Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kingunge Versus RC Church: Fear of Righteousness?

Like death, change is one of those things that we can’t avoid. Nonetheless, resisting change is also a human thing. It would be ignorant of me to assert that the Tanzanian society is not changing, for the country is truly changing - both in the positive and negative directions.

It is obviously that the Tanzanian society is increasingly experiencing a serious shortage of great leaders. That is a negative change.

It is for that reason I am encouraged by the step taken by Roman Catholic Church in Tanzania to prepare a pastoral document providing guidelines on electing political leaders. I don’t know what the document said, but a guideline is always what it is – a guideline. Once can elect to ignore a guideline. If that is the case, then why is Mzee Kingunge getting up in arms against the document?

I believe it is because the document demands righteousness from elected officials, not rights.

In recent days, the Islamic community in Tanzania has been in a tug of war with the CCM party, demanding the formation of a Kadhi court. I’m not even sure if the Kadhi court is constitutional, but given the fact that my Islamic friends were promised the court – their demands are essentially a quest for some “rights”. Given that rights are hardly afforded in Tanzania, the demand thereof must be less threatening to CCM.

The difference between what the RC church is doing in Tanzania and the demands set forth by the Islamic community is that the RC church is not asking for any “favors”, but giving information and empowering. We all know educated and empowered folks are difficult to manipulate. As such, empowering the powerless, it appears, is more threatening to Mzee Kingunge, CCM and those who have devoured the powerless for quite a while.

If I quote The Citizen’s article, part of the RC document says the country is experiencing “serious leadership problems”. To me that is just short of blatantly saying the country is stinking of corrupt and evil leaders. And who could that possibly implicate? You know the answer. No wonder CCM MPs, including Mzee Kingunge, are running wild.

When the righteous rule, the people rejoice. I think that the RC church is in a better position to gauge that, since the church and all other non-governmental organizations in Tanzania provide services to communities that were supposed to, in the first place, responsibility of the government. The church and other religious organizations are not blind to the fact that the government allegedly lacks capacity, but they also understands that the said lack of capacity is mainly attributed to corruption and lack of accountability.

It would then be ridiculous to ask the RC leadership, or any other religious organization for that matter, to stand on the sidelines simply because someone like Mzee Kingunge stands on the “during the era of Nyerere” crap. If experience has shown that the church and other religious organizations have taken a meaningful and positive leadership role in the lives of Tanzanians beyond preaching, then politicians should only regain their influence by performing better beyond what the church and other religious organizations have done, not spewing criticism laden with fear at religious bodies.

Given the fact that recently a thorny issue for CCM has been rampant corruption, Mzee Kingunge’s phobia - and the entire CCM party as well - is the fact that the RC document is setting the stage for the demand of accountability and righteousness from the elected officials. That is because, if I quote The Citizen’s article, the document “highlights major areas voters should get convincing explanations from individuals seeking public leadership positions”.

Seriously, what’s wrong with the electorate seeking more information from politicians? Even more, how is that divisive?

I have not read the document myself, but I don’t think any of the “major areas” specifically require that an elected leader be a member of the RC church or of a specific faith. If that is true, then Mzee Kingunge must be afraid of one thing that political leaders in Tanzania have failed to be, and that is righteous.

And for that I can only say this: shame on you Mzee Kingunge.
Photo credit: bongocelebrity.com

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