Born on April 13, 1922, the young Julius studied to become a teacher. By affection, it will be called the mwalimu (the teacher). In 1953, at the age of 31, he became head of TAA, which he quickly transformed into a true political party – the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) – which advocated independence.
It was obtained, without any violence, on December 9, 1961. First Prime Minister, Julius Nyerere becomes the first president of the Republic of Tanganyika by the elections of December 1962. On April 26, 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to form the United Republic of Tanzania.Anxious to accelerate the emancipation of Africans from the Western world, inspired by communist experiences in China, Nyerere will make a choice. In February 1967, his famous declaration of Arusha laid the foundations for a socialism based on economic self-sufficiency through solidarity. Education is the number one priority.
It must be said that there is urgency in this area: Tanzania produces at this time only 120 graduates per year.The first concrete measures to implement this policy are not long in coming. The main industries and service companies are nationalized, taxes increased for a greater distribution of wealth.
It is in terms of agriculture, the country’s main economic sector, that the changes are strongest. It’s time for ethnic groupings in villages, the time for mutual aid and working together. According to his ideal, all this must lead to the birth of an egalitarian society, fair, supportive, which finds in its own resources the means of its self-sufficiency.
But this policy has a ‘cost’: for the creation of the 800 collective villages (Ujamaas), gathering populations of different ethnic and tribal origins, and forcibly moved by truck, it is estimated that in 4 years, from 1973 to 1976 9 million people are displaced. We obtain, it is true, a certain mixing between the different ethnic groups that make up the Tanzanian population, but this action brutally breaks the human and community references of individuals. However, the first results are disappointing, and the first oil shock of 1973 greatly darkens the country’s economic outlook.Tanzania’s relations with its African neighbors (particularly those in the north, Uganda and Kenya) are deteriorating over the years.
Certainly, these three countries formed in 1967 the East African Community (East African Community) with the aim of eventually forming a common economic market. But Kenya, rather close to Western countries, is moving further and further away from Tanzania. And Idi Amin Dada’s Uganda attacked Tanzania in late 1978 and invaded Lake Victoria. Tanzania was criticized for protecting opponents of the Ugandan regime. This war was expensive, about $ 500 million; and in the early 1980s, with no real industry, with an unproductive agricultural sector, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The country sinking into failure, Nyerere begins to gradually change its dirigiste policy.In 1985, after 24 years of power, Nyerere chose, contrary to the practice of most other African heads of state, to withdraw from politics. It is Ali Hassan Mwinyi, then president of Zanzibar since 1980, who takes his succession.
Despite the largely negative results of his economic development policy, Nyerere maintained, until his death in London in 1999, the esteem of many Tanzanians and a part of the international community. It is indeed recognized that it laid the foundations for a multi-ethnic democratic state.Julius Nyerere was a practicing Catholic. The Catholic Church opened its cause of beatification.