theme of this year’s Muslim Idd-el-Fitr celebrations which were held on
Wednesday, 5th June, 2019. This crucial message was most aptly presented by a local Kiswahili
language Daily, MWANANCHI, in their
front page headline the next day, in
the following bold capitals: “UJUMBE WA AMANI WATAWALA IDD-EL-FITR”. While on
its part, THE DAILY NEWS editorial,
in part, reminded us that: “Everyone should know, that the peace they are
enjoying today, came as a result of the sacrifices made by the founding fathers
of this nation. Hence, the best homage the present and future generations can
pay them, is to maintain it”.Coincidentally during the
same week, perhaps by divine coincidence, the Christians also celebrated the
festival of ‘Pentecost’. This is the day on which Christians throughout the
world, celebrate the coming of the Holy Ghost; and the only re-appearance on
earth of Jesus Christ himself before his Apostles, (after his resurrection from
the dead and ascension to Heaven); whereat he delivered to them his divine
message of peace in the following words: “Peace be with you”. Thus,
fortuitously, it became a week of inter-denominational
prayers for peace. But for
me personally, the heartbeat of this year’s Pentecost Sunday, which on the 9th
day of June, 2019; is that it was also, by the grace of God, my 84th
birthdate, yet still soldiering on with my writing endeavors. Thank you God the
Almighty, Muweza wa yote.
The DAILY NEWS editorial referred to above, also quoted some relevant
statistics from the 2017 Global Peace index (GPI), which show that Tanzania is
one of those countries among nations with the highest state of peace and
tranquility in the world; wherein Tanzania is ranked the 54th among
the most peaceful nations globally; and the 10th most peaceful in
is something which Tanzanians are indeed entitled to be proud of, and to take their
hats off to their leaders, whose tireless efforts have produced this
satisfactory state of affairs. And indeed, that is precisely
what was said at this year’s Idd-el-Fitr celebrations; when the presenters not only dwelt
emphatically on the need for maintaining peace in our country; but also
expressed sincere gratitude to President Magufuli, for having created the
requisite ideal conditions for peace and tranquility to continue reigning in
our country and nation. It is this
reference to the leader, plus that in THE
DAILY NEWS editorial reminding us that the peace we are enjoying today, “is
a result of sacrifices made by the founding fathers of our nation”, that
quickly brought to my mind, reminiscences of Mwalimu Nyerere’s sterling efforts
in laying the firm foundations for the peace that is now reigning in our nation.
And that is when I decided
to make it the subject matter of today’s article, in order to share with our
readers some reflections on those reminiscences of Mwalimu Nyerere’s
contributions in that particular regard, as a small way of paying homage to
of Mwalimu Nyerere’s contributions.
We have referred above,
to the 2017 Global Peace Index, which describes Tanzania as “the 10th
most peaceful country in Africa”.
Indeed, Tanzania has been peaceful and politically stable for all the
years since independence. During most of that period, the country was under the
leadership of its founder President, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. A
reading of some of his recorded speeches and other writings, will reveal the basic
principles upon which he relied, in his successful management of the country’s
peace and stability.
There are two of his
speeches which deal directly with this subject. One was his speech to the CCM National
Conference, delivered at its ordinary meeting in Dodoma on 22nd October,
1987. The other was delivered to the same body, at its earlier meeting in Dar
es Salaam on 16th August, 1990.
In the Dodoma speech,
Mwalimu Nyerere said, among other matters, the following: –“The definition of a just society which Tanzania has adopted
for itself, is that which is laid down for a just society in the Arusha
Declaration. Although Tanzania is not
yet a just society, its leaders have at least shown that they are honest in trying
to move in that direction. And the people have judged their leaders to be
sincere in their words, as well as in their actions, when they declared the
goal of creating social justice in their country. The result has been the stability and peace
that we have been enjoying in Tanzania”.
was dubbed “The last testament of a Father”, or “Wosia wa Baba” in Kiswahili; was
delivered at a meeting of the CCM National Conference held in Dar es Salaam on
16th August, 1990; when he was finally retiring from his remaining
leadership position of national Chairman of the ruling party, Chama cha
Mapinduzi (CCM), to become an ordinary retired elder citizen, and decided to
settle in his original village of birth, Butiama. In that speech, Mwalimu Nyerere introduced
some additional factors, which he considered to have greatly contributed to making
Tanzania a peaceful country, in addition to the Arusha Declaration. These were:
(a) the Kiswahili language; (b) the One-party system, and (c) a patriotic army.
This is precisely what he said in connection therewith: – “Nimewahi kusema,
na leo narudia, kwamba kuna vitu vitatu vilivyosaidia Taifa letu kuwa na hali
ya utulivu na amani tuliyo nayo. Vitu hivyo ni Kiswahili; Azimio la Arusha; na
mfumo wa chama kimoja. Labda niongeze kitu cha nne, ambacho ni jeshi la
kizalendo na la kisiasa. Kwani kama tungeendelea kujenga jeshi la maamuma na la
watazamaji tu kisiasa, mimi sidhani kama tungeweza kudumisha hali ya umoja
tuliyo nayo katika nchi yetu”.
Mwalimu Nyerere also added the following: –
exists, or there is genuine hope and belief, that justice is being built. Where
there is neither justice, nor a belief and hope of seeing justice being built, peace
and political stability will be impossible to achieve. Soon or later there will
be disorder, division and struggle. In our own case, it is not because we have
succeeded in building justice that we now have unity and peace in our country. It is because the people of Tanzania continue
to believe, and to have genuine hope, that we will succeed in building a just
and equal society . . . They have understood and accepted, that they
themselves, the ruling party, and the Government, are all working together to
build a just society, that is one in which all the people can live better, healthier,
and more secure lives. Our people have come to regard the party as their party, and the Government as their Government; thus enabling them to
feel free and able to appeal to either or both of them, for guidance about the best
way to make progress; or for the rectification of injustices done to them, or
for help in times of trouble”.
Mwalimu Nyerere’s principles.
The principal lesson that
needs to be learnt from Mwalimu Nyerere’s statements quoted above, is,
obviously, that ‘peace and stability’ is an objective which must be worked for in order to be
achieved. As the Kiswahili saying aptly puts it: “Ukiona vyaelea, vimeundwa”.
His contentions have, however, been
challenged by some of his critics. For
example, the Arusha Declaration was severely attacked by its critics right from
the beginning, who described it as “a prescription for permanent poverty, and
perhaps the seed of future instability”.
have been based entirely on the strict ‘leadership code’ that the Arusha Declaration
had imposed, which forbade leaders from engaging themselves in any ‘capitalist’
activities; some of which were specified therein. These critics deliberately
overlooked the more positive contents of the Arusha Declaration, specifically,
the commitment to prevent exploitation in order to promote the concept of
‘equality between human beings.’
For some thirty long
years, the ‘Single-Party’ system did, indeed, generate distinctly observable unity
among the people of Tanzania. Progressively, this single ruling party came to
be recognized and accepted, as the peoples’ trusted Institution for solving
their everyday problems. This is evidenced by the practice which emerged
country-wide, of individual persons willingly going to their party leaders to
seek redress for their grievances. This was more clearly demonstrated in the
village areas where the majority of the people lived; wherein the Party
Chairman, the Party Secretary, but more so, the Balozi wa nyumba kumi,
became the most popular source of relief for the aggrieved persons.
As a result, the
traditional actors, namely the organs of Government, were generally bypassed,
but were obliged to respond to the directives of the party. It thus became inevitable, in the early the
1970s, for the concept of “party supremacy’ to be enshrined in the country’s
Constitution; which was promptly done. Thus
in 1974, President Nyerere himself said the following, in one of his regular
speeches: “Under our One-Party Constitution, TANU is supreme. It has the power to give directions to the
Government about the general policies which must be adopted for national
development, and to give specific instructions about the priorities to be
followed in any aspect of our national life”.
However, now that we have
effectively ‘given the boot’ to the said One-Party system, all that is mere
history, as it is wholly inapplicable under the present circumstances of
factors that have enabled us to maintain peace and political stability under
the present political landscape, thus enabling us to remain in the top-ten
positions of the “most peaceful countries in Africa” quoted above? That is the pertinent question.
answerers to that question
There should be no doubt
that Kiswahili has made a major contribution with regard to uniting our nation.
But has it really made the same contribution in respect of maintaining the
country’s peace and stability? Botswana
is placed among the top-ten most peaceful countries in Africa. But the factor
of Kiswahili is totally absent there. Indeed, with the exception only of
Tanzania, the Kiswahili factor is practically absent in all the other countries in that group.
It is therefore my humble
submission, that there are certain
other factors which have facilitated the maintenance of peace and stability in
Tanzania, which should be recognized and appreciated.
In my considered opinion, these are, first and foremost, the implicit
acceptance, at the basement level of society, of the Arusha Declaration
doctrine of ‘human equality’ (Binadamu wote ni sawa).
among the majority of our people of widely diverse cultures and beliefs; the
kind of ‘sanity’ that has enabled the continued maintenance of peace, stability
and serene tranquility, in our great nation.
recognize and appreciate, the inherent ‘strength’ of our governance system,
which is evidenced by the fact that it has NOT faltered, even under the
changing stewardship of five different Heads of State. Weaker systems would
surely have been forced to bend under the devastating winds of the traditional governance
system’s major weaknesses, namely: High
level corruption; the lack of leadership ethics among leaders; the lack of
patriotism; and the culture of impunity. But here we are, still going strong.
Source: Daily News, today and Cde Msekwa himself