A reminder of his major concerns after he left office
This is the fourth and final piece in the series of articles which was designed to commemorate the 17th Anniversary of Mwalimu Nyerere’s death. In this final article, we will revisit Mwalimu Nyerere’s own assessment of the country’s political and governance situation, as it was some ten years after he had left office as President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
He made this assessment on two separate occasions. The first occasion was at the publication of his book titled “Our leadership and the Destiny of Tanzania” (African Publishing Group, Harare, Zimbabwe), 1995; and the second occasion was when he gave a lengthy address to the Dar ea Salaam Press Club in March 1995, in which he made a clear expression of his major concerns and disappointments regarding what he considered had gone awfully wrong in the country’s governance system (which he discretely called ‘Nyufa’ in Kiswahili, meaning ‘cracks’ in the governance system).
The relevant issues which he discussed are paraphrased in the paragraphs which follow. (a) In his book quoted above, namely “Our leadership and the Destiny of Tanzania”; Mwalimu Nyerere gave his well considered thoughts on the need and importance of abiding by the country’s Constitution which, in his opinion, had been violated by the leadership which was then in office.
In that book, he wrote as follows: “It is of vital importance for the peace of this country, and the possibilities of harmonious development, that all the provisions of the Union Constitution, as it stands at any one moment, should be respected and honoured by all Authorities in both parts of the Union.
It is therefore the prime responsibility of the President of the United Republic, and of the Union Government under his leadership, to defend the Union, and to ensure that the Constitution is honoured in all respects.
The President and his Government must endeavour to prevent any violation of the Constitution, and any other action which brings the Union into danger”. (b) And regarding his ‘Nyufa’ speech to the DaresSalaam Press Club; Mwalimu Nyerere used that opportunity to express his thoughts on what he considered had gone awfully wrong in the country’s governance system, and emphasized that what was really needed was a President who would be able to rectify the situation and save the country from all those evils which he identified therein.
It may be remembered that 1995 was election year, so he skillfully took that opportunity to express his great disappointments or actual dismay, at certain negative developments which had taken place after he left office, by skillfully claiming that he was only advising Tanzanians on the kind of President they should elect in October of that year. He said thus: “Mimi niko hapa kuzungumzia sifa za Rais tunayemtaka. Mimi nilikuwa wa kwanza. Hivi sasa tunaye wa pili.
Ninayemsemea ni Rais wa Tatu”. Mwalimu Nyerere on the ‘cracks’ in the governance system. In our previous article which was published last week under the heading ‘Mwalimu Nyerere the teacher’, we made reference to his oratorical skills, a rather rare endowment which enabled him to explain many complex matters in a way which made it very easy for his listeners to understand the relevant matters quite clearly. He certainly was a ‘good teacher’.
And this is further demonstrated in his said address to the Dar es Salaam Press Club. For example, he said the following at the commencement of his address: “Nchi changa ni sawa sawa na nyumba mpya”; and continued to elaborate as follows (my translation from Kiswahili): “Our country is like a newly built house, which looks good and satisfactory in every respect.
But that is before it has been shaken by some disaster, such as an earthquake, which will quickly reveal its structural weaknesses, if any, and will show exactly where they are located.
These could be some minor cracks in its roof, or in its ceiling board, or in one of its walls; But the could also be major crack in its foundation. Having thus identified the relevant cracks, the owner of the House will take such necessary steps as may be appropriate in order to rectify the situation.
And if the earthquake has caused serious cracks in its foundation, what might happen is that the entire house will collapse. . . Our country is currently in a similar situation. It has been shaken and badly damaged.
We had succeeded in putting up a strong house on very firm foundations, but it has been badly shaken, and the resulting cracks can be seen in several areas. What we need to do now is to make repairs to these identified cracks. I will therefore take this opportunity to mention five serious cracks which I have identified”.
The five major cracks. Mwalimu Nyerere then continued to identify the said five cracks, in a hard hitting speech which clearly demonstrated his utter disappointment which was caused the events which had taken place.
The said speech may be paraphrased as follows:- (i) His first ‘crack’ was in relation to the state of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Mwalimu Nyerere strongly decried certain negative developments which had taken place, in which some people, specifically some of the leaders based in Zanzibar, had started questioning the usefulness of this Union, and even demanding Zanzibar’s withdrawal from the Union!
With regard to this matter, Mwalimu Nyerere said the following: “Wapo watu wamezungumzia Uzanzibari, na baadhi yao ni viongozi wetu. Nasikia wengine wanafikiria hata kujitenga.
Kujitenga maana yake ni kuvunja Muungano; yaani wanataka nchi yetu ivunjike tusiwe tena na nchi moja, badala yake turudi kuwa na nchi mbili zilizokuwapo awali. Huku kuzungumzia Uzanzibari si jambo la fahari.
Mtu mwenye akili hawezi kufikiri kuwa Uzanzibai ni fahari, huyo hana akili. Kwani hatima yake ni kuvunja (ii) The second ‘crack’ on his list was what he described as: “kupuuza na kutojali Katiba ya nchi’ , i.e. the ‘total disregard of the country’s Constitution by the top leadership’. Regarding this matter, he was only reiterating and re-emphasizing the vital importance of respecting the Constitution by the President of the country, a point which he had also made in his book which we quoted above. In this speech, he pointed out two distinct aspects of the evil of disregarding the Constitution.
One was the strange demand which was being made by some people, for an alternating Presidency between Tanganyika and Zanzibar; while the other was the deliberate non-observance of the Constitution by the country’s top Authorities.
Mwalimu Nyerere dismissed the first aspect with the following words: “Rais tunayemtaka ni yule ambaye ni Mtanzania. Huwezi kupata Rais Mtanzania ambaye hatoki ama Zanzibar, au Tanganyika. Lakini hatumchagui kwa sababu ya Uzanzibari wake, au Utanganyika wake.
Na ikitokea Rais anayetoka Zanzibar akauweka mbele Uzanzibari wake, au Rais anayetoka Bara akauweka mbele Utanganyika wake, tatajua kuwa huyu mtu hatufai. Hiyo ndiyo sifa mama kabisa. Kwa sababu Rais tunayemtaka ni Rais Mtanzania, bila kujali kama anatoka Tanganyika, au anatoka Zanzibar”. Regarding the second aspect, Mwalimu Nyerere said: “Rais wa nchi yetu ananchaguliwa kutokana na Katiba ya Tanzania.
Na akisha kuchaguliwa, anaapishwa: kama ni Mkristo, kwa kushika Biblia; na kama ni Muislamu, kwa kushika Kuruani. Anaapishwa kwa lengo la “ kuilinda na kuitetea Katiba ya Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, iliyowekwa kwa mujibu wa sheria”. Hadi sasa hatujachagua Rais asiyemwamini Mungu, lakini endapo siku moja tutamchagua mtu wa aina hiyo, tutatafuta utaratibu wa kumuapisha.
Lazima ataapishwa kuilinda na kuitetea Katiba ya Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, ili endapo atashindwa kuilinda, tutajua kuwa ni msaliti. Na tutakuwa na sababu ya kumshitaki kwa kosa la kukiuka masharti ya kiapo chake hicho.
Sasa nasema hivi, hapa katikati kumetokea kupuuza puuza kwa Katiba. Hatuwezi kuendelea kupuuza Katiba. Hatuwezi kuwa na Rais anayeona haya kuitetea Katiba yetu wakati amechaguliwa kwa mujibu wa Katiba hiyo, na ameapa kuilinda na kuitetea.
Tumeona kuwapo kwa ufa huo wa kutojali Katiba ya nchi. (iii) The third ‘crack’ on his list was what he described as “Kuendesha mambo bila kujali sheria za nchi”, i.e. governance which is not in accordance with the law.
With regard to this matter, Mwalimu Nyerere said the following: “Nchi zote duniani zinaongozwa na watu. Lakini haziongozwi kutokana na akili ya mtu huyo aliyepo madarakani. Zinaongozwa kwa mujibu wa sheria zilizopo.
Ni kweli kwmba nchi zinaongozwa na watu, lakini lazima watu hao waongozwe na sheria. Haiwezekani mtu huyo awe anapata ushauri kwa mke wake, halafu kesho yake anakuja na jambo fulani jipya kutokana na ushauri huo . . . Hivi sasa, tumeona kwamba utaratibu wa sheria za nchi haufuatwi. Wapo watu wanaojaribu kuendesha nchi bila kujali sheria za nchi. Tunataka kupata Rais atakayeongoza nchi yetu ambaye jambo hili linamkera. Rais anayetambua kuwa hawezi kuendesha nchi bila kufuata utaratibu wa sheria”.
(iv) The fourth ‘crack’ on Mwalimu Nyerere’s list, was “rushwa”, i.e. corruption. “Hivi sasa Tanzania inanuka kwa rushwa” said Mwalimu Nyerere, and continued thus: “Tunataka kiongozi wa ngazi ya Rais anayejua hivyo, ambaye atasema kuwa ‘rushwa kwangu ni mwiko’.
Lakini hatutaki aishie hapo. Maana haitoshi kwa yeye mwenyewe tu kuwa mwaminifu, kwani anaweza kweli akawa mwaminifu, lakini kukawa na mashinikizo kutoka kwa ndugu zake,au jamaa zake, na marafiki zake.
Kwa hiyo lazima Rais pia awe na uwezo wa kuwaambia hao ndugu zake na marafiki zake, tena kwa kali ambayo wataiheshimu, kwamba ‘Ikulu ni mahali patakatifu, mimi sikuchaguliwa na wananchi wa Tanzania kuja kupageuza mahali hapa kuwa ni pango la walanguzi’.
In order to underscore the point of his total opposition to corruption, he told a story of how he had detained one resident Greek citizen, who had boasted publicly that the ‘entire Government of Tanzania was in his pockets’, meaning that he had bribed the whole of Mwalimu Nyerere’s Government, and therefore he could do whatever he wanted, including breaking the law, without fear of being arrested.
I should add that this was one of those few occasions when Mwalimu Nyerere’s anger reached the absolute maximum boiling point. His instant response was: “mshenzi sana huyo. Serikali yote ya Tanzania iko mfukoni mwake? Ana mfuko mpana kiasi gani”?
Lakini nikajua kwamba huyo mshenzi anayesema hivyo bila shaka kuna watu anawahonga. Hawezi kusema hivyo bila kuwa anahonga watu ndani ya Serikali, ila ni vigumu kumkamata. Basi nikasema nitamfundisha. Nikamtia ndani.
Baada ya kufanya hivyo, nikapata maombi mengi ya ‘Mwalimu muachie’. Nikasema simuachii hata kidogo. Siwezi kumwachia, hana adabu. Anasema Serikali yangu yote iko mifukoni mwake? Simwachii hata kidogo”.
(v) the fifth ‘crack’ on Mwalimu Nyerere’s list was what he described as “Ukabila na Udini”; that is to say, the evils of using tribalism and religion as a qualification for leadership. The following is what Mwalimu Nyerere said regarding tribalism: “Zamani tulikuwa tukizungumzia makabila ya Tanzania katika sura ya utani tu, kama vile ‘wewe mnyamwezi ni mtani wangu’.
Lakini hivi sasa makabila yanazungumzwa kama sifa ya mtu kupata uongozi! Leo hii, watu waliofilisika kisera wanathubutu kusema eti ‘tunataka Rais wa kabila letu’. Haiwezekani kuwa na Rais ambaye hana kabila. Lazima atakuwa na kabila lake. Lakini hatutamchagua mtu kwa sababu ya kabila lake; na wala hatutamkataa mtu kwa sababu ya kabila lake. Kwa mfano, hatuwezi kusema kwamba ‘fulani anazo sifa za kuweza kuwa kiongozi wetu.
Lakini, ah bwana, ni Mkara! Hatutafanya hivyo, hatutamkataa mtu kwa sababu tu ya kabila lake. Tukifanya hivyo, tutakuwa tunatenda dhambi kubwa sana. Lakini Ukabila bado upo, kwa hiyo lazima tuendelee kuupiga vita”.
With regard to using religion as a qualification for leadership, Mwalimu said thus: “Kuna watu ambao wanatamani nchi hii iwe ya Kikristo. Hao ni wajinga. Kuna watu wengine wanatamani nchi hii iwe ni ya Kiislamu, hao pia ni wajinga. Natumia neno zuri ‘wajinga’; situmii neno baya la ‘wapumbavu’. Ndiyo sababu nasema hawa ni wajinga.
Tunachotaka ni kwamba Rais wetu akiwa ni Mkristo, ajue kwamba hatukumchagua kutokana na Ukristo wake. Na akiwa ni Muislamu, ajue kwamba hatukumchagua kwa sababu ya Uislamu wake. Tunataka hilo Rais wetu alijue, na alikubali, pamoja na kulisimamia kwa dhati kabisa, na bila woga.
Katika nchi changa kama yetu, ni rahisi sana kwa baadhi ya watu kukimbilia Ukabila na Udini. Tunataka Rais aliye imara kabisa katika kukataa mambo hayo”. That was, once again, ‘Mwalimu Nyerere the teacher’ in action.