State control over cooperatives through law in Tanzania (mainland): an appraisal of some new development on cooperative laws

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study is an examination of State Control over Cooperatives in Tanzania. The study confines itself to the years 1932-1991. Both years mark official starting points of two important events in the history of the Cooperative Movement. On the one hand, in 1932, the first Cooperative Law - the Cooperative Societies Ordinance was enacted. On the other hand, the year 1991 marks a starting point towards managing the transition to autonomous, member-based Cooperative. The focus of the study is, however, on State Control over Cooperatives. The study offers a post-mortem of such control in both the colonial and independent periods. It therefore, analyses the forces and motives behind such control. It is vividly shown in the study that state control over cooperatives is a phenomenon traceable in both periods. In order to understand the continued trend of this control the study submits that one has to examine socio-economic forces behind both the colonial and independent regimes. The colonial state, the study argues, was an extension of the metropolitan state and hence an instrument of the same state. The main aim of this colonial state was to protect metropolitan capital in the colony so as to guarantee the generation of higher rates of surplus value in the metro pole. The colonial state had, therefore, to police capital investment in the colony and create a suitable infrastructure needed for the exploitation of raw materials for industrial Europe. In this regard, cooperatives were used as conduit pipes through which cash crops could cheaply be extracted. This needed legal backing, hence, the enactment of the Cooperative Societies Ordinance, 1932. The transition from colonialism to independence witnessed the independent state changing its class character by becoming a neo-colonial state with its economy dominated and controlled by the interests of the imperialistic centres. The independent state, therefore, had a different basis for hegemony. Unlike in the advanced capitalist states, the main characteristic of the neo-colonial phenomenon included authoritarian statism i.e. an intensified state control over every sphere of social and economic life, combined with a radical decline of institutions of political democracy and with draconian and mult-form curtailment of formal liberties. This manifests itself in the manner the class in power had tried to consolidate itself by suppressing civil organizations of which the Cooperative Movement was one of them. From 1961 to date there has been an attempt towards more and more officialization of Cooperatives. This has eroded member participation in the movement. The Current developments in the Cooperative movement are geared towards deofficializing cooperatives. The study shows that little has changed in the Cooperative Societies Act1991 because state control over cooperatives has been retained. This, the study concludes, is due to the nature of the Tanzanian state which basically remains a neo-colonial one.
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Co-operative societies, Cooperative law, Tanzania
Mbiro, V. W (1992)State control over cooperatives through law in Tanzania (mainland): an appraisal of some new development on cooperative laws,Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at ( )