He was educated at a local mission school and at St Andrew’s College at Minaki, one of East Africa’s oldest schools, near Dar es Salaam, before going to Bombay University in India, where he got a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1959. He then studied administration at Cambridge in 1961-2.
He was appointed consul to the United States and secretary to the Tanganyika Mission to the UN, where his abilities were spotted and he was made Tanzania’s Ambassador to the UN from 1964 to 1968. He was elected vice-president, and later chairman, of the UN Committee on Decolonisation. He also became chairman of the International Seminar on Apartheid and Colonialism in South Africa, held in Kitwe, Zambia, in 1967.
In May 1968 he was transferred to Addis Ababa as Ambassador and, in January 1969, Minister for Research and Social Services in the East African Community, and later the Minister for Finance and Administration in the Community at its Arusha headquarters. Here he became involved in the Community crisis between Tanzania and Uganda and had to improvise when the Community’s budgets were not approved.
His appointment as Foreign Minister in February 1972 is important, as it is the first time that President Nyerere has relinquished direct control of foreign Affairs and given a minister the responsiblity. There were no immediate indications of any change of I anzania s overall foreign policy under his ministry, as he has always been a leading proponent of his leader’s views on Rhodesia, the uneasy relationship with Britain and friendship with China.
Once a fiery, militant anti-colonialist, the scourge of Britain’s southern African policies in the United Nations, his years in the UN and East African Community have given him a smooth diplomatic polish which led to his fast rise to Foreign Minister. Still a student abroad in the days of the pre-colonial struggle, he is not one of the old guard party politicians, but rather a new-style international diplomatist, who has risen to the top by his inborn abilities. As a nominated member, he has no tested political power base.