Monday, April 27, 2009


On my initial post here its a pleasure to submit the following article written by a Tanzanian IT/database expert based in the U.S., who fears there is no sufficient debate on the capabilities of the proposed National ID program. He warns that "We should not go halfway and just create a piece of paper that ends up being sold like a phone voucher on the street and call it a National ID." Read the rest below.....



I’ve been trying to navigate the issue of a national ID card in Tanzania. I have noticed that in recent months this issue has heavily dominated the media. There are many aspects to this debate. The on-going discussions on who will be awarded the contract, who is vouching for whom, and which leaders will personally gain from the tender award are beyond my sphere of influence. Therefore, I will only base my arguments on the tech/IT realms of it and will leave room for open and constructive discussion on other areas, notably corruption, irresponsibility and mismanagement.

At the end of the day, someone will eventually be awarded that ‘lucrative deal’. Therefore, at this point, what I really care for is how that someone is going to implement the system and sustain it. Unfortunately, so far public interest has not been on debating the benefits of the system, but rather on who will be awarded the project. Clearly, corruption is in our DNA as a society. It links us all in thoughts and instincts, and the consensus among the citizenry is that majority of those in power are corrupt. Ironically, this resentment is somewhat powered by envy - there are enough people out there who praise and talk with admiration on corrupt practices done by some public officials. As Nyerere once said, this is a plague that may haunt us for many years to come.

Moving beyond this, I am a strong supporter of the National ID card system. I think the Government should bring this program to fruition. The benefits in this global age of technology will be astronomical if implemented well and maintained accordingly. If we get serious, Tanzania can have one of a kind National ID card system in sub-Sahara that is systematic and comprehensive. The prospect of a functioning e-government can finally materialize based on this system. From government statistics (administration, taxation, revenue etc), to private usage in banks (loans, credits), hospitals (patient info, billing), by employers (verification, payroll) to the police and Court system (identification, criminal records), and many more, they will find this National ID system crucial in conducting their daily tasks. Don’t forget that non-governmental functions will be charged a fee for data verification. Therefore, this will potentially bring in additional revenue to the government.

I know a thing or two about IT and data management, so I have some worries since we are yet to fully understand the details of the system sought by the Government. As I write this, I’m almost certain that many people think this issue is just a matter of issuing ID cards and that’s it. NO. There is implementation, sustaining, training, security, data access, data backups, and massive storage to name just a few. I believe any ID card system should have the following four key components: an initial individual identity verification system; a database; an ID card and a secondary ID card verification system.

Before a card can be issued, there must be some means of ensuring that the person receiving the card is who he or she claims to be. Any ID system is only as good as its ability to accurately identify people in the first place. Now the question is, how are we going to effectively do this? It is estimated that by 2015 there will be 57 million people in Tanzania, with current growth rate of 1.4% in every 5 years. This will pose a greater challenge in obtaining accurate data at child birth, and taking accurate census of those who are still alive or dying. Most hospitals and clinics don’t keep efficient birth and death data on file. The health centers are generally not computerized and most of the children born in rural areas are being delivered at home with no State documentation whatsoever. Forget about rural, it’s a problem obtaining a copy of a birth certificate even in central Dar es Salaam at the newly restructured “Vizazi na Vifo” State agency. Only a small fraction of the population today carries a passport. BUT we can still do this national ID project if we have a long-term perspective. Yes, we might have false or insufficient data to start the identification process with, but if we put sufficient identification infrastructure in place today at hospitals, clinics, and at immigration centers across the country, going forward the data will slowly become more accurate. We have to start somewhere - government workers will have to be trained and civic education will have to be given on the benefits of good record keeping. If I remember correctly, we succeeded in having a CCM branch in every village; there is no reason why we can’t be ambitious again on a crucial project like this.

The next step after individual citizen identification effort will be to issue the ID cards. Aspects of material, durability and security (photo quality, forgery & tamper-proof) of the card itself will have to be looked into. Point of issuance, whether by Government or private contractors will have to be ironed out as well.

Thirdly, a database with massive storage capacity is the backbone of the system. The government should oversee who implements the best Storage Area Network (SAN). This is a whole different ball game here. A private company could be contracted to manage this SAN, or perhaps the same company that will build the system can be extended to manage it. Whatever the case may be, how we design and manage the SAN will help in the long run to avoid incurring massive operation costs. We need a unique architecture that can manage data inside effectively. We also need a scalable hardware to eliminate the need for time costing upgrades, and powerful software for optimizing it. Also, this company will need to be fully vetted and trusted to manage this sensitive national information. The contractor should be able to set, grant and manage data access for commercial use without compromising national security and privacy rights.

Deriving any value from building enhanced high-tech security measures into a national ID system will require a massive secondary ID card verification architecture. Putting a microchip on an ID card, or having some way of linking it to the SAN database will complete the project. Agencies such as the Police, the CID, the Courts System, TRA, and Immigration, as well as private entities such as Airlines and the banking/ATM/credit card sector, or any person for that matter who should have cause to inspect the ID card should have a machine capable of reading its advanced features. So, for instance, we are talking about high speed computers in every Police station in Tanzania, or computers in their vehicles, that are linked to the national database. We also need to implement a system with forward compatibility. For example, when we finally implement the infrastructure to the police, it should be capable of “plug and play”, meaning it should require little or no hardware upgrade to avoid unnecessary and wasteful future projects. We should train our “finest” police officers on how to operate these computers. We should not go halfway and just create a piece of paper that ends up being sold like a phone voucher on the street and call it a National ID. We really need to stay the tech-course with utilization, automating, replication and speeding up data recovery, or else we decide to put this project on the back burner until we are ready. We can have the system built today and completed tomorrow but the major huddle will be sustaining it.

I hope that the ministries of Home Affairs and Science and Technology respectively are collaborating with the University of Dar es Salaam’s IT department. This is sensitive national data that the Government will have to protect, so whatever IT technology is to be deployed it needs to be secured and robust. Of course, the building inspectors need to make sure the hardware is placed in a fireproof, theft-proof and flood-proof building.

A.G. Mwingira
April 26, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Land, Cereals and Arabs

In the next 25 years, world demand for cereals will more likely increase by 50 percent. There are two ways in which this food can be found: by increasing yields in the currently cultivated land or by cultivating new areas. Of all the continents, only Africa has suitable and sizable tracts of uncultivated land. But then, since you want to protect the environment and its natural habitat, the ideal option would be to nominally increase the acreage cultivated (since we still have the areas) but massively increase the yield on the currently cultivated land. And there is no way you can do this without biotechnology, or, to put it bluntly, without genetically modified seeds. Anyway, that is a debate for another day.

Food is now a globalised commodity, meaning that its price and supply are dictated by dynamics independent of the whims of sovereignty (not least the weather!). And indeed taste and choices in food depends on many other things beyond necessity (increase in income by the Chinese, as a result of the Chinese economic boom of the last decade, has made the Chinese eat more meat, which has increased the global demand for feedstock for pork, chicken and cattle which in turn has increased demand and prices for cereals, leading other people to remain hungry). Consequently, its production for the global or "local" markets, just like cars and computer chips, follow where inputs are readily cheap.

We saw the Koreans striking a deal for 1.3 million acres with Madagascar to cultivate rice for Korean people. The structure of the deal and its consequences is another debate. We now see the Arabs moving into Africa to seek areas to cultivate food, not for the global market but for their own people.

Which brings me to the recent item in the news that the Saudis are seeking huge chunks of land in Tanzania to grow wheat and rice. There is a debate about our wisdom in accepting this (and I have been quoted somewhere saying something about this - the quote was unfortunate as the conversation was private and, although the sentiments are correct, it did not reflect the entirety of thought train).

If I am to say something public (which I am now), this is what I would say: In my personal opinion, it is very good indeed that something is being done to put into use at least an additional 0.5 percent of 100 million acres of arable land that we have (out of which only 7 percent is under use, of which 80 percent is under subsistence agriculture).

But, in my personal humble opinion, there should be some parameters under which these land-for-agriculture deals should stay within:

1. Our land ownership system should not change to accommodate these deals. Our system is not freehold but leasing. It is imperative that it remain so as we talk about large scale commercial farming by foreign entities.

2. There should be no dispossession of land from the locals.

3. There should be some local value addition processes (if it is wheat or rice, at least kukoboa and packaging should be done locally by locally-owned factories)

4. There should be development of infrastructure in and around the estates.

5. There should be some backward and forward linkages - some out-grower activity should exist or production of fertilizers and other inputs for these farms should be done here.

6. Agricultural research and transfer of technology and skills should be the main components of the deal.

7. Eventually, as a result of number 6, together with access to agricultural financing, locals ought be able to do large scale commercial farming;

8. Finally, the scenarios you do not want is the juxtaposition of photos of containers shipping rice abroad with the long lines of people waiting for food in some countries with oil rigs offshore but long queues at the petrol stations. Hahaha!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. On the day of independence, our nationalist leaders said that it was time for "Change", now that we are running the show. Changes and progress, on many fronts, surely came. But then, we still have people living in stone-age conditions 47 years later. Change is slow. When Mwinyi came in, the theme for his election was Change. When Mkapa came in, the theme was change. And in the 2005 election, the theme was Change. You can bet that in 2015, we will be talking about Change. But the good thing is that the 2005 election laid a good foundation for Change. The next generation of leadership in Tanzania has to seize the moment.

2. The war on corruption is taking an interesting twist here at home. We see in the papers everyday politicians of all stripes calling press conferences to argue as to who really have got anti-corruption credentials. The whole thing may lose its meaning if it is seen as a self-promotion device. This is a very important cause that has to do with what the society values, and not simply who we should see hanged at this hour.

3. I was in Washington DC in August last year and got to visit the National Press Club. In the hallway, there was a placard with a long quote from the legendary Joseph Pulitzer. A sentence in the quote caught my attention: "a cynical, mercenary and demagogic press creates a people as base as itself". Then I thought about the state of our press. The Tanzanian citizenry is unsuspecting that what we read in the press each morning and see on TV at 8 o'clock is what less than six people in Tanzania (with their interests at the forefront) decide that we should read and see. And the interests of these people are not always in sync with "national interests". In short, we are really breeding a cynical and demagogic citizenry.

4. In all countries that have experienced civil wars, it is the political class and business elite that started it: by insulting each other in the press, by sabotaging each others' business interests and political aspirations, by dividing the press, by rallying support in their particular constituencies, and eventually by dehumanizing each other. The peasantry eventually follow what the elites say (even if they were not involved in the initial emotions of the elites' squabbles). In Rwanda, the Hutu peasants sometimes killed without having comprehended their interests in the extermination of their Tutsi neighbors. It was simply because the Hutu elites rallied them. We must guard against these things here at home.

5. There are a lot of stuff being written about the state of our economy and the reasons for our underdevelopment. I think it is wrong to approach this complex matter of poverty and underdevelopment as a technocratic matter in which some inputs and competent leadership will be able to solve. I think there are certain sociological conditions for progress. And there are certain propensities for progress that have to be cast in people's psyche. And there is a certain "ethic" that will ensure progress. People are not simply a subject of economic development.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Few weeks ago the debate about TANESCO and DOWANS diffused across the media and local political arena. To my understanding this is not the first time to see the battle between Wananchi and Tanesco. Last year the name Richmond was added in Kamusi ya Kiswahili as a new vocabulary in power industry, and then few years ago it was IPTL. Tanesco has been part of the problem for many years, however recently our leaders saw the urgency of change. Despite, none of them provides the realistic path toward that change.

Tanesco control the whole Tanzania power system (Generation, Transmission and Distribution), that make them a monopoly on that sector. Because of monopoly status Tanesco influenced the over priced of services, inefficiency, lack of transparency to the shareholders (wananchi) and poor cost management structure. Tanzania economy is growing by average of 6%, with over 200% increases in Foreign Direct Investment since 1963 when Tanesco was formed. However, less than 15% of Tanzanian has access of electricity even though Tanesco has been in business for the past 46 years. In addition, those who have electricity face 130 days of power outages in a year (equal to 4 month and 10 days in a year). The power outages increase the operating cost for different industries which ends up reducing the total profit of those companies, and as a result Tanzania government collect less revenue through taxes.

In order for Tanzania to maintain 6% economic growth, increase the national revenue and archive MKUKUTA and MGD (which I don’t think it can happen), the urgency of energy reform should be on top of the list. Few things can be done toward that reform and this is my humble opinions.

First, Tanesco must be commercialized. This will include the revamping of the whole Tanesco value chain. Also, the door should be open for outsourcing some parts of the value chain as long it will increase efficiency and reduce management cost. This will provides a good transition process toward privatization.

Second, Tanzania government needs to create National Grid Management Council (NGMC) which will include engineers, lawyers, management gurus and qualified policy maker. The purpose of this council will be to advice the government toward the whole reform. For instance at the beginning the council will focus on advice the government toward the crafting of legislation which will provides a legal basis for power sector regulation, unbundling and privatization. Also, NGMC will assemble the team (the Czars) which will take over the management of Tanesco. This team will focus on one thing, a transformation of Tanesco into a competitive model.

Third, after NGMC assembled (the Czars) management team for Tanesco, the government should limit their power to broad policy issue. The Czars will operate day to day administration activities. This team will need to perform its activities professional with more freedom and without undue from any other interested party (government, parliament or consumer). For instance, if necessary the Czars will impose new price which will be necessary to recover costs, or the Czars might announce the massive lay off in order to reduce labor cost. The independence of the Czars doesn’t mean lack of accountability; the Czars should be accountable to the law lather than a minister which changing a day-to-day political priorities.

The fourth step in the reform process is unbundling. Unbundling means dividing Tanesco into separate companies on a vertical or horizontal or both bases. To my opinion I believe Tanesco needs vertical unbundling, means breaking Tanesco into three companies, where each new company will focus on one of the three major electricity functions: generation, transmission or distribution. The three companies will do business with each other on commercial basis and nothing otherwise. This will provide a good bridge toward privatization.

Finally, after the government enforced all of the above then private sector participation could be allowed. To limit the 100% take over, the government should own more than 40% stake, which in the future should be floated in DSE for Tanzanian to own part of each of the three main power companies.

I should put it clear that, this process will take more than five steps that I proposed, however I strong believe this steps can provide a strong debate among Tanzanian which might end up toward reforming of Tanesco. To tear down the bureaucratic organization like Tanesco will need more than a page and half proposal. Despite that, there is no golden bullet when it comes reform any power sector, to mention in few we saw in California, Chile, New York and Argentina.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Should We Blame CCM for the Current Underdevelopment & Poverty in Tanzania?

A good friend of mine wrote this article few month ago, I think most of his points are still valid for arguments and i like the way he articulate it. I total believe we can develop a strong debate about the whole blame game, who should we blame Ujamaa, Nyerere, CCM, TANU or should we blame everybody? To my understanding if Tanzania want to move forward then we need to learn from our previous mistakes.

This text seeks to examine who is really to blame for the current social and economic misery in Tanzania. Despite of the importance of the recently waged war against grand corruption in Tanzania, the predicament that faces the majority of Tanzanians in terms of poor livelihoods has roots that go way beyond corruption. In other words, the current state of underdevelopment in Tanzania is not solely primed on corruption, as some Tanzanians attempt to articulate. Corruption is a very simplistic way of looking at poverty in Tanzania. Poverty is a very complex phenomenon. It follows that, corruption only complements the underdevelopment process in Tanzania, it does not determine it. The continuation of the opposition parties in the country to use corruption as an ‘alternative development tool’ to uplift poor Tanzanians is a doomed failure. The focus should be on one common enemy that faces both the opposition and the ruling party, CCM – the unfair global capitalist system, that has seen the livelihoods of average Tanzanians worsening off, year after year. The Washington – Consensus led by the World Bank and IMF are largely responsible for the current predicament facing the majority of Tanzanians. Stakeholders in the development process in Tanzania should pay more attention on issues that have long run impact on poverty alleviation, for instance, access to education, healthcare, employment, and rural infrastructure. It is argued in the text that, if the opposition manages to get into power based on their sole strategy that has focused on fighting corruption, they will simply end up misleading its targeted audience – Tanzanians living in plight, and find themselves perplexed, just as CCM has been for a while. It follows that, if the opposition happen to win in the 2010 or 2015 general elections, they will hardly make a difference to the livelihood of an average Tanzanian, especially living in a rural setting. This is particularly the case given the fact that President Kikwete has been very active in eradicating grand corruption in the country. Grand corruption in Tanzania may soon be minimized and CCM with its government could walk away with a sound victory. What will be the next strategy for the opposition parties in Tanzania? More is found in the commentary below.

An average Tanzanian suffers more from poor development policies than the corruption/ufisadi/EPA factor. Tanzanians have lost billions of dollars to payments of foreign debt (loans Tanzania receives/received from rich countries) that had nothing to do with improving the quality of life of an average Tanzania residing in a rural setting.

It has been common practice for the World Bank to extend us with loans with conditions that we use such funds for projects or investments that benefits the World Bank and her allies (rich countries – or the Paris club) more than majority of Tanzanians who live in rural areas. Loans would be given to our government but a large chunk of the funds would end up as (1) Salaries to expatriates brought by the World Bank and IMF to manage development projects that could easily be run by educated Tanzanians. Unlike in the early years of independence when Tanzania had very few experts, today Tanzania has enough economists, finance managers, accountants, and scientists who can easily and effectively manage these development projects. (2) As a conditionality that comes with the loans, our government would be required by the donors to import machinery and other capital goods needed to run such projects. The remaining portion of the loan is what goes to the development projects that seek to uplift the poor livelihoods of Tanzanians. To make matters worse though, it is not CCM or its government that decides where or what sector should the funds go. The World Bank and the IMF are the ones in charge. They make sure the funds go into sectors that will be productive, not for the domestic economy in terms of uplifting the livelihoods of the poor in rural areas, but instead, serve rich countries with cash crops and minerals. Infrastructure and energy projects in the country provide a good evidence of this phenomenon. Major roads being constructed still follow a dendritic pattern as it happened during colonialism. They all aim to move minerals and cash crops faster from the production or extraction centers to the port in Dar-es-salaam, ready for export to rich countries. Despite the importance of the rural economy in all this, one can hardly find roads being constructed to increase efficiency and linkages in the rural economy, for instance, village to village commerce. Power projects too, they literary serve the mining industry, cash crops processing facilities, and the urban elite.

Electrification in rural areas is still less than 2%, not that different from the 1970s. This is disturbing mainly because it is the rural economy that produces cash crops that we export to earn foreign exchange to import the capital goods needed for the economy. Agriculture accounts for about almost half of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The sector employs about 70% of the country’s labor force; and over 50% of our foreign earnings are from the sector. The rural economy also produces food for Tanzanians living in urban areas. If it was not for farmers in rural areas, we would not have food to feed our children, we would lack funds to import machinery and other capital goods needed for our economy, and we would also lack dollars needed to pay back the loans that are being extended by the World Bank and other donors. Despite the importance of peasants to our economy, the loans that we receive from the World Bank do almost nothing to transform the agricultural sector. Yet, it is common knowledge to almost every official in the World Bank and IMF that agricultural transformation is key to poverty alleviation and economic development.

YES, we still need the World Bank and IMF to assist us but these institutions also need to change the way they conduct themselves in poor countries. The fact that they were not established to help Africa is understood. These institutions were developed in the 1940s for the sole purpose of reconstructing Europe following the Second World War. But since the United States decided to intervene and help Europe through its Marshall Plan, IMF and World Bank had to look for business elsewhere. It is the debt crisis that led to the emergence of these two institutions in poor countries. It should also be noted that, if foreign debt and poverty are completely eradicated in poor countries, IMF and the World Bank will most likely be out of Business. Despite their 24 years of intervention in Tanzania, rural areas in Tanzania are still in the same business of abject poverty.

Kikwete (CCM), Opposition Parties and Development in Tanzania

With all due respect to the waged war against grand corruption in Tanzania, the end product of this waged war will not be a solution to our problems in the long term. This is discouraging because it seems like it is where the opposition parties have put all their eggs. Grand corruption is not the source of the economic and social misery facing majority of Tanzanians. At most, it complements the plight.

Let’s say, EPA has caused Tanzanian a $500 million loss in terms of underdevelopment (the real figure is way less than $500 million), which would have been used to finance health care, education, SMEs etc, how much more have Tanzanians lost in terms of families loosing lives of their loved ones as a result of harsh policies imposed by the World Bank and IMF in the name of development? How many children have lost opportunities to be educated and increase their chances of getting better jobs, increase their productivity, and thus contribute to the development process effectively? How much are peasants in rural areas are losing everyday from the mess in the stagnation in the agricultural sector as a result of inappropriate policies by the World Bank and IMF? How many of our families and relatives have lost their jobs due to privatization and retrenchment of workers in the public sector? How many dollars are lost every single day, from senseless policies in our mining sector that sustains by protecting the interests of investors? Does anyone realize that donors, led by the World Bank and IMF are not commenting much on the gold mining saga? They know they have a hand in it and they will try all they can to make sure no much change is done in the sector. Many of these multinational companies (foreign investors in the mining sector) in Tanzania and other poor countries are in the same business with the World Bank and IMF – to exploit the poor and their resources, same way it happened during colonialism.

In the context of country leadership, there is political leadership and economic leadership. When a leader has influence in both types of leadership, that’s when he or she becomes effective. Otherwise, a lack of one often leads to a nightmare in terms of uplifting the livelihoods of the poor. President Kikwete came with a lot of promises to improve the livelihoods of the poor, some of which he is still working hard to turn them into reality. But one should understand that despite his will, President certainly has control of political leadership, but he largely lacks economic leadership based on reasons outlined earlier. So Tanzania is divided into two main leadership spheres – Political leadership under Kikwete and Economic Leadership under the World Bank and IMF's representatives.

One may ask – Tanzania is blessed with abundant coal resources that can generate electricity in the country for at least 50 years without any major interruptions unlike now.

Mtwara, Ruvuma, Iringa are blessed with abundant coal reserves, yet these are among the least electrified regions in the country. According to one insider working for the World Bank, at least in the short run, the institution is there to make sure that no other sources of energy are developed in the country. This is because International Finance Corporation (IFC) has a stake in the Songas project. It follows that, until the loan extended to songas is paid off, the World Bank will not allow Tanzanians to build new sources of energy from abundant hydro and coal sources. Hydro and Coal are cheaper to run than gas – based energy. This makes alternative energy in Tanzania a threat to World Bank’s interests - if we go coal or more hydro, Songas will run out of business and the World Bank won’t be able to recuperate its funds.

The World Bank and IMF are in the front line on things that really don’t have any importance to an average Tanzanian in the long run. They always stay away from issues that really matter to Tanzanians such as – more jobs, health care and education. One other fundamental question becomes: Why did the World Bank and IMF force the Tanzanian government to cut off spending on education and healthcare beginning 1980s? This has brought severe social consequences to an extent that it may affect the political process in Tanzania in a negative manner. To an average Tanzanian, poor health services and education is the fault of CCM and its government. Why can’t the World Bank and IMF make it clear to Tanzanians that the current quandary that they face in terms of poor social services etc is not really the fault of CCM’s or the government alone fault and instead, at least a shared responsibility, in terms of ineffective policies, between the World Bank/IMF and partially, the government of Tanzania?

The current support on grand corruption by the World Bank and IMF are based on two main reasons, all of which are really not in the interest of an average Tanzanian: 1. EPA funds are literally the tax payers' money of rich countries that came to Tanzania and other poor countries as loans. Given the current global economic crisis which has necessitated rich countries to find ways to bail out their economies, how would one explain to citizens of the west on how EPA money has been wasted? 2. Good governance (less corruption) always spurs foreign direct investment. The more foreign investors come to Tanzania in mining and other sectors, the more these mining companies benefit rich countries at the expense of more poverty on Tanzanians. We always hear about foreign investors bring jobs and transfer of technology, but this doesn’t really happen. All major positions in these foreign companies are held by foreigners. Also very few jobs are being generated. It is rare to find a foreign company having more than 500 Tanzanians as employees.

If one may notice, the World Bank does nothing to discourage the tax exemption by foreign investors in Tanzania. For instance, in Sheraton transformed into Movenpick in the eyes of the World Bank and IMF; Holiday Inn has transformed into Southern Sun…, and all is done in the name of development. Tanzanians fail to understand that this is not the fault of the government. There is an institution under the World Bank known as MIGA – Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, whose objective is to put pressure on governments in poor countries to exempt taxation on foreign investors. So governments, like the Tanzanian government - has no choice but follow these rules because if you tax an investor, he/she will decide to go invest in another country where MIGA policies are practiced. And if you lose investors, most likely, the opposition will come up with an argument that the government is not doing the right thing that’s why we don’t get enough investors. Solution to this problem is for the governments all across Africa to come up with one voice and tell MIGA that we no longer want to exempt taxes because it costs us millions of lost revenues and that if you as an investor decide to go to a neighboring country, let’s say Kenya, because our country, Tanzania, no longer buys your strategy, you will be met with the same policy. It is saddening to see that despite the exemption on Taxes on foreign investors, they seldom provide Tanzanians with anything that is useful to improve their livelihoods. For instance, there is no transfer of skills and technology from investors to Tanzania entrepreneurs, top leadership positions in most foreign companies is held by foreigners, and these companies provide employment to very few Tanzanians relative to huge among of qualified job seekers in the domestic job market. Mobile Phone Operators are the ones that should have been in the front line to generate thousands of jobs because they make money upfront. About 95% of mobile phones users have pay-as-you-go accounts, so you pay for the service before you get it.

An average Tanzanian does not understand why his or her livelihood is not improving. This makes them become very vulnerable when a political party manipulates the truth as a way to recruit more members to the parties. Corruption alone is not the reason why Tanzanian is facing an economic crisis today. More pressing issues include unemployment, healthcare and education. When was the last time anyone heard a member of parliament from CCM or opposition press the donor community or even the government on these long term issues? Have we sent our MPs to go and talk about corruption in 3, 4 parliament sessions? For instance, if corruption/EPA is taken care of today and all culprits are put in jail, what will be the policy of the opposition parties in Tanzania? Many Tanzanians believe that in order for CCM to be more effective, it needs to be challenged in terms of development policies (holding the World Bank and IMF constant). But all should happen in the context of an understanding of the two types of leadership discussed earlier – Political Leadership and Economic Leadership. Given the kind of short sighted strategies that are being pursued by the opposition parties in Tanzania at present, it hard to imagine how these parties will succeed, even when they succeed get in power. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand why many Tanzanians, some well educated, still choose to remain as CCM supporters. When you sit one on one with a leader or supporter of an opposition party and ask how they want to change Tanzania, all you hear is EPA, ufisadi, and CCM has been in power since 1961 but Tanzania is still poor. Zitto Kabwe has good leadership traits, he does not seem to understand that the mining companies that he is fighting against - there are those that are worth almost one third of Tanzania’s GDP when one looks at their income from global operations. Two mining companies might be worth half of the entire Tanzanian economy. Now before one embarks into strategies that seek to reverse the current policies in the mining sector, how does one get around the fact that these Multinational companies are financially very strong and have full support of the World Bank and IMF? Kabwe and others need to first have better understanding on the current dynamics of poverty and underdevelopment in Tanzania before they come up with effective strategies to tackle the problems. However, since he is now in that committee elected to oversee amendments in the mining act, he must have realized what the real problem is. But given the good leadership traits that he has shown together with his commitment to bring a difference to the livelihoods of the poor in Tanzania, many still believe that, overtime, his committee will deliver.

Nyerere and Development in Tanzania

It has become common practice for many Tanzanians to blame CCM for the current poverty situation in the country. Fine, we all are aware of the fact that CCM, as any other party, has weaknesses too. However, one forgets to understand that poverty and livelihood hardship on most Tanzanians has been more severe after 1985 - when the late Nyerere left office. Prior to that, unemployment, health care and education were seldom problems in Tanzania. And one should always remember that Nyerere took over country that was a colony, and he inherited a new political, social, cultural and economic identify that did not exist prior to colonialism. For instance, Wachagga, Wahehe and Wazaramo, were all conducting their economic and political endeavors independent from each others. It is colonialism that brought these ethnic together as Tanganyika for the purpose of exploiting their labor and resource to benefit the rich countries of today. Therefore, it was the responsibility of Nyerere to bring together the 100 plus ethnic groups and start afresh the political and economic development process as a single nation - Tanganyika and later on, Tanzania. Socially and Economically, Tanzania made good progress in the 1961 – 1970s periods.

It was after 1985 when we started to witness how Structural Adjustment Policies erasing most of the social progress that Tanzania had achieved. Today, the social consequences of the World Bank and IMF policies are still very difficult to comprehend. In the process, many Tanzanians lost their jobs due to privatization; many others were forced into the new domestic economy – the informal sector. Also many of our children were no longer able to attend schools and many more lost their lives due to lack of health care services. Many Tanzanians fail to understand that CCM has not been in control of the economy since 1985, it is the World Bank and IMF. One quick note: we should always remember that as Tanzanians, we all share the responsibility for what happened prior to 1985. Despite the failure of some of Nyerere’s policies, he sacrificed to make Tanzania a better place to live. We would not be doing justice if we continue to say - CCM is to blame for underdevelopment since independence, as some have been doing it. Nyerere made us a proud nation still envied by many other nations. For instance, during Nyerere’s rule, Tanzania had one of the highest literacy rates in Africa.

Mtei and Chadema:

Edwin Mtei was the founder of Chadema. Since early 1980s, he opposed Nyerere’s development policies when he was the governor of the Bank of Tanzania (BOT). If one may recall, Mtei and Nyerere disagreed on the country's path to development, which led to Mtei’s departure as the governor of BOT and eventually an economist with the IMF in Washington. IMF supported Mtei’s vision of Tanzania and that’s the vision that IMF and World Bank have forced Tanzania to pursue since 1985. Chadema and other opposition parties are lucky that they are not in power today because they would most likely be in the same position that CCM is in today – a country where the majority of the people still live in abject poverty. After the introduction of multi party system in early 1990s, Mtei returned to Tanzania and established Chadema. Initially, many Tanzanians believed in Mtei’s vision because, after the demise of the Soviet, many bureaucrats and policy makers were excited with the idea of trying the alternative path to development i.e. free market policies. However, experience during the entire period (1985 - 2009) that the IMF and World Bank have been in charge in economic leadership of Tanzania (24 years), the life of an average Tanzanian has not improved. The past 24 years (1985 - 2009) have witnessed an average Tanzanian worse off than the earlier 24 years under Nyerere (1961 - 1985). In principle, Chadema's policies (if we take into account of the fact that Mtei as its founder favored IMF's approach to development and was hired by IMF so that when he goes back to Tanzania, he would pressure for changes in development policies) has been implemented since 1985.

If Chadema had won in the 1995 elections, the party would have implemented the same policies Tanzania has been pursuing in the post 1985 era. It is certain that if one goes to ask the World Bank and IMF officials on this matter, they will be kind enough to agree, as professionals. Again, all due respect to Chadema, but the party needs to come out clean and be open to Tanzanians about this fact. It should be understood that whether it was mwinyi, mkapa, kikwete, mtei, lipumba, or mrema in power, in 1985, 1995, 2005, Tanzania would have been pursuing the same development policies - in agriculture, mining, health, education, privatization, etc. It should also be understood that, by tradition, the World Bank and IMF do not have separate policies and aid conditionality for ruling and opposition parties, example CCM and opposition parties in Tanzania. Regardless of what party is in power in Tanzania, IMF and World bank’s interest is on the liberalization of the economy so that foreign capital, products and service are able to reap profits with knowledge that the domestic private sector cannot compete; and pressure the government to cut down spending on important sectors such as education and healthcare so that government’s revenue can be spent more wisely – to pay off the debt that Tanzania owe rich countries.

Lipumba and Development in Tanzania:

All due respect to Professor Lipumba, a well educated economist from one of the most prestigious education institutions in the World - University of Stanford. This is where the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton were educated. It should be noted that Lipumba was once an economic advisor to president museveni of Uganda on IMF and World Bank’s policies to that country. Some years ago, Lipumba was very optimistic about Structural Adjustment Policies and how those would change the lives of the poor in a positive way. There is no doubt that to a large extent, these policies have made Tanzanians, Ugandans and many other citizens of the poor world poorer. Professor Lipumba has been busy telling Tanzanians in his political rallies that their current predicament is a result of poor policies by CCM. However, Lipumba is well aware of the fact that external factors are largely to blame for the failure of development in Tanzania. He should be honest that even if CUF wins in 2010 or 2015 elections, his party will continue to pursue the same policies that CCM is pursuing now simply because given our scarcity in development finance, it is the donor community led by the World Bank and IMF that will be in charge of the economic leadership. CUF will be busy with the political leadership sphere. Solution to this lack of balance between political and economic leadership is for the country to come up with policies that would enable Tanzania balance its budget and also pay off the debts that the country owes to the World Bank and other foreign entities. This should be the focus of the ruling party CCM as well as opposition and a more practical approach towards the solutions should involve a consensus between CCM and the opposition. It would be useless if CCM and the opposition fight the same enemy separately. Political parties in Tanzania should try to avoid getting divided and ruled by the IMF and the World Bank just as our traditional chiefs were divided and ruled by the colonial governments. Neo – colonialism is in practice, and the opposition should be aware of that fact.

In recent years, the World Bank and IMF have been publishing reports after reports on how Tanzania's economy has been improving in the past 8-9 years. For instance, the average annual GDP growth in Tanzania has been close to 6%, something that Tanzania last experienced in prior to 1980s. No one disagrees that economic growth is key to poverty reduction. However, economic growth that does not equate social development in terms of education, healthcare and employment is useless growth. The World Bank is well aware of the fact that the poverty levels in rural areas today are not much different from the 1970s period. It’s only in urban areas where poverty levels have decreased. However, the reduction in urban areas is still very modest. Majority of Tanzanians, 70% plus still live in rural areas, many of them living under One Dollar a day. This is a major concern. Stakeholders in the development process in Tanzania (World Bank, IMF and, Tanzanian government and donors) should consider the rural economy as a top policy priority if Tanzania seeks to achieve the Millennium Development Goals as well as the Vision 2025.

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk by the World Bank and IMF about boom in the mining and construction sectors in Tanzania and how these have contributed to impressive economic growth. But really, who is this Boom for? For instance, the boom in the construction sector has been a reflection of the various infrastructure projects in the mining and cash crop producing areas. In large part, roads and bridges are not constructed to bring about linkages and efficiency in the domestic economy. The World Bank is doing almost nothing to emphasize on the importance of transforming the agricultural sector. Tanzanians are facing food shortages in a country where self sufficient in food can be achieved and even food surplus can be exported. To further elaborate on how the World Bank and IMF really don’t care about the well being of an average Tanzanian, IMF once stated (some years ago) that university education in poor countries such Tanzania is a luxury, thus governments should not bother to waste their resources in higher education. No wonder a few days ago, the World Bank was quick to intervene on the University of Dar-es-salaam current crisis, stating that the government was doing the right thing. But the government is most likely well aware that what is happening is not right because Nyerere pursued opposite policies and results were good. Today, the government, whether it is under CCM or the opposition has no option expect to follow what the World Bank and IMF asks it to do. Tanzania will not be able to balance its budget in the next foreseeable future, thus it urgently needs funds from the World Bank and donors finance its development process. In the 2008-2009, donors’ contribution to the country’s budget was less compared to the previous period but no one is really sure on how this will play out.

Also, over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk from the World Bank about the success in terms of the development in the education sector, primary education in particular. This is based on the record breaking enrollment rates in primary schools. This increase in enrollment has been a result of good patronage by the World Bank to allow the government to use some of its funds to develop the education sector. However, if one may ask: Why did the World Bank and IMF forced the government to abolish spending in education in the 1980s only to allow the government to start spending money again in the sector in 2000? If the two institutions now believe education to be key to poverty alleviation, why didn’t they allow the government to continue spending on education throughout the period? How much have been lost during the period? It is obviously more than the funds that have been embezzled under the EPA scheme. And the World Bank is busy bragging about these so called achievements in primary education sector without realizing that in actual sense, what matters more i.e. the attendance rates in primary schools are much lower than enrollment rates. It is really discouraging to see our economic leader – the World Bank, consider number of new pupils in primary school every year as a success and pay little attention to the other end of the education continuum i.e. number of students completing primary education, number of students completing secondary schools and number of students getting access to university education in Tanzania. Various data such as the latest Household Budget Survey reveal this problem. Where is Chadema, or CUF on this?

As long as Kikwete continues with his pace to fight grand corruption problems, the current strategies being pursued by the opposition will hardly make a difference to the lives of average Tanzanians, especially in rural areas. The opposition needs to sit and learn/understand three things: First, how the global capitalist system works, second, the difference between political and economic leadership in a poor country as Tanzania, and third, the difference between bureaucrats and politicians, in the context of CCM and the Tanzanian government. This would be a good beginning towards an understanding of how policies that aim to improvement the livelihoods of the poor Tanzanians in terms of healthcare, education, employment and so forth, can be strategized and pursued. As it stands right now, it’s no different to Simba and Yanga politics on who is a better striker, who will make it to Maximos’ list or who has a chance to play for the English Premiership.

Many Tanzanians doesn't know how the global capitalism system works and they are quick to blame the ruling party – CCM for all the failures. For example, Tanzanian youths who pursue science subjects and don’t have a chance to learn about their colonial heritage and economics of the capitalist system, they become vulnerable to false statements by opposition parties that CCM has been in the driver’s seat for over 40 years and nothing has changed in Tanzania. This may only be a valid argument if an alternative solution and a roadmap towards that solution is provided. There are also Tanzanian youths who have not gone through an education curriculum that teachers them about their colonial heritage. They too often become prey for the opposition parties that seek to manipulate the truth about our current state of underdevelopment. Also there are many other Tanzanians who were or are born in the Diaspora (America, Britain, and Canada etc). Many of them don’t have a chance to understand our history simply because, either they did not have a chance to learn about their heritage or they don’t put much effort to examine how we as a nation got here in the first place. When they hear Obama talking about CHANGE in America, they want that CHANGE to be emulated in Tanzania which is a totally different context.

Just like the opposition, CCM has its own weaknesses as we have seen in the previous sections. However, it should be noted that even with zero corruption in the Tanzania, Tanzania still has a long way to go in terms of completely alleviating poverty in Tanzania. But success begins by understanding how we got here in the first place. It is this understanding that will give the opposition respect and legitimacy in the eyes of Tanzanians. Otherwise, as things stands today, there is no much difference between a party like Chadema and CCM – both seek to improve the lives of Tanzanians in areas such as healthcare, education and employment and it is not as easy as it sounds because success can only be derived within the context of both, the political leadership and economic leadership, not just the from the political setting.

Lastly, CCM and the opposition both have effective and ineffective leaders. By definition, a leader is an individual who inspires others and guides them towards achieving a common objective. By this definition, we can easily identify good and bad leaders, both in CCM and the opposition. More importantly, the opposition should understand that in Tanzania, there is a big difference between a bureaucrat and a CCM politician. This separation came into existence after 1995. Opposition parties should also be aware of the fact that most major decisions in the government are made by bureaucrats, not CCM leaders. With bureaucrats, their job does not really require them to publicly declare their political affiliation. For instance, today, it is possible for Tanzania to have a principal secretary in a Ministry who is really not there as a CCM member but a member of any other opposition party, or even an independent. In this context, such a bureaucrat may be corrupt and use the position to advance his/her own interest, the interest of the ruling party or of the opposition party, without any of us to find out. A good example is the current phenomenon in the country whereby there have been a lot of leakages of government’s documents that were deemed confidential. If one may ask, how does the opposition get access to these sensitive documents if it wasn’t for the opposition to have their own people - i.e. Bureaucrats as either, members of their partiers, opponents of CCM or simply, independent minded? But when a bureaucrat is found corrupt, the opposition is quick to blame CCM as the one that is being corrupt.

It is time for us to sit down and reflect.

God Bless Tanzania.