December 12, 2011

Bunge halijakataa posho

Habari ya siku nzuri uliyoianza asuhuhi.  Kama watanzania wengine wenye bahati ya kukutana na magazeti, nimeamka na kupata nakala yangu ya gazeti pendwa The Citizen. Habari kubwa iliyopata macho yangu inasema: Wabunge wakataa posho, wasubiri uamuzi wa rais(Bunge stops allowances,looks out for JK decision).
Ni heading nzuri. Lakini nina kesi nayo. Ukisoma habari inasema kamati ya utumishi wa wabunge imesema ulipwaji wa posho mpya zilizopendekezwa utategemea maamuzi ya raisi. Kwa mtazamo wangu huko si kukataa posho.

Nachoweza kusema ni kuwa kamati ya bunge, imeeleza tu nini kinachofuata katika hatua za kawaida zinachokuliwa siku zote kabla ya kuongeza posho za vikao kwa wabunge. Kwa kweli hilo hata si jipya. Kumbuka katibu wa Bunge alisema jambo  hilo hilo, likatafsiriwa kwa haraka na baadhi ya wachambuzi na baadhi ya waandishi kuwa amesema posho hazijapandishwa. Nilimwelewa kuwa hakuna mbunge aliyelipwa posho mpya.

Kisha Makinda, spika wa bunge akasema kwa kusisitiza, kwanini wameamua kupandisha posho. Lakini pia hakusema kama posho zimelipwa. Kwa uwazi sana alisema anaunga mkono kupandishwa kwa posho. Na hiii ilivuta usikivu wa watu kwa mshangao. Namna gani maisha yawe magumu kwa wabunge tu hapo Dodoma?

Nilimsikiliza vizuri Makinda akisema wameamua kupandisha maslahi ya wabunge, na mahali walipoona ni rahisi kufanya hivyo ni kupitia posho za vikao kwa kuwa hizo zinahitaji tu mapendekezo yao na kisha ukubali wa raisi. Mishahara ingekuchua mlolongo mrefu zaidi.

The Citizen linanukuu vyanzo vya habari toka kamati ya huduma za bunge wakisema kuwa mapendekezo yamewasilishwa kwa raisi. Hiyo si kukataa posho. Wangekuwa wamekataa wangetangaza kuwa wameondoa mapendekezo yao kwa raisi, hawataki tena kujaribu kuongeza posho.

Napendekeza The Citizen ingesema kuwa suala kuongeza posho za wabunge limefika/ameachiwa Rais Kikwete. Kisha wangemtafuta Makinda aseme kwanini aliongea kauli iliyoonekana kuzidi mamlaka yake. Kama ni rais ndiye anaidhinisha, basi yeye kama spika hakutakiwa kusema wameongeza, angesema wamependekeza.

Kuna mengine nahitaji kuongelea kuhusu hili swala. Kwa namna lilivyojitokeza kwenye vyombo vya habari na namna lilivyoongelewa na wasemaji tofauti tofauti: Spika. Katibu Mwenezi wa CCM, Wabunge wa Upinzani, Wanafunzi wa Vyuo, Chama cha Waalimu na wengineo. Nitakuja kuongeza baadaye kwenye makala hii. 

December 8, 2011

Kikwete, play the ball

When presidents end their terms in office they leave a legacy. Some legacies last longer than others. Some are planned some coincidental. The current president of Tanzania has by far best opportunities to leave lasting legacies once he leaves office. It does not matter whether he finishes his five year term in 2015 or not. Opportunities have presented themselves for him to leave lasting marks on the Tanzania landscape, particularly in constitutional process, politics of his party, governance and equally important state of the country’s natural resources.
I discuss these potentials below:

1.   Writing a new constitution
President Kikwete has the best opportunity to put Tanzania on a more democratic course than all the past presidents of Tanzania. His options surpass Mkapa’s, Mwinyi’s and even Julius Nyerere’s. Julius Nyerere, then prime minister facilitated the initial constitution of Tanganyika and later Tanzania after the Union with Zanzibar in 1964. Subsequently, amendments were done by parliament to institute one party rule of the state.

Mwinyi and Mkapa only patched the document to suit certain purposes of their time, like introduction of multipartism and addressing issues related to the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Of all past presidents Mkapa has the least opportunity to facilitate any edit to the constitution.

Comes Kikwete and the winds in the world have changed, multipartism have been here for more than a decade. The right time has come and the condition at home favor, re –writing, not editing the constitution.
It is a good thing that, the president has agreed and boldly announced that the constitution will be re-written. Re-writing is not the same as editing it to suit certain conditions. Kikwete must be proud of the legacy he is going to leave in Tanzania.  He should not liken his role to that played by Nyerere, Mwinyi or Mkapa. His environment is different in many aspects. He is leading citizens of Tanzania; Nyerere was creating citizens of Tanzania.

Kikwete is surrounded by learned interest groups and informed population, Mwinyi  worked in the middle of a population that was just opening their eyes to look at how the world around  has changed while they slumbered. And, while Mkapa redefined Tanzania’s position in the world (having shun socialism in Mwinyi era) Kikwete has the economic and political interest of the world battling against national interest on home soil. On top of that home grown interests need more say about the destiny of their country, than did during the previous presidents. Such conditions prompted for re-writing of the constitution. What a noble cause Kikwete is leading!  Nyerere complained for lack of local expertise, Kikwete surrounded by hundreds of them. The ball is in court. What he decides will put this nation on course to good or bad eventuality.

2.   Divide or unite his fractured CCM
CCM is on the verge of remaking its own history. Kikwete, the chairman of the party knows that. The party is proud of its record as one of the oldest parties of Africa that is still in power. The slimmed victory in the 2010 general elections dented that assurance. Will his departure from state house usher in a new party in 2015?

Infighting among groups who desire to create a successor to Kikwete is growing and is public. The party claims to suffer image problem with labels like mafisadi being thrown around opposing camps. to remedy the situation, Kikwete devised kujivua gamba philosophy. He sought to uproot bad elements through popular appeals, bypassing the party’s old tradition of internal discipline.  The drive bounced back on his heels, asking for even bolder decisions from him—the chairman.

The process of choosing a successor to Kikwete has potential to break the party in at least two opposing factions. So far neither of these factions has openly declared which position they hold on Kikwete. The worst that could happen is not known yet. In 2010 as Kikwete was organizing his re-election campaign allegedly prominent politicians plotted a breakaway party from CCM. Can Kikwete hold back a similar occurrence in the coming election, when he ends his two terms and CCM will need to field a new presidential candidate?

3.   Open Governance
You may have heard it in the news. it may sound lukewarm—particularly because the international organization that Tanzania joined in order to declare it commitment to transparency and accountability in governance has the word lukewarm word—partnership--to it. (Open Government Partnership). But the devil is in the details. By joining OGP Kikwete has committed to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. That may not be very different from making a thousand promises and delivering on only a handful. The difference however, comes from social and communication infrastructures that become obligatory in the OGP package once a country joins voluntarily. Kenya has built an open data portal as part of implementation of OGP principle of transparency. Imagine if the government commissions such a project in Tanzania. As a result you will find thousands of government documents online, no need to write a letter to request for a piece of historical document and wait a couple of months to receive a response that it was classified! You get that document online, in real time. This month Tanzania presented its National Action Plan to implement principles of OGP. Huge opportunities for quick wins exist. The freedom of information law is on the drawing board, the optic fiber has been laid, so a data portal is likely to be wide and far. Last but not list the process of re-writing the constitution is a platform to adopt mechanisms to fight corruption and embrace accountability.

4.   Dissecting natural resources: Road through Serengeti, Power Dam and Uranium mining in Selous Game Reserve
Apart from lasting impressions in governance, one important decision the current presidency should make is whether Serengeti National Park will be permanently be deleted the list of World Heritage. If the proposed 480km road across the wild sanctuary will be constructed Serengeti will not only lose it respected status, but revenue from tourism will decline.

The Works minister, the prime minister and, most importantly, the president himself have repeated that the road will be built, ignoring activism against the road and playing down alternative routes suggested. Wildebeest, giraffe, elephants and the rest of wildlife in Serengeti will have to live with the intrusion of their sanctuary. But it is not too late to reverse the situation.

So far, the Africa Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW)—who opposed the project in court-- got a favorable ruling in the East African Court of Justice. That means the Government of Tanzania will have to present its arguments for the road in court against their initial challenge of the Court’s jurisdiction over the matter. But that is only round one victory.

If he resolves, Kikwete has the power to revert the decision and save the ecology for today and tomorrow. All he needs is to compare the Environmental Impact Assessments done by independent organizations and compare with similar assessments commissioned by Government. In both disadvantages outweigh advantages of the road. Opposition to this road is presented alongside alternatives—the southern route especially. If the government chooses to open a road through this alternative route, wild and human will equally breathe in relief for many years to come.

Reportedly, Selous Game Reserve is landscape is being re-drawn. Reason? A proposed dam on Stigler Gorge and Uranium mining. Like the Serengeti road project, the energy generation dam and uranium mining both have government backing. The dam project, as it has come to be revealed is based on remodeling of plans resurrected from 1960s. That is not a sin, but dependence on hydro-electric power has not proven effective for 50 years. Apart from that the effects of climate change on rainfall pattern spell disaster to economies that rely on rain fed power generation. On the contrary rising temperatures of the world could be a blessing for a tropical country like Tanzania to benefit from generation of solar power. Energy is another feasible source of power. Both effects of these projects have been well covered on Wolfganghthome's Blog

Leadership is about decision. President Kikwete’s decisions on these and other issues will define the future of this nation and more importantly he will be remembered for them.

December 5, 2011

Open up or get closed

Transparency and accountability---these two words are taking over the world by storm. The development community--international donors, international non-governmental organizations and local NGOs-- sing the transparency song and give accountability more mentions than ever before.
Politicians are not left out. From Barack Obama to Jakaya Kikwete to the common Matonya on the street and Dr. Kikoti the technocrat, each talks about transparency and accountability.
When Obama brainstormed with think tanks what shall be his legacy on international politics, Open Government Partnership was conceived. To qualify into the ambitious partnership government must make concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
Tanzania joined in September when OGP was launched in New York. Now a country action plan is being drawn. It will be presented at ministerial conference in Brasilia this very week. Kenya launched an open data portal, just in time with its entrance into OGP. Uganda did not commit to join in September.
Calls for openness and accountability are mounting on governments from all corners. Citizens want to know in real time what their governments are doing with tax money. They need access to quality services from the governments’ facilities. Having watched on TV, read on the internet and heard stories about other citizens’ access to quality services, poor citizens wonder why they too cannot get similar services.
Armed with substantive information, citizens can follow up for their own rights. This quest for more and more information cannot be quenched with bits of facts here and there. Readers ask critical questions when they read shallow ‘news’. In turn journalists push for more information. Gradually the red tape recedes, if it has to stay.
This is not the first time transparency and accountability is given a show on international dialogue. The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness set out guidelines on accountability but it proved difficult to enforce in practice. The Accra Declaration for Action gave the much needed relief to donors willing to pursue accountability. Following the frustrations, few donors collectively formed International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
The current drive for transparency and accountability distinguishes itself from the past attempts in several ways.  By going through the current financial turmoil, the world—donors and recipients of aid—have learn effects of lack of accountable systems and dependence on flawed mechanisms of transparency and accountability. Effects of the financial crunch in Europe and America help to illustrate the extent of damage that can be caused by cherished but flawed systems.
The Arab uprising is writing on the wall. A seemingly workable way of governing can be totally flawed from within. London flash mobs and occupy movements in the developed world injures a wound that the financial distress in Europe and America opened.
The message has been sent out vehemently: citizens need more involvement in processes that shape their societies.
To say that recipient governments should open up or get closed is an overstatement. But, it is not totally impossible. Their citizens push for more accountability already. Listen and read the news in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. You will learn about threats and plans to demonstrate.  
Names can be different:Walk to walk in Uganda. Wamachinga impromptu protests in Mwanza and Mbeya. Demonstrations against rising costs of living in Kenya. Activists demanding more citizens’ involvement in constitution process in Tanzania. A common thread in all these actions is anger at laxity in fighting corruption and impunity for misuse of public resources.
Imagine how much trouble can be avoided by just crunching down budget data and making it available to citizens. For a country like Tanzania whose budget is donor supported by more than 40%, openness could be phenomenon. If donors will publish what they fund and governments publishes how it spends donor money, citizens will ask questions whose answers will make practical difference.
Now, than any other time in the history of the world, donors and recipients of aid are speaking in the same tone as far as accountability on international aid is concerned. In the past, donors were doing too little to track effectiveness of the 1% of their GDP they committed for fight poverty and disease in poor countries.
There can be reservations still about opening up. As Jammie Drumond writes, transparency and accountability risks exposing problems to critics of aid that they will shout from rooftops. But concealing or doing business as usual holds a much bigger risk of mistrust with donors and scaling down donations. Global Fund will be slashed partly because of alleged corruption.
Transparency route is gaining popularity immensely. New international NGOs and initiatives have been formed with transparency and accountability as their core agenda. DAC, International Budget Partnership, IATI, African Monitor’s Development Support Monitor, Humanitarian Accountability Principles, BetterAid, AidData and Aid Information Management Systems are just some of them.
The accountability and transparency street is far from fully occupied. The pace is fast and room for hesitation is limited. By far IATI is the most promising contemporary initiative in terms of delivering the action that is needed at the international level.

During the Busan conference on transparency 7 new signatories joined AITI. In total the organization has 27 members.
That accounts to 80 per cent of official development finance. For a country like Tanzania, which is on the receiving end of aid, jumping on this boat becomes imperative. Tanzania is the third country, behind Iraq and Afghanistan in receiving development finance at the tune of USD 3 billion by 2010.
Some donors have taken a leap to build the groundwork for transparency by taking bold steps  to support initiatives, like Twaweza, that expand access to information so that citizens can use it hold government accountable.

It is just a matter of time before development aid is 100% tied to transparency and accountability.

December 1, 2011

Kazi yako ina maslahi?

Kazi yako ina maslahi? Niliulizwa na rafiki yangu mmoja hivi karibuni wakati tunabarizi uswahili kwetu tukijadili mwenendo na mustakabali  wa maisha tunayoishi.
Nikajibu, ndio, kisha nikataja mshahara naopata.
"Ah, hapana. Nasema, yaani, pesa," alijibu huku akinyoosha mbele yangu mkono na  kusuguasugua dole gumba lake kwenye ncha za vidole vingine.
Nikajibu, "Ndio mshahara naopata ni pesa, silipwi chakula." huyu jamaa huwa ana kawaida ya kuuliza maswali tata.
"Naona hujanielewa," alisema tena, na sauti yake ikiungana na sura yake kunishangaa.
Kweli sikumwelewa mapema.Mimi nilielewa kuwa maslahi ni mshahara unaopata mwisho wa mwezi baada ya kufanya kazi. Hivyo, jibu la swali lile pale barazani kama angeendelea kunighasi ningemwambia mshahara naopata unatosha, ntafanyaje sasa.
“Unajua kuna kazi zingine zinakuwa na mshahara mdogo, lakini zinakuwa na marupurupu mengi,” alianza kutoa muhadhara. Nakubali yeye ni mjuzi wa mambo ya aina hii zaidi yangu. Akaendelea kufafanua; kwamba kuna wafanyakazi wanalipwa shilingi laki moja tu, lakini pale wanapofanyia kazi kuna uwezekano wa kupata mishiko ya hapa na pale hadi wakijumlisha kwa mwezi mmoja wanaweza kutengeneza hadi laki 3.
Si huyu tu anayeongelea maslahi namna hiyo. Nilipoanza kuvumbua maana ya maslahi nilikumbuka kuna mengi nilishasikia. Mwingine alinilaumu kuhusu kazi niliyoiomba kisha nikaikataa baada ya kugundua mshahara wake ni mdogo. “Umechemsha wewe,” alinambia huku akitupa mkono hewani kuashiria ujuha wangu.
“Ni kweli ile kazi mshahara kidogo. lakini pale kuna visafari na visemina vya hapa na pale. Kwa maelezo ya mzoefu huyu, kwenye hiyo ofisi wafanyakazi wakifanya mkutano kwenye ukumbi wa ofisini kwao wanapata pesa. Wakienda nje ya ofisi yao, wakiwa mji ule ule, wanapata posho. wakisafiri…”
Nilifafanuliwa maslahi mengine na yule rafiki yangu wa pale barazani. “Kuna kupata chakula cha bure ofisini, semina, kwenda kuhudumia mabosi wakienda kwenye mikutano nje. Zote hizo ni nafasi za kupata pesa nje ya mshahara,” alisema rafiki yangu, ambaye hufanya kazi ya uhudumu wa ofisi.
Kufikia hapo nilianza kupata mashaka kama kazi yangu ina maslahi. Lakini naipenda, na nikipata pesa mwisho wa mwezi najisikia raha na natumia na kupanga maendeleo yangu. Na, si ndio malipo nilikubaliana na mwajiri wangu!
Niliamua kuweka swali hilo kwenye ukurasa wangu wa facebook. Majibu yakaja. Rafiki mmoja alinitafsiria hata swali lenyewe (kazi yako ina maslahi), aliandika: Je, kuna pesa ya ziada zaidi ya mshahara? (Zile nje ya haki yako stahili) - kuna uwezekano wa kuandaa malipo hewa, wizi wa mali ya ofisi, mafuta ya gari hewa, vipuli hewa, stationery hewa nk nk nk.....
Kwa kazi nayofanya, mezani kwangu kuna kompyuta na nachozalisha ni karatasi zenye sentensi nyingi na machapisho. niliposema machapisho, mmoja akaniuliza, kwani hupeleki kuchapa viwandani? Hapana, nilisema na kutikisa kichwa. “Okay, basi hapo huwezi kutengeneza pesa,” alisema kuashiria mwisho.
Siku mbili zilizopita nilisoma muendelezo wa mjadala mrefu kuhusu posho za wabunge. Najua wanapata mshahara unaofikia Tshs mil 7. Lakini wanaona hazitoshi. Kumbe, wanayo pia mapato nje ya mshahara. Posho za vikao. Wabunge, ambao wanalipwa mshahara kwa kutuwakilisha bungeni(ndipo ofisini kwao), wanalipwa pesa nyingine kwa ajili ya vikao. Loh. Hivi maelezo ya kazi ya mbunge ni nini? Hivi bungeni Dodoma si mahala pa kazi pa mbunge?
Maswali ninayo mengi. Baadhi yameshajibiwa na aliyenicheka kwa kukataa kazi kwenye ofisi ambayo huwa wanawalipa wafanyakazi wao kwa kuhudhuria vikao na semina ndani ya ukumbi wa mikutano wa ofisini kwao.
Kwa vile nimechagua kufanya kazi, basi nitaendelea. Swali nililo nalo binafsi ni kama nina haja ya kutafuta kazi yenye ‘maslahi.’
Nimeshaziona kadhaa, kama ubunge. Rafiki yangu mwingine anayefanya kazi ambayo haina maslahi pia anasema ameanza utafiti ili apate yenye maslahi. Na sehemu mojawapo ya utafiti wake ni kwenye televisheni. Anaangalia ni taasisi zipi huandaa semina na warsha mara kwa mara na kuita wanahabari kupiga picha wajumbe wakiwa katika meza ndefu, wakiwa na chupa za maji mbele yao wakisikiliza wawezeshaji wakitoa mada. “Huko lazima kuna maslahi,” anasema kwa uhakika.
Mimi nimeamua kufanya uamuzi tofauti. Niliuandika kwenye ukurasa wangu wa facebook, rafiki mmoja akajibu ni kama najiua mwenyewe. Nauliza na kwako mwenzangu, kazi unayofanya sasa ina maslahi?

Do MPs represent us?

When I opened the internet today, I searched for updates in favorite websites (I usually like to get drunk with info). I stumbled on 2011 Transparency International corruption perception index. Searching for Tanzania, I found it occupying position 100, with other 7 African countries. Now do not be confused about the position. Tanzania, according to the index is in the red zone—one of the countries perceived to be very corrupt.

From there, I turned to newspapers. I was struck with the headline in Habari Leo that ‘Iringa kuandamana kupinga nyongeza ya posho za wabunge.’(People plan to demonstrate in protest of new increase in allowances to Members of Parliament)’

Whether wananchi will demonstrate as the Habari alerted, the TI index have a justification already. TI takes perceptions of citizens and non-citizens to draw the index. And, yes, corruption is popular in Tanzania. Why not?

The whole world is figuring out cost cutting measures. Tanzania is bold enough to increase seating allowances and travel allowances for members of parliament. Of all people, members of parliament. Shouldn’t this group of people mirror realities in our society? The people that member of parliament represent are live in squalor, struggle to get enough to eat, have less to put their children in good schools and even less to take care of their own health. Many of the poor that our MP ostensibly represents hope barely goes beyond tomorrow.

Before I give my judgement whether MP are justified to demand pay beyond their current remuneration (extras), I should first question the motive behind the idea of increasing pay now. Especially now. In which part of the world is our MP living? In which economy does the money come from?

Is it milked from this very economy that is struggling with an ever growing balance of trade?
Will that money come from the same economy whose production ails from lack of reliable power? Is that new posho going to be paid from the same tax on a farmer who the MP cannot speak for? Are we and our MPs and technocrats ever living in the same society? And finally where did they gather audacity to even think about it? Is the same government that turned away workers who demanded 315,000/- a month going to pay each MP  Tshs 330,000/- day, totaling 28,000 billion annually?

Sure, I can only prejudge the motive as a letdown, a total shame. Some members of parliament have distanced themselves from proposal. January Makamba was quoted in Mwananchi wondering at excuses his fellow ‘women and men of the people’ give for perks. Chadema MPs have also voiced concern. I hope it is not mere politics.

Editorials have been written by several newspapers. I read one in Mwananchi, another one in. but is this enough? I had written in my earlier post on this blog that oftentimes politicians in our country assume everything they say is okay and represent voices of their people.

One of the reasons, according to Makamba, that MPs give for their demand for more pay is that they need it as incentive to attend House sessions. They also need more cash to give handouts to voters who pester them for financial favours.

In other words MPs are telling us they after we have voted them into Parliament we pester them too much for money that they have to up their salaries (from our taxes) in order to satiate our endless calls for cash. I judge this reasons flimsy. Apart from being official corruption the new MPs perks explain the position of Tanzania among the most corrupt nations in the Transparency International index.

And how can it pull itself from the shame position. Each MP gives cash to their voters in exchange for nice opinion when TI enumerators pass questionnaire!

Now, this is what I will do. For one thing I pity the MPs because they do not know how their voters are thinking. For a fact our MP have alienated them from us. They are striving to keep up with the lifestyle of have lots, but notably earning on the coffers we struggle to fill (to no avail). I support the demonstrations in Iringa. I wish I can organize a protest myself; a flashmob is enough to let our ‘esteemed representative’ discover that voting for them did not mean we let them think our behalf. No. we elected MPs to speak on our behalf. Therefore, do not be ashamed to check whether you are still thinking correctly. And if not (mostly the case), do not be dismayed. We elected you to speak for us, in the first place. We will do the thinking, and please talk for us. Tshs 330,000/- a day for an MP who receives Tshs 7,000,000/- is not my idea. Reject it, or be rejected.

November 22, 2011

Seven things that are going wrong in Tanzania

Compared to its history and its future Tanzania is going through a critical phase. Not only because it clocks 50 years since independence. Events that take place now speak of a nation in transition. Citizens are shedding an old mantra of investing total trust on their leaders. In the past Tanzania chorused shamelessly, “long live wisdom of the chairman of the party’ Now, they are questioning the establishment. From this ‘renaissance’ stage I wish they build capacity to put in place reliable systems and have control over them.
Not that leaders are less important now. However, when system comes ahead of charismatic personality stability and continuity is more likely. Charismatic leaders are unlikely in the near future, therefore systems are more important.  But, are leaders and the incumbent equipped to put those systems in place.
This perspective, leads me to argue that miscalculations by current leaders may breed chaos: if leaders of political, social and economic systems will miss opportunities; communicators and executors of policy miscommunicates information and knowledge.I sense seven alerts that are not necessarily new to Tanzania. I will relate them with my doomsday prophecy.
1.   People voice out  to demand their rights, leaders giving hollow promises
Today, Tanzanians identify themselves lesser as people of particular historical ancestry and more as people of similar interests. They organize around a course as businessmen, teachers, farmers, hunters and gatherers, youths, disabled, university students, the list goes on. They demand their rights in those organizations. Recently, I heard over the news an organization that was unlikely ten years ago. A cashew nuts farmers’ forum in Mtwara. Their course—demanding government act to secure them reliable markets for their crop. A government directive has suspended several private companies that allegedly shortchanged farmers. Initially farmers applauded the decision, but nearly a year has passed by with no replacement of disqualified buyers!
Teachers union’s pressure to the government is not new. And now a loosely but very militant pressure group of wamachinga has made a reputation for itself—securing a five story business building in Dar es Salaam and having its way against the will of town councils in Mwanza and Mbeya.
2.   Poor communication of process toward new constitution in a networked, enlightened Tanzania
It is easy to steer people who are ignorant about their rights and fulfill one’s ends. It is not equally easy to exploit people who know everything that you know. Tanzanians today are better enlightened than their grandfathers 50 years ago. Why?
They have more than 20 newspapers available for them to choose which one to read, more than 20 TV stations to flip around and nearly 50 radio stations to tune to. On top of that 5% of the 38millions (who knows the exact statistics here?) have access to the internet’s wealth of information. From these multiple sources of information and platforms to interact, they compare and contrast their situation and that of counterpart on the globe. They choose in the world. On top of that they mimic.
Hearsay does not wait for legs to bring the mouth to the next pair of ears. Rumor and fact spreads thousands of kilometers by mere clicking of a few keys on mobile phones. And that costs increasingly lesser. As a result, many are restlessly seeking for more and new information. They quickly choose sides and equally fast switch positions. Through interactions they perfect their arguments and copy others. In turn they impart  them to their uninformed peers. Through this ecosystem of exchanging information citizens have built interest to the ongoing process to write a new constitution.
Unfortunately, the government never attempted hard enough to use the same ecosystem to reach out with proper message to communicate the methodology to re-write the constitution. Doubt now rules. And is communicated fast and without a strong counter argument to provide assurance. This phenomenon of miscommunication on the part of the government may be intentional or consequent to lack of valid arguments to counter substantive doubts raised and well communicated. A vacuum exists and that is not good.
3.   Un attended students’ boycotts
These may look simple juvenile actions by bored students, but they are not. Unlike machingas, farmers and teachers who have already got their niche in society, students are still dreaming to become somebody in the society. Boycotts and actions, prompted by inadequacies also lay a precedent for their future. One day they will graduate from college and become disgruntled citizens. If they grow up mistrusting leadership what will leadership do to gain the lost trust. For one thing disgruntled citizens make vibrant activists, which is good. 3000 activists graduating into the wide world annually is a good too, in my opinion. But, what about 3000 disgruntled citizens graduating every year to fight for jobs in world tinged with nepotism and corruption? Remember they have saved unresolved issues with the establishment since college days!
4.   Serving new wine in old utensils
In Tanzania, there are still laws and procedures that work against a liberal system that we are supposedly building. Some laws have changed. But law does rarely change organizational cultures and work ethics. Organizational culture and work ethics of critical departments like the police force and district security committee still embrace display socialist and one party state orientation. Most quarrels between police and organized citizens emanates from one part advocating their ideals about liberalism against organs of the state that require observance of restrictive rules. It is for good reasons public rallies should be carefully organized and security ascertained but the line between unlawful gatherings and a collection of like-minded citizens is difficult to define. Unless must be clarified bloody scenes in Arusha are likely be replicated in other cities. Only labels could be different. Opposition vs Police. Police vs machinga, evictee vs police and many more.  A common strand in these face offs is interest groups alleging that security organs favor interest groups that align themselves with the incumbent.
5.   Leaders, representatives, activists arrogantly ‘(un)knowing’ popular needs
I wish there was reliable polling institution in Tanzania which can tell us scientifically what and who is most popular in our society. If that was there, nobody would have dared go on stage and claimed to speak on behalf of us, when actually they present their own day dreams. Instead they would have read the poll statistics and supported their arguments with data. But we live in a country of 50 years and only five censuses.
We live in a historical phase in the world when media is not whole trustworthy. Building an opinion based on media feed alone may prove futile.  It is in Tanzania where someone may wake up in the morning and profess to speak on behalf of farmers. Another one comes and arrogantly says they talk on behalf of women and children. Few of them really know the concerns of the constituents they claim to present. Cast this scene in politics and a tumor gets cancerous. Government addresses needs of people because; supposedly it knows what their needs are. NGOs speak on behalf of children because it knows their plight. Member of Parliament speak for citizens because ‘that is what my voters need.’ Things border on comedy when two ‘representative’ present opposing views while both claim to speak on behalf of the same constituent. If we embraced research, worked hard on it, we would not have leaders, activists and parliamentarians exchanging blows over who speaks the real needs of the people. Instead they would debate solutions.
6.   Political rhetoric replacing professional perfection and discipline
What is not politics in Tanzania? Education? Health? Or Soccer? Which sector or industry in this country can claim noninterference from politically motivated decisions?   When will the politician stop standing over the shoulders of the technocrat? Yes, political willingness is important to inspire vibrancy towards concrete accomplishments, but where is the line.
Should doctors wait for politicians to tell them the right diagnosis? I laughed quietly when I heard a committee of parliamentarians tasking the minister of finance (their fellow MP) to explain the falling value of the shilling. What has he had to do with low productivity in the economy whose farmers cannot sell their own produce from one district to another without obtaining a permit from an absent district official. What will the Central Bank Governor do to uplift the shilling in the economy that closes down factories (for lack of reliable electricity), then has its trade minister announce an arbitrary (political) ceiling on the price of commodities. You will know your lunch is politicized when presidential and ministerial commissions are set up to deal with professional misconducts and disorders whose penalties are explicit in corporate and organizational policy books.

7.   Few things, including bribe, are predictable
Corruption is one of the sectors that is vibrant, predictable and oils glamorous lifestyles incompatible to official incomes of government employees and businesses while chocking out anyone who dares question the establishment. Sorry to say, but I believe that if education or, say electricity, was as predictable as corruption, this society would be wallowing in success and splendor. Chances of unofficial fringe income determine graduates’ choices of jobs and transfers for long term salaries workers. Punishment transfers to ‘dry spots or desks’ is an integral part of corporate politics. Bribe, which should have deservedly been a taboo, is actually a hinge of hope to lowly paid workers at some registry. Corruption, I repeat, is one of the most predictable industries, breeding relationships and giving employment to unscrupulous middlemen who traverse corporate and civil office corridors and push paperwork on fast track if one if ready to pay for ‘unofficial premier service’ to obtain a provision given by a department. The posters on the entrance to some of prominently corrupt offices announces: This is a corruption free zone. Talk of fatal sarcasm!
Bribe is payment that many Tanzanians feel obliged to give, even without being asked to. They will give it in kind, but often in cash, before or after a service is rendered. It is so ingrained that have-nots blame themselves for lacking the means and have-lots feel blessed to show their gratitude. Worse, people who are denied of their rights because they lack ‘bakshishi’ do not complain! I can only prophecy doom to my own people if this trend holds. Finally, here is the magic wand:

Prevention is better even when there is no cure
Even the deadliest cancer may offer its victim handful moments of relief and appreciate the difference between current pain and previous normal life before they succumb. At least, the doctor will say, “I am sorry we tried all that we could, but,...”.However, if you pushed them to tell you their optimism probably most would say, …if the patient was brought earlier, he/her life would have been saved.” Now that is hope.

None of the doomsday alerts I mentioned above have reached irreversible momentums. Bribe and corruption can be gradually tamed by the very people who give and receive. Unless our society defined corruption and worked to develop a culture that disqualifies, our society will exist as pure jungle where only fittest feeds on the defenseless.
We do not need expatriates to develop professional discipline and exclude politics from professionalism. If a ministerial director is sleeps on the job should they be disciplined through policy or politics—after six months of consultations?

The constitution and the 50 year independence backdrop provides just the right opportunity to create a platform for building a new work ethic from the top office to the lowest in all the three pillars of the state. The cancer patient is in hospital on time!
Unfortunately, the diagnosis has begun wrongly. Not too late though. But somebody got to their job right because there is not going to be many second chances. Unfortunately Much has been said about what has (or might) go wrong about the process. I see one common dominator—miscommunications.  People must say, the establishment must hear, the establishment must say and make sure citizens have heard. Otherwise, everything is going to be lost in translation.