Again, making Tanzania great: Magufuli’s restorationist developmental nationalism

Daniel Paget* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article is about how ideologies legitimize authoritarianism. The literature
    argues that liberation nationalists discursively construct “liberation” as an
    ongoing struggle and justify their authoritarian rule until its completion. By
    recurrently postponing liberation, they extend this justification of authoritarianism. Nonetheless, their claim that the nation is part-way through
    liberation becomes less plausible over time. Liberation nationalism shares a
    discursive structure with a parallel class of developmental nationalisms. I analyze
    the ideology of President Magufuli and CCM in Tanzania. Instead of claiming
    that the nation is mid-transformation, they constructed the status quo as a corrupt deviation from a past order: “Nyerere’s Tanzania”. They conceived of this past order as a nation dedicated to industrial development which would lead to a
    transformed future. They advocated rupture with the present, the restoration of
    the past and the resumption of this transformative journey. Restorationism
    relieves liberation and developmental nationalisms of the rising rhetorical
    challenge of claiming that the nation has been on a transformative path since
    liberation. Therefore, Magufuli and CCM developed a variant upon liberation and
    developmental nationalisms, which also justifies authoritarianism. Unlike them, it remains rhetorically viable as the moment of liberation or development becomes distant. I call it restorationist developmental nationalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages21
    Early online date10 Jun 2020
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jun 2020


    • authoritarianism
    • liberation
    • development
    • nationalism
    • restorationism
    • populism
    • Tanzania
    • Africa
    • ideology
    • discourse-theoretic
    • Authoritarianism

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Political Science and International Relations

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