CELEBRATING AFRICAN HEROES & PAN AFRICANISTS
JULIUS NYERERE: LOATHED FOREIGN AID & CANVASSED FOR SELF RELIANCE
Fondly and widely called ”Nwalimu” which translates into ”the teacher”, Nyerere led Tanzania, (formerly Tangayika) for 23 years, from 1962–1985. JuliusNyerere’scommitment to non-interference in the governance of Tanzania could be viewedfrom the prism of his uncompromising stance, combined with a brilliant mind, as reflectedin his thoughts and writings.Nyerere was one of the founding fathersof the Organization of African Unity, that was later renamed African Union. Such was his passion and commitment to the development of Africa that Julius Nyerere devoted his time after quitting public office to travelling all over the world to champion the cause of Africa. And Nyerere travelled more widely after retiring, than he did when he was president of Tanzania. During his trips, he met various heads of government as an advocate for poor countries.
Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born in 1922, and emerged one of Africa’s most respected politicians, whose principled stance and brilliance won him accolades as a statesman who was committed to the ideals of Pan Africanism and believed so much in leading by example. By 1963, there were 31 independent nations. Some were agitating forimmediate continental political union, while others favoured slower steps towards unity.Pa-Africanists who had caught the bug across the world met periodically tochampion the cause of the black race and support to the new wave of independencemovements in the Frontline States of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Nyerere was one of them. Nwalimuleft indelible marks on the sands of time as a brilliant idealist, whose political style tilted towards socialism. He was fortunate to have been able to beeducated in the United Kingdom relatively early in his memorable journey through the world by the Roman Catholic Church. He got a scholarship to study history and political economy for his Master of Arts degree at the University of Edinburgh. Nyerere made history as the first Tanzanian to study at a British university, and the second to gain a university degree outside Africa. He developed liking for socialism during his university education, and emerged major force in reorganizing TANU along socialism ideals in 1954.
His political career was very inspiring as he moved rapidly up the ladder.In 1960, Nyerere became the chief minister, from which hebecame the premier, when Tanganyika became independent in1961.He was made president of Tanzania in 1962. Nyerere was instrumental tonegotiations forthe union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar as Tanzania and led his country on a path of Socialism and self-reliance. Nyerere will largely be remembered for ‘The Arusha Declaration.’ In the Declaration, published in February 1967, Nyerere declared African socialism as the model for African development in contrast to foreign models that pushed for Western model of economic development in Africa. His model of African socialismemphasized collective responsibility.Nyerere is quoted in one of his speeches as asserting that: ”It is stupid to rely on money as the major instrument of development when we know only too well that our country is poor. ‘’It is equally stupid, indeed it is even more stupid, for us to imagine that we shall rid ourselves of our poverty through foreign financial assistance rather than our own financial resources… ‘’From now on we shall stand upright and walk forward on our feet rather than look at this problem upside down. Industries will come and money will come, but their foundation is the people and their hard work, especially in agriculture. ‘’This is the meaning of self-reliance.”
Nyerere will best be remembered for the popular ARUSHA DECLARATION that preached self-reliance as a means of development. He wrote ‘The Arusha Declaration in 1967, and this was adopted by his political party, ‘The Tanganyika African National Union’ (TANU). The TANU document reads in part: ‘’It is true that there are countries which can, and which would like to, help us. ‘’But there is no country in the world which is prepared to give us gifts or loans, or establish industries, to the extent that we would be able to achieve all our development targets. ‘’There are many needy countries in the world. And even if all the prosperous nations were willing to help the needy countries, the assistance would still not suffice. But in any case, the prosperous nations have not accepted a responsibility to fight world poverty. ‘’Even within their own borders poverty still exists, and the rich individuals do not willingly give money to the government to help their poor fellow citizens.’’ The former Tanzanian president was also circumspect about gifts and loans from developing nations. He noted that: ‘’Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts and loans from another for Its development. ‘’Even if there was a nation, or nations, prepared to give us all the money we need for our development, it would be improper for us to accept such assistance without asking ourselves how this would affect our independence and our very survival as a nation. Gifts which increase, or act as a catalyst, to our own efforts are valuable. ‘’Gifts which could have the effect of weakening or distorting our own efforts should not be accepted until we have asked ourselves a number of questions.’’
AN UNUSUAL& UNCOMMON STEP
Julius Nyerere took an unusual and uncommon step in African politics where the sit tight syndrome was prevalent, and is now being vigorously attacked by peoples of African nations and democracy inclined African rulers. His socialist policies on agriculture failed to boost agricultural output in Tanzania. By 1976, Tanzania went from the largest exporter of agricultural products in Africa to the largest importer of agricultural products in the continent. Nyerere thought he should allow a fresh brain to handle the Tanzanian economy, as he never really wanted to apply an economic model he did not believe in. Nyerere willingly quit as president of Tanzania in 1985, leaving the country to enter its free market era under the leadership of Ali Hassan Mwinyi. Others whose Pan-African ideals obtruded themselves included Kwame Nkurumah,Nelson Mandela, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Modibo Keita,Jomo Kenyatta, Patrice Lumumba, King Muhammad V; Gamal Abdel Nasser; Sam Nujoma;Milton Obote, Sylvanus Olympio; Louis Rwagasore; and Ahmed Sékou Touré.