THE party official, dressed in a neatly ironed, blue safari suit and clasping a bullhorn, charged through the crowded market place. ``Get out and welcome the president,'' he exhorted in Swahili, the country's national language. ``You will leave everything at once, you lazy bunch.''
The people laughed and jumped out of the official's way, as he kicked and flailed at anyone within reach in a bid to get them to obey his order. ``You will stop selling and go out to the road,'' he admonished. ``If not, I'll bring in the police.''
But it was only when police vehicles arrived that the townsfolk went down to the main road to greet Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere, who, this past October, was on his final tour as the nation's president.
Hours before, party officials had ensured that all school children and adults from the villages along the highway were there to await the motorcade.
When Mr. Nyerere, or mwalimu (teacher), as he is commonly known, and his entourage finally shot past in a convoy of brand new Land Rovers, the people of Iringa waved dutifully. Not that this is necessarily Nyerere's style. A modest man
Considered a modest, uncorrupt man, he is said to be averse to overzealous party actions. During the socialist government's highly unpopular resettlement of 11 million peasants into collective villages during the early 1970s, the party often used brute force despite presidential urgings that resettlement be voluntary.
The market incident, however, illustrates the disenchantment, even hatred, many Tanzanians habor for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), literally the ``turn upside down,'' or revolutionary party, and the way it seeks to regulate every aspect of their lives. With a party informer in every tenth household, according to some critics, people are afraid to talk. Under threat of punishment, they are required to be at the beck and call of the party, and make regular ``voluntary'' contributions to its coffer s.
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