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.