Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Country Suffers in Silence

You can feel the discontent in the country, as country suffers in silence. But from the look and conduct of our current President Jack(JK) everything looks dandy. After two months of silence, in what are crucial issues facing the country, what he managed to say on his recent speech, was to ask the country to be more patient. Really, is that all you could muster Sir? 

Like most Tanzanians, I had too much hope for the current leadership, but it has been a huge disappointment, thus far. So there we have it people, as far as leadership is concerned, just be patient, everything will sort itself out. Perhaps, as people we need to realize that we have been living in denial for a while, it is time to call a spade, a spade. The fact is there is nothing serious or inspirational that will come out of this leadership. In other words, there is leadership crisis in our country, and the man we have elected to lead us, might not even know it himself and that is scary.

Evidently, Tanzania's ruling party CCM has descended into chaos, yet the current chairman who also happen to be the President of the country continues to behave, again like everything is dandy. The issue is then, if you can't clean your own house, why apply to clean my house? 

When the President has been presented with many opportunities to make real decisions, he has shrank. So his impotency is astounding, that the thought of him making a serious decisions that might perhaps enrage or disappoint some, it surely frightens him. So in his wisdom he continue to wish problems away. There lay his true color, JK like to be liked by every one and hated by none. It's the worse kind of leadership, it lacks principle. With JK art of leadership, things are so bad that even, the majority of Tanzanians who are poor, uneducated and lack knowledge of how government works, know this. 

Let's put things in context here.

Today, Tanzania is a society that lacks direction and social consensus about the choices for its future. A society lacking common shared basic values, hopes and visions and is endangered by instability, hostility and friction. Tanzania is the society in economical, political, social, and moral crisis, yet none of the current leaders on the government or the list of future leaders seems to have the vision, integrity, moral courage or the knowledge to tackle these problems. 

That is, with the CCM party divided between left (against mafisadi) and right (for mafisadi), the CCM left has failed to mobilize in an attempt to capitalize on JK weakness. The opposition faced with internal infighting have failed to join the parties and present a united front against the weakened leading party. More importantly, in democratic process sharing a party ideals does not mean sharing evil, and leaders tend to distinguish themselves with their agenda. Beside, the current CCM is NOT the same party as our nation founder Nyerere's CCM. This CCM currently known as Chama Cha Mafisadi, is viewed as a party of looters and profiteers. CCM need a decent shakeup, any CCM candidate should feel free to announce his intention to run for the presidency, articulate the agenda, and with secret vote within party election committee be able to declared a presidential candidate, without interference from the chairman of the party. Time has also come for a president should not necessarily be a party chairman.  The government affairs should be separated from party affairs. 

Jack should have started with a clean sheet by getting rid of all corrupt politicians and civil servants so as to close the chapter on the past and renew people’s trust on the CCM and the government. Instead the same faces are in government pillaging the country. As a result undue legal and political continuity with the past regimes are still a burden, contributing to erosion of moral consciousness and has created a special hierarchical structure of political and economic power. Former politicians, civil servants, and ministers are still in power based highly on their CCM affiliation(ushikaji), enjoying privileges of the new economic power structure and political tenure. In many aspects a real transformation is still ahead of us. Tanzania is stuck in the past and sinking much deeper than is willing to admit. 

As a president, the need to instill accountability and responsibility within the government is of paramount importance in addition to develop, raise and maintain institutions of effective economic governance as the essential principles to building a powerful democratic state and a global based economy. Societies as such, are based on the rule of law, and supported by strong judicial and legal system, property ownership, contracts enforcement, effective civil service and public finance system

Also, if there is one thing Jack seriously lacks is vision. After wanting the job for so long, and after learning what worked and didn't from the previous administration you would think he was prepared with the plan, to move the country forward. Time and again, the President has been presented with many opportunities to make real decisions, the thing that politicians live for, you think he would have been opportunistic enough to persuade the country that there is a new way out of malaise, we have yet to see something. I mean take Venezuelan President Chavez as an example, you might completely disagree with his policies, but you absolutely and equivocally know where he stand on any issue. The charismatic Chavez has been known to kick and scream to persuade his fellow citizens to adopt his ways. Apparently, the Veneluezan's unlike the "wadanganyikaji" do not have to wait for two month, only to be told to be more patient, while their minerals and naturals resources being siphoned out of the country.

So how is it that a country with a endowed with peace and stability, not able to produce decent development plan. How is it an entire country with decent amount of educated electorate, not be able to sign a contract that has longterm benefit for the entire country? We all know in such major deals nothing goes without sign-off from the statehouse. In other words our highest office must be occupied by the dumbest people in the country? That I don’t accept, I think is just a shameless greed and corruption. 

So like any one who has had to lead knows, a leader set the tone for what transpire under once leadership. JK has set the tone and his current bunch is satisfied with absolutely the lowest standard. The governing CCM party have so far failed to articulate to the country what they are trying to accomplish. Their leadership mantra and so called vision, can only be observed in their slogans they used during elections. I am certain they are very busy cooking new slogans for the next election. But they have failed to lift the standard of life for all Tanzanians as they promised, and they have failed to eliminate corruption. 

If there is any consolation, JK is known to be a good listener. That is a good quality for a leader. The problem is that he might be listening to wrong people. I tend to believe that the President should embrace good ideas wherever they come from, even from outside his party. In the mean time what needs to happen is for president to really show that he means business when he says is against corruption and is for the rule of law. The current silence should not continue. 

The current state of affairs and future of Tanzanian need deep re-examination and serious reflection on where, how, what ways are we heading into the future. Leadership is needed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Zimbabwe Issue

Zimbabwe issue is indeed a sad one. The old man Robert Mugabe, the older he gets, the more draconian he becomes. Yet, African leaders are content to live with the current situation, again it is sad.

Truly, they don't make them as they used to, any more. I mean leaders. Mandela, is the only one left from the original band of courageous leader from the African continent. He has spoken against what is going on in Zim, but this giant is old now, so he deserves a rest from dirty politics. Mr. Mandela has passed the torch to the the younger generation who have utterly failed to do the right thing on Zim issue. Mugabe could have well retired and be included in the list of African giants such as Nyerere, Nkrumah, Samora Machel and Kenneth Kaunda, but that opportunity is now lost forever.

What I want to share with you is an article as it was written back in 2003, but still so relevant to this day . The article was addressed to Mr. Mbeki who clearly is a failure by any standard of imagination.

Now since President Jakaya Kikwete is current chairman of AU(Africa Union); the ball is in his court. If you subsitute the name Mbeki with Kikwete, this article is as relevant today as it was then.

This is as relevant as is poignant, the kid born as Zimbabwean then, is or would have been 5 years old now. Now, this kid if lucky, is probably a refugee never have been free on his/her own country.

Mbeki should follow Nyerere's lead
Date: 01 May 2003

"Quiet diplomacy is the African way.” Though this is a common refrain from the government, it’s not necessarily so as the African leader and statesman Julius Nyerere showed in the late Eighties.

His action is a pointer for President Thabo Mbeki to how he could better assist the Zimbabwean people in deciding their future.

At the time, Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had declared a “State of emergency” to avoid an election.

It was a move not unlike President Robert Mugabe stealing both the general and the presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

In the midst of Gandhi’s emergency, Nyerere was awarded India’s highest honour, the Nehru Peace Prize. Nyerere was duly invited to New Delhi to receive the prize from Gandhi. She, no doubt, looked forward to the legitimacy his presence would lend to her declared State of Emergency that had curtailed rights of all Indians.

Many doubted that Nyerere would accept the prize and most Indians thought that he might at the very least refuse to travel to India to receive it from Indira Gandhi.

To the disappointment of the Indian public, Nyerere announced that he would travel to India.

He crossed the Indian Ocean and, to everyone’s amazement, he used the occasion to help change the course of Indian history. The Nehru Peace Prize was an evening ceremony in the biggest hall in New Delhi. On the stage were two ornate chairs and two lecterns. In the audience was the cream of Indian society, government and military, and international diplomats.

Gandhi introduced Nyerere, spoke of the purpose of the prize and of previous winners and then handed the prize to Nyerere.

Nyerere then quietly and determinedly, building the drama as he went, set about reminding Gandhi and all Indians of the values that Jawaharlal Nehru had stood for, of his interminable talks to vast audiences around the whole of India in which he explained the what, the why and the how of democracy.

Having laid out the national goals of India, Nyerere then turned and addressed Gandhi directly across the large stage. He told her, to her face and in front of the VIP audience present and the radio and TV audiences in every town and village of India that, with her State of Emergency, Gandhi was, he implied, “burying her father”.

This was not quiet diplomacy.

As a close and old family friend, one who had known her as a child, he did not, could not approve of her emergency. Her father deserved better from his daughter and heir.

It was a great, a courageous and a dramatic speech. The audience was transfixed. No one dared breathe. Gandhi sat grim faced, her usually haughty beak-nosed face turned ashen.

When Nyerere finished, there was rapturous applause during which Gandhi quickly ended the evening and strode from the stage.

A few days later, Gandhi lifted the emergency and, by so doing, faced elections she would undoubtedly lose.

After Gandhi and Nehru, Nyerere is the most revered hero among Indians. As chair of the African Union Mbeki has the same opportunity as Nyerere to demonstrate courage and to place his and South Africa’s authority behind the immediate restoration of the rights of all Zimbabweans.

It is an historic opportunity, a moment that cannot be engineered at will. It must be used, especially as Mugabe this week began to show signs of fallibility.

The article was witten by Norman Reynolds is a Johannesburg-based development economist. All material copyright Mail&Guardian. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission.

Friday, June 27, 2008


After spending all years to get to the top, the honorable President Jakaya Kikwete (Jack), find himself in precarious condition. That is in the box, literally. To his left he sided with die hard CCM loyalist members who want to get rid of pervasive corruption (but so is the entire country); and to the right he has CCM corrupted elites, who would sell their own mothers if they could find buyers. Jack, the man re-known for wanting to be the president from early in his youth, might have thought that running for the top post was a popularity contest. Now, that he has finally attained his most coveted post, he realizes that running the government is different from a presidential campaign.

As the popular quote goes, “be careful what you ask for, you might receive it”; Jack asked and received it, with about 80% majority electoral vote. Now, at a crucial point in his Presidency, he can’t decide whether to side with CCM party faithful as well as the entire country to the left, or with few of his CCM colleagues and friends to the right. So the man has resorted to escape the heat by going overseas every chance he gets. Jack still continues to function as if he is foreign affair minister he used to be, simply by preoccupying himself with his endless trips overseas. In a country and a political system that has not developed independent institutions capable of decision making, so as he goes, every decision awaits. Someone ought to tell him that being a president involves making tough decisions, and that no amount of escapism will resolve these issues. The fact is effective governing requires him to put national priorities ahead of his party rightwing friends and colleagues in the interest of all Tanzanians. Yet, this is not the case, Jack is more comfortable discussing about other African crisis like Zimbabwe, Kenya and Darfur than the domestic isles CUF-CCM muafaka crisis, the EPA scandal, the Kiwira looting or the Richmond saga.

The prospect for Mr. Kikwete is much gloomier at the moment as people begin to withhold the benefit of the doubt. As one read the mood of the country, one wonders if and when the transition is over and that Jack has time to learn to govern. The question remain who really run the country, is Mkapa and is old cronies still pull the strings behind the curtain, while the country wishes for justice resolution of all past sins. Is Mkapa, Yona, Chenge”vijisenti”, Karamagi and Rostam Aziz really control the pulse string of CCM party and therefore run the de-facto government? One would think that the 80% majority of voters have a voice, but that would be an illusion. Apparently, we got duped again, this time however, at least with a man endowed with the natural gift of political fluency, so the musical chairs continue.

This administration must realizes that effective governing requires less speeches and more action in terms of building consensus across party lines, and enacting policy and laws that aim to improve citizens’ lives. Furthermore, there is a need for strong, credible and effective governing institutions that have the confidence of the citizens and the ability to deliver this administration mandate. All these things matters, because there is a strong connection between human development and quality of governance. The current scandals have bogged down the government, and therefore failure to implement services delivery at the national and local levels of governance. So the question remain why is the president allowing himself to be defined by all too public scandals of previous administration, which in turn has derailed implementation of his mandate?

In the mean time speaking of effective governing institutions, there are some signs of change in the parliament. Both the main party and the opposition, at least few members appear to be fed up. So with President unwilling or indecisive to tackle difficult decisions, nothing seems to be moving, few MP’s have taken the bull by the horn. That the current state of affairs in Tanzania demands desperate measures, as clearly these are desperate times. If fireworks in the chamber for the past two weeks are anything to go by, this is a positive sign if sustainable. The country esteem goes to those MP’s who would not be cowered by witchcraft or intimidation.

Yet, there is not a lot to be desired by the current set of MP’s. Few on the CCM side have gone further to suggest, that law does not matter at all. The fact that one of theirs has broken laws, by looting the poor constituents of representative own district, that particular crime does not count. The reason given by the veteran MP is that the man did not use the gun to rob anyone. More case at point, not only you have elected representative in the parliament who do not understand their basic duties, but also have failed at honoring the constitution and the laws that they have enacted. Whereas Parliament, as the institution representing the citizens of the Union, exists in the last instance in order to defend those citizens' interests and do so without prejudice to the above, it is Parliament's duty to ensure that the institutional balance established in the treaties is rigorously respected at all times, one has to inform those representatives.

So with a little less than two years left on his first term, Jack destiny seems to end where Mr. Mkapa is right now, with botched legacy and public humiliation. While it might be too soon to write his political obituary, for now at least, the job he had so long coveted appears to be an overwhelming burden to once affable and lean Mr. Kikwete.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


In response to the article that appeared on Daily News Issue; Thursday, June 5th, 2008. Title" JK trumps funds for roads" on THE 8th SULLIVAN SUMMIT COVERAGE http://http//dailynews.habarileo.co.tz/summit/?id=5007

Dear. Mr. President, with all due respect Sir, I have to disagree with you on the notion that our country can only escape poverty through aid. This is flawed thinking, and as a president you should be on frontline to discourage this type of behaviour. As a leader you have to set standards much higher, and further encourage and challenge our people to find their own solution.

Tanzania and Africa does not need increased financial support for infrastructure development in the continent through Official Development Assistance (ODA) to improve its infrastructure. All developed countries did not get there through aid. China and India do not depend on financial aid to prosper. Precisely this is what our African leaders are doing wrong, not providing sustainable solutions to their people. Money is not Africa problem. There is not enough money in the world to save Africa. Our problem is lack of long term planning, strategy and thinking.

Our leaders, must start to banish the thinking mentality of dependency and foreign aid. One of the challenge for this government is how best to organize its own resources that includes its people to seek their own solution from every level of community. Hence, stop sending message out to the constituents to wait for aid. This includes allow regional, districts, municipals, and villages to solve their own problems rather than wait for the main government to provide solutions. That is they have to plan, budget, implement their own solution in coordination with main government expertise if and when needed. I don’t see why villages or municipal cannot organize themselves once the plan is reviewed by experts to buy sand, gravels, stones, cement and build own road. Do we really need foreign aid for this? I have seen roads in Europe and USA that were built in 1800’s using nothing other than stones and bricks.

Furthermore, while your presidency and this administration faces new challenges that other previous Presidents did not have to contend with such as; the rapid expansion of technology, internet, and globalization, thus increase the pace of modernization, many advantages can be derived from it. A pool of highly educated and experienced Tanzanian’s is now available overseas, that can be persuaded to come back home and participate in building our economy. Mwalimu had only handful of university graduates during his time, and we had better organized government and much higher standard of living. Thus, not enough has been done on this vital issue, and therefore put further strain in coming up with solutions to our problems. Those countries that have modernized much faster have had to tap their local talent overseas. Tanzania is going nowhere without its own people participating, foreigners and aid will no do it, those are just facts.

In proposing few solutions, here is how we can start:

First, Mr. President starting with you, I suggest to surround yourself with the best brain of advisors, wherever you can find them, be either from CCM or other parties. CCM does not have a monopoly on talent or finding solution to Tanzanian problems. This will promote competency and competitiveness from what we currently have which is nothing more than partisanship, nepotism and disfranchisement. Listen to them and find out how those solutions can be implemented. This will also help you on becoming a better leader, release you from a lot of nuisance and allow you to focus on a big picture. In other words, Mr. President the more smarter, stronger and organize your team is, the better you sleep at night.

Second, while we understand the traditions of selecting the party members to the top ministry positions, those underneath them should be the best and brightest in the field of their expertise, again whether they are from CCM or opposition parties. Indeed, it is unfair and perhaps delusional to ask one particular group to seek solution for all what is wrong with the entire country. However, this is CCM own predicament and entirely solvable.

Third, the government should rethink and re-organize its approach to solving problem. One; start with serious professional and talent management in every office. At highest level of government, what virtually lacks apart from free flow of ideas is a big picture. Two, efforts should be put into streamlining procedure, reduce redundancy, increase transparency and speed up the aprocess. On option one, the government main role is to plan and organize resources. This implies that government needs to search for best planners and implementers, in and to every sector of economy. Planning and implementation are two different set of skill set, and hardly reside in one particular person. So it is important that tasks be assigned matched with skills, strength or experience. Long term plan should balance short term needs and longtem requirements, this is tricky however. The approach I would insist; plan first, worry about budget later. Plans can be scaled either way, but unless they are in paper nothing will ever be accomplished. Furthermore, plans get you thinking and that's the best start, but simply,"If you fail to plan, You plan to fail". In this particular view, planning and implementation skills are very much in short supply for our country; here I suggest we utilize that, yes, foreign aid. On option two; efforts should be put into streamlining procedure, reduce redundancy, increase transparency and speed up the process. The simple way to enhance efficiency in every level of government is to implement a customer survey process. I suggest that every office of government should have a standardized customer survey form, where any service is provided. This should go further to improve government services.

Seriously now, it is really pathetic that every time African leaders gather, all they come up with is excuse of why Africa is failing. So please we Africans are bigger than that so let’s dare to dream big, be ambitious and proud. Let's start to think for ourselves, let’s tap and task the best of our people to come up with solutions. Let’s banish this foreign aid mentality.

Indeed, Mr. Nyerere must be weeping in heaven.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Jack, That's Not Way To Run The Country

This is a personal plea to Jakaya Kikwete(Jack), the Honorable president of Tanzania. As a fan of the president, I certainly wonder what happened to the “new vigour, new zeal and new speed mantra” that were promised by him.

At one point Jack you have to say enough is enough, and hopefully before it is too late. There is a need to look like you are in firm control of your own government, and that despite all pretty smile, you know what you are doing.

Close to three years now since your government assumed power with overwhelming majority all promised were made are near empty. Given that extraordinary power and support you have among regular people, it should have been a sign of renewed confidence to do real reforms. No doubt that you are trapped within your own party system, but as a chairman you know tough decisions are inevitable. Yours is a broken party, the existence of two camps within it, is stalling your government reforms that are necessary. CCM as is currently being referred to as “Chama Cha Mafisadi” 0n the street around the country has to change quickly or perish; the writing is on the wall, Jack.

The recent handling of series scandals emanating from you predecessor Ben”Msafi” Mkapa, have put the country in the precautious position. There is a stigma of EPA, Richmond/Tanesco, BAE Radar deal, ANBEM, Tanpower, Kiwira and others. The country has been put at a stand still, immobile, thus awaiting the decisions and resolve of these extraordinary events. It’s as is if there hanging cloud that has to be unveiled before the journey can continue. Those decisions if and when and how they come, will have a huge impact on our country’s political, economic, cultural and social future. On one side the resolution of these scandals, can tip the country completely off-balance, on the other side it can bring the country together. Mind you that this is historical and unprecedented occurrence in our short lived democracy. It is on your hands Jack, you wanted the job you got it, be careful what you ask for.

At the moment, the perception by many is that the government is trying to spin, stall, use delay tactics, and other merry-go round tricks, to get these scandals to die down quietly. This only serves to enforce the notion that there is corrupt element in the current new government. Not to mention, that lack of the new speed, new zeal and new vigour to bring swift and just resolution is plain obvious. That same modus operandi can be seen on the ‘Muafaka’ issue between the CCM and CUF. Thus your administration is now being defined precisely by stalemates and indecisiveness. This comes across as inept and amateurish; indeed it shows a lack control and leadership in your part.

Consider what has happened is no surprise. All has transpired were initiated by the opposition members in parliaments. The new administration played along unwillingly, as the media, and opposition would not let those issues disappear. As your administration has been forced to react, and not being proactive to bring these issues to the forefront, a further sign that something is amiss. In this particular issue the translation is, yours is a hostage administration; that has no mandate other than reacting to that of opposition.

The worse is, after near end the first term of your administration, with all corruption charges leveled, no one has been indicted, prosecuted, jailed or assets repossessed. It shows a lack of seriousness. In comparison to our neighbors, South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, that have shown a more vigorous pursuits to eradicate corruption, your efforts leaves something to be desired.

A gaffe of electing ministers who were tainted with corruption from the previous government also did not help your image. Really, isn’t there some kind of National Security Detail to vet all the nominees or appointees to the important government posts before being sworn in? Indeed, can the same be asked about investigation of corruption and unethical behavior by our leaders? That is, with such vital decisions being made at the highest level of our government, without President being properly informed begs for serious remedy.

So enough is enough Mr. President, the country has to move on. People need to focus on rebuilding the torn fibers of this nation, and so let the healing begin. That cannot be done without swift and just resolution of these scandals. Indeed, if we are truly a country governed by rule of law, no one should be exceptional. That includes your predecessor Ben Mkapa. All those involved in these scandals should be brought before justice. Notwithstanding, is not all your fault Jack, as our judiciary system is a joke. In absence of enacted laws to promptly resolve some of the corruption violations, a president decree should be issued. It should state clearly that assets obtained illegally should be confiscated, among many other things. In the end the President can issue a pardon, to his predecessor and others should they be found guilty. But the bottom line is this, justice should be carried out, the message should be loud and clear, so the stigma can be lifted.

This is going to require courage Mr. President, and clear departure from some of member of your party CCM seniors. People are on your side, your detractors know this, but also realize that push come to shove, people will stay with you, whenever the inevitable happens. CCM must also know that people don’t trust the party any longer, but they trust you, and that is extraordinary gift. So you need courage to do the reforms within the party, get the ‘mafisadi’ camp out, and consolidate your party within principal and tenets of the founding father.

This is your show Jack, the time is ticking; do not let some perverted sense of loyalty destroy your legacy.