Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Despise Simplistic Thinking

I am member of a Tanzanian email group here in Columbus, Ohio. On Tuesday, May 23, 2006 one of the email group members sent an article written by one Deogratias Mushi under the title "A ’peanut’ contribution from Tanzanians in the US".

I typically get annoyed by what Bongoland leaders say, but this time I found myself ticked off at a journalist. Anyways, the gist of the story is that Tanzanians based in the US of A managed to collect a meager $4,000 (and some change), way below "expectations" towards the hunger relief fund. I put expectations under quotation marks because I wonder who expected Tanzanians in the US to collect more. The story went on to talk about the general political blah blah...the usual patriotism stuff.

What really got me mad is the fact that the journalist chose to take a very simplistic view in his writing. Furthermore, he failed to investigate and explore some of the realities that transpired around the collection of the contributions before making his final, ill-informed judgment.

The fact of the matter is that mobilization of wabongos in the US was not adequately and appropriately done. Mr Mushi should have realized that the collection idea, in my conviction, was done simply because Mr. Kikwete was coming to the US. The balozi (yes, I am referring to that incompetent Mr. Daraja) knew that there was hunger in Tanzania way back when. He had to wait less than two weeks before Mr Kikwete was coming to mobilize watu. In essense, I think Mr. Daraja just made a political move to be on Mr. Kikwete's good side. As the president's representative, Mr. Daraja is responsible to taking a proactive approach instead of a typical zima-moto style.

If I had a chance to meet Mr. Mushi face-to-face, this is what I would have told him: Life in the US is not like that in Bongoland. If you are journalist getting a per diem from your employer to accompany the President overseas, you're much better my pal. Try living in Washington, DC for three years without the per diem and see. Try hustling for a few dollars at a Wal-Mart's distribution center and tell me if you could dish out $100 dollars to a hunger relief fund on an impromptu message. I am sure you wouldn't, because life in America forces you to plan. See, Mr. Mushi, if you are one of those people in Tanzania who think dollars are just falling out of trees, then I am sorry for you. But what I know is this, you erred in writing a story that was not balanced.

On the economic front this is what Mr. Mushi wrote: " Tanzanians living abroad should show their solidarity by contributing more towards poverty reduction in the country".

Well, Mr. Mushi, the fact of the matter is, Tanzanians living abroad have been contributing to poverty reduction for a long time. May not in the way that through your simplistic thinking could not recognize.

Let me tell you my situatiom: My mother lives in Shirati, Tarime. She is not able to work and as such I am obligated to send her a few dollars now and then. Had she been in the US, probably she could have been drawing from a social security fund or something of that nature. If it wasn't for my few dollars, that poor lady would have been starving.

I am certain that my mother does not keep the few dollars buried under her pillow. She buys dagaa na unga now and then. Since she circulates that money, the dagaa seller is able to buy sabuni, and the sabuni guy is able to buy a shirt from a mitumba guy, and a mitumba guy is able to buy a baiskeli, and a baiskeli seller is able to buy some booze... and because of my few dollars, some otherwise poor folks in Tarime are able earn a living. If that is not an economic contribution, I don't know what it is. Nonetheless, because of your simplistic understanding of economics, ( I presume) you could not see my economic contribution.

If you think that an inflow of foreign currencies done in an informal way is not helping the country, try having a conversation with Mr. Fox, the Mexican president. He would tell you that illegal immigrants who cross the boarder over to the US play a very significant role in the Mexican economy. Billions of dollars that those fellas send home, are pumped into the economy and hence helping to bridge the economic divide within the country. But you wouldn't know that, would you Mr. Mushi?

The bottom line is: I hate simplistic thinking..and this fella Mr. Mushi, just demonstrated that type of thinking.

I hope I wasn't too mkali, but sometimes you have to be Bwana. Watu wengine wanachefua..

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too dislike simplistic thinkers.Word up bro.Iam not tanzania but the case stated here is a mirror image of simillar stories all over Africa. it is so unfortunate that simpletons are in charge of where Africa and its people head for. Viva Africa.

Mungu i bariki Afirika