I came across this article from Daily News on how the University of Dar-Es-Salaam scholars blasted the idea of dual citizenship. Reading every rationale provided by the scholars, I almost went bananas. Read the original article yourself, lest I get accused of making up stories.
I seriously respect the UDSM scholars’ opinions. It is their prerogative to express their views. Nonetheless, I would like to express my opinions too. And my take is this: the view expressed by most of the quoted UDSM students and professors is myopic.
I can understand tying single citizenship to true patriotism, but that is a debatable argument, particularly in the Tanzanian context. From a practical standpoint, the track record of single citizens – some of whom are holding Tanzanian diplomatic passports – does not give an indication of a serious and true commitment to Tanzania. These are the same folks who have brought us RDC, the radar saga and endless of swindling of public funds. True patriotism goes beyond paying lip service and an abundant supply of meaningless rhetoric. It appears that the UDSM scholars are ascribing citizenship to a very narrow view of what it stands for.
Just a little further, globalization means mobility of labor and resources. Isn’t that’s why Tanzania is trying to lure foreign investors? If that is the case then, fear of foreign “invasion”, which has been cited as reason against dual citizenship, is more than a narrow view. Foreign “invasion”, if anything is imminent. Recently, the Tanzanian president has been trotting around the globe marketing Tanzania. The simple translation to that is the foreigners will flock Tanzania whether dual citizenship is a way to go or otherwise. By the way, Vodacom or Barrick Gold are not Tanzania owned companies. As such, singing patriotic songs will not change the global forces. The only wise thing we can do is to be proactive and manage those trends.
I gather that our “educated” mass at UDSM is still stuck in the Tanzania of 1975 when anything patriotic and Pan-Africanism sounding made a lot of sense. Unfortunately, the world of physical borders is slowing eroding and we are increasingly becoming a global village.
The loss of true Tanzanianship, if I can coin the expression, is about to end anyways. I don’t know what the UDSM scholars are seeing, but from my view point, the introduction of the East African passport will mean the end of Tanzania citizenship. If the EAC thing goes through, we all know that Tanzanians will become Kenyan and Ugandan citizenship, if you will. So why would educated folks fail to see what is actually up close and under their noses?
I guess they were busy being too patriotic.
I really can’t understand why Tanzanians would think that they are all that. The last time I checked, Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. Let’s put that in capital letters: ONE OF THE POOREST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. Check the CIA fact figures . With an estimated $29.25 billion GDP in 2006, Tanzania was below Kenya ($40.77) and Uganda ($51.89 billion. Given those facts, why would an “educated” person in Tanzania think that there would be a mass influx to Tanzania simply because of dual citizenship? Why would we think Ugandans are imbeciles for allowing dual citizenship (despite having the highest GDP in East Africa)?
Just go ahead and look at the list of other countries (including many other African countries) that allow dual citizenship. The truth is that most of these countries are doing much better economically than Tanzania.
Well, some folks have contended that only a minority group is pushing for dual citizenship and therefore eliminating the need of granting dual citizenship. Have the “educated” elite of Tanzania thought about the fact that the majority of Tanzanians are farmers that have never seen a Tanzanian passport? Furthermore, I really don’t understand why an informed minority in a country would be denied a right to choose, simply because the majority group is ignorant.
Well, some Dr. Colman Msoka made this comment, which I honestly think is shortsighted if not stupid: “ If they (I guess he was referring to Tanzanian living abroad) love this country they should come and stay here. Why allow them to come and go?”
Well, Dr. Msoka, staying in Tanzania could be an outward expression of loving Tanzania, but is that truly the only, absolute way that one can express their love for their country? Let’s be honest. Who’s the number one enemy to Tanzania: those Tanzanians who chose to look for employment elsewhere or those Tanzanians in Tanzania who are looting the country left and right?
Deducing that Tanzanians stationed in the Diaspora are sell-outs is more than stupid. For one, it is the prerogative of every Tanzanian to travel abroad. I think that is why Tanzanian passports are issued. Secondly, it is the right of every Tanzanian to look for employment anywhere in the world (provided they don’t break the law in those foreign countries), particularly in this globalized economy. Are the white managers in Bulyakhulu less Canadians because they are stationed in Shinyanga?
It appears to me that Dr. Msoka is undermining the economic contribution of Tanzanians living abroad. I have given this example before, but I will do it again for the benefit of the ignorant likes of Dr. Msoka. I live in the United States. My mother lives in Shirati, Tarime. On a monthly basis, I send money to mom. My mom does not hide that money under her pillow. She circulates my money into the local economy. I know of other folks from Shirati right here in the United States who do the same. I know folks in Dar-es-Salaam who do the same. We keep the Shirati’s economy rolling. So do you mean to tell that a person from Shirati who decided to be stationed in Dar-es-Salaam, for instance, for economic reasons does not love Shirati enough?
There are other cultural reasons to consider also. For instance, I have a son born in the United States. He is an American from a legal standpoint, but a Tanzanian from a cultural perspective. His grandmother is still in Shirati and she pretty much considers him her bloodline. I wonder if the likes of Dr. Msoka are considering such unique situations. There are so many countries out there that are allowing dual citizenship, but my son does not have a reason to be a Ugandan, for instance. He is tied to Tanzania. Unfortunately, there are people in Tanzania who think my son does not deserve a chance to make a connection with both the country of his birth and the land that is housing his grandfather’s grave.