By Herman Lupogo
By some accounts, Tanzania is second from the bottom on the poverty scale in Africa, although this position is disputed by experts. Apart from the 1964 revolution in Zanzibar and a short-lived army mutiny in 1964, Tanzania has remained peaceful despite the poverty among its tribes. National events after 1995 indicate a high level of tolerance and peaceful democratic change in the country. This essay will briefly dwell on civil-military relations and relate it to the case of Tanzania. The evolution of civil-military relations in the country will be examined and an analysis of Tanzanian practice will be provided. The essay concludes with a summary. Mwalimu Nyerere was clearly the architect of stable civil-military relations in Tanzania. This stability survived him and was inherited by his successors in the multiparty system. Several changes were made after 1992, and the government clearly holds the key to communication with the armed forces. If a concordant relationship can be maintained, the prognosis is good.
Tanzania is frequently referred to as the Land of Kilimanjaro in tourist circles. It would not be far-fetched to call it the Land of Mwalimu Nyerere in political circles. Because of Mwalimu (teacher) Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Tanzania took the lion’s share of political fame, but only a bird’s share of the fruits of the earth. Tanzania is a poor country: some accounts place it second from the bottom on the poverty scale in Africa, although this position is disputed by many knowledgeable people. Whatever the scale and position, the fact remains that it is a very poor country. However, apart from the 1964 revolution in Zanzibar and a short-lived army mutiny in 1964, Tanzania has remained peaceful despite the poverty among its 126 tribes. National events after 1995 often saw two former presidents sharing the podium with the incumbent president, prime minister, several former prime ministers and leaders from Zanzibar, indicating a high level of tolerance and peaceful democratic change in the country.
The absence of military interventions in one African country, which had no shortage of economic grievances, means that dogmatic generalisations about civil-military relations in sub-Saharan Africa should be avoided. Each country merits separate examination and evaluation. Similarities should not necessarily lead to general theories, however tempting. This essay will briefly dwell on some of the received wisdom regarding civil-military relations and relate it to the case of Tanzania. The evolution of civil-military relations in the country will be examined and an analysis of the Tanzanian practice will be provided. The essay concludes with a summary.
Civil-military relations and Tanzania
According to Zagorski, "[c]ivil-military relations refers to patterns of subordination, control, and influence involving the armed forces and the civilian governmental leadership." These would normally be specified by public law and re-enforced by constitutional and cultural traditions. This becomes part of the military ethic, observed by the government and accepted by the armed forces. The received wisdom from the west emphasises an apolitical military under the control of a civilian government. Usually, the armed forces come under the control of the presidency, parliament or any institution that is so designated. Huntington classifies this relationship as being objective.
The ideology of a given regime may also introduce objective forms of controlling the armed forces. A legitimate democratic government may demand obligatory obedience from the military through its constitution. The armed forces accept such control because they are part of the system, which they have recognised. Totalitarian regimes can enforce civilian control through terror or the use of political commissars, as a form of subjective control.
While accepting control by the civilian government, the armed forces, under the guise of professionalism, may retain the ability to act independently. Such control is objective. The military regulate and control its own affairs without challenging the position of the civilian government as the supreme authority.
Discussion of civil-military relations, however, should not stop at the relationship between the government and the military high command. Military units are not isolated from society and they are usually located away from the seat of government. Attention should also be paid to the relationships between military units and local and regional governments and between military personnel and the rest of the population. These could be pointers as to the state of civil-military relations. Attitudes of military personnel towards the general population and vice versa, and the sharing or lack of information may positively or negatively affect relations between the military and the government. In Tanzania, for example, unit commanders wherever they are located, know their regional governors, local police commanders, prison officers and security personnel. Similarly, their subordinate personnel mix informally among themselves and with the local population. This is largely facilitated by the fact that many military personnel live outside the barracks, and the absence of social barriers in the country. Interaction of this nature cannot be ignored when examining civil-military relations in Tanzania.
The evolution of civil-military relations
The situation before 1962
Its is fair to regard civil-military relations in Tanzania as having evolved since colonisation. Units of the King’s African Rifles were stationed in Tanganyika. They were under British command and were certainly British in orientation. The leader of the independence movement at the time, Mwalimu Nyerere, did not like the army, mainly because of its strong colonial tradition. The army was geared to maintain internal security as defined by the colonial masters by curbing labour movements and political activities. It is therefore not surprising that the military did not feature in Nyerere’s speeches from 1952 until after 1962. He was more interested in political and development issues.
On 9 December 1961, Mwalimu Nyerere received the instruments of government at an impressive independence ceremony accompanied with a colourful military parade. He inherited the army, which changed its name from the King’s African Rifles to Tanganyika Rifles. At this stage, civil-military relations were unimportant as a national issue and thus demanded little political attention. The army was under the command of Brigadier Douglas and his fellow British officers. Authority from the Ministry of Defence was minimal and there was no rapport between Brigadier Douglas and any of the country’s political leaders. Nyerere confirmed that "he had no regular interaction with Brigadier Douglas and certainly had not discussed any high defence policy with him." In other words, there was very little national control over the army. In reality, there was a national army with neither a defence nor a foreign policy. The civilian government was dominant and the army ran its own affairs: objective control by default?
While this state of affairs continued, there was lively debate in the National Assembly concerning the army. There were those members of the house who were not in favour of a national army, including Mwalimu Nyerere, and others who wanted a better equipped army. The anti-army group cautioned about the danger armies posed to democracy. Curiously, the house was quiet on the control of the army and on the working conditions of military personnel. Perhaps this silence was due to general ignorance on their part, or to an acceptance that such issues were best left in the hands of the army commander. One member of parliament had the following to say during the session of October 1961:
"While maintaining the military forces the government should be sure that they are not going to maintain the military forces to the extent of the military forces becoming so powerful that they will try to maintain the government."
This statement touched upon issues concerning civil-military relations, but was premature. At the time, this line of thought did not attract much attention.
While the British were ruling the former Tanganyika, the military was a forbidden area to the local people. They had no access to military secrets, plans or policy. It was the same with the rest of the government. They were told what to do and how to do it, but seldom why. This did not change with independence in 1961. The Tanganyikan officers were not privy to strategic military plans. They were still being discriminated against. Major-General Sarakikya, a former Chief of the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Force (TPDF), recalled how tents were allocated on the basis of race while on an exercise in Ngara in 1962. A British 2nd lieutenant had his own tent, while a Tanganyika lieutenant had to share. Therefore, it is not strange that members of parliament could not have an in-depth discussion about the army. They skirted around the issue because they were ignorant and the army commander, Brigadier Douglas, did not reveal much to them.
1963 and the OAU Liberation Committee
The situation changed in March 1963 when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) set up the Liberation Committee with its headquarters in Dar es Salaam. The government in Dar es Salaam had a change of mood. Tanganyika’s foreign policy became radical and military policy was oriented towards the liberation movements of the south. This change must have been uncomfortable for the British commanders of the Tanganyika Rifles. Britain was still the dominant colonial power in Southern Africa. It was also a major trading partner of the Republic of South Africa. The irony was that Tanganyika was in the process of deciding to involve the Tanganyika Rifles, which included a number of British officers, in the liberation struggle. Two things were overlooked at this stage. The first was obvious: the Tanganyika government should have realised that it could not effectively use the army as a tool for liberation while it was under the command of British officers. The army command and the government did not liase often and thus the chances of conflict were minimised. In practice, as experienced in Zambia later, the British officers were left out of the game. However, the commanders knew what was going on, and the government must therefore have known that its policy was opposed by them. Yet, it took no steps to rid the army of the British. That was left to the soldiers. The second issue that was left unattended was the mood in the barracks. During this time, soldiers were openly agitating for promotions and for having the army command in African hands, both of which were blocked by the British. The government, through the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence, was informed of the agitation. The mutiny of 19 January 1964 occurred before any action was taken.
Tanganyika Rifles mutiny — January 1964
Soldiers of the Tanganyika Rifles mutinied in January 1964. It began in Colito barracks in Dar es Salaam, spread to Kalewa barracks in Tabora with Nachingwea, a new barracks, following suit. The mutiny was over pay, promotions, the removal of British officers and Africanisation. Mwalimu Nyerere conceded that the "soldiers had genuine grievances and the demands presented a perfectly reasonable case." However, he could not tolerate a mutiny. It has been convincingly argued that the mutiny was not a coup attempt. Most contemporaries emphasised that it was an industrial strike that focused on the soldier’s grievances. At no time did they challenge the legitimacy of the political leadership, nor did they attempt to take over the government. They wanted to be heard. However, the mutiny raised questions about the place of the military in the newly independent Tanganyika — a military under a foreign command and not integrated into the country’s system. It was also an eloquent, though crude commentary on a military leadership who was not in touch with a popular civilian government leadership. In a way, it was a blessing in disguise as the government set out to rectify the situation.
In 1968, Mwalimu Nyerere was heard to remark:
"The mutiny was a strike of the army people, and it went out of control. It shocked the country. But every cloud has a silver lining, as the British say. It enabled us to build an army almost from scratch. Many institutions we have inherited, but the army is something we built ourselves."
After the mutiny, the army was disbanded and fresh recruits were sought with the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) youth wing as a base. Military personnel, as well as other public officials were allowed to join TANU, the ruling party, in a de facto one-party state. Membership of TANU was a prerequisite for enrolment in the army. The first recruits passed out on 1 September 1964 as the Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Force (TPDF). Political commissars were introduced into the army. Later, battalion-size units became party branches and every commander was party chairman in his command. The long march had started to integrate the military into Tanzanian society.
Politicisation of the armed forces
The Swahili belief in the harmonious co-existence of people needed to be instilled in the military. Soldiers within the military needed to have a sense of belonging to the nation and a common purpose despite the multiplicity of tribes within the forces. This belief facilitated the popularisation of the military and its integration into the Tanzanian society. Since the army was created from scratch on a political platform, the officers and men regarded the politicisation of the military as a natural process, since no one in the country was excluded.
Tanzania is a large country. With an area of 960 000 square miles and about 126 tribes, it could well be a tower of Babel. Fortunately, apart from cattle-rustling, which is regarded as a national game by some tribes, Tanzania has remained relatively peaceful since independence. Having fewer tribes, however, does not necessarily mean being more peaceful. If this was the prerequisite for peace, then Somalia, with one tribe, one language and one religion would qualify, as would Rwanda and Burundi. For peace and harmony, Tanzania is indebted to various factors, chief among them its leadership and language. Mwalimu Nyerere, who led Tanzania to independence and who remained executive head of government for 24 years, was a charismatic leader. He practised what he preached. National unity was his constant theme and integrity was his byword.
Kiswahili was the language of the coast. With slavery and colonisation, it spread into the hinterland. It was the tool that Mwalimu used in all corners of the country during the struggle for independence and thereafter. Kiswahili is the national language beside English, which is less widely spoken. Tanzanians mix easily and freely at work and in the countryside. For example, it is not strange to find a Mchagga from northern Tanzania living among Wamatengo in rural south-west Tanzania. This is also reflected in the armed forces.
Tanzanian tribes engage in humorous banter directed against one another. This is not done haphazardly. Certain tribes would only direct it at particular tribes. Thus, tribes on the east of Lake Victoria like the Wakurya, are pitted against the Wahaya on the west of the lake. The Wachagga would deride their neighbours, the Wapare. The Wasukuma and Wanyamwezi make fun of the Wazaramo from the coast and the Wangoni from the south-west. The Wangoni would also set upon the Wamakonde from the south-east coastal areas. This practice eases contacts, saves embarrassment and lightens what could be dull or sorrowful occasions. For example, a burial can turn into a light-hearted, almost merry occasion if the opposite tribe swings into action. The origins of this practice are not known. It is possible that it grew out of past tribal warfare, as some of the tribes concerned were former enemies. Slavery could have brought it about, since some relations follow the old slave routes, like those of the Wanyamwezi and the tribes to the east. Whatever the origins, this tradition has very salutary effects in gatherings and places of work including the armed forces.
The Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Force
The Tanzania Peoples’ Defence Force was created in September 1964. From its inception, it was ingrained in the troops that they were a people’s force under civilian control. They were always reminded of their difference from the colonial armed forces. In other words, they were being exhorted not to behave like the army that mutinied in January 1964. They were given a very clear mission, to defend Tanzania and everything Tanzanian, especially the people and their political ideology. Intensive efforts were made at indoctrination, with almost a quarter of training time reserved for politics. As a result, not only the commanders but all the troops knew exactly where they stood in relation to the party, the government and the people.
Discussion of the TPDF cannot be complete without mentioning the president. The president occupied a special position in the affairs of the country. This was particularly true of Mwalimu Nyerere, and the reason why he earned the name Father of the Nation, which he still bears posthumously. The president was the executive, as well as the party chairperson, the spokesperson of the nation’s policies and political philosophy and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The TPDF as an institution knew that they owed their existence to the president, the government and the party. In addition, the appointments of the chief of the defence force down to battalion commanders were either directly made by the president or his personal approval was required. Each of these officers felt that they owed loyalty not only to the government and the presidency as an institution, but also to the president as a person, whom they were proud to serve. At first, their allegiance was to Mwalimu Nyerere and later to his successor. This is referred to as subjective control of the armed forces.
The social mix of the TPDF played an important role in relations within the military and between the military and civil society. It has already been mentioned that the soldiers came from various tribes. They also came from all strata of society. Officers were selected after a general recruitment and not from special groups, and commissioned appointment depended on individual performance. Thus, a private soldier could be the son of a cabinet minister or a corporal could be the father of a colonel. Three sons of presidents failed to reach commissioned ranks. The armed forces, like the rest of the society, were porous, with numerous informal but effective lines of communication. In such circumstances, the grapevine could not be ignored; it had an important role to play, as it did during subsequent coup plots.
Popularisation of the military
The military was never popular with local people during the colonial period. It was seen as a force of oppression. To popularise the military, various methods were employed. The most prominent was the use of political ideology, training of the militia, national service and development projects. At an ideological level, people were made to understand that the defence of the nation was the duty of every citizen, that the armed forces were only the vanguard. The Arusha Declaration of 1967 stated that: "The people should always be ready to defend their Nation when called upon to do so." Events elsewhere concretised Tanzania’s ideas on defence.
From 1963, Frelimo started its activities against the Portuguese in neighbouring Mozambique. These included infiltration from Tanzania and raids across the Ruvuma. Hot pursuit by the Portuguese was always a possibility and the southern border became insecure. The attempted invasion of Guinea in 1970 by the Portuguese and the overthrow of Milton Obote of Uganda in 1971 profoundly affected Tanzania, for fear that a similar fate could befall her. The TANU Guidelines of 1971 stated:
"The Portuguese invasion of Guinea is a big lesson for us. Guinea was invaded … firstly because of its policy of equality and its opposition to exploitation, and secondly because of its genuine stand in supporting the freedom fighters in Guinea-Bissau and Africa. For similar reasons, the imperialists may attempt to attack Tanzania one day. But Guinea has taught us that when people and the army stand solidly together, no imperialist will be able to subvert their independence.
In paragraph 21 of the guidelines, it is stressed that the basis of the defence and security of the country was the people themselves.
The idea of basing defence on the people themselves was easily understood by Tanzanians, because it was not new to them. The traditional societies were simple structures where every able-bodied man was also a fighter when the need arose. Some societies were better organised than others. The Wasukuma of central-northern Tanzania developed a thorough system of defence and security in this manner, with the village community constituting a single unit. In the event of any crime, perpetrators were summoned before the village council and interrogated. If found guilty, they were ostracised along with every member of their household. They were not to speak to any member of the community. They were forbidden to join any activity or make contact with any other village member. They remained outcasts until they were pardoned. In case of external threats, the able-bodied were the fighters. These societies were well-knit and could satisfy their needs for defence and security internally.
The TANU guidelines further directed the party to control the military and to ensure that the primary task of the military during peacetime was to enable the people to defend their independence and their policies of socialism and self-reliance. This stand was combined with the countrywide militia training.
Army personnel were dispersed throughout the country and provided with small arms to train the militia. There were those who warned the government of the dangers of arming people indiscriminately. Others decried the wastage of time and manpower. However, the people generally embraced politicisation and military training with unbridled enthusiasm. One reason for such a reception was the glamour of military and especially weapons training, which used to be the preserve of the army. The mystique of the military was now accessible to all. This sharing and rubbing of shoulders enabled both parties to understand each other better and, in most cases, a camaraderie of sorts developed.
At first, national service was meant for primary school leavers. They were taught skills that would be useful to them on returning home. Later, it was made compulsory for secondary school leavers while remaining voluntary for those leaving primary school. The aim was to make those with a higher education repay the nation for providing a free opportunity to become educated and to enable young people from various walks of life to intermingle. This scheme led to a protest demonstration at State House in October 1966 by a group of students, mostly from Dar es Salaam University College. Almost 300 were expelled and, a year later, those who recanted were readmitted.
In 1974, national service was brought under the control of the TPDF. Those who had undergone national service were proud of their achievements especially the military training part. Like the militia, they identified themselves with the armed forces. Most of those who attained high offices in government retained a sympathetic attitude towards the military. Contacts made in militia activities and in the national service went a long way to harmonise relations both in high places and within the general populace.
Social services and development projects were other areas where the armed forces and the people made contact. Small development projects were common especially in the countryside. People would be organised on a self-help basis to build a road, a dispensary or a primary school. The TPDF would always lend a hand in such projects when they happened to be close to the barracks. At times, field engineers would be deployed in far-flung places constructing bridges and roads as part of their practical training. Civilians living close to military barracks were always allowed to use the medical facilities, schools and other available social services. The public enjoyed the soldiers’ participation in games and sports especially because they did not belong to the local feuds and rivalries. In 1996, the favoured football team in the Mtwara and Lindi regions was that of the 3rd Battalion stationed in Nachingwea. Later, the town of Songea hosted two first division teams, Tembo of the TPDF and Maji Maji, a local side. The locals were overwhelmingly in favour of Tembo rather than their own team.
These activities narrowed the areas of conflicts and facilitated co-operation between the armed forces and the general public. The TPDF ceased to be as alien as the Tanganyika Rifles previously was. They were embraced by the people as partners in the development and defence of the country. The soldiers were involved in politics, including standing for elections and competing for public office. During difficult times, they suffered privations like everyone else and so they did not stand out as a privileged group. They lived up to the name of the people’s defence force and they were loved for it.
Integrating the armed forces
The political ideology regarded the TPDF as a tool for nationbuilding and for defence. The armed forces joined the other institutions in the pool from which talent was picked and deployed wherever it was required. At one stage, the military had more than its fair share of district commissioners. They were preferred over civilians because of their disciplined background. During the mid-1980s, about a quarter of the district commissioners were army officers. As late as 1990, 30% of the mainland regional commissioners were from the military. The district and regional commissioners were also the party secretaries in their respective areas, posts that carried heavy administrative and political responsibilities. Cabinet posts were also open to army officers either through election to parliament or direct appointment. In this way, the armed forces did not feel left out of the action., as they were represented in the cabinet and in the regional and district offices. They also had a big presence in the urban and rural areas as militia instructors. They could therefore not point accusing fingers at other political leaders because they were in it together. The military was part of the government and the party hierarchy. It could almost be maintained that they did not need a coup d’état.
Tanzania is divided into 25 administrative regions, which are in turn divided into districts. The regional and district commissioners are ‘heads of government’ in their respective areas. Military units were dispersed evenly throughout the country. The senior commander co-ordinated with the district or regional commissioner in his operational area. The ease with which military commanders interacted with commissioners was a measure of the acceptance of the armed forces by the civilian authorities. It also showed that the military recognised the supremacy of the civilian leadership. There were many instances that demonstrated this. For example, during the war with Idi Amin of Uganda, the commander of the southern zone arranged a consultative meeting in February 1979 at his headquarters in Songea. Without reference to his immediate commander, he asked the regional commissioners, regional police commanders and security officers to attend, which they did, without seeking permission from their respective bosses.
Usually, operational orders follow strict command lines. Sometime in 1980, to ease co-ordination and save time, a classified operational order from TPDF headquarters reached the military and police commanders through the regional commissioner. It was accepted, understood and executed. In this case, it was curious that an order from TPDF headquarters was directed at the regional administration and the police, as well as the military commanders. The bottom line for such a procedure is that the military and the civil government each understood their position and knew that their goal was the same.
According to the National Defence Act, when a regional commissioner needs assistance from the army, he should request the president to invoke the section dealing with aid to the civil power. It has seldom been invoked. In non-combat operational matters, the president would know about it after the issue was settled. Such was the easy relationships in the regions that they dispensed with ‘irksome’ legal provisions.
In this process, the definition of ‘armed forces’ underwent a change that was peculiar to Tanzania. It arose out of the employment of the military, the police, the prison services personnel, the national service personnel and the militia. When the southern border was under threat from the Portuguese, the army and the police were deployed and both proceeded to train the militia. The militia were also involved in guarding the border. When more instructors were needed for training militia countrywide, each of the above was given the task of imparting basic training in their respective areas. To the man in the street, they were all in uniform doing the same thing. They were referred to as Askari, the Kiswahili word for soldier. To the party leader, they were all involved in the defence and security of the nation. When a security meeting was convened, each sent a representative. They also worked closely in areas of common interest. As a result of this, and perhaps because the government wanted to increase cohesion, they were all grouped under the armed forces. Thus, at national parades, all these elements were included and were inspected by the commander-in-chief.
The war against Idi Amin
If the 1964 mutiny was the shame of Tanganyika, then the war against Idi Amin of Uganda was the pinnacle of Tanzania’s achievements. It demonstrated the maturity of its leadership, its political readiness to defend the country and its ability to mobilise rapidly for war. The war between Tanzania and Uganda started in October 1978 when Amin sent troops, who were still loyal to him, after mutineers, some of whom had fled to Tanzania. Amin accused Nyerere of being at the root of his troubles and of waging war against Uganda. With the hope of diverting attention from his internal troubles. Amin invaded Tanzanian territory on 1 November 1978 and formally annexed a section across the Kagera river boundary. Nyerere mobilised his army and counterattacked. In April 1979, Tanzania took Kampala and Amin fled the country. After the war, which lasted from 1978 to 1979, some notable aberration appeared in civil military relations, which was rectified later through economic realities.
It has been mentioned earlier that events in Mozambique, Guinea and Uganda heightened Tanzania’s feeling of insecurity. Tanzania embarked on extensive military preparations for defence. The 1971 TANU guidelines spelled out the duties of every citizen involved in defence. The country was sufficiently sensitised for the people to undertake militia training willingly. The president and other politicians preached to the population about the enemies of Tanzania, in whose ranks Idi Amin appeared prominently. Army commanders and political commissars did not tire of stressing their opposition to Amin to the soldiers and all who would listen. One of the common slogans in the military was Amini haini, that is Amin the traitor. The few voices who argued for moderation towards Amin were drowned in the general condemnation of the man and his military regime. When Amin attacked Tanzania in October 1978, he proved to be a bogeyman that became real, but he found the nation prepared. In declaring his intention to fight Amin’s forces, Mwalimu Nyerere told the nation that Tanzania had the reason to fight Amin, was intent on fighting Amin and had the ability to defeat him. When Mwalimu said that the war effort was not for the army alone on 22 November 1978, but for the entire population, the nation understood him and the reaction was predictable.
The speed with which Tanzania mobilised was indeed astonishing. Few outsiders — including Amin — suspected that the nation had such a capability. In a few weeks, the national army was expanded from less than 40 000 troops to over 100 000. The police, prison services, national service and the militia lived up to their classification as being part of the armed forces. They all contributed to the war efforts in terms of personnel and material. Trained militia flocked in their thousands to recruitment centres. Recruiting officers had problems limiting the numbers selected. The criterion for a militia member was simply that if he is willing, he must be enlisted. In January 1979, an elderly person refused to be turned away from the camp in Makambako, Iringa, because of his age. His logic was simple: he did not feel too old to deal with Amin. Most of the militia were employed in guarding vital installations and the southern border. There was hardly a Tanzanian who could not explain what was going on and why, such was the level of the people’s politicisation.
Logistics caused major problems. Private companies and public institutions contributed vehicles and other material to ease the problems. There was no time to camouflage the equipment. Names and signs on the vehicles and other equipment could be mistaken for advertisements for those who had contributed to the war effort. The Wasukuma of Shinyanga had their own way of expressing support for the war. They drove herds of cattle into the camp at Old Shinyanga to feed the soldiers.
The war and its aftermath
The war and Idi Amin are now history. However, two aspects of civil-military relations merit some comment. Ugandans knew Amin’s soldiers and their notorious behaviour. When the TPDF soldiers arrived, Amin’s soldiers had been around for eight years. Unlike Amin’s soldiers, the TPDF had a relaxed relationship with the local people and at times went out of their way to assist them. Administrative units brought with them salt, sugar, medical and other supplies, which they issued freely to the local inhabitants. As late as 1982, some Ugandans still marvelled at the gentle manners of the Tanzanians, which they could not associate with soldiers.
On returning home, the TPDF soldiers were all heroes. They were received appropriately throughout the country. The government seemed to humour the conquerors. Instead of the usual tight control, they were left to their own devices. The army had grown enormously during mobilisation, and it was expected that it would be reduced to a level even lower than it was before. On the contrary, only a few soldiers were demobilised and the rest were retained. Apparently, this was in appreciation of their contribution to the war effort. There is no recorded comment from the government.
In line with the increase in troops, new units were planned. These were grouped around two divisional headquarters with another two in the pipeline. Again, there was no recorded adverse comment from the government. The expansions were put into operation. There were some comments from within the military against expanding the army when the nation was reeling from the economic effects of the war. Three divisional headquarters were eventually put into operation. Economic realities stopped the expansion and many of the units were later dismantled. The military should not have been allowed so much free rein in matters that affected the economy.
Despite the acceptance and integration of the armed forces into society, civil-military relations have not always been smooth in Tanzania. However, there has not been a coup d’étatArusha Declaration provided an outline of Tanzania’s policy of socialism and self-reliance. Thereafter, various properties were nationalised. A group of disgruntled politicians, whose property had been nationalised, subsequently hatched a plot to overthrow the government. Some four army officers were implicated in the plot. The plot was uncovered in the early stages and a coup was avoided. Civil-military relations were such that it was not easy to plot in secret and succeed. The politicisation of the army and the people enabled all to know that the government had no hidden agenda, and that they could air their views openly. With soldiers in the political and government systems, and politicians in the army, it was well nigh possible to get a substantial following for a coup plot. Fortunately for Tanzania, the 1982 coup plotters learned no lessons from the 1969 plotters, hence their failure.
or a serious attempt at one. In 1969, the
The mutiny in 1964 was fortunate in that it enabled Tanganyika to make a fresh start in the creation and direction of its army. It triggered off far-reaching changes in the history of the country, including the appointment of military officers to political and administrative posts. After the events of 1964, it would be fair to argue that the government did not depend on the military for its existence, but rather, that the military depended on the government. The resultant system leaned towards authoritarianism with a strong personal leadership and a strong party base. The military was small, under civilian control, and well-integrated into the country’s political system. The armed forces respected and defended the political system and had a say and a place in it without becoming meddlesome. This approximates Schiff’s
The government popularised military culture. By including the police, prison and national services in the armed forces and by training the rest of the population in military skills, the army ceased to monopolise the use of force. Add to this a nation that, under Mwalimu’s leadership, had acquired a high degree of harmony and that the military was not likely to intervene in government. As Goldsworthy observed: concordance theory, with the difference that officer recruitment is universal and the role of the military in the political decisionmaking process is not only limited to factors affecting the armed forces.
"in a society which enjoys a high level of cultural security where norms and assumptions are broadly shared, and are adequately expressed in social institutions — both the legitimacy and effectiveness of civilian rule is likely to be high, and the military propensity to intervene (MPI) is likely to be low."
Mwalimu was the architect of stable civil-military relations in Tanzania. This stability survived him and was inherited by his successors in the multiparty system. It remains to be seen whether this will last. In 1992, the military was ordered back into the barracks to be apolitical. However, this order does not make them ignorant of politics. They remember what they used to do, they know the politicians and they understand the people and the country. The people and the politicians know the military. Time will show if the government will be able to handle a politicised apolitical army together with a militarised population. Obviously, the soldier would like to remain professional and to be given the means to do so, at the same time as the government would want the military to keep its place. The people and the military cannot be decoupled — orders cannot keep comrades apart. The government holds the key to the kind of communication channels it is going to have with the armed forces and whether it is going to be convincing to all concerned. If a concordant relationship can be maintained, the prognosis is good.