Saturday, July 9, 2016

Ten Years After: Remembering Chachage (1955-2006)

As we commemorate the life and times of Chachage Seithy Loth Chachage (8 January 1955 - 9 July 2006) let us recall what he once said on matters that were close to his heart and mind:

"I believe, democracy has to make sense of the interest of the contending groups. It has to be linked to the whole question of restructuring the social relations so that individuals and organisations are able to pose the questions within the context of control of resources and questions of social and political emancipation more sharply. What multi-party politics are doing is to reduce politics to the number of parties and the number of votes. It is for this reason that such politics are elitist, since their assumption is that people do not and are incapable of thinking, and therefore, they must be represented. People are incapable of making their own history, it is only the parties and the state which are capable of doing so. Here the attempt is to even deny the existence of politics outside the parties. Emancipation politics require that one recognises the other sites of politics such as the factory, the farm, the household, the street, the village, the school, etc. They require the involvement of all the people in resisting state arbitrariness and all forms of domination and exploitation. Is it possible to think beyond current party politics? Is it possible for parties which are organically linked to the working people to emerge? What mode of politics will make such a possibility a reality? These are some of the questions which remain hanging given the current political liberalisation" - Chachage's 'Some Reflection on the Limits of Multi-Party Democracy in Africa' in 1993

"For the publishing industry to regain its glory in Tanzania, it needs to abandon the view that it is a specialised concern and uphold the banner of public criticism. This means, it has to be the means, as Oruka puts it, for which the ordinary men and women can expression the fact that they are hungry or jobless. It has to be the means through which corruption, rhetorics and hypocrisy are exposed and condemned. Within this process of public criticism, problems (for example) of the various industries can be exposed, debated and dealt with. It is within the same process that it will be possible for all teachers to decide democratically what should become a textbook or what type of textbook is needed, and hence free textbooks from institutions"  -  Chachage on 'The Trouble with the Publishing Industry in Tanzania' in 1989

"Capitalism has been developing at a fast rate in the urban areas and it has done so at the expense of the countryside - this is a law of capitalism in general. Consequently, further development of agricultural enterprises has been constrained by the rapid capitalist accumulation in the towns in terms of drawing labour, capital, raw materials and food from the countryside" - Chachage on 'The Development of Urban Capitalism in Tanzania' in 1983

"It is suggested here that our knowledge can only be as good as the questions we ask. Historical knowledge which whose content represents an intervention in the current social reality as part of a theoretical weapon in current struggles, which is in dire need, is the one which analyses possibilities of social transformations and helps social actors to conceptualise theoretical canons for the transformation of the status quo or for its forced maintenance" - Chachage's 'Some Remarks on Ellen M. Wood's Talk on 'The Limits of Capitalism' in 1999

"What this amounts to is that, contrary to the current myth of a diminished role of the state, what is required to deal with the problem facing our country is a strong developmental state, which is at the same time democratic. That is, the challenge for us is how to emerge with development policies that will result in the building of a state-society nexus that is developmental, democratic, and socially inclusive.  By developmental is meant a state that is capable of facilitating and promoting economic growth while at the same time protecting national interests. Democratic means a state-society relationship that is based on popular control by the majority of those who are poor and marginalised. And socially inclusive means pursuing social policies that aim at provision of equal and equitable entitlements to productive and reproductive resources" - Chachage on 'Why is Tanzania Still Poor Forty Years After Independence?' in 2003


Kibogoji July 11, 2016 at 11:12 PM  

Great post. These are thoughts provoking ideas and still relevant today.

I was in the understanding that Chachange died ab old man. He indeed wad very young.

Rest in peace.

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