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Philosophical defficiencies of ujamaa

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by njiwa, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. njiwa

    njiwa JF-Expert Member

    Mar 29, 2012
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    To embark on a study of any political philosophy it is first necessary to understand its cardinal principles. Ujamaa , loosely translated as family hood ( Nyerere,1968) in Swahili, is defined as an attitude of mind ( Nyerere, 1968) .Though he later specifies the institutions and system of societal interaction that are necessary for its implementation, Nyereres initial preoccupation is with socialism as a way of thinking about society. This attitude of mind is based on the premise that people care for each others welfare, ( Nyerere, 1968) Ujamaa is thus based on humanism and communalism. The Ujamaa individual sees himself only as part of the society and conceives his principal role as contribution to and reliance on his society. At the same time, the individuals welfare is the be all and end all of life and not a means to achieve power , wealth or both

    What this implies is that no man should exploit his fellow man in view to becoming more powerful than him or her. This is a direct anti-thesis to capitalism which Nyerere clarifies , claiming that this attitude and not the absence or presence of wealth are what distinguish a capitalist from an African Socialist ( Nyerere, 1968) . A millionaire can thus be a socialist if he desires wealth for the purpose of benefiting his fellow man ,likewise a poor man a capitalist if he desires wealth to dominate others. The welfare of the fellow man must be the individuals primary concern just as the welfare of each and every man must be the cardinal concern of the society. When Nyerere condemns the acquisitiveness for power and prestige ( Nyerere, 1968) as un socialist, it must be stressed that he is referring to acquisitiveness for personal power and prestige acquisitiveness for the power and prestige of a group would thus be deemed acceptable,even praiseworthy.

    The second cardinal principle is that society supersedes the individual in importance. That the individual must have an attitude of mind which compels him to care for the welfare of others would imply that he may neglect his own welfare assuming that society will cater to his and his familys needs ( Nyerere, 1968 ) Communalism is thus the logical progression from humanism . Each individuals humanism leads to societys communalism and vice-versa. It must be stressed here that for Nyerere,communalism does not mean communism or European socialism. Nyerere categorically states that unlike European socialism, African socialism based on communalist principles does not deem class struggle a necessary principle for its emergence. To subscribe to this principle is to imply that classes must exist , and hence capitalism, for a socialist society to be born ( Nyerere, 1968). Nyereres African socialism on the contrary is based on the assumption of a classless society.

    Now the absence of a class conflict and the existence of a classless society does not imply that there is no working class or ruling class when defined as a distinct group of workers or rulers it simply means that their status as workers or rulers does not make them wealthier or poorer than other societal segments. A worker must have the same standard of living as the community elder as everyone including an elder was a worker ( Nyerere, 1968) Each worker contributed to a communal pool of wealth from which he then demanded his fair share based on this work and considering the amount of the overall communal contribution( Nyerere, 1968) . Communalism of necessity implies an organized or informal but widely recognized unit of societal organization.

    The Foundation and the objective of African Socialism is the extended family,according to Nyerere ( Nyerere, 1968) . Nyerere does not simply contend that the extended family is the foundation but also that it is the structural end of socialism. The society is an ever-growing extended family such that an African Socialist must classify allas brethren.
    ( Nyerere, 1968) This extension of the extended family's solidarity is a key point of contention which I shall address shortly

    The cardinal principles of humanism and communalism aside, the philosophical basis of Ujamaa, as a way of life ( Nyerere, 1968) particularly in villageslies in three basic assumptions. First, respect: recognition by each family member of the rights of all other members. Second, common property , meaning that the basic necessities possessed by one person are the property of the group such that all members of the community must be similarly endowed. Third, the obligation to work, meaning that all family members and guests of the family who partake of food for an extended period of time must assist in the familys labor. (Hyden, 1972) These three assumption sunderlie the principles of communalism and humanism and must be examined to prove Ujamaa is worth.


    The assumption of the obligation to work is closely linked to the idea of universal respect and a classless society. If everyone is a worker , then no oneworks for another , there is no exploitation and thus no classes. The problem with Nyereres conception of class is that he presumes that relative wealth determines class .

    1 ) ( Nyerere, 1968 ) He fails to examine and define class as it is conceived in both traditional Tanzanian societies and the immediate post-colonial era. As Okoko points out, the justification for the assumption of a classless society lacks analysis of the productive forces at work in Tanzanian society. ( Okoko, 1987)

    2) With regards to contemporary Tanzanian society, Nyerere fails toacknowledge the emergence of a political leadership stratum and a bureaucratic leadership stratum, whos superior class derives from their political and socialpower (Okoko, 1987) The modern day national level trend is indicative of evenmore developed indigenous class systems. The customary laws of Sukuma forinstance, state that Each able-bodied man of a village must cultivate a certainarea, usually 45 square feet , of the plot of the chief.The cultivators receive forthe work compensation in kind or in money, generally 30 cents for 45 squarefeet. ( Cory, 1970) Therefore chiefs and people in authority could obtain thelabor of others due to the pedestal on which they are placed as guardians of thesocietys laws, traditions and resources. Indeed some may argue that Nyerere makes provision for this when he says that the apparent extra wealth whichcertain positions of leadership may bring.. is a necessary aid to the carrying out of their duties. (Nyerere, 1968) If it is seen as a necessary aid by the people

    however, there should be no need to demand payment for this aid to the chief, especially if, as Nyerere argues, such cultivation of a chiefs land is usually done to create a reserve stock of food in instances of famine (Nyerere, 1976)

    That this is a written customary law and thus obligatory shows the formal authority which a political leader such as a chief can summon for his own economic benefit, a privilege which an ordinary man of lower status cannot obtain. In this system therefore, social and political status and not highereconomic standing is the indicator of class. It may seem premature to jump tosuch a conclusion as to prove the existence of a class one must identify a distinct group of people who are greater in monetary wealth, power or social status thantheir peers. The chief aside, such a group does indeed exist in the holders of largetracts of land known as igobe. Customary law permitted them the right to employpaid workers ( Cory, 1970)

    3 ) In a conventional class system access to a particular class is usually determined by type of occupation . In Sukuma society however, it seems that access to class is determined by status in society which itself is obtained bywealth of kin . (Cory, 1970) A man may thus become wealthier by inheriting landfrom his father or by marrying wives who give birth to more children , as this willallow him to increase the size of his individual holding since amongst theSukuma, the land of a son is considered by extension his fathers until the fathersdeath ( Cory, 1970) . A similar practice prevailed amongst the Kuria who allocated land based on the number of wives, number of sons and number of female dependants living with a man ( Tobisson, 1986) In Nyereres assumptionthat every man is a worker, ( Nyerere, 1976) he is stating that every man is anequal worker. Not only is this not true, but we realize that social status and power can become an avenue to personal wealth.

    Furthermore he categorically states that in traditional African society there had never been laborers or factory hands
    ( Nyerere, 1968) who did work for others. He further assumed that work was never done for pay. The customary laws of the Sukuma who have historically constituted roughly 16% or 5.5 millionof Tanzanias population ( Cory, 1970) clearly prove otherwise. In particular reference to the obligation of the chief to pay individuals who worked on his plot of land, it can be conjured from this requirement that the clear distinctionbetween individual farm work for subsistence, communal work for the villages benefit and for profit cultivation by an individual was recognized.Payment inkind or in cash would logically be in compensation for the opportunity cost of working on the chiefs land which would be possible time spent on individual plots of land . Though an instance of communal work, the clearing of land for thechief falls under the umbrella of reciprocal relations where each party keeps score. Ujamaa assumes the absence of varied types of workers.

    4) To expatiate on the assumption of property ownership, Nyerere believes that the basic goods were held in common
    ( Nyerere, 1968) by the people intraditional society. Ujamaa shares common ground with traditional Sukuma custom in stating that Failure of occupancy was the only valid reason for barringland ownership. ( Cory, 1970) Ujamaa is at odds however because it defines the scope of the community as the entire nation, while attempting to use theprinciples of Ujamaa , reserved for the family unit relations and not evenextended to the tribe in many traditional Tanzanian polities.

    When Nyerere claims that an individual Tanzanian cannot ignore hisbrothers needs, the nagging question remains, who does he or she consider abrother ( Kopytoff, 1964 ) Ujamaa as understood by Tanzanians was a set of principles applied to the extended family and not to the wider ethnic group .(Edwards,1978 ) Communal property holding according to Sukuma law forinstance dictates that areas surrounding a personal dwelling are fenced and canonly be used by their inhabitants. Uncultivated land can be used for grazing bythe general populace but private grazing land can be marked by hoeing a line orplanting euphorbia, at intervals along the boundary. ( Cory, 1970) Furthermore,the Sukuma created a specific social authority , the Basumba batale for themobilization of communal labor ( Cory, 1970) Thus communal labor though thenorm within extended family units was a cyclical occurrence within the community.

    The practice of the Arusha of Northern Tanzania further illustrates this point. The Arusha had two main units of societal organization , the lineage groupand the age grade system. Whereas the lineage group consisted of heads of various familys all originating from one ancestor, the age group consisted of males of an age range who were usually circumcised together. While the age-group could be called upon for purposes of mutual communal defense by the community, the lineage group system served as a source of communal labor onlyfor its members. ( Gulliver, 1963) Within the lineage group itself, only individual homesteads of the family heads have the right to property. Individual homesteads are independent and autonomous and a lineage elder cannot claimproperty rights to an individual homestead or food proceeds from their crop. (Gulliver, 1963)

    Arguments that failures in implementation are to blame for the failure of Ujamaa use the principal point that the people were not consulted. The problem was not simply that the people were not consulted, but that even when they were consulted, their idea of co-operation rested more in ujimi as opposed to ujamaa ( Hyden,1992 ) Ujima refers to co-operation between villagers inseasons of planting, harvesting and cultivating . ( Edwards,1987 ) This usuallyinvolves youth clearing communal land under the orders of the chief as describedin the case of Sukuma communal labour. Ujamaa thus though not foreign tovillage inhabitants was foreign to organization outside the family system.The failure of Ujamaa ideology is most clearly illustrated by the production in1967 of the Arusha declaration barely 2 years since the publication of Nyerere s treatise, Ujamaa. The Arusha declaration was introduced because spontaneous measures bythe populace in actualization of the Ujamaa state of mind were not forthcoming. Thegovernment therefore had to repackage Ujamaa as a way of life and take a centrallyplanned approach to villagization. The final two principles of the Arusha declaration state

    Arushas timing and content clearly demonstrate the frustration of the state apparatus with the slow pace and in many cases non-existence of classless communities and cooperation in the Ujamaa mold. As there was little government-led creation of villages in the period before Arusha, it can be assumed that peasants seldom took the lead as the sole success story in the two years after the declaration of Ujamaa was Ruvamadevelopment authority . (Omari , 1976) Ruvama itself was eventually banned due to jealousy by government officials seeking to control and direct its development. ( Omari,1976)

    Though there were significant mistakes with the implementation of Ujamaavillagization, it is evident here that the errors begin with its conceptualization. Ujamaas major assumptions, of universal work and communal owner ship, upon which the cardinal principles of humanism and communalism were built were to a large degree unfounded. Further more, the very concept of Ujamaa itself, described only a limited form of cooperation in villages , that within the extended family unit. To attempt to appropriate this model to an entire village, let alone an entire nation is comparable to trying to fire a bullet from a canon. This explains Ujamaas failure


    whole artcle - Ujamaa-African Socialism or Nyerere's Abstraction
  2. zomba

    zomba JF-Expert Member

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    Nyerere was neither a philosopher nor a good thinker.

    He had what I call twinkles of his own world. Kijiti cha Musoma, indeed it was!
  3. Zakumi

    Zakumi JF-Expert Member

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    Mkuu ngoja niwe sober. Nitarudi.
  4. N

    Ndjabu Da Dude JF-Expert Member

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    Learn to spell right in English first before you throw us your stinking copy-and-paste piece of shit (Without so much as a one-liner in your own words of what you make up of the whole damn thing.)
  5. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    Nakusubiri. And on the way back nakuomba umjibu Ribosome.
  6. Zakumi

    Zakumi JF-Expert Member

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    Jambo la kwanza, Nyerere kuchukua maumivu na kupoteza muda kutunga hii nadharia ni kitu cha kujivunia. Kwa kufanya hivyo yeye amekuwa ni Pioneer. Pili, wakati anasoma na kujiingiza kwenye siasa kila nchi ilikuwa na nadharia yake, iwe ya kijamaa au kibepari. Hivyo kulikuwa na ushawishi waafrika kuja na nadharia zao. Tatu, kutokana na nchi za kibepari kuwa na makoloni nje ya nchi, Nyerere alishindwa kutofautisha mipaka ya ubepari na ukoloni. Hivyo assumptions za kuhusu Ujamaa na Ubepari zilikuwa na matatizo.

    Moja ya assumptions zake ni kufikiri kuwa maisha ya jadi ya kiafrika ni msingi mkubwa wa siasa za Ujamaa. Alifikiri kama angeweza ku-reconnect waafrika na maisha yao ya zamani basi wangeweza kujenga nchi bila kunyonyana. Katika posti ya juu mwandishi ameeleza kwa undani zaidi. Nisingependa kurudia. Lakini ningependa kutoa mifano fulani kuonyesha kuwa Nyerere alikuwa dead wrong.

    Ushirikiano wa waafrika katika shughuli mbalimbali kabla ya wakoloni haukuwa mpya duniani. Jamii zote duniani zilipitia mfumo huo kwa wakati tofauti. Kuna vitu vilifanya mfumo huo upotee katika jamii zingine.

    Kwanza ni matumizi ya pesa. Matumizi ya pesa yalifanya watu kuweza ku-preserve nguvu zao. Hivyo ushirikiano na majirani hii kukizi mahitaji ukaanza kupotea.

    Pili matumizi ya bima. Kama unaweza kuwa na bima na kukusaidia wakati wa taabu kwani uwe unategemea watu katika jamii yako.

    Tatu makuzi na uuzaji wa taaluma na technologia mbalimbali. Kama mtu anaweza kununua trekta au huduma za trekta, je ana sababu gani ya kuwa na ushirikiano na majirani zake.

    Na sababu zingine .......

    Katika jamii zetu kabla ya ukoloni, vitu vilivyotajwa juu havikuwepo. Na kama vilikuwepo, matumizi yake hayakuenea sana na kutumika katika jamii nyingi. Hivyo mtu alilazimika kushirikiana na watu wa jamii yake hili aweze kukidhi mahitaji yake ya kila siku. Ushirika huu ulimuwekea akiba pale anapopata matatizo. Kwa mfano ukienda msibani watu watakuona. Pale utakapopata msiba wanajumuia watakuja kukusaidia, scratch my back, I will scratch yours.

    Introduction ya matumizi ya pesa, bima, kazi, technologia and specialized services, kwa sehemu kubwa umetufanya tuachane na traditional bonds tulizokuwanazo. Mkoloni ameondoka lakini ametuachia hivi vitu ambavyo hatuwezi kuviacha. Na huwezi kujenga siasa inayotumia misingi ya maisha ya kabla ya ukoloni wakati watu wamekumbatia matumizi ya pesa, bima, technologia, speciliazed services na mambo mengine mengi.
  7. njiwa

    njiwa JF-Expert Member

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    Thank you! & any grammatical mistakes you can contact this dude Lolan Ekow Sagoe-Moses (lsagoe_moses) on Scribd | Scribd that's why end of that article nimetoa source.. nilichofanya mimi ni kuleta mawazo yake . your are welcome