Robert Robertson

Name ID 1648

See also

Sadleir, Randal Tanzania, Journey to Republic
Page Number: 200a
Extract Date: 1957

Public Relations

It was thrilling to be sent to such a wonderful place with rather vague instructions to do all I could to improve relations between government and people. I was under the general supervision of the provincial commissioner Mike Molohan, a former Irish rugby international, and his deputy, my old friend Robert Robertson with whom we had stayed at Tabora in 1948.

During the ten or so months I was in the province, I was able to try out my pet ideas for bringing government closer to the people, ideas the government later adopted for the whole territory on my return to Dar es Salaam in 1958.

Moshi was the obvious area on which to concentrate. It was densely populated with a million people living in banana groves (migombani) and coffee small-holdings (vihamba) on the fertile slopes of the mountain. This was where they cultivated the excellent Arabica coffee the Catholic missionaries introduced at the end of the last century. Thanks to the government, local authorities and Catholic and Lutheran missions, Moshi had universal primary education and the highest literacy rate in the territory. The Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU) was probably the most efficient and progressive cooperative organization in Africa. A district commissioner called Sir Charles Dundas, a Scots baronet, started it in the 1920s to enable Chagga coffee growers to compete on equal terms on world markets with the European growers.

Extract ID: 4381
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