Nostalgic feelings of the Arusha Declaration


LAST month, we were reminded that our beloved ‘late Azimio la Arusha’ was fifty years old but we unofficially marked it with very low key.

However, a live broadcast debate was held in Dodoma at the UDOM with prominent speakers the likes of Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba, Joseph Butiku and Humphrey Polepole.

With exception of Polepole possibly he might have represented his Party but with the other two officials were representing the old guards who were there when the Azimio la Arusha was crafted in 1967.

I was surprised not to see Prof Issa Shivji on this occasion at Dodoma, little did I know that he was already engaged in another preparation of the same talk under the Kigoda cha Mwalimu that sounded more authoritative.

Yes, Kigoda cha Mwalimu’s marking the fifty years of Azimio la Arusha made some of us to have that feeling of the real nostalgia of the good days of Azimio la Arusha as speaker after speaker could cajole what we would have wished to see happening now in our country.

They really quenched our desire of having an administration with socialist values that are missing. We are living in an era of survival of the fittest! We are yet to hear from the leadership of ACT Wazalendo who had promised later to hold such an occasion marking the fifty years of Azimio la Arusha to be also attended by the South Africa’s maverick politician Julius Malema.

The closing remarks of the Kigoda cha Mwalimu that was done by Prof Shivji in a poetic eulogy, he lamented for the demise of Azimio la Arusha caused by the very people who brought it.

It was so touching that one would wish for the Azimio la Arusha to come back tomorrow, but alas; that is a pipe dream. Anyway, the commitment was made by Polepole the Party spokesperson that CCM was contemplating to go back to the days of the Arusha Declaration.

I would also be surprised if my pen mate, Makwaia wa Kuhenga would not drop a line on this, indeed he did. He wrote a piece in his column sending us back to those days of continuous slogans over the national radio station, with blared slogans such as: “Ubepari ni Unyama, Ujamaa ni Utu” That time, some of us including Makwaia were already active and did take part in those demonstrations supporting this socialist blue print.

Tanu Youth League in schools initiated marches supporting the Arusha Declaration. Retired Major General Hamisi Semfuko led a group of youths marching from Tanga Government Secondary School to Dar es Salaam supporting the Azimio la Arusha.

By then Semfuko as a pupil at that school was the Tanu Youth Legue chairperson, with eight others walked on foot from Tanga to Dare es Salaam. Only he and Maalimu Hatibu Ganga are still alive while others, Matthew Kijazi, Andrew Mngodo, Mohamedi Bakari Mkora, John Issack Mkomwa, Saidi Abdalla and Ibrahim Mohamed Mshamu had long time died as unsung heroes who could not be remembered even for those national medals annually given on national days.

You might also remember Seith Benjamin who died on the way to Dar es Salaam from Arusha in support of the Azimio la Arusha. There are names you cannot forget when you talk of Azimio la Arusha. The Party Ideological College at Kigamboni was the catalyst of the vibrancy of the Party Ideology in the country.

It changed hands in leadership from Israel Elinawinga, Daudi Mwakawago, Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru to Bismark Mwansasu. However there were names like Philip Mangula, Gisler Mapunda and Wilson Mukama who had strategic roles at this College making sure that Azimio la Arusha was well understood.

The media was very instrumental and well tailored to deliver the message and counter adverse propaganda from different sources. That was the time when the intensification of cold war was at its highest.

The Party organs, the Nationalist and Uhuru were in the safe hands of Ben Mkapa while Radio Tanzania the official mouth piece of Tanzania was ably managed by none other than Paul Sozigwa. You would remember those slogans, nyan’gau, ubepari ni unyama, ujamaa ni utu or “society of man eat man.

” The Arusha Declaration was divided into five parts: The TANU “Creed”; The Policy of Socialism; The Policy of Self Reliance; the TANU Membership; and the Arusha Resolution while Part two focused on socialism and some key features of socialism which included a policy of receiving a just return for one’s labour and the necessity for the leadership and control of major resources, services and government, to be in the hands of the working class.

In a true socialist state no person exploits another, but everybody who is able to work gets his [or her] income for his [or her] labour. Part three of the Arusha Declaration espouses the importance of national self-reliance and debates the nature of development.

I was touched with the arguments advanced in those discussions on the Azimio la Arusha as most of the discussants admitted that they were not there when the Azimio la Arusha was crafted but have read and understood; they condemned what they called Azimio la Zanzibar that was responsible for strangling the Azimio la Arusha under the guise of globalisation with its trade liberalisation.

With the reforms sweeping in the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi particularly the amendment on the Constitution; is it an indication of the second thought on the ongoing party politics? We have seen and heard that the question of having more than one post in the party hierarchy is being discouraged.

Definitely this was one of the ethical spirit and conditions of leadership in the Azimio la Arusha. Indeed we are making some inroads towards the Arusha Declaration which was our rational choice some fifty years ago.

Are we really moving to that way or is it a question of just refreshing our minds!

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