Friday, December 5, 2008

John Mashaka on the EAC treaty debate


EAST AFRICAN TREATY DEBATE, AND A RESPONSE TO GITAU WARIGI, OF NATION MEDIA.
BY JOHN MASHAKA

GITAU WARIGI, of the Nation Media Group, brought into light the need for Tanzania leaders, to look beyond 20 years from now, before committing the country into the EA treaty. To describe the Dar es Salaam government as an impediment to the creation of the East African Community reveals that, Mr. Warigi, was not rational on his thinking towards the complication. He failed to employ logic on the reluctance, the ardent nature, and the need for the Tanzanians to study the pros and cons before making a decision.

Describing Tanzania as dirt poor country, whose economy is dwarfed by that of Kenya, a country whose leaders spends time strutting the world than they do in their own country, a country that lacks dynamism and skills to drive its economy forward at the pace of its neighbors, amounts to nothing than a direct insult to the Tanzanians whom he is frustrated with, and angrily courting to join the community. Insulting Tanzanian leaders (Including our Head of State) translates to insulting the wisdom of Tanzanians who elected them.

As a Tanzanian, and a patriot, I am OFFENDED. And depicting Gitau Warigi’s, commentary as personal opinion would be naivety and self deceit on the part of Tanzanians, since he is exploiting national (Kenyan) media to let his views of hatred, prejudice, myopic, and stereotype mentality be known. Mr. Warigi, is exposing some of the underlying problems Tanzanians will have to deal with incase the treaty goes through without scrutiny.

Arrogance, superiority complex, recklessness, illogical reasoning, out of scope assumptions and erratic behaviors must be thoroughly weighed before committing our country, into the community. I highly believe he (Warigi) is speaking for the corrupt Kenyan regime, and not the infringed ordinary citizens, whose voices are not represented by the self imposed rulers. Maybe he was forced serve as a mouth piece (conduit) for some forces beyond his control since he has been more or less of rhetorical than logical in his offensive towards Dar es Salaam.

While economic consequences seem to be of greater concern, our security, social, culture and political setting trepidation were neglected by our brother, a Kenyan, and an editor, who failed to address our concerns. Yes, there are benefits of forming treaties or other blocs, within different regions, and these benefits can be realized without compromising a country’s political establishment, culture, and security. Reforming tariff’s system is one of the ways; free movement of people and goods across boarders can be another one.

Mr. Warigi, needs to get his facts straight, and learn more about NAFTA before dictating to Tanzanian’s the course of action. He is failing to understand that NAFTA has been a one sided Treaty, that has simply failed!

In the United States, as economist and a friend, Gary Bollinger details, NAFTA has eliminated some 1,266,000 job opportunities-primarily for non-college-educated workers in manufacturing. Contrary to what the American promoters of NAFTA promised U.S. workers, the agreement did not result in an increased trade surplus with Mexico, but the reverse.

As manufacturing jobs disappeared, workers were downscaled to lower-paying, less-secure services jobs. Within manufacturing, the threat of employers to move production to Mexico proved a powerful weapon for undercutting workers' bargaining power.

This continent-wide pattern of stagnant worker incomes, increased insecurity, and rising inequality has emerged at a time when economic conditions have been most favorable for the success of greater continental integration. The negative effect of increasing trade and investment flows has been obscured by the extraordinary consumer boom in the United States, especially during the period from 1996 through the summer of 2000.

The boom, driven by the expansion of domestic consumer credit and a speculative bubble in the stock market, spilled over to Canada and Mexico. Their economies have now become extremely dependent on the capacity of U.S. consumers to continue to spend in excess of their incomes. As the air seeps out of that bubble, the cost of those nations' reliance on the U.S. consumer market is becoming apparent.
The wave of unskilled workers crossing the boarder into the US, from Mexico, is creating a social time bomb for the hardworking educated American population who are being taxed heavily to provide social benefits for the less educated, and unskilled migrants from Latin America. Neither France nor Germany has gained anything substantial from Slovakia, in their EU integration, AND LAND has never been an issue.
While Kenyan’s were adapting their master’s language, English to be precise, Tanzanians were working towards their national Identity. And this is evident by the national language that has shunned tribalism and brought about pride not only to Tanzania, but for Kenya as well. Kiswahili, that is, is the source our tolerance, and open-mindedness. It is the source of Tanzania brotherhood.

Many of the so-called Kenyan, semi-literate experts have nothing more than broken English in Tanzania offices, and if GITAU Warigi, feels that Kenya is more developed than Tanzania, then there is no need to cry for the Integration, because it is going to be a one sided game. Simple mastery of a foreign language does not constitute a viable skill to be proud of.
Mind you, It is shameful to celebrate one’s cultural identity, and a form of slavery of some sort, to abandon your own for that matter. It will be prudent for Gitau, to give exact count of Tanzanians in Kenya offices to that of Kenyans in Tanzania trotting with crude and broken English.

Germans, have their own language, so are the Russians and the British. The Spanish and Italians speak their respective languages. Rwandese, Ugandans, and the Burundis both speak, Rwandese, Kiganda and Kirundi, and so are the Tanzanians. We are proud of Kiswahili; it gives us a unique Identity as Africans and a nation.

A country known globally for her landless and landowners culture, if you will, cannot be allowed to export the pandemic to her neighbors. Tanzania will be committing a crime of a century to her people by following blindly the perilous path of privatizing her land. We cannot comprehend a situation in which the famous Kikuyu’s tycoons, owning millions of hectors of land in Tanzania, yet the “poor” Tanzanians by their definition, stacked in the replica of Mathare, Kibera, and Kariobangi slums as squatters. Land privatization is a social injustice and pandemic a country whose foundation lies on brotherhood cannot adopt.

In 2007, Kenya, exported to Tanzania, twenty hardcore robbers whom were all armed to their teeth with battle field weaponry, and ready for action. Fortunately, 14, of them were gunned down before they could wreck-havoc to the peace loving Tanzanians. If these men had same passports or Identity cards as Tanzania’s, no one would have known their country of origin.
I am sure there are many more cross boarder cases of banditry that do not make it to the national spotlight, but meant to frustrate the peaceful Tanzanians. I assume, these are some of the benefits GITAU is rushing us to enjoy, as the fruits of his “cross-pollination.”

Peace and harmony within Tanzania, are not products of coincidence, they are fruits of tolerance; they are social and political forbearance that have evolved through so many years of hard work. Our national pride “Kiswahili” has made the country a model for peace and harmony, as it is next to impossible to identify a Tanzanian by his ethnicity. Yet in Kenya, tribal identity dictates where to do business and where not to, when you belong to a certain tribe. Pathetically it also dictates who to hire for key positions.

Kalenjins and Luos are Kikuyu’s arch enemies, and so are the Kikuyus and Luyas. We don’t want this type of culture within our borders, and I do hope leaders in Dar es Salaam, are reading the signs on the wall, while working for the best interest of the 40 million hardworking, peace loving Tanzanians. There can be integration without losing our national Identity, pride, integrity, or compromising our security. We can also maintain our political tolerance within the unity without adopting the scary land reform proposal from Kenya.

Ages when people jumped into bandwagons without critically thinking or questioning WHY, are long gone. If our Kenyan neighbors are frustrated with us, I guess that will be their business. Tanzania is NOT a banana republic, it is a free country ruled by logic, reason, and the will of the people and our leaders cannot jump the ship without knowing where it is headed. We are for the integration, but under a conducive environment where we are going to be treated as equals.
At stake is not the mere signing of the treaty, it is the future of the 40 million Tanzanians who can not be let down out of utter ignorance.
If Kenyans are unwilling to compromise, they are at liberty to replace Tanzania, her southern neighbor, with Somalia, which is poorer than Tanzania, and both of them will benefit.

Mr. Warigi, it is time to wake up from your long snooze, instead of thinking in the terms of 1961. It may have taken a long time, but we are getting there. Tanzania has changed; her youth are well exposed, new vibrant leaders with mastery of your so called language of pride (generation X) are emerging. Times to dictate to sovereign nations on how to think are long gone, and the main Impediments, and obstacles to the EAC ratification is not Dar es Salaam authorities, it is the hasty, arrogance and your erratic attitude of either you are with us, or against us!

Mungu Ibariki Tanzania!

JOHN MASHAKA,
A TANZANIAN PATRIOT
mashaka.john@yahoo.com

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Insight John!

By Mchangiaji

Anonymous said...

Thanks you John Mashaka for a constructive contribution, mine is a bit different, Kenyans always when speak to us will say our country Tanzania is economically poor, meaning their country is economically strong, but I have been to Machakos not very far from Nairobi, and there was nothing that impressed me!! for a rich country like Kenya to have, it was like many other placs in Tanzania and Many other places in Tanzania are better than that. what a controversal!!!!! how about their health system, how about their education system apart from few talking good english and majority talk/speak broken english and we all know that english is just a language, I know there are few individual have some money, but what is the situation with the majority of Kenyans in villages and rural areas? how about the pay to teachers, nurses, social workers etc,how about benefits the citzens get from the government like free health services,or reduction of VAT to consumers goods etc, how about pensions rates to old retired people, how about unemployment level, roads system in the rural areas, because Nairobi is not the whole of Kenya. they are poor as we are, we are all poor, the western countries will place Kenya as more economical strong than Tanzania because of the export criteria, but that is one perspective only, what about other factors like socia injustice or reginal inbalances? now they think they are rich country and we are poor country, but that is their mind set which is not not correct in our mind set. At the moment whole world knows that there is potential for economically developmemnt in Tanzania than in Kenya, the Tanzania tourism sector, mining sector, just to mention a few are unique and superlative in the whole of Africa, leave alone the abundant land, peace and friendly people, these are our assets that now knowing that Kenyan are crying to be part of us.As for EAC treaty, I support the Dar Es Salaam movie, that we are not yet ready now, Let the Kenyans sign the treat with other countries that the best match, not Tanzania, I know us Tanzanians as a country have our own problems but it is for the best of our interest to solve our problems while we are continuing building our country, but this EAC Treaty thing is no good for us and this warig guy is just doesnt know what is talking about.. Jembe

Anonymous said...

January, Mashaka and other fellow patriotic Tanzanians.

My take is that, Waridi’s article appeared in Nation Media, which means that got wide coverage of people. Why do not you send your response to one of the Tanzanian Media house to counter-attack his article?

I have an idea, Mwananchi and Citizen are owned by Nation Media, I think is good if you could send your article to them so that could be published. Hope they will be biased enough to accept your article.

Otherwise, believe me THISDAY will never turn down your article.

Please do so you have spoken for all us and we want our voices to be heard.

Besides, why do not we ask our leaders to stop wasting time and our scarce resources to this failed EAC INTEGRATION before it kick-off?

Anonymous said...

Mashaka you have spoken with a lot of gusto and machismo but you have spoken from your heart. So,I choose to ignore the loose tongued utterances insulting the integrity of my nation and nationality. I am sure you did not learn such uncivil language from our institutions of learning where your academic foundation was made. Your years of schooling in Kenya before coming to the US for higher education and career development appear to have left an ambivalent mark on you.

Anyway, the point that one shoul emphasize and keep on emphasizing is that let us all be rational. Let us stop this highly unAfrican behaviour of using foul language in public spheres.

Tanzania does not want to unite with the rest of the East Africans at the moment. This is your point.

Kenyans, as is evident in Gitau's article hold a different but not necessarily antagonistic position.

Kenyans are saying: Fine, Tanzania should withdraw its membership officially from EAC and EAF at the moment. When you are ready, you will join us. When you do not want to join us in future then we will still respect you.

WHAT we do not want from you is incessant acts of procrastination. Each time a key issue is put on the table your ultranationalistic impulses override the regional interests and leads to delays and sometimes derailing in reaching major decisions needed to form the basis for the integration and later federation.

I reiterate my position that Tanzanians should know that respect is like a super-highway-some cars move in one direction and others move in the opposite direction. Nipe nikupe. So, if you want to be respected by the region then you should be prepared to respect us. If you have national interests know that we have our own too.

EAC will hit a snag if we continue to allow Tanzania to behave in the way that it is behaving. Their behaviour in the last meeting at the EAC last week is unacceptable and they should tender in their unequivocal apologies. Failure to do should be treated as an offense and we, the rest of the region, should show them the door.

Concerned East African,

Mr Paulo Kamau
Nakuru

PS: Mashaka, this issue aside, congratulation for the great work you are doing. You are truly an African son of the soil. We as the land where you received your education are proud of you as we are proud of our existential son, B. H. Obama.

Mchangiaji said...

Our voices are being heard, our crys are not to be silenced!

Great prospects are waiting us all, we are the new stars, we are the new dawn in Africa, yet our neighbours knows that, yet failed to understand, we are rooted in our morals and in our integrity. Our humbleness cannot be distorted.

I know deep down, they envy our peace and our way of life, but they wont admit it, we understand your feelings, you are frustrated, demorolized by civil wars and injustice, selfishness, and a blink future, but don't let your angers on us, but we promise you this, we will pick you up, when you falls, after all we are neighbours, You must understand that! We never close our borders, when you were in brink of civil wars, because we are who we are, we are tanzanians, we dont shun people away, when they need us most, when you are in misery, we keep you find refuge on us, when you cheat on us, we are saying, there is an end to it, but please dont start knocking our doors, with pointed gun barrels, we definetely cannot stand that, we are only asking for respect.

It is time for them to listen, and IT IS TIME FOR US to reflect on direction of our beloved nation.

Our leaders must work overtime, to steer this nation on the right direction, but not the direction dictated by others, and not at the direction followed by others, we want our own way, we know that, we are still learning but we will get there. WE WILL MEET YOU, WHEN WE GET THERE!

May God bless this great Great Nation and give our neighbours the strength to admit and understand our feelings, and give them an ULTIMATE respect.

By Mchangiaji,

Anonymous said...

Mr Kamau you talk about Mashaka's education and you delibarately trying to push on us that if he would not study in Kenya ( if he did ) then he would'nt be able to write whatever he wrote, but you forget that there are other Tanzanians who also studied in Kenya and know nothing, what do you say about that? is the individual or the system?
Amani

Anonymous said...

We have counter balance our arguments’. (I mean Wahigi VS Mashaka)
Let’s not put some of the hooks talks to dictate our frustration on others.
We are all East Africans by the way, either we like it or not and we are all enjoying the fruit and the hardships together. It’s no mistake that Tanzania is in E /A federation not by chance but by its long geographical and cultural history.
I am sure we will remain into this federation alongside other E/A countries, and will dictated on our own rules which is beneficial to us and to all others and not roughed or dragged by one guy known as Wahigi’s or any Kenyan ambitious to through us under the bus. We are the one who are riding that bus (EA) and no one will dictate the rules inside our own bus.

Kweli said...

Mr Kamau,
You are very wrong and deluded if you think your Nation has any Integrity whatsoever, in reality you are very divided and that is one block which hinder your progress. You lack a National unity.
Kenya is already heading in wrong direction socially and economically, the honeymoon calm period which you have now will not last long (as Mr. Annan said) Without solving your underlying source of problems (Land distribution) these chaos will resurface,
Your politicians knows there are no solution to the pressing issue of land, due to the facts that almost all of your lands are owned by few affluent and politically -connected, and that woke them up and realized there is only one remained hope or chance in the form of proposed 'EAC Land Concession'
It is obvious that the post war fighting caused major economic implications that will extend for years to come, you have ruined decade of promoting your country to investors, probably you have come to realize that the best way forward is to kill "Brand Kenya" and replace it with "Brand EAC"
Good try but we are still not totally convinced.
Kweli

Diallo said...

Is an EAC federation an Instrument of Development or Shared Problems?

I read the article in the Kenyan newspaper with caution as the writer seem to confuse what is actually at stake should the EAC swing into full-blown integration. Each of the five member states have an agenda to why they should join the federation. Kenya is interested with the abundant resources of Tanzania, the market potential for its industrial goods and food security; Uganda is interested in sharing its political problems with other countries but also political leadership. Tanzania is interested in the unknowns of Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda; while Rwanda has teething problems to share with Tanzania and Uganda, which include land, political stability, security and the market.
Rwanda has only 26,340 square km of land; historically Rwanda has come a long way after the Tutsi formed a monarchy in the 16th century occupying land formerly under the Hutu from the 10th century and before that the ethnic Twa people. Rwanda has gone through turbulent times of bitter civil wars since the early 1950s. The population now stands at 9.9 million living in an area smaller than two Kagera districts of Karagwe and Ngara. The population growth is 2.8pct per year. 65% of the population is Catholics, 9% Protestants and only 1% Muslims. According to the Human Development index released recently, Rwanda ranks the 161 of 177 countries; the Real GDP per capita is USD 1,206. Life expectancy is 44 years (male) and 47 years (female); adult literacy rate is 71% (male) and 60% (female). Looking at a glance, Rwanda needs her neighbors for land and market of her agricultural produce.
Rwanda on other fronts ranks low too: Voice and accountability is -1.09 compared to -0.35 (Tanzania), -0.64 (Uganda), -0.34 (Kenya), and -1.13 (Burundi). If we aggregate the five countries, you definitely see that our record on this measure of democracy and freedom of expression will worsen as a single EAC. On the security and defense aspect, Tanzania has no immediate threat. Two territory disputes with Malawi over the Lake Nyasa border are insignificant and have been in lukewarm status since 1964. Uganda has threats from within Uganda (the IRA and others), the tense relations with the DRC since 1998. Southern Sudan is yet to guarantee security to Uganda as the problem keeps of resurfacing since 1956 when Sudan attained independence. Kenya has a formidable internal stability problem brought about by tribal rivalries between the Luo and Kikuyu and now with Kalenjin from the Rift Valley province. Kenya is also a safe haven for millions of Ugandans, Sudanese and Somalis and has recently proved destabilizing to the Kenyan demography.
Burundi and Rwanda have common problems of tribal rivalries and threats from their nationals residing in neighboring DRC, Uganda and Tanzania. It is said that the ongoing fighting in Congo and the Laurel Nkunda’s militants are receiving moral and material support from Rwanda and Uganda. On the defense side, the five EAC members have varying military might and this could prove extremely difficult to integrate into a single command. Rwanda 51,000 active troops with an expenditure of USD 53.66m (2.9% of GDP); Tanzania has 27,000 active troops and 80,000 reserve army, Tanzania spends USD.21.2m per year (0.2% of GDP) to keep her military machine rolling. Kenya has 24,120 troops with an expenditure of USD.280.5m (1.6% of GDP). Uganda has 4,000 troops with an expenditure of USD.192.8m (2.2% of GDP). Burundi has 50,500 active troops and an expenditure of USD.43.9m (5.6% of GDP). Looking at these numbers can draw an immediate problem of the energy required to balance our national expenditures while securing EAC borders with a unified army and central command. Questions, which come immediately, are how all these active troops will be integrated into one army while taking on board the current numbers for each nationality, differences in ideology, culture and tribal differences.
On the economic front, four out of five member countries have dismal progress in all sectors of our economies with Kenya leading in many areas. I have appended below a matrix with main parameters that are used to measure development:

Human Dev Index (HDI)
Tanzania 162 of 177
Kenya 152 out of 177
Uganda 145 of 177
Rwanda 158 of 177
Burundi 169 of 177

Human Poverty Index
Tanzania 65th out of 103
Kenya 64th of 103
Uganda 66th of 103
Rwanda 89th of 103
Burundi 80th of 103

**Gini Index
Tanzania 38.2
Kenya 44.5
Uganda 43
Rwanda 28.9
Burundi 33.3

Life Expectancy
Tanzania 46.0
Kenya 55
Uganda 52.7
Rwanda 47.3 years
Burundi 43.6 years

Population Living under $1/day
Tanzania 19.9%
Kenya 22.8%
Uganda NA
Rwanda 51.7%
Burundi 58.4

Population Living on $2/day
Tanzania 59.7%
Kenya 58.3%
Uganda NA
Rwanda 83.7%
Burundi 89.2%

GDP % on Education
Tanzania NA
Kenya 7.0%
Uganda 1.5%
Rwanda 2.8%
Burundi 3.9%

Total Crime rate
Tanzania NA
Kenya NA
Uganda 40.9%
Rwanda NA
Burundi NA

GDP % on Health Care
Tanzania NA
Kenya 2.2%
Uganda 2.1%
Rwanda 3.1%
Burundi 0.6%

Unemployment
Rate
TanzaniaNA
Tanzania 40%
Uganda NA
Rwanda NA
Burundi NA

Internally Displaced People
Tanzania 150,000 refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Somali
Kenya 360,000
Uganda 1,400,000
Rwanda 45,000 Congolese refugees
Burundi 170,000 Burundian and 532,000 from Hutu from Rwanda

*Political Risk Index
Tanzania 6
Kenya 5.5
Uganda 5.5
Rwanda 4
Burundi 4

*The higher the number, the lower the risk
** Gini Index measures inequality on the distribution of family income or consumption; the low the number, the perfect equality of distribution. 100 means perfect inequality.

Summary:
Looking at our history from pre-independence, to this day, we see the heterogeneity of the EAC population, the economic variations, political differences and ethnic conflicts at the top of our minds. The genocide in Rwanda, inter-state blames, surrounding hostilities, inexperience of leadership in a large setting, governance issues, hidden of motives of our leadership and land policy differences render distrust and loss of confidence of the players. The issue of immediate integration of our peoples and free movement become a thorny and complex paradigm to solve. The author of the article I referred to earlier oversimplifies the complexity of this marriage and grossly misses the actual differences in all aspects of a productive integration. Selfishness and stakes could be the overwhelming factor when we discuss these issues and we are dragged to absolute patriotic biases that are difficult to extrapolate within our own thinking. Being an African, I always succumb to uncertainty avoidance. It matters a lot to behave and act this way than dropping into protracted civil war.

francis said...

It is very sad for Kenyans to be proud of foreign Language as the model of economic advantage, or the success for that matter, and if by assumption it is true that English is de facto standard for good economic status in Kenya, then their leadership would be in the front play.

But when a current Kenyan Leader invited in White house dinner few years back, my girlfriend (English teacher) and I were watching that on TV, to catch our surprise He spoke english that many didn't understand what he was saying including my girlfriend, So let us use what we know best, with confidence, logic and reason...

We (Tanzanians) by using swahili we were able to halt EAC integration in some part by holding our leaders through discussion, analysis and make reasonable judgements and by using swahili the Tanzania administration is listening from each corner of Tanzania. Just example after three years of EAC discussion if you ask some Kenyans or Ugandans in USA about EAC many of them they will probably don't get understanding of EAC issues than that of many in the villages in Tanzania.

It is not a specific language that solve the problem, It is the judgement through any language that matters

Francis

Shaka Muye said...

kenya has no powers to tell Tanzania what to do regarding the EAC intergration because Tz has once and again confirmed its commitment to intergration. The problem of kenyans (especially the ruling elite and other beneficiaries of the system-the few educated and the rich- who constitute the minority. Majority of kenyans are living in conditions not worse than Tanzanian cows and goats) is that when they spot opportunities for self-enrichment and gratification they promptly loose their mind, their humanity, their intergrity, their wisdom as they scramble to capture that opportunity. They behave really like animals. And that is what is happening with this issue of EAC. They have spotted opportunites in Tanzania. And nothing will stop them from bullying TZ into intergrating blindly. The argument of Tanzania that the intergration process should be people-based and not animal, sorry, elite based, and should be done cautiously with each nation weighing its options, does not ring a bell into kenyans minds, and it will never. Tanzania is the most commited nation to the intergration process because it knows that once the commitment is done it is for life, for better or worse, there is no turning back and so that is why it is cautiosly preparing itself, making sure no stone is left unturned. kenya and allies, whose purpose of intergration is self-interests and personal gains, as well as a means of running away from local problems want a 'fasttracked intergration' because they know it will be a temporary thing. Once they finish getting what they want they will not hesitate to break up the whole thing. No where in the world has a fasttracked regional intergration happened. The Europeans are still intergration more than 50 years since the project was launched, contrary to what kenyans tend to suggest.
It is good thing that kenyans take Tanzanians for granted because they (kenyans) will one day receive the shock of their lives. Painting Tanzanians as cowards will never help.