Communalism is a social, political and economic arrangement in which landed property and other natural resources are collectively owned, managed and co-operatively harnessed by the community for the common good of everybody. Participation in community development is open to everybody.

In most communal societies, people live in group as families sharing resources and responsibilities together for the benefits of everybody. Oneness and love for one another exist within the community.

One of the founding fathers of communalism, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania maintained that communalism is like returning to traditional political practices and the rejection of the unsuitable aspects of imported alien culture. He argued further, that, everybody was part of the government and no need for political parties, which create divisions in the lives of the citizens. Opportunity is therefore created for individuals to participate at any level of community development.


Features of Communalism

  1. Collective ownership: There is collective ownership of the resources.
  2. Community development: Opportunity for individuals to participate in community development is created.
  3. Self-government: Communal government is likened to self-government, where public issues are raised and discussed openly.
  4. Decision – making: Individual’s opportunity to contribute to the decisionmaking process of the community is enhanced.
  5. Landed property: They are collectively owned by the community as there is no private ownership.
  6. No room for exploitation: There is no room for exploitation; the resources are for the good of everybody.
  7. Collectively owned institutions: Schools, farms, common health facilities etc are collectively owned by the people.
  8. Unit of government: The small community was said to be the main unit of government.
  9. Relationship: There is a strong relationship that exists among them thus making everyone his brother’s keeper.
  10. Village community: Communalism is a common feature of the village setting.

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