Friday, April 25, 2014

Backbenchers Conference on the East African Federation 1964


That being the representatives of TANU and KANU Parliamentary Groups we state unequivocally that Kenya and the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar must federate

Resolution passed by Members of Parliament K.R. Baghdelleh, Bi. Titi Mohamed, R.K. Mwanjisi, E.B.M. Barongo, R.S. Wambura, C.M. Kapilima, P.S. Siyovelwa, H.E. Sarwatt, M.M. Kaggia, J. Odero Jowi, J.D. Kali, Henry Waariithi, C.M.G. Argwings-Kodhek, Z.M. Anyieni, F.M.G. Mati, E. Omolo Agar, Semator D.O. Makasembo, and J. Gatuguta, Backbenchers Conference on the East African Federation, May 9, 1964:

Long Live the Spirit of Pan Africanism!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Basketball Life Lessons

Basketball is the game that involves two teams of five people each, competing to have as many buckets scored on opponent’s goal as possible, while also limiting your opponents to fewer buckets in your goal as possible. The size of the court is 437 sqm (28 by 15), which is big enough to allow interaction of 10 folks in a competitive way and small enough to expose the weak link in each team. I have been playing basketball continuously for the last 20 years, mostly varsity play. The peak of my career was a Dar es Salaam Secondary Schools Basketball League.  Since then I am hooping for leisure, relaxation and superstitious reasons. I have always thought that Basketball teaches her players relevant lessons that can be applied in real life. The fundamentals that guarantee you a victory in a basketball court, will also guarantee you victory in your day to day struggles. In the remaining passages of this essay, I will attempt to draw lessons from basketball that can improve your odds of surviving out there in the wild.

To be successful in a basketball court, you have to be a team player. You only have four team mates that need to cover every inch of that 437 sqm—defending and attacking as a unit is the only way to guarantee a victory. Some players have exceptional skills and might take the bulk of team’s shots, It does not mean they are selfish, rather, that is the particular role of that player and each shot is being taken per game plan agreed by the entire team. Selfish players usually cost the team victories and trophies. Success in real life requires one to work within the context of the team and adhehere to the principles of being a team player.

A basketball team must have at least five people to compete, each of those players have to know their roles. This means when assembling a team each member should excel exceptionally well at one skill, with little or no overlapping of superior skill between players. This is important; the team need a ball handler, a rebounder, a shut-down defender, or a shooter. Once each member has identified their role, then discipline is required to operate within their roles. It is not expected for a rebounder to operate on top of the key and jacking three pointers on each possession. The roles are designed to complete a team. In a successful ball club each player understands and focuses on executing their roles to perfection. For every Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant or Lebron James there is Robert Horry, Dennis Rodman, or Udonis Haslem . To be successful in your hustle it is important to find out your gift or passion and build a career around it. Understand and accept your role in any situation and maintain the discipline to focus on executing it.

To win in a basketball court you definitely need talent, but importantly you have to put in work. You have to work hard in practice (individually and as a team) and on game day. During game time you need to have the conditioning to run your motor for 40 minutes, and enough mental strength not be distracted from the game plan when things are not going your way. These attributes can only be achieved by working hard to perfect them. Work ethic of individual player and a team might be the sole predictor of the success of the ball club. Out there in the wild, you also have to work to earn your stripes—people who aspire to have success in life have to accept the fact that they will need to put in serious work.

Basketball is a game of runs. An opponent can score on a fast break, followed by a wide open three and a lazy foul to put them on a free throw line. Just like that, it is a 7 point run. If you had a 5 point lead, it has evaporated. Mental strength is important; you cannot give up, and start judging your capabilities during these runs. Believing in you, the team, and trusting the game plan is critical at this moment. At times during the game, you might get few harsh calls from the referees, get booed by the fans, or an opponent trash-talking that gets under your skin. These are moments when you need to develop thick skin, and tune out the noises—mental strength is crucial to achieve success in basketball court and in real life as well.

Do not ever blow a layup, a dunk or easy buckets for that matter. In a basketball court, a team runs different plays in order to get an easy shot; you have to make your easy buckets. There are fewer greater sins in basketball than blowing an easy chance. In your daily struggle, do not blow an easy opportunity that fall into your lap. These opportunities are rare, do not waste them. But if you ever blow a layup, do not spend a second thinking about it.

At this point a reader might ask how this is different from football. Well, in basketball the number of teammates is only 4, the pitch is smaller, individual weakness can easily be spotted and exploited. In football, one can slack and go unnoticed and unpunished. Basketball demand more self discipline and unity than football.  There are plenty of other basketball life lessons, knowing when to be aggressive and not to be aggressive is the skill that can be learnt in a basketball court. There are times when you can smell blood, and as a team you go for the jugular—when an opponent is already deflated. In real life it is important to know these moments and seize them in order to achieve your goals.

At the end, best teams and best ball players always shine at the biggest stage. You are almost preserving the best when the lights are the brightest. During these moments you need to shine. You cannot shrink at moments that count the most. You cannot miss a free throw that will win you the championship. You have to come through at the biggest stage. The same goes in your daily hustle, you have to come through on your biggest meeting or biggest presentation.

© Thuwein Y.Makamba

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Fall of Jumbe: Victim of His Own Ambitions or Nyerere’s Dictatorial Rule?

Seif Sharif Hamad has outlined the events that led to the fall of Jumbe in the book Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar: The Memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sherif by G. Thomas Burgess, Ali Sultan Issa, and Seif Sharif Hamad.  According to Hamad, Jumbe wanted to be the President of the Union.  His ambitions ended with the 1978-79 war between Tanzania and Uganda; Nyerere decided to stay for another term and Jumbe’s hopes for becoming Union President ended. (p.233)

Hamad writes: “In late 1983, for the first time the idea was raised of having three governments: one for Zanzibar, one for Tanganyika, and one for the Union. Jumbe’s pressure group, including Attorney General Wolfgango Dourado, sponsored a private member’s motion in the House of Representatives to discuss the idea of three governments.” (p.232) 

Jumbe and Nyerere were now on a collision course.  Next came decision by Jumbe to establish BAMITA (Baraza la Miskiti Tanzania).  Nyerere then accused Jumbe of mixing politics and religion.  However, the most compelling argument Hamad presents for the fall of Jumbe was the latter’s campaign to push for more power for himself in Zanzibar and for greater autonomy for the island after realizing that his presidential ambitions were over.  Hamad asserts that “Jumbe, seeing his chances to succeed Nyerere diminish by the day and failing in 1982 to remove Front-liners like myself from positions in the NEC and Central Committee, instigated demands for more Zanzibari autonomy.  If he was successful, his government could do what it wanted to the people in the islands, rather than be restrained by the mainland.  And the first to suffer from revolutionary justice would be people like me, people with education. (p.233)

Hamad continues: “We Front-liners agreed that the idea of three governments was good but that the president had sinister motives, so we should not support him.  Jumbe could have first consulted Zanzibari members of the NEC concerning the union….  We were convinced that, if Jumbe succeeded, if he won more freedom for Zanzibar or managed to break the union, people would lose their lives.  Jumbe would revert to the lawlessness of the first decade of the revolution, when innocent people just disappeared. We felt that if younger politicians like ourselves did not act in time, we would lose our lives.  I discussed these things with Salmin Amour and Salim Ahmed Salim, both from Zanzibar and high CCM officials, and the three of us went to see the secretary general of the party, Rashidi Kawawa. We explained our worries to him, and Kawawa was very sympathetic. He told us to bring our issue before the Central Committee.  The Central Committee decided that Jumbe should be temporarily restrained from taking any actions that that two subcomittees should be appointed to investigate the truth of his allegations concerning instigators’ wishing to divide the people of Zanzibar.” (p.233-234) 

According to Hamad, Jumbe was not pleased.  Jumbe hired a lawyer from Ghana to make a case for three governments before the court of law.  Hamad worked with Khatib Hassan Khatib, former member of Youth League and an agent in the Intelligence Services, and stole and photocopied a document “that described the case Jumbe wanted to make for three governments.”  Hamad and Khatib took the document to Sokoine.  “Sokoine then arranged a trip to see Nyerere in Butiama, his home village, where he was resting. We gave him the document and recommended that the Central Committee meet. Sokoine told Nyerere, ‘The lives of these young people from Zanzibar are in danger. If you don’t act and they lose their lives, you’ll be responsible.’” (p. 234)

Nyerere then called a meeting of the Central Committee. Hamad led the case against Jumbe in the meeting and Jumbe defended himself.  Jumbe did not know that Nyerere already had a copy of the plans he had made.  Hamad claims that there was a three-day session and on the final day, “Nyerere summarized all the evidence against Jumbe.  Then he dropped a bombshell. He said, “Makamo,” meaning vice president, “what is this?” showing Jumbe the document we had stolen from him. You could see Jumbe freeze, as if all the energy were draining out of him.  Nyerere looked Jumbe in the eyes and said, “Makamo, you must resign.” (p.235)

According to Hamad, Jumbe was not allowed to leave freely because “There was the fear that he might try to organize a rebellion in Zanzibar, but no one could say what was in Jumbe’s mind.” (p.235)

The case presented by Hamad here sheds light on the events that led to the fall of Jumbe in 1984.  It was clear that Hamad and others felt threatened by Jumbe, that their lives were in jeopardy.  Secondly, it is clear that there was fear that Jumbe could organize a rebellion in Zanzibar once he was asked to resign.  This narrative should dispel some of the myths circulating about why and how Jumbe fell out of favor.  It is obvious that Jumbe became a threat to the stability and security of the nation.  The fact that the most compelling case was made by Seif Sharif Hamad should not be a surprise.  Survival at all cost is a powerful motivator.  Nevertheless, it is clear that Jumbe became the victim of his own ambitions.

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

© Azaria Mbughuni