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Nyerere’s Legacy and Ujamaa in a turbulent era

Assessments of Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s first president, are conventionally focused on his quest for ujamaa, a just social order based on community solidarity. Whereas supporters hailed ujamaa as a creative adjustment of socialist thought to local realities, critics contemptuously dismissed it as a romantic and unscientific endeavour. Nyerere’s concern with social justice needs to be understood in the context of his overriding commitment to building a nation state. In his farewell address to the Tanzanian Parliament on July 29 1985, Nyerere recalled: “The single most important task, which I set…

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