Mwalimu Nyerere and the challenge of human rights Helen Kijo-Bisimba and Chris Maina Peter [Extracts from a prospective Chapter in a forthcoming book on Nyereres Legacy, Edited by Chambi Chachage and Annar Cassam, Pambazuka Press, www.pambazukapress.org] http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/59511 It is not easy to write about Mwalimu Nyerere and human rights without sounding and looking rather confused and ridiculous. This is because Mwalimus position is highly complex. Here one is confronted by two quite different personalities [emphasis added]. There is Mwalimu the individual a God fearing and religious family person who respects and champions rights of all people. Then there is the other Mwalimu the President of the United Republic signing a few death warrants, detaining people in custody without trial applying the 1962 Preventive Detention Act and also deporting citizens of Tanzania from one part of the country to another by invoking an old colonial law the Deportation Ordinance of 1938 VIOLATIONS OF RIGHTS UNDER MWALIMUS RULE IN TANZANIA Notwithstanding the fact that Mwalimu was highly religious, loved the people and so on, still fingers are always pointed by the many incidents of violation of human rights in Tanzania during his reign as Head of State. It is pointed out that it is under Mwalimu that the nationalists negotiating for independence of Tanganyika in London and Dar es Salaam rejected the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the independence Constitution of 1961 The same position was repeated during the Republican Constitution of 1962; the Interim Constitution of 1965; and the Permanent Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977. [A] Bill of Rights was eventually incorporated in the Constitution in 1984 a year before he left office Apart from rejecting a Bill of Rights which could have guaranteed most of the fundamental rights and freedoms to the individual, it is also pointed that Mwalimu supported the extension and use of some of the oppressive colonial laws and allowed the enactment of new laws which also curtailed freedoms and rights and individuals. Among the colonial legislation which were allowed to continue in use include the Penal Code of 1945; Collective Punishment Ordinance, 1921; the Townships (Removal of Undesirable Persons) Ordinance, 1944; and the Deportation Ordinance of 1938 which allowed the Head of State to deport citizens from one part of the country to another. This law was to be declared unconstitutional by the High Court of Tanzania in the case of Chumchua s/o Marwa v. Officer i/c Musoma Prison and Another in 1988. Controversial legislation enacted by the government with Mwalimu at the helm include the Preventive Detention Act, 1962 which allowed detention without due process and discussed at length in the case of Ahmed Janmohamed Dhirani v. Republic (1979); Regions and Regional Commissioners Act, 1962 and Areas and Area Commissioners Act, 1962 which allowed these two important representatives of the [President] in the regions to curtail the freedoms of the individual for specific periods also without due process. It is also pointed out that apart from legislation, Mwalimu and his ruling party declared a one-party rule and thus curtailing the right of the people to organise, to form and join political parties of their own choice. It is not only political parties which were curtailed but also civil society organisations were also organised around the party and mass organisations under the party. These were for workers, women, youth, parents and co-operatives. It is argued that if Mwalimu was a democrat, then why did he block all routes to freedoms of the people? Another issue on which Mwalimu is blamed on and indicated as a clear violation of rights of the people was the villagisation programme of 1970s. This programme involved moving thousands of citizens around the country into over 10,000 villages established around the country It is important to concede that all the complaints made against Mwalimu are valid. That is to say, these events did take place and they are not fabrications Interestingly, in retirement Mwalimu became almost like an activist. He criticised the government of the days for actions he seemed to do at ease during his time as President. ..