TANZANIA - IN NYERERE'S TIME
<<I met Julius Nyerere for the first time in mid 1958 in Moshi, Tanzania when I stood for election to the then legislative council in the country's first ever direct elections. I last spoke to him on the telephone when he came to Vancouver in Canada for the removal of his cataract in 1995>>
Hello Sophia, that comes as an interesting revelation. What was remarkable about Mwalimu was his oratory power. He'd a distinctive style of speaking. His speeches were anecdotal, witty and humorous. They really appealed to the masses who craved for more.
Mwalimu's decision to permit Sultan Jamshed to land up in Daressalaam was a wonderful gesture but when viewed in a different context it could also have been blatant diplomacy on his part, for a couple of months later Tanganyika joined hands with Zanzibar to form the Union. Also his handling of the Zanzibar ministers, Kassim Hanga and Othman Sheriff, is baffling even today to some of us.
Personally, I'm a great admirer of Nyerere but at the same time intrigued by the apparent contradiction between his sincerity and the pursuance of his eventual actions. No doubt as human beings we are all fallible. Many a time I ponder on the implications of Mwalimu's policies but in the final analysis fail to assess their worthiness considering the liberalization and privatization policies that we adopted at a later stage.
Mwalimu's socialist policy was to ensure the humane treatment of the masses. Probably he mixed up the humane aspect with politics, and that messed up the economy. The immediate post independent Tanzania was a smooth set up, and economically viable. A little hiccup such as a drop in the price of sisal in the international market had its effect but did not leave the economy in great peril. Then all of a sudden there was transition in Mwalimu's policy and the nationalization of banks and houses to benefit the masses. It tagged Tanzania as a socialist country. The socialist environment did not augur well and sowed the seeds of corruption which has become the name of the game. Sadly Mwalimu's hopes and aspirations did not materialize and became a thing in the past. Today the reverse is true as the affluent thrive while the masses live in utter misery.
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