In Chapter 4, we dealt with the rearguard action by ‘traditional leaders’ to cling to their once-exalted position in the face of the determination of politicians to concentrate and monopolise political power in the name of modernity. In this chapter, we will compare two versions of that modernist vision: namely ‘African socialism’ and ‘African capitalism’. The African descriptor is not redundant here. As the above quotes demonstrate, the champions of each of these tendencies saw themselves as departing in significant ways from Western models — from pure economic liberalism in the one case and from classical Marxism in the second. With the benefit of hindsight, it is tempting to argue that these paths were not really so different after all, given the centrality of the one-party state in each case and the frequent use of public resources for private gain. However, this would be an overly reductionist reading, glossing over substantive differences. The fact of the matter is that Kenya and Tanzania did make very different choices after independence, and these had real consequences for the citizens of both countries.
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