The Search for Political Focus on Kilimanjaro: A History of Chagga Politics, 1916-1952

Rogers, Susan Geiger (1972) The Search for Political Focus on Kilimanjaro: A History of Chagga Politics, 1916-1952. Masters thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.

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This dissertation examines the background and development of "unofficial" political activity among the chagga people of Mt. Kilimanjaro during 36 years (1916-1952) of British rule. The term "unofficial" is used here to distinguish the kind of political tormented activity under consideration from that which occurred within the administrative structure imposed on what was then known as Tanganyika Territory, and among the officially constituted Native Authorities through which the British Government ruled. Unofficial political activity, of necessity, took place within the general context of, and was influenced try, the system of Indirect Rule, but it occurred outside that established structure and was therefore a challenge to it, and by extension, ta that entire paternaIIstlc arlmlnlstrat Lon. Both chagga's pre-colonial history, and the experience of German colonial rule were to affect Chagga political perception in the periodic under consideration Chagga origins and settlement, the institutions of kinship, the establishment of chief-ship, and the effects of the impact of alien influence and rule on evolving political,, and economic structures and relationship are therefore considered in some detail. on Kilimanjaro the successfully introduction of an important cash crop, coffee, and the establishment of a relatively independent chagga cooperative, coupled with antagonism over extensive land alienation, the open hostility of loca1 European settlers toward Chagga coffee growing, and the ambiguous position of the administration with regard to all of these developments, provided the stimulus and context for Chagga political activity in the 1920,s. confrontations with established authority also occurred between Chagga t4r"rsllms and the Native Authorities of Machame chiefdom and within the Liepzig Lutheran Church of Kilimanjaro, but the main currents of, political concern and protest continued to flow from and focus on issues raised by leaders of the important, mountain-wide coffee cooperative. When in the early 1930's, the Government "Organized" the cooperative, ousting its leadership and utilizing chiefly "powers" to secure close control over the Chagga coffee industry, questions of traditional authority and the relationships between the chiefs, their people, and the Central Government in Dar-es Salaam were raised. In 1935, a sudden falling the price of coffee triggered latent resentment against the reorganized cooperative and alternately involved Chagga farmers, teachers, traders, and craftsmen in a contest with the cooperative, the chiefs, and the administration over economic and political rights in Uchagga. Organized protest and loyal action on the part of the dissidents led to increasing repressive measures on the part of the chiefs and administration. In September of 1937, dissident attempts to shut down the cooperative society of Machame and Marangu chiefdoms resulted in arrests and deportations. These measures, along with administrative recognition of an alleged "native law" which gave the Chagga chiefs the power to prohibit public meetings, brought an end to open hostility and criticism on Kilimanjaro, but left the basic economic and political issues that had led to unrest unresolved. During the early 1940s, increasing economic prosperity, record breaching agricultural productivity, and Chagga complainant to the war effort overshadowed the conflicts of the l930s while the potter of the chiefs to ban meetings effectively prevented any other discussion of airing grievances on the mountain and amounted to a virtual prohibition of local political activity. Between 1945 and 1948, the nationally oriented proto-political African Resolution gained a foothold in Moshi town and in several areas of the mountain, but a combination of post-war expectations and disappointments involving land, education, in crossed taxes, and Native Authority reform kept Chagga attention focused inward. In i948, when the Government modified its positioning on the Chagga chiefs' right to prohibit public meetings, three Chagga political activists who had long been regarded as "agitators" by the chiefs and administration formed Uchaggars first local political party. The Kilimanjaro (chagga Citizens) Union of Freemen rapidly attracted a broad-based resembling Uchagga and at the same time established branches in neighboring areas. Utilizing the unresolved grievances of the late 1920's and 1930's, the ever-present fear of alienation and concern with problems of land shortage, and the widespread dissatisfaction with the system of Divisional Chiefs which the administration had imposed in 1946, the Union challenged officially established local Native Authorities and the entire system of indirect administration. They called for an end to the wangle (divisional Chiefs), power to the raia (citizens), and unity for the Chagga people through a popularly elected Paramount Chief. Reacting to this challenge, local officials sought to regain lost initiative by forcing their own concepts of" enlightened reform" on the Chagga. But the Union wanted more than increased representation on the established councils; they wanted to reverse an entire process which had seen the chiefs become the servant snot of the people, but of the colonials administration “The paramount movement and the ultimate election of a Paramount Chief from out elder of the Native Authority system represented the culmination of the efforts of Uchagga's unofficial political spokesmen to unite the Chagga chiefdoms and establish popular control in the context of Indirect Rule. It was only in the mid-1950rs that rely Chagga Leaders-younger, more highly educated men with broader political perspective-were able to advance the idea that the context it self-prohibited the realization of genuine. If-government, and that the Paramount Chief was ananachronlsm and an obstacle in the path of independence for all of Tanganyika.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Kilimanjaro and the Pre-Colonial Setting, The Alien Impact and the Disruption of Political Synthesis on Kilimanjaro, War, Conspiracy, And The Decline Of Chiefly Initiative, 1916-1920, Coffee And The Counter-Elite, 1921-1928, Testing The Limits, 1929-1931, The Quest for Improvement and the Realities of Indirect Rule, 1932-1938, War-Time Developments And Post-War Disappointments, 1936-1947, the Rise of Chagga Nationalism, Kilimanjaro’s Penultimate Solution , 1948-1952
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D051 Ancient History
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Africana
Depositing User: JHI Africa
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2014 05:52
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2016 09:17

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