After watching the story, it became clear to me that something is very, very, very amiss in the minds of Tanzanian leaders. I am convinced that Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete could be THE BEST president that Tanzania has ever had, but with regards to the Darwin's Nightmare documentary, he missed the boat. For all his diplomatic abilities, passion, and a natural quick wit that, in my opinion, only Mchonga had, I wonder how he committed such a political suicide. May be he has crappy advisors on his side. May he failed to foresee how this whole ordeal would turn out to be. May be he fell victim of the old political games that do not work in 2006 (remember ex-president Mwinyi once called primary school students to the State House grounds to act as his audience as he addressed UDSM students?).
Here are some of the basic facts that I gathered from the documentary:
- Mr. Sauper did not speak, but let the people speak for themselves.
- The story about Ukrainian pilots bringing arms through Mwanza was originally published by The East African, Mr. Sauper only wanted to establish the validity of the story. He did not accuse the Tanzanian government.
- Tanzanian governement initially denied that there was hunger coming to hit Tanzania (only to beg later for assistance)
This is a story about poor Tanzania boys and girls who have dreams, only to miss a structure through wich such dreams could be realized. It is a story of talented young boys and girls who have falled victim of circumstances. This is not a story about a white documentary director who intends to badmouth our country. It is a story of a white documentary director who utilized his camera lens to open our eyes to the realities that our politicians have very much ignored. This is not a story about shame, but about an opportunity to grow as a country and learn.
This is a story about perspectives and intepretations. It is about how Europeans perceive us and how we perceive them. It how the Europeans perceive Africans as lazy, and I quote one of the Ukrainian pilots interviewed by Mr. Sauper: "Black people do not want to work". It was story about how African view their position in the global competition, as Mr. Nkono, one of the Mwanza residents Mr. Sauper interviewed, put it: "There is a scramble for fewer resource..and the stronger survives. That is the law of the jungle. When we say stronger..may be view the Europeans as the stronger.." When Europeans eat the best parts of sangara and the locals end up with mapanki, why would one argue against that? This was a story of what African children get in the African-European trade, as another Ukrainian pilot sadly put it "Children of Africa get guns for Christmas, European children get grapes".
Given the facts and theme of the documentary, the government, and Bunge for that matter, were not justified in overreacting. Which makes me wonder if the president or any of the puppet MPs ever watched the documentary before passing a judgement. That is because Mr. Sauper did not even offer his analysis or a conclusive opinion in the documentary.
It also brings to question the ability of our leaders to put issues in their proper perspective. Furthermore, it brings to question whether our leaders make decisions after collecting all the necessary information and evidence. I am sure that our esteemed president and wabunge did not watch the documentary before making their unfounded arguments. If they watched it, then there must be some serious questions about their intellectual capacity, for they must have wrongly interpreted the documentary and hence causing the unnecessary drama.
So what does it mean for the Mwanza residents whose voices we have heard? Based on what the documentary was all about, the president and wabunge's comments against Mr. Sauper is equivalent to silencing the poor folks in Mwanza who only provided an account of their life experience. Even sadly is the fact that all representatives from Mwanza chose to betray their own people. All for what? Trying to be appointed to a ministerial position by the president? MPs are supposed to be a balancing wheel for the president, and acting as puppets is certainly not going to help at all.
I can only feel sorry for the poor folks in Mwanza who banked on the president and their representatives to help out. I feel sorry for them because noone can deal with a problem they have not accepted. And denying the poor Mwanza residents' plight these leaders have done.