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View the documentChapter sixteen: Essential Pillars of Tanzania's Constitution: National Values and Current Ideology

Chapter sixteen: Essential Pillars of Tanzania's Constitution: National Values and Current Ideology

Prepared by Dr W.K. Chagula for the Annual State of Politics Conference, Dar es Salaam 27 June 1994


This paper will focus on the basic national values and current ideology which give coherence to a constitution. It will attempt to address the issue, whether a "national ethic" has evolved in Tanzania and how it could be used in building a national consensus on the essential pillars of Tanzania's constitution.

In the very short time available it has only been possible to focus on a few important aspects of the theme with a view to enabling participants at the Conference to meaningfully comprehend the set of recommendations made at the end of the Paper1. The areas selected for consideration are by no means exhaustive and participants may wish to suggest additional areas for discussion with, of course, consequential changes to the final recommendations.

1 No recommendations were written.

Historical Background to the Development of National Values and a National Ethic in Tanzania

For convenience, we can subdivide our national values into two broad historical categories: pre-independence values and post-independence values.

(i) Pre-independence "national" values

It is not important in this Paper to consider in detail the "national" values that existed before our independence, as these are described in great detail in many historical publications on Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Suffice it to say that, at least in pre-independent Tanganyika, "national" values were equated with the values of many tribal communities, each of which in turn consisted of various clans held together by chiefs and underpinned by the colonial policy of indirect rule (1, 2). Thus it can fairly be stated that during the pre-independence period, before we became a nation state, our national values consisted of a conglomeration of tribal and clan values in which the role of chiefs, clans, sanctions, rituals and taboos were extremely important in holding each tribe and its clans together (3).

(ii) Post-independence national values

At this stage, only an outline of the evolution of our national values will be given, leaving until later in the Paper the detailed examination of the ingredients of that evolutionary process, including its institutional and policy aspects.

Briefly, during the early part of our post-independence period, the tribal and clan values, nurtured by chiefs under the colonial policy of indirect rule, continued unrestricted officially until the system of chiefs was abolished in 1963 by the new Tanganyika Republican Government. At this point, the chiefs were relieved of their former role as local government functionaries and replaced by Party - the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) - and civil servants; however they were left free to continue as tribal and clan leaders in charge of tribal rituals and other tribal ceremonies.

After the abolition of tribal chiefs, the traditional tribe-based values and customs progressively became diluted as the operations of TANU (the only Party in Tanganyika), the Interim Constitution of Tanganyika of 1965, and the accompanying Ministerial and Legal/Judicial system became established. The abolition of chiefs and the tribal medicine men who completed the traditional functions of the chiefs, caused a disruption in the development of the tribal cultural values, a gap which was worsened by Islam and Christianity which have spread rapidly since independence. The Interim Constitution of 1965 was subsequently replaced by the 1977 Union Constitution and the 1984 Constitution of Zanzibar, both of which spell out our national values, as will be discussed in the following section.

The Evolution of Tanzania's National Ethic or Ideology

(i) The influence of TANU/ASP2 and the CCM

2 The Afro-Shirazi Party of Zanzibar.

No discussion of the evolution of the national ideology of Tanzania can be complete without starting from the base which was established in:

(a) the 'TANU' Party Constitution of 1954 (3), in which the party policy of Socialism and Self-reliance was promulgated. Through the policy of "supremacy of the Party" obtaining during the period between 1965 and July, 1992, this policy of Socialism and Self-reliance subsequently found its way, and was written, into -

(b) the Union Interim Constitution of 1965 and in the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania (the 'Union Constitution') of 1977 (6)

(c) The Arusha Declaration of 1967 and TANU's Policy of Socialism and Self-reliance (4).

The latter was also a crucial document in determining Tanzania's future ideology. It was adopted by the CCM (Chama cha Mapinduzi) in February 1977, and in that same year was incorporated into the Union Constitution of 1977 and later into the Constitution of Zanzibar, 1984. For the sake of clarity, I quote below Part One of the Arusha Declaration (The TANU "Creed").

"WHEREAS TANU believes:-

(a) That all human beings are equal;

(b) That every individual has a right to dignity and respect;

(c) That every citizen is an integral part of the nation and has the right to take an equal part in government at local, regional and national level;

(d) That every citizen has the right to freedom of expression, of movement, of religious belief and of association within the context of the law;

(e) That every individual has the right to receive from society

protection of his life and of property held according to the law;

(f) That every individual has the right to receive a just return for his labour;

(g) That all citizens together possess all the natural resources of the country in trust for their descendants;

(h) That, in order to ensure economic justice, the state must have effective control over the principal means of production; and

(i) That it is the responsibility of the state to intervene actively in the economic life of the nation so as to ensure the well-being of all citizens and so as to prevent the exploitation of one person by another or one group by another, and so as to prevent the accumulation of wealth to an extent which is inconsistent with the existence of a classless society.

"NOW, THEREFORE, the principal aims and objects of TANU shall be as follows: -

(a) To consolidate and maintain the independence of this country and the freedom of its people;

(b) To safeguard the inherent dignity of the individual in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

(c) To ensure that this country shall be governed by a democratic socialist government of the people;

(d) To co-operate with all political parties in Africa engaged in the liberation of all Africa;

(e) To see that the Government mobilizes all the resources of this country towards the elimination of poverty, ignorance and disease;

(f) To see that the Government actively assists in the formation and maintenance of co-operative organizations;

(g) To see that, wherever possible, the Government itself directly participates in the economic development of this country;

(h) To see that the Government gives equal opportunity to all men and women irrespective of race, religion or status;

(i) To see that the Government eradicates all types of exploitation, intimidation, bribery and corruption;

(j) To see that the Government exercises effective control over the principal means of production and pursues policies which facilitate the way to collective ownership of the resources of this country;

(k) To see that the Government co-operates with other States in Africa in bringing about African Unity; and

(l) To see that the Government works tirelessly towards world peace and security through the United Nations Organization" (5)

The only other section of The Arusha Declaration which is worth quoting in this Paper is that portion of Part Five - "The Arusha Resolution" - which records the National Executive Committee resolution on the TANU and Government Leadership, namely that:-

"1. Every TANU or Government leader must be either a Peasant or a Worker, and should in no way be associated with the practices of Capitalism or Feudalism.

2. No TANU or Government leader should hold shares in any Company.

3. No TANU or Government leader should hold Directorships in any privately-owned enterprises.

4. No TANU or Government leader should receive two or more salaries.

5. No TANU or Government leader should own houses which he rents to others.

6. For the purposes of this Resolution, the term "leader" should comprise the following: Members of the TANU National Executive Committee; Ministers, Members of Parliament, Senior Officials of Organizations affiliated to TANU, Senior Officials of Para-Statal Organizations, all those appointed or elected under any clause of the TANU Constitution, Councillors, and Civil Servants in high and middle cadres. (In this context "leader" means a man, or a man and his wife; a woman, or a woman and her husband)."

I have found it necessary to quote this part of the "Arusha Resolution" of 1967 on the "Leadership Code" in order to facilitate our understanding of the so-called "Zanzibar Declaration", as it relates to the review, by the CCM National Executive Committee, of the Leadership Code which took place in Zanzibar in 1991, and to which reference will be made later in this Paper3,

3 There is no later reference to this topic.

(ii) The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977

Although the direction of the evolution of the national ideology of Tanzania had started to unfold by 1967, as the forgoing narration has indicated, it remained for the Union Constitution of 1977 (6) not only to entrench the One Party State, but also to state both the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy and the Basic Rights and Duties of Tanzanians. In these elements one can discern most of the ingredients of the Tanzanian national values or ideology of today, in spite of the 1992 Constitutional Amendments which, among other things, replaced the One Party State with a Multi-Party Democratic State.

In order to facilitate our discussion, later, of what our national ideology and ethic should be, I quote below some of the relevant portions of our 1977 Union Constitution, as follows:-


8(1) - The United Republic of Tanzania is a state pursuing the principles of democracy and social justice and accordingly -

(a) sovereignty belongs to the people and it is from them that the Government, through the Constitution, derives all its powers and authority;

(b) the welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government;

(c) the Government shall be responsible and accountable to the people; and

(d) the people shall participate in the affairs of their Government in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution."

9(1) - The object of this Constitution is to facilitate the building up of the United Republic as a nation of equal and free individuals enjoying freedom, justice, fraternity and concord, through the pursuit of the policy of Ujamaa and self-reliance, which is the creative application of socialist principles to the conditions prevailing within the United Republic. Consequently, the state authority and all its agencies are required to direct all their policy and business towards securing -

(a) the maintenance of respect and due regard for the dignity and all the other rights of man;

(b) the preservation and compliance with the requirements of the laws of the land;

(c) the conduct of public affairs in a manner designed to ensure that national resources and heritage are harnessed, preserved and applied toward the common good and the prevention of the exploitation of one man by another;

(d) the promotion of a centrally planned and balanced development of the national economy;

(e) that every able bodied person has an opportunity to work, work being any lawful activity whereby a person earns his livelihood;

(f) the maintenance and upholding of the dignity of man through full compliance; with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

(g) that the Government and all public institutions provide equal opportunities to all citizens, men and women alike, irrespective of the colour, race, tribe or religion of the person or his station in life;

(h) that all forms of injustice, intimidation, discrimination, corruption, oppression or favouritism are eradicated;

(i) that the material resources of the nation are so harnessed and exploited as to accord priority to the development of the people and, especially, to the eradication of poverty, ignorance and disease;

(j) that the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals, and that the Government owns or controls the major means of production; and

(k) the country is governed in compliance with the principles of democracy and socialism."

"11 (1) - The State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make adequate provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want. Subject to those rights, the State shall make provisions ensuring that every person earns his livelihood.

(2) - Every person has the right to education; and every citizen shall be free to pursue the field of education of his choice up to the utmost standard subject only to his merit and ability; and

(3) - The Government shall endeavour to ensure that there are equal and adequate opportunities to all persons to enable them to acquire knowledge and vocational training at all levels of education, and in all kinds of schools and other institutions of learning."

[Chapter One, Part III, Sections 12 to 30: Basic Rights and Duties]

It should suffice to state here that, in addition to equality of all persons and equality before the law of all citizens, the sections cover the Right to Life and all the other fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the duties and responsibilities of every citizen or resident of the United Republic to both the Society and to the State.

[CHAPTER SIX, PART II, SECTION 132: The Leadership Code Enforcement Commission]

This Section was included in the Union Constitution, 1977, in order to enable the investigation of the activities of any Leader who violated the Leadership Code established by The Arusha Declaration while Tanzania was legally a One-Party State. As Tanzania is now legally a Multi-Party Democratic State, this Paper will later on discuss the desirability or otherwise of establishing a Leadership Code and a mechanism for enforcing that Leadership Code under a multiparty political system as was recommended by the Nyalali Commission (7).

Assessment of Progress in the Identification/Establishment of National Values for Inclusion in the New Constitution

After going through those parts of the "TANU Creed" included in The Arusha Declaration, the Arusha Resolution on the TANU and Government Leadership in The Arusha Declaration, and the relevant Sections of the Union Constitution, 1977, the following national values feature prominently as common strands in all these documents:

(i) Basic Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

(ii) The equality and dignity of all men and their equality before the law;

(iii) The Rule of Law;

(iv) The Duties and responsibilities of all citizens/residents to the Society and the State;

(v) The responsibility of the Government in mobilizing all the resources of the country towards the elimination of poverty, disease and ignorance;

(vi) The provision by the Government of equal opportunities to all citizens of both sexes irrespective of their colour, race, tribe or religion or their station in life;

(vii) The eradication by the State and its agencies of all forms of injustice, intimidation, discrimination, corruption, oppression or favouritism;

(viii) The conduct of public affairs in a manner designed to ensure that national resources and heritage are harnessed, preserved and applied toward the common good and the prevention of the exploitation of one man by another; and

(ix) The control or regulation of the activities of Government or Parastatal Leaders with a view to minimising the abuse of their offices.

These are only the most important among the "common strands" relating to the national values and ideology we could identify. Care has, however, been taken to avoid the inclusion of "socialism" as a national ideology in view of the controversy it has recently evoked, particularly after the recent change to a multiparty democratic system in Tanzania and as was also pointed out by the Nyalali Commission (7).


The question whether "socialism and self-reliance" should continue being the central pillar of Tanzania's national ideology has recently provoked heated discussion both inside and outside Parliament, particularly after the publication of the Report of the Nyalali Commission (7) early in 1992. Both the CCM Constitution and the Union Constitution, 1977 (amended in 1992) still boldly state that "The United Republic is a democratic socialist state" (Section 3(1)) and that "the country is governed in compliance with the principles of democracy and socialism". However, while there might be no serious objection from most ordinary grassroots Tanzanians to designating Tanzania as a socialist state, particularly since most of our national policies aim at achieving egalitarianism, caution demands that, now that Tanzania is a multiparty democratic state, the other new political parties should be consulted before "socialism" is finally included in our Union Constitution as a national ideology.

At this point Dr Chagula's hand-written manuscript ends. The paper was delivered on his behalf, at the meeting for which it was written, by Professor M.L. Baregu, University of Dar es Salaam.


1. Pambe, I.M. Symbols and Changes in African Beliefs, a Dissertation submitted to The Gregorian Pontifical University, Rome, for a Doctorate in Missiology, 1978 (Unpublished).

2. Roberts, A. (Editor), Tanzania before 1900, East African Publishing House, Nairobi, 1968.

3. Cory, Hans, The Ntemi: Traditional Rites of a Sukuma Chief in Tanganyika, Macmillan & Co., London, 1951.

4. The Constitution of the Tanganyika African National Union, Government Printer, Dar es Salaam, 1954.

5. The Arusha Declaration and TANU's Policy on Socialism and Self-reliance, Tanganyika African National Union, Dar es Salaam, 1967.

6. The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977, Dar es Salaam, 1990.

7. Report of the Presidential Commission on a One- or Multiparty Political System in Tanzania, 1991, Volume One, Paragraphs 583 and 584.