Has Tanzania finally torn apart Nyerere’s legacy?


JF-Expert Member
Jan 23, 2008
I do agree with the writter's final word to a certain degree, than some of his other analyses.

It is true that corruption blossomed after the collapse of ujamaa, but whether Mwalimu's departure also contributed to the increase is something to be researched and explained.

But how about our University graduates? Do they have inferior degrees to our neighbour's or the difference is just in their eloquence of the queen's language?

Has Tanzania finally torn apart Nyerere's legacy?Thursday, 17th July, 2008

President Jakaya Kikwete talking to children in the countryside

Jerry Okungu


ONE of the finest debates in Tanzania's newspapers a few days ago was the debate about the Tanzanian education system. Critics of the system thought it was substandard, inferior and a disservice to the growing population of Tanzanians.

There were obvious concerns that the current products of the University of Dar-es-Salaam along with other local universities were incapable of competing with their counterparts from Kenya and Uganda; that products from Kenyan and Ugandan universities were better prepared for the competitive business world.

However, what took me aback was the vicious attack on the use of Kiswahili in Tanzania's institutions of learning at all levels. Because Kiswahili was Tanzania's national language, Tanzanians spoke it freely and even preferred it in institutions of learning.

Quoting a number of professors from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, it was revealing that professors were frustrated by the low level of English language forcing them to resort to Kiswahili in order for their lectures to have meaning. More disturbing was the realisation that Tanzanians may not be as good masters of Kiswahili as the rest of East Africa may think.

A number of them were said not to speak it well and even considered it as foreign as English. In Kenya, we always assume that Kiswahili is an urban language only useful for communicating with other ethnic communities when we are in town.

When we get back to our rural homes, we abundantly indulge in our mother tongues with relish to the extent that for one to be elected a Member of Parliament in a rural constituency, proficiency in one's mother tongue becomes a prerequisite.

What I didn't know was that this is also the trend in Tanzania, contrary to our belief that Tanzanians only speak Kiswahili. Right now, many Tanzanians, journalists included, speak sheng Kiswahili, a corruption of English, Kiswahili and other local languages.

It is very common to find words such as feki for fake, penalti for penalty and bethidei for birthday in reputable daily newspapers.

For this reason, many able Tanzanians are sending their children to local expatriate schools or better still send their children to Kenya and Uganda before shipping them to the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries for quality education. Quality education here includes the notion that a good command of written and spoken English makes one a cut above the crowd.

If this degrading of Kiswahili succeeds, Nyerere's philosophy of one language, one nation will have faltered. My fear is that if Tanzania loses the grip on Kiswahili, there may be no real motivation for the rest of the East African Community citizens to master the language considered the lingua franca of our region.

However, the most shocking setback for Nyerere's enduring philosophy was the realisation that last week, the Tanzanian Parliament finally made it official that the country had abandoned Ujamaism-the country's version of socialism.

This policy statement was made in Parliament by Tanzania's minister for East African Cooperation as part of the clarification that the breakup of the EAC in 1977 was due to divergent economic policies pursued by the three partner states at the time. For that reason, implementing protocols on the Common Market, Customs Union and the Monetary Union became impractical.

At that time, while Julius Nyerere's CCM pursued Socialism with vigour, Milton Obote's UPC was toying with the Commonman's Charter while Jomo Kenyatta's kitchen cabinet clung to the Western mode of capitalism inherited from the British and buoyed by the Americans.

With the death of Ujamaism, the curtain will definitely fall of the most celebrated Arusha Declaration where the philosophy of Nyerere's African Socialism was expounded.

What may worry ordinary Tanzanians most is that as they embrace the new culture of capitalism that made them disparage Kenyans as a man-eat-man society, will they stomach the new culture of greed that has seen so many of their leaders in the Kikwete government thrown into the political wilderness?

It is true Nyerere's economic policies failed miserably to the extent that before he quit office, Tanzania was truly a man-eat-nothing society. There was nothing to buy in the shops. A bar of soap or cooking oil could cost and arm and a leg. However, despite all these hardships, Tanzanians were a proud people.

There were few beggars on the streets while common theft or bank robberies were unheard of. All the land belonged to the state.

Will the end of Ujamaism usher in unbridled greed and high level corruption that has permeated the Kenyan society?


This is a sad reality! It pains me to read this and realize that someone else has seen what I have feared for the longest.

When you look at education and Kiswahili, we have failed miserably to nurture Kiswahili and make it our official language of communication. I am not sure how much funding does Bakita receive to do thorough research and promote Kiswahili.

We do not have a comprehensive dictionary that will be helpful to our Children to use in Primary School, Secodnary or College and University level.

We have become too Anglocized, complete assimilated to "Uzungu" that we are heading backwards in our developmet as a nation.

Yes our education is inferior not because of language of communication, but due to stupid complex curriculum that has forced our children, pupils and student to cram so that they can pass their examination and not to get the full use of education knowledge "Wasomi wasioelimika"!

On Ujamaa, the drive for petty capitalism is not to rid the tennents of Azimio or Ujamaa philosophy. It is justification and ligalization of economic sabotage by our political leaders and government administrators who are lookign for methods of becoming rich easily without toil or sweat.

Their announcement that Ujamaa has failed is based on their personal spectrum and their desires to get full control of production and country'w wealth.

We need a new kind of revolution to restore our pride as Watanzania, we need to stop the bleeding and succumbing into inferiority of minds and wealth.

Yes we can! We can revolutionize our country for betterment of everyone who is called Mtanzania!
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