Church and State in Tanzania: Aspects of Changing Relationships, 1961-1994

By Frieder Ludwig | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

A REVOLUTIONARY CHURCH?
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN
COUNCIL OF TANZANIA

In her doctoral dissertation The Role of Non-Governmental Organisations in Development Agnes Chepkwony examined the history of the National Christian Council of Kenya (NCCK) between 1963 and 1978, presenting one of the first in depth-analyses of the development of the Christians Councils in Africa. The main theme was the NCCK's involvement in development work, which became much stronger after the proclamations of the fourth main assembly of the ecumenical council of the Church in Uppsala in 1968. According to Chepkwony, the Christian Council of Kenya had to follow the line laid down by the overseas partner organisations which controlled the donations. On the other hand, the integration of all development work led to closer cooperation with the government of the state. Chepkwony concluded by describing the NCCK as “a middleman sandwiched in between the donors' interest and Government policy objectives.” The target groups and the member churches had only a subordinate role to play.' The Council which coordinated and distributed projects had established a strong power base, its number of employees growing from 1965 to 1972 from 30 to 112.2

Similar observations can be made in regard to the Christian Council of Tanzania, although the tendency to centralisation and to bureaucratisation came later and under another political constellation. Especially after the attainment of independence, the Council had become important as the medium of the various factions of the Protestant churches in their dealings with the government; from the beginning of the 1970s it also served as the coordinator of the plans for common curricula. The CCT had for a long time been responsible for development projects, although the scope of this work was limited. Due to the dependency on foreign money, an attempt was made to keep the number of staff members as small as possible during

1 A. Chepkwony, The Role of Non-Governmental Organisations in Development. A Study of
the National Christian Council of Kenya 1963–1978
(Studia Missionalia Upsaliensia XLIII,
Uppsala, 1987), p. 193.

2 Chepkwony, The Rote of Non-Governmental Organisations, p. 307.

-157-

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