Thursday, November 30, 2006

Was Kambona That Bad?

An old respectful Tanzanian lady dropped by for a visit last night. She dropped her hello for my brother who just moved to the US from Tanzania. That was a wonderful courteous Tanzanian gesture. Quite naturally, the conversation touched on politics and “maendeleo” topics. Given that my brother just landed, we all expected a fresh perspective from Bongo. Obviously, when you talk about “maendeleo” you cannot avoid throwing Mwalimu Nyerere into the mix.

I have had a taste of what it meant to live in the Nyerere era. I understand the mystique around this late dude. This lady happened to be an old guard who strongly believe that Nyerere is the best thing that has ever happened to Tanzania.


How do we know that Nyerere was the best thing? See the problem I have with folks who regard Nyerere highly is that we don’t the alternatives, at his time, to make a logical, objective comparison. I am not even sure if we know Nyerere for who is or what he wanted Tanzanians to believe. He managed to create an aura of admiration and worship. He created an atmosphere where no one would question his ideas.

Remember the days when we couldn’t read anything other than Uhuru, Mzalendo, Daily News and Sunday News before Mfanyakazi came into existence to provide some kind of an entertainment relief? You remember the days when the 8:00 PM RTD news bulletin would be followed up by a “Ujumbe wa Leo” propaganda? I have to give it up to Nyerere. He ensured that Tanzanians couldn’t run or hide from his ideology. If you feed someone junk for twenty (20) years, they would believe that crap. He even went as far as insulting our intelligence by putting a hoe against himself in the election. A hoe or a hammer, can you believe that? Who elects a hoe as the president?

What ticked me off is the fact that he forced us to sing derogatory songs against Oscar Kambona. We sang this tune during our morning mchakamchaka routines in High School, “Kambona ameolewa! Wapi?! Wapi?! Uingereza!” Was Kambona really that bad? What is the historical truth?

Since I was born past the time Kambona took off, I had to dig into the history materials to find out for myself. This is what I found.

When the TANU National Executive Committee met in Arusha January 26-29 1967 it turned out to be a stormy session. At this meeting Nyerere proposed that Ujamaa become the official policy of the government. Oscar Kambona objected strongly to this policy. Twice during these sessions, the Executive Committee adjourned in order to allow their three leaders, Nyerere, Kambona and Kawawa to go into private session. Each time that they returned to the Executive Committee it was apparent that Kawawa had supported Nyerere to defeat Kambona. The result was that the Arusha Declaration was adopted.

Source: Maryknoll Africa

It gets me mad to realize that I actually sang derogatory songs against an individual who did nothing wrong. If at all, his crime was to express his opinion against Nyerere’s utopian dreams. The worst part is the fact that the introduction of free market economy has proven that Kambona was right and Nyerere's ideas were just a disaster in the making.

I strongly believe that Nyerere was just another dictator. A very intelligent dictator though. The dude didn’t physically kill anyone, so you cannot put him the same pile with the likes of Bokassa or Idd Amin. Nonetheless, he softly killed Tanzanians mentally and intellectually. He killed private, independent thinking. He hypnotized the majority of Tanzanians.

The saddest part if that the majority of Tanzanians are too lazy to question and explore the truth even today. Some have not awakened to the fact that the Nyerere’s legacy could be all inflated, if not manipulated to glorify his persona. Great people don’t lie, and I feel Nyerere lied to me about visionaries like Kambona whom the Tanzanian history has deliberately marginalized.

I am sure there are plenty of folks who would think that I am crazy for questioning Nyerere’s legacy. But am I, really?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ching Ching From Education: It Is That Real

Taking things for granted is one of the fatal mistakes we can ever make. Some things in life are so crucial and valuable, but we can downplay their importance if we aren’t careful. One of those things that folks in Tanzania are taking for granted is education. I am convinced that the Tanzanian government and the entire society have not come to the point of comprehending the true value of education -- $$ wise.

Being enlightened through education is probably the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to a human being. I am not kidding; even the Bible stresses the value of education. See for thyself. Proverbs 4:7 says this “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding”.

Generally, educated folks command a higher pay rate. On the other hand, education is a product/service that can be commercially marketed. Most governments are compelled by the citizens to provide free elementary and secondary education, but from that point it is all about commercialized education. Even at the primary and secondary level, parents send their kids to private school, if they perceive private institutions to offer a quality education than public ones.

Good education is highly priced. Try Harvard. Try Yale. Try Oxford. See? The list goes on and on.

Apart from American kids who have no compelling reasons to pursue good college education somewhere else in the world, the rest of the world is willing to search for quality anywhere, regardless of the distance from the homeland. And Africans are good at logging some major miles in search of good education.

So lets talk about the dollar signs behind education. According to The Christian Monitor, international students pumped in $13.5 billion to the United States economy in 2005. No wonder Dina Habib Powell, Assistant Secretary of State is working to woo more Chinese kids to the United States .

But what really stink about this is the fact that despite bringing in the money, most international students stay behind in foreign countries, adding up to the already bad brain drain situation. Trust me, I know that, because my mind could have been utilized in Tanzania, but instead helping the American society to grow.

I wonder if anybody in the Tanzanian government is aware of these realities. I wish that the Tanzanian government would create an environment in which our higher learning institutions will become the greatest in the Africa, and later extending that supremacy to the entire world. I wish that we would come to the point of making Tanzanian the destination for the African kids pursuing higher education.

I understand that this probably would not make sense for some, but trust me; Kenyans and Ugandans have already set a trap for the Tanzanian kids and parents. All well-to-do families are sending their kids to Kenyans and Uganda for secondary and high school. These kids are not studying there for free. We are dropping some major ching-ching to the Kenyans and Ugandans. I am not sure if the kids learn anything superior other than the ability to speak English, but it is working.

Creating top-notch institutions will require more than just giving podium speeches. Such an endeavor will require a deliberate move. The fact that CBE graduates are not even able to grasp changes around them shows how crappy our education is, to some extent. The fact some academicians, such as Professor Bavu of the University of Dar Es Salaam, who recently confessed that the university has been offering some irrelevant courses proves that we are miles away from creating superior institutions.

Worse is the fact that the Bongoland government is not funding research, but would rather buy an expensive radar, an expensive presidential jet, or a fleet of expensive sports utility vehicles.

So before you go to bed tonight, just think about the fact that the United States ripped-off $13.5 billion (not millions) from foreign students in 2005. If we have a strategy in place, we can certainly get a piece of that cake, especially from African students. What is cool is the fact that just 1% of that amount alone will translate into about $13.5million to the Tanzanian economy.

I wonder if we can get there though, given we have failed even to ensure a steady flow of power supply. And we have been “independent” for how long?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Relevance Is Power

In my previous blog post, I talked about a stiff competition that is surely coming ahead of Tanzanian graduates. One of the comments from one of the readers, Msemakweli, brought up another factor that local graduates in Tanzania have to consider – their Tanzanian counterparts educated and who have obtained work experience abroad. This one is even a tougher competition, because anyone who has acquired an American work ethic, for instance, is going to trump a whole lot of folks in Tanzania.

An old buddy of mine once told me this: “Aisee tunawachukia sana nyie mnaotoka nje, mkija hapa Bongo mnalipwa mihela kibao”. And why not? Folks going back to Tanzania from overseas have acquired extra soft skills that their buddies who went to Mlimani, for example, don’t have. Those skills should be fully compensated. I think it is fair in a free market economy.

There are plenty of negatives we can talk about in a free market economy, but my conviction is that those negatives are overwhelmed by positives. The fact that socialist ideas didn’t work proves that in the very end, nature must take its course even in business and economy. The best and the toughest survive. Free market trumped socialist ideas.

One aspect of free market economy that I like – which is really going to benefit Tanzania – is the emergence of a powerful private sector. See, the problem with a government-controlled economy is folks are not encouraged to takes private initiatives. Watu wanabung’aa tu (I hope the word “bung’aa” is still cool in the Swahili vernacular, lest I embarrass myself), hoping for the politicians to make it happen for them. Case in point: my CBE friends who are still holding on the idea of government provided employment.

I am convinced that we seriously need the emergence of a strong private sector in Tanzania. That is mainly due to the fact that quality of goods and services will improve. Given the nature of the beast, only those companies that provide the best goods and services at the “best” prices for consumers will survive. Ultimately, the beneficiaries will be the ordinary you and I. Let be serious, have you checked the quality of customer service in Tanzania of late? It sucks. It stinks. Yaani, a receptionist would be this mgambo who can’t effectively communicate or give proper information about the company or the organization.

Strong private sector will change that.

Whether you believe it or not, a strong private enterprise in Tanzania will drastically change the political climate. See, politicians got so powerful in Tanzania because they controlled every aspect of life. In other words, politicians in Tanzania derived their power from being relevant. A strong private sector will snatch away that power through minimization of politician’s relevance. Try to imagine this: what kind of a speech a politician in Tanzania would give, if the supply of basic necessities in life such as utilities, housing, education, food, transportation and communication are abundantly supplied at a higher quality by the private sector? I am sure it won’t be “nitahakikisha maji yapo” crap, but a high level, relevant talk. Folks will start judging politicians based on tangible results and not empty words. That, my friend, will eliminate some Vihiyo’s from politics.

And I honestly think that because of the strength of the private industry in the United State of America, politics have a very little impact on a day-to-day life of average Americans. What BP, Wal-Mart or Microsoft says carry more weight on the average life than what the State Representative, for instance, says. That is because BP, Wal-Mart and Microsoft are more relevant to ordinary folks than politicians. That is not say that decisions made by politicians do not impact lives.

I strongly believe that relevance is always powerful.

When politicians’ relevance and power start to dwindle, we will see some really good things happen to ordinary Tanzanians. The whining agendas you hear from folks like Mrema and Lipumba will certainly be replaced by alternative, serious, strategic voices. Even CCM itself will dramatically change. And I believe that we are getting there. It may take time, but we will certainly get there.

Things don't stay the same always.

Photo: M. Michuzi

Monday, November 20, 2006

CBE Graduates: Compete or Die

We all have expectations from something or somewhere. As a matter of fact, most contractual agreements are based on expectations. That is, party A does certain things and in return, part B is supposed to meet certain obligations. I think they have this nice word called “breach of contract” for parties who fail to meet someone’s expectations.

One of the very few soft skills that had to learn after joining corporate America is “expectations management”. You know what? Formal education is very good, but in some instances it is overrated. There are certain skills you will never learn in school, unless you actually join the hustle of the “real world”.

I had no clue about the expectations management concept until one of my managers brought it up – as a matter of mentoring and professional nurturing of me. It must have been naturally in me, but hearing someone articulate it really hammered the concept down. This is how it goes…as an example.

Your manager gives you an assignment, for instance, and asks you provide the completion timeline. Based on your experience, you must know how long a project of that magnitude will be completed. If you know that it would take you two weeks, for instance, tell your manager that you will be done in two and half to three weeks. Why? That will provide you with a “cushion” time, in case something does not work out the way you expected. In essence, you have managed your manager’s expectations. It is better to present your project two days earlier than two days late.

I hope that helped someone who is planning to climb a corporate ladder or just grow professionally. It did help me.

I just bumped into this article by Tanzania Daima, in which graduates from the College of Business Education booed minister Mramba, when he told them that they shouldn’t expect employment from the government, but rather be self-starters upon graduation . I don’t know about you, but I was amazed at this reaction.

See, smart folks modify their expectations given changes in the environment. The reality in Tanzania is that the government has pulled out of many ventures that used to be the main source of employment for Tanzanian graduates. Given that fact, it is almost laughable for the CBE students to expect the government to provide employment. The last time I checked, Tanzania is riding on the free market craze. That, my CBE friends, include the competition in the labor market. That also includes self-employment.

It appears though, the CBE students are not even aware of the vast opportunities that are available for them through such programs as the Tanzanian government's Private Sector Participation program .

I am not saying that the government shouldn’t draft policies and strategies that ensure and promote economic growth and employment. They should. They are obligated to. Nonetheless, that is where the line ends. We all know that the involvement of the Tanzanian government in running business ventures led to inefficiencies that ultimately led to low pay and eventual lay-offs. So why would an informed business student in 2006 look for government employment? Aren’t they studying the tide?

I am not against government employment either. There are social services and other areas that it is only practical and logical for the government to deliver. Nonetheless, if we have to narrow it down to CBE students with a marketing diploma, for instance, where can they fit in the government’s employment? Kama wanataka kuwa maafisa kilimo wanaoajiriwa na Serikali, si wangeenda Sokoine basi? This just gives the impression that either our graduates are not taught to critically think, or are not well taught how to face the realities around them. I can only make one bold statement: at this rate, our graduates we will be swallowed alive by the Kenyan and Ugandan counterparts in the job market. We can’t be this cowardly and expect to compete. A graduate who gets out of school and cries for employment from the government is just like a mama’s boy who can’t do anything on their own.

Go out and compete in the labor market. Don’t be a whiny little wimp. We don’t want to build a nation of crybabies. The government can only do so much for you. I know the CBE students boos were more political, but I have this news highlight for my CBE friends: South Africans, Kenyans, and Ugandans etc are in Tanzania competing in the job market. So keep on crying and let us see if that is going to help.

Honestly, I feel like whacking CBE graduates on the head.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I am just testing to see if my blog is still up and running. Some readers and myself could not access my blog for some unknown reasons. It appears that everything is back to normal.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

RTI for Tanzania: A Needed Strategy

I am a firm believer in making amends and tweaking one’s strategy to meet the current demands and realities. That is because what has worked yesterday would not necessarily work today. The environment changes and when that happens, we have to come up with a new game plan.

We are not monkeys, so we ought to learn. So when I learned about what the Indians are doing with regards to the right of information ,I got wowed. Despite the fact that the Indians started moving forward earlier than Tanzania, their story is somewhat similar to ours. The majority of folks are still living in poverty and corruption is the order of the day. Or was, because the introduction of the Right To Information initiative, has started to kill corruption, significantly.

Thanks Mr. AT of Columbus, Ohio for sharing this article.

I believe that one of the major factors leading to our current economic situation is lack of accountability and transparency. I know Mr. BWM came up with the “uwazi” slogan, but that ended up being just a sweet song that was never implemented. Enough said about that.

Corruption is brewed in an environment where accountability and transparency are just a foreign notion. I understand that the government is currently working on a bill to empower the Prevention of Corruption Bureau. That is fine, but that alone is not adequate. Borrowing a leaf from the book just written by the Indians, we need to empower our citizens more, and that can only be achieve through granting them a right of access to information.

Besides, all governments are supposedly working for the people. As the government officials' bosses, wananchi ought to know. That is their right in a democratic society.

Guess what? The Americans figured this out way back. The United States Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) enacted in 1966 , provides access to all federal agency records except for those records (or portions of those records) that are protected from disclosure.

I work for the state government, so I know that the Act works. Any citizen in the state of Ohio can request information on my travel expense reimbursement. Likewise, I can request information on how much money the governor is being paid. Heck, I can even ask and get the tax filings for the President of the United States of America to determine how much money George W. Bush made in 2005.

As I said, we are not monkeys, so we can learn. The Indians just did that. It is impractical to eradicate 100% of corruption, but at least you can get rid of “minor” corruption incidents that stand on the way of a regular mwananchi. I mean, do you really need to pay a bribe to get a death certificate? Do we really need to pay a bribe to enroll our children in school? The right of information is certainly going to eradicate all of that. Having the right of access too all the contracts the government signed, for instance, will bring accountability and shift enforcement on the hands of regular wananchi.

If we truly want to make socio-economic progress, we gotta enact the right to information. Poor folks have suffered for so long.

Photo. M. Mjengwa

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Drivers' E-Records: Insurers, Please Jump In

I have no statistics on how many lives have been lost in Tanzania due to motor vehicle accidents. Nevertheless, I know it is that bad. I can only come with four theories as to why there have been such road accident statistics: 1) unqualified drivers obtaining driving permits through corrupt means (we are talking about Bongoland here, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise) 2) corrupt traffic police who are not following the rules of their trade 3) bad roads 4) increased population of motor vehicles on the roads.

It is funny that way back in early 1990s, some government officials thought that road accidents increased because buses traveled at night. So they order daytime bus routes. They even introduced speed governors. Did that work? It didn’t, because the decision was more political than scientific. We continued to see road accidents.

It appears that the government has finally stopped hitting the snooze button, awakening from their slumber. According to IPP Media, the government is soon to introduce computerized driving licenses. I have no clue how such licenses would work, but I am assuming they will “machine readable”, that is, a driver’s information will be stored on a magnetic strip on the driver’s license card.

While this is a good move, fake licenses is just one factor. I don’t see a policy or strategic draft to tackle traffic policy corruption. But such is Bongoland.

I am in a light, good mood today. So I will provide a strategic advice to the Tanzanian government today. I hope that someone will listen.

According to research findings issued by T. Rwebangira (UDSM), T. Pearce and DAC Maunder (Transport Research Labaratory, UK), reckless driving was ranked highest among various causes of accidents in Tanzania between 1993 - 1997. According to the same research, private cars and dala-dala buses outdid buses in causing accidents. Read the report for yourself . It appears that one is likely to be involved in accident riding a dala-dala than taking a ride in Champion Bus. Not surprising.

Given that road accidents are caused mainly by reckless driving, we have to come up with a scientific way of dealing with the problem. My conviction is that road accidents can only be reduced when there are intrinsic reasons for the drivers to stop causing them. Drivers must have a reason to behave, not from cops, but from within. That is where the Tanzanian government must bring the insurance companies into the equation. In most cases, the government mandates motor vehicle insurance. Nonetheless, the premium rates charged by the insurance companies vary between drivers. Insurance companies weigh out the driving risk provided by each driver, based on age or the past driving records. Risky drivers, quite naturally, cost the insurance companies more in terms of insurance claims (Per the above cited report it costed NIC TShs 11 billion to settle claims in 1994 alone). So the insurance companies hit risky drivers the hardest.

As bad driving records will lead to higher insurance premiums, drivers will want to keep their records clean. This is will lead to a cheap self-regulation. No taxpayers’ money spent. That is the first whip for bad drivers.

Insurance companies can only push for the driver’s self-regulation through higher premiums if they have access to accurate records from the government. With the introduction of the computerized driving permits, I hope that the government will create a database for drivers’ records. Such a database should be used as a second whip for bad drivers. Drivers should be assigned points based on the nature and type of accidents caused. If a driver caused an accident for being drunk, for instance, higher points should be assigned. At a certain threshold, a driver will be stripped of his or her driving privileges, fined a huge amount of money, or sentenced to jail.

Given that bad driving records will lead to revocation of the driving privileges, hefty fines, and spending time in jail, drivers would not like to face such prospects in addition to paying higher insurance premiums. That will lead to a wonderful self-regulation by drivers.

This is something that we can implement. We don’t have to wait for some mzungu to tell us.

Obviously, I have assumed that the system will work. That is, violators will not walk free after bribing their way. That is something that the government is responsible to work on. I believe they hired Said Mwema for that.

This is my honest conviction: in order for Tanzanian improve in all crucial sectors of life, we need to move from making politically charged decisions and head towards a scientific approach. Most of the problems we face do not require complicated scientific abilities. They only require application of a little bit of common sense.

Photo: M. Michuzi

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Samsung Invitation: Why?

I know it is tiring to be just critiquing what the government is doing. It is not the most pleasant role to play. Honestly, if I had a chance, I would have helped the government with a strategic and a visionary outlook. Since I am not part of the system, I can't help the president before he makes his decisions.

If you know how I could be of help to the president, let me know. Seriously. At the end of the day, it is not about CCM, Chadema, CUF, TLP and any other political party. It is about poor folks who end up with dirty roads and substandard health care.

I strongly believe that Mr. JK has good intensions. But he comes short. I convinced he comes short because of his limited environmental and culture exposure. He is trying hard, but you can’t accomplish what you don’t have a context for. He is limited because he has advisors who are also not visionaries. At some point, I believe that Mr. JK and any other president will have rule that country just like a CEO would run a for-profit company. Tanzania must come up with unorthodox leadership style to change things around. That is because we have to catch up with the rest of the world, quickly.

It is clear that we don’t have a clear, consistent plan to eradicate electricity problems, because Mr. JK has just engaged Samsung to invest in electricity generation. I understand that the president has to do all he can to ensure that pertinent problems are solved. Nonetheless, that does not mean that he has to say or act on everything before the vision, the strategy and the execution plan for eliminating the problem have been ironed out.

Samsung is undoubtedly a giant company. It is an established company. It has a wonderful reputation. However, electricity generation is not their core competency. Electricity generation is not what they do best. So why do we engage electronic gadgets and ship building company to invest in electricity generation? Why don’t we expand the Tanesco capabilities? If that is not possible, why don’t’ we privatize Tanesco then? Hello, are the advisors awake at Ikulu?

The Samsung deal might sound nice and dandy. But at the core of it, Samsung is not coming to Tanzania to generate electricity for us; they are coming for more than that. Let’s get to it. Ladies and gentlemen, please read the following excerpt from IPP Media with me:

SAMSUNG has also shown interest in exploitation of Tanzania’s iron and coal, so as to produce steel which has a huge demand in Korea, as it is used in ship building and production of industrial machines. The Korean firm is also interested in having a stake in copper mining.”

That is why Samsung will be coming to Tanzania.

I can't blame Samsung. It makes sense from the Samsung’s point of view, because Samsung is engaged in electronics, communication and shipbuilding. Samsung’s interest is to find steady supply of cheap raw materials from a poor, naïve country like Tanzania. Case in point: The demand for copper, which is used in manufacturing electronics, has climbed recently, forcing a concurrent rise in prices . Does it make sense for Samsung to produce own raw materials, probably below world market prices? Absolutely. But guess who the losers are from the deal with Samsung? We are. Tanzania will end up being losers, failing to capitalize on higher market prices for copper and iron. Furthermore, as China continue to grow, so is the rising demand of iron.

Essentially, we got played. The Koreans have just thrown in a little bone in order to get a bigger piece of the pie. We are in a dire need to solve electricity problems. So a brother in need would sound like a brother indeed, right? Wrong. I work with Americans. I know how it all goes down. This is the game: identify an opportunity, create a relationship, and reap huge benefits in the future. Samsung is not electricity generating company, but they are making an extreme shift in their corporate focus to get their feet through the Tanzanian door. That should sent danger signs all over. When a company steps outside its comfort zone, we got dig deeper into it.

KEPCO NG, the company that Samsung wants to "partner" with, is an independent, global electricity generating company. Why can't Tanzania engage KEPCO directly? Why allow Samsung to play some mental games with us? What Samsung is doing is playing a middleman that we don't need. They are playing a dirty, business game.

You know what the best deal would have been? It would have been for Samsung to move some of their production facilities to Tanzania. Create a few more jobs for our young people. Moving raw materials from Tanzania only benefits the Koreans, but it seems Mr. JK and his boys were just happy to get "anything" from the Koreans. That is not the smartest way to run a country.

I wish I had access to Ikulu. I mean, why are we so naïve? The truth of the matter is, no company in the developed world will ever get into a venture without doing their homework. I am sure Samsung has studied the Tanzanian culture, the opportunities available, the angles to attack, etc. The problem is, Tanzanians never do that. I am sure that Mr. JK just shook hands with folks he has no data on, purely banking on their smiles.

Smiles? Do you know how fake these smiles are? Just ask some of us in North America.

It is true that we are desperate to get rid of the electricity problems. Nevertheless, that does not justify engaging ANY company. We have to follow the script within the drafted strategic plan to eliminate electricity woes. We have to perform due diligence on every company and to gauge whether all companies invited for investment match our needs and goals.

I think that is smart. Why can't we do that?

Update: November 10, 2006
According to IPP Media, Mr. JK has had a discusssion with KEPCO about power generation in Tanzania. I have to commend that. If you need meat, you talk with meat suppliers, not paper suppliers. This is a smart move. Mr. JK, that is the way to go.

Photo: Freddy Maro

Monday, November 06, 2006

OIC: A Pain In Tanganyika's Rear End

I am sure Nyerere didn't see this coming. I am sure it was all rosy and fine that 26th day of April in 1964. His mind was rushing with excitement about the Pan-Africanism. You know, if you want the whole of Africa to be united, you have to start in your own back yard. So the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar seemed to be a wonderful, romantic marriage. Nyerere was so in love with Zanzibar that he gave up everything Tanganyikan, while allowing Zanzibar to retain its sovereignty.

I cannot blame Zanzibar for that. They had the right to bring forth the conditions of the union, one of which is retaining their power. Only that Nyerere was fooled. That, my friend, was a big mistake. And for that mistake, Tanganyika's rear end is being bitten today.

I know this is a controversial topic, but I think we owe it to ourselves to dig into it and be honest. Embracing kufunika funika mambo has gotten us here in the first place. I mean, we are committed to the union thing, but who knows what is in the original article? I am sure none of us has seen it.

In my opinion, allowing Zanzibar to retain her sovereignty set the mainland for baby-sitting for ages to come. Just a host of things can prove my point. When was the last time Zanzibar paid their electric bill? They even wanted a share of gold sales from the mainland. A problem child? You bet Zanzibar is.

Nyerere saw it coming in 1984, but I wonder why he didn’t do anything serious about it (I am convinced that Nyerere was so smart, intellectually, but was so naïve when it came to human relations. He failed to understand that trust is earned. Simply because someone sung the “kidumu Chama cha Mapinduzi” chorus didn’t mean they believed in his vision). Apparently, Aboud Jumbe and his boy Seif Hamad wanted more Zanzibar autonomy. Nyerere in his wisdom forced the resignation of Jumbe. [Source: Nation Encyclopedia]

Did forcing Jumbe’s resignation solve anything? Absolutely not. Zanzibar was coming and coming hard. In 1992, under the leadership of Dr. Salmin Amour, Zanzibar secretly joined the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). The move was thwarted, but guess what? Mr. Karume is back with the same issue again ,14 years later. It appears that some things never change. Mtoto wa nyoka ni nyoka tu.

The Tanzanian Constitution (Chapter 3, Section 9(2)) states this:
Without prejudice to the relevant laws of the United Republic the profession of religion, worship and propagation of religion shall be free and a private affair of an individual; and the affairs and management of religious bodies shall not be part of the activities of the State authority” [Source: Kituo Cha Katiba]

Well, this is what I got from the OIC website, with regards to the objectives of the OIC:
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is an inter-governmental organization grouping fifty-seven States. These States decided to pool their resources together, combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interest and ensure the progress and well-being of their peoples and those of other Muslims in the world over" [Source:]

Sounds to me like OIC is a faith-based organization.

I don’t have a problem with the existence or the objectives of OIC. OIC is doing what is their prerogative to do. Nonetheless, the Tanzania constitution clearly states that engaging in religious affairs is not part of the government’s agenda. So for Tanzania to join OIC is plain unconstitutional. Why is Karume then deliberately trying to bring something that is, and has already been ruled unconstitutional 14 years back? Does it matter whether Zanzibar joins OIC solo or part of the URT? We are not that dumb. At least I am not.

In my opinion, the introduction of the OIC issue by Mr. Karume is an insult to all of us. It is an insult to our constitution, which he swore to abide by and defend. It is an insult to other faiths in Tanzania, which he and the Zanzibari Muslims want to drag into joining an Islamic faith-based organization. But you know who are disgusting the most? It is our MPs who have no guts to rebuke a deliberate move to violate our constitution.

I am as religious tolerant as the next guy, but some things are not worth tolerating. Especially, when such things are done as sure sign of dissrespect for my faith.

Another troubling trend is the fact that the OIC agenda has been brought up when; coincidentally, there is a Muslim president in Tanzania. I don’t to make any conclusions, but the fact that Dr. Amour brought up the OIC issue during the tenure of Mr. Mwinyi and the issue never came up during the Mkapa's tenure proves my argument. It gives the impression that the presence of a Muslim president gives the Zanzibar Muslims some sort of an audacity to bring up controversial religious agendas. This is a trend that is surely sending Tanzania into deeper troubles. It is an accident waiting to happen. It is a time-bomb ready to explode– mark my word.

Given that the OIC issue has not originated from the mainland Muslims proves yet another fact – Zanzibar has been and will continue to be the thorn in the mainland’s flesh. From a political correctness standpoint, Nyerere has nothing to be blame for, but truthfully this mzee got Tanganyika into trouble. To untangle the mess will require a very special kind of leader. Mwinyi couldn’t do it, BWM couldn’t either, and I am sure JMK has no guts to do it. So Zanzibar will continue to be a pain in our rear end. I don't have anything against Zanzibar, but I believe Tanganyika can do just fine without her.

In retrospect, I wonder what Nyerere was smoking on April 26, 1964. Seriously.