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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Sudanese Political Parties Youth Training Workshop (3)

A very important 5-Day (20 -24 Aug) workshop ended with much hope that it will strengthen the performance of Sudanese political parties in the future

. The workshop was organized by the United Nations Political Affairs (Africa Division), UNDP– Sudan Office and in cooperation with the SPPAC (Sudanese Political Affairs Parties Council).
The organizers described the workshop as very
successful. Many important presentations were made during the Workshop 5 days and which will focus on some of them in this report.

Education System

It was through the education system that Swahili came to be the national language of Tanzania. The public school curriculum was employed to stress common Tanzanian history, culture, and values and to inculcate students with a strong sense of national and Pan-African identity (Miguel 2004). By the late 1960s, Green notes that political education was included as a standard curriculum subject tested in exams for both primary and secondary education. For example in a 1973 Form 6 exam, one typical question was, “Discipline is a prerequisite of nation building. Comment on this with respect to Tanzania at present?”. Upon completion of secondary school, graduates were required to serve two years in the National Service which in itself was designed to promote national unity and has since been revived to curb moral decay and install a sense of patriotism . Many other African countries promoted obligatory military conscription and/or national service for secondary school or university students as a means of integrating their citizens. In Angola, for instance, all citizens over the age of 20 are required to serve 2 years in the military, this has been statutory since 1993.In Nigeria, all university students have been required to join the National Youth Service Corps since 1973. The Corps was designed to promote national unity by posting students to a state other than their state of birth.

Non-ethnic censuses

The Nyerere administration embarked on a project of collecting census data along non-ethnic or religious categories after 1967. On the other hand, the University of Dar es Salaam prohibited research about ethnicity. By radically de-emphasizing sub-national (ethnic) group orientations in public life, the government did not diminish the power these groups held, but it did successfully relegate them to private life. According to Chazan, (1982: 464),
these moves were seen "as a step to eliminate divisive and tribal forces which militate against national unity and progress". To deal with religious pluralism and in order to encourage the formation of a national identity, the Tanzanian government historically sought to mitigate the importance of religion for a person’s identity (Halloran 2013). Thus, the Tanzanian government has not taken a census that includes religion since 1967, though the government claims there are equal amounts of Muslims and Christians in Tanzania. Lieberman & Singh (2009) highlighted the detrimental effects of institutionalizing ethnicity through censuses arguing that this creates the necessary breeding space for the outbreak of political violence.

Political leadership and ideology

All of the previously mentioned nation building policies in Tanzania were underpinned by strong political leadership with a clear ideological position. The philosophies of Julius Nyerere which were inspired by a Pan-Africanist and socialist political philosophy downplayed the role of ethnic affiliation in public life and instead emphasized a single Tanzanian national identity (Miguel 2004). A founding principle of Nyerere’s ruling party, the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) was ‘to fight tribalism and any other factors which would hinder the development of unity among Africans’ (Miguel 2004, Abdulaziz 1980). The self-reliance and socialist system of Ujamaa was a central feature of the nation building project. Ujamaa was Nyerere's version of African Socialism rooted in traditional African values and had as its core the emphasis on family hood and communalism of traditional African societies while being upheld by the pillars of freedom, equality and unity (Ibhawoh and Dibua2003: 62). It brought people together in specific villages to ensure a relatively easy supply of social services, political mobilisation as well as creating self-sufficient villages. It should be noted that this policy despite improving the lives of some of the Tanzanians was received with scepticism by some members of the communities, particularly progressive private farmers and villagers who had to leave their traditional lands where their families had lived for centuries.
Driven by the need to recognise the importance of representing, all groups with the intention of gaining widespread legitimacy for the nationhood, the government instituted policies that incorporated diverse groups at its uppermost levels. The Tanzania African National Union (TANU) declared to alternate its presidential and vice-presidential candidates, with one from Zanzibar and one from the mainland in each election, a policy that also had the effect of encouraging religious balance. Furthermore civil servants were posted beyond their home regions and moved frequently to avoid the appearance of patronage. As a result of these laws and policies, it was difficult to perceive the government as anything other than national, although a preponderance of Christians in leadership roles was a persistent problem.
Another important component of the political reform package carried out in Tanzania was the complete overhaul of local government institutions, with the aim of strengthening village councils and district councils. Traditional rural authorities and customary tribal law inherited from the colonial period were completely dismantled in Tanzania upon independence, and this may have played a role in further diminishing the place of ethnicity in Tanzania. In 1963, the African Chiefs Ordinance (Repeal) Act was introduced to abolish the institution of the chieftaincy. The chiefs were also denied an opportunity for seeking judicial redress for loss of office under the Abolition of Office: Consequential Provisions Act 1963. To replace the structure of tribal authority, the Nyerere administration instituted an elaborate system of overlapping local committees, all of which were connected to TANU as the governing party.
As noted earlier, the nation building policies adopted in Tanzania are not unique to the country. However these policies were less successful in some countries, they did not prevent political fragmentation, conflict and even civil wars. Kenya is one case in point where nation building was not as effective, although the government is trying to foment unity.

Kenya Nation building

Kenya is a natural case to juxtapose with Tanzania because as Miguel (2004) noted, they have similar geography and histories, but they have followed radically different nation building policies since independence. In addition, Barkan (1994) noted that both countries experienced British colonial rule and inherited a common set of political, administrative, and economic institutions. As adjacent countries, they share a common climate and have similar natural resource endowments. However, as Miguel (2004:331) points out, “this is not to say that both countries are identical but to note that many social scientists have taken the fundamental similarity of Kenya and Tanzania as an analytical starting point”, and this paper follows in this tradition.
Kenya has over 70 ethnic groups but the five largest - Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba and Kalenjin account for 70% of the population. Forster, Hitchcock and Lyimo (2000) observe that ethnic undercurrents have always been a significant force in politics both before and after independence. They add that divisions were such that in 1960 there was a split between the Kenya African National Union (KANU) and the Kenya African Democratic Union (KADU), which were along tribal lines (Forster, Hitchcock and Lyimo 2000). KANU was dominated by Kikuyu and Luo and had wider support. KADU was supported by those who felt excluded such as the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu groups and this is where Daniel ArapMoi who took over from Jomo Kenyatta (Sr) established himself. KADU amalgamated with KANU in 1964, but even within the framework of the one-party state that was established, ethnic undercurrents remained evident.
Demands for recognition of local needs could easily raise ethnic issues; and in particular, “there was criticism of Kikuyu reluctance to allow the less developed parts of the country to catch up”. Another  contentious issue was that of redistribution of land of which there were allegations that a disproportionate share went to the Kikuyu.
The divergence between Kenya and Tanzania can broadly be attributed to political socialization which entails how the mass media and the educational system can be employed by political leaders to inculcate citizens with "desirable" political ideals, including a strong attachment to the nation over ethnic and regional identities. However if there is no political will from a country’s leadership to socialise citizens to supress ethnic identities, then nation building is futile. This was possibly one of the major differences between Kenya and Tanzania.

Political leadership and ideology

The first president of independent Kenya, President Jomo Kenyatta (Sr) and his party were also proponents of African socialism. Under their version of socialism, all citizens were encouraged to contribute to the rapid development of the economy and society. Every member of African traditional society had a duty to work to ensure success in the endeavours of the Government. The Harambee system of fundraising introduced in 1965 by Jomo Kenyatta was a central feature that promoted a sense of national unity and hard work (Deng 2008). Harambee, meaning "let's all pull together," is an indigenous tradition of self-help that involves collective and cooperative participation of a community in an attempt to fill perceived needs through utilization of its own resources. Despite propounding a Kenyan version of African socialism, “the first two presidents, Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel ArapMoi, were perceived as "tribalists" and political opportunists who thrived on the politics of ethnic division” . During their reign, ethnicity became the primary cleavage of political life in Kenya. the Moi regime in particular was widely implicated in arming and financing violent ethnic militias before national elections in 1992 and 1997 that left hundreds dead (Miguel 2004). This was unlike the Tanzanian leader Nyerere who forcefully downplayed the role of ethnic affiliation in public life.

The Kenyan education system

Although the Kenyan Ministry of Education made several nation building pronouncements in the 1960s, Miguel (2004: 336) notes that “these were merely vague invocations, as there was little evidence within schools that the rhetoric was followed by any serious attempts to make real changes”. For nearly twenty years after independence, the central government in Kenya did not use the school curriculum to promote a coherent national linguistic or ideological identity. The official geography, history, and civics (GHC) curriculums did not study Kenya as a nation until grade 5 and the focus on provincial geography and history in grades 1-4 probably served to exacerbate regional and ethnic divisions, especially among the many Kenyans who dropped out of primary school before grade 5. Nyaberi (2011) recommended that the education policy in Kenya should accentuate the interrelationships and diversity of cultural heritage globalized world by formulating and implementing a critical and culturally inclusive national curriculum that would strengthen Kenya’s national identity as a multicultural nation.
The potential for education to encourage national integration and unity in Kenya was also undermined by the colonial and the post-independence language policies. Education policies during the colonial period insisted on the use of local vernaculars as the languages of instruction. Thereby, the Kenyan population was effectively denied a common language to communicate and organize nationally. In the post-independence period, the Kenyan government placed more emphasis on the use of local vernacular languages and English instead of Swahili. Local vernacular languages were particularly used for instruction in primary schools and Swahili and English in secondary schools. Although Swahili was taught in primary schools as a subject it was not considered important enough to be included as an examinable subject for the primary school leaving exam until the late 1980s (Weber 2009: 17). The lack of a unifying language in education was accentuated by overall competition between vernacular languages and the national language.

The national language policy

Currently, the national languages of Kenya are Swahili and English. However, compared to its neighboring country Tanzania, Swahili is used to a lesser degree. In Kenya, Swahili is competing with English and a multitude of regional vernacular languages, such as Gikuyu, Kalenjin, Dholuo, and Kikamba. The preponderance of ethnic languages was exacerbated by Kenyatta who sometimes addressed the population in his mother tongue Gikuyu even when addressing people who did not belong to the Kikuyu ethnic group (Weber 2009). In addition, the liberalization of the media in 2002 and the spread of vernacular radio stations, such as Inooro FM and Kameme FM (Kikuyu), and Kass FM (Kalenjin), elevated the use of vernaculars and intensified ethnic consciousness and animosity. It is reported that in the post-election period, these radio stations provided a platform for hate-speech and thereby crucially contributed to the ethnic violence experienced in 2008.

Economic inclusion

Kochore (2014) puts it on record that since the disputed elections of 2007, and the subsequent tumultuous post-election period, the government of Kenya has embarked on a national healing and integration process. To achieve this goal, a national cohesion and integration commission was set up for essential reasons which are to promote national unity and the development of economic infrastructure in Kenya. It was also set up to oversee one of the main integration projects called the Lamu Port, South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) Project of 2012. This project focused on the development of the once marginalized region of Northern Kenya. Kochore (2014) notes that the northern region of Kenya has historically been marginalized and left on the periphery of the Kenyan national development projects. The ongoing LAPSSET project seeks to build infrastructure across the highly underdeveloped Northern Kenyan Region including an oil pipeline, railway, roads and a port at the coastal old town of Lamu to create a network that will connect South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, facilitating trade and most importantly, to provide oil-producing and landlocked South Sudan with a Passage to the Indian Ocean.

The use of infrastructural programs represents an evolution in nation building programs by directly integrating and mixing individuals from different parts of the country through extended road and rail links. Alesina and Reich (2013: 7) point out that the simplest way of thinking about homogenization is building roads, railroads or airports in order to reduce the costs of distance from the capital. This homogenises or creates unity by reducing economic isolation through facilitating access to resources or government services offered in the capital. The further an individual is from the government the more the more their socio-economic and political condition will differ, thus undermining a nation building project.
Inequality underlies the differing nation building outcomes in Tanzania and Kenya. It appears that ethnic groups in Tanzania shared more or less similar socio-economic and political backgrounds in contrast to Kenya where ethnic inequalities were more pronounced. Recent attempts by the Kenyan government to develop previously underdeveloped areas would therefore likely contribute positively towards nation building. The issue of inequality undermining attempts at nation building will be discussed further in the following case studies of South Africa and Namibia.