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Tanzania and second quest for EA`s federation

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by BabuK, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 6, 2011
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    One guest whom the government will definitely fail to invite as the country marks 50 years of independence is veteran Kenyan academician Ali A. Mazrui, for the past four decades teaching at Binghamton University in New York, having spent a tumultuous decade at Makerere University in Kampala. Obtaining his doctorate degree at Oxford as
    Tanzania was coming to independence, Prof. Mazrui was an academic who kept the three East African Heads of State on their toes, especially Ugandan President Milton Obote and Mwalimu Nyerere. Many of the things he said are still the last word on those issues including for that matter Tanzania and East African Federation.
    The year 1965 was decisive in much of what Mwalimu Nyerere was doing in the country, the East Africa region and Africa as a whole, and in many ways set the pace for all subsequent political orientation. In contrast to 1964 which was marked first by the Zanzibar Revolution and then by the army mutiny which nearly cost Mwalimu the presidency, 1965 was rather uneventful. It was the consummation of the union with
    Zanzibar by the writing of the Interim Constitution and the setting up of a new electoral format called one party democracy, ending colonial relics.
    In contrast with 1964 tumult, the chaos of late 1966 and fresh start of early 1967, it can be said that 1965 was the lull before the storm, as the pressures registered in 1964 in the civil service came back with a vengeance in the students’ demonstration of October 1966,
    forcing Mwalimu to adopt the Arusha Declaration in February 1967. In 1965 however there were some great events not always meeting with the public eye or with historical memory, the first being the debate with Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the OAU summit in Cairo as to how best to arrive at African unity. The second was Mwalimu’s visit to China and another in 1966 to study its villages.
    Two other events need to be mentioned about 1965, the first being rather academic, that Dr Nkrumah published his epochal essay, ‘NeoColonialism: the Last Stage of Imperialism,’ showing how interconnections among big shareholders of major UK and US companies, including the Queen of England, decide the fate of nations, from the
    Vietnam war to the murder of Patrice Lumumba. The US was so offended by the book it cut off aid to Ghana, and at the end of 1965, when Ian Smith (a captain in the colonial army garrison there) declared ‘independence’ of the southern Rhodesian settlers, Mwalimu and Nkrumah cut off relations with the UK. No other country did so, and thus when Dr Nkrumah was overthrown while he was in his turn visiting – China –Mwalimu knew he was next in line, a point buttressed when university students wrote placards for their demonstration, that ‘Colonialism Was Better,’ implying ‘Please Intervene….’
    The second event was the meeting in Kampala in 1965 to chart the way forward for East African Cooperation, where at the insistence of Tanzania, the ‘Kampala Agreement’ as it was called more or less sought a planned economy approach for East Africa, just short of
    nationalizations. Kenya had wished for the old East African High Commission (founded 1947) of open markets and fully integrated financial sector, with a common currency, and an issuing central bank in Nairobi. This format ran afoul of Mwalimu’s thinking, under
    extensive influence of radical social democratic methods of economic governance, raising the irritating issue of ‘equalization’ of industrial growth.
    In a way this philosophy has become the curse of East African cooperation at that time and at present, and thus leading to a repeat of the failure of East African federation or at least working models of unity, as Tanzania sought to subject it to equalization of
    benefits. The error with this approach is that it is a trade union sort of outlook, which habitually focuses on how ‘the surplus’ is shared out, and spends very little time on whether or not there is a break even, that is, the company is making a profit. These are two different mindsets on economic analysis; those who focus on distribution have no time to figure out profitability, and vice versa – those seeking to find out if a company will make it through the competition can’t talk of distribution.
    In that case the first EAC failed because two philosophies could not mix, one of a free market economy on the basis of a single currency, and the other, a shared growth perspective. It was one where an official picks where a sugar factory is built, by equity criteria. Never, said Kenya.
    Adding to Tanzania’s dwindling attractiveness for foreign companies on account of its difficulties with Germany over the Hallstein Doctrine (recognizing East Germany or GDR as implying severing links with West Germany or FRG), and late 1965 severing links with the UK, the one currency zone could not work. So the Bank of Tanzania was created in 1966 as the old EA currency collapsed, and with it a single market as
    Tanzania’s equalitarian distribution of industries model was rejected by Kenya, and Uganda was slightly more sympathetic. As Tanzania shifted to the left in February 1967, new structures of EA cooperation had to be put up, but finally they collapsed for the same reason: no airline, charter firm should compete with East African Airways according to Mwalimu, no large truck haulage can compete with East African Railways; a planned economy.
    Finally even the common services that East African countries were running together had stopped making sense as only Kenya was properly organized to run a railways and airline that operated in a dynamic or high productivity economy. Tanzania had by late 1976 little to show in new investments especially foreign investments, so there was a Kenyan
    engine of EA economies, and on that basis it opted to dismantle the EAC because it only meant profit sharing for operations that were more or less entirely located in Kenya, like tourism, industry, air travel, telephones… It stopped transfer of funds, Tanzania recovered one airplane, some train engines, closed borders.
    Restarting East African integration – as different from simply cooperating – meant that these issues have been examined at an academic level and in terms of political will, with an intent of saying ‘never again.’ That did not happen, and animosities ran deep in
    relation to 1977 as Tanzania considered itself a victim of Kenyan hidden dagger methods, while Kenya was sick and tired of Tanzania’s distributionist philosophy that is anathema to enterprise and free markets. But since the issues weren’t publicly examined, the new EA cooperation format started more or less as a diplomatic exigency since incoming president Benjamin Mkapa made a goodwill tour of Kenya and Uganda early 1996 and his foreign minister, Jakaya Kikwete, an ex-university TANU militant, had deep rooted ideals of East African cooperation and sought to give it a major axis as an aspect of foreign policy priorities, and this is how EAC started taking shape once again.
    For the rest, nothing was properly thought out as to precisely what Tanzania wished to do in the new cooperation structure, despite being pivotal – under JK’s direction as foreign minister – to reach a timetable of East African Federation by 2012. It would appear that JK himself had believed the spurious political or academic explanation that the EAC failed because the summit could not be regularly convened, and later, NGOs started saying that it was because ‘the people were not involved,’ etc. Much of that has been corrected and there is a vibrant East African Business Council, and a ‘policy forum’
    civic organizations structure that has helped to bloc agreement with the European Union on economic partnership. EU seeks to revamp the Lome Convention arrangements and make ACP-EU ties compatible with World Trade Organisation global market obligations (treating all developing countries equally) which African ACP states still reject.
    Tanzania’s rejection in some quasi-referendum in 2007 as to EA Federation prospects by 2012 thus is a repeat of what happened in the mid 1960s, this time the issue centering around land purchase by East Africans wishing to settle in other member states. Despite JK’s willingness to examine the idea owing to his pan-African realism, he risked wide ranging dissent on CCM ranks and in civil society, and instead of the ‘right of establishment’ being enshrined in the common market, Tanzania is doubling up the common market with electronic identity card plan. The key idea is to sort out quite rapidly who is Tanzanian and who isn’t – so as to outwit EA identities.
    That is why this situation – where an effective common market is rendered impossible because of Tanzania’s refusal of the right of purchasing property by people of other EA countries, and this isn’t just government policy but mass refusal of any such agreement – brings back what Prof. Mazrui said mid 1960s.
    He wrote a paper, ‘Tanzania vs East Africa: A case of unwitting federal sabotage,’ which as usual was dismissed by radical scholars at the Hill as lacking in revolutionary ‘consciousness,’ that it is being demonstrated once again. Tanzania’s perennial refusal for a market economy makes its economists at the EAC Secretariat direct attention to major infrastructure plans for
    purposes of obtaining foreign aid, instead of changing laws so that capital can move into any country and purchase, to ignite rapid economic growth as in China.