African Socialism In Tanzania – The Ujamaa Policy

Socialism in Tanzania was conceived or initiated by Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere and was officially launched on the 5th February 1967 through the famous Arusha Declaration and implemented through creating the Ujamaa villages /policy where people would live together as a community.

The Ujamaa means ‘family hood’ or brotherhood and it required the majority Tanzanians to go back to the villages for effective national development.

Aims of Ujamaa Policy / Socialism / Arusha Declaration

The Ujamaa policy had a number of aims and objectives that included the following:

  1. It was aimed at promoting equality among Tanzanians by creating a classless /egalitarian society in Ujamaa villages where all people had equal rights and opportunities.
  2. It aimed at fighting illiteracy from the Tanzanian society and promote education through UPE and adult literacy programmes.
  3. To mobilize masses for national defense and development through creating a national army known as the Tanzanian Peoples Defense Force (TPDF) where every village was to mobilise young men and women to serve in the army.
  4. To promote uniform rural development and transformation to curb RUM by extending socio-economic infrastructure to the rural areas and Ujamaa villages.
  5. The policy also aimed at eradicating corruption in society and government by putting in place a strict leadership code that emphasized honest, loyal and exemplary leadership by government officials.
  6. To promote democratic governance by allowing the masses to politics through participating in decision making from the grass roots and electing their own leaders.
  7. The policy also aimed at fostering or promoting national unity, nationalism and patriotism among the Tanzanians.
  8. It was aimed at promoting self – reliance in Tanzania through emphasizing hard work, love for work and teaching practical and vocational skills.
  9. It was also adopted to fight and eliminate neo-colonialism or foreign influence from Tanzania through rejecting foreign aid and emphasize development using local resources.
  10. It aimed at promoting small scale industrial development to boost agricultural development and create employment opportunities.
  11. To promote agricultural development so as to ensure food security and eradicate famine.
  12. To promote equality and reduce income inequality among Tanzanians by emphasizing that each person was to have only one job and live on only one source of income.
  13. To popularise the TANU government and enable Nyerere to consolidate himself in power.
  14. To reject aid from capitalist nations that was exploitative and attract support from the communist bloc.

The features of socialism included the following;

  • The state controlled the means of production like land.
  • Socialism followed a one party system, i.e. Tanzania African National Union (TANU) which later became to be the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (C.C.M).
  • The policy of socialism was characterised by income equality and strongly castigated income differentials in society.
  • There was forced villagisation, i.e. people were compelled to go and live in and develop the rural areas.
  • The policy emphasized the revival of African cultural values in Tanzania.
  • It emphasized centralized planning i.e. the Central government of Nyerere originated all the policies and handed down to the villages.
  • Socialism in Tanzania emphasized patriotism among the people of Tanzania- a virtue intended to have deep love for the nation and work to achieve national development.
  • The policy of socialism promoted the introduction of a national language Kiswahili which forged unity and eased communication.
  • The policy encouraged social justice and welfare, i.e. provision of education and medical facilities free of charge in the villages.
  • Socialism encouraged hard work among the Tanzanians as people had a responsibility to work for the nation.
  • The policy put more emphasis on agriculture with the intention to have adequate food to mitigate famine.
  • It emphasized the development of small scale industries which were majorly set up on the established farms to add value.
  • Socialism emphasized self-reliance to reduce the negative effects of external borrowing.
  • Grass root democracy was reflected in the socialism in Tanzania in form of village councils in line with the Central government requirements.
  • The policy of socialism laid more emphasis on lower education, i.e. Universal primary education and adult literacy.
  • The policy emphasized the national defense of Tanzania through the creation of a national army- the Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces (TPDF).
  • Socialism emphasized unity through the removal of classes in society which ensured consolidated development.