ABSTRACT Nawaz (1965) “Wilsonian concept of self-determination

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Tanzania is one of
countries which experienced a long history of colonial domination which among
other things went in hand with exploitation of natural resources, forced labor,
oppression, torture, cultural domination and total political control, the
colonial era Tanzania (formally Tanganyika) experienced a high standard of
violation of human rights. Between 1950s and 1960s African, Arab, Asian, and
other colonial countries including Tanzania which was Tanganyika before union
with Zanzibar waged significant ant colonial movement to demand for their
independence, there were various means used to demand the independence which
included peaceful and the use of force, Tanzania achieved their independence from
British in 1961 through peaceful means Msellemu (2013).  Between 1950s and 1960s was a period
which many African, Asian and Arab countries advocated for self determination
in their pursuit of anti-colonial movement. The basis of this paper is to
affirm that ‘independence struggle in Tanzania was about self determination not
human rights’ this discussion can be well initiated by well understanding the
meaning of the two concept and carefully examination struggle for independence
in Tanzania,


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Self determination as a
concept appeared to be significant in post World War politics and legal debate,
the concept was perceived differently by various scholars and politicians. The
noted scholars includes the following, Antonio
Cassese provided that “declaring the right to self determination should not be
underrated because it establishes a permanent link self determination and civil
and political rights” his conception is based highlights self determination
as different from civil and political rights but there is significant
relationship between the two. Thomas
Frank provided that self determination can be considered as “the first building
block of democratic entitlement” with the attempt of Woodrow Wilson conceived self determination as relating to self
governance, where the citizen are governed by the government they consent, Nawaz
(1965) “Wilsonian concept of self-determination consisted of the notion of
self-government of peoples”, According
to Brian Simpson relates self determination as the campaign intended influence
UN to pursue decolonization. For him
decolonization seems to be very linked to self determination.  

legal basis of self determination has its history after the first world war
with league of nations, where the original paper mentioned this principle and
then with various amendment if fail to have legal recognition (Nawaz, 1965).
Then the significant achievement of the principle of self determination marked
with replacement of league of nation by United Nations (UN), where the two
articles of the Chapter mentions self determination, in mentioning the four
purposes of UN Article 1. Includes self determination, also article 55 mentions
self determination denoting peacefully and friendly relationship among nations,
while another important milepost was United Nations General Assembly Resolution
1514 ‘Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and the
people’  which provide that

the people have the right to self determination: by the virtue of this right
they freely determine their own political status, freely pursue their economic,
social and cultural development”

rights are referred as the basic rights which every individual have because he or
she is a human, cannot be divided or taken from any person regardless of the
circumstance, race or any other patterns of inequalities. United Nations defines
Human rights as

rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex,
nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human
rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture,
freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many
more.  Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.”

Struggle was about Self
determination not Human rights

contemporary conception of self determination in legal framework has undergone
various improvements to the extent that it is very difficult to completely
separate self determination from human right, but  taking the meaning that self determination
primarily focused on the need to have free state, a sovereign with its own
people determining its government and economic status was the primary concern
of Tanzania in their struggle for independence contrary to the existed colonial
domination which was not accepted by the colonized, the connection between
human rights and independence struggle appears to make sense when various
colonial actions which are considered violation of human rights, with human
rights among other rights, every person is free to pursue interests or
activities and also have the right to own property and take part in political
activities whereas colonial administration individuals were treated like
subjects coerced to do various economic activities, oppressed and humiliated
while denied their political rights and 
their properties were forceful taken by colonialists therefore their
struggle for independence can be spoken in the language of human rights but
with various other experience human right was not the primary concern of
independence struggle especially for elites who pioneered independence struggle
lead by Julius K. Nyerere.

to emphasize that Tanzania struggle for independence was about self
determination and not human right one may claim that human rights would have
guaranteed even under colonial government, the struggle for human rights would
not necessarily need political independence where the struggle would have
focused on forcing the colonial government to guarantee human rights, because
human rights was not the primary motive to independence struggle self
determination is very suitable to explain the base for these struggle then
human rights, tracing the colonial political activities Tanganyika was one of
the colonies which had gradually started to be guaranteed some of the specific
human rights from racial based to include Tanganyikans these includes rights
like to vote in partial elections under colonial administration, representation
and allowed  social associations which
then allowed political parties especially in the between 1950s and 1960s helped
in the struggle for independence. Parkinson (2007) highlights;

1957 Governor Sir Edward Twinning brought in a new constitution that expanded
the legislative council to 67 members, 30 of whom were to be elected, ten each
from the African, Asian, and European communities. Elections were held in two
phases, September 1958 and February 1959. TANU campaigned on the slogan of
‘self-government in 1959’ and expected British Government to make this concession
if it had an electoral victory”

self-government campaign advocated by TANU self determination accommodate this
hence struggle for independence.

speaking of reasons for struggle for independence in Tanzania, one may examine
anti colonial resistance prior to 1960s, where the societies (nations) based in
Tanganyika was not ready to agree foreign domination and lose their primary
legitimate rule of different kind like kingship and clan ruling systems which
was not necessarily respecting all human rights but they were accepted, so the
drive to anti-colonial movement can be seen as the question of legitimacy of
colonial government, prior to long colonial experience societies attempted to
refuse to be dominated by waging active and inactive resistance against the
colonial domination. Citing Maji Maji war between the German colonialists and
the residents of the southern Tanganyika Msellemu (2013) highlights 

“Maji Maji war took time to plan and did
not come with the fall of Tanganyika into colonialism immediately to the German
but came when colonial rule had been in place for a while. The consequences of
the loss of sovereignty was now clear to people.”

 The primary agenda can be seen to be based on
fact that they did not accepted foreign conquest (colonial Conquest) and they
needed self government freedom from domination, political freedom as an agenda
in self determination

despite the fact that colonial administration violated various human rights,
struggle for independence was based more political freedom from colonial
domination so that they can be able to organize their own kind of
administration and destinations of the state and its people rather colonial
control in every sphere of life, can be proved by the priorities set soon after
achieving political independence in the 1960s, where the country under between
1960s to 1970s Tanzania under Nyerere administration set various socialistic
national programs to determine the future of Tanzania while ignoring some basic
civil and political rights under the name of national building project, the
state owned property, banned civil society association which was threat to the
legitimacy of the government, limited political participation in decision
making which was dictated by the party system and other post colonial
causalities which are contrary to the universality claims of human rights.

may hold the view that denying including the bill of rights in the independence
constitution, the primary driving force of struggle for independence was more
concerned with self determination perceived in sovereignty and where people of
Tanganyika will govern themselves and live free from colonial domination, Peter

negotiating for the independence nationalists lead by the Tanganyika African National
Union (TANU) refused to have bill of rights included of the new state”

proves human rights was not primarily significant in independence struggle
because even after achieving independence the first phase of government still
inherited colonial apparatus which was used by colonial government to coerce, explaining
among the reasons of rejecting bill of rights  

to Brown’s collections, the main reason for rejecting the bill of rights was
Brown’s fear that a bill of right would destroy the legal system of Tanganyika.
The legal system viewed as an externally imposed institution that had never
fully taken root and become autochthonous”

may subscribe to the view that like some countries who thought human rights
were western norms although was not openly expressed by Tanganyika independence
struggle pioneers but the actions during the eve of independence and post
independence which are contrary to human rights may be of reference for this
case and so to state human struggle for independence was for political freedom
for state to arrange its government and determine its arrangement in social and
economic life rather than the concept of struggle primarily for human rights as
the drive to independence struggle.


determination as a right of state cannot take the position of human rights and
it cannot be separated from human rights, self determination and human right
are complements each other, a human right cannot be compulsory precondition to
state determination but with safe determination denoting a free independent
state from external interference, which its people determine its political
status human rights can be guaranteed since a sovereign state can set various
mechanisms of protecting and promoting human rights through a legal framework,
like incorporation of the bill of rights or signing and ratifying various human
rights treaties, for Tanzania experience the protection of human rights in
constitution can highlighted progressively from worse situation of human rights
protection at the eve of independence throughout 1970s to better situation when
in the Bill of rights was incorporated in 1977 coming into force 1985, summing
up these arguments the base for struggle independence was self determination in
Tanzania not human rights.

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