Julius Nyerere, Tanzanian Elites, and the Project of African Socialism

  • Andreas Eckert
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


In 1965, W. Arthur Lewis, one of the founders of the field of development economics and a consultant with numerous African governments, published a set of three lectures under the title Politics in West Africa.1 This book was the fruit of his growing disillusionment with the politics of Africa’s new leaders, among them Kwame Nkrumah, whose chief economic advisor Lewis had been in the late 1950s.2 In fact, this book “was an indictment of the West African political institutions, which the political elites had used not to promote economic progress but to enhance their power and wealth at the expense of the rank and file of the population.”3 Lewis sharply criticized so-called charismatic leaders and the existence of one-party states. According to Lewis, responsibility for much of what went wrong in Africa came from the politicians, who, caught up in the struggle to achieve independence from colonial rule and feeling the necessity to demonstrate mass appeal, championed themselves and their close allies as the authentic voice of the people and their opponents as neo-colonialists. “For most of them independence merely means that they have succeeded to the autocracy vacated by the British and French civil servants. They model themselves on the arrogant and arbitrary patterns set by the Governors and district commissioners, if only because they know no better.”4


Colonial Rule Legislative Council African History African Socialism African Affair 
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© Andreas Eckert 2011

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  • Andreas Eckert

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