Saturday, February 21, 2009

Changing the Paradigm

Last week, I was challenged to conclude that the current neo-liberal paradigm, that is the basis of organisation of our polities and pursuit of development, has failed and that we ought to think of other way of running our countries and economies.

What has been the result of more than 30 years of neo-liberalism? The failure of markets to deliver, jembe la mkono hadi sasa, wealth concentrated in the hands of the few despite general increase in prosperity, democratic deficit in many aspects, violence, creation of a welfare state, incapacity to reign in curable diseases, moral decadence, etc - you name it.

Even in developed countries, it is all the same. Without even mentioning the current wave of market failure, whether it is a Reagan or a Clinton or a Thatcher or a Blair in office, you have an underclass caught between welfare and low wages, a heavily indebted middle class increasingly subject to job and pension insecurity and a new class of the super rich who escape all rules of taxation and community.

The challenge is whether we will be able to organise a society in a manner that will enable us to escape this trap. Or, there is simply no alternative - that things are somehow "meant" to be the way they are (in fact, to emphasize the supremacy of neo-liberalism, Margret Thatcher coined the acronym TINA - There is No Alternative [to neoliberalism).

Some, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, say that actually there is an alternative, and for us in Africa, it is what they call a "Developmental State" (others say a 'Democratic Developmental State' but that is a debate for another day). The idea here is to dump what has held sway since mid-80s...that markets are everything, a "weak state" is the most facilitative of liberty and freedoms, that democracy as an ideal and an end should be pursued at any cost, that contentious politics have to institutionalized (in that the state ought to be challenged by strong media, strong labour unions, and NGOs) - this irrespective of the society's institutional and "sociological" capacity to handle contentious politics).

Anyway, what has happened since we adopted this model: more newspapers in newsstands (but not necessarily advancing the cause of free expression), the plague of the political-economy of disorder (everything goes in Bongo despite the elaborate superstructures of governing politics and social transactions), bigger but weak state (in that it is always not able to enforce laws and create order), rent-seeking tendencies by the private sector and the state. Of course, there has been improvement in the quality and delivery of social services and there has been growth in the economy but there has not been sustained and rapid growth and transformation of the economy. It may be too early to say that we have reached a "dead end", but others, including Prime Minister Zenawi have concluded so.

Now...what is needed: (i) A new focus on managerialism in public that the state, rather public affairs, has to be managed competently. To this end, for a start, a culture of meritocracy has to be inculcated. The pull for entry into public politics or in civil service...and the basis of which we assess our public servants has to change.

(ii) We need to rethink our overemphasis on crafting these elaborate participatory processes, or elabotate modes of inclusiveness, representation and accountability...basically a new look at the whole "hassle of democracy". While all these are important, they are not a panacea for deep-rooted deficiencies in the philosophical underpinnings of the pursuit of our development. Fine, it may be important that people participate in deciding their priorities but getting people to say what they want is different from availing the resources for actualising those needs or ensuring the quality of delivery and perfomance of public service...

(iii) Also, I think it is critical that, before we think of "economic development", basically, as currently popularly defined, assurance of material wellbeing for majority of the people, we should think, first and foremost, of the acquisition of "social development", in that there has to be a consensus on the values and norms that the society hold dear, and to use those values to reaffirm our identity and underpin our collective effort. Others call this the development of "social capital"....the creation of a blend of norms, values and rules to govern the society, ensure stability, reduce uncertainty and cost of "social transactions". What are those values and norms, as far as Tanzania is concerned?

Anyway, I am digressing. I will continue with this later.


Iddy said...

January, I like the way you articulate it. I strong believe that economic development will depends with our attitude. Individual needs to participate in social and economic changes. Also, our leaders need to think about how today actions will affect the next generations. This includes all policies that we’re either crafted or accept from International Financial Institutions. I strong believe on each individual should take care his/her own responsibilities.

On the government, each public servant should be held accountable for his/her action. This will erase the free lunch that public servants had for many years. Each department that receives money from the government is entitled to tell Tanzania citizen how the money was spent.

In 2009 I decide to take a different role, the role of not blaming central government. As Ronald Reagan said " Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other". I challenge my self on how I will make difference in Tanzanian society, by not blaming the status quo or running for a office, but by help those who in need every time when i have a chance. I impose the same challenge to my fellow members of this great community, let us not blame the government on its imperfectness instead let us decide to make difference as individual. As JFK said once “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country".

Instead of becoming cheerleaders of things which are unnecessary for Tanzania development, let us be creative and find solutions of the problem that face our fellow citizen. Let us think on how we're going to help the children when it comes to good primary education, clean water and good environment.

I guess we all heard about increasing orphanhood in Tanzania due to AIDS. These kids are in disadvantages from all aspects of life. Studies show that the chances for them to become unproductive citizen are too high. For us who are little bit in stable life we need to think about those kids, think about the challenges that are ahead of their life, think about how will they competing in the world of IP and globalization. And it will not hurt you if you will stop by and have lunch with them. Show them life is full of opportunity and options. You will be surprise on how many hearts you will touch and make a difference.

Let us think on how we're going to help these young angles. Let us sit down and think about the solution and not maintain the old behavior of finding mchawi ni nani. As JFK said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future." Let us look to the future of Tanzania because it is becoming fuzzy and fuzzy every moment.

Anonymous said...

Hii mwezi uliopita nilikua niko Tanzania - Dar, na kila ninapopita ninaona umaskini wa hali ya juu, wa watu na vile vile kwa wale ambao wanacho kiasi utaona nao wakodesperate kutafuta alternative za kujiendeleza kimaisha, maduka mchwara mengi kila corner, watu wanazurura ovyo bila mpangilio, kutafuta kula ya siku. Mind zao na fikra zinajengeka kufikiria tumbo na siyo maendeleo ya mtu au familia yake.

Mimi binafsi natokea Tanga, na kwa bahati nzuri miaka ya nyuma ya late 80's kulikua na maisha bora kwa watu, kuliko hivi sasa, viwanda na makazi. Ni mpaka leo nakumbuka mtu anamaliza form four au six, anasubiri results alikua anao uwezo wa kupata kibarua cha muda kiwanda cha Chuma, Mbao, Mbolea, Amboni plastic, Saruji na vinginevyo ....

Nakumbuka tulikua tunakaa barazani, nakuona umati wa watu ukitoka kazini wakirudishwa na mabasi ya kazini mida ya jioni, neema na maendeleo ya watu yalikuwepo, mfanyakazi wa kawaida kuwa na nyumba yake binafsi sio kitu cha kushangaza, alimradi maendeleo yalikuwepo..wenyeji tulikua tunaiita TANGA ULAYA,,

Sasa kilichofanyika hivi sasa inasikitisha kiasi kikubwa, tumeshindwa kuendeleza viwanda vilivyokuwepo na kujenga vinginevyo, kwa hiyo maisha mjini yamekua magumu, watu wameongezeka na makazi yamekua magumu. KWA NINI ??

Sasa huku ninakoishi, hii juzi nimemuangalia kipofu akiongozana na mbwa ambae anamuongoza barabarani kwenda anakokuhitajia, na hili sio swala la kunishangaza mimi, wakati ninamuangalia yule kipofu, akisubiri magari kupita kwenye vipita njia, na huku mimi nimesimama na gari yangu, maswala mengi sana yalikua yakiflash kwenye akili yangu,

Nchi hii ambayo, kikubwa ambacho wanajivunia ni kilimo, tena kilimo cha VIAZI, imemuwezesha kipofu kutembea na kuwa huru, JE SISI WENYE DHAHABU, TANZANITE na madini chungu tele, MAZAO CHUNGU TELE YA VYAKULA NA MATUNDA, NK na NK....

Je tumeshindwa kuiradicate MALARIA, ktk miji yetu, Je tumeshindwa kuendeleza viwanda tulivyoachiwa na mkoloni, Je tumeshindwa kuendeleza na kuboresha reli zetu, (kwa kukumbushia RELI YA KENYA ilijengwa muda wa miaka mitatu+, na makuli kwa kutumia mashepe).
Je tunashindwa kutafuta alt industries za kusindika mazao yetu, Je tunashindwa kuwaangalia wazee wetu ? Je tunashindwa kutibu wagonjwa wetu ? Je tunashindwa kutatatua tatizo la watu wengi Dar, wakata TANGA na miji mengine inabiki kuwa magofu na bila kazi ? Je tunashindwa kufahamu umuhimu wa madaraka na uongozi serikalini ? Je ni kwa nini tuko lazy, lay back, selfish na umaskini wa akili na fikra.

Mutanisamehe kuwa emotional lakini, wakati mwengine inanisikitisha sana sana, leo kwa mfano DAR, nimeiona MACHINGA COMPLEX, ndani ya mji ambao tayari uko overcrowded, halafu huyo wa kukaa na kufikiri akaenda kujenga hiyo machinga complex katikati ya moto, ambao itabeba over 1000+ of traders in one place, NO Proper car park, immense diversion of people and traffic onto that small district, uhaba wa maji and so so forth, Je walikaa kufikiri haya na mengino yakayokua ni BIG problems once itakapoanza hapo inanifanya niconclude kwamba AKILI ZETU NI NDOGO!!

The government was supposedely try to divert people from the city, kwa nini wasilijenge nje ya mji, soko wakalihamishia nje ya mji, kuendeleza hiyo miji mengine, na kupunguza watu ndani na kusolve the problems of less resources zilizokuwepo katika districk ndogo kama ilala.... WHAT ARE THEY THINKING....

Just to conclude

“Without Wisdom, Knowledge is Stupid than Ignorance” author unknown

By Mchangiaji

Anonymous said...


Great comment!
You touched my heart and definately challenged me. What a couragious and brave path you decided to take this year!
(hats off)
You obviously challenged me too from your previous post about patriotism. That was presumption of me to suggest that people are not going to be as patriotic as they're needed to, because the country has little or nothing to offer to encourage me. This's the kind of real patriotism we need to have. To plant the sense of responsibility in us and go out there and make a difference in our communities and our society.

I might not be right about this but, I think there's an existing stereotype among us with the whole thing about helping those in need. We tend to skip that opportunity, and leave it to others even when we know that we can afford somehow and be able to participate in making a difference especially in young lives of innocents. I can't even imagine how someone under the age of (5) feel, knowing that they don't have parents. To know that there's someone out there who cares and think about them helps.

We need to swallow our pride, humble ourselves and not abstain. Give to our communities and not expect anything back for the sake of our Nation.

I used to think that, in order for someone to be able to help they need to have a lot of material things or money but, I bacame mature enough to realize that, that's not the case. You can even use your time to encourage someone or put a huge smile on a child who doesn't have anybody or anything to hope for in this world. Kutoa ni moyo si utajiri.

And this can be part of values and norms we need, that January mentioned in his post, for our social development.

misokasick said...

Dear all, I know we all know what were neo-liberalism, but wanted to just briefly remind us what they are:

Neo-liberalism were set of policies imposed by Washington-based financial institutions with the objective of assisting less developed countries achieve economic growth, in late 80’s they were called the Washington Consensus. In order to understand why there is criticism of the neo-liberalism (Washington Consensus), it is essential to review the basic main policies that were implemented by the developing countries.
These policies were as follows:
1. Fiscal discipline
2. Reorientation of public expenditure
3. Tax reform
4. Financial liberalization
5. Unified and competitive exchange rates
6. Trade liberalization
7. Openness to FDI
8. Privatization
9. Deregulation
10. Secure property rights
After 20 years of neo-liberalism implementation in developing countries, the Washington Consensus policies have received criticism from stakeholders in economic development. Some of these critics believed the policies to be unrealistic neoliberal approaches that led to crisis and economic failures in developing countries.
A practical way to understand the failures of the neo-liberalism theories is by observing the economic growth from the period before and after the neo-liberalism theories were imposed in countries that had adapted the policies.
A good example of the failure of these neo-liberalism policies is in Latin American countries. According to Dani Rodrik, only three countries have made a noticeable economic growth during 1990s since the adaptation of the Washington Consensus policies when compared to the period of 1950-80. Even in a country such as Poland, which is regarded as the most successful country in Eastern Europe in terms of economic growth, poverty still remains higher than in 1990s. Since the period of its adaptation, countries such as Mexico, East Asian countries, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, and Turkey have experienced historic financial crisis that have continued to affect them. Looking at this comparison, it is quite clear to see that these policies were not working in many Latin American countries, and it was an impractical economic prescription that should not been expected to have worked for all Latin American countries.
The irony of this failure is that countries that did not follow neoliberal theories have done significantly well in term of economic growth by taking a more market-economy direction and by incorporating its own theories with the environment or nature of the given country. Excellent examples of these countries are China, Vietnam, and India.

The learning lesson from these theories/policies is that institutional reforms are to be carefully reviewed by the recipient countries that would be using these reforms as their economic models instead of imposing policies that would lead to crisis in the long run like whats happening in the US today. So we need to be so careful on rushing in adapting theories just because a lunatic from washington who happens to be a Mzungu suggests them to our countries.


Anonymous said...

I have just been specifics on my first comment, particularly on case of TANGA region.

Misokasick, thanks for the Definition and you have generally hit the point in identifying the culprits which in somehow contributed to our demise, however we have got ourselves to blame in adapting those policies for the lack of understanding and oversight(what if scenarios) or lack of intensive debate on the issues which should have been driven by economic gurus and not policy makers, in which I believe is the same mistakes were currently doing in this government, that’s why make me wonder why Prominent Professor of Econonims such as Lipumba playing cat and mouse game with the government on politics instead of being advisory on Economic issues, and that is the worst of space and talent, and I believe there are many of a kind, diminished to lower level of acceptance.

Coming back to the topic, I believe we pretty much say YES SIR to MZUNGU, and broadly show up our smiles as usual, listening and reading their cosmetic words, how wonderful we will be in terms of Poverty reduction, Prosperities, and mushrooms of investment in our country. Is Mwinyi Government partly to blame? Since his government initially adopted those reforms, IMF, World bank, etc etc
Can someone deluge us with specifics on how we reached those agreements then? Man I sometime give credit to JK Nyerere for being too protectionist, but again lack an oversight, I am taking it back.

What are the solutions, to divulge ourselves from those loop holes??

By Mchangiaji

Anonymous said...

This article is a great example of good, old-fashioned, well-researched, straightforward, witty, stylishly written Tanzanianjournalism. Well done once again Mr. January Makamba.

I am not gonna hit around the Bush, my beef is with our finance Minister, Mr Mustapha Mkulo.His biggest lie is that he isn't thinking about the next election, perish the thought, goodness me, no.

Trust me, that's all he thinks about, every waking moment. As I keep telling you, it's all about him. He doesn't take a single decision without carefully assessing how he will benefit personally...if you watched his mini budget speech you would understand what i mean.

Even in a walk of life packed to the rafters with narcissists and opportunists, Mkullo is the most self-obsessed of them all. It's why, as the economy goes down the gurgler, he's walking round like the cat who got the Cornish clotted. In the land of blind ambition, the one-eyed man is king.
I'll leave it to those better qualified than me to pore over the forensic detail of the EPA funds...although what it did illustrate is that the boastful, optimistic Budget forecast earlier this year was one of the most mendacious statements ever presented to the Bunge.

If Mustapha Mkulo had been a company director offering up such a dodgy prospectus, he'd have had his collar felt for deception, so why should we believe anything he says now?

But then again what would one expect from a Finance minister with alleged fake degree?

Anonymous said...

Let’s go back to the original debate that January started. Is neoliberalism to blame in our economic/social stagnate state? Is the so called Developmental state an alternative?

I want to take sides here. And I am firmly in the camp of Neoliberalism (which started way before 19th century by the way). No body settled this debate better than Churchill when he said "democracy might be the worst form of government available, apart from the alternatives.”

The truth is I am in Tanzania now after leaving outside for a decade and a half and this place is vibrant. Dar has more than 13 dailies, most of them are pushing lies and all, but the few brave ones are forcing the hand of political parties and in turn putting information on the egoistic opposition leaders who pins down the government. January asks is the populace ready to absorb the political mess that comes out of this? But what is the alternative?

China, the best model of “developmental state” is harvesting body parts of its prisoners. There is no way an individual or institution can face the government in court, because the court system is answerable to the political masters. In Dar the biggest case going on now apart from “UFISADI” is that NBC is in court to challenge Tanroads to settle loans of a cancelled project.

Imagine that, two government parastatals are fighting in court!!! And remember this in less than 20 years of actually starting to practice our freedom of speech and truly implementaing our free political rights (I am not talking about elections here but the philosophical rights of choice).

What a freedom of speech? How this freedom of speech and nascent democracy is helping an individual “economic person” is the missing link. But if there is any way out of this economic malaise is through more messy politics and free courts.

Once we are able to have a vibrant truely market based economy with free capital between savers and utilizers, specifically in the Agriculture sector, then we will see the real difference.

In the mean time we need a visionary leader who understand what does free market in line with agricultural capital markets means.

Neoliberalism all the way, alternatives are worst!!


Che Solasi said...

I could call you a political poet by the manner you conveyed the issues January. Indeed, it's almost like an eloquent speech that is begging for complete answer, yet no clear quintessential response can satisfy it's curiosity. I admire all of you who had wittingly respond to such a challenge and I feel a sense of optimism toward a promise of better tomorrow for our country's next generations.
I think one thing most of us can agree is the failure in realiziation of expectation that came with our adoption of certain policies that were endorse by western countries. But not only that but also the general degradation of indeginous thoughts and principles in our society as the result. We have been so willing to embrace the face of economical development at the behest of sacrificing some of our norms and ways in the society. Now, I am not saying we had a better past and bleak future, rather I am saying we are bound to loose our identity as a society and become one of blindly following other societies for success and achievement. I mean think about, "if the US basketball team won the gold medal for playing the triangle defense, does that mean you are going to win by playing the same formation?"
On the point of "social capita", I truly believe you can not have economic success without fully plugged in society that has goals and aspirations to coincide with that success. In fact, you cannot have a succesful democratic institutions without enough social capital to support, protect and defend it. This is because you always going to have poor people no matter how rich a country is, now how will the economy accomodate poverty? You always going to have minority, how will democracy accomodate them? Without the social capital to balance the change, the results can be futile and almost disastous in some cases.
Iddy I completely agree with you, we cannot always blame the gov't while we as citizen have an obligation to some extent. The people we send to represent, to hold office they don't come from Mars or Pluto; they are raised and living among us. They share the culture and aspiration we have at some level.

Anonymous said...

Che Solasi,
Louding Democracy on empty stomach, it is a window open up for exploitaions, and Exploitation indeed!

I reckon majoriy of us Tanzanians, we do not understand, what Democracy really mean, it came in too early for us, and I will go and stretch and saying Zimbabweans and Kenyans would do better on this subject.

and the blame goes to the rulling party and opposition a like, majority are viled for personal gains, prove the point and political standings, but lacks a sincere leadership, meaningfull opposition to the rulling party, in which in process holding the sway of people electing them in office, and I doubt they have that understandings, for the those who do, they pretty much resign and saying to themselves lets us flow with the CURRENT CULTURE, It is NURTURING, it is more acceptive and less stressing. and thats is exactly what is happening.

We are not countable in understanding what it really means holding a national and public office, and other government institutions.

Too many wabunge, wakuu wa mikoa, wakuu wa wilaya, diwani, balozi, makatibu kata, wafanyakazi wa serikali, creates irresponsible culture! Spend too much time in politics and less work!.

To break out of this deadlock, on my own thought, we need leadership that, will emphasize on downsizing, competent and countability in all government levels and institutions, and thats need a hell of a leader who can define us and Tanzania differently to what we are already are! and those policy are initial PHASE to the GOODS.

By Mchangiaji

Che Solasi said...

I do agree with you that, democracy came to early for us nevertheless I appreciate the peace and security that came with it. I am more proud to be less acquanted with the intricasies of democracy than to have seeds of disorder implanted in the conscience of our society. In this I hope we'll learn in little steps we take than to miss a lesson in the leaps and bounds of swift change. Yes Kenyans and Zimbabwean might have a better grasp of the concepts of Democracy but what is the total cost of it all? Is the way they got there better than the path we are taking?
In my opinion, we all need to take part at some level in building the various institution of our nation. I do agree that we all at times tend to be complacent to CURRENT CULTURE that does not always mean we don't understand there are issues to be addressed. Rather there are issues that require more than just my words and my actions; they require active engagement to the collective conscience of our society. For those who have an understanding be willing to enlighten those who are not; those with abilities willing to enable those who are not. Just like an "iron sharpens another iron".
On the question of gov't, while it is true that there's so much more politics going on than work, that doesn't translate in my mind as a need of downsizing. We can downsize and still have same issues, but as you say Mchangiaji, we need competency no matter the size of gov't we have. Yes we always gonna need a "Hell of a Leader" maybe this is the same as a collection of a few leaders who work together for a common goal. I believe we do have young and strong(intellectual), sharp and brightest rising stars in the skies accross our Jamhuri ya Muungano who if willing can carry the hope of many generations of many countries not just our own.

Anonymous said...

De Solasi,

I can say that, we are both agreeing that, we have PEACE but a virtual peace, but we dont have absolute PEACE. I would say, we are in self destructive mode if you like, it is like a ZOMBIE on a joy ride, and thats the REAL DAMAGE, it is very hard to repair.

Kenyans and Zimbabweans are going through tough time, but I can guarantee you, they know exactly what they want, and at least they know where their country should be heading, and for US we are pretty much lacking those qualities.

Despite saying all that, I am not saying we should have a gov. coup or civil war for radical transformation, what I am suggesting, we should learn really fast and adapt the new ways, as mentioned by January, on the last part of his post, I think we should start learning a NATIONAL ETHICS for a start, what is our NATIONAL ETHICS, I will leave it for experties to define who we really are ?, what it means to be TANZANIAN first ?, what it means to be a public servant ? and those values and ethics should be on our conscious all the time, like a driving force in inner us!

on subject of Government Downsizing, think about it, we desperately need one.

On subject of having potential leaders among us, I totally agree with you, but again we all agree that, they are all on mute mode, and that is no good now, what we need a couple to break loose, and show their potential, slowly act smartly on their way to the top, and putting those silence leaders to the sound mode. There and then, we will all be surprised.

By Mchangiaji