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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well, strongly believe that, those people(Tanzanians) who work abroad they got global mind compare to those who end up growing in Tanzania,studied in Tanzania...they didnt even go out of the country and see how other human being manage their countries...
don't be angry, you graduate in Tanzania who are very jealous to see them people coming from abroad being paid more than know what? they saw more than you...they don't have "umaimuna"
I think Tanzania need them people who worked abroad to bring changes in our country
it is true "relevance is power"