Sunday, January 28, 2007

Snoozing Folks...

I am trying to picture the old good days without blogs and the internet. The days that the only information outlet in Tanzania was the Daily News, Uhuru and RTD. In those days, the disgusting image we see here wouldn't have made it through to everybody. How I love technology!

In a nutshell, this is just pathetic. I mean, these are some of the "thinkers" in Tanzania.

I don't want to sound like a genius, but I once blogged on the fact that ours is a snoozing government. I only didn't realize that some day, I will come to witness literal snoozing.

Just visit my previous blog , so you can see my musing on the sleeping government.

Photo: Mroki

Saturday, January 20, 2007

"Get Over It"....

It is my intention to keep this balling rolling all the time. Nonetheless, it is difficult to do that when some other pressing issues pull me away from this “house”. Despite that fact, my heart is always here. So what I do when I am not writing is to reflect off line. It is insane, but I do that.

I had planned to muse on some issues that caught my attention during my regular rounds on the Tanzanian media, but I had to skip that. The reason for my detour is that I came across a very interesting argument, that I thought to myself, why not blog on this?

I was watching CCN about three days ago. One the news items that they covered was this incident where one legislator from Virginia, Frank D. Hargrove, wanted black folks in the United States of America to get over slavery . The legislator made his remarks in opposition to a measure that would apologize on the state's behalf to the descendants of slaves.

I know most black people, especially those who have been playing the slavery and colonialism card for a long time, would not like my point of view. As painful as it is for some people, I agree with Mr. Hargrove. It is about time to let go of these tired excuses.

See, I am not condoning slavery nor am I supporting colonialism. Certainly, those institutions damaged the integrity of black people. However, those institutions are long gone. As I have said it before, Africans in particular, must define where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. Blaming each and every failure, some of which are our making, on the historical happenings is plain irresponsibility.

I was born after the independence of Tanganyika from the British. I cannot sit here and blame power outages in Tanzania on the British. I cannot sit here and blame corruption and lack of accountability on the British. I cannot sit here and blame lack of vision, creativity and hard work in Tanzania on anyone. But that is exactly what black folks, generally speaking, like to do around the globe.

What stinks the most is when an educated black brother or sister, goes on CCN and demands that the American government to apologize for slavery. What ticks me off is the fact that this brother or sister would go on television and cite the number of black men in jail. Fine, there are tons of black men that are jail. Nonetheless, the question is this: how did they get there? How did this articulate brother or sister get their education, if those chances are denied to black people? Or better yet, why wouldn’t blacks who feel that they are being denied a chance to succeed in all other institutions go to historically black colleges that are available?

The point is this: if I can “succeed” in America, despite all the immigration hurdles that I had to go through, I can’t understand why a black person in this country is running the streets and blaming that on slavery. Doing drugs is a personal choice, which has nothing to do with slavery. The last I checked, there are plenty of black millionaires in America, some of which are not even football or basketball players. How can I sit here and blame colonialism for a stupid contract that was signed by an irresponsible government official in Tanzania? It does not make sense, but black folks do that.

What stinks is that a typical black would rather idolize a rapper than an individual who is actually putting sense in their heads. For instance, the last time Bill Cosby challenged black folks to go to school, they shot back at him, claiming that he is only saying that because he is now rich. That is the point. He is rich. Would you take a lesson from a fellow failure?

It is apparent that black folks are not practical enough. Let’s say, for instance, that the American government apologizes for slavery (of course they have done that through Bill Clinton, who apologized for slavery when visiting Uganda). Would that change anything? Would that change the state of mind of some wicked white folks who are fond of racism? Would that get black men out of jail? Would that change the rate of single mothers in the black communities? I am sure it won’t. If it won’t, then we have to ask some serious and tough questions.

Of those questions, which black people have failed to ask themselves for years is this: how did we get under colonial and slavery masters? My theory is that we got under those institutions because we were naïve. Sad enough, none in the African continent is acknowledging that fact. As a result, we have not learned anything more than 300 years later. Despite nice suits and expensive cars, most of our leaders are still running on the same old Watemi mental outlook (see my previous blog on that ).

My point is this: We need to get over slavery. We need to get over colonialism. Throwing a pity party won’t change anything. We need to change our thinking mode if we really need to make progress. If in 1957 Malaysia was as poor as Tanzania, do you think they got where they are today by feeling sorry for themselves? It is 2007 and I don’t think white folks will relinquish their position anytime soon…if we want to compete; we have to learn the rules of the game. Unfortunately, we are not learning.

I know that my point of view could be politically incorrect, but let the truth be told.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Are We Cursed?

I like being logical. That, however, has not precluded me from being spiritual. As matter of fact, I believe that you cannot be logical and miss the essence of spirituality or spiritual realities. When science hits a wall and fails to provide answers to some burning questions of our generation, a light bulb has to come on in your head. There must be a higher being somewhere. I call that higher being God. Getting to understand and connecting with God is the highest level of enlightenment, trust me.

One of the burning questions in our generation, that is the African generation, is why the continent is still poor. The majority of human kinds out there understand the concept of progress and socio-economic development. Learned individuals have come up with the theories of development. Some societies have actually gone as far as implementing those theories. Given that Africans are not living in isolation, why can’t we learn and change? Why can’t Tanzania, for instance, make any meaningful progress?

I like to share ideas. Believe it or not, opening up and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is the best way to learn. My thinking is not 100% superb all the time, but I understand my shortcomings when I hear what other people have to say.

I happened to have a dinner table conversation with a friend and a brother. Being Tanzanians, one of the topics that came up was a “comparative analysis” of Tanzania v. USA. The conversation entailed the six million dollar question – why is Tanzania still poor? Obviously, my brother; who recently moved to the US from Tanzania, believes that Tanzania and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa is still poor because of the Europe and North America’s neo-colonialism tactics. Such tactics, he contended, include manipulation of the world market, investing in Africa under unfavorable terms, etc.

But then my brother dropped a bomb. He came up with the conclusion that the core issue facing people of the Negroid decent is purely spiritual. Briefly, the African problem is not mental, technical, scientific, but plainly a spiritual curse. He went to justify his argument by citing African-Americans in the United States who, generally speaking, are not doing any better than their relatives in the African continent.

For all y’all who are not Biblical scholars, the curse theory comes from a Biblical account. Briefly, the Bible tells us that of the Noah’s three sons; Ham, failed to cover his father’s nakedness and a result, got cursed. See Genesis 9: 20-27 .

Personally, I have trouble with this theory. For one, Ham was not particularly and specifically cursed, it was his son Canaan (see Genesis 9:25). The belief that the Negroid Africans are cursed is largely due to the belief that Africans are largely Hamitic, because Cushites (see Genesis 10:6) are thought to have lived where Ethiopia is today. This is my argument, and I believe most Biblical scholars will agree with me: even if the Cushites are truly Negroid Africans, the Bible tells us that Canaan and not Cush was cursed!

I truly believe that African problems are more attitudinal and cultural than spiritual. I am ruling out mental and intellectual reasons because it has not been proven that Caucasians, Latinos or Asians are more intelligent than Negroes. Let me speak to Tanzanians who claim to be Christians for a minute. Assuming the curse is truly there, Africans are not bound by the old covenant. If we have to make an assessment of the African situation from a Biblical perspective, Africans (gentiles) are under the New Testament (covenant)– the covenant of the blood of the Jesus. Besides, nowhere in the copy of my Bible it is written to conclusively contend that Africans are cursed. As such, Tanzanians must simply wake up from their deep slumber and take a very hard look at their own faces.

Tanzanians and other African countries must grow. The reason Europeans and North Americans treat us like kids is because we are act like kids (you can’t deny that, given that our presidents would rather boast of meeting a British president and not solving domestic issues). We come to the major league with minor league mentalities. If Tanzania is doing better than Malawi, for instance, it does not mean that we have mastered the game. The major league countries will still whoop us. Wearing a European suit does not give you a European thinking capability.

Citing a spiritual curse as the reason for the African poverty and pathetic social situation is a clear indication that we are missing the point. Just looking around the world today. One cannot fail to observe the fact that most materially prosperous societies are falling into a spiritual emptiness and a “curse” that is astounding. Values in the United State of America for instance, are becoming a foreign notion. One prominent American preacher once made this observation: Americans may look at African as a third world economically, but the reality is that Africa is the first world spiritually.

I guess it is all a matter of perspective.

My personal conviction is that Sub-Saharan African is not cursed. The continent has simply failed to define where it wants to go and how it wants to get there. The continent, in my point of view, has decided to resign in a corner and throw a pity party. At some point, we have to be hard on ourselves and institute accountability as part of our vocabulary. Curse or no curse, nobody progresses without being accountable. At some point, we have to separate imaginary curses from our own stupidity. The faster we realize that, the better we will become.

You are as big as your mental outlook.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Stinking Thinking

I have heard of so many reasons as to why Tanzania is still poor. Some have blamed colonialism, while some have blamed imbalances in the world trade. Very few have plainly put the blame on us. I tend to lean towards placing the blame on us. The reason for my inclination is very simple: there are success stories in the African continent, despite sharing the same historical experiences. Truthfully, we have failed to utilize our mental faculties, not mentioning the fact that our leaders have become overly shortsighted and selfish. Those are things you cannot pin on a long-gone mkoloni.

I am not exposed to any other spiritual book other than the Bible, so I will make my reference there. All truths is God’s truth, my pastor likes to say. So let’s get to it. Proverbs 23:7 says, “ As a man thinks so is he…” I simple terms, you are a reflection of your mental outlook and attitude. You become what you think. You will always be defeated or victorious once you start viewing yourself as such.

My conviction is that we succeed by overcoming obstacles. Dreaming is OK, but at some point one has to lift their butts off and work. Try customer service in Tanzania and you will agree with me that we are stuck in wrong attitudes. And certainly bad attitude does not move you anywhere, regardless of whether you have plenty of resources (like in Tanzania) or not.

I believe that as a society, Tanzania stinks because our attitude and thinking is the same. That of course, is generally speaking. There are plenty of brilliant minds in Tanzania. If it weren’t for a crappy system; these minds would have taken Tanzania to the moon. Seriously.

Recently, DHW reported that Tume ya Kurekebisha Sheria has proposed the introduction of duo citizenship in Tanzania. According to DHW , the Ministry of Internal Affairs has ratified the proposal. The expected next move is presentation of the proposal before the Ministerial Cabinet, followed by the Bill formulation.

It all sounded good until the stinking thinking I was referring to, kicked in. The culprits being some officials from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

According to DHW, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, pointed out that they are not in a hurry to present the duo citizenship Bill, citing “ high costs of educating regular mwananchi on duo citizenship and implementation of the changes” as the reason. That kind of reasoning makes my jaws drop in amazement.

Wait a minute, pals. There is a plethora of Bills and policy changes in Tanzania that were introduced without consulting or educating wananchi first. So how do we make a determination on issues to educate people on and otherwise? Beats me. See, I am not against consulting and getting stakeholders’ views, but such a step should be taken when there are strong arguments. For instance, would you go back to consult your village health officer, if a PhD holding surgeon recommended surgery on your foot?

The point is this: Tume ya Kurekebisha Katiba is comprised of technical professionals whose recommendations shouldn’t be politicized. I would like to believe that they are working for the interest of Tanzanians. As such, we should educate wananchi on the Tume’s responsibilities and not on every judgment they make. Taking the later option is nothing more than insanity. Besides, aren’t we paying the Tume to come up with recommendations for changes in the Law?

Let’s get real for a second. Statistics claim that 80% of Tanzanians are farmers, mostly lacking even a Secondary School certificate. Given that fact, why expect to get any meaningful feedback from an individual who have not even traveled outside his or her own District? I am not trying to belittle the hard working farmers, but it is safe to presume that the concept of duo citizenship is complex for an individual who have not found a use for a Tanzanian passport.

The Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs pointed out that tabling of the duo citizenship Bill would be suspended, as the priority is creation of the national identification cards. That is fine on the surface. Getting down to it, national IDs is not even within this Ministry’s jurisdiction. Correct if I am wrong, but I believe that national identification cards is the responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs. That strikes out the Ministry of Justice’s reasoning ( I know they can hit back with a collective responsibility card, but that is a bunch of crap in itself).

Furthermore, the Ministry contends the exercise that will be costly to the Tanzanian government. Citing high costs is a load of crap. For one, the Ministry has utilized the “high costs” as a blanket statement to mask lack of thorough thinking. If not, why give a general statement? What is the actual cost? In other words, how high is high? Secondly, how much would it cost the Tanzanian government, for instance, to allow a Tanzanian in Sweden to become a Swedish citizen? My quick calculation: Zero shillings to the Tanzanian government. Zero. Nada. Bure kabisaaaaaaaa.

Sana sana, applicants who want to become Tanzanian citizens will have to part with application and processing fees, enough to cover government printing and processing costs. You know what? The government can even make a few shillings from the process. If there are any initial financial outlays, that could be recouped from applicants. Sasa, where did these folks come up with the conclusion that it would cost the government plenty of money to implement the duo citizenship Law?

Honestly, I think folks smoke something in the Tanzanian government. It seems like you the general qualification for being a government official in Tanzania is inability to think and an expertise in coming up with weak excuses. Seriously.

Thinking in Tanzania, generally speaking, is definitely stinking. I have not seen anything to prove me wrong on that. Tanzania is not going anywhere, progress wise, unless we change how receive, perceive, process, and utilize information.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Bundle Of Joy

That's my boy! For real...

I just wanted to let you know that I have an addition to my family, clan, United States of America...(but hopefully, the boy will become a Tanzanian citizen if this duo citizenship thing is passed).

Baby Jedrick was born on Friday, December 29, 2006 at 6:31 am. He is mighty healthy and I couldn't thank God enough for this wonderful experience.

You are certainly allowed to share with me in this joyous occassion.

Hopefully, through my blogging he will grow to see a transformed Tanzania, which we all desire and aspire for.