Friday, July 31, 2009

Food for Thoughts: Is Vijana a Solution for Tanzania Problem?

In recent years Tanzania has experienced the tsunami of vijana joining different political organizations. We also witnessed the mushroomed of CCM branches across the global from Bangalore to Helsinki. The interesting part is majority of individuals from generation Y and Z believed they do have the skills necessary to overturn Tanzania into prosperity land. On the other side of the coin, most of them undermined the challenges ahead of them when it comes to a country which has chronic poverty, corruptions, and economic imbalance.

The movement of this generation motivates me to write this article. There are many legitimate questions that we should ask our self before jumping into a conclusion and say that generation Y and Z have the medicine for our problem.

First, what will make this generation different compare to the previous generations, and how will it develop intellectuals leaders that the previous generations failed to do? To my understand Leaders are individuals who establish direction for a working group of individuals, who gain commitment from these group members to this direction, and who then motivate these members to achieve the direction's outcomes. So, leadership is an apprentice trade. Most of the leaders develop leadership skills over period of time. The challenge part is majority of the leaders of this generation develop most their leadership skills under the watch of the so called corrupted leaders. So, how can someone convince the society that this few individuals have necessary leadership skills which will revamp Tanzania for good, despite the facts that most of their skill developed under the watch of the so called corrupted leaders?

Second, to my understand education plays the big role to shape the mind of individual. Tanzania education system hasn’t change for quite sometime, we all know in Tanzania teachers at primary and secondary level are the one who failed or receive lower grade at one point of their life. So, what role do these individuals play to shape the minds of the leaders of this generation? When it comes to university majority attended local college where most of the teachers come from the generation which disappoints us in the first place. How will these instructors shape the minds of our generations different from their generations?

Third, the few individuals who received their tertiary education in the West believe they have what Tanzania need. In addition, majority in this group believe that the strategic plan which Western applied in the early ages can be also be applied in Tanzania, which is not necessary true. Apart from that, most of Tanzania looks at these individuals as traitors or the kids who were born with the silver spoon on their mouth. How will this group incorporated their leadership skills to the group which doesn’t trust them in the first place?

Lastly, President Kikwete appointed several individuals from this generation to become leaders on several sectors. For instance Hon. Masha and Ngeleja are from our generation, are they succession stories or disappointments? If they’re disappointments then can someone convince the society that why should they believe on us? How about those few young managers at different private sectors are they non corrupted and accountable individuals?

Make no mistakes; majority of Tanzanian are hungry for change. Tanzanian wants more transparency government, more accountable government and responsible government. However, can the leaders of this generation meet those needs? Or we’re joining CCM in numbers because that is the only way we can stay in comfort zone? What make this generation believe they can deliver, while the generation of their father failed?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The World's Best Investment

You have $75 bilion dollars and you are required to invest it in worthwhile causes. What would those be, and where would you start? An organisation/initiative called The Copehnhagen Consensus put this test to 55 world-renowned economists, including half dozen Economics Nobel Prize winners, and experts in 10 areas identified as global challenges - Air Pollution; Conflicts; Diseases; Education; Global Warming; Malnutrition and Hunger; Sanitation and Water; Subsidies and Trade Barriers; Terrorism; and Women and Development.

Eight renowned economists led the effort: Jagdish Bhagwati, Columbia University; François Bourguignon, Paris School of Economics and former World Bank chief economist; Finn E. Kydland, University of California, Santa Barbara (Nobel laureate); Robert Mundell, Columbia University in New York (Nobel laureate); Douglass C North, Washington University in St. Louis (Nobel laureate); Thomas Schelling, University of Maryland (Nobel laureate); Vernon L Smith, Chapman University (Nobel laureate); and Nancy Stokey, University of Chicago.

The group analysed all these problems, created impact and outcome models and what-have-you, and came up with a list of 30 interventions or investments - ranked on basis of "value for money" i.e. impact on development vis. dollars invested - to tackle these challenges.

The idea of ranking was based on the need for "prioritization" of interventions given the fact that aid resources are dwindling, commitments are not coming through, and, when they do, are channeled without consideration of the outcomes and on the basis of what is hot or fashionable (microfinance is hot now) at the moment.

Guess what came on top as an investment with most impact on development. Not roads. Not conflict resolution.

So, to repeat the question that was posed to the group: What would be the best ways of advancing global welfare, and particularly the welfare of the developing countries, illustrated by supposing that an additional $75 billion of resources were at their disposal over a four year initial period?

From here I copy the text from the liteture of the Copenhagen Consensus, which commissioned this work:

"Ten challenge papers, commissioned from acknowledged authorities in each area of policy, set out more than 30 proposals for the panel’s consideration. During this week’s conference the panel examined these proposals in detail. Each paper was discussed at length with its principal author and with two other specialists who had been commissioned to write critical appraisals, and then the experts met in private session. Based on the costs and benefits of the solutions, the panel ranked the proposals, in descending order of desirability, as follows:

1 Micronutrient supplements for children (vitamin A and zinc)
2 The Doha development agenda
3 Micronutrient fortification (iron and salt iodization)
4 Expanded immunization coverage for children
5 Biofortification
6 Deworming and other nutrition programs at school
7 Lowering the price of schooling
8 Increase andimprove girls’ schooling
9 Community-based nutrition promotion
10 Provide support for women’s reproductive role
11 Heart attack acute management
12 Malaria prevention and treatment
13 Tuberculosis case finding and treatment
14 R&D in low-carbon energy technologies
15 Bio-sand filters for household water treatment
16 Rural water supply
17 Conditional cash transfers (paying parents for sending kids to school regularly)
18 Peace-keeping in post‐conflict situations
19 HIV combination prevention
20 Total sanitation campaign
21 Improving surgical capacity at district hospital level
22 Microfinance
23 Improved cooking stove
24 Large, multipurpose dam in Africa
25 Inspection and maintenance of diesel vehicles
26 Low sulfur diesel for urban road vehicles
27 Diesel vehicle particulate control technology
28 Tobacco tax to deal with disease
29 R&D and mitigation to counter Global Warming
30 Mitigation only for fighting global warming

For more details and background papers on the project go to

Of course the methodology, purely economics cost-and-benefit analysis, was criticised. But others pointed out that this is exactly the right kind of exercise for assigning aid money. You be the judge.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Nuggets for Thought

1. We have talked about development in this blog several times – and I think it is emerging as a major theme here – but we have not clarified what we really mean by development and when, and under which circumstances, would we know that we have attained it.

What is supplied as development by majority of my fellow bloggers here is a more specific form of the Western model of societal transformation – i.e modernization. The premise of this thinking, which is I think is quite proper, is that at one point, all countries were backward but some countries, those that we now call “the West” or “the North”, managed to overcome this backwardness, and that all countries, including Tanzania, can move from this state only if they adopt appropriate interventions. The reigning paradigm, and the reason we remain hopeful about the future, is that the current state of uneven development between the West and the rest is transitory and that sooner or later we will catch up – through creating favourable [policy and political] conditions within our countries and by ensuring that appropriate interactions exist between us and the developed. Almost instinctively, most people points to ideal characteristics of the West as the ultimate destination of our social transformation. In essence, this says that the development of the backward parts of the world means having them become Western – in trappings and in social organisation. But, of course, different societies have different social structures and psyche that defines what progress is, and these have not always facilitated the success of interventions towards Western model of development. So, what did the leaders and “development partners” do to overcome this? They worked towards creating social structures and a new psyche identical to the Western ones.

I leave for the debate what development means, but the point I want to make is that development is a political process, going together with the development of the polity, not immune to political interests, and that it is not an autonomous process independent of culture and the way state and social institutions operate. Also, simple logic dictates that those who have “developed” before us would be experts on how to attain development and seeking their “advice” or “assistance” is only rational. But now we know that this logic is faulty.

2. Fine, let us say that the entire Third World eventually catches up, just as we hope, and all of us lead an affluent life. But, seriously, given that mother earth is currently under tremendous strain because of overconsumption by people in developed countries, can the entire world realistically and sustainably live in affluence? How will we manage when the entire global population is aspiring to a modern life – including possession of four-wheels drives, spacious cribs, etc – which necessarily produces unmanageable waste? In any case, do we have enough resources to sustain global affluence? Of course some would say that technology and innovation will provide solutions but I think there limits to that. This is something benign but very serious in my view and we need to think about it.

3. I alluded to a bit in my earlier point about the role of culture in advancing or impeding development. Normally, this is a sensitive subject with most people becoming politically correct in maintaining that culture has nothing to do with development. But I am told that, even in our underdeveloped countries, there are tribes that are “inherently progressive” than others. In Tanzania, people mention Wachagga, Wahaya, na Wakinga (there may be others). In Kenya, people mention the Kikuyu, in the Congo they say people from the Kasai province have these attributes, in Nigeria the Igbos are pointed out. It is said that these people work hard, are thrift, value education and tend to progress more than others despite difficult social and political circumstances faced by everyone in our countries. Is this true or is it simplistic way of looking at society and extrapolating larger conclusions on the basis of the vocations of choice or circumstances by these tribes?

4. Back to modernity, and what it means. I have noted the existence of activist groups, particularly in the West, to protect the lifestyles of the indigenous people in different countries (like the Hadzabe, the Masai, the Amazon forest people, etc). Certainly, as the society moves to modernity (as we see it through the reigning paradigm), the lifestyle of indigenous groups cannot be sustainable (Or can it?). It is not an accident or it is not by choice that the Masai now move into cities and towns in hordes – serving as porters in hotel entrances, security guards, pimps, or working in hair saloons – literally denigrating the notion of Morani/Masai pride and heroism. It is because modernity – schools, roads, farms, etc. – is encroaching on their pastures. It is because, in the type of the economy we are pursuing, you can no longer roam with your cows and graze communally wherever you want – people want to own land, fence it and make capital off it – and you certainly cannot keep cattle just for pride. So, what to do? Certainly we must not allow the Hadzabe to exist just for travel photography or for anthropology research?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time to bin Samuel Sitta

In the wake of new allegations against him, its obvious Tanzanian politics this weekend will defined by one gruesome paradox. Samuel John Tegeza Sitta aka Mr 6 is finished. Yet he still commands, or at any rate makes, regular appearances on the stage. There is endless, lively speculation about how much longer he will remain speaker of the parliament.

One doesn’t need to hit on (JF) or back benchers Canteen in Dodoma to understand that ever since his appointment ‘mzee Six’ has been at the apex of the culture of deceit and downright fraud which has destroyed the once luminous reputation of the our parliament.

The historic role of a Speaker is to make sure that Parliament calls ministers to account, and acts - as it has done throughout history - as the sovereign and authentic voice of Tanzanians. In otherwords Speaker is elected to defend the privileges of ‘Bunge letu tukufu’. Those privileges are free speech, free access to ministers and to information, free accessibility to government officials and complete oversight of the government.

It has been a mystery for over three years just why Speaker Sitta not only failed to defend any of these things but actively aided those who attacked them and sought to limit and control them. In the wake of latest allegations which mirrors his Louis XIV public funded life style as per media reports , among other things includes his $10,000 a month rent that in 5 years will cost tax payers close to 1 billion shillings! Now the mystery is solved.

He just didn't understand what the words "defend the privileges of the parliament" mean! I wonder how he even defends those $2,000 a week pharmacy bills which tax payers picked the tab, let alone and those alleged mysterious PYT’s (pretty young things), maybe he thinks it means defending 'perks', 'corruption' and 'the ability to squeeze the last drop of cash out of the public till'! At this stage I can say Mr Sitta has created and defended the world's first bottomless trough exclusively designed and endlessly refilled by the pigs themselves!

The Richmonds, Kiwiras, Radars, IPTL’s and this latest Sitta’s lavish accommodation just confirms that our new rulers are parasites, who enrich themselves constantly at the taxpayers' expense. Ask anyone trying to make ends meet and he/she will tell you that these new breed that rule us routinely abuse power, lie and suppress and manipulate the truth. They never admit error or failure, they always shuffle responsibility onto someone else. In daily life, unlike the old Establishment, they are graceless and self-obsessed.

In sum, they have no standards whatever except their own advancement. Yet they are indignant when anyone exposes their behaviour and turn savagely on those who call them to account. More significant still, Bunge has completely lost its historic role as the primary source of information about the activities of the executive arm of the state.

At least in the old establishment days, ministers with a statement to make used always to bring their news first to the Bunge. This convention has now been abandoned. It is now normal for important statements to be leaked first by those ‘mutants’ at Magogoni and to the JF armchair critics brigade, then only announced as an afterthought to Parliament.

Lets face it, the loss of reality is now total. Although neither Speaker Sitta nor his entourage can bring themselves to acknowledge as much, the ‘spika wa Bunge letu tukufu’ no longer counts in JK’s government, except for the admittedly noteworthy and striking reality that he can continue to call himself Speaker of the House .

Lesson we learn from ‘Mzee Six’ fiasco is simple, when you appoint ignorant, poorly educated people to positions as the Speaker of the house, your rules and regulations decline, your etiquette disappears along with manners, respect and responsibility.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Transforming a nation

I am sure we have all noted that the general trend in public discourse leans towards the yearning for transformation. Even here in this blog, you see this feeling that Tanzania is at a turning point in its life as a nation. Its citizens, young and old, want things to improve. There is a feeling that we are punching below our weight. And, you note that people want things to be different. There are certainly encouraging signs of progress, but there are also fears, and some have been expressed in this blog, that the gravity of old habits, mediocrity and corruption will forestall the social and economic transformation of Tanzania, robbing the nation of a historic opportunity to emerge with a new national self identity and as a competent, self-reliant and prosperous country.

But, now: what triggers this transformation? This is the crux of the matter. But, certainly, wrong assumptions and wrong conception of our main problems lead to wrong debates about what needs to be done and eventually wrong prescriptions. For one, viewing transformation of our nation in the prism of economic growth has led us to focus on wrong approaches – basically a mechanical process of fiddling with inputs and stimulants to the sectors of the economy and the juggling and the restructuring of our institutions. We have to start with our psyche and our attitudes as a people. I know this may sound like Oprah-talk but…

The Process of Transformation

The transformation of our nation as a whole requires change among the individuals and institutions that compose it. Among the core principles required for change are:

1. Fostering a national sense of purpose:

Tanzanians must be inspired by a galvanizing vision of what Tanzania can be and of how they can make it so. The political leadership and the “civil society” and also the family at home can effectively communicate that ‘we can be better than we are’. Political leadership and others in positions of influence, like the clergy, must inspire Tanzanians to see greatness in themselves, indeed to ignite a desire to become great. The vision of purpose must be driven deep into their hearts to inspire ordinary Tanzanians to do extraordinary things. This sense of purpose is essential because no one will die for a strategy, but people will make heroic sacrifices for a noble cause. Special appeals should be made to the youth, who are the next generation of leaders and to women, who are the first educators of the nation.

2. Building trust and confidence in leadership, institutions and the people themselves:

The political leadership should demonstrate repeatedly with strong evidence, that change is possible and that it can occur in many areas of national life. People must see that they themselves can be engaged in important programs of change, and that Tanzanians can increasingly trust their countrymen to meet the challenges of change. (The massive expansion of secondary education over the last four years is an excellent example – the government promised schools… the people delivered them by volunteering to build them). Transparency about the challenges the nation faces and the action underway to meet them is essential to building public confidence, as people trust most what they understand.

The trust and confidence that Tanzanians have in their leaders at the moment is very low. Apart from the President, only very few political leaders enjoy the trust and confidence of the masses. The government must be seen as competent and caring. The role of government, indeed the raison d'ĂȘtre of political leadership, should be beyond service delivery (as conceived in all these plans and programs like MKUKUTA). Building roads, providing water, electricity, etc. are things to be celebrated but cannot be the only litmus test for good governance and government effectiveness. Government is best when Tanzanians are best; Government delivers when Tanzanians deliver. Tanzania is at its best as a government and as a people when there is partnership and cooperation, not when government just delivers services to its people. In this way, there needs to be a change in how people understand themselves and their contributions to Tanzania’s future, and a new national self concept must emerge to effectively turn the corner for a new democracy in Tanzania. This is critical because we have to avoid being crippled by dependency-syndrome – that all the problems – including the piling of trash in our backyard - and all the solutions – including taking care of trash from our backyard - are the responsibility of others. It is amazing these days that almost everyone you hear is complaining, some about things they can take care. This is not a good sign.

4. Demanding integrity:

It is important that Tanzanians understand that social and economic transformation is founded on unified action, fairness, transparency and accountability. For a plan of change to work, people must be compelled to make new and different decisions to comply with higher standards. Transparency creates public accountability that drives change. People must consider this not just in terms of elected officials, but within their communities, among friends and family, and in all aspects of daily life.

The situation as it is now, where 78 percent of Tanzanians do not trust each other, cannot be helpful. We must value honesty, reason, rationality, thrift, hardwork, and a sense of fairness. We must hold ourselves to high standards before pointing fingers to our public officials.

5. Boosting public morale through communication:

Everywhere, for people to be inspired to do greater things, they must feel optimistic about the future. Are we optimistic as a nation at the moment? I think the media has created a sense of pessimism among Tanzanians such that the public morale is low. Under these circumstances, greater effort is required to make people believe again in the future of their country. Nyerere succeeded in this area: we were doing terribly economically but people were hopeful and they followed Nyerere despite ambiguity.

Political leadership must be visible, passionate, and articulate in speaking for a plan for change, conveying the vision of the nation, explaining the challenges Tanzania faces and indicating where change will come and how people will effect it. The plan for change must have a face and a heart. People of every background must be able to see themselves in the process of change and must feel themselves to be in intimate partnership with this process.

Finally, let me just say: the nation is as strong as the character of its people.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Text of Obama's speech in Ghana

Text of President Barack Obama's speech Saturday in Accra, Ghana, as prepared for delivery and provided by the White House:

Listen to the audio here:

These are the speech excerpts that we sent out to thousands of SMS subscribers in Africa and around the world.

----It is an honor for me to be in Accra & to speak to the representatives of the people of Ghana. I am proud that this is my first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as President of the US.

----The 21st century will be shaped by what happens not just in Rome or Moscow or Washington, but by what happens in Accra as well.

----I will focus on four areas that are critical to the future of Africa and the entire developing world: democracy; opportunity; health; and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

----Governments that respect the will of their own people are more prosperous, more stable, and more successful than governments that do not.

----With better governance, I have no doubt that Africa holds the promise of a broader base for prosperity.

----People must make responsible choices that prevent the spread of disease… promoting public health in their communities and countries.

----America will support these efforts through a comprehensive, global health strategy.

----Africa’s diversity should be a source of strength, not a cause for division
We must stand up to inhumanity in our midst. It is never justifiable to target innocents in the name of ideology.

----I am speaking to the young people. You have the power to hold your leaders accountable, and to build institutions that serve the people.

----I can promise you this: America will be with you. As a partner. As a friend. Freedom is your inheritance. Now, it is your responsibility to build upon freedom’s foundation.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Why is Tanzania Underdeveloped?

I have been thinking about why a country like Tanzania is underdeveloped for some time now. Why is Africa underdeveloped despite having abundant natural resources? I often come across three things in my search for answers: corruption, legacies of colonialism, and unfair western policies. Yet it is clear that many African countries, like Tanzania, have natural resources that western nations could only dream of. Why then do we remain poor and underdeveloped?

I believe the answers to this question will provide clues for solving the problem of African underdevelopment.

This is what Obama had to say about Africa's underdevelopment in Ghana:

“There had been some talk about the legacies of colonialism and other policies by wealthier nations,” he said, “and without in any way diminishing that history, the point I made was that the South Korean government, working with the private sector and civil society, was able to create a set of institutions that provided transparency and accountability and efficiency that allowed for extraordinary economic progress, and that there was no reason why African countries could not do the same.”

He also criticized the culture of corruption in some African countries, saying that those who wanted to start a business or get a job there “still have to pay a bribe.” While wealthy nations must help, he said, poorer countries “have an obligation” to reform themselves.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

President Obama interview about upcoming Ghana Visit

He rebuffed Kenya to placate the notion that he might favour his father's country, and to lower the expectations Kenyans might have that his ascent to power mightbring the importance of Kenya into ascendancy.

While he prevaricates, postures and fulminates, China has made the relevance of Western support moot and nearly irrelevant. The Chinese have made Africa their priority and they are now offloading not only their money and technology, but also their poor.

So while Obama is setting up conditions on who he may visit in Africa (something he does not do to Muslims and Cubans by the way), Africa is marching on without him and his USA. We Afrticans did not expect anything of him, or of the Democrats. We got nothing when the last Democrat was in power, and it is not going to be different now.

It is too early,but time will tell.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Obituary: Prof Haroub Othman

When I heard about Professor Haroub Othman’s death on June 28th I was overwhelmed with an extraordinary sense of grief and personal loss, he was widely regarded as the outstanding representative of the post-structuralist left in Tanzania. And what consolation is there for the passing of a great man?

He does not leave behind a great void rather a heaviness of spirit, a weight almost unbearable that mercilessly seems to crush the heart and render each breath an ordeal. Above all, he was the most articulate and visible advocate of Zanzibar in mainland Tanzania, where it earned him many enemies within the ruling elite.

But Haroub Othman was not just a great scholar; he was a brilliant mind, an ardent nationalist, an advocate of justice, a free spirit, an unrelenting force for integrity, an uncompromising fighter on behalf of human dignity, and all the other sets of superlative depictions that he so aptly deserves. It is easy to say we still have his ideas, books, lectures at University of Dar es Salaam and else where, the records of the debates he waged around the world.

But Haroub Othman was a writer you loved as a whole person. You loved the way his laugh filled the room, his confident walk, the easy, mellifluous voice and the sometimes merciless sarcasm from which he would not spare himself. We will read Haroub’s works over and over again, and will commemorate his memory in the years to come. But it is hard knowing we will no longer watch him striding into battle, stripping off the varnish from insidious words and tearing the mask from the face of corruption.

He had a gentle identification with the oppressed and an intimidating rage against the oppressor, a warm embrace for the victim and a cold rejection of the culprit, a love for the post-union Zanzibar and all that its struggle stood for, and a total loathing for discrimination, racism and the degradation of human life and rights.

Haroub Othman was no saint. His ideas were not above criticism or debate. To my mind, there is something in these criticisms, but this was not the real point of his scholarly works. For Haroub Othman’s real achievement is to have defined what I will call, the will to dispossess that is at the heart of this scholarship. His writings are properly situated in the politics of dispossession that have their springboard in his Zanzibar origins. To understand his significance properly is to understand the recent history of Zanzibar.

However what is beyond discussion, though, is that Haroub Othman was as great an advocate of his people as he was a champion of knowledge in the service of humanity, of the image of the intellectual, of the victims of neo-colonialism and of the wretched of the developing world. He was a formidable and honourable adversary, even when facing those who lacked honour. Nor did he shrink from subjecting his ideas to renewed scrutiny whenever new knowledge seemed to call for revision, which, perhaps, is one of the most important marks of a sincere and dedicated thinker. Not only did he take an amazing delight in knowledge, he was one of the few who sought to discover the world through literature. He was the model of the peripatetic philosopher, indefatigable and tenacious as he raised the banner of a humanitarian aesthetic.

Haroub Othman may have been "out of place" as his personal narrative encapsulated this unique form of Zanzibarian displacement, but he has always been "in place" for those of us who dared to take his genius and friendship for granted.

In addition to the unbearable burden of his death, we have to bear the knowledge that we had never been prepared to accept it. For a man who has been described by some as "the conscience of Zanzibar," his ultimate absence requires the greater affirmation of all that he had represented, both in the consciousness of a nation and in the hearts of those who loved him.

The list of names and of graveyards will grow larger. The names will increase so we decrease and no one knows where they will die. Haroub Othman's is another grave out of place, another funeral away from the homeland he dreamt about. When we lose a person in such a way sorrow gives way to anger. I am angry because it doesn't make sense that we have to circumnavigate the globe in order to put a flower on every grave containing a creative talent from Zanzibar.

As a man of courage, graciousness, hope and dedication, his memory will remain forever in our hearts.

May his soul rest in peace.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

10 Years Latter, DSE is Still Crawling

In the past decade, Africa has experienced a surge in the development of stock markets. On this particular article, the author analyze how does DSE failed to provides incentive to Tanzanian investors. Enjoy the peace!

DSE: 10 years later, is it significant for the national economy?

Dar es Salaam

AS the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) recedes into its usual napping at the end of the year, there are several questions that call for answers, whether the stock exchange was already a significant player 10 years down the road, or if it wasn?t how much time there is before it perhaps becomes one.

So far the DSE had five sessions by perhaps ’forcing’ the pace, but at times, like lately, three sessions have been more or less adequate and it transacts little business all the same. Is Tanzania really a place to conduct share sales, or this is a World Bank fairy tale project?

Experts were trying to point out that Idd and Independence festivals had diminished the trading, which fell by a hefty 79.51 per cent as most companies were inactive and seven that were active traded marginally. Usually such a situation cannot arise if the bourse was embedded into the national economy, but as it is merely a sort of speculative market in like manner as shopping from some fashionable goods in supermarkets, any excuse is sufficient for not going there. One could just say trading at DSE stopped because it was rainy on one of the days, and the following day was too hot.

The DSE market capitalization now stands at 3,901.13bn/-, which in itself is a substantial portion of the economy, the difference being that much of what is quoted there isn’t quite national in character, and it is hard to actually state in what manner the DSE activity itself engages portions of the financial sector, and the financial outlook of the listed firms.

It would for instance be interesting to make a survey of capitalization efforts and stock market activity, where it is unlikely that the DSE activity is substantial for instance to foreign firms listed there. In the latter case, it would be proper to see their presence at DSE in cost-benefit analysis of maintaining offices for that purpose, or adding that aspect of share trading to board activities - instead of hiving off such aspects. It is fallow share trading, where a firm maintains its presence for future benefit, just in case....

Companies like East African Breweries and Kenya Airways are thus on the DSE as a potential stock trading zone in future, while local firms might have an eye to properly raising capital, and this to varying successes, since trading is conducted in relation to ’blue chip’ firms.

There is more of a speculative interest in stocks rather than proper investment, as the latter usually reflects balance sheets and growth prospects, while the former relates to sectors, those which make money easily get the lion’s share of buyers. Thus the listing of the National Micro-finance Bank (NMB) seems to have cut into the dominant share trading place of Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL), though it is arguable if this shift is sustainable, that NMB has greater profitability prospects in comparison with TBL.

It can thus be said that the creation of the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange is a ’supply side’ measure, that to the extent that it is of use for putting up a market economy, it was vital to bring it about to that it contributes whatever it can to the process of modernization..

Yet however, it has scarcely been grasped in terms of what it should be, for instance the fact that no pressure has come from either listed firms or the breadth of economic experts that land ownership be converted to private instead of state control, so that a rising land market provides the ’neutral’ charge that the DSE needs for its ’positive’ charge. Without a building and land market a stock exchange cannot work, for it is a sphere of exchanging values and balancing investment efforts - and when both fail, investors run towards gold to find shelter.

Indeed, it is hard to say which market is important to the economy, the stock market or the interbank foreign exchange market - for which there is very little that is said on a weekly basis - but it seems to be the key partner of the government and the central bank in managing the country’s economy on a day to day basis, the stock exchange being a window dressing for wider reform and modernization ’feel good’ needs.

There is more of a financial market in the country than there is a stock market, and the cash that finds its way into DSE is largely what wasn’t accepted at the Treasury bills, bonds market, and which is available for trading or speculative activity generally. There is no proper investment climate that one can credibly underline at DSE.

For instance there is scarcely a report as to whether any funds flow into DSE from any other quarter, though several of its stocks are large firms, and this situation is liked by the central bank as it ensures that the capital account is not liberalized.

While this part of modernization requirements appeared to be a matter of course towards the end of the third phase administration, despite that former BoT governor, the late Dr Daudi Balalli wasn’t known for making any public remarks on the issue, the current holder of the post is apparently an adept of pre-liberalization outlook, or he would perhaps say ’post-liberalization’ scheme of things. With the current global downturn, anti-liberals of all hues find their positions vindicated, for as far as they are concerned, it is capitalism as such which has failed to work properly, and the solution is state intervention to correct that they call market failures.

It is hard to say what can be brought under the ’market failure’ thesis and thus how much the government should do to correct what the market has failed. What can be listed under such a notion depends on the one listing it, and in our case there is pressure to return petroleum to a state firm to import and distribute, since prices being 20% above their predictable global level owing to the fall in crude oil prices if market failure.

Parliament also wants the state to take up at least 50 per cent of shares of gold mining firms, since there is ’market failure’ of equal benefit from their local operations, if everything is left to the market - that is, using merely the instrument of taxation.

Thus under such an aura of convictions, it is hard to see the Bank of Tanzania moving towards capital account liberalization and giving the sort of breadth that the DSE needs. Only when the doors to foreign investment will be opened shall there be stock trading at DSE, along with reform in land ownership so that industrial and financial stocks can be balanced or boosted in value from shifts in economic results or movement in land prices.

In Tanzania at the moment land prices don’t exist at the paper market level, so land isn’t allocated by the market and bringing about the benefits thereof. It is governed by machinations in the government and concerned ministries, dampening stock trading and fostering corruption, hampering credit and ruining job creation possibilities. In the absence of pluralism in economic thinking, as different from a herd mentality created by the 1967 Declaration and underlying nationalism, where blaming foreigners is key to economic and policy thinking as a whole, these methods of governance or land allocation are comprehended as natural.

Sovereignty lies in ability of the president to revoke the title to a certain piece of land, despite the fact that if land was free from the president’s hands its value would rise fast, attract scores of investors and the president’s agencies would then collect the relevant taxation from what becomes a booming economy. But isn’t sovereignty, freedom to do as we please, more valuable to the country than bread and butter, or is that not what was said in the Mwongozo wa TANU, in 1971