At this point in Tanzania's history, then, there is a deficiency of political and civil leaders with the ability, sensitivity and vision to articulate and lead the masses. While many religious leaders may be equally insensitive and uninspirational, there are some who Religious Conflict in Tanzania by John Sivalon The Maryknoll Society in Tanzania and Kenya are looking forward to becoming one administrative region. While encouraging this unification, we must also maintain a recognition of the unique aspects of each of our social realities. In both countries, there is a growing situation of social conflict. While this social conflict might have similar roots, its expression is quite different in Tanzania than it is in Kenya. In Tanzania, it is primarily expressed as religious conflict and in Kenya it is primarily ethnic conflict. This is just a short reflection to stimulate some thinking on why Tanzania is characterized by religious conflict rather than other forms or expressions. The common roots of social conflict have been elaborated by many. First there is a need for social inequality. What is important here is not how poor people are, but how big the gap is between what they have and what they believe they should or could have. This leads to the second element of emotional frustration. The objective reality of inequality will not necessarily lead to social conflict. The energy for conflict comes from emotions and especially the emotion of frustration. Frustration of not having your physical needs met and the psychological frustration of being degraded and denied the dignity of a human person. Thirdly, for conflict to emerge there is the need for a decline in the legitimacy of authority. People must not only feel frustrated, but more importantly they must lose faith in established authority and its ways of doing things. They must believe that the state is no longer representing their interests and no longer treating them fairly and equally. Finally, there must eventually emerge a sense that alternatives are possible. These conditions are commonly associated with the emergence of social movements and situations of social conflict. The specific question raised above is why it is expressed in Tanzania as religious conflict? My response is basically, religion was the only thing left in the near vacuum of alternatives left by thirty years of TANU/CCM's rule. There is a vacuum of leadership and a vacuum of social alternatives that has been created. It has been created by the person of Nyerere and his stepping down from power, by the internal bureaucratic nature of TANU/CCM and by TANU/CCM's relationship to civil society. Julius Nyerere is a great man. He will probably go down in the history of Africa as one of his generation's greatest leaders. He was a man of vision. He inspired in many Tanzanians for many years a belief in themselves, in a hope for a better future and a willingness to accept TANU/CCM as the vehicle to fulfill their dreams. He was charismatic in his leadership and set a standard for what that means that will be very hard to follow. On the other hand, he was a pragmatic power politician. Under his leadership, there was very little room for dissent. Many of the voices of opposition were quieted by informal and formal sanctions, banned or detained. Therefore, the room for other charismatic leaders to emerge was very limited. They could only emerge in opposition to Nyerere and little opposition was tolerated. A second major contributing factor to the development of this vacuum of leadership and social alternatives is the bureaucratic character of TANU/CCM as the ruling party and only party for many years. While this party may have started as a nationalistic movement, it very early on moved to a highly bureaucratic internal leadership structure. This type of structure has a character about it that mitigates against members becoming charismatic and visionary in their leadership. Rather, the best performers are those who respectfully take orders from above, diligently carry out those orders and never question the authority of those above them nor their rules, laws, targets or objectives. Advancement in this type of structure then is based on how well you implement what you are given to do from above. Thus, after nearly forty years of Independence and after Nyerere's departure, we are left with a top echelon of party and government leaders who are at best nothing more than good performing bureaucrats. They lack vision. They lack sensitivity. They lack inspiration. They are managers, managing the state as best they can, but without any direction of where we are going. Furthermore, they are incapable of developing that direction or vision because that is not what they have been trained to do. This includes most opposition party leaders because most of them were trained in the same bureaucratic style as former members and leaders of CCM. Related to this is the third major factor contributing to this vacuum of leadership and social alternatives - CCM's control of civil society. By 1964 TANU/CCM was well into its efforts to secure its rule. The most explicit expressions of this were the banning of other political parties, banning of free trade unions and the restructuring of the army as an organ of the Party. It also greatly limited freedom of the press and freedom of association. It mandated certain criteria for the registration of non-governmental organizations that controlled their emergence and guided their development in the same bureaucratic style followed by the party. Again, this limited the emergence of charismatic leaders who might articulate a vision that captured the frustrations of the poor. More subtly, the strong nationalistic ideology of TANU/CCM mitigated against the development of ethnically based organizations or regional pride. The dissolution of chieftainships and the encouragement of Kiswahili as a national language further limited the organization of ethnic associations. The final blow in this process was the replacement of regional cooperatives with national crop authorities. Thus, by 1970, TANU/CCM had basically eliminated all avenues for the expression of discontent except for itself and some religious groups. In this whole process of controlling civil society, religious groups were relatively untouched. While religious groups that actively involved themselves in opposition to the government were banned or de-registered, religious bodies, both Islamic and Christian, with strong ties to the ruling class maintained a certain autonomy.(BAKWATA????) Some of these groups themselves are highly bureaucratic, but many, like the Pentecostal and certain Islamic groups,(BAKWATA???) have much more freedom in terms of leadership style. Thus, with liberalization and the freeing of civil society, some of the first figures to emerge as at least somewhat charismatic in articulating the frustrations of the masses were preachers and sheikhs. The prominence of these people was fostered by the vacuum of leadership that existed in other spheres and the religious nature of the African worldview. The worldview of most Africans sees life as a unified whole without clear and distinct borders between what we normally refer to as politics, economics, culture and religion. This "popular" African worldview sees the social and natural world as being peopled by a number of spiritual beings - spirits, both good and bad, ancestors, gods, divinities and a God - who are active agents in social reality and in many ways control the fate and destiny of it. The understanding of social change and problem solving in this type of worldview is very different from the social scientific understanding which sees social reality as being governed or directed by certain laws, patterns of behavior or underlying structures that reside within social reality itself. Thus, these preachers and sheikhs were not only articulating the frustrations of the masses, but more importantly they were articulating them in a way and language that the masses truly understand. It have appeared able at various levels to touch the hearts and emotions of the poor and gather a following around them. As the frustration of the mainly young poor grows, we should continue to expect that the followers of these preachers and sheikhs will continue to grow simply because there are no alternatives.