Nyerere and the African Theory of Democracy

Conrad John Masabo

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Statecraft, under democratic principles in Tanzania in particular, is often considered as a total heritage from former colonial masters. Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922–1999) disputed this by advancing an African theory of democracy, articulated to inform modern statecraft in Tanzania. His theory advances a form of democracy characterized by a merger of some practices from the African past and others from the western world. In this way, he articulated the centrality of democracy in organizing public affairs without compromising its African origin but also acknowledging the influence of other democratic cultures in the modern organization of a polity. This article articulates Nyerere's contribution to African democratic discourse and the extent to which his theory of democracy is relevant in the organization of contemporary politics and democratic trajectories in Tanzania and Africa in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-51
Number of pages16
JournalDemocratic Theory
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • democracy
  • nation-state
  • Nyerere
  • party system
  • theory
  • Ujamaa


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