Just fifteen years ago, Julius Nyerere, already the outstanding political figure in his country, saw the first of his ambitions realised: what was then called Tanganyika became the first British-ruled territory in East Africa to achieve independence.
Just fifteen years ago, Julius Nyerere, already the outstanding political figure in his country, saw the first of his ambitions realised: what was then called Tanganyika became the first British-ruled territory in East Africa to achieve independence. Its development into the United Republic of Tanzania of today has been in large part his creation.
SYNOPSIS: At 38, Mr. Nyerere had swept the polls in two elections with his Tanganyika African National Union--the party of which he had been president since its foundation six years before. He became Chief Minister; then Prime Minister of the independent country. At mid-night on December 8th, 1961, the new state was born. In honour of Uhuru--Freedom--and the leader, the lights blazed out over the capital, Dar es-Salaam.
Tanzania was formed in 1964 from the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. President Karume of Zanzibar became First Vice-President of the United republic. (Mr. Karume was assassinated in 1972).
Independence achieved, President Nyerere set out to build socialism. The Arusha Declaration of 1967--which this monument in the town of Arusha commemorates--set out his programme. Mr. Nyerere has been described as one of the most creative political thinkers in Africa.
In his view, development should start at the grass roots, with agriculture, which employs four-fifths of the people of Tanzania. Hard work, a self-help and education, he insisted, were what Tanzania must rely on--not foreign capital, which implied foreign domination. His outlook, nurtured on his own education at mission schools and at Edinburgh University in Scotland, was set out in a series of political pamphlets he wrote to encourage his people to follow his ideas: with such titles as "Freedom and Unity", "Freedom and Socialism"; "Freedom and Development".
The focal point of his rural socialism is the ujamaa or co-operative village. These communities have spread fast, and about two-thirds of the people of Tanzania are now living in them.
President Nyerere believes in equality and example. He sent some of his cabinet ministers to do a couple of weeks' training for national service, on exactly the same terms as other recruits. He himself has taken a hand with a spade to help build an ujamaa village.
Big projects, like the Tan-Zam railway, needed foreign capital. The Chinese government built the railway, mainly to allow Zambia to export her copper without sending it through Rhodesia. But it fulfilled two purposes close to President Nyerere's heart: contributing both to the development of Tanzania and to the international pressure on Rhodesia.
President Nyerere has never wavered in his attitude to Rhodesia. He was the first Commonwealth President ever to break off diplomatic relations with Britain, disapproving of Britain's failure to prevent U.D.I. As one of the "front-line" presidents he has kept a close watch on the negotiations for majority rule in Rhodesia: hoping to see the people of Zimbabwe, as he calls it, free to follow the same road as his own people.