The Journal of Modern African Studies

‘We Must Run While Others Walk’: popular participation and development crisis in Tanzania, 1961–9 1

Michael Jennings a1 2
a1 International Development, University of Wales Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea.

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The early independence period in Tanzania was not simply an ante-chamber to the post-Arusha Declaration period of Ujamaa. The state undertook to incorporate, for the first time, the people of Tanzania in the formal development planning structures in an attempt to marry national developmental objectives to local needs. Self-help, or ‘nation building’ as it was also known, was an attempt to bring consensus and dialogue to the planning process. The scale of self-help activity unleashed by its formal adoption as part of rural development policy caught the government by surprise, however, and raised fears over the level of control that local government in particular was able to exert over popular efforts in development. The gradual emergence of statism in Tanzania, in place by the end of the decade, was in large part the response of a panicking state, fearing an imminent crisis in its power to direct development policy, and maintain command over scarce resources.


1 ‘Tanzania’ is used throughout this paper when referring to the post-independence period.

2 This paper is based upon archival research in the Tanzanian National Archives. Thanks are owed to David Anderson and Andrew Burton for comments on the paper.