Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

Let the People Speak: Tanzania Down the Road to Neo Liberalism

Issa G. Shivji. Published June 2006, ISBN 2-86978-183-0 ; 320 pages
Africa: US$25.00, 12500CFA; Elsewhere: £16.95 /$32.50

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"This is an extraordinary record of one country’s descent into ’neo-liberalism’, which roughly translated means socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Issa Shivji’s shrewd eye concentrates on Tanzania, but his stories could be from almost anywhere in Africa, if not the world." - John Pilger,

This book of 90 critical and thought-provoking essays, selected from over 150 written between 1990 and 2005 in three different newspapers, captures the richness of Shivji’s contributions as a public intellectual. It deals with the period when Tanzania under external pressures from donors and financial institutions was forced down the road of neo-liberalism. The local compradorial elites whose economic appetites had been suppressed under Nyerere’s radical nationalism now openly flexed muscles to get a place under the capitalist sun as nationalism, radical or otherwise, was abandoned, and neo-liberalism uncritically embraced.

The essays are on varied subjects ranging from the politics of multi-party, the strains and stresses of the Union with Zanzibar, the deep-seated extra-constitutional behaviour of the ruling elite to the hopes, fears and resistance of the working people. In these essays, contemporary Tanzanian history is recorded in sweeping journalistic strokes without burying the commitment of a critical public intellectual in turgid scholarship. As a warning on the slippery slope that neo-liberalism constitutes, Let the People Speak will echo in many an African country. Hence the salience and relevance of Shivji’s renewed call for the resurrection of a radical, people driven Pan-Africanism.

Issa G. Shivji is Professor of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam where he has been teaching since 1970. He has authored over a dozen books and numerous articles. His books include Class Struggles in Tanzania (1976), The Concept of Human Rights in Africa (1989) and Not Yet Democracy: Reforming Land Tenure in Tanzania (1998).


  • Introduction
  • Part I: Enter Multiparty: A Critical Review of the Nyalali Report
  • Part II: On Constitutionalism and Constitution-Making
  • Part III: The Union Question
  • Part IV: Parties, Power and Politicians: The Tycoonisation of CCM
  • Part V: Intellectuals in Politics
  • Part VI: Down the Road to Neo-Liberalism
  • Part VII: The Loss of Vision and the Rise of Chauvinism, Race, Religion and Ethnicity
  • Part VIII: State Violence and Impunity
  • Part IX: Freedom of Assembly, Association and Expression
  • Part X: Pan-Africanism or Imperialism?

ISBN 2-86978-183-0 Africa: US$25.00, 12500CFA; Elsewhere: £16.95 /$32.50

June 11 2006