The Ujamaa policy of Tanzania was a well thought out idea although it failed to live up to expectations. Ujamaa, a Swahili word meaning family hood, was a social and economic policy by the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the president of Tanzania from 1964 to 1985. The policy focused on collective agriculture through what they referred to villagization. The policy also saw to nationalization of banks and industries that increased the level of self-reliance both individually and nationally. The concept of ujamaa consisted of self-reliance instead of depending on investments and working together as a family. Nyerere`s vision was to promote social collectivism.
A vital component of the ujamaa system was the process of villagization. In between 1968 and 1971, the village population had risen to 1.5 million. This forced the government to enforce a compulsory resettlement and about 11 million people from rural areas forcefully resettled in villages. This process of forceful resettlement negative effects to the ujamaa system and emotionally affected the villagers, who were no longer interested in engaging in agricultural production under ujamaa. The major problem was imposing communal farming with crops that were new to them therefore adapting to this new kind of farming tended to be demoralizing.
The Tanzania government deployed state security to regional commissioners to enforce the ujamaa policy to the rural residents. The commissioners were supposed to force out anyone who resisted resettlement into a communal village. They forced people out of their homes, out of their lives by burning down their houses and using forceful troupes to chase them away. These people suffered detrimental damage and this affected their interest in working about losing their previous hard work to the ruthless troops sent by the government. The pastoralists forcefully turned into permanent farmers and labourers.
The government neglected the villages by failing to instill the required knowledge and skills to the villagers on the advantages or how they should work together. This lack of morale left these villagers dependent on state import contrary to what Nyerere anticipated when he established ujamaa policy right after receiving independence in 1961.