Thursday, May 06, 2010

If I Were Nicholas Mgaya….

I have said this before – the very reason I get discouraged to share my thoughts on this blog is because the country’s issues are fundamentally the same, though coming in various colors.

The most amazing thing this week for me is the fact President Kikwete managed to scare the heck of out The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA), to the extent that the labor union actually folded and ceased calling for a countrywide strike. The scariest part of all is the fact that the President hinted at the possibility of “authorized” human rights abuse by the Tanzanian police force!


That alone, could be a separate topic on its own. Seriously, does it mean that if I am a civil servant in Tanzania and I stop going to work on a strike, the police could actually come at my house and start clobbering me?


Before the President’s speech, it is obvious TUCTA and Mr. Mgaya had a lot going on for them. The speech, obviously, took the wind out of the high-flying balloon and has painted TUCTA in the negative light. That’s a political strategy that I have to commend the President for.

So what would I have done, if I were Mr. Mgaya, following the President’s speech? I would have used the President’s speech against himself.

Let’s go to it folks.

I would have attacked and negatively painted the President’s remark about being ready to “forsake” workers’ votes in the upcoming general elections. I would have done that by focusing on the fact that Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s (CCM) logo – the famous hammer and a hoe – speaks of CCM as a party of farmers and workers. As such, the “disrespect” shown by the President on the very same foundation he is standing on, is a sign that he is out of touch with his own party’s tradition of respecting workers who are the backbone of the Tanzanian economy.

Furthermore, I would bring up the whole Jumuiya ya Wafanyakazi (JUWATA) which was nothing more than a labor union under the CCM’s wings. The existence of JUWATA, I would emphasize, was a sign that the Father of the Nation – Julius K. Nyerere, had a lot of respect for workers than the current chairman of the party who seems to have lost his ways [ thrown in Nyerere in the mix and you got someone’s attention in Tanzania, trust me!]

I would also spin, the possible degree, the fact that the President also “assured” himself of being to on the October ballot. I would made it seems like the President is not respectful of the democratic principles and process instituted in his own party. I would emphasize the fact that anyone desiring to vie for any political position must go through a screening process to ensure qualification. As such, the President’s self assurance of being on the October’s ballot indicates dictatorial tendencies, as that indicates the President does not believe nor respect a democratic process nor the desire of other CCM members to vie for the post.

To add more drama, I will tie the dictatorial tendencies to the fact that the President made threats of a possible police abuse of peaceful workers.

Would all that be effective? Probably. Nevertheless, since Mr. Mgaya has the microphone with the media following up what he says, I would make sure that I cause a strategic havoc at Ikulu.

Besides, all politicians are spin doctors. Why not beat them at their own game?

Photo credit: www.


Mbele said...

In his speech, JK talked about two issues: the World Economic Forum meeting and the TUCTA strike. He made an elaborate argument explaining the importance of the WEF meeting, stressing what an opportunity it was for Tanzania, and what an honour it was.

Then he talked about the planned TUCTA strike. It was clear to me that he spoke the way he did about TUCTA because of anxiety and perhaps apprehension regarding the effect of such a strike in the context of the WEF meeting. Even though I might not condone his harsh and threatening language, I see his anger in that context.

JK is not a person who normally speaks the way he spoke on that day. In fact, people have always complained that he is too soft, always smiling, even when he ought to be tough. So, if that is the JK we know, we just have to wonder why he spoke the way he spoke about TUCTA; hence my argument about context.

I am surprised that the people who have commented on JK's speech conveniently ignore the WEF aspect and the linkage between the WEF meeting and the TUCTA strike. They ignore the context completely, and proceed to talk about JK's TUCTA diatribe as if it just came out of the blue. That is irresponsible, to say the least.

I salute TUCTA for wisely putting off the strike to another day. I had hoped that they would do this, in view of the argument JK had made regarding the national importance of the WEF meeting and the need for the Tanzanian people to give the guests the best hospitality.

I see TUCTA's decision to postpone the strike as patriotic. Attacking TUCTA's action seems really odd to me.

Neverthess, I support TUCTA's demands regarding the minimum wage. JK did not persuade me with his claims that the Government cannot afford to meet TUCTA's claims. Like many Tanzanians, perhaps most, I have always decried the profligacy and wastefulness of the Government when it comes to our national wealth.

We know that our country's resources are being plundered by pirates masquerading as investors in collusion with our own so-called leaders. There is much to be said on this score, as TUCTA itself has done. TUCTA should continue pressing its demands. When Mwalimu Nyerere talked about what his government couldn't do, it was easy to believe him. He and his government were committed to the masses and were frugal, unlike the CCM Government of today.

I am somewhat surprised that you see CCM as a party of the working people. CCM started abandoning the people many years ago. All you have to do is read Mwalimu Nyerere's last works and you will see he was complaining about CCM's betrayal of the working masses. CCM went ahead and abandoned the Arusha Declaration, for example, and put in place the Zanzibar Declaration, which effectively paved the way for the plague we call "ufisadi." The emblem CCM has on its flag and other paraphernalia is at variance with the spirit of CCM.

Jaduong Metty said...


I have to commend you for finding the linkage between the WEF meeting JK's anger outburst.

Where I would differ with you - and this is a matter of perspective - is that there have to be a balance between international affairs and domestic issues.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears to me that JK is more interested in external than internal affairs. I guess his days as a Foreign Minister conditioned to be so.

To ignore a hardworking civil servant in Tanzania for the sake of entertaining Robert Mugabe, for instance, for two days doesn't make sense to me. But I guess my worldview is just weird.