Party colleges in Tanzania: a study of perceptions and attitudes concerning their role and place in society

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examines the problems which have been confronting party colleges during the twenty seven years of their existence since the founding of Kivukoni College in 1961. The study is based on the activities of these colleges, attitudes concerning their considered to be an objective assessment of usefulness. Apart from these experiences, intensive use of documentary evidence has been used in order to bring to light the numerous policy matters, decisions and outcomes which have controlled and guided their activities since then. The study reveals that by the mid 1980's there was no substantial evidence suggesting that they were achieving the results expected of them, in the service and benefit to society. Instead, contra-evidence showing that they have not managed to prepare and produce the sort of cadres who could have successfully enhanced the party's leadership role in spearheading national reconstruction, seems to be relatively abundant. Furthermore, the study also shows that even those party members and leaders who have undergone political and ideological training in the party colleges so far have neither been fully and gainfully utilised in the party-state system itself, nor directly in the villages where the majority of the people live. The central argument of this study is that since the role and place of party colleges in society depend very much on that played and occupied by the ruling political party itself, the experiences of people who are closely connected with and whose perceptions and role and place in society can be the extent of their both extensive and whole idea and subsequent system of party colleges in contemporary Tanzanian society has been rendered ineffectual due to the inherent weaknesses of the party's leadership role. The ruling political party in Tanzania shows ample signs depicting fundamental ideological-organisational weaknesses which tend to undermine its supreme authority over state organs and society in general. By demonstrating these deficiencies, the study suggests that it is only through an ideologically and organisationally strong party that the efficacy of PC in Tanzania can be secured and guaranteed. This study analyses five factors whose unity constitutes an integrated system of political and ideological training in Tanzania via the medium of party colleges. The first one is about the necessity of a system of issuing proper, regular and consistent ideological-organisational guidelines to the colleges for goal orientation and organisation. The second, concerns the suitability of internal college organisation structures and the position occupied by the colleges in the over all party organisation at national level. The focus here is on efficiency and effectiveness of operations. The necessity for dynamic and problem oriented curricula in the party colleges forms the third factor of this study. Such curricula are regarded as having the requisite capacities and capabilities of preparing and producing cadres able to enhance the party's leading role amidst changing concrete conditions and circumstances. The fourth factor stresses the importance of the effectiveness of this leadership role in commanding and wielding political power capable of stimulating state responsiveness which is positively inclined towards the colleges. The final factor, is about the importance of research and consultancy work by party colleges. This work is important for their credibility and functionality in society as party academic institutions. And it is equally so for their dependability as centres of progressive ideas for the intellectual and moral liberation of the masses, and for forging closer links with them. The study has adequately shown the inter-dependence of these factors, and demonstrated that had they been looked at from this point of view, and backed by a sound national policy of party cadres, the picture of party colleges in Tanzania would probably not be as gloomy as it now appears to be. However, by saying this, the study has not failed to acknowledge the various efforts currently being undertaken to provide for a better and more effective PC system.
Available in print form
Party Colleges, Tanzania, Political parties, Universities and colleges
Mdoe, A. H(1990) Party colleges in Tanzania: a study of perceptions and attitudes concerning their role and place in society, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at ( )