Julius Kambarage Nyerere whom we call Mwalimu - Teacher and Farther of a Nation, his legacy and influence to Tanzania will live on for centuries. The commemoration tomorrow, the 14th October 2013 of his passing, is still an inspiration in the struggle for economic independence.
Although the world is now a global village ruled by the economically powerful nations, where poor nations and rich nations are treated as equals in the free market economy, even under such circumstances Mwalimu's political philosophies and innovations may still stand the test of time and worth of paying tribute to.
In this global village guided by the capitalist World Economic Order; writing about Nyerere's socialist economic liberation struggles of the late 1960s and 1970s may look ridiculous and possibly absurd. It is like writing about Gandhi's Non-Violence Philosophy in a world full of political, social and economic violence in the name of democracy and human rights, and yet Gandhi is and will remain a legendary leader of the world. And again it is like writing about the merits of leadership of Mzee Mandela in a world infested by leaders who want to rule forever, in the name of nationalism and monarchies.
It is possible to recount legendary leaderships in "Memorial Days" of Great Leaders of the world like the "Nyerere Memorial Day", where one can attempt to discuss these events that seem as inconsistent to the reality of our days and yet be spares from International Community wrath. Because Mwalimu is venerated by many as one of greatest leaders of Africa I can safely recount the visions, revelations and hopes of Mwalimu to liberate Tanzania from economic bondage, in order to honor this Role Model of many in Tanzania and the world.
Indeed, Mwalimu's visions and wishes may look like historical fiction tales today, but, sometimes it is fitting and indeed a dignified exercise to tell the tale so as to remember and cherish good hopes and optimisms of great men of this world like Nyerere. Could Mwalimu's lost visions inspire us once again to begin the economic liberation? May be!!!
The visions and the inspirations of Nyerere's struggles for economic independence had come after visiting China in the mid 60s and 70's he became a Socialist Leader to begin the struggle for economic freedom. Inventing the Arusha Declaration on Mao's ideologies, Mwalimu was ready to walk a noble course to economically liberate his country.
In the Arusha Declaration Mwalimu Nyerere envisioned this struggle by declaring: "... TANU is involved in a war against poverty and oppression in our country; the struggle is aimed at moving the people of Tanzania (and the people of Africa as a whole) from a state of poverty to a State of prosperity. We have been oppressed a great deal, we have been exploited a great deal and we have been disregarded a great deal. It is our weakness that has led to our being oppressed, exploited and disregarded. Now we want a revolution – a revolution which brings an end to our weakness, so that we are never again exploited, oppressed, or humiliated..."
The Arusha Declaration of Mwalimu continued to warn that gifts and loans from abroad will endanger Tanzanians' independence by saying: "... even if it were possible for us to get enough money for our needs from external sources, is this what we really want? Independence means self-reliance. Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts and loans from another for its development..."
The Arusha Declaration continued: "...How can we depend upon gifts, loans, and investments from foreign countries and foreign companies without endangering our independence? How can we depend upon foreign governments and companies for the major part of our development without giving to those governments and countries a great part of our freedom to act as we please? The truth is that we cannot..."
Mwalimu was very clear in his mind that nation, or nations, that were prepared to give Tanzania all the money it needed for its development, it was in fact improper for Tanzania to accept such assistance without contemplating the severe effects, it would bring to its independence and to the very survival as a nation. Mwalimu's heart was very heavy and not ready to agree to leave the economy of his country in the hands of foreigners who would take the profits back to their countries. He wondered that even if the investors would decide to reinvest in Tanzania; it was still very hard for him to really accept the situation without asking what disadvantages the nation would suffer. He was worried that, the situation if allowed would destroy socialism he aimed at building.
In Nyerere's mind it was a mistake to choose money - something we do not have – to be the big instrument of Tanzania's' development. He warned that; it was a very big mistake to think that we shall get the money from other countries, because it will lure us into a dependence upon others and that would endanger our independence and our ability to choose our own political policies.
As an alternative he thought of putting together his people in Ujamaa Villages and encourage them to work hard for an economic independence. Dreaming for an economic free Tanzania he wanted to instill in the youth in schools and colleges the culture and heart of self reliance. Education for Self Reliance Philosophy was his key socio-economic innovation that aimed at creating an economically free country 50 years later.
As Mwalimu struggled alone to achieve his dreams and visions, the rich nations also intended to pull Tanzania and Africa in general into a global trap - an economic conspiracy that would guide poor nations to dance the song of dependence lubricated by the drum sounds of money and the harp of external aid in form of grants (gifts), loans and foreign direct investment. A globalization itch was under construction where the world soon became a village and poor or rich were made to compete and play the same dance as if there were equals in the development evolution schema.
After 24 years of hard work; in 1984; Mwalimu, a lone soldier, overwhelmed by the global wind of political change raised his hands up in surrender to the capitalists and stepped aside to allow the imposing change to engulf Tanzania and indeed Africa. Though it was too much for him, but his legacy that he led the struggle for economic liberation will live on.
Today 14 years after the passing away of Mwalimu the world economic order have tightened further its grip on Tanzania and Africa as a whole. Developed nations are not assisting Africa to grow economically because globalization has assumed an equal arena for economic development between the rich and the poor.
Poor nations and the West are treated as equals in the free market economy. In this new world economic order, unequal economic partnerships; alien western democratization, lack of technology and capital becomes weapons for neo-colonial domination in which resources from poor nations particularly of Africa continued to find their way to the center – to the rich and rulers of the world.
Today the developed world strives to keep poor nations as a market of goods, services and technology, and building economy in African countries becomes heavily dependent to the West. World Development Partners like Donor Countries, the European Union, the United Nations, World Bank and IMF are all at the fulcrum of this skewed partnership and are poised to control the economic future of poor nations like Tanzania. Development Partners continue to push Tanzania and other African countries into an inappropriate democracy, forgetting that these nations are still poor and disorganized for such a too much free democracy.
In order to free itself from this dependence, Tanzania (indeed all Africa)like China and India must take up the initiatives to be a leader in all economic projects, instead of leaving most economic development activities that include infrastructure development like railways, roads, power, and dams; and large scale economic investments activities like agriculture, mining, oil and gas, and tourism that can free Tanzania and Africa from economic bondage to the oppressive world private sector-led investment system of investors that Tanzania and Africa cannot compete.
Africa once again must start a long walk to Economic Freedom – as was in the late 1950s when most African Countries began their long walk to freedom – the struggle for freedom from colonial rules.
These struggles for political independence were led by a first generation of very audacious leaders like Nyerere who emerged to lead the continent into a political freedom. These leaders were very courageous, brave and fearless; whatever the colonialist did it only fueled them to struggle even harder. This generation of tough leaders that emerged throughout Africa bravely led this continent to a flag freedom.
Unfortunately, although many African nations gained political independence, colonial powers still maintained control of the economies of these nations. This is because Africa was full of extensive arable land that can produce crops like coffee, tea, cotton, cashew nuts and cocoa. It also contained natural resources including minerals such as gold, copper, iron ore, silver and diamonds as well as water, forests and wildlife.
Africa remained and remains today an important source of raw materials for the former rulers and that was and is still enough incentive and justification to continue the imperialist economic rule.
Because of this, many nations have remained dependent economically on their former colonial powers. Neo-colonialism began and rules today; and those who try to break away from this economic bondage are faced with an iron hammer crash of the West military mighty - with vivid examples in Egypt, Libya and now Syria.
Most African flag independent States are under economic oppression, a bondage which is not very different from the colonial rules of the 1900 – 1970 world. This modern world is a world in the midst of economic dependence and a lot of people in need of help. In other words the political environment under neo-colonial rule of today is not different from the political environment during colonial times where the struggles for independence began.
The West have set armory to dominate the economies of poor African nations. As said earlier the armament store includes technology, capital, western democratic systems, aid, grants and loans. These are weapons of mass destruction – serious strings that pull and maintain Tanzania and Africa as a whole in economic bondage.
Tanzania cannot get out from this imperialism if it does not once again start and stage liberation struggles of the order of 1950s to the late 1980s.
In order to do that Africa and Tanzania in particular will need to raise and nurture up a new generation "new breed" of youthful leaders that can dare to lead the continent into an economic liberation struggle; a struggle that will lead Africa to real Freedom. The African Economic Independence Movements must begin now.
The third Millennium must mark a wave of struggles for economic independence in Imperialist-ruled African territories. For thousands of Tanzanians and Africans in general, economic freedom may only be granted after long, agonizing, probably armed struggle guerrilla warfare - this is a hard reality of our day.
As a people with faiths of different religions, this is the time that poor nations of Africa must intercede to the almighty God that He raises a leader or leaders like the Kings of old to lead poor nations into economic freedom; to liberate these countries from economic domination. We must pray to God to raise a leader in our midst, a leader brave and courageous; to descend to Tanzania at this hour and begin this struggle.
This is an opportune time for Tanzania to breed a young liberator, energetic enough to begin an economic liberation struggle.
As a nation we must converse and agree on a leader; a true leader who must have the spirit of our forefather, Mwalimu Nyerere who dared to wage war to liberate Africa from first colonial flag bondage and then from economic dependence.
The year 2015 is for Tanzania an opportunity that we must stop claw marking on our faces for presidency and carefully seize this moment to identify and select a youthful leader who can dare to lead the Economic Liberation Struggle inspired by our very Leader Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
Dr. Dalaly Peter Kafumu is Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency, a Former Commissioner for Minerals, Writer and Reader of the Guardian. [email protected]