policies based on an entirely distinctive social philosophy and to depart fundamentally from norms created during the days of the mandate also had the effect of emphasising the importance of national policies and of casting doubt on the wisdom of sectional or local idiosyncrasy. For such reasons the first decade of independence saw a growing emphasis on normalising and unifying policies and an increasing belief in the superior virtue of single, national solutions of Tanzania’s problems. National norms were created, such as the minimum village size which could not possibly suit all circumstances. Enterprises that did not fit in with the prescribed policy of TANU leadership for ujamaa were unacceptable and if a village drew its inspiration from local initiatives outside the structure of TANU it could not be xx to proceed. At this time, the leadership, with certain resplendent exceptions, had not yet gained insight into the fact that good administration, often depends on a judicious acceptance of non- conformity rather than on the blanket enforcement of a norm.

Professor von Freyhold’s book covers this period and the conclusions that she draws on grounds of political theory are explained by the growth of class structures and interests that destroyed both the will and the opportunity to undertake communal production in the villages. The result is that her prognosis is profoundly pessimistic, because she sees a turn of the tide as becoming possible only with a drastic reversal of present social trends.

Class formation is inevitable in any form of society and the tendency is particularly strong in a Third World Country, where differences in material wellbeing, education and experience are inseparable from progress. What is important is not the pursuit of some will-o’-the-wisp of a classless society, but the containment of competing class interests within reasonable limits and their redirection as far as possible towards communally acceptable goals. It is in this effort to limit the harmful effects of class formation that Tanzania has made some remarkable and pioneering advances. Though breached from time to time, the main impact of these measures has been effective in protecting Tanzania from some of the extravagant and destructive developments visible elsewhere in the Third World.

Professor von Freyhold also overlooks the maturation of Tanzania’s youthful public service. There are now many officers with ten or fifteen years of experience behind them since Independence. Experience is an important asset in public service that no crash programme of training can supply and although not all succeed in benefiting from their experience, for many the ability to reflect on the lessons of the past is a source of wisdom, moderation and self-confidence.

The advantages that flow from the exercise of these high administrative skills are, I believe, clearly apparent in the trend of developments in some parts of the country, which I was privileged to observe earlier this year. The liveliness, self-confidence and originality of some Village Councils, their development of communal farms of 100 hektares or more, serviced on a strict two day a week rota by the ten household cells, the accumulation of village funds often running into tens of thousands of shillings, the use of such funds substantially for communal investment, the transformation of the countryside brought about by the progressive displacement of traditional houses by ‘nyumba bora’ (good, i.e. permanent houses), the installation of village water supplies and the building of schools, clinics, maize mills and other common services – all of these developments and many others were testimony to a new communal spirit and a more confident and effective village democracy. They were not visible everywhere – far from it. But the fact that such changes were found in some areas is an encouraging portent.

These psychological changes are difficult to account for with certainty and no doubt there are a variety of causes. It seems likely, however, that one important cause was the increasing skill of the officials in encouraging the greatest possible responsible self-management among the villagers. We were privileged to visit a number of villages in company with the Regional Commissioner and a group of technical officers from Region and District and to observe the relaxed atmosphere in the Village Council, the fertility of the Council members in putting forward their development proposals, the care with which the Regional Commissioner listened to these representations and to the problems encountered by the villagers and the helpful and friendly way in which he reacted. The Regional Commissioner did not fail to give his own ideas about a proposal for tractorisation, that yields would have to be considerably increased to pay for it, that technical maintenance skills were not readily available to the village and that fuel, apart from being costly, was not always obtainable. Against this, he argued the merits of an ox haulage programme, the local availability of feeding stuffs, the increased production at moderate cost and the usefulness of manure. These matters were not put forward as commands from on high, but as considerations to be weighed.

The impression created by these incidents was of a skilful management of Regional affairs with a clear recognition of the rights of Village Councils to take decisions and the importance of respecting and encouraging village initiatives. Such sophisticated management is evidence of professional maturity and suggests that, with the passage of time, some officials have got well beyond the uncertain and arbitrary handling of village matters a decade earlier. When we realise that this kind of Regional management calls. for an intimate familiarity with the psychological reactions of villagers within the context of the local African culture, any immodest thought that outsiders could teach successful administration in rural Tanzania must be banished from our minds.

This diagnosis of the manifest progress visible in some parts of Tanzania may require modification or supplementation in the light of closer study, but as to the progress itself there are figures to add confirmation to the visual impression. Maize sales to the National Milling Corporation in the Region referred to above rose from 8,240 tonnes in 1973-4 to 18,000 tonnes in 1977-8 and an expected 22,930 tonnes in 1979-80. Similar encouraging increases were recorded for other products. These are not the kinds of results that one would normally associate with an apathetic and discouraged peasantry.

I do not deny the dangers identified by Professor von Freyhold in her political analysis and without doubt they have played their part in the travail through which ujamaa has passed since Litowa was established in 1961. I also accept that my more encouraging reaction is based on prima facie evidence and calls for more careful study. But I am persuaded that the political and social influences described in the book are not the only, or perhaps ultimately the most important, determinants of the fate of ujamaa, nor indeed the only considerations to take into account in guessing at its future. There are, thank goodness, far too many unforeseen, creative and indeed disinterested aspects of human character to justify sole reliance on socio-political analysis based on class formation and the pursuit of class interests as the main clue to events, or the best guide to their future unfolding. What the bureaucracy in some areas now seem to be creating is a confident village democracy and if this policy is continued it will gradually create in the villages centres of opinion and influence, that will provide an antidote to the less creditable and self-interested facets of bureaucracy. I do not think that the future of ujamaa is devoid of hope in such circumstances.

J. Roger Carter


The outstanding issues left over after the collapse of the East African Community have not yet been settled. But the three East African Presidents met in Arusha in January. It was the first time this had happened since before Idi Amin seized power. The President also had talks with his Rwandan and Burundian counterparts. Following the talks, agreement was reached on telephone and road links, and the possibility of a rail link is to be investigated. The idea of a joint hydro-electric project in the Kagera River Basin is to be investigated further before a decision is made.

President Nyerere has made a two day official visit to Italy and the Vatican, followed by a three day official visit to Austria. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has been accorded full diplomatic recognition in Dar es Salaam.

The continuing political conflict in Uganda has inevitably led to accusations that Tanzania has been interfering in Uganda’s affairs. It is clear that Tanzania would like to withdraw all its forces as soon as possible, and spokesmen have repeatedly made it clear that they are there only because the Ugandan authorities have asked for them to be. At a recent delegates conference of the Democratic Party in Uganda on 19th June a letter was read out from President Nyerere. (It should be borne in mind that among Tanzania’s strongest critics in Uganda have been supporters of this party who accuse the Tanzanians of favouring Milton Obote’s UPC). The letter read:

Dear Mr. Semwogerere (Interim DP Chairman), Thank you for writing to me. I received your letter when I got back to Dar es Salaam from Arusha this week. I was pleased to have the opportunity to meet representatives of the DP of Uganda. Our discussions did I believe, help to clear up some misunderstandings about Tanzania’s policy in Uganda and may thus help the struggle towards stability in your country, for our desire is to help Uganda
a) to re-establish conditions of personal security for all citizens
b) to facilitate the holding of free and fair elections as soon as possible.

My country has no intention of interfering in those processes. Uganda is not a protectorate of Tanzania. But it is in our interest that law and order should exist in Uganda. It is also in our interest that your country should have an elected government which serves the people and the region honestly and which establishes the foundations for good neighbourliness between the states of this part of Africa. Tanzania is not concerned which party or coalition is chosen by Ugandans to head their government. We will do our best both to be politically neutral between contending groups and to appear to be neutral. It is in this context of those objectives that I welcome the positive attitude of the DP leadership towards the present administration in Uganda. I believe that such an approach by both the main parties of your country will help to ensure continued progress towards improved security and rapid preparation of elections.

The letter, which was received with applause, went on to deny the allegation made by Professor Lule from Nairobi that his own candidature for the Presidential nomination by the DP had been vetoed by the Tanzanians.

During the elections in Zimbabwe President Nyerere accused Britain of breaking the Lancaster House agreement. Later he admitted he had been wrong.

Air Tanzania has begun twice weekly flights to Europe, connecting Dar es Salaam with London, Athens, Zurich and Rome. Two aircraft have been leased from British Caledonian.

The Tanzam (Tazara) Railway which lost $10 million last year is expected to make a profit this year of $10 million. The railway is expected to transport 1.2 million tons of freight and l.54 million passengers. The railway has not yet reached its planned capacity of 2 million tons per year.

From 1983, Tanzania and Zambia will start paying China $20 million per year for 30 years.

A British study of Dar es Salaam port has recommended the construction of two berths to take containerised freight. It has also looked at the perennial freight handling problem and concluded that much of the trouble lies in the fact that too much space is being taken up by long-term freight storage and rubbish.

On May 1st all bus services of the National Bus Company were suspended due to the acute shortage of tyres and inner tubes. The General Tyre Factory at Arusha stopped production for a time in March due to the shortage of raw materials.

There was serious labour unrest at Dar es Salaam port in April when 16 workers were sacked. Dockers went on strike in defiance of JUWATA (the National Trade Union Organisation). The workers claimed the men had been dismissed for campaigning for better working conditions. They were all persuaded to return to work two days later. But a further 116 workers were later also dismissed.

The integration of the many thousands of Rwandan and Burundian refugees in the country seems to have been a great success. In January it was announced that the administration of some of the camps would be taken over from the UNHCR and the Christian Refugee Service. In one settlement near Tabora, 24,900 refugees have developed a thriving agricultural community and even run a hotel. 36,000 Rwandan refugees have applied for Tanzanian citizenship and it looks as if this will be granted. Most refugees from the two countries have integrated fully and want to stay.

Cholera which claimed more than 1,000 lives two years ago has again broken out in many parts of the country. By April 34 people had died in Mheya, Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Kigoma and Tanga Regions. Concern was also expressed about the state of sanitation in public toilets in Dar es Salaam. The City Council closed these for a time in order to put things right. By June 30th all private practice in medicine was due to end, except under the auspices of an approved organisation, such as a trade union body (JUWATA), or a mission.

Nyerere’s directive on village shops (Radio Report): The chairman of the CCM, Mwalimu Nyerere, had directed that 1980 be set aside for setting up large general stores in all the villages in Tanzania. While addressing the nation at Mwanza, at the peak of celebrations marking the third anniversary of the CCM, Mwalimu also directed the CCM to supervise the establishment of such stores, to be run on socialist lines. We said such village stores must be given top priority and their supervision be comparable to that of other government projects in the villages. He, however, warned that the directive on establishing such shops in the villages did not mean the closure of existing shops. The OCM Chairman also directed public corporations dealing with essential commodities to give such shops the first priority in the buying of essential commodities. The government has directed that a crash programme he drawn up for training in the management, operation and supervision of registered ujamaa shops.

4,436 prisoners were granted a Presidential amnesty to mark the 16th anniversary of the Union.

Over 150 professional and amateur scientists were in Tanzania on February 16th to view the total eclipse of the sun.

The newly established Pan African Postal Union is to set up its headquarters in Arusha at the former offices of the East African Community.

This was reported in the British Press as being called to discuss Human Rights. It was assumed to be part of a pre-election campaign by CCM to deal with complaints against arbitrary actions by Government and Party officials and delays in hearing cases by the courts. However, such reports as have appeared do not mention any discussion of these matters, but have concentrated on a reaffirmation of the leadership of CCM and the need for training for Party officials at all levels.
Graham Mytton


Edited by Bismark Mwansasu & Cranford Pratt

The last issue of the Bulletin carried a review by Terence Ranger of this important collection of papers. We thought that it would also be of interest to have a Tanzanian view so we asked Daniel Mbunda (Director of the Institute of Adult Education) for his comments. He responded with enthusiasm and my apologies to Daniel that we only have space for a very shortened version of his reflections.

The contributors to this book seem to agree that the Tanzanian social phenomenon is novel, unique and evolutionary. They also seem to me to sense the elusive character of the subject but I would like to suggest some of the elements which complicate the analysis and understanding of the situation.

First there is the lack of appropriate terminology. As Pratt clearly says (p.194) most of the social scientists who subjected the Tanzanian phenomenon to analysis and conceptualization were western oriented. However, Bantu way of life is appreciably different from western nations – for instance to translate “ujamaa” as “socialism” falls short of what the term and concept “ujamaa” really means to a Tanzanian. He may be unable to define it, but he appreciates what it is. The word ‘socialism’ does not have a ring of life and sentiments which ‘ujamaa’ has. With all good intention a foreign language cannot sufficiently describe a different culture. This is what I would call a kind of cultural impenetrability. In describing the Tanzanian situation doctrinaire use of such terms as ‘feudal’, ‘capitalist’, ‘bourgeoisie’, ‘proletariat’- what sense do they register in the Tanzanian social scene? Do these terms impose their connotation on the event they describe, or do the events sufficiently fit in these categories? We need to describe the Tanzanian experience in its own terms.

Secondly, in interpreting a social phenomenon statistics may help, but they are not the single/necessary tools to warrant a judgment of success or failure. We cannot draw a valid social conclusion that Tanzania is less or more self-reliant because in a particular year Tanzania happens to have used less or more foreign aid in her projects. Human intentions defy mathematical laws. Nyerere said in ‘Ujamaa – the Basis of African Socialism’ that ujamaa is basically an attitude of the mind.

It is unrealistic to assess the performance of Tanzania with a preconceived ideal of socialism. The Tanzanians should set their standard, their assessment and evaluation. No foreigner can feel and appreciate the sense of ujamaa better than the Tanzanians. Why are the authors of this book so impatient about the pattern of procedure of Tanzania’s road to socialism? Let us hope they are honest seekers of their own model of socialism – they will never get it realised by Tanzanians, I am afraid. Human development and change or acquisition of patterns of behaviour takes time. These authors, at least some of them, would love to see the Second Jerusalem or the millennium appear in their own time. They come to Tanzania with such a naive conception of social change! I have the impression that the authors had not fully appreciated the fact that Tanzania is not building ujamaa from scratch! We are not instituting ujamaa for the first time with the Arusha Declaration. You have to appreciate traditional ujamaa in order to discuss ujamaa after the Arusha Declaration. Ujamaa is a way of life, a combination of systems of values, relationships, and hence a basis for social organisation and patterns of behaviour in the political and economic life.

Most of the papers are strewn with sentences that Tanzanian society is in a state of tension, conflict, contradictions between the bureaucrats and the masses, the party and government, the workers and the peasants and so forth. This situation is, however, portrayed as being abnormal and undesirable. Presumably the desired state would be a classless society with no tensions or contradictions. What society, where on earth has such a phenomenon arisen? Where there is development process tension is inevitable. Such a situation is not unique to Tanzania.

The distinction between the role of the Party and that of the Government does not seem to me to have been fully appreciated by the authors when they discuss the implementation of the villagisation campaign. Mwansasu’s paper clearly establishes the philosophy, the distinct roles and the modus operandi of the two social mechanisms of development. The Party’s modus operandi is by persuasion, exhortation; and the Government’s modus operandi is by force, when necessary even by physical force. Even in the so called ‘most democratic societies’ the arm of the government is not denied the right to use force when it seems necessary to implement a decision it considered in the interest of the majority.

In conclusion, I would say that genuine friends of Tanzania are often frustrated because they do not see their own image in her, while her enemies search for failures to confirm them in their theory that ujamaa has failed even in Tanzania – Tanzania’s failures written large. But Rome was not built in one day.

Daniel Mbunda