Saturday, December 27, 2014

To Prime Minister Mugabe

New African May 1980

Open letter to Prime Minister Mugabe
 Dear Comrade Mugabe, 
Warm congratulations on your victory and comradely salutations from your admirers!
In the last five years or so since you took over the reins of ZANU you have shown magnificent qualities of leadership – resolute without being dogmatic, daring without being adventurist, and flexible without being lax.
But above all, you have revealed yourself during this period as an outstanding strategist and tactician both in political organisation and in war.
With all these rare qualities it would be presumptuous even to attempt to tell you and your gallant comrades-in-arms what is to be done in independent Zimbabwe. Moreover, you know better than any outsider the concrete situation in the country. This letter does not claim to tell you anything you don’t know; it only seeks to reemphasise some salient points which we may lose sight of in the euphoria of freedom.
The enemies of Africa are anxious to prove that every new African country is doomed to failure and, to ensure that this does indeed take place, they will want to entangle you deeply in their world system so as to destroy you. Proof? Look at what is happening in practically all sister countries: economic chaos, shortage of food and other basic necessities, corruption, and so on, is the order of the day. You, as a revolutionary, will be a special target particularly because of Zimbabwe’s proximity to South Africa.
You are, however, fortunate in that Zimbabwe is the last but one arrival into the world arena, as a proud, free country, and so you can learn from the mistakes of other countries that have preceded you. This is the purpose of this open letter. If you have thought about the problem along the lines discussed below then this letter is redundant. If you don’t agree with it, then it is irrelevant. In either case, it will still be worth our whole to repeat to ourselves all the points raised if only to keep them fresh in our minds.
The other reason for this exercise is that we owe it to Africa and to history to share our past and present experience in order to arm ourselves against possible pitfalls which are all too common in the challenging period of national reconstruction. We have been struggling and continue to struggle against many odds, natural and man-made, and we need not be ashamed or scared of making mistakes. We learn through mistakes. Our task is to minimise them when we can, and this we can do by reminding ourselves again and again of the obvious ones. This is the spirit of the letter.
Unlike many developing countries, you are taking over a country with considerable potential. Let me give some comparative statistics. Kenya, a fairly “prosperous” country, has double the population of Zimbabwe (14m to your 7 m) and yet its Gross Domestic Product is only $2 900m compared to your $3 560m (1976 World Bank figures), or a per capita income of $220 to your $550. (Incidentally when the bourgeoisie took over France in 1792 the country’s per capita income was just about $600.)
Zimbabwe has a fairly solid industrial base most of which was made possible thanks to the “sanctions” which forced the country to look inward. It was what you might call a blessing in disguise. (Looking back, one wishes that sanctions had been imposed against all African countries soon after independence. What a happy people we would have been! It was “aid” that proved to be the kiss of death.) Your agricultural base, too, is fairly healthy.
From this level Zimbabwe has an excellent chance to move rapidly to a self-sustaining development. As a socialist you will no doubt want this development to be accompanied with social justice. And here is the crux of the matter.
How do we restructure an economy whose social basis was to exploit the majority for the benefit of the minority? Seemingly the easiest way is to take over the “commanding heights” of the economy and transform it into a popular based one. But this is easier said than done, with enormous potential dangers. We often tend to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task and consequently fail to raise the most essential, most basis question: Where to begin?
While it is impossible for outsiders to know the concrete situation without a thorough investigation, there are, nevertheless, generally acceptable principles that may be applicable to any country at a given level of the development of its productive forces. If the latter are at a low level then it is imperative that their development be regarded as top priority, even over that of the relations of production. In Maoist terms, development of the productive forces in this case becomes the principal aspect of the contradiction with production relations as a secondary one. This strategy has variously been called the New Economic Policy, or N.E.P, or the New Democracy, in which capitalist relations are allowed to co-exist with socialist ones. And this was done for very practical reasons: to allow maximum opportunity and facility for the productive forces to develop as rapidly as possible without in the meantime causing economic dislocations and subjecting the people to unjustified hardships. It cannot be over-emphasised that people are our most precious capital and, therefore, they must eat well, be housed and clothed well.
This, then, is our starting point. The economy must be so structured as to provide adequate food, good housing and cheap but good clothing. In the course of providing these the economy will also develop a good agricultural foundation, together with engineering and extensive textile industries. All these will create vast employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people currently un- or under-employed, who in turn will help expand the home market- essential for further industrial and agricultural development.
For this to take place, one will of course need to generate investible resources or accumulation for investment. One of the most unfortunate experiences of developing countries is that they all sought these resources from external sources, either in the form of loans or aid, which has led to heavy and unbearable debt burdens (bankruptcy, you might say) which now threaten our very survival as sovereign states. To avoid this monumental pitfall, it is essential for a country to generate its investible resources internally, first and foremost.
How? There are two ways: by taxing (but not over taxing) the private sector; and by utilising for this purpose the surpluses that will come from future state enterprises.
At this level of development it may be advisable to allow maximum (but disciplined) play of individual initiative in economic activity guided by the principle of “utilise, win over and control”. You utilise the existing private skills and resources for rapid development of the productive forces; you win over through education and persuasion all good elements to serve social rather than individual ends; and you control private sector incomes through fixing the sale prices of their products (allowing, of course, for proper incentives); tax their profits, control its repatriation and encourage ploughing back.
It could be made into a principle that at least 50 % of the accumulation from this source should go into state productive investments annually and the rest can go into paying recurrent expenditure and the building up of economic and social infrastructures. This principle will discipline the bureaucracy and prevent them from indulging in unnecessary low priority expenditure while, at the same time it will help to build step by step the state industrial sector that is nonexistent at the moment, for example, iron and steel industries, machine tool industry, metallurgy, petrochemical industry and so on; in short, heavy industry or Department No.1.
It will not be worthwhile to pay serious attention to such pundits as Rene Dumontand their like who urge us to concentrate on small-scale production on the argument that small is beautiful. No country in history has developed on that basis. But given our condition of uneven development in Africa, perhaps the best way will be to combine large-scale and intermediate production. Where, for instance, you already have large farms you either expand them where necessary or you maintain them at their present level and thereby enjoy the benefits of large-scale farming. Where production is still peasant based you may want to develop it to an intermediate level with producers cooperatives as their basic units.
Experience elsewhere has taught us that the taking over of ongoing viable farms has invariably led to almost total collapse of agricultural production and has forced the countries concerned to incur heavy foreign debt to import food. As foreign borrowing without repayment cannot be sustained for a long time the countries are forced literally to beg for food on an international scale. This is undesirable from both the economic and political standpoints, to say nothing of national dignity.
It is a painful history fact that in Zimbabwe such large-scale farms are owned by white settlers, some of whom are liberal and others incorrigibly reactionary. To expropriate them will amount to economic disaster, at least in the short run. To allow them to continue as before will amount to perpetuating a national injustice. This is a serious dilemma. Probably you and your party have already made up your minds on how to tackle it. To an outsider it will seem possible to avoid both of these undesirable consequences by:
*where possible, surrounding all these settler farms by producer agricultural cooperatives;
* making obligatory for the settler farms, as a condition for their existence to share their facilities (farm implements, expertise, marketing, dispensary service etc.) with the newly established cooperatives.
This will help; first, to develop viable cooperative farms at a minimum cost and make maximum use of the existing stock of agricultural implements in the country. Secondly, it will help diminish the imbalance between settlers’ and people’s production and thereby correct the existing situation in which the settler farms are isolated like prosperous islands in the midst of mass poverty. Thirdly, it will help distinguish between good elements among the settlers who are genuinely willing to work with the new government in improving the living conditions of the people, and the diehards. It will then be possible to win over the first group and isolate and eventually ease out the latter. Fourthly, and this is most important it will help consolidate people’s as opposed to individual production without any large-scale economic dislocation (and its attendant consequences) during the transition.
The rising rural incomes entailed in this strategy will expand the home market for industrial consumer products as well as broaden the tax base. It will then be possible to accumulate from the latter to pay for further development of the former, which means not only the development of nationally integrated, independent industrialisation but also the rapid rise of the proletariat. All this, of course, is based on the assumption of a planned and proportional development of the national economy.
Going by your public statements since you took over, it appears that this is broadly what you have in mind. If so, you are definitely on the right track; and all well-meaning people will back you in your obviously very difficult task. We will all wish you the very best.
Yours fraternally,

Abdulrahman M. Babu

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mark and I: 16 years later

Mark and I: 16 years later.

I pulled out a laptop to write this story because today, during my drive to Magu, I remembered a troubled old friend, a friend I will never forget. In 1998, a year after I have been to the United States, I took a temporary summer job in Boston, caring for the mentally ill individuals in their group homes. This was a typical job for immigrants and students – easy to get, flexible multiple hours, decent pay, and you can study while at work. My boss was a very understanding Greek-American named Nick. He started me off with “patients” who were not extreme cases, guys who were most of the time okay and were in the process of being reintegrated into normal, unsupervised life. So, my job was to bring them to their doctors’ appointments, make sure they take their medications on time, get them to their job training, and sometimes to their actual jobs – dishwashing at the MacDonald’s, security duties at the malls, and so forth. In essence, my job, at one time, was to watch over them doing their jobs. Most of the time, there were no incidents except for few occasions where one particular individual had a tendency to abruptly lose temper and throw tantrums and I had to intervene and sort it out or take him home. The job required training on man-management and a deeper understanding of the profile of the patients, including what words or reinforcements or incentives calm them down.  

The job required that you have a driver’s license and I had just gotten one but never driven around and didn’t know my way around yet. One day my boss left a note that I should bring the guys to their doctor’s appointment in Lynn, one of Boston’s suburbs. All he left was a piece of paper with address and car key. One of the individual under my care said he knew the place and would guide me there. After 10 minutes of drive, he couldn’t remember. We got lost and didn’t eat the whole day, they missed a critical doctor’s appointment, missed their medication, and grew impatient, and a near-chaos situation ensued in the van. I further panicked.  Nick got a call from doctor’s office that, two hours from appointment time, we hadn’t showed up. He panicked. I didn’t have a cell phone. The car had an outbound-only cell-phone which I didn’t know how to use. What I did was to surrender myself to the highway police officer who was kind enough to lead us back home. I knew I was going to get fired. But Nick understood. I kept my job and compensated my error with hard work.

Nick then moved me to another house which had only one patient – Mark.  Mark was 37 years old but with a body of a 10-year old. Mark was a savant – a super-genius with absolutely unmatched memory, mathematical abilities and unbelievable computer skills. I have never met anyone as gifted as Mark. But Mark had a number of neurotic disorders, had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, drug and alcoholic addiction and many other ailments. He took a lot, I mean a lot, of medications with many side-effects. Mark would challenge his doctors on the biochemistry of his medications. Mark had a very specific routine – and before working with him you require two weeks training. Mark was a gentle soul and physically vulnerable. But Mark was also manipulative, deceptive, a brilliant liar and would test anyone’s patience to the limits. Mark plays with your mind. Nobody wanted to work with Mark because it is simply mentally and physically exhausting - you are required to have him in your eyesight at all time even when he is in the toilet because he sometimes tend to injure himself deliberately. For new staff, Mark would move around the house in quick paces and give multiple demands for three hours straight just to wear you down, and would ask “don’t you feel idiotic to follow me around at all time?” But Mark’s worst behavior was what was called “bolting” – that is running away from the house to any nearest grocery or liquor store to grab a bottle of whiskey or beer from the shelf (without paying) and drink it straight and collapse. So, working with Mark requires that all doors must be locked and you keep keys. But Mark has in the past pick-pocketed a key from staff.

Mark bolted on me three times. One time, because he was so tiny, he hid in the laundry drying machine. I looked the entire house and when I couldn’t find him, I opened the door to look outside and that’s when he slipped out of the house and hid in the shrubs in the backyard – and when I went back inside that’s when he left the premises. I found him at nearby grocery store where he had drank half a liter of mouthwash – yes, Listerine mouthwash. Apparently it has alcohol.

Mark had a number of rights which we were obliged to respect. He had the right to go outside the house, of course under my escort, to shop but mostly to fish – Mark was obsessed with fishing.  Mark had the right to use the computer for an hour a day – and of course with me sitting behind him watching everything he was doing. With his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mark must be on the computer at exactly 6pm. His favorite thing on the computer was chatting – back then through AOL chats.  I was required to monitor these chats. But frankly I couldn’t because Mark would have about 12 chat windows at the same time and would go back and forth on each window with supersonic speed. 

One day, Mark, in a friendly way, said he knew my secret: that I am using a fake driver’s license. Of course I wasn’t. He said he would show me the difference between a genuine and real drivers license. So I took my wallet out and my license and bank cards. A less than minute glance at my bank card was enough for Mark to memorise my details – all 16 digits, expiry date, etc. Next day, at about 9pm, the doorbell rang, something very unusual. I went to the door and two voluptuous ladies greet me asking if this is the correct address for Mr. Makamba. Mark had apparently used my bank card to order two prostitutes from an online escort service. When I was expressing surprise and saying I don’t know anything, Mark asked me if we could talk first. He admitted to the mischief and said to me “don’t panic, you are the man, show your manhood and don’t be a sissy, who will know? You first pick the one you like and I take the other one”. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to strangle him. I politely dismissed the ladies.  Boss was kind enough to compensate my money.

Mark never stays with staff for more than three weeks because he simply wears people down and people choose to quit and also because he always want a new staff. Mark would study you quickly and if you love your football on TV, Mark would ask you to bring him to fish as football game starts. As reluctantly turn-off the TV, Mark would seek to negotiate a favour to let you watch the game.  During winter time, with frozen ponds outside, Mark would still want to go fishing and, I was told, if you hated winter, he would actually want to go fishing three times a day – and would negotiate to go only once if you allow him something that he is not supposed to do.

I lasted two months with him. During this time, Mark ceased to become simply a "patient" I was looking after. He became a friend. We understood each other. When I was about to leave, I was emotional and, for the first time, I saw Mark's emotional side. He gave me a clumsy hug and said to me “I will always remember you for one thing: you never even attempted to physically abuse me”. Until then, I had not known that that is what he expected from me.

I googled Mark today (I am deliberately omitting his last name to protect his privacy) but couldn’t find him. I have encountered all sorts of interesting people in my life. But Mark was special. 

The point of the story is that life has many lessons – and some of them come from very unlikely places or people. I learnt the virtue of patience through working with Mark. I also learnt to appreciate the value of the gift of good health that we all take for granted. I learnt not to judge and prejudice people. But I also learnt that mental illness is real and that the mentally ill have deep humanity if we are able to go beyond their ailments. I learnt that a society without systems and culture to care for its most vulnerable members is yet to be civilized.  We don’t talk much about mental illness in Tanzania. We quickly give up on the mentally-ill – and find easy reasons: drugs, witchcraft, curse. It is time that this change.  

#TegetaEscrow: "Dear Mr President, this is your last tango dance"

For the past four days, Tanzanians has been glued to their radios, TVs, newspapers and social media tools completely captivated by Parliament’s proceedings in Dodoma over the alleged fraudulent payments of $120 million taken from the Tegeta Escow account held at Central Bank. There is deep public anger and dismay towards government officials who authorized the tax-free withdrawals and expropriated money belonging to taxpayers. 

I came across a series of tweets by Ms. Natasha Issa addressed to President Jakaya Kikwete, in which she respectfully conveys her opinion as a citizen over the issue. She tells the Head of State that she wrote him a letter “after so many conversations we have had in my head" (see above tweet). She advises the President on the appropriate action to take. Earlier today, Parliament reached a compromise vote to compel the President to dismiss senior officials including the Attorney General and Minister of Energy who were involved in the scandal. As we await the President’s response to the vote, here is Ms. Issa’s brilliant letter in full:

Dear Mr. President,

I want to first say I am grateful for all your hard work, although at first I did not understand your policies but you have managed to place our beloved country on the world map as a country to watch out for, discipline in our foreign policies has been at a record high during your administration.
Your dedication to national security is also something that I will gladly commend you for and give you praises.

Mr. President, all your hard work however is dimming in light of the many hiccups (to put it lightly) that we as a country have faced in the past 9 years. Granted some of these are not of your making and you may have inherited them, but no one comes to power and finds a blank canvas, there is always going to be a picture painted already and it is the duty of those taking the paint brush to either bring the picture in focus or paint the canvas white completely and start to paint afresh, but with just 10 years the latter is almost an impossible task and as such no one expected that of you.

However, Mr. President what I did expect from you is to have learnt from our previous mistakes, if we can call them that. To have you, my Commander in Chief be at the forefront campaigning side by side with me and our fellow Tanzanians against corruption and any foul play towards this country we all love so much.

Mr. President, we have had too many financial scandals in our beloved country; EPA where we lost $131 million, Richmond where we lost Tsh 172 billion and now the IPTL saga where this beautiful country of ours and you it's leader has been robbed of over $200 million. I beseech you Mr. President please do not let this slide not when you are so close to the finish line.

I understand your reservations to intervene, I even get it, and quite frankly if I were in your shoes I'd be equally fed up with the hand that has been dealt. But it is your hand Sir, and it is your deck, Sir, and only you can see and know what the cards hold. So do not be afraid to shuffle your deck right now to give the Tanzanians the peace of mind they need until your term ends, do not fall into the ploy that it is better to do nothing right now because 'well my time is almost up anyways'- importantly do not be afraid to be remembered as the President who had numerous cabinet reshuffles and several Prime Ministers. Nyerere never feared it nor was he shy of acting on it for the sanctity and security of the Republic and Party.

This is the last moment to make your mark Mr. President, your last tango dance, please do not sit this one out. We do not want to remember you as the President who stood by and allowed millions of shillings whether (public or government) be robbed from his government, or that the President who damned his party by allowing egotistical maniacs to get away with atrocious misconduct, removing the prestigious name your party has enjoyed, a duration longer in years than the majority of Tanzanians.

The youth are behind you Sir, they still love this country and believe it or not they love CCM but its actions or inactions that make them become indifferent towards the government and the party. Prove to them Sir why they love your party in the 1st place, prove to them by your actions now, why they should reinstate your party come elections next year. Because we all know, the unspeakable actions happening in your government are not actions of your party or a reflection of your morals.

Sir, we liked you and that is why when you came into office you won with a whopping over 80%, your second term that percentage decreased, that was not a reflection on you as a person but leadership, some bad judgments, and serious bad people in your administration. As you are about to hand over the reins to another just think of how badly your party will do if this plot that is going on in Parliament right now continues, if those accountable are going to be spared, if your people continue to deny these allegations and try and sweep everything under the rug pretending to be above the law. We as the citizens may not be able to do anything, because as we all know Tanzanians are very submissive and forgiving in nature and do not have a shred of violence in them, but we may hold our grudge against a political party that in all this is very innocent.

Mr. President, I could go on and on and I'll probably end up repeating myself, which is not cool, but what is cool is this; what former President Mkapa said, “I think the time has come for us to evolve national political ethics that do not depend on the wishes of party or government leaders. We need a code of political conduct that is binding on all political parties and leaders, including those from the ruling party."
You said the following Mr. President when you took office and addressed the parliament, 9 years ago.

"The Fourth Phase Government will fulfil its governance and development responsibilities, and will focus on good governance and accountability; the rule of law and respect for the human rights of all people;"

"...The Fourth Phase Government will strengthen the public service and fight social ills without fear or favour." That is you, Sir, on good governance.

And this is you, Sir, on corruption, "There are two other fronts in the war on corruption we will focus on. The first is in the area of contracts. We have to look again at our systems and processes of contract making, contract enforcement and tendering in the government and other public offices, in order to increase transparency and accountability. Contracts remain a major loophole for corrupt practices, especially those that are called “grand corruption”. The time has come to close these loopholes."

You continued, Sir, "I am not against people getting rich. Indeed, I want everyone to have a better life. What I am against is people using public offices for self- enrichment."

And you could not have said it better, "This is what people find obnoxious, when they see someone with nothing to begin with getting rich almost overnight after being a Member of Parliament, a Minister, a Permanent Secretary, a Director or a Head of Department. When suddenly such people have posh houses, town buses, unregistered taxis, and the like, the people have the right to ask, and the right to get answers. For such dramatic changes in one’s fortunes after getting into public office smacks of corruption. The Fourth Phase Government cannot accept this and everyone in it must help to fight it. I ask the Public Ethics Commission not to shy away from asking each one of us to account for our assets and wealth. The Commission should be proactive. I will help it to build the capacity to do so, if indeed that is the problem."

So Mr. President, (the man I look up to and even have a girl crush on and sometimes calls you my boyfriend) what changed? This was you, valor and gallantry were synonymous with your name...Sir, for one last time, dance to your tune, the old one in your head when you took office, because that is the leader I want to remember you as.

Again, thank you for the continued security that you provide to me and all Tanzanians, thank you for sparing us from hunger, war and all ungodly things that other people suffer from.

Importantly, thank you, Sir, for making Tanzania an envy for her neighbors and a successes story for the rest of the world. I am proud to be Tanzanian, and you gave me that pride.

Mungu aibariki Tanzania, na akubariki wewe Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete na viongozi waliopita.

Kind Regards,

Ms. Issa

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Maoni ya Ndugu January Makamba (MB) Kuhusu Utafiti wa Taasisi ya Twaweza Kuelekea 2015

Maoni ya Ndugu January Makamba (MB) Kuhusu Utafiti wa Taasisi ya Twaweza Kuelekea 2015 

Hatimaye nimepata fursa ya kusoma matokeo ya utafiti uliofanywa na Twaweza.  Tumeyapokea na binafsi nawapongeza Twaweza kwa kazi nzuri wanayofanya ya kupata hisia za wananchi kuhusu masuala mbalimbali yanayoendelea nchini. Hata hivyo, kwa mara ya kwanza tangu matoleo haya yaanze,  nimepata simu na ujumbe mwingi ikiwemo kutoka kwa magwiji wa sayansi ya ukusanyaji maoni wakiniuliza maswali mengi kuhusu misingi ya sayansi ya kupata maoni, kwa mfano dhana ya kuwapa watu simu za mikononi na chaja za sola ili watoe maoni na dhana ya kuwa na sampuli hiyo hiyo ya watu 2,000 kutoka Tanzania Bara pekee kila mara maoni yanapokusanywa. Binafsi sio mtaalam wa sayansi ya ukusanyaji maoni kwahiyo sina uhakika kama utaratibu uliotumika unabatilisha matokeo haya. Pamoja na hayo, utafiti huu unatupa mambo kadhaa muhimu ya kutafakari na hakuna sababu ya kutumia muda mrefu kujadili mbinu za ukusanyaji maoni. Binafsi, ninayo maoni yafuatayo kuhusu kura hii ya maoni.

Mosi, kuhusu suala la mgombea wa urais wa CCM, ukweli ni kwamba anateuliwa kwa misingi na taratibu za ndani ya Chama na kutokana na sifa 13 zilizowekwa na Chama. Mwaka 1995, Mwalimu Nyerere aliongoza kuenguliwa kwa wagombea wawili katika ngazi ya Kamati Kuu ambao licha ya umaarufu wao katika kura za maoni, walipungukiwa na sifa za kushika nafasi hiyo na tukapata mgombea ambaye hakuna aliyekuwa anamfikiria. Kwahiyo, kura hii ya maoni haina uhusiano na uamuzi wa uteuzi wa mgombea wa CCM. Bahati nzuri, katika maelezo yao ya utafiti, Twaweza hili wamelieleza.  

Pili, tunaona pia katika kura hii ya maoni kwamba bado Watanzania wengi hawajaamua nani awe kiongozi wao. Ingetegemewa kwamba viongozi ambao wamo kwenye siasa kwa miaka 40 sasa na wanaoshikilia au waliowahi kushikilia nyadhifa za juu, na wengine hata kuwahi kuomba nafasi ya Urais miaka ya nyuma, wangefanya vizuri zaidi katika kura hii ya maoni kwasababu Watanzania wanawajua zaidi na wamekuwa wanawasikia kwa miaka mingi. Lakini tunaona hakuna aliyekubalika kwa zaidi ya asilimia 15. Hii inaonyesha kwamba licha ya kuwafahamu kwa kina viongozi hawa, licha ya ukweli kwamba baadhi yao wamekuwa kwenye kampeni kwa miaka 10 sasa, Watanzania wengi hawaamini kwamba wana sifa na uwezo wa kuwaongoza. Lakini pia inaonyesha kwamba Watanzania wanahitaji  aina mpya ya uongozi wa nchi wenye mwelekeo, fikra na mawazo mapya ndio maana wengi bado hawajafanya uamuzi.

Mimi naamini kwamba viongozi wa kizazi cha sasa, kwa kadri utaratibu utakavyoruhusu kupata fursa ya kuelezea dira na mwelekeo mpya kwa nchi yetu, kwa kadri watakavyopewa fursa na vyombo vya habari, kama ambavyo viongozi wa muda mrefu wanapata, basi Watanzania watafanya uamuzi sahihi.  

Tatu, utafiti huu unatupa fursa ya kujua nini hasa vipaumbele vya Watanzania. Wananchi wengi wameonyesha kwamba wanahitaji huduma bora za afya, elimu na maji. Wananchi wengi wameonyesha kukerwa na rushwa na hali ya umaskini. Wananchi wengi wana tatizo la ajira.  Wananchi wengi wanataka nchi yetu iendelee kuwa ya amani na utulivu na usalama na yenye watu wanaopendana na kuheshimiana. Kwa viongozi wanaowania fursa ya kuwaongoza Watanzania, haya ndio mambo ya msingi ya kuyazingatia na kueleza mikakati ya kukabiliana nayo badala ya kuonyeshana ufahari wa nani ana nafasi nzuri zaidi ya kushinda.

Nne, nafarijika kwamba Chama cha Mapinduzi bado kinaendelea kuaminiwa na Watanzania wengi licha ya muungano wa vyama vya upinzani. Kazi nzuri iliyofanywa na Katibu Mkuu wa CCM, Ndugu Abdulrahman Kinana,  na Sekretarieti yake inaonyesha matunda. Wanastahili pongezi na kutiwa moyo ili waendelee na kazi hiyo.

January Makamba

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Legacy of Julius K. Nyerere

Nyerere became a leader of a country that only had 2 engineers and 12 doctors employed by the government. 

Adult literacy rate was 17 percent in 1960, it increased to 90.4 in 1986 and dropped to 69.4 in 2013. 

Life expectancy was 43.65 in 1960, it increased to 51.17 in 1985.

4,907 students were enrolled in British colonial government schools and 115,000 in mission schools
 between 1923 and 1961; 3,361,228 students were enrolled in government schools in 1980.

"To measure a country's wealth by its gross national product is to measure things, not satisfactions"~Julius Kambarage Nyerere ~13 April 1922 to 14 October 1999.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nyerere Vs. Nkrumah: Why Did East African Federation Initiative Collapse in 1963?

A treaty establishing the East African Community was finally ratified in 1999 and took effect in 2000.  The journey towards East African political Federation reached a milestone in April of 2014 when the heads of state decided to start the process of drafting a constitution for political federation.  This was not the first time that East African leaders came to the table with the goal of establishing a Federation.  The heads of state from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika, signed the Declaration of Federation in June 5, 1963.  The initiative never came to fruition as both internal and external factors led to the collapse of the negotiations.  While there was a fair share of blame on all the parties involved, there is one particular factor for the collapse of the 1963 East African Federation initiative that deserves closer scrutiny: the role of Ghana in killing the East African Federation. 

Two giants emerged in the African political scene of the early 1960s: Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania.  The two were staunch proponents of Pan Africanism, an ideology and a movement that encourages the solidarity of Africans in Africa and around the world.  Nkrumah and Nyerere ultimately wanted to see continental unity and the establishment of a “United States of Africa.” However, by the end of 1961, the two differed on the approaches to achieving their common goal of unifying Africa.  Nkrumah called for the immediate establishment of the “United States of Africa.”  Nyerere on the other hand, argued that the best approach is a regional approach.  Build regional unity first and eventually bring them together to create a “United States of Africa.”  This approach, Nyerere would argue, was more practical. 

The quest for African unity remains elusive a little more than 50 years later.  There is a raging debate on whose approach was correct.  On one side, there are those who blame the adherents of regional approach for the decision to reject Nkrumah’s proposal at the first and second OAU Summits.  They argue that the Second OAU conference in Cairo was the last nail in the coffin for any hopes of building continental unity.  These pundits point to the failure of the regional attempts to build unity as an example of the futility of such initiatives. This debate exhumes passion from adherents of both sides.  While Nkrumah’s call for an immediate establishment of the “United States of Africa” was never given a chance, it must be pointed out that regional political Federation was never given an opportunity to be tested either. 

Nkrumah started as a staunch supporter of building regional unity.  He called for regional Federation in 1953. He worked diligently to establish West African Federation in the 1950s after Ghana (then Gold Coast) won self-government.  The initiative eventually failed.  Nkrumah was briefly successful with the Ghana-Guinea Union of 1958.  The two countries were joined by Mali in 1961 to form the Union of Ghana, Guinea, and Mali.  The Union faced many challenges from the outset. The Union of the three countries failed by the end of 1961.

Nyerere came to view regional unity as the correct path for building African unity in the end of the 1950s.  Nyerere and Tom Mboya of Kenya discussed the idea of building regional unity in 1958 after returning from Ghana’s first independence anniversary celebrations.  The two east African leaders decided to establish a Pan African regional body to bring together independence movements from the region to share ideas, resources, and build unity.  Nyerere was the only one in position to establish such an organization.  TANU had just won the first Legislative Council elections and it was clear that self-government was within reach. Thus in September of 1958, Tanganyika leaders called a conference in Mwanza that led to the establishment of Pan African Freedom Movement for East and Central Africa (PAFMECA).  Delegates came from Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda and Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, and Zanzibar.  One of the agendas discussed at the conference was the question of Federation.  A decision was made to postpone the issue of Federation until a later date.  It was decided that the question of Federation should be revisited once the territories had advanced towards independence and won self-government.

The idea of Federation was forefront in Nyerere’s plans for east Africa.  The victory of 1958 and 1959 elections guaranteed that Tanganyika would win self-government soon.  This victory indicated to Nyerere that the time was ripe to start campaigning for East African Federation.  He announced through BBC London on January 1, 1960 his desire to see Tanganyika, Kenya, and Uganda join together in a Federation.  Nyerere then took his case to the Conference of Independent African States in Ethiopia in June of 1960.  He announced his willingness to delay Tanganyika’s independence up to six months to allow for the formation of East African Federation. 

Nkrumah and Nyerere, the two African giants, followed a similar path, but at different times.  Nkrumah announced in 1953 after the Gold Coast won self-government that he wanted to see the “amalgamation of territories on a regional basis and methods of progress towards an ultimate Pan-African Commonwealth of Free, Independent United States of Africa.”  This quest remained unattainable as each territory moved closer to independence in West Africa.  Nkrumah’s failure to build regional unity would eventually convince him to bitterly oppose any such attempts elsewhere.

Nyerere moved full force after 1960 in his quest to establish East African Federation. He took the case to the PAFMECA Conference in Mbale, Uganda in December of 1960.  Nyerere tabled a memorandum entitled “East African Federation (Freedom and Unity)” for discussion and approval.  He continued to push for Federation with Kenya, Uganda, and Zanzibar leaders between 1961 and 1962.
Nkrumah changed his mind by late 1961 on the merits of a regional approach to build African unity.  He not only came to view regional approach as wrong, he came to see it as a serious threat to the quest for building African unity.  He would argue that regional groupings were part of “Balkanization of Africa,” borrowing from a 19th century saying that described the disintegration into smaller territories of the Balkans in Eastern Europe.  According to Nkrumah, regional groups were a major threat to the quest for establishing the “United States of Africa.”

Efforts to speed up the process towards East African Federation increased in the course of 1962.  Nyerere lobbied with his counterparts in Uganda and Kenya.  He published an article in March of 1963 entitled “A United States of Africa.”  The article was the most explicit explanation of his vision for a united Africa.  Nyerere argued eloquently that Africa must unite.  He asserted, “For the sake of all African states, large or small, African unity must come and it must be real unity,” and added, “Our goal must be a United States of Africa.”  As for the approach, Nyerere argued “This goal must be achieved, and it does not matter whether this is done by one step or by many…” Nyerere was committed to building a “United States of Africa.”

The situation in African scene was tense in the first half of 1963.  To make matters worse, tension between Tanganyika and Ghana increased after the assassination of the President of Togo, Sylvanus Olympio in January 13, 1963.  Nyerere sat with his hands on his head and wept after announcing the assassination of President Olympio.  The assassination shocked many African leaders.  Tanganyika did not hide its suspicion that Ghana played a role in the assassination.  Ghana and Togo were involved in a tug of war over its borders. Nkrumah had laid claims to parts of Togo.  It was partly in reaction to this crisis and the assassination of President Olympio that Tanganyika would take a strong position at the First OAU Summit in Ethiopia in 1963 on the issue of respecting existing borders and not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.  This, some critics have argued, killed any hopes of achieving continental unity.  But did it?  What of regional approach? What happened to that initiative?

Nyerere and Nkrumah clashes became more pronounced at the First OAU Summit in Ethiopia.  Oscar Kambona, Tanganyika Foreign Minister, was selected as the chairman of the powerful Political Committee.  The decision by the majority of African leaders to give that important position to a Tanganyikan instead of a Ghanaian, was telling.  The decision gave some indication on where the majority of African leaders stood on the Nyerere Vs. Nkrumah dispute.  In the end, Kambona played a major role in shaping the final OAU charter.  This was the first blow to Nkrumah.  Another blow to Nkrumah was the decision by the OAU to exclude Ghana from the Committee of Nine (African Liberation Committee).  Nkrumah took umbrage at the decisions made by the OAU in May and June of 1963 that excluded his country.

The move towards East African Federation showed most promise in June of 1963 when Jomo Kenyatta, Milton Obote, and Nyerere agreed to work on establishing the East African Federation.  It was at this point that the opposition to the Federation initiative by Ghana went from rhetoric into action.  Ghana organized a campaign to sabotage the East African Federation.  The efforts concentrated in Uganda.  But efforts were also made by Ghana to convince Kenya, Zambia and Malawi leaders to reject Federation.  The focal point of the campaign centered on Uganda.

The clash between Nkrumah and Nyerere reached its apex after East African leaders issued the Declaration of Federation.  Nkrumah moved with full force to torpedo the initiative.  He wrote “Having accepted a common destiny for Africa at Addis Ababa, we can no longer stand aloof in the fact of any danger that threatens our common cause.  It is for this reason that I have been compelled to express my own apprehensions concerning the proposal to unite East African States into a single political entity.”  Nkrumah would claim that the scheme would build regional royalty and frustrate any hopes of a continental unity.   He also expressed worries that the East African Federation was an imperialist scheme because it received support of the West.  There could only be one solution for him: take action to kill the East African initiative.  This Nkrumah did skillfully.

Obote, Nyerere, and Kenyatta issued the Federation Declaration on June 5, 1963.  The Declaration stated: “We, the leaders of the people and governments of East Africa… pledge ourselves to the political federation of East Africa.  Our meeting today is motivated by the spirit of Pan-Africanism, and not by mere selfish regional interests. … We believe that the East African Federation can be a practical step towards the goal of Pan-African unity.  We share a common past, and are convinced of our common destinies.”  This Nairobi agreement was the closest East African leaders would come to establishing a Federation.  The position of Uganda would change drastically in the months to come leading to the collapse of the negotiations.  About two months after the Declaration was issued, Nyerere would tell an American diplomat that Uganda was pulling out of the agreement they signed in June of 1963.  Nyerere told the diplomat that the problem was not with the concept of Federation itself, but that Uganda leaders were making frivolous demands such as the site of the capital and demands for jobs.  What was the cause of this policy reversal?

Part of the explanation lies with external influences on Uganda stemming from Ghana.  Nkrumah told the Ghana National Assembly in June 21, 1963 that the “idea of a political federation of East Africa” was supported by the British government because they wanted to be “sure of retaining their rapidly waning influence in Africa.” Nkrumah dispatched his most skillful lieutenants to East and Central Africa.  He concentrated his efforts in Uganda where Milton Obote was one of his greatest admirers.  He sent Busumtwi-Sam to Uganda.  Nkrumah also dispatched A.K. Barden, the former head of the powerful Africa Bureau, to East Africa.  Barden, a former police, had recruited police into the Bureau and ran successful operations.  Ghana High Commission in Tanganyika was reduced to a handful of people after June of 1963 as tension between Tanganyika and Ghana rose.  Some of the Ghanaian diplomats were transferred from Tanganyika to Uganda.

The Government of Ghana poured money into Uganda between 1962 and 1963.  Paulo Muwanga, Ugandan MP, received $39,000 from Ghana in 1963 to start farmer’s council in Uganda.  Ghanaian funds were also funneled to Uganda through trade unions.  For example, the Uganda Federation of Labor had cozy relations with Ghana labor and farmer’s unions AATUF and AAFU.  Ghana gave tens of thousands of dollars to the Uganda labor union UFL.  It is not surprising that UFL took the Ghana view of the immediate establishment of  “United States of Africa.”  The Times of UK reported in September 1963 that Nkrumah was “bitterly opposed to an East African Federation and is influential with Mr. Obote..” One of the most telling examples of Obote’s close relations to Nkrumah took place after Obote married Miria Kalule in November of 1963.  Ghana Air Force plane was sent to pick up the newly weds to fly to Accra for their honeymoon. It cannot be denied that the Ugandan position could have come from the conviction that immediate establishment of continental unity was the best approach, yet it would be injudicious to dismiss the possibility that the large sums of money handed to the Ugandan leaders did not influence their views.

Obote and Benedicto Kiwanuka came to oppose the East African Federation initiative.  The reasons given by Uganda leaders for the opposition after signing the Federation Declaration varied from frivolous to serious concerns.  For example, Adoko Nekyon, Uganda delegate to the East African Federation negotiations and Obote’s brother in-law, demanded that each country should have a separate foreign representation.  There were also fears that Uganda’s trade surplus and balanced budget would crumble once they united with their neighbors.   The Ugandans claimed to be in support of East African Federation, but raised some of the above issues to say it would not work out for them.  The negotiations for political Federation reached a stalemate.  Numerous subsequent attempts were made to revive the talks; such attempts were eventually unsuccessful. 

The resistance from Uganda after July of 1963 led Nyerere to conclude that there were external interference that led to the change of heart by Uganda.  Nyerere told an American diplomat in August of 1963 that “various external influences” were at work in Kampala.  Talks continued and eventually an agreement was reached for the establishment of East African Community that lasted from 1967 to 1977; however, the grand scheme of an East African political Federation was never given an opportunity to be established and tested.  Like Nkrumah’s continental unity initiative, Nyerere’s attempt to build regional unity through Federation was also never given a chance.  In a speech given in January of 1964, Nyerere would pronounce: “The Challenges of the 20th Century is the conversion of nationalism into internationalism.”  This is a challenge that remains elusive in the 21st century.  It remains to be seen if East African leaders will rise to the challenge and make the dream of a united East Africa a reality.  This dream must include measures to build continental unity.  For it is with the “United States of Africa” that the hopes of a vibrant and flourishing Africa lies.  

This article was published by Business Times, October 3, 2014

Azaria Mbughuni is an Assistant Professor of History at Spelman College, Atlanta, USA. ( Follow me on Twitter @AzariaTZ
© Azaria Mbughuni