Independence came in 1961 and then as a result of
negotiations. Tanzania's starting point was thus quite
different from, for example, neighboring Mozambique, which
first gained independence in 1975 following armed liberation
struggles and revolutionary mobilization.
In Zanzibar, two nationalist organizations joined in
February 1957 to form the Afro-Shirazi Party. Yet, in 1963,
the British transferred power to the Arab minority. Only a
month later, the unpopular government was overthrown in an
uprising led by Afro-Shirazi. For three months, Tanganyika
and Zanzibar joined forces in the United Republic of
Neither in the economic nor the political field did
profound changes occur in the first years after
independence. The dependence on British personnel and
assistance was great. According to
the development plans were developed by the World Bank and
in the neo-colonialist style, private investment, commodity
production and foreign aid were invested.
In the mid-1960s, however, the country was plunged into
economic crisis: Tanzania did not have the minerals or a
viable market that could attract foreign companies.
Assistance from the United States, Britain and West Germany
was halted because of Tanzania's independent foreign policy
and criticism of Western countries' support for racist
regimes in southern Africa. At the same time, the prices of
coffee, cotton and sisal fell sharply.
It was clear that the social and regional inequalities in
the country were increasing. The first sprouts for a
neo-colonial elite - or bureaucratic bourgeoisie - emerged,
and an increasing share of budgets went to cities rather
than to the country. During this economic and social crisis,
the discussion on future developments was sharpened.
1967 The Arusha Declaration
In 1967, a central document was passed reflecting that
the progressive wing of the party - headed by President
Nyerere - had taken control. The so-called Arusha
Declaration criticized the policy that had hitherto
been pursued, outlining in general terms an objective of
socialism and self-reliance (the "self-reliance") as the
In practice, this should entail, among other things,
nationalization of the key industries, banks and trading
companies, as well as a greater focus on the villages.
Furthermore, a ban was imposed on people with political
positions being able to take care of financial interests -
such as board positions in foreign companies, houses for
rent, more agriculture or electricity, which are otherwise
so common in other African countries. At the same time,
joining the nationalization and socialization program
reflected the bureaucracy's desire to expand "its" sector,
and the move was made possible by the opposition being weak.
Tanzania had no national citizenship of importance and
played a modest role for international capital.
To transform living and production conditions in the
countryside, in the late 1960s, a strategy was devised to
move people together in ujamaa villages (by the
Swahili Order of Large Family, Community, Socialism). The
idea was that this should prevent capitalist agriculture
from developing further, while at the same time allowing the
villagers to jointly increase production, strengthen their
political participation and gain better access to common
After a hesitant start - such as reflected the weaknesses
in TANU's ability to politically mobilize - in 1973 the
merger was started. The original ideals such as
voluntariness, joint production and socialism were dimmed,
and in many places the confluence was carried out with
bureaucratic control, without the wishes of the local people
being heard. In 1979, 13-14 million lived in such villages.
In 1977, the TANU and Afro-Shirazi Party of Zanzibar were
merged, and the new party was named Chama cha Mapinduzi
(Revolutionary Party), becoming the country's highest
In October 1978, Tanzania was invaded by Ugandan troops.
It was a clear attempt by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin to
strengthen his home front while at the same time weakening
Tanzania's active solidarity with the liberation struggles
in southern Africa. The attack was reversed within a few
weeks, and Tanzania's troops subsequently actively
contributed to overthrowing Amin.