Monday, May 15, 2006

The Diallo's Case: Lack of Quality Leadership in Tanzania?

So I was going through IPPMedia online, as most of Tanzanians in the diaspora do (By the way, I think IPPMedia has done a tremendous job in maintaining a wonderful website, despite the fact that they never publish any news that cover their organization in a negative light. But who would?)

Anyways, back to what I was about to say..yes, about this Diallo guy...The Guardian ran a story on May 10, 2006 under the title "Minister Admits Staff Involvement". For full story you can follow the link below:

Well, the minister in our case is Mr. Anthony Diallo, who is currently reigning over the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. Now, I don't want to go back into details about his comments, but in a nutshell, he admitted to the fact that illegal logging that the Tanzanian government has long outlawed, was being carried out with the assistance of some Ministry's staff. Sad enough, the Minister indicated that it was difficult to fire those employees.

There have been so many views aired in response to the Minister's comments. Some of comments could be read at IPPMedia. Anyways, I could not agree more with what has been commented by my fellow bongolanders across the world. I do agree with others that it was a stupid move for the minister to admit that the Tanzanian government is unable to sack employees implicated in failing to fulfill their end of the bargain. In my opinion, that was a political suicide, given the President is not willing to grant a room for such under par thinking and/or performance.

Nonetheless, as we both know, I might as well count myself as a daydreamer. Seldom do we get ministers fired for their pathetic comments in an African context, such as the ones Mr. Diallo just gave. So my expectation is that Mr. Diallo will just walk around, shoulders high, knowing that there are no consequences for his comments. It has happened before, and it will happen again, unless Mr. Kikwete proves me wrong.

I am not trying to disrespect the Minister, for I really don't have any details about his abilities. Nonetheless, I feel justified judging him based on his public comments. If I have to take his comments as a measure of his intellectual capabilities and political intelligence, I would rate him as DUMB, or fairly VERY DUMB. The reason for my assessment is that no government official in the world (as politically blah blah as it is..) would admit publicly that his government is incapable of dealing with a non-complex issue such as firing employees who have been violating the law of the land! It almost sounds like Mr. Diallo was drunk or something of that nature.

Such and erratic leadership that has been potrayed by Mr. Diallo kind of prompted me to do a little bit of thinking: Do we really have quality leadership in Tanzania or we just have a bunch of warm bodies collected together as Ministers, given responsibilities that they cannot effectively handle? Are we facing such a shortage of qualified individuals that we cannot only afford to give people like Mr. Diallo leadership roles?

See, my comments are based on the fact that it has been a recurring theme in Tanzania and in most other African countries, that the so-called leaders can just go out in public and rant anything the want without a fear of facing penalties for whatever they say. Furthermore, it troubles me to see that some of these leaders boast of some the brilliant academic backgrounds, such as Mr. Diallo who lists an MBA as part of his academic achievements. My question would be: did he really learn anything in school?

It is my firm belief that if Tanzania has to develop, she must truly and sincerely embark on finding the right leaders. I do agree that educational background is an essential element, but that in itself is not enough to guarantee results. Case in point is Prof. Juma Kapuya and Prof. Philemon Sarungi. These fellas have held ministrial posts, but to be honest, I dont think they have faired better than Mr. Lyatonga Mrema who just got his online degree from unaccredited University. My point being that it is very difficult to distinguish those aforementioned professors, from just performance perspective, from people like Mrema who have no clue where the global trends are taking us.

But it appears the trend of pathetic leaders is here to continue with people like Mr. Diallo in leadership positions. If I were Mr. President, this dude would have been out of the door...but again, I am not Mr President. So I can only dream of a better Tanzania without this type of crappy leadership.


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