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//

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.