Thirteen years today, the Nation Tanzania still sobs and remembers the death of Mwalimu Nyerere -- a great Leader, Teacher, and Father of a Nation.
It is fitting and, indeed, a great honour to reflect on what Mwalimu believed and wanted for Tanzania.
In a nutshell, Mwalimu believed in three pillars of human development: Human Equality and Justice; the policy of Socialism and, the third, Self-Reliance as a logical course of action. He dreamed of a peaceful and just Tanzania in which all citizens were equal and have the same rights to live and enjoy life - the gift from God the Almighty.
The first of these three pillars -- human development -- is beautifully outlined in the TANU Creed of 1962, which in turn offers a nine-belief code that embodies the hopes and desires of Mwalimu to his people. Mwalimu’s life as a national leader was clearly demonstrated throughout his tenure in office and private affairs by strict adherence to the Creed. On this Nyerere Day, we briefly revisit the Creed as it was clearly drawn in the Arusha Declaration of 1967.
The Creed stated:
(1) That all human beings are equal;
(2) That every individual has a right to dignity and respect;
(3) That every citizen is an integral part of the nation and has the right to take an equal part in Government at local, regional and national level;
(4) That every citizen has the right to freedom of expression, of movement, of religious belief and of association within the context of the law;
(5) That every individual has the right to receive from society protection of his life and of property held according to law; (6) That every individual has the right to receive a just return for his labour;
The last three elements of the Creed were:
(7) That all citizens together possess all the natural resources of the country in trust for their descendants;
(8) That in order to ensure economic justice the state must have effective control over the principal means of production; and
(9) That it is the responsibility of the state to intervene actively in the economic life of the nation so as to ensure the well-being of all citizens, and so as to prevent the exploitation of one person by another or one group by another, and so as to prevent the accumulation of wealth to an extent which is inconsistent with the existence of a classless society…..
As outlined in the Creed Mwalimu lived the code because he openly opposed treating others less favorably for whatever reason -- be it political, financial power, religion, tribe of race. For every citizen, he sought equal access to education, health, wealth as well as the right to live in freedom in this country.
In many ways, Mwalimu sought to demonstrate that human equality and justice could only be achieved under a socialist mode of economic production, upon which he embarked on building the economy of this nation – with a resolve to fight to eliminate the exploitation of man by man, or a group of people exploiting others.
He was honest in drawing up the Policy in the Arusha Declaration of 1967, which stated, inter alia: “…A truly. Socialist State is one in which all people are workers and in which neither capitalism nor feudalism exists. It does not have two classes of people, a lower class composed of people who work for their living, and an upper class of people who live on the work of others. In a really socialist country no person exploits another; everyone who is physically able to work does so; every worker obtains a just return for the labour he performs; and the incomes derived from different types of work are not grossly divergent...”.
It continues: “…In a socialist country, the only people who live on the work of others, and who have the right to be dependent upon their fellows, are small children, people who are too old to support themselves, the crippled, and those whom the state at any one time cannot provide with an opportunity to work for their living…”.
In fact, Mwalimu believed that Socialism was a way of life and a socialist society was to be built by a people who believed in and practiced this way of life. He often said people must learn to live according to the socialism principles of sharing and loving one another. So successful implementation of socialist objectives depended very much upon the leaders, because socialism as a belief was to be promoted to grow by leaders that must accept it and show the way – by example.
Self-Reliance, the Third Pillar and possibly the most elusive, was based on Mwalimu’s belief that, like him, the people would (a strong wish) accept and live the tenets of Self-Reliance as a development strategy. In propounding this development strategy he saw a Nation at war, and TANU was involved to lead the people in this war. A war that was to end when people of Tanzania were trained and accepted to work hard to create wealth, and stop the dream of adoring MONEY as a weapon of bringing development.
Mwalimu Nyerere was worried because Africa, and Tanzania in particular, would ultimately become slaves in their countries if they embraced money, arguing that it was the former colonial masters – the rich nations -- that held enormous financial resources. Mwalimu was opposed to dependence on foreign aid.
The Arusha Declaration beautifully outlines this belief: “…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…”…”
It continues to explain: “…A poor man does not use Money as a weapon. But it is obvious that in the past we have chosen the wrong weapon for our struggle, because we chose money as our weapon.
We are trying to overcome our economic weakness by using the weapons or the economically strong – weapons which in fact we do not possess. By our thoughts, words and actions it appears as if we have come to the conclusion that without money we cannot bring about the revolution we are aiming at. It is as if we have said, ‘Money is the basis of development. Without money there can be no development…”.
Mwalimu envisioned that the proper conditions of human development were (1) Hard work and (2) Intelligence. Mwalimu expounded that everybody wanted development but not all understood and accepted the basic conditions for development. He directed his leaders in government to go the villages to talk to the people, and to encourage them to work hard.
Mwalimu Nyerere understood well that hard work and intelligence needed four essential requirements, and he outlined them in the Arusha Declaration. These were: Land; People; Good Policies; and Good Leadership – and was dead set against, and vividly opposed to MONEY as a basic requirement for development.
In Mwalimu Nyerere’s vision Land; People; Good Policies; and Good Leadership were the most precious seeds for a nation to develop. All his life Mwalimu Nyerere worked hard to implement his political innovations to achieve, keep and maintain a prosperous free Tanzania.
As Mwalimu struggled to achieve his dreams and vision, the rich nations, too, struggled to pull Africa and Tanzania in particular into a global trap 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 gifts, loans and foreign direct investment. A globalization itch was also 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 all equals in development progression.
In this new world economic order, unequal economic partnerships, alien western democratization and technology became weapons for neo-colonial domination in which resources from Africa continued to find their way to the centre – to the rich and rulers of the world.
After 24 years of hard work Mwalimu was overwhelmed by the global wind of political change. Exhausted but not discouraged, he raised his hands up in surrender to the capitalists and stepped aside to allow the imposing change to engulf Tanzania and indeed Africa.
He remained a socialist -- leaving his political innovations to be destroyed by his successor, because it was painful to continue and experience the pain of destroying his own visions, dreams and works. Today the ethics and principles propagated by Mwalimu have been pushed aside.
People adore money – and many seek money without having to work, let alone working hard; instead, they indulge in corruption in a desire to be rich. Leaders and citizens alike are trapped by the money evil spirit.
To date, Mwalimu remains a celebrated and illustrious statesman of our time, a visionary leader whose innovative thoughts will stand the test of time. The principles that glorify humanity and protect the weak – which Mwalimu believed and fought for -- will remain valid and, as a Nation, we continue to cherish our Great Leader and Father of our Nation.