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From Goatherd to Governor. The Autobiography of Edwin Mtei

The Autobiography of Edwin Mtei

Edwin Mtei

Publication Year: 2009

From Goatherd to Governor is Edwin Mtei's autobiography. It is a story of the journey a few Africans of his generation made, from humble beginnings to heights of success and power. Mr. Mtei was the first Governor of the Bank of Tanzania and the architect of Central Banking in Tanzania, Secretary General of the East African Community and Minister of Finance in Nyerere's Government. Born in 1932 in Marangu, Moshi, he was brought up in a grass-thatched conical hut by his mother, a single parent; he attended 'bush' school at Ngaruma Lutheran Parish Church, and herded goats after lessons finished; he attended Old Moshi Middle and Tabora Secondary schools and went on to Makerere University College in 1953. He graduated from there with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, History and Geography in 1957. In his own words he states: "I have felt it worthwhile starting right at the beginning of my life. In this way, I aim to give some idea as to what it was like growing up in my birthplace, Marangu, in the tribal and colonial environment of Tanganyika in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. I touch on some of the traditions and beliefs of those days and on some colonial laws that impacted on our lives and surroundings." But as he himself states: "The most interesting part of my story is that relating to the events when I held senior positions in Nyerere's Government, and in the public service generally." That includes his falling out with Mwalimu Nyerere over IMF and its policies, and his resignation from his post as Minister of Finance. For the first time he tells his side of that story. In 1992 Mr. Mtei threw himself deep into the waters of multiparty politics. He founded Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) - the Party for Democracy and Development - and worked tirelessly to see it grow and emerge as an important party in the opposition, despite his own failure to win the parliamentary seat for Arusha Urban in the 1995 election. Even at 77 Mr. Mtei does not mince his words. He says what he believes and says it with courage and conviction. This is history, spanning well over half a century, written by someone who was involved in and who observed closely the key events of his time. He is retired and works on his farm, Ogaden Estate, but still manages to ruffle feathers whenever he is asked to comment on the economy and politics of Tanzania and East Africa.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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pp. v-viii


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

A number of people, who know my background and history well, have suggested that I should write an autobiography so that more members of the public may share in their knowledge. Although I feel honoured by these suggestions, I have hesitated, possibly...

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Chapter 1 - My Life in Summary

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pp. 1-4

In the lounge of the house in which we presently live, there is a painting hanging on the wall by the artist John E. Lyimo. It is that of a Chagga traditional grass-thatched hut, conical in shape, with the goats’ pen outside. Two Chagga ladies are outside, one seated...

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Chapter 2 - Birth and Childhood

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pp. 5-12

My mother, Ngianaeli Ngekalio Mtei (née Mlyingi), became a widow when her husband, Victor Shambari Mtei died in 1928. She was then only 32 years old and had been left with two children, Ismael and Cecilia to look after. She resolved that she would not re-marry and that she would continue to try, as best she could...

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Chapter 3 - Going to School

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pp. 13-26

With the exception of Cecilia, no other member of our family in those early days was baptised. Indeed, Cecilia had been baptised as a child into the Roman Catholic Church in an emergency, when she fell ill. However, although we were non-Christians, we all went...

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Chapter 4 - High School and University College

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pp. 27-41

I was over eighteen years old and so no longer a child when we embarked on the train at Moshi Railway Station in January 1951, on our way to Tabora High School after successfully passing the Standard X Territorial Examination we sat in October 1950. It was an overnight train to Korogwe, where we boarded a Tanganyika...

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Chapter 5 - Employment and Engagement

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pp. 42-48

Before leaving Makerere University College, students in their final years were interviewed by prospective employers. Indeed, prior to the beginning of the end-of-year vacation in December 1956, the Government of Tanganyika had arranged for all students whose final year would end in April 1957 to travel to...

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Chapter 6 - Joining the Civil Service and Getting Married

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pp. 49-60

In the meantime, when I was in Nyeri, about January 1958, I had received a letter signed by G.B. Gordon of the Central Establishments Department of the Tanganyika Government offering me an appointment as an auditor in the Controller and Auditor General’s Department. I had been rather taken aback...

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Chapter 7 - Promotion and Independence

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pp. 61-70

At the time I reported for duty at the office, after my leave, the political atmosphere in Tanganyika, especially in the capital, was heating up. As I said earlier, Sir Richard Turnbull, the Governor was much more receptive to the nationalists’ demands for early independence than his predecessor. His good rapport with Mwalimu...

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Chapter 8 - Secondment to the East African Common Services Organisation (EACSO)

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pp. 71-77

Regarding other events impacting on my own career at this period, I should mention that Mr A.L.Adu, who had headed the Salaries Commission, returned to East Africa early in 1962. This time he was appointed Secretary General of the new East African Common Services Organisation by the EACSO Authority...

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Chapter 9 - Translation into Finance

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pp. 78-88

After the Secretary General, the second most senior officer in EACSO was the Financial Secretary, who at that time was John Hinchey. I presume that another reason for Adu giving me the assignments I have referred to, was because he felt uneasy about asking Hinchey to represent him at such functions, because Hinchey...

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Chapter 10 - Appointment as Governor

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pp. 89-91

I arrived back in Dar es Salaam after my appointments in London, four or five days later than the other members of the Tanzania Delegation to the Washington meetings. Immediately I reported at the office, my personal secretary told me that State House had been looking for me. Apparently, the President wanted...

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Chapter 11 - Launching and Nurturing a Central Bank

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pp. 92-105

Whilst the Minister for Finance, with our assistance and advice, was piloting the Bill for the Establishment of the Bank of Tanzania through the National Assembly, I received an invitation to attend a Senior Central Bankers’ Seminar, which the IMF Institute was organising. The Seminar was to start on 2 January and last for...

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Chapter 12 - The Arusha Declaration and Birth of the Community

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pp. 106-110

As President Nyerere was making his speech to launch the Bank of Tanzania on 14 June 1966, negotiations with his colleagues in Kenya and Uganda were advancing to devise a formula for continuing with the East African Common Market and other common services in an environment of different currencies...

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Chapter 13 - International Finance and the Payments System

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pp. 111-114

As Governor of the Bank of Tanzania, the Government nominated me as the Alternate Governor for Tanzania on the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund. The Board of Governors meets once a year in a joint session with that of the World Bank. The African governors had at this time...

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Chapter 14 - Growing in the Bank

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pp. 115-122

At the Bank of Tanzania, right from its inception, training and promotion of local staff had proceeded apace. The Headquarters building had been designed and constructed so that at least in Dar es Salaam we were able to move from rented accommodation into our own in July 1969. Akermalm, the first Director General...

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Chapter 15 - Back to an EAC on the Brink of Collapse

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pp. 123-134

As I said above, the Morse Committee was planning to have another session in Washington in May 1974 when I returned home in the third week of April. However, on 22 April 1974 President Nyerere summoned me to his office. He informed me that he had consulted with his East African colleagues, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta...

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Chapter 16 - Back to Finance

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pp. 135-148

When I returned to Arusha and decided to go to Dar es Salaam, I had to fly in an aeroplane on loan to Tanzania from the national airline of Mozambique! Only two aeroplanes of the EAA fleet were in Tanzania at the time the Kenya Government grounded the airline, and they were either operating elsewhere...

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Chapter 17 - Events Leading to My Resignation

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pp. 149-157

As I said earlier, we were expected to pursue in Belgrade the negotiations which had started with the IMF and World Bank in Dar es Salaam. After several meetings with these officials in Belgrade, I invited the IMF mission to return to Dar es Salaam in November, hoping to conclude the negotiations then. The World...

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Chapter 18 - Economic and Other Policies of the Nyerere Regime

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pp. 158-166

The Nyerere Regime lasted for twenty-four years, 1961-85. The brief period when Rashidi Mfaume Kawawa was Prime Minister following Nyerere’s resignation early in 1962 was, for all intents and purposes, under Nyerere’s control. His main task at that time was reorganising TANU which, in any case, prescribed all...

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Chapter 19 - Public Financier turned Farmer

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pp. 167-173

As I said before, immediately after I tendered my resignation as Minister, I arranged to implement my plans to acquire Ogaden Estate. At that time, I had a premonition that the Government might refuse to give, or might deliberately delay, permission for me to acquire a title to the land. In order not to go through...

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Chapter 20 - Appointment to the Executive Board of the IMF

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pp. 174-188

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund at this time was made up of twenty Executive Directors. Each of the seven Members with the largest votes appointed an Executive Director. The other countries grouped themselves into thirteen constituencies, each electing one Executive Director. The English-speaking...

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Chapter 21 - Mixing Farming with Public Service

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pp. 189-194

Adjusting to the normal life of a farmer after four years in metropolitan Washington, brushing shoulders with personalities in high finance and international payment systems was a little awkward for me. As I said earlier, we had arranged for substantial renovations to our farmhouse during our last two years of our absence, and...

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Chapter 22 - Multiparty Politics and Nurturing a Political Party

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pp. 195-201

As the Tax Commission was giving the final touches to its Report, the Nyalali Commission, which had been appointed to study and recommend whether and how Tanzania could revert to multiparty politics, submitted its own historic report. I warmly welcomed the recommendation that the Constitution of Tanzania...

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Chapter 23 - The 1995 General Elections

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pp. 202-208

The General Elections of 1995 were the first real test for multiparty democracy in Tanzania. While CHADEMA was preparing for them by consolidating our membership throughout the country, Augustine Lyatonga Mrema resigned from CCM. Mrema had been Minister for Home Affairs in the second term of...

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Chapter 24 - Subsequent General Elections

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pp. 209-221

The General Election of 2000 saw CHADEMA again trying to co-operate with other opposition political parties in order to put up a meaningful challenge to the ruling party. This time our collaboration was with the Civic United Front (CUF). CUF’s Ibrahim Lipumba was the candidate we backed for the...

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Chapter 25 - Epilogue

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pp. 222-227

This story of my life has turned out to be not strictly about me, but about my times and the major events that impacted on our country and people. It has also been about the institutions in which I played some role in running or founding. It is my hope that those who read it will not treat it as presumptuous, but will see it as an...

Glossary of non-english words used in the text

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pp. 228-230

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789987081486
Print-ISBN-13: 9789987080304

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2009