Nyerere was ruthless, though not quite monstrous

Exploring the subject of the failure of post-colonial regimes in Africa — failure even of those that were established without much in the way of violent struggle — Dalrymple writes:

The first generation of post-colonial leaders were taken by the prestige and perhaps by the glamour of revolution, and sometimes went in for utopian schemes.

Julius Nyerere, for example,

was bitten by the bug of utopianism, caught in part from socialists at the University of Edinburgh, calling the sole permitted political party in Tanzania the Party of the Revolution.

In the name of creating a just and equal society,

he forcibly removed at least 70% of the population from where it was living and herded it into collectivised villages. This was an economic disaster, famine having been prevented only by large infusions of foreign aid, but it served the interests of members of the Party.

Tanzania was saved from being much worse than it was partly by the peaceful nature of the Tanzanian people. Also,

there was no ethnic group that could have become dominant, so ethnic antagonism could not be added to the witches’ brew.

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