Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Losing The Moral Battle

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that one of the many factors that are dragging Tanzania down is lack of quality leadership. We have plenty of figures that we call leaders, but in my opinion they are nothing more that opportunists and career politicians. Relatively speaking, we have made progress since independence, but given all the resources we have, it could have been much better.

I could blame Nyerere for setting up the wrong stage as far quality leadership is concerned. That is because we recognize him as the Father of the Nation. Given that fact, corruption, irresponsibility, self-righteousness, abuse of power and all the negative things that we note with regards to Tanzanian leaders, are attributed to him. I know, I know, folks would say that he did what he could, given a few educated folks he had at his disposal. That is fine and I respect that, but that was in 1961. In 1985 when he left office (twenty-four years later) certainly he could have set the stage for more educated and responsible folks to take the leadership reigns.

My point is this: a responsible father leaves his house in order. And Nyerere didn’t.

I just wanted to bring that historical perspective, so that we can understand why we have leadership problems in Tanzania. I don’t believe that problems started when Nyerere left office. Most of the folks in the leadership ranks in Tanzania have been recycled ever since I was born. The leadership decay and crisis in Tanzania started way back. Think I am kidding?Just read this.

And this was way back in 1982. So all of a sudden Nyerere became a champion of a fight against corruption after his presidency? Please. If anything, that is hypocrisy, given that he had failed to fight the same.

If he was serious, why didn’t he sack anyone? Beats me and I guess we will never find out. So we can’t start shooting AHM or BWM for all the evils. Nyerere simply didn’t have the guts to do anything during his tenure. He just talked. He gave very good speeches, but no action was taken. So is anyone surprised the “recycling” tradition is still going on? Or could it be that his “boys” knew Nyerere’s own evils, such as having cable TV at his residency, while denying the entire country the privilege of having a TV station? I am sure they knew about some skeletons in Nyerere’s closet.

Given what we know, Nyerere was not justified to accuse Mwinyi of running a corrupt government, while his own government was full of crap.

It is not surprising then, that over the years; the concept of good leadership has escaped the minds of most Tanzanian “leaders”. Honestly, the majority of MPs, for instance, stink of evil. How could anyone elected through the influence of takrima boast of being a “good” leader? I am sure they would content that it doesn’t matter as long as the said MP is capable of “working hard” for the people. You will see that in a minute.

It appears that the requirement that good moral standing be a must for our leaders is being thrown out of the window. I guess the only prerequisite for being appointed to stand election by any political party is loot in one’s pockets. A classic case of the deterioration of our moral standards as a country is the story about the MP for Buchosa, Mr. Samuel Chitalilo. In a nutshell, the dude “cooked” his educational qualification, but thinks it is no big deal.

In Mr. Chitalilo’s mind, which I believe is a representative of that of many in the CCM camp, failure to be of a good moral character is not something that a leader should be penalized for. Surprisingly, he confessed that even CCM, collectively as a party, would not penalize that. What I am gathering out of that is this: tumekwisha. I understand that based on the Laws of the land, Mr. Chitalilo didn’t commit any offense. But that does exonerate Mr. Chitalilo from moral charges, which holds him accountable for even higher standards.

And think that guys is right. The legacy that Nyerere left behind does not call for accountability on violation of moral rules. So Mr. Chitalilo must be aware of the extent to which dirty things are within CCM and the entire system. Besides, wasn’t it CCM that ratified takrima, which is bribe in principle? I am sure when they start pointing fingers at Mr. Chitalilo, he would have his own finger pointing to do. Are you surprised that CCM has remained mum on this? I am not. It is all dirty in that house.

And that is pathetic. It is pathetic because this is a party of members who could not even uphold its own constitution (please see chapter 2, section 8, subsection (6) of CCM’s constitution, which outlines character requirements for a member). You can view the constitution from CCM’s own website.

Despite Nyerere’s failure to leave a good foundation for good and quality leadership behind him, we can’t dwell on that for the rest of our lives. Our generation has a responsibility of building and sustaining a culture that values good and quality leadership. Because if we don’t, we will be losing a moral battle, which those currently in power have stopped or failed to fight.

Photo: Darhotwire


Mbwana said...

Valid points... But I think its unfair to point all the blame on mwalimu for corruption, it all depends on how you define what makes a good leader- if its leaving a house in good order with respect to corruption, I think even a majority of good leaders through time and across the globe will fail this test- except maybe the company, general electric who had excellent mentors leaders before to guide transition or maybe the roman empire?... What maybe Tanzania needs is a complete leadership transition from the CCM old guard...
Nyerere did a great job in unifying the country and bringing stability whilst pushing an ideology that was right for Tanzanians at the time, but wrong if we wanted to develop economically... Maybe picking Mwinyi was wrong, but can Nyerere really be blamed for corruptions problems up to now? Under this logic I can also start blaming colonialism for leaving a leadership void across many African nations when they left so suddenly following independence- but nooooo, we can't continue to fault colonialism for our troubles can we now...???

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Bwana, It would be absurd to blame Nyerere for corruption, irresponsibility, self-righteousness or abuse of power, practice with our leaders today. Infact, Nyerere was not irresponsible or a corrupt person. He was neither vain nor arrogant. He was very honest leader ready to admit his mistakes and to show flexibility and pragmatism. To prove that, Nyerere issued a remarkably honest booklet and gave as much prominence to failures as well as the success during his leadership. That shows how seriously he took his responsibility in the failure he inflicted to our Nation. Even if we look at the policy of socialism which Nyerere adored, it was not an immoral policy. In my opinion, it was an efficient policy for the wellbeing of society, even though if in practice it is not practicable. However, it's undeniable that Nyerere’s economic policies for Tanzania proved to be disastrous but we have to remember, we all human beings and no one is perfect. Actually, does perfection exist?

Jaduong Metty said...

At the very end of my post I pointed out that we, as part of this generation, are responsible for building a new nation with good moral standing as a required quality for our leaders.

I concur with you – we cannot blame Nyerere for everything. Nonetheless, as we have anointed him the Father of the Nation, one is justified to blame the foundation or lack thereof, which he laid. As he takes credit for national unity – which, in my opinion, is the only thing that most Tanzanians would clearly tell as his contribution – likewise, he should shoulder the blame for all other things that went wrong. I think you would agree that is fair enough.

Given the little I know, I am presuming that Nyerere created the monsters we have today. The majority of the CCM top dogs have been around since the TANU days. So what would we conclude when Nyerere pointed out in 1982 that CCM folks were corrupt? He was talking about the very monsters he created! The question is: why didn’t he do anything?

Given that the same folks that Nyerere failed to deal with 1982 are still in power, whom should we blame then? He knew there were corrupt, yet he failed to save Tanzanians from them. I think that is different from colonialism –which was imposed on us. Nyerere created, mentored, and allowed these folks to roam freely.

Guess what? Even Mr. Chitalilo, who is at the center of this story, boasts of being “anointed” and “approved” by Nyerere! See where this is coming and going?

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 7:37AM
I’m not anti-Nyerere, but I just feel that there are questions that Tanzanians tend to overlook or simply ignoring to ask. This is one of them: If Nyerere was that good, how did he fail to influence and impact other leaders he created to embrace the same moral standards?

I'm not trying to just throw this question as a matter of sarcasm, but genuinely wanting to know.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious nyerere embraced the moral standards to the Tanzania leaders. To prove that, he would even dare to humiliate leaders who did not clasp moral standards value toward welfare of Tanzanians (e.g.Kolimba and Malechela etc). Nyerere was driven by a profound commitment to the welfare of Tanzanians. His policies and programmes (whether successful or not) were underpinned by an ethical foundation based on believe in the absolute equality of all people. Gentleman, it will be fare to denote nyerere legacy on his emphasis on democracy and democratic engagement, and on development policies which do not serve to heighten income inequalities or class difference.

Patrick GK said...

I believe Mwalimu Nyerere had good intentions all along, the resulting eventualities notwithstanding.

However, I hasten to add that good intentions do not translate into good decisions automatically. For instance the practice of recycling underperforming(ill-performing is more like it) ministers or parastatal bigwigs did, in my opinion, set a precedent for what we have today.

Someone messes up in one spot, move them over to the next and the cycle continues. Why wouldn't he remove them completely? I think he kept them all partly because we didn't have enough qualified people to take the helm at the time(debatable, I know) but then gradually this became the norm and the other reason would be the "tumetoka mbali tumegombea uhuru pamoja" bond, so one thing led to another and before we knew it, it became the norm, well I am just speculating here...

Anyways, at the end of the day we need to get ourselves out of the mess we are in today, excuses will not do it.

Maiki said...

The Tanzanian battle for morality is a people's battle! People very often want in leaders what they themselves are unwilling or unable to be. For example, how many people are honest in their daily lives: moral, ethical, spiritual, self-sacrificing, placing the vital interests of the planet above self, pleasures and passions? Don't people prefer that other people do the hard work, attend the meetings, set the example and make the sacrifice, while they fool around, drink beer, "make merry" and enjoy watching sports and television?
The masses are no saints! They are sometimes irresponsible, and through the democratic process, elect some of the worst personalities to lead. Most of the leaders elected into office are a reflection of the "common mwananchi." You may be surprised by the number of people who applauds the actions of "illiterate" Chitalilo - tunaona kuwa jamaa ni mjanja ile mbaya! How can we expect serious change if we embrace such uncouth behaviors? Followership is as important as leadership. Actually, it is an integral part of leadership. If a man or woman does not have the capacity to know when to follow then such a person would not be an effective leader. One does not have to be the maximum leader to be a leader. There are various levels of leadership and each is vitally important. The leader will be unable to be effective if at the various levels of an organization or institution, leadership is dysfunctional. Most people will agree that many of Tanzania's present-day problems have to do with the failure of leadership at the level of the family unit.

This leads me to question the ignorant attitude and actions of Hon. Chitalilo. Mr. Chitalilo belongs to the CCM family. He is considered to be one of the party’s young blood (Nyerere ordained, if I would!). Now, it is only fair to conclude that whatever he did,is a lesson well learned from his predecessors. I am persuaded that Mr. Chitalilo's confidence that CCM will not take any actions against his action stems from the fact that he is surrounded by a deceitful and corrupt people, people that he is very much aware will not dare to point a finger at one of their own kind! How can a promiscuous parent scold his/her children if the children choose to engage in promiscuity? I remember we had a Mr. Kihio back in the days - see, same pattern, same party! I am watching eagerly to see how the CCM discplinary committee (if they have one) will address this issue. As my dad used to say: "SAMAKI MMOJA KWENYE KAPU AKIOZA, WOTE HUNUKA!"

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 4:11PM
I could somewhat agree with you on Nyerere. Unfortunately, we are not talking about Nyerere the individual; we are talking about Nyerere the leader. What baffles me the most is this: how did he fail to influence other leaders in the CCM machinery to truly uphold the same moral standards?

Talking about Kolimba and Malecela, do you mean to tell me that these folks turned into monsters immediately after Nyerere relinquished power? Who then was Nyerere talking about in 1982 as corrupt leaders? I am sure Kolimba and Malecela were right there under his nose at that time.

The point is this: if we have to take failure to deal with corrupt leaders as classic case, then we are justified to conclude that Nyerere was a “good” person, but an ineffective leader. The legacy of decay that we inherited from his tenure is still haunting us today. And he should bear the responsibility.

Just a side note: was Nyerere really democratic? Were his policies really progressive as you pointed out? Why then all evidence we have supports the opposite?

UDSM was established in 1960s. In 1985 when Nyerere got out of power - lack of qualified folks was irrelevant. I would not cite that as an excuse.

Nyerere was simply ineffective. The single party system was pro-politics than pro-professionalism. Do you know how powerful the uneducated branch CCM chairman at Urafiki, for instance, was than the factory's CEO?

And that was and still is the problem.


Anonymous said...

Metty – it has been 20 years since his been gone.
What’s baffling to an average person Metty is that learn from Mwalimu’s “mistakes”. It is bad form – for a gentleman to constantly/repeatedly try to make a point by dragging a dead person’s name through mud. Personally I see ypur point but – it will go down better if you and I leave Mwalimu out of it. To the living – blast them to an extent that it will not be personal – wao wanapumua they can defend themselves ….. U understand the words I typed?
Corruption was here before Mwalimu came – corruption was here after Mwalimu’s passing ……. Hebu tuwachane na maswali academic. Effective …….. non-effective ……… sounds like A-level history to me.
“The past is history; the present moment is a gift (Unknown)”

Metty – calm down for a min. Sober up for a minute here - “Given that fact, corruption, irresponsibility, self-righteousness, abuse of power and all the negative things that we note with regards to Tanzanian leaders, are attributed to him.”

Mwalimu had a few balls too many in the air – so one’s bound to let some fall to the ground - naturally. That been said, kama Mwalimu ‘failed’ ….. what’s preventing the generation that he never will have tainted from doing better in those areas above – essentially 20 years from now?

For once so that your point could be crystal clear – while Mwalimu might have been part of the problem. He wasn’t ‘all’ of it either. With time – he ceases to be an issue altogether.

We’d both agree that there’s lousy leadership in Tanzania at the moment – now the question as to whether that lousiness has everything to do with Mwalimu ……. Sounds cheap to me.

Lets deal (because that’s the only choice we have anyway – feel free to counter that fact) with now and tomorrow – of course with respect to yesterday’s issues – so that we do a better job NOT to repeat the same (old) mistakes. While your argument that “A responsible father leaves his house in order. And Nyerere didn’t.”

Fine – to me this is half the story. The other half being “What happens once the house that was meant to be in order isn’t – and if it isn’t how come we living beings are blaming a dead man?” why not simply put it in order? We have a diagnosis ……….. now why not find a remedy for it?
Instead of dwelling on Mwalimu we need to be:

“Learning from the past,
Embracing the future
You cannot build performance on weaknesses. You can only build it on strengths (Unknown)” – last time I checked – “blaming” is not a strength

Mwalimu retired in 1985 ……. It has been 20 years+ …….. come on now. If today’s leaders are anything worth than the paper their pay stubs are printed on – how come we are still trying to find a malaria vaccine instead of eradicating mosquito habitats? Yaani na hii nayo ni ya ku-debate Mzee?
Kwa sababu even an average son should do better if not try to match up to at least what the father did/has accomplished.

Last but not least Metty “Knowledge is what enables people to make daring strides and new discoveries (Unknown)” – we know now that Mwalimu made those “grave” mistakes – we know ………. How come I am not seeing any discoveries?

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 3:26 PM
At the very end of my post I pointed out that we (this generation) have a responsibility of building a different kind of a nation. Nonetheless, I don’t think it is wrong to get an historical perspective. I just wanted to point out the fact that all the vices we see today in Bongoland didn’t spring up after Nyerere (as he tried to make it look like). As a Father of the Nation, we are justified to “blame” him for not setting up a wonderful precedent for all of us. That was and is my point.

I agree with you, we cannot blame everything on Nyerere, but it is difficult to talk about the Tanzanian history, political culture and the like without throwing Nyerere in the mix. In my opinion, Mr. Chitalilo’s attitude is a reflection of the culture that Nyerere failed to contain. Besides, who created the CCM machinery if not Mzee?

Yes he retired over 20 years ago, but isn't his legacy still lingering on?

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen, Chimallilo issue is nothing to deal with Nyerere legacy. In fact, it happened and will always happen under this corrupt government. I remember previously in one of the debate, I mentioned the motive of these leaders under CCM umbrella does not reflect on the public interest. Hence, aspiration of these people to govern Tanzanian focus on their personal needs. Nonetheless, Chimallilo issue does not and will not bother any one of them, he is just like them (Chukua Chako Mapema). In fact, for them he is very smart guy who realising there is no point to consider the life of any one in Tanzania. The only solution to survive in the country is to be greedy, selfish, and corrupt. Those are values the leaders of Tanzania they are stand for, and if you do not believe Takrima philosophy will affirm that fact. Those monsters they seat in parliament to legalise that crap legislation and denote it as moral standard to give or receive the Takrima. Now, ask yourself why these leaders decided to delude Tanzanians that Takrima is not corruption. I hope you know the answer!!!!