Thursday, February 28, 2008

PSP: Buyers Beware

In case you are wondering what PSP stands for, it is my own coined term – Politicians’ Sales Pitch. I think politicians are the dirtiest sales people. They overpromise while delivering little or nothing at all. The worst part is that, in a Tanzanian case for instance, “consumers” can’t terminate the “business relationship” until after five years. What a waste of time!

Amazingly, though, after failing to deliver, politicians would come back with a new set of promises for the next five years or so. Think I am kidding? There is an MP in the current Bunge who was my headmaster back in the days before joining politics. The guy has been the MP for over 15 years and nothing has really changed for his people. Isn’t that something to marvel at?

So why do we keep on electing these conmen? I really don’t have a scientific answer to that. Nonetheless, I believe having politicians is a result of a natural order. Somebody has to lead in any given social setting. Unlike the Tanzanian experience (and for the most part many other African countries), individuals who step up to the leadership role in other countries do so to bring something new and better to the table.

I honestly think that being a political leader in Tanzania is an end to itself. And to me that is just both myopic and pathetic. Having that mindset is not at all progressive. That is why the recent (seemingly) political shift in Tanzania following the Richmond scandal has been viewed differently, depending on who you ask. While the Dr. Mwakyembe’s committee is being commended by progressive thinkers for stepping outside the Tanzania political box, others like Mr. Emmanuel Ole Naiko have condemned the parliamentary report for stepping into personal space.

My personal view is that Mr. Ole Naiko is a pure representation of the older and regressive thinkers who view their public service positions as personal success. I stand to be corrected, but equating the Edward Lowassa’s resignation and pressure on TIC for not conducting adequate due diligence on the Richmond company to ethnic cleansing is not only stupid, but it gives the impression that neither EL nor Ole Naiko (were) are serving the interest of the Tanzanian people, but the Maasai people.

I know that following the resignation of Edward Lowassa, Tanzanian have ushered into a new invigorated hope. The danger, though, is that most Tanzanians lack the capacity to gauge and judge whether the change will actually bring the desired end. I recall the euphoric feeling when Kikwete came into power. Two years later, I wonder if Tanzanians have really seen the fruits of their choice.

One of the specific areas that I would really get an answer to is the creation of jobs. Not just jobs,one million jobs by 2010, to be exact.

I know that politicians talk about crap they don’t mean. Giving specific numbers is not equivalent to giving hard-to-assess promises such as “improving the quality of life”, because the evaluation of “quality of life” could be based on an array of factors. Nevertheless, when you give promises that are measurable by hard numbers, it makes our job easier, as regular folks to vouch and verify.

So two years into the Kikwete’s presidency, how many new jobs have been created in Tanzania?
Perhaps I am a little bit ahead of time, idealistic, or just overly skeptical, but empty words typically tick me off. Hope, as I previously pointed out in one of my blog posts, is atician, for instance?

I really don’t know Mr. Mizengo Pinda, the current Tanzanian Prime Minist good thing. Nonetheless, in the context of political promises, hope should be based on something concrete. May I suggest basing our hope even on the past performance of a polier, personally. To be honest, I have never heard of the guy before his appointment to the Minister for Regional Administration and Local Governments post. That is not to say that he is not suitable for the PM’s job. Mr. Kikwete must have seen something in him, which stood out among the 30 million plus Tanzanians.

Despite the President’s vote of confidence in him, putting all my eggs in Mr. Pinda’s basket would be a risky strategy. I don’t know everything, but I am not that naïve either. If I have to project Mr. Mizengo’s future performance based on what he has produced in the past, the picture ain’t pretty. My recollection tells me that under Mr. Pinda’s watch, the government failed to establish where the newly established Rorya district’s headquarters would be, effectively and efficiently. As a matter of fact, the issue is still unresolved.

I blogged on that and you can definitely check that out over here.

In my perspective, the establishment of the Rorya district, including where the headquarters should be, was not such an overly complex endeavor. So why in the world would Mizengo Pinda, with the most recent leadership failure, be given even more responsibilities? Maybe the Rorya failure wasn’t such a big deal to Tanzanians. Perhaps Tanzanians have such low expectations that any warm body can become a PM.

That could be the case, but if Tanzanians want to make strides, the quality of people we give leadership responsibilities should match our aspirations and desires. I don’t see anything in Mizengo Pinda’s past to match that future grand vision.

I know it is too early to judge, but if the Swahili saying “Nyota njema uonekana asubuhi” holds true, then Masoud Kipanya sees something bigger that the rest of Tanzanians should be aware of. It was definitely great for Edward Lowassa to go, but may be Mizengo Pinda is also “all hat and no cattle”, if I should borrow a saying from Texas.

Buyers, please beware.
Photo Credit: KP


Hiza said...

Lots have been said in your article. I wouldn’t converse about Kikwete promises. His promises have- lots of garbage. Personal, I don’t know which promise he has accomplished. In contrast, your account on Mr. Pinda is unseen.

I wouldn’t clutch Mr. Pinda just of what happened in the establishment of the Rorya district. I read about it and I have little knowledge on the entire saga. I think we need to go beyond that in order to get a true picture of him.

Personal, I have trust on him. Just simple question—besides Rorya—where else do u see his past ill actions? Let us have a discussion about the main bloodsucker in Tanzania—CORRUPTION. Do u have any issue for him being corrupt? being implicated?. My answer is simple—“NONE”. How many clean politicians do you know in the current and past leadership who are not corrupt? Mkapa’ era started with Warioba report that never produce any juice. At the end Mkapa’s era ended with corruption issues ever been recorded in Tanzania society. Pinda was there during Nyerere, Mwinyi, Mkapa and now Kikwete, but he was never implicated. It is very premature to tag Mr. Pinda like any other politicians. I know I know u will be thinking what the heck Hiza is talking. Please, hang around to see his action.

I’m not saying we should look only corruption as the main criteria—there is many. But in the current society especially Africa—Corruption is the main factor that is pulling us down.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the video Mr. Politician, by Tanzanian artist Nakaaya? you can youtube it or watch it on her website, I think you will like it based on your feelings... it is very popular in Tanzania right now because of all the stuff going down and people being fed up... at least temporarily...