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 dot.com 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 About.com 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?


Jeff Msangi said...

Oh yes it does.What a beautiful well thought article.Could I translate it for the newspaper back in Tanzania for the majority's benefit?Email me at jeffmsangi@sympatico.ca if that is okay.

Jaduong Metty said...


That is a brilliant, flattering idea. As a non-aligned thinker, it would be my joy to share my thoughts with a wider audience.

Jeff Msangi said...

I will do that and let you know when it is published.