Wednesday, August 29, 2007

“Had It Been..."

“Had it been somewhere else…”

Most of you have probably heard that when Bongolanders would be comparing what is happening in Bongoland to other places in the world, mostly in the developed countries. There are so many interpretations that could be derived from that, but from my perspective, the sentence sends a message of despair or giving up.

As always, it is not my intention to dedicate an entire blog post based on a single reader’s comments on any of my previous posts. Nonetheless, I feel it is necessary at times to override that rule of mine, just to educate all of us on my thought process and rationale for what I write.

I believe we are entitled to our opinions. As such, my writing shouldn’t be reflected as a jab to my esteemed readers, but rather an attempt to bring certain things to light. That is because I am sure there are folks who see the world the way some of my readers do. Honestly, what I am about to say is just coming from my recycling bin, for I have said this before. Just to get the ball rolling, here is the basis for my reflection today, and it is based on the following statement from some of my esteemed readers:

I think you suffer this myth of black inferiority, and the press/blogs like yours are constantly promulgates the worst of the African experiences…”

your solutions are…simplistic

"mindset/culture" solution is way too general...

Just for the records. I believe in a positive Africa. I believe in the progressive Africa. Otherwise, why waste my time blogging? The difference, however, is that I have taken a rather “unorthodox” approach. I have deliberately taken myself outside the thinking mode that most “patriotic” Africans tend to hold. I know that my position is not popular in an African political context, but that’s the risk I am willing to take.

I don’t think that by having an “ unorthodox” approach to Africa’s problem I have become less of an African than the rest. Besides, what makes one a true African? Aren’t the supposedly “true” Africans elected to presidential posts looting the continent left and right? See, a spade is always a spade whether a foreigner or a brother next door calls it out. Honestly, I would like to be educated on how I have become a problem to Africa by calling out Africa’s core snags.

Unless you open your mind a little bit and step outside a typical we-are-the-victims-of-something African mentality box, you will never get the spirit of this blog.

Man, if you had known how proud I am of being African, you would not dare call me inferior. On the flip side, I think those that are afraid to be challenged by a fellow African are the ones who suffer from inferiority complex. Just read this previous post to gauge whether I believe Africans are inferior or not. I have chosen, however, not to depict my pride only by embracing the African rot.

Besides, there are plenty of Uhuru and Daily News, which are the mouthpieces of the government, drumming up the “positives”. I chose to depict the other side of the coin, and that should remain my prerogative.

Whether you are agree with me or not, I strongly believe that Africa’s problems are rooted in Africa’s own culture. And when I talk about culture, please take a broader view. If you narrow your understand of culture to traditional dances alone, you will neither get the solution I have proposed nor the message I am sending. Which is too bad. The issue is not lack of a “road map”, resources, or intelligent people in Africa.

Let me just cited an example of how culture is killing Africa. Recently, This Day published stories on how the former Tanzanian president, Mr. BWM, through his influence as the head of the state, managed to snatch a coal mine from the state and turn it into his private hands. From an ethical standpoint, that is wrong and presents a classic case of corruption.

The corruption watchdog guys, however, are balking from investigating or taking any legal actions against the former president. The reason for the inactivity from the Tanzanian corruption bureau is very simple. As a prominent lawyer and a former member of parliament, Mr. Mabere Marando has put it; the incumbent president cannot push for the investigation of the former president, because that would set a “dangerous” precedent.

The main issue in this whole saga is a culture that protects and hence promotes ineptitude and corruption. And that is a bigger problem, because corruption renders ineffective all wonderful development policies and strategies that a country like Tanzania can draw. And that is what I am trying to draw our attention to – CULTURE AND MINDSET.

What do you think would have been the impact of allowing for the investigation and possibly prosecution of the former president to Tanzania’s progress? In my estimation – huge. On the flip side, Mr. JMK’s decision to protect a culture that does not call for accountability will definitely have a negative impact on Tanzania’s progress for ions to come. Trust me on that one. Because the message send out is loud and clear – there are not penalties for the violation ethical codes as long as you are the president.

Given that Tanzanians are not monkeys but human beings, we can certainly learn from other cultures. Would this crap about Mr. BWM happen in other countries, let’s say United States of America? Absolutely not! The reason such a known unethical act would be dealt with severely in the United States is not because the United States has more money, Caucasians as a majority, or more intelligent people than Tanzania, but because the United States society values a culture which allows for a president to be impeached for violating the established code of ethics. Nothing magical, nothing more.

So as you sing along that wonderful tune “hii isingetokea kwenye nchi zingine”, just understand that the separating point between Tanzania and other countries is not intelligence, lack of resources or any other factors, but a culture that does not call for accountability and create an environment of rapid development to take place in Tanzania. As subtle as that is, it has been and it is a killing monster.

Sometimes, seemingly complicated problems require the simplest of the solutions.

I apologize in advance to those who still think even this article is full of generalities and simplistic solutions. My call is this: open your eyes.


Anonymous said...

Preach brother!!Preach! Many needs to be saved from that mentality.

Jeff Msangi said...

As I started reading this piece, I was of a centralized thought that may be your reader who prompted you to write this post was right.As I kept going further down,you defended your case quite well.You are entitled to your deepest opinion.Just because you have chosen to highlight mostly the other side of the coin doesn't make you un-african/un-Tanzanian by any means.It is your right,your choice.

However,I have a serious problem on how we sometimes discuss our country/continent's fate.I am on constant fight with people who have attitudes of "nothing good comes out of Africa" kind of thing.I believe in "balanced news".May be that is what your reader was challenging you into.

In my opinion,a lot of negativity has already been reported about Africa, a lot.A lot of miseducation about us,as people, has been done.Therefore, I feel that when folks like you and me continue the same legacy of mental destruction to ourselves and our people, we are not doing each other a favor.Remember, we are probably where we are today because of the same mental/psychological destruction that from generations to generations the African people have suffered from. The mentality that we are of inferior race and therefore can't do much. May be you and I know that such a suggestion is not true at all.That is fine. But what about other brothers and sisters? I think we need to empower ourselves and our people with a lot positives and hopes for the future.We need to clean that poison.

On another hand,our leaders have failed us,we know that.But has our people failed or failed us too?Then why not tell each other of means and ways that we can achieve excellence without depending on politicians anymore.My current personal challenge /question is Now That We know our leaders have failed us, what are we gonna do?

tbsuncovered said...


I must say you are repeating yourself of the same tune, over and over again. You are now seems to create a rapport of confrontation and counter arguments of no sense, whatsoever.
As always, it is not my intention to dedicate an entire blog post based on a single reader’s comments on any of my previous posts.

You need not to create this post for the comments of your readers. Temptations has made you sin now.

Don't obscure your self of some of the solutions which I have talked about on the previous posts. Why don't you talk about them for now, and have a broader discussion on them, and that will make you mature enough and move to the next level.

By the way I am probably having the unorthodox approach to your way/thinking of solving African problems. You seems to feel bad about that. Are you not arguing otherwise, where is my so called unorthodox approach to your arguments on these issues.

Hey, I am with you on issue of Former President BM, but at the same time, we still need to discuss about the good he has done for the country, Don't you think so? I personally believe that the country has moved forward on some social and economic issues, but we need to move forward much faster. We need to be progressive in every front, particularly on MKUKUTA and other excellent development initiatives put forward by the government, and many others proposed by the opposition parties.

Last question for you all,
Are we Expecting President Bush impeachment very soon ?? Keep us informed.

For those who think I have sympathy for the Government, they should think again.
Remember TBS WTM SAGA.

By Mchangiaji.

Jaduong Metty said...

Thanks for your comments and the issue you have raised. I believe the core issue is not whether we both love Tanzania – we do. Nonetheless, the difference has been in a philosophical approach on how to deal with “dark spots” that we need to clean up. We are fundamentally different and that will never be resolved. Besides, don’t we have multiparty system in Tanzania, which are basically charged with bring new approaches to bringing both of us to the same desired end – maendeleo?

That is just one example of how we differ on the “how to”. That is very human and there is nothing wrong with that.

Every writer has a voice. As a blogger yourself, I believe you have something that drives you to write. You have a voice that you want to be heard. That voice could go well with others, while repelling others. It would be a daunting task for any writer to write in an attempt to appease 100% of his or her readership. Furthermore, readers are given the opportunity to bring opposing or balancing views – that’s what the comments box is for. Besides, the majority of what I write about is based on my reflection on what is reported by the TANZANIAN MEDIA, so I am not pulling those “negatives’ out of thin air.

With regards to jumping on the positive side of life – that depends on one’s philosophy. I don’t believe in glossing things up to just feel good. That would be like drinking heavily to temporarily forget your issues. I know I’m tough on Africa (that is due to my own belief in our potential), but that is because I also believe in tough love. What I’m calling for is not for Africans to drench themselves in a pity party, but my call is for Africans to acknowledge internal problems and face them head on. Sugarcoating issues will probably not help. And that is my approach, which is apparently different from others’ point of view.

Have our people failed us? Yeah…somewhat… for allowing themselves to duped into electing bogus leaders. But if you read my blog carefully, I primarily deal with those in power. That is mainly because they have a responsibility to lead and mainly because they victimize clueless wananchi. As to what we can do to help the ordinary folks who are victims of the system, I have my own little things that I do that I would rather not advertise here. But I also believe that by challenging those in power to think better – the ordinary Matonya will benefit in the very end, if things change for better.

While I appreciate your comments, I don’t think that it is healthy to cross from issues to becoming personal. Here’s my suggestion: to create an environment for intelligent and enriching discussion, it is better to provide opposing views with strong arguments. For instance – when I say A and you believe that the issue is B, it would be beneficial to all of us to know why you think B as opposed to A is the main issue.

Also, I understanding the writer’s core message/topic/focus is essential. For instance, while it is probably necessary to discuss Mr. BWM’s achievements, my article wasn’t focused on the level of BWM’s achievements as a president, but rather his failure to comply with ethical codes. Furthermore, my article just didn’t end up there, but pondered on the impact of the incumbent president’s reluctance to authorize investigation and possibly prosecution.

As to your call that “we (Tanzania) need to move much forward much faster”, I have nothing but agreement with you. Nevertheless, why do you think Tanzanians are not moving much faster?

Anonymous said...


Your writings are ahead of time as far as Tanzania is concerned. You write as if Tanzania has reached a point in its history where institutions work properly as they should do. Our parents are the first generation following independence, few educated, most not.

Those who have acquired public office (except perhaps, Nyerere) are concerned first and foremost with their families. This is true because they are all, without exception, from poor backgrounds. Before they think “national building”, they are naturally thinking of “family building” first. They are preoccupied with wealth accumulation for their families and cronies in an effort to build an elite class that did not exist just few decades ago.

If you are in the ruling party, or in the “system”, you either play by the rules and benefit or you are out. Those who try to raise their voices do not last. So, the mismanagement continues, because even though there are smart people capable of instituting changes, why jeopardise your whole life? This partly explains the culture you are talking about.

In an environment where if you get a job they say “ameula”, people think of an office as a self enriching instrument, not contributing to the whole. A doctor friend of mine recently arrived from home and told me how new equipments and improvements in their department (the project) is increasing their fortunes! I would have expected him to tell me how services to customers (wagonjwa) have improved!

But this sorry state of affairs will not last forever. Things will change faster in the next five or so decades than they did in the years after independence. Mindsets are changing fast, more people are demanding economic democracy, and the arrival of ICTs will make it more difficult to hide behind bureaucracy, ineptitude, nepotism, and outright theft. Discussions of this kind did not exist five years ago. This is the beginning.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 3:25PM
Thanks for encouraging me and particularly for identifying the fact there are cultural aspects that we need to change in Tanzania.

Honestly, I acknowledge that things will and are changing in Tanzania. Whether the change is deliberate or not, that’s another topic of its own. Nonetheless, we have to accept the fact that ideas generate a course of action. What I suggest could be ahead of time as far as Tanzania is concerned, but you can never do things you don’t “see”.

It is apparent that to some I make sense, while to some I speak Greek. But that is mainly because we are not on the same level as far as comprehension of issues is concerned. What I try, including others; is to provide alternative thinking and challenge folks to think a bit outside the box.

I have observed that I get hits on this blog from Dodoma. Who knows, may be some legislators are paying a closer attention to what I write. If they can get what I am talking about, may be we could be on the right path.