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.


Sam GM said...


I tend to think that these very people in the Tume are no different from the wakulima who have not even crossed one region to the next. This is (forgive me) the chama thinking, they behave as if they are just makada wa chama and every thing they have tabled has to go to every village as itikadi. I am really at loss here, where does a dual citizenship matter meet with national IDs? this is really beating my understanding more just to comprehend that this kiddish thinking is still entertained in matters that need speed deliberations.

I would give more credit to even wakulima because they know when to till the land and when not to. They know which matters related to their plants to be taken to bwana shamba and which ones not to. But in a very dismal manner, the wizara ya sheria bunch that have been entrusted with this matter strike me badly off as if they even have a clue as to what is a dual citizenship.

sam gm

Maiki said...

This is for JMK and his team:

Quit Bugging me... please!

Frustration tests greatly the humour in me,
Some people, their actions, and things that I see.
Perhaps I am mean to not suffer them gladly,
But I find it quite irksome when people act badly.
Or when systems in place, just fail to make sense,
I am tempted to pass comment that may cause offence.
But why suffer in silence when lunacy reigns,
And not mention, improvements are afforded by brains?
Perhaps it is arrogant to think this at times,
But some things are so stupid they should be a crime.
So if rude I must be, then rude I shall stay,
Till the fools of the Land either think or go away.

Mhhh! Now this is my point......"At least seven legislators in the Tanzanian parliament are having their qualifications investigated on suspicion that they have been obtained from unaccredited institutions.

According to information obtained by The EastAfrican, among the seven legislators who are the subject of an internal inquiry by a House committee are ministers, deputy ministers and ordinary MPs.

Moreover, the actual number may turn out to be higher given the fact that more public figures are said to be holding diplomas and degrees from questionable institutions....."

Now here is the biggest joke...... Deputy Speaker Anna Makinda told The EastAfrican last week that it was not the duty of the parliament to scrutinise the authenticity of the “degrees” because the only academic requirement for an MP is to know how “to read and write.”


Patrick GK said...

I would like to echo Maiki's observations here, the "Vihiyo" part actually.

I believe the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs fits the profile, I mean how do you suddenly show up with a Ph.D? And that from a less-than-wonderful "school"(I am being polite here!).

Seems like getting fake Ph.D's is the latest fad in governmental and parliamentary circles in Tanzania and the rather dismissive comments from Anna Makinda seem to suggest nothing is wrong with such shameless practices which, elsewhere would be viewed as fraudulent, if not altogether criminal.

No wonder we are where we are...

Gillian said...

You've certainly punched holes in the weak excuse. Do you have ideas about the real reasons for not going ahead? Inertia? Another agenda?

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Jaduong Metty said...

I am in my mid thirties, and as long as I can remember, the Tanzanian government has not been effective. It is only recently that we see a mushrooming of PhD holding ministers.

In the old days, as long as you can suck up to Nyerere, you were good to go.

I believe that the culture within the system is not encouraging creativity and criticall thinking.

Inertia? I think so. Recently, a political leaders lashed out at the press for calling the ruling party - CCM conservative. Apparently, he didn't understand what the word means. Such a leaders that walk around as "waheshimiwas".

Gillian said...

so, what hope is there for the various competency-building projects that are underway? I guess that starting from a low level, any increase in competency is significant!

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