Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Mystery of Life

So I am sitting here, just thinking. I could have written on socio-economic issues related to Bongoland, but my mind just can't. How could I write about politics and such in the midst of a tragedy that happened in Detroit, where our Tanzanian brother and sister - Walter and Vonetha - lost their lives in an horrible manner? I know life has to move on, but probably not too soon ...

As my mind races, I couldn't have stopped but wondered on the mystery of life. I couldn't have wondered on the meaning of life. I mean, why are we here? Why I am here? Was I created to just be here - work, eat, go to the bathroom, shower, sleep, marry, and dress good? Do I have a higher purpose than that?

I have not read this book, but I know Dr. Rick Warren has written a book called A Purpose Driven Life. I am convinced he wrote the book out of questioning the same questions that seems to cross my mind so often.

My conviction that we are created for a higher purpose. I am convinced that we were created to have a fellowship with God. We were created to worship Him. A friend of mine once told me that human beings are naturally worshippers. That could be a hard concept to grasp, but it is true. The only distinction between individuals is what they worship. Given that a human being is a worshipper, he or she would worship something that is above or below them. No one can avoid that.

In simple terms, worship is equivalent to idolizing - to love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess. So you can either worship your creator - who is higher, or you can worship things that are below you - money, men or women, material possessions, looks etc. None of us can avoid worshipping something. I am fully convinced that we don't have to worship lower things. We only do that due to our lack of knowledge or spiritual ignorance.

Let me paint a clear picture for you. I draw my religious and faith guidance from the Bible, so I will go there for the basis of my arguments. The Bible clearly tells in Proverbs 1:7 that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge...". From that verse, we can clearly deduce that we lack knowledge because we don't have fear of God. What does that mean? It means you will always worship the wrong things as long as you have a crappy relationship with your creator. That is because running from God only multiply one's ignorance.

Another intriguing fact is that due to ignorance we fail to recognize our proper place in the scheme of things. We were created to take dominion over the things of life. That is God's original plan. It is written in Genesis 1:28 that "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth". So why are we letting money, food, clothes and all other things that we were supposed to have dominion over, control our lives? It is because we are ignorant, which comes from not having a relationship with God.

It is kind of a vicious cycle: You run from God -- You become spiritually ignorant -- You worship the wrong things -- You run from God even more -- You become spiritually ignorant...and the cycle continues.

See, this is what the Bible says in Matthew 6:33 that "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" ("all these things" refer to money, food, and all that issues of life that pre-occupy our minds away from God).

So what's the moral of the story? The moral of the story is that you and I are not created to just float by. We are created for a greater purpose - and that purpose could be realized by worshipping higher, and not lowly things. I only testify of one thing - worshipping lower has never fulfilled me, but worshipping higher has given me an unspeakable peace and joy.

What about you? We can talk about politics and analyze things, but is that it? Is that all?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lipumbas: Exactly Why the Opposition Sucks

I am not particularly against CCM. I am not particularly against opposition parties either. The bottom line is that I am pro-progress, if such a word exists. The thing is, I am fond of progressive thinking and doing. I can care less if a wonderful idea comes from CCM or Chadema. As long as such a thinking is helping the regular mwananchi, I will rise my praise flag up.

It is not a lie the pathetic economic condition in Tanzania is mainly due to an ineffective CCM leadership. I know we can sing the popular "it is the wazungu's fault" song, but let us face it, wazungu left that country over 44 years ago!. So let's talk about the contribution of the Ujamaa policy. Let's talk about what somebody like John Malecela contributed to the country. Can you name me any policy or creative idea that the old dude came up with? You can probably search the entire world library and you can find none. So let's blame the power rationing in Tanzania on CCM. I think that's fair.

Given that "educated" wananchi understand the problem in Tanzania really is CCM, some received the introduction of multiparty system with such high hopes. I can't blame such wananchi, for I hoped too that the opposition will provide meaningful challenges and creative alternatives. Boy was I wrong! I strongly believe that given a choice between the two devils - opposition and CCM, the CCM devil surely is much better right now. The opposition devil, truly speaking, stinks!

And this is why. Recently, Professor Lipumba, lambasted President Kikwete for traveling too much. Specifically, he wanted the President to stick around the country to solve the electricity problem. Can you believe that? Can you believe that this is actually coming from a guy with a PhD designation? Honestly, I think that was a stupid comment. If anything, it helped to justify the notion that the opposition is not ready to run the country. If anything, it made CCM looked brilliant. Way to go Lipumba! Actually, I think the dude actually acted to his name - Lipumba.

Mr. Lipumba, here is a little school for you. Those in power are entitled to do all they can to execute their vision. If the CCM's manifesto can be executed by allowing the President to go outside the country to hawk Tanzania and wooing investors, please let him do that. We can only judge those in power by the failure to deliver on their promises. Had CUF beed in power, they would have done all it could to execute their vision too. So zip it up.

We can take a look at the President's itinerary this time around to see why Professor Lipumba's comments are childish. The President was in Cuba for the NAM meeting. He then had to attend a UN General Assembly Meeting in the United States. Quite logically and given the President is already in the United States, why not include a business/investment pitch work while in the United States? What is wrong with that? As I pointed out earlier, I am not particularly pro-CCM nor a pro-opposition, but I would support that which makes sense. In this case, Professor Lipumba did not make any sense.

I believe being in the opposition does not equate only to being a cry baby. Being in the opposition should be a way of producing effective, creative alternatives. But it appears like that ain't happening right now. It is actually saddening to see such educated folks like Professor Lipumba allowing themselves to be shortsighted by being overly political. Worse though, it gives the impression that there are no true thinkers in the opposition camp. But why would one argue with that? The opposition camp in Tanzania has failed to be relevant.

As a crazy as Rev. Mtikila is, I actually believe he has achieved some historical battles than the educated Lipumbas. So if one wants to put all his eggs in the opposition basket right now, I can only say one thing, pole sana. The camp simply stinketh, if can borrow the old English a little bit.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The PM is Right, But…

Recently, the Prime Minister was doing his regular visitation around the country. One of the destinations was Kigoma, where he caused a typical EL’s havoc. In a nutshell, he refused to accept both the District and Regional Commissioners’ progress reports. Essentially, he regarded those reports as “crap”.

To be honest with you, I kind of liked that. I liked the Prime Minister’s reaction and evaluation. I like that reaction because for quite a long time, we have had folks in leadership position that have never taken their responsibilities seriously. It is a reaction and response that is not only breaking the old mold; it is setting a new precedent. It is setting new higher standards that were never there.

See, this is my belief. I am totally convinced that most folks in Tanzania are or were used to viewing leadership positions as a sign of success. Kuuchinja. I have witnessed poor people bragging that so-and-so from their tribe is a Minister, Regional Commissioner, District Commissioner, or some other big shot in the government. These “fans” never stopped to question the ability of these “tribesmen” to produce. They have never questioned their ability to meet the laid out expectations, but bragged on tribal representation.

Consequently, these appointed or elected officials never had any challenges. They got showered by an overflowing abundance of praises and adoration. Worse enough, their bosses and superiors also suffered from the same disease. So the whole leadership rank got corrupted. The sure sign of that “corriuption” is the fact that some Wabunge truly believed they were above the law. Apart from having big egos, these leaders climbed on an irresponsibility mountain and they believed that nothing would ever bring them down. They stopped performing.

Just hear this. And this is not from me, but from the Prime Minister himself, when he was giving an assessment to the DCs’ reports: “DC huwezi kusoma taarifa eti Kibondo iko wapi, Magharibi inapakana na nani, hayo mambo nayajua tangu shuleni, nataka kujua mkakati unaotekelezeka, hasa katika suala la elimu, afya na kilimo”. Source: Tanzania Daima.

I liked that. Why wouldn't anyone?

But don't go blowing your praise horns yet. We gotta take a deeper look and see these issues in a wider perspective.

While the Prime Minister should be given some props, the government – particularly the President and the PM himself - cannot get off the hook so easily. The poor performance exhibited by some of these DC’s is a reflection of the President and the PM’s own standards. That is due to the fact that the President appointed these folks. So when these DCs perform so poorly, the ball falls right back to the President’s hands. The central question that we must ask is this: why did the President appoint incompetent DCs in the first place?

See, an effective leader is capable of identifying superior personnel to assign in various roles to achieve the desired outcome. As such, the inability of a boss to identify suitable subordinate to execute his or her vision is a clear indication of the leader’s own ineffectiveness. I believe the Prime Minister was right in challenging those stupid reports from the Kigoma DCs and the RC. Nonetheless, while the DCs could be incompetent, we must ask ourselves, how did they become DCs in the first place?

Think for a minute. The answer to that question could be the problem.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

When Criminals Walk Free

Crime is crime. Full stop. Period. At least that is how I view it. It appears, however, that the world is not aligned to my liking all the time, for criminals are not viewed the same. I am talking about criminals in Tanzania and in some other countries as well. But we can first focus on Tanzania, for charity starts at home.

Folks, Tanzania is a poor country. And that is not according to me, but according to the measuring standards that have been accepted across the globe. There are so many theories that have been cooked as to why Tanzania is lagging behind economically despite her over 40 years of political freedom and independence. One of the factors for our continued poverty, I am convinced, is theft. Stealing of public funds for trusted officials’ own enjoyment. Hilo sidhani kama lina ubishi, because there are so many cases to back my argument.

The recent example, of course, is Professor Mahalu, who allegedly stole a whole lot of dough for his personal gains. I am convinced that you know of a former or present official in the Tanzanian government who got away with some cool loot. For some reason it appears that stealing is justified. It appears that leaders who do not steal are an exception to the rule. In a nutshell, “ujambazi” in the Tanzanian government is rampant. It is an epidemic. It is sickening.

Despite that fact, it appears that no one is concerned in the government (Duh! Metty, why would someone create a law to deal with him or herself?). But anyways, the government guys came up with an idea. In their thinking, they thought majambazi were a bigger problem than white-collar criminals in the government. So they created a law that would award majambazi 30 years in jail. That is fine, because any government has to do what needs to be done.

While it may sound that ujambazi, as we know it, is a bigger problem, white-collar criminals hurt wananchi more than we think. Let’s face some facts. According to the Auditor General’s report issued in February 2006, the Ministry of Health alone misappropriated over $1 million during the 2002-2003 fiscal year. So let’s try figuring out the magnitude of the problem. Assuming each ministry “ate” the same amount – we will get roughly $20 million dollars cleanly misappropriated in 2002/2003 alone. Try multiplying that to the past 10 years – you get a staggering $200 million! My question is: has majambazi caused such a loss in the past 10 years? You know the answer – NO.

I can understand the sentiments surrounding the loss caused by majambazi, because in many cases, they have not only got away with lots of money, they have cut short innocent lives. The bigger question, however, is whether the effects of ujambazi are greater than that caused by the white-collar criminals as the government wants us to believe. This is the reality - a government official who is entrusted to purchase medicine but does not practically kills many Tanzanians each year. A government official who is entrusted to engage a good contractor to construct our highways but does not, also kills Tanzanians through an ever-increasing poverty spiral.

My argument is that creating a law to jail majambazi for 30 years while slapping white-collar criminals on the wrist is just an insult to our intelligence. Furthermore, it just creates a notion that white-collar criminals are not criminals enough. It makes it creates the impression that a Matonya who wags a gun to steal $2,000 is more dangerous than a Matonya who wags his pen to steal $20,000. It makes it look like a Matonya who can affect one person at a time is more dangerous than a Matonya who affects the entire society at once.

Well, we have examples to prove my argument. We all know that Aden Rage stole a lot of money from TFF. Not only did he get slapped on the wrist by the legal system, it is amazing that he has also been awarded a leadership position with Morogoro United even though he has a criminal record. We can go on and talk about the Professor Mahalus and many more who looted the country, but are regarded highly than majambazi.

My conviction is that in a Tanzanian context, white-collar criminals are more dangerous than regular majambazi as they affect wananchi at a larger magnitude. This is something that you would expect the government and the Chama officials to realize. Given the development goals that we have, and knowing that white-collar thieves stand on our way, why aren’t we sending them to jail for 30 years or more?

May be the boys in the government and parliament could tell us why. But I guess I am a little ambitious, because who would set a trap for themselves?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wimpy or Forgetful Media?

Occasionally there are stories that pop up in Bongoland that I would personally regard as historical. I regard them as such because they carry with them a potential for bringing a change in the political and ethical climate in the country. Such stories include an episode about our former ambassador to Italy, Professor Mahalu who is accused of “stealing” a lot of public funds. Another such story is of members of parliament, who were never mentioned publicly, for allegedly misrepresenting their academic credentials.

Those two stories I have cited as an example surfaced not last week, even last month, but over three months ago. As far as I know, no resolution has been made as to whether these individuals officially be brought to justice or otherwise. As you already know, the reason given by the Prevention of Corruption Bureau (PCB)for the delay of the Professor Mahalu’s story is the classical crap “uchunguzi bado unaendelea”. I have not heard any inquiries or development as far the accused mbuge’s saga, but I can guarantee you with 100% certainty, that the same classical reason would be given.

I would not want to dwell on the government’s own snail-type kasi mpya resolution of the issues, but rather I would like to hammer the Bongoland media for letting these stories “die”. See, in my point of view, the media has let wananchi down at times. That is due to the fact that they have chosen to dwell on stories that are meaningless. You can always tell such stories by the headlines they come with – a classic "Kikwete Kiboko". Such a headlines give the impression that the reader will find a dramatic event, only to come across not-so-extraordinary contents.

My expectation was the media, particularly the independent media, would pursue these stories to the very end. For one, to help the government realize that covering up rotten officials is not going to fly. If the government cannot take the likes of Professor Mahalu to the courts of law, at the media can help “prosecute” such people in the court of “public interest”. Whether the media in Tanzania recognizes this or not, there are so many incidences in the world where the course of history has been changed by a journalist who decided to use their pen for delivering the masses. Why is the media in Tanzania doing the same?

Secondly, given the track record of the Bongoland government in covering up such stories through formation of meaningless investigative commissions and deliberate delay in uchunguzi, it is only safe to presume that the government is “helping” out Professor Mahalu and the “lying” mbunge in covering up their dirt. I would expect that some serious editor, journalist, or somebody in the media circles would deliberately decide to break the back of this filthy government tactic. I am sure by publishing these stories on a constant basis; these issues will be very well alive. At some point, those guys in the PCB office will take notice. At some point, those bureaucrats at Ikulu will pay attention.

Social activism is not only about picketing or hitting the streets burning cars and shouting aloud, it could be done through a constant reminder of the masses’ expectations. I couldn’t think of a better way of helping the government realize its duty of promoting ethical standards among its officers and prosecuting those who have breached public trust than a through a newspaper story. So as I sit here and see that someone like Professor Mahalu, despite all that he did, is becoming a forgotten villain. So my question to the Tanzania media is, are you wimpy or just forgetful? Whatever it is, you are letting the public down. Would you keep these stories alive until we see the end?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Making Us Proud

You know, while it may seem that only politicians make headlines in Tanzania – mostly through bogus deals and less admirable deeds – some Bongolanders are making us proud out there. The list is not that exhaustive, but for sure, these folks have made me feel proud.

1. Rogers Mtagwa [check out Rogers' brief profile ]. For sure, the Matumlas made us proud in boxing. This family managed to successfully represent Bongoland at the amateur level and even at the professional level. This family has become sort of a household name when it comes to boxing, but some other folks are emerging. Such a dude is Rogers Mtagwa. Did you know that this guy is based in Philadelphia, PA and recently scored a fourth round knockout over Kansas City import Alvin Brown to retain his NABF 126-pound belt? I am not kidding. Check out the story for your own self .

But it ain’t just Metty noticing, the Tanzania Sportswriters Association (TASWA), recently recognized Rogers as a runner-up for the Sports Person of the Month award.

2. Hasheem Thabeet [check out his brief bio posted on the Huskies' official website]. ] Let us hope that the kid will break out big and eventually make it to the NBA. Regardless of whether that happens or not, he has certainly help the basketball world in the USA know that we not only play chandimu, but we can also produce our very own Yao Mings.

3. Tired of reading the Chinua Achebes and other non-Tanzania writers? Well, Deus Gunza has introduced you to Professor Joseph Mbele – but the list of Tanzania writers includes Professor Julius Nyang'oro, Edwin Semzaba , Dr. Penina M. Mlama , Professor Euphrase Kezilahabi and many more.

The moral of the story is: keep on plugging away. Keep on keeping on. The system may be depressing you, but for sure there are other brothers and sisters out there who are surely making us proud.

Do you know anyone else out there that is making us proud? Please let me know so I can add them up on the list.

Thanks to Jeff Msangi , Godfrey Mwakikagile is also making us proud.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Can We Be Smart, Just a Little?

Sometimes I just get mad at what is happening in Bongoland. Sometimes I just wish I could yank our leaders, magically, from the Internet photos I see and have a man-to-man conversation with them. That is due to the fact that they keep on making bad choices and unwise decisions. Sometimes I just silently scream in my brain, “how could this be!” How come our leaders are so blind?

May be they get mesmerized by foreign cuisine that they fail to think straight. May be they get fazed by high-rising building and languages in foreign countries that their brains stop working. Whatever it is, I can’t just put my finger on it. So before I get so immersed in generality, let me pinpoint the culprit. It is the other half of the Boyz II Men – the honorable PM.

He is still on his Asian tour and obviously; he is continuing to sell the country out. He may be meaning well, but from my angle, he is not doing Tanzanians any favors. The current news is that he is in Vietnam, [read the article here] where he has signed some sort of a bilateral agreement with the Vietnamese. According the agreement, in a nutshell, Tanzania will export cashew nuts, coffee, cotton, tea and oil seeds for a specified period of time before Vietnam assists the country to process the crops locally through establishment of own industries.

Just rewind a little and read again. Tanzania will export cashew nuts, coffee, cotton, tea and oil seeds for a specified period of time before Vietnam assists the country to process the crops locally through establishment of own industries.

Think for a minute. So we are giving up ours for cheap to the Vietnamese, before they give us anything. Folks, the bottom line is tunaliwa.

I don’t want to act like a super sleuth, capable of decoding hidden agendas across the world, but this agreement smells like a rotten fish all over. This is because I have written on this topic before. By the virtue of exporting raw cashew alone, Tanzania has lost about 30,000 jobs and $40 million in incremental revenue (please refer to my August 7, 2006 post under the heading “Ours is a Snoozing Government”).

It might look like the eventual receipt of a technical assistance from Vietnamese in processing these crops locally is a great idea. Nonetheless, it is just a bunch of crap. That agreement makes it sound like we have never processed these products ourselves. Ask yourself, where do you get our Green Label tea and Africafe coffee from? Aren’t these processed in Tanganyika? Oh, wait a minute; didn’t we have processing plants for cashew in Tanzania before some stupid managers killed them? So what’s the point of going to the Vietnamese to “teach” us how to process coffee, cashew and tea? You already know what I am going to say – it is stupid.

Furthermore, don’t we have a Sokoine University in Morogoro, established specifically to generate our own experts in agriculture? So what’s up with going to sell Tanzania to the Vietnamese in exchange for “expertise” that we already have in the country? Is it simply because the Vietnamese sounds too intelligent than our very own Ned and other who paid their dues at Sokoine University? What is the point of having Sokoine University then if we can't utilize them for even none-complex issues?

Given our poverty level, we ought to be in a rush, but intelligently. We have no time to waste. Furthermore, we have to be looking out for our interest before anybody else. It appears to me that this deal is benefiting the Vietnamese more than Tanzanians. This is because at the core of it, the Vietnamese have secured cheap raw materials to keep their industries running, while we are going to be on hold for a while. This isn’t a win-win deal; this is a win-lose for Tanzanians. While the Vietnamese are assured of 30,000 jobs in their food processing industries NOW, while we are waiting in line to the unknown future. The devil is in the details, so Americans speak.

I strongly believe that Tanzania must come to the point where bureaucrats are not making technical decisions. Instead technocrats should be heavily involved in the decision-making process. I am sure even SIDO in Tanzania can help out with processing raw cashew than some sleazy Vietnamese who are only looking out for their interest. Besides, we are only insulting our experts from Sokoine University, who are as good as the rest…

Can we get smart, just a little?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Thin Line Between Creativity and Insanity

The Bongoland Prime Minister, Hon. Edward Lowassa is currently on an Asian tour. One of the countries he paid a visit to is Thailand. In Thailand, the PM was wowed by a rainmaking technology; the he ordered the technology to be applied in Tanzania. You can make reference to the original story yourself. Given the PM’s working style, I am assuming he made the remarks on the spot without…err...thinking or consulting.

Having visited Thailand myself, I was amazed that this country was capable of such a technology. The reason for that is that all I witnessed was spicy food, tourism, massage parlors and a lot of transactions involving other types of “massages”, if you dig what I mean. Obviously, rice production is one of the major things that Thailand involves herself in. I didn’t know that these dudes can make some rain through mixing chemicals. That should wow anybody.

So given the fact that Mtera Dam has been drying out, the PM saw a golden opportunity to come home with a success story. I guess he thought that this is bound to make the whole Dodoma and Iringa folks, dependent on the Mtera Dam, to be elated. But wait a minute! Some details should make you cringe, given the fact that we have been burned before.

Chemical rain, regardless of how the Thais drum it to be safe, needs to be tested. Thus when the PM orders the testing to be done in Tanzania – he is taking a huge risk for the entire Tanganyika…and Zanzibar. I am assuming he was operating under the kasi mpya mantra, but certain things do not require such an approach. The testing of such a process should be done by our very own chemists. I mean, if the process is such elaborate and the chemicals are widely known, the decision to order such a technology should rest with the Chief Chemist. Unless otherwise this technology was reviewed before the PM made the decision…which I doubt happened.

Another troubling factor with regards to the PM’s impromptu ordering of the “rain makers” is lack of clarity as to which national program, strategy, or policy this order falls under. Essentially, what I am trying to understand is whether this is one of the strategies drafted to improve agriculture, energy, or environment protection. I can rule out the agricultural focus, because even Mr. JK didn’t mention that . So what was PM trying to resolve? I am yet to understand that.

In simplistic terms, the rain that we would chemically make would solve the drought problems in Mtera. That is good, very good. However, ordering the Thais to come and shower the Mtera Dam with chemically made rain is just a quick fix to a long-term problem. I am sure the Mtera Dam dried out of factors that we can control. I can only theorize that the dam dried due to overuse through overpopulation in the area around the dam. Given the fact that Dodoma is a dry region, water would definitely pull folks close by. So my question is: why wouldn’t we deal with factors that led to the drying of the dam in the first place before embarking on a technology that could be harmful?

See as an auditor, I am trained to look for hidden detail. So when the Thai Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Suthiporn Chirapanda tells the Mr. Lowassa that “they had received such requests from Middle East countries, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka”, that raises major red flags. Essentially what the message from Dr. Chirapanda is telling is that this technology has not been applied anywhere else but Thailand. Had there been any practical application in any other country, Dr. Chirapanda would have said, “the technology is currently applied in Middle East countries, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka”. See the difference?

So the moral of the story is that the Thais are making Tanzania their guinea pig. Think about that.

If I were the PM, this is what I would do. I would nod through the presentation and tell the Thais of how I am impressed by their technology. But I would order a thorough review of Tanzania’s own experts before we get too excited. Furthermore, instead of letting the Thais drum up their “wonderful” technology, I would wait until there are proven applicability, safety and results from this technology. I would collect such a proof from other countries in which this technology has been applied. I wouldn’t go first in line to be burned by the Thais, for I know that there is a fine line between creativity and insanity. We need to fill the Mtera Dam, but not through unproven technology.

Do not get too excited, because that is just Metty thinking. Obviously, the PM has not heard the saying that “only fools rush in”. And in my world, foolishly rushing in is insane, unless the PM had information that I don’t.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

21st Century Watemis

I firmly believe that human beings can learn alot from history. That is because what happened in the past is definitely bound to happen now and again, if all the factors that led to the historical happenings are not manipulated, altered or contained. I am sure that all of us have these crazy cousins who keep making the same mistakes over and over again, as if vikao vya ukoo have never taken place. You could label such a cousin as stupid, but I would rather brand them a very bad student of history.

When such mistakes take place on a personal level, and if they affect you, you could find yourself a number of measures, including “ex-communicating” a relative who is a pain in the rear end. But what do you really do when the national leaders commit such repeated blunders? Do you go out and kill  them? Killing wouldn’t the option that I would suggest, but I am convinced that our political leaders in Tanzania, and in most cases other African leaders, have not learnt a thing from the past. In my point of view, they are very dumb when it comes to the lessons that history has taught us.

Of late I have been thinking about how the Tanzanian government has entered into a number of “stupid” contracts. We know what Mr. JK has done to push for the amendment of a few of those contracts in order to yield fairness. While the president’s move is plausible (given the fact that that his predecessor couldn’t achieve that in 10 years), I couldn’t help but wonder, aren’t our current leaders acting like the old, uneducated (formally) watemis about 200 hundred years ago?

See, I wondering about that because the game has not changed, but our leaders seem to be oblivious. The fact of the matter is the nature of the white man (no bigotry or racism intended, but just putting things in a political and historical perspective things here) has not changed. As it was with Carl Peters in the early days, the core motives and the tactics of the white man has not changed at all. The white man still desires to rule the world – at any cost. I would not want to dwell on the white man’s tactics, because that is his game; I have to focus on “our” game plan.

Despite the fact that history has provided us with a very good lesson, our leaders still make the same mistakes. May be it is because they think having a degree in something is equivalent to being fully educated. Nonetheless, I am convinced that our current leaders are nothing more than a 21st century mtemi somebody. You can argue otherwise, but what is the different between a government official in 2005, for instance, who allows a stupid contract to be signed (and hence selling out the country) in exchange for a shopping spree in New York and a few bucks in his bank account and a mtemi who sold the entire chiefdom to a Carl Peters for gun power and a few stupid gifts?

I could even go as far as cutting a mtemi in 1817 a slack because he did not know how to read and write, therefore Carl Peters sweet talked him into placing his thumb stamp in something they couldn’t perceive. But what about a PhD holder in 2005 who sells out a population of 38 million poor folks in Tanzania for a few bucks in their bank account? I am sure that as mtemi somebody thought having a gun would make him powerful, a PhD minister in 2005 thinks $20 million obtained through selling out his own countrymen and women would make him a big shot. But in a wider perspective, isn’t this PhD holder from a university in 2002 more stupid than mtemi somebody in 1800’s because he has failed to learn from history?

So what’s my point? My point is that we are in the same spot as it was about 200 years ago. It is true we managed to kick the mkoloni out of the continent through political independence, but the fact remains that we are still under the mkolonis rule from an economic perspective. Look at how we boast of new investments from the mkoloni’s land, regarding that as an economic success. Look at how proud we are when the GDP is supposedly growing when we manage to sell our best sangaras to the mkoloni’s land, while we remain with mapanki as our meal. That is telling of how things have not changed at all from 200 years ago.

My point is that our leaders have no reason to brag simply because they have air-conditioned offices instead of a chiefdom hut. That is because they are similarly acting like our forefathers who fell victim to the white man’s lures. If anything, most of them are still under mental slavery. If you think I am lying, ask Mr. Kikwete why he modified the mining contracts (wasn't someone watching when the original contracts were signed?). If you think I am full of it, ask yourself why Sheraton walked out of Tanzania after the end of their tax concession. The current leaders are no better than Mtemi Mirambo who didn’t have a degree from Harvard. Period. If anything, they are 21st century Mtemi something...

Just to depress you a little, here is what the Carl Peters achieve in Tanganyika, as writes:

One typical agreement, the "Treaty of Eternal Friendship", had Sultan Mangungu of Msovero, Usagara, offering his "territory with all its civil and public privileges" to Dr Karl Peters as the representative of the Society for German Colonisation for "the exclusive and universal utilization of German colonization."

Sounds like one of the contracts that some stupid Tanzanian government official signed in 2003, doesn't it?