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.

November 21, 2011

Naitabiria nchi yangu mabaya, lakini kinga na dawa ipo

Tanzania inapitia kipindi cha muhimu sana katika historia yake. Si tu sababu kutimiza miaka 50 tangu kupata uhuru na kuondokana na uwepo wa watawala wa kikoloni. Matukio yanayotokea yanaashiria aina nchi ambayo iko katika mpito.
Nchi hii inatoka kipindi ambacho raia wake waliweka imani yao kwa viongozi. Na sasa inaenda kipindi tofauti, zama za kuamini mfumo. Haina maana viongozi si tena wa muhimu, la hasha. Wala kuamini viongozi zamani haikumaanisha mifumo haikuwafaa. Kinyume chake,mtazamo wangu kwa kinachoendelea sasa ni watu wanaotaka kwanza mfumo, kisha ndio wamtafute mtu atayeufuata kuwapatia mahitaji yao.
Mtazamo  huu ndio unanituma kujenga rai kuwa, mabaya yanaweza kutokea. Iwapo waendeshaji wa mifumo ya kisiasa, kijamii na kiuchumi waliopo hawatajua cha kufanya na wakati bora wa kukifanya. Iwapo wawasilishaji wa maamuzi ya viongozi na matokeo ya uendeshaji wa mifumo iliyopo hawatawasilisha taarifa na maarifa kwa wakati na kwa ufasaha basi mabaya yanaweza kuikuta jamii hii illiyozoea amani.
Kuna viashiria vichache ambavyo si vigeni katika macho na masikio ya watu nataja baadhi yake na kuvihusisha na utabiri wangu.
1.   “Sina kabila, najua haki yangu, naidai na wenzangu”
Watanzania wanazidi kujitambua  na kujikusanya kwa maslahi yao. Hili ni jambo zuri. Badala ya kujitambua kama wakurya ama wagogo, kama wahindi ama wazungu watanzania wanaitana wafanyabiashara, wakulima, wafugaji wa kuhamahama, waalimu, vijana, wanafunzi(ama wanavyuo) na orodha hii inaendelea. Katika kujitambua huko wanadai haki zao na kuitaka Serikali iwatimizie wajibu wake kwao. Waalimu wana madai yao, wakulima wana madai yao, wafanyabiashara wana madai yao. Na ni ya haki, mara nyingi.
Nitoe mifano. Majuzi vyombo vya habari viliandika kuhusu wakulima wa Korosho mikoa ya Mtwara na Lindi wakiwakilishwa na jukwaa la wakulima wa korosho wakidai matokeo ya ahadi za Serikali kutatua tatizo lao la soko la korosho. Serikali ilipiga marufuku wanunuzi waliokuwapo, lakini haijatoa ufumbuzi wa soko la linalotoa bei inayomfaidia mkulima. Wakulima pia walijiunga huko Biharamulo na kushiriki kuwakamata watendaji waliohusika kuhujumu ufanisi wa matumizi ya vocha za pembejeo.
Miito ya kudau maslahi ya chama cha waalimu si migeni. Wafanyabiashara wana umoja wao. Mitandao hii inaongezeka. Aghalabu hujikuta wakiwa na maslahi na madai yanayofanana. Iwapo hakuna kingine kinachofananisha maslahi yao, basi wote ni walipa kodi.
2.   Mchakato wa katiba ndani ya Tanzania iliyoerevuka, yenye mitandao
Ni rahisi kuwaongoza wajinga na kutekeleza maono yako. Ni changamoto na pengine si vigumu kuwaongoza watu wanaojua kila unachojua. Na, ni vigumu kufanikisha maono yako-uliye kiongozi-iwapo unaowaongoza watu wanajitambua kwa namna tofauti.
Kuna zaidi ya magazeti 20 yanayochapwa nchini Tanzania. Kuna vituo vya televisheni zaidi ya 20 vinavyorusha matangazo yake ni 7 vinarusha matangazo nchi nzima—ongeza mamia ya televisheni za nchi za nje zinazotizamwa hapa nchini. Watumiaji wa mitandao ya kijamii wanaongezeka kwa kasi kila kukicha. Bei ya kutumia intenet inazidi kushuka(taratibu). Redio zinazorusha matangazo yake, na kusoma hewani magazeti hazipungui hamsini. Watanzania wasiokwenda shule, hata wale wasiojua kusoma  hawajawahi kuwa maarifa kama walivyonayo sasa. Leo mbunge akisinzia bungeni wapiga kura wake wanaweza kumjadili tangu saa hiyo hiyo wakimwona live.
Umbea hausubiri mbea afike. Kujua walivyofanya nchi za jirani hakusubiri habari zilizochujwa na gazeti teule. Hawa ndio watu ambao wanahitaji katiba mpya. Subira yao fupi,wako radhi kuiga mbinue zilizozaa matunda kwingineko. Wanafuatilia wanaharakati na wanasiasa wakiongelea katiba mpya. Mara moja wanachagua upande wa kuunga mkono. Kisha wanajadili na wenzao kwa hoja za ushawishi kama wao ni wasomi wa sheria. Wanashabikia wanayempenda, aliyekuna hisia zao, anayesema yanayogusa mahitaji yao. Kwa ufupi, wanajua wanachokosa.
Tayari wanajua katiba si ya chama cha siasa. Baadhi yao wana mashaka na uwezekano wa rais kuwaamulia wasivyopenda.  Yeyote mwenye mamlaka ama ushawishi wa kutengeneza mfumo wa kujua watanzania wanataka nini kingie kwenye katiba, ajue jambo moja kubwa. Watanzania wanasubiri kuona katiba inaelekeza kuhusu  mambo yote muhimu yanayohusu maisha yao.
3.   Migomo ya wanavyuo
Nimeamua kuziongelea harakati za hili kundi kwa upekee sababu zifuatazo. Tofauti na wakulima na wamachinga,  wanavyuo hupambana kutafuta haki zao huku wakiwa na nafasi kubwa zaidi ya kujikuta wao ndio watoa haki wa miaka ijayo.. Wanafunzi wa mwaka wa kwanza wanapofanya mgomo kudai nyongeza ya mikopo ya kusomea ama mazingira bora ya chuo, pia wanajua (ama kuota) si muda mrefu ujao na wao watakuwa ni waajiriwa wa taasisi ile ile waliyokuwa wakipambana nayo. Na ndani ya miaka 10 baadhi yao watakuwa na nafasi za kufanya maamuzi katika taasisi hizo. Pia kumbuka kuwa kundi hili linawekewa matumaini na jamii iliyo nje ya mfumo wa elimu. Wazazi wao na ndugu zao wanaamini kuwa kuna jambo wameenda kujifunza. Linalowakera lazima linafika na litaeleweka kwa umma mkubwa wa Tanzania hata kama halitaeleweka basi litagusa hisia zao. Uliza mianzo ya wanaharakati wanaouvuma katika jamii kwa sasa.
4.   Divai mpya, vibuyu vya zamani
Bado kuna sheria na taratibu ambazo hazijabadilika kulingana na mazingira ya kiribeali ambayo ndiyo nchi yetu inagamba kufanya kazi ndani yake. Lakini pengine hizo si shida kubwa. Utamaduni wa ufanyaji kazi ndio kilichobaki nyuma. Utamaduni wa kikazi ndani ya taasisi kama jeshi la polisi bado unatitisha mzani kupendelea Serikali. Huu ni urithi toka siasa za mrengo wa kisoshalisti. Inawezekana sheria zimebadilika lakini watendaji bado wana utamaduni wa zamani.  Aghalabu mabishano na kadhia baina ya polisi na watu wanaopita mitaani kwa mafungu makubwa wakidai kwenda kwenye mikutano inatokana tu na kuwapo kwa sheria na taratibu zinazotoa mamlaka kwa dola kukubali ama kukataa mikusanyiko. Kwa sababu nzuri tu, ni vizuri kuwapo uratibu na ulinzi wa usalama, lakini pia kadri watu watanzania wanavyozidi kujitambua kwa makundi na vyama vya kisiasa inazidi kuwa vigumu kutenganisha kati ya mkusanyiko watu wenye ajenga moja na mkutano wa hadhara usio na kibali.
5.   Nani anajua watanzania wanapenda ugali
Laiti nchini kwetu kungekuwa na taasisi (huru) inayoweza kufanya utafiti na kujea kwa uhakika maoni ya watu wengi kuhusu jambo fulani. Ingekuwa hivyo asingekuja mtu fulani akasema anatoa maoni ya wananchi wakati anatoa maoni ya kikundi chake tu. Wasingejitokeza wengine na kusema kwa vile wamechaguliwa basi wao ndo wana haki ya kusema, kisha kubatiza kila wanachosema kuwa ni matakwa ya wananchi. Kila anayesema anawakilisha maoni yetu, angetoa takwimu.
Mara nyingi mwanasiasa ama bidhaa, ama mtu mwenye umaarufu katika jamii akisoma takwimu hizo huzifanyia kazi mara moja. Nathubutu kusema hapa kwetu hata taarifa za vyombo vya habari  haziamiwi ama haziaminiki. Kiongozi hujisifia maarufu kwa umati uliokusanyika kwenye mkutano wake wa hadhara. Na kama kuna kiongozi asiyeitisha mkutano wa hadhara basi wengine hufikiri hana anayemuunga mkono.
Nchi zingine zina taasisi za kusoma umaarufu wa viongozi, vyama hata bidhaa. Maoni hayo hutolewa kwa mtandao, ama simu. Yakikusanywa hutolewa hadharani kwa haraka na kwa wakati ambao ujuzi huo unahitajika. Kuna vyombo vya habari kama mwananchi, New Habari vinaitisha watazamaji wa tovuti zao kupiga kura kuhusu maswala wanayochagua wao. Ni mwanzo mzuri, lakini matokeo hayatangazwi,na wanaopiga kura ni wachache, toka katika 5% ya watanzania wanaopata mtandao. Taasisi ya Uwazi imeanzisha wananchi survey, ambayo itachukua maoni nchi nzima, pengine kutakuwa na jipya hapa.
Kabla hatujapata namna ya kujua maoni ya watu wengi, bado kila anayefikiri anao ushawishi kwa umma atasimama na kusema anajua mawazo yetu.
6.   Siasa kwa kila jambo
Ndio, utashi wa kisiasa ni muhimu ili kuanzisha mchakato wa suala linalohusu jamii. Lakini si salama kama miwani ya siasa itatumika kutazama kila jambo. Yapo ambayo yanahitaji taaluma na lazima yajulikane hivyo na yaheshimiwe. Afya inahitaji daktari na kanuni za afya, maji yanatakiwa kuwa safi kwa kila mtu ili ayanywe. Na, uchumi ili ukue unahitaji uzalishaji ukue. Nilicheka majuzi niliposikia wanasiasa wanajaribu kumweka kiti moto waziri wa fedha na gavana wa benki kuu kwa kushuka kwa thamaniya shilingi dhidi ya dola ya Marekani.
Ni kweli hao wanalo la kufanya, lakini kama hatuzalishi, siasa zetu hazitaweza kututengenezea uchumi. Kama siasa haiewezi kuhakikisha kanuni za kitaaluma zinafuatwa basi wanaoendesha siasa hawana haki ya kuendesha siasa zao kutokana na mapato ya uchumi huo. Kwa kuwa siasa zimekua ndio fungate ya kila jambo linalotajwa katika nchi yetu, sasa jamii yetu imejikita katika laana nyingine nayoitaja hapa chini. Utagundua siasa imeteka nyara taaluma pale mambo ya kitaalamu yanapoundiwa tume, kinyume na kutumia nidhamu ya kazi na kitaaluma kuadhibu uzembe na kutowajibika.
7.   Rushwa-motisha ufanisi na malipo yanayotabirika
Rushwa ni sekta mojawapo ambayo inatabirika na inazalisha mapato ya uhakika kwa maofisa wa serikali na wafanyabiashara. Kwa wanyonge wanaofikiri kupata haki zao bila kutoa malipo ya ziada rushwa ni kizingiti kinachojulikana. Sio siri. Rushwa ni kigezo cha wahitimu kuchagua kazi fulani na kwa wafanyakazi kuacha kazi Fulani na kufuata kazi nyingine. Rushwa ni kigezo cha matumaini kwa watumishi wanaolipwa ujira mdogo. Ni chanzo cha kikuu cha kipato kwa madalali wanaojua nani wa kumpa rushwa ili mambo yaende. Rushwa, narudia tena, ndio sekta inayotabirika kuliko zote, huduma iliyo bora, na malipo ambayo mwenye kuhitaji huduma anajiandaa kuyatoa kabla ama baada ya kupata huduma ambayo ni haki yake. Ni bakshishi ambayo mpokea huduma asipotakiwa kuitoa anaona amenyimwa haki ya kulipa ‘fadhila’ na pengine anajiona hakufanya jambo la utu. Rushwa inajenga undugu baina ya watu ambao pengine wangeishia kusabahiana kwa juu juu tu katika masaa ya kazi. Lakini pia ni kigezo cha wengine kufunguliwa mlango na wengine kufungiwa—na kila mmoja anakubali kuwa lililomkuta ni staili yake. Aliyefungiwa anajilaumu mwenyewe kwa kukosa kibakshishi cha kutoa, anayefunguliwa anaona amefanya wajibu unaostahili. Natabiri mabaya kwa nchi yangu kwa kuwa kila mtu anatoa na kupokea rushwa na hakuna anayeikemea wakati inapotakiwa kutolewa.

Dawa  na kinga ndani chembe hai za ugonjwa

Wataokomesha rushwa ni wala rushwa na watoa rushwa. Watakaotenga siasa na taaluma ni wataalamu na wanasiasa(na wataalamu walio pia wanasiasa). Makundi ya kijamii yatakayoleta amani ni yale yatakayoendelea kudai haki zao na uwajibikaji kwa Serikali bila kukoma na bila kutumia mbinu zinazovunja amani. Na, cha muhimu zaidi. Serikali inayotakiwa kusoma alama za nyakati, kutambua mahitaji ya watu wake na kujizatiti kuona yanafanyiwa kazi ni hii iliyo madarakani.  Awamu hii ya uongozi wa taifa inayo fursa ya kufanya mambo ambayo, kamwe, awamu zingine zote zilizopita na zijazo hazitapata fursa ya kuyafanya. Si sahihi kuilinganiza zama ya urais na uongozi mzima wa Tanzania ya sasa na nyingine yeyote. Hii ni maalumu, na kama haitaacha urithi maalumu basi, bado itaacha ombwe la pekee yake kwa sababu fursa itakuwa imepita ya kuyafanya mambo maalum, kwa namna maalumu kama ambavyo inawezekana sasa.

November 8, 2011

For Government to be open, begin with open elections

In conclusion of his blog on Open Government Partnership, Ben Taylor (Daraja blog) recommended three priorities for fruition of the novel initiative in Tanzania:
  1. An open data platform for Tanzanian government data
  2. A right to information law, based on the MCT proposal
  3. A high-level directive to government agencies that requests for information should be granted
  4. Something else - what?
I agree with Ben; let me attempt the fourth priority.
A dashboard of contributions and expenditures of political parties’ monies during and after elections should be instituted.

The amount of money parties spend in an election partly reflects the risk they are willing to take to take over the running of the state.

Public office is critical in our democracy because it is not only an opportunity to serve the electorate, but to enrich oneself. Shame, but, it is true. Persons have amassed wealth by wielding power that come from their jobs in politics.

Parties spend colossal sums of money in elections, but none readily declares the source of their millions. When at last they do, it is after the registrar of political parties has squeezed them and the media have chorused repeatedly about their delays.

Still the information is not well publicized. Media reports superficially that a party has submitted its accounts to the registrar of political party. Is that all?

I believe that transparency in elections accounts will breed transparency in Government accounts as well. The bigger the noise will be about money during campaigns the bigger the noise will  be about developmental money.

I believe openness in financial contributions to political parties will inculcate a culture of openness at high level than a hundred talk shops to change organizational culture of hiding information in agencies of the Government.

Why do I believe so? Never in Tanzania are political office bearers and their opponents ever closer to citizens than during campaigns.

If financial integrity is brought into the picture during campaigns through timely reporting of election’s budgets and expenditure, then citizens will start asking practical questions. In turn politicians will begin taking accountability seriously. Why? Because they will have to satisfactorily answer questions from prospective supportive voters.

As of now accountability related issues such as cutting costs in Government, or fighting petty and grand corruption are only alluded to in order to gain political popularity.

But I should quickly add that transparency should not be the ultimate goal of initiatives taken under the umbrella of Open (government, budget, etc).

Rather, the ultimate goal should be accountability and citizen engagement. After being stifled in a governance structure that hides even the most basic information, we are likely to applause cool interventions like a government data portal as ends in themselves, but they are only tools to an end.

What is the use for a data portal when the internet is accessible to less than 5% of Tanzanians? And, less than 15% have been connected to electricity. Who will use the data portal? Intermediaries—NGOs and media, of course.

If I have to make a choice, I would go for a solution that puts information from district level and government agencies at the disposal of citizens who find it relevant to their lives.

The system is somehow available.  Almost every government agency have public relations officer. What are public relations officers from the president’s office to the district council doing? Gate keeping? Only gate keeping and organising national ceremonies—saba saba, nane nane, public service week, 50 years of independence and the like?

If only these public relations department were fully deployed citizen would not be pushing for transparency. Enacting a liberal freedom of information law is one side of the coin. The other is political willingness from highest office to the lowest.

Linahitajika Azimio Lingine toka Arusha

TUNACHOKIONA Arusha kwa sasa  ni zaidi ya siasa. Vyama viwili vya siasa vyenye nguvu kubwa hapa nchini vya CCM na CHADEMA  kila kimoja kinachakujivunia nguvu ambayo kingine hakina. Kwa upande wa CCM kinajivunia nguvu ya Dola huku chama cha upinzani  cha CHADEMA kinajivunia nguvu ya umma.

Na ndicho  kinachopelekea  mvutano usioisha tangu kufanyika kwa uchaguzi mkuu mwaka jana Octoba 30 mpaka leo. Arusha imekuwa ikiendelea na mivutano ya kisiasa kana kwamba   uchaguzi umnekaribia ilhali bado kuna safari ya miaka 4  mbele.

Nachelea kutoa hofu yangu kuwa iwapo vyama hivi vitaendelea kutunishia misuli yao: CCM nguvu ya dola, Chadema nguvu ya umma, vitazidi kuigawa Arusha kwa misingi ya kisiasa, na haitaishia hapo. Kumbuka wakati wa uchaguzi kulikuwa na tetesi za kidini katika siasa za Arusha. Iwapo siasa za jukwaani zitazidi kushikilia mitaji ya kila chama, bila kutafuta suluhu tusishangae siku nguvu ya umma ikipambana tena na nguvu ya dola mitaani.

Dkt Slaa, katibu Mkuu wa Chadema na Tundu Lissu, mnadhimu wa kambi rasmi ya upinzani bungeni walikamatwa  Novemba 8 majira ya asubuhi  Arusha wakiwa katika harakati za kushinikiza kuachiwa toka rumande katika gereza la Kisongo Bwana Godbless Lema, Mbunge wa Arusha Mjini. Mwenyekiti wa Chadema, Freeman Mbowe, pia anatafutwa kwa tuhuma hizo. Mbunge wa jimbo la Arusha mjini,  Godbless Lema, awali alikataa dhamana katika shtaka analokabiliwa nalo yeye na wafuasi wengine kwa kuandamana  na kufanya kusanyiko bila ya kibali kutoka Jeshi la polisi.

Huu ni mwendelezo wa siasa za Arusha, ambazo zinazidi kuvaa utambulisho wa ghasia. Kwa hiyo ninalo jibu la swali langu la kwanza. Kinachoendelea Arusha ni siasa za ghasia.
Katika mazingira kama hayo, kujikita katika shughuli za maendeleo ni nadra. Bado baraza la madiwani halijatulia. Ni baraza hili ambalo ndilo linatakiwa kukaa na kufanya maamuzi muhimu ya namna ya kufanya shughuli za maendeleo ya jiji la Arusha. Haya hayawezekani kama madiwani wa vyama vyote bado wanahaha kutafuta suluhu na nafasi za kulipa visasi vya kisiasa. Chadema wanadai uchaguzi mpya wa meya.

Mapambano ya siasa za Arusha yana sura kadhaa.  Kuna mapambano baina ya vyama na kuna mapambano baina ya makundi ndani ya vyama.
Madiwani wa Chadema walivuliwa uanachama kwa tuhuma za kuingia muafaka na chama pinzani na baadhi  yao kupata nyadhifa katika baraza la madiwani la jiji, kinyume na utaratibu wa chama chao.
Walijaribu kujiokoa kisiasa  kwa kwenda mahakamani , lakini mpango wa suluhu kwa njia ya sheria ukakwama kwa shauri lao kupigwa chini na mahakama. Pengine salama yao ni kujisalimisha kwa taratibu za chama chao.

Hayo ni ndani ya Chadema. Upande mwingine wa migogoro ni  ndani ya CCM. Viongozi wa vijana wa CCM walifika Arusha na wakaendesha mikutano ya kisiasa ya ndani ya chama. Na waliitisha mikutano ya hadhara bila kupata kibali cha walinzi wa usalama, yaani jeshi la polisi.
Kundi lingine la wanachama lilidai mikutano illiyoitishwa na hao viongozi  wenzao wa UVCCM (taifa) si halali na haikuwa na maslahi ya chama.

Ikasikika sauti nyingine ikisema ni watoto wa vigogo ndio walioamuru mikutano hiyo ifanyike, kinyume na utaratibu. Bila shaka sasa inaonesha siasa za Arusha, zinaweza kubainisha mipasuko katika chama, hata kama ingekuwa imesitirika katika siasa za Dodoma na Dar es Salaam.
Kuna sura nyingine, pengine muhimu zaidi ,ya siasa za Chadema na CCM zinapofika Arusha. Vyama vyote vinatafuta kuimiliki Arusha. Chama cha Mapinduzi kilishinda urais, hivyo kinashikilia na kuendesha dola. Chadema kilishinda kiti cha ubunge Arusha, hivyo kinajinadi kwa kuwa na idadi kubwa ya wafuasi na wapiga kura wanaokiunga mkono mjini arusha. Kwenye viti vya udiwani CCM ilipata 10 na CHADEMA ilipata 8 huku TLP ikiambioia kiti kimoja.

Kila chama kiliona kina haki na nafasi ya kuwa na udhibiti wa baraza linaloongoza jiji. Ndipo kilipo kitovu cha ugomvi  baina ya vyama hivi na mivutano ya ndani ya kila chama. 

Kwa upande mwingine kuna jeshi la polisi. Sikusikia nidhamu waliyopewa viongoziwa UVCCM pale walipofanya mikutano bila kibali jijini Arusha, lakini mbunge wa Arusha aliwekwa rumande kwa kosa la kufanya mkusanyiko wa hadhara bila kibali cha polisi. Watu wanasikia, wanafuatilia, na bila shaka na wanasiasa wa  chadema wanatumia fursa hizo kuchochea nguvu ya umma, wakijua dola inafanya kazi kwa upendeleo.

Natarajia hivi karibuni kusikia mkutano utakoitisha Azimio jipya la Arusha ili kuwepo na haki, amani na jitihada zenye tija kwenye siasa za Tanzania, kwa kuanzia Arusha.
 Tumefika ama bado?

November 7, 2011

Ukitaka kujifunza kuogelea, ingia majini

Blogu hii ni uwanja wa mapambano. Vita kati yangu na jinamizi la kutisha—uvivu wa kuandika. Kila ukiona kuna kitu kipya kimeandikwa, ujue huo ni ushindi kwangu. Pengine wakati unaangaza macho  yako hapa, unaweza kuokota kito cha thamani ama kitu chenye ladha ya kukufaaa kula—kwa macho.

Wakati nafikiria kuanzisha blogu yangu majina kadhaa yalianza kujitokeza. Yenyewe, tu bila hata kuyaita: mkama special, kila kitu, mpyampya na kadhalika. Yote niliyakataa, bila sababu. Pengine sababu ya kuyakataa ni tabia yangu ya kutafuta mbadala- kwa karibu kila kitu.
Kwa  karibu miezi sita, hii blogu iliitwa kiporobaridiujimoto(neno moja).Hiyo ilikuwa ni baada ya kutafuta mbadala wajina-kiporobaridinaujimoto-ambalo lilidumu kwa siku mbili—sababu kazi za mshahara zilizidi nikakosa muda wa kuiwaza project yangu mpya.
Nafikiri umeanza kushangaa, miezi sita ya blogu na leo ndio naweka makala ya kwanza? Tafadhali rejea kauli yangu ya mwanzo—napambana na jinamizi kubwa jeusi kama usiku usio mbalamwezi. Laitwa uvivu wa kuandika.
Majuzi tu, nilialikwa na dada mmoja kwenye mkutano wa bloggers wa Dar es Salaam. Pernille alikua anafanya kazi dawati mkabala na mimi.  Naheshimu sana staili yake ya kuandika bidii yake. Aliponialika nikajishaua kuwa ninayo blogu.
“Unablogu kuhusu nini?” aliuliza. Jibu la swali hilo sikulitoa, kwa vile halipo. Ila nakumbuka niliongeaongea maneno ambayo, naamini aliyaelewa kwa kuwa hakuniuliza tena.
Niliishia tu kumfafanulia maana ya kiporo baridi uji moto. Kiporo ni chakula cha jana. Uji umepikwa leo(sijawahi kunywa uji wa  jana). Na kwetu, kiporo cha ugali wa muhogo hakipashwi moto; anapewa mtoto vile vile cha baridi, lakini uji anapewa wa moto. Kwenye hii blogu, nitaleta habari za jana—hizo ni ladha unazokumbuka, tena zingine zinakuudhi. Lakini nitatia na ladha za leo—huo ndio uji.
Kwenye kile kikao cha bloggers mimi ndio nilikua mtu mwenye furaha zaidi. Kwa vile bloggers wengine wote hawakuhudhuria, zaidi ya Pernille (duniaduara na Biche (wa chickabout town). Hivi wangekuja na wengine wote(nasikia wangefika zaidi ya 20) ningesema mimi ni nani—sharti kubwa la kuwapo pale ni kuwa na blogu. Nakumbuka alifika dada mmoja. Alisalimia, huku akitaja jina lake na blogu yake. Yaani kama vile niseme jamani habari zenu, samahani kwa kuchelewa. Naitwa Mkama, halafu naweka pause kidogo namalizia—kiporobaridiujimoto.
Niliona uso wa Pernille na Biche unawanda kwa tabasamu kisha wanasema kama kiitikio, ‘oohh, ndio wewe, karibu sana. Karibu kiti.’ Mimi wakati huo nilikuwa nimesahau hata neno la siri la kuingilia kiporobaridiujimoto.
Baada ya kikao nikaapa kwenda kuifungua tena blogu yangu. Nilijiwekea nadhiri kuwa iwapo kweli nikikaa mbele ya kompyuta na kukuta nimesahau password ya blogu yangu basi naachana na hii biashara maisha yangu yote.
Utakuwa unajiuliza nitakua na blogu kuhusu nini? Ah kwani hapa kwenye hizi aya unasoma kuhusu nini? Jibu lako utaniandikia kwenye kiboksi cha maoni hapo chini. Lakini hivi ni nchi gani ambako raia wake wakiulizwa swali nao wanajibu kwa swali? Tanzania? Kwani we unafikiri ni wapi kwingine ambako wakiulizwa swali wanasema tena swali? Si Tanzania tu?
Kuhusu nini cha Tanzania nitablogu. Vingi tu, lakini mizania itakua moja---mbadala. Napenda kuwaza mbinu mbadala, hoja mbadala, utatuzi mbadala, kila kitu mbadala. Naamini vitu hutokea kwa jozi kinzani. Kama kuna maji basi barafu imeyeyuka, mvua imenyesha ama chemichemi inavuja. Na kama unaona maji, basi umesiama pakavu. Na kama umesimama basi hujakaa.
Hii ni rahisi eh, ndio. Lakini mara nyingine giza isi jeusi, laweza kuwa jeupe.
Basi laiti kama kungekuwa mbinu mbadala ningejaribu kujua nini ungependa kusoma halafu ningeandika hicho tu. Lakini kwa vile si rahisi kutabiri, basi karibu ukae nami upwaani kwani ilishasemwa na kuthibika kuwa, mgagaa na upwa….
Haina mbadala hiyo.
Karibu tena