Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tanesco's Story: A Sad Tale of Inferiority Complex

News stories from Tanzania cover all sorts of happenings. Some of them inspiring, while some of them saddening. Some of them bring hope, while some of them bring a cloud over our heads. That is life and life happens everyday. My reactions to those stories vary, based on what I perceive. In some instances, my response ranges from disbelief to anger. Sometimes, I feel like kicking the butts of those wazee we call leaders, honestly.

The following story elicited one of those anger responses in me. The story goes that Tanzanian government will, once again, hand over Tanesco to foreigners ( I am assuming some wazungu) to run the company. If you think I am making stuff up, check out the original story here.

See, what makes me mad is the fact that in justification for hiring of another wazungu group, the government contends that paying of Tanesco bills by "sensitive" governmental departments will not be done if Tanesco is led by wazalendo. Let me be honest with you, that is the most ridiculous if not stupid reason that a government, led by "educated" folks, PhD holders from dot.com universities can come up with. Can I be honest with you again? For all y'all folks that have been counting on CCM, under Mr. JK's leadership, to turn things around, poleni sana.

The Tanesco story, in my view, signals two major troubling notions. First, the government is incompetent. Second, the government is telling all of us - that is the indigenous, negroid, educated me and you - that we are incapable of running Tanesco. And even if we did, they won't respect us enough. Wheeu! Feel like smacking somebody on the face uh?

In every society, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. There are penalties for not following those rules. One of those rules is paying up for utilizing goods and services that another entity has provided. In the Tanesco's case, it is saddening to know that a few departments, dubbed "sensitive" have deliberately resorted to not paying up electric bills, despite budgetary allocations for that particular purpose. The saddest of all, is the fact that the government has been forced to bail Tanesco out on the other hand through grants. What does this really mean? It means that the government had embraced financial indiscipline, incompetence and gross negligence. It means that the government is toothless and unable to penalize irresponsible department heads. It means the Tanzanian government is clueless, kind of bora liende.

I understand that the theme of government's incompetence is a recurring one, so I can relax a little bit on that. Nonetheless, the second notion, that I take very hard and negatively, is the insulting gesture that the Tanzanian government has hurled at educated, competent indigenous Tanzanians. To tell the whole world that the government departments will only pay up their electric bills when a whiteman shows up is the worst of the inferiority complex signs.

In a wider perspective of things, the Tanesco's story is a sad reminder that things won't improve in Tanzania in the near future. It is sad reminder that pain and suffering is the order of the day as long as CCM is in power. I am yet to be proven wrong on that. I am convinced of that because we have not fully embrance our capabilities, or even try to build our capabilities. It is sad story of welcoming colonial mentalities and white supremacy notions over our own social status. It is sad story simply because in 2006, almost 45 years after independence, we still think that it would take only a white man to accomplish the simplest of tasks such as debt collection.

As I said it before, I will repeat it again. We have "educated" folks in the leadership rank in the Tanzanian government who can't critically think. The Tanesco's saga, as it is, is another good example of how the government is led by folks who are clueless. Even worse, we are led by folks who feel inferior to the white race. Kind of want to make me cry, knowing that I am technically competent than many of the white collegues I have come across. Kind of make me furious knowing that there is a negro in Dar-es-Salaam who thinks that due to my blackness I am nothing, in my own country.

I would like to hear what the pro-CCM folks are saying, but this is betray to the core.


Anonymous said...

i tell you man, most wazalendo who reside in tanzania or were educated there locally do not have the ability or the experience to run a company like tanesco, let's face it. My advice to you is that, instead of crying foul, why don't you advise educated folks to go home after they finish their studies overseas and continue to work for the white man so that they can pay mortgages for the next 40 years? i think you see my point...

Jaduong Metty said...


I totally see your point. Nonetheless, most of us in the Diaspora are stuck between a rock and a hard place. As the article indicates, black leaders have not come to the point of cherishing and appreciating their own black technocrats. The fact that some governmental department will not pay up their electric bill when a black CEO resides over Tanesco is insulting and discouraging. Would I even bother becoming a Tanesco CEO? You bet I won't.

Most of Africans stay and work abroad simply because they are discourage. There are some African countries who have realized that there is enough brain in Africa. What do they do? They import brains from across Africa even from Bongoland.

Unless politicians in Bongoland realize that technocrats are more important, Wal-Mart and McDonalds will continue to abuse me.

Anonymous said...

Who should run Tanesco? What radical changes should be made and how should it operate under new management? How to increase accounbtability and transparency?
Why is the new management still not depandable?
Discuss cons and pros of privitazing TANESCO . What can we learn from Nigeria, they had a similar problem.

Anonymous said...

What reforms are needed in the water and energy sector in TZ?
Who is capable of facilitating those changes?
What is the capacity of Tz to form joint ventures and strategic alliances with American, European or Japanese firms?
Do we need joint ventures? Why not?
Who should review those contracts?
Where is globalization?
We should ask ourselves more than 100 questions and provide correct answers before we jump into conclusion. Metty you are quiet right it will take much longer for necessary changes to happen in Tz.
What solutions do Tanzanians want?
It`s a big joke for a preseident to appoint somebody to run Tanesco, why him? Under any circumstance he would be wrong and he would appoint the wrong person. Let private companies hire the CEO and management team, secondly TANESCO needs to be separated from the government.Third, increase compensation,transparency and accountability for employees. Fourth, change the name, people are fed up with malfunctioning TANESCO. Too many politicians are involved instead of competent managers and Technical people. Too much corrupt politics is involved, we are fed up! T
The poor system of gorvernance has corrupted Tanesco, big time loser!
Firing and hiring a new MD does not prove anything, it will lead to more failure and frustration.
Why is it so hard to solve this problem, why cheating the public?

Anonymous said...

Accountability and transparency in both private and public sectors in Tanzania requires people of high integrity and capacity. It is quiet obvious that those people can be found in Tanzania and not abroad, unlike what some people have said. The big problem is the dominance of the politics of the ruling party and its involvement in mismanagement of the economy both directly and indirectly. Many institutions are made to become politically and financially impotent and in the long run lose their credibility so that the ruling party can retain its dominance. It is about time for TZ to think about 2010 peaceful elections and revolutions. Many have not yet enjoyed matunda ya uhuru, it`s the brave and immoral few who want to remain the ruling class while the majority are in the darkness wether they are abroad or in the motherland, that`s too bad and shameful.

Anonymous said...

Gorvenance is too weak and corruption is so severe everywhere on the planet but in Africa the consequences are so painful, building new capacity and systems to solve gorvenance and corruption will reduce poverty and create employment for many people living below standards.

Jaduong Metty said...

@All contributors,

The question of integrating politics and all other aspects of life is a result of the Ujamaa thinking. Ujamaa bred a rank of leaders, though irrelevant, thought that they were all-knowing.

That is Nyerere's legacy that will take years to eradicate. So as long as we still have the Nyerere's hangover, we are not going to see any meaningful changes, including the introduction of accountability and efficiency in institutions like Tanesco.

Anonymous said...

All events related to management of Tanesco are indications of lack of proper authority in the system.
Billions of shillings were evidently stolen and up to know we don`t know how government has dealt with the issues. It is so sad we are poor and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Kikwete ajikosha kwa kutumia waandshi wa habari. Anadai eti tatizo la umeme halihusiani na mismanagement na uozo katika uongozi.Anadai kuwa chanzo ni mvua, ukosefu wa maji? Pia anadai Gossip nyingi, Richmond walipewa tenda kwa kuwa walikuwa cheap!
hakuna lolote la maana alilosema. Rais ni rais shauri yake kama anawalea waovu, kidumu chama cha waovu na utawala wao!