Hey, I am just kidding.
The point is, I had to take care of other life issues that kept me from blogging.
Just to let you know, my wife reads this blog. For y’all married men, you understand what that means. Every word and every concept is scrutinized. Man, that is a lot of pressure. I mean, as I hoped that this would be my private corner, I didn’t realize that everywhere I go I have to be in my best behavior and make the best presentation.
So of late my lovely wife challenged me to focus on other social issues and not “those political stuff”. I felt like my head was spinning. At the bask of head, I was just asking myself, what other social issue in Tanzanian that is not affected by politics? May be my mind is so focused on politics that I see it everywhere, but… Let’s take marriage for instance: when a girl is about to get married, you’ll start hearing about all these uncles and aunts who never took part in upbringing her, but demanding a share of the dowry. Then that’s where hell breaks loose, with uncles and aunts fighting and bickering.
If you look at it critically, these uncles and aunts would have had a better understanding, if only they had gone to “school”. Then you realize that they are victims of their surroundings. The best school around is a torn down primary school with neither adequate teaching supplies nor teachers. As you ponder some more you come to the conclusion that the schools don’t have the necessary tools because of pathetic government policies…all of a sudden, you are back to politics.
So yes, politics can easily interfere a very well planned wedding in Tanzania. Trust me on that. I know my example was a bit of a stretch, but there are plenty of “non-political” social events whose outcomes are influenced by the political climate.
The bottom line is, I am not sure if I can get away from political analysis completely.
And I believe this could be the best point to go back to the heading.
In the most recent past, I had a conversation with one of my relatives. We happened to be talking about the dual citizenship debate in Tanzania, and my relative’s contention was that supporters of dual citizenship are doing so for their own benefits, and not for the “faida ya taifa” (national interest, for non-Swahili speakers).
You know what? Back in the days, I would have just let that go. I’d zip my mouth because that is a politically correct argument (in a typical Tanzanian context), which carries with it a sense of responsibility, accountability and patriotism. So I posed this question to this patriotic fellow: “what is a taifa”? Well, the guy didn’t answer. He looked dumbfounded. You know why? He had recited this buzzword for ions without critically looking at what it really means. And plenty of folks in Tanzania do that.
So this is what I kindly and nicely told him. A nation is made up of individuals. When a government draws up a national policy, such policies are drawn to potentially benefit every citizen at an individual level. For instance, universal primary education in Tanzania was geared towards benefiting every child in Tanzania. Nonetheless, not every child is motivated enough to pursue primary education. As a matter of fact, I know a person who dropped out of school at around Grade Three. The point is this: what benefits the nation, benefits individuals first. How each individual benefits is a question of personal preference at times, and the government can’t control that.
So this is my message. It is imperative that we look beyond or critically at buzzwords. Again, I’m a firm believer that the Tanzanian education has not established itself so much into equipping students with critical thinking skills. As a result, we have a huge population of “educated” folks who can’t ask the right questions.
Just a little consolation to my Tanzanian people: even in the United States, there are very familiar concepts that “ordinary” folks never stopped to ask what they really mean. May be laziness to think is so rampant across the globe. May be it is due to global warming… I don’t know, I am just trying to think aloud. One those concepts is this running in most workplaces when one makes so many copies of a document “unnecessarily”. You would hear someone talk about that as “killing some trees”.
Killing trees is a concept that has been drummed up by environmentalists. I do understand and support taking care of the earth, but that shouldn’t be done through perpetuation of ignorance. The truth is this: there is a whole paper industry that controls the inventory of suitable trees. Besides, not every tree is suitable for making paper. For people in Tanzania, mbuyu is definitely not a raw material for paper manufacturing. So by making plenty of copies of your favorite joke from the Internet for distribution in the office, rest assured that your favorite miarobaini are safe. The Mgololo folks have no business with your miembe. So relax.
My message is that we should be better thinkers. Better thinking individuals eventually make up a better thinking nation. The challenge is whether we currently have that in Tanzania. If we do, such thinkers are a tiny little minority.