Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Case Against Voting for Chadema

The case against voting for Chadema

Source: Vijana.FM
Written on October 18, 2010 but it is as relevant as ever

I will try to make it short and concise, in an attempt not to bore you with rather commonsense reasons against voting for Chadema in this coming presidential election. For starters, we vote for the best person and the best party (infrastructure) to govern our country. A vote is to be casted to the person and party that have the best chance to do what the government ought to do. We do not cast a vote to replace a party that has not delivered only to be replaced by the gang of other mediocre. The notion that the incumbents since 1961 have to be replaced because they have failed to deliver for Tanzanians, and also they are the perpetrators of corruption is very true. CCM governments have become complacent, lacked sense of urgency to reform the nation, and have been on business as usual mode for few decades. We the people have every right to use our democratic rights to show them that we ain’t gonna take it no more. We will go to the polls and demonstrate the people’s power. And essentially replace them with somebody else.
Here comes the money question. Who are we going to replace CCM with? Which other party we can trust with our economy, security, and well being? Whether you like it or not — CCM has been able to build a nation with identity and maintained that cohesiveness throughout the history of our young country. That is no small task by any means. They have been able to essentially eliminate illiteracy, maintain the rule of law, improving infrastructures, and now scaling up higher learning institutions. The consensus is they could have done more in social service deliverance and curbing the culture of corruption that undermines the very institutions they are presiding over. But if we are going to replace them, who can we trust for the job? And do they have all the necessary tools to match the work CCM has done?
Chadema, which by all accounts is the main opposition party in mainland Tanzania, has put forth an able man, Dr. Slaa. Only to be complimented by unknown politician Said Mzee Said. This is the very first weakness by Chadema. God forbid, something happen to Dr. Slaa, we are going to stuck with unknown and unable gentleman as our President. Chadema seemed to never take the VEEP slot seriously, and to them it was just the matter of fulfilling NEC requirements. This act speaks volume to us voters, into what style of governing they will employ and what will be the future of Muungano.
The incumbent party (that we are so dissatisfied with) put together a truly democratic primary season to elect her MP candidates. There were some reported corruption cases in their elections, and some of the primaries were not perfect. But it was truly a commendable act, which led to the downfall of many CCM heavyweights. And to those alleged of corruption, the party was matured enough to initiate corruption case against theirowns.  On the other side, the party that is expected to usher new dawn of competent governance; waited on sidelines quietly collecting CCM’s sore losers. The same party has failed to field opposition in 10 constituencies, essentially giving CCM free seats. This is the party that has embraced Mabere Marando, the most opportunistic politician in our country. Recently, Chadema held a meeting to choose candidates for MP slots for viti maalumu. They spent an entire day without reaching consensus on TWO candidates. How hard is it to nominate two names? That it takes the party two days to decide. CCM has surprisingly acted more organized, and matured through this whole process and up to now during the campaign.
Now my fellow country men and women; we have to decide. CCM has noticeably been complacent in governing and we need to use democracy as a tool to remind them that. But Chadema and other opposition parties are not doing us any favor. If anything Chadema is more incompetent than CCM. The lineup of Dr. Slaa, Said Mzee Said, and Freeman Mbowe is not to be trusted with the well being of our country. Edmund Burke, an Irish political theorist warned about abstract reasoning by individuals will end up sweeping arrangements that stood the test of time. Political amateurs who promise rapid reforms will create fresh difficulties in attempt to re-engineer the society for their political gains. Chadema is disappointingly falling in this category. They have merely demonstrated formidable internal organization and have repeatedly showcased their lack of any strategic thinking. As much as we are inclined to punish the incumbents, voting Chadema for president would be a futile mistake. The best way to punish CCM is to give opposition enough (deserved) MP seats, and hoping that Upinzani will be more serious in the future before we can trust them with our country.
In mean time, I will be voting for CCM presidential candidate in this coming election. And I urge everybody else to do so.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

On The Contemporary Truth

On The Contemporary Truth

We live in the era unlike any other in human history. The period of abundance of information and constant communication between beings across the time zones.  To the extent where daily newspapers and news telecast are rendered opinion mouthpieces because they can no longer deliver the latest piece of information to the masses.  Only 20 years ago, Tanzania had no TV station, and handful of state controlled media.

This way of communicating is entirely new to human beings; we are social animals in physical sense, in the presence of physical things.  Technology is challenging the paradigms of physical-ness. How do you explain an introvert person with 3000 friends on Twitter? With this abundance of raw and refined information in our disposal, increased human-to-human interactions, there is need to redefine The Truth in todays context.  Is The Truth even important anymore?

Elsewhere, in during different eras—The Truth is defined differently. Let us revisit those definitions.  “There is no difference between The Truth and reality”.  Others put it “The belief is true, if an only if it corresponds to a fact” But more pragmatists thinkers simply put it “The Truth is the end of inquiry” or “The Truth is satisfactory to believe”. The definitions presented above present the dynamism of The Truth and how it can be viewed differently, I am from the school of thought that The Truth is one, it can neither be destroyed nor fabricated.  However, I realize that this is very idealistic and na├»ve definition of The Truth, albeit the correct one. The presence of evidence is The Truth’s bailout. Provided that the evidences are true. The Truth can be obtained or proved in the court of law, but lack or presence of The Truth is exclusive with the legal victory.

The Truth has always been elusive, because of many reasons. For starters, humans tend to generalize partial evidenced statements as The Truth.  For example, “smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer”. This is not entirely true, and in a real world where The truth is the end of inquiry, we can safely conclude that smoking cigarettes does not cause lung cancer.  I am not suggesting for the path of living free of uncertainties, I am merely pointing out the challenges facing the contemporary humans with sensory overload in dealing with The Truth.  

In this era of information overload, The Truth is not craved in stones anymore. The Truth changes between socioeconomic classes, The Truth depends on your Tweeter TimeLine or your Facebook Wall. The Truth depends if you read Uhuru or Tanzania Daima or if you watch MSNBC or FOX NEWS. The Truth is predetermined by your level of education, background, environment, genotypic make up, political, and religious beliefs. Just presenting the facts alone, is not enough to sustain the support or opposition of The Truth. The persistence and the manner of the presentation of the fact to the subjects is the sole predictor if the fact is The Truth or not.  I am convinced that human brains were not initially wired to view The Truth in this way, but the forces of evolution are steering us in that direction.

This phenomenon was initially a challenge and now a gold mine for folks looking to win any popularity support. Including elections. There is no need to be truthful anymore.  The only reward for being truthful in classical sense is to feel good about oneself or for religious and moral gains which have neither materialistic nor recognition values in our contemporary society.  The challenge for humanity on this context is momentous; opinions have became the new entertainment and each one claim to carry The Truth. We are obviously not evolving fast enough compared to the technology that we are inventing. Only the quickest to adapt will prosper.


Thursday, September 6, 2012



I am pleased to announce the formation of the new Board of Directors for Bumbuli Development Corporation (BDC). The BDC Board will provide the leadership and support in ensuring successful implementation of the vision and mission of BDC for the next three years.

The ten-member Board will be the topmost governing body of BDC. The primary responsibility of a board member is to participate in the development of strategies and major decision-making at board meetings and being active on an ongoing basis in a committee of the board.

I am proud to announce that this Board of Directors is made of a group of extraordinary individuals, drawn from different sectors and nationalities to provide BDC with the cutting edge leadership and foresight it needs to fulfill its mission.

The new Directors are

1.      Dr. Paul Armington

Dr. Armington is the President of World Institute for Leadership and Management in Africa (WILMA). He began his career as an economist working in International Monetary Fund (IMF) Research Department, where he produced influential articles on international trade and helped to found the IMF’s now-famous "World Economic Outlook" methodology and publication. Later, he worked at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) where he was instrumental in bringing about the international agreement known as the Smithsonian Realignment of Exchange Rates (1971). From 1975-86, Dr. Armington worked as an economist in the private sector, collaborating with the London School of Business, Ford Foundation, Forex Research Ltd., Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, and the World Bank.

Dr. Armington is an accomplished academic and taught at the University of Pennsylvania. He is famous for the "Armington Elasticities", now referred to and taught in graduate courses in international trade and economics.  

In 1986, Dr. Armington joined the World Bank as Senior Economist. He also served as Division Chief and advisor in the International Economics Department of the World Bank, and then for three years as Principal Economist in the Africa Region’s Capacity Building Unit. In 1999, he took early retirement to devote his energies to the creation of the World Institute for Leadership and Management in Africa (WILMA), which he now serves as president

Dr. Armington received his Bachelor’s degree at Swarthmore College, USA and his Ph.D in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

2. Ambassador Juma V. Mwapachu
Ambassador Juma V. Mwapachu is former Secretary General of the East Africa Community (EAC) and a well-known and respected Tanzanian businessman, diplomat and thought-leader. Ambassador Mwapachu has held a number of senior positions in both the public and private sector of Tanzania. He served as Tanzania’s Ambassador to France from 2002 to 2006. He was the founding Secretary General of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in 1988, served as Chairman of the Confederation of Tanzania Industries between 1996 and 2000 and Chairman of the East African Business Council from 1999 to 2000. Throughout his working career, he has been a leading advocate of the creation of a strong and dynamic private sector in Tanzania.

Ambassador Mwapachu served as a Managing Consultant at Coopers & Lybrand Associates which is now PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in the early 1980s. He has also served on a number of Presidential Commissions that consolidated Tanzania's market economy and which ushered in a multi-party political system. He was a member of the Team of Experts that crafted Tanzania's Development Vision 2025. He played a leading role in the regional integration of East Africa as Secretary General of the East African Community for five years between 2006 and 2011.

He began his career in the public sector in Tanzania as a State Attorney and later served  in the National bank of Commerce, rural development and the Foreign Office. He has been Chairman of Board of Directors of Tanzania Railways and the Tanzania Investment Bank. He has been a Non Executive Director of Exim Bank (Tanzania) Limited since December 5, 2008. Ambassador Mwapachu serves as a Director of The Heritage Insurance Company (T) Limited, Non Executive Director of African Barrick Gold Plc. He currently chairs the Governing Council of the University of Dodoma, a public University. Since January, 2012, he serves as President of the Society for International Development (SID).

 Ambassador Mwapachu holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of East Africa, Dar es Salaam, a Post graduate Degree in International Law from the Indian Academy of International Law, New Delhi, Doctorate degrees (Honoris Causa) in literature from the University of Dar es Salaam and political sciences from the National University of Rwanda. Kenya has decorated him with the third highest award, the Order of Moran of the Golden Heart (MGH).

3. Ms. Jill Bishop

Ms. Bishop is the Executive Director of Tanzania Education Trust Foundation and President of Tanzania based BSI Ltd., a consultancy that provides strategic advisory services to government, philanthropic and private sector entities, with an emphasis on strategic planning and visioning; partnership formation; program management; and creative problem solving in developing economies. She has over 20 years of expertise in global business development and macroeconomic policy and has worked extensively with governments and private sector firms throughout Africa on a myriad of development initiatives. With a niche expertise in developing and implementing innovative strategies in challenging environments, BSI combines practical global business development experience with inventive future-oriented solutions to enable continued growth and development of its clients. BSI is based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Ms. Bishop has assisted numerous philanthropic organizations and foreign direct investors with their engagement with Africa, as well as African governments with facilitating international market access. Most recently she served as the Program Manager for the Tanzania Beyond Tomorrow Project of behalf of the Government of Tanzania, overseeing project development and managing multiple multinational business relationships in an effort to create global partnerships for ICT use in education delivery.  She previously served as the President of GlobalXccess  where she became a patented inventor of financial services products for underserved markets. She has also held several management consulting positions with Deloitte & Touche Consulting where she led a variety of methodology-based consulting projects in Business Process Reengineering, Strategy, and System Integration. Ms. Bishop holds an Executive MBA from the London School of Economics and Political Science; the HEC School of Management, Paris; and the New York University Stern School of Business (TRIUM). She has an undergraduate degree in Economics and Finance from Rutgers University.

4. Mr. Betram Eyakuze

Mr. Eyakuze is a Partner and Co-founder of Serengeti Advisers Limited, a Tanzanian-based consultancy. Previously he was a private equity investment professional with CDC Capital Partners, a British company with significant investments across Africa and other developing countries. Prior to returning to Tanzania with CDC, he was a management consultant with Mitchell Madison Group in New York, where he was a member of a number of engagement teams that assisted in strategy formulation and improving the operational efficiency of large multinational companies. Clients included the largest U.S telecommunications provider, a global insurance group, and a leading technology-products manufacturer. His responsibilities with CDC Capital Partners in Tanzania included the detailed review and improvement of dozens of business plans across all economic sectors with a view to identifying, structuring, negotiating, and completing equity investment opportunities, typically in already-existing enterprises. Mr. Eyakuze has extensive expertise in business development, strategy formulation, and corporate finance.
He is currently involved in the development of a large-scale agro-industrial project as well as a mineral processing venture in Tanzania, and serves on the boards of a number of national businesses, including a microfinance company and a leading pharmaceutical distribution company.

Mr. Eyakuze received his B.A.S in Civil Engineering and Economics from Stanford University and his M.B.A from Yale University School of Management.
5. Mr. Edward V.K. Jaycox

Mr. Jaycox is a retired Managing Director of Emerging Markets Partnership (EMP) and the CEO of the US$ 400 million AIG African Infrastructure Fund which he, and others, founded in 1999. Prior to joining EMP, Mr. Jaycox served as Vice President of the World Bank in charge of the Bank's operations in Sub-Saharan Africa from 1984 to 1996. During this period, he managed the design and negotiation of structural adjustment programs in over thirty African countries and approved over US$30 billion in loans and credits to support economic policy reform and projects in all of the major sectors.

Mr. Jaycox is deeply familiar with Africa's economic environment and history and intricacies of market reforms in the continent. Earlier, Mr. Jaycox directed the World Bank's programs in East Asia and led the team that brought China into the World Bank. He also managed the first structural adjustment programs supported by the World Bank in Thailand and South Korea. For over 15 years of his more than 30 years with the World Bank, he appraised projects and managed technical teams, divisions and departments working in the infrastructure sectors including roads, ports, airports, pipelines, railways, waterways, and urban infrastructure, such as water, electricity, expressways, rapid transit and housing.

Mr. Jaycox has an A.B. degree from Yale College and an M.A. degree from Columbia University School of International Affairs and Certificate in African Studies from its African Institute.

6. Mr. January Y. Makamba

Mr. Makamba is the founder-director of Bumbuli Development Corporation and current Member of Parliament for Bumbuli constituency and the Deputy Minister for Communication Science and technology in the government of Tanzania. Before his appointment as a Deputy Minister, he served as a Chairman of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy and Minerals and Deputy Chairman of the Board of Director of the Tea Board of Tanzania. Before being elected as a Bumbuli Constituency representative in the Tanzanian parliament, Mr. Makamba was working at the country’s highest office as a senior Aide to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete for 5 years from 2005-2010. Mr. Makamba started government service as a civil servant where he worked as Foreign Service Officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Mr. Makamba attended St. Johns University in Minnesota, USA, where he obtained a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies after which he joined the Jimmy Carter Presidential Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, as Research Assistant where he also spent some time in Sierra Leone. He was later enrolled for a Master of Science degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia after the completion of his assignment at the Carter Center. Mr. Makamba has also worked in humanitarian assistance operations as Assistant Camp Manager in the Burundian refugee camps in Kigoma, Tanzania, overseeing the welfare of 120,000 Burundi refugees.

7. Dr. Najim Msenga

Dr.  Najim is a native and resident of Bumbuli and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Bumbuli township. Born and raised in Bumbuli, he has invested in trading, transport and housing in Bumbuli and gemstones business across Tanzania. He is the Executive Director of Najim and Company Ltd, and Kimmse Investment Ltd. 

In 1993 he was awarded the honorarium title of Doctorate after discovering the Green Sapphires in Tanga, Tanzania.


8. Bishop Dr. Stephen Munga

Bishop Munga is a Lushoto-based Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania for the Northern-Eastern Diocese. Bishop Dr. Munga is on a number of committees of the Evangelical Lutheran Council in Tanzania (ELCT) since 2001 when he was elected the Bishop of ELCT North Eastern Diocese. Bishop Dr. Munga .was the first Chairperson of Sebastian Kolowa University College and now is the Chancellor of Sebastian Kolowa Memorial University; is the Chairperson of The Lutheran Mission Corporation; Policy, Finance and Planning Committee of the Christian Council of Tanzania.

Bishop Dr. Munga is a recognised leader in community development in Lushoto. He has been an ardent advocate for environmental protection and sustainable livelihood in the Usambara Mountains. He is also a national leader and activist for the sound management and governance of Tanzania's natural resources, serving in the national committee of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. He also chaired the Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and the Integrity of Creation.

Bishop Munga obtained his Doctorate of Theology from the University of Lund, Sweden.

9. Ms. Grace C. Rubambey

Ms. Grace Rubambey is a rural and microfinance expert and former director of the Bank of Tanzania.  She holds a BBA (Economics) and a MA (Economics) degrees from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, USA. Ms. Rubambey has more than 35 years experience in financial issues, policy formulation, program coordination, institution building, and training. She worked at the Bank of Tanzania for more than 28 years, 24 of which were in various management positions, including Manager Economic Research and Statistics, Director of Rural Finance, Director of Financial Markets and Director of Microfinance. While seconded from the Bank of Tanzania, she also served as the first non-FAO Secretary General of the Nairobi-based Africa Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) for five years from 1984 to 1989. In recognition of her work at AFRACA and her personal commitment in the development of rural and microfinance in Africa, in 2006, the Government of Burkina Faso awarded her Knighthood of the National Order (Chevalier de L’ordre National). 

Ms. Rubambey, a staunch advocate of rural/microfinance and inclusive financial services in general, has been credited for spearheading the development of rural and microfinance in Tanzania, in particular the Bank of Tanzania’s critical intervention in the sector at a time when the subject was little known in the country and the region as a whole. She established the Directorate of Micro-finance at the Bank of Tanzania and headed it for more than seven, until her retirement. She led the national team that drafted the Tanzania’s National Microfinance Policy, a policy that was internationally acknowledged as one of the best in the industry. She also led the national Task Force that drafted the regulatory, legal and supervisory framework for micro-finance in Tanzania.

Ms. Rubambey has served on a number of boards and policy development committees, including the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) Tanzania National Economic Empowerment Council and the Advisory Board to the President’s Empowerment Fund.

10. Prof. Andrew Temu

Prof. Andrew Temu is an Associate Professor at the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agri-business, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. Prof. Temu has in the past undertaken Visiting and Research Fellowships at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign-USA and the International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, USA. He has also managed the SADC Food Security Training Programme  in the 14 member countries.

Prof. Temu has extensive knowledge of agri-business projects appraisal and agricultural finance, privatisation, divestiture of agricultural parastatals and private sector development, and in designing, analysing and evaluating agricultural policies and strategies.  He has participated actively in the development of the Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and the Agriculture Sector Development Programme for Tanzania.

Prof. Temu has researched, published and offered consultancy services in a wide range of areas related to agricultural production, marketing, trade and rural development. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Private Agricultural Sector Support (PASS) Trust. He is a board member in a number of organizations, including the African Guarantee Fund Ltd; Tanzania Investment Center; the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT); the Economic and Research Foundation. He has in the past also served as a Board member of The CRDB Bank and its subsidiary pursuing Microfinance Services. He is a Founder Chairman of Diligent Consulting Ltd, a private Tanzanian consulting firm.

Prof. Temu has a BSc in Agriculture from the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania, an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from Reading University in UK, and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the London University in UK.

I am grateful to all these individuals for agreeing to serve in the Board, and therefore take part in the advancement of the welfare of the people of Bumbuli and Tanzania in general.  The cumulation of members' vast experiences, many accomplishments and diverse backgrounds makes this a formidable team. This is a clear statement on our part at BDC that we intend to create a world-class organisation aiming for excellence and governed by the highest ethical standards. Today, with the appointment of this board, we have taken one more step towards the realisation of the dream and the promise of transformation of Bumbuli.

January Makamba (MP)
Bumbuli Constituency
6 September 2012

About BDC

BDC was established in November 2010 as a development for-profit but not for dividend company with a mission to promote private, social and public investments with positive economic and social transformation of the people of Bumbuli Constituency, Lushoto District and beyond. The core of BDC’s mission is to catalyse private enterprise in Bumbuli, by attracting domestic and foreign investments into the region, facilitating and coordinating technical assistance and technology transfer, and building strong collaborative links with the local, district and central governments.

BDC is envisaged to initiate, attract, promote, coordinate and monitor the activities that would both enhance the existing private, public and donor programs as well as develop specific programs for economic growth and social wellbeing of the people of Bumbuli. Currently, BDC invests in and carry out specific and carefully chosen projects with maximum social impact. More information about Bumbuli and BDC can be found in the book Bumbuli – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which is available at



TEL: +255 22 2129821/6  FAX:
+255 22 2129796

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chemchem inapotoka karibu na Machinjioni

This right here is Hip Hop at its finest. Tanzania's own @Wakazi dropping verses over Mobb Deep's Hell on Earth instrumental. There are very few MCs with this impeccable delivery, and mastery of both languages.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

This poem by Dale Wimbrow was published in 1934. Its relevance is timeless.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Telecoms sector needs to do more...

This article that I wrote was published in the Sunday Guardian of June 3rd.

I did nothing wrong as deputy minister to instruct TCRA

I read with particular interest an article published in the May 25 edition of this newspaper titled ‘Collective responsibility and emerging anarchy in state policy’ by Ani Jozeni. The article would not have warranted a response if it were not so elegantly written, so blatantly misleading and wrong on both facts and logic.

I am taking the liberty to respond so as to correct certain factual errors and flaws in logic, and offer him and the readers a bit of understanding about the telecoms sector.

Jozeni’s gripe is twofold: one, that it was incorrect for a government leader to ask Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to take up with mobile phone operators an issue about poor mobile phone services and that we, who do not reside at the Treasury, must not complain about poor tax revenue collection from telecoms companies.  Two, that a deputy minister should not be talking about these things because of his imagined possibility that the minister may be having different thoughts.

You only need to possess a mobile phone to know that the quality of service – the rate of dropped calls, failure to initiate calls, unsolicited SMS, customer service issues and so forth – has been a source of complaints by many subscribers. There are specific regulations in the TCRA Act to do with the quality of services offered and the parameters to be adhered to by the operators are clearly stipulated.

It is absolutely the right thing to ask TCRA, which, by the way, is doing a fantastic job, to ensure that mobile phone operators are within these parameters because TCRA is ultimately responsible for the enforcement of the Act and its regulations.

You only need to be moderately informed about public affairs to know that low tax revenue collection from mobile phone companies has been an issue of debate in the National Assembly and by the general public. 

Now, what do the numbers say? In 2010, mobile phone companies grossed about US$ 1 billion, and paid corporate taxes amounting to US$1.7 million, according to a brief provided to me by TCRA during my visit to their office. During the same year, taxes paid by mobile phone operators in Kenya amounted to US$78.3 million, Uganda US$31.3 million and Rwanda US$14 million.

Surely, you could argue that Kenya’s economy is bigger than ours, but Rwanda, a much smaller economy compared to ours and with two major mobile phone service operators, collected taxes from the companies close to tenfold than we did – with our six main mobile phone service operators.

To be sure, no one is suggesting that mobile phone service operators broke tax laws here.  But anyone with the right mind will see that we could do far better than we are doing, and stating this, as I am doing now, is really stating the obvious. Effective taxation is done through timely and effective collection of information on businesses. Asking the responsible authorities to ensure that we do just that is the right thing to do.

To put the facts correctly, the two-week period reportedly issued by the deputy minister was for mobile phone operators to detail their plans to deal with their customers’ complaints about the quality of service, not to sort out tax issues. Still, Jozeni’s idea that we can’t talk about taxes now simply because the parliamentary budget session is less than a month away is being shortsighted.

Firstly, the country has a future beyond budget sessions, and, secondly, revenue measures can be adjusted even on the morning of budget day. Also his notion that only the Treasury – and not any other government ministry – should be concerned with government revenue is simply ridiculous.

TPDC, a regulator of upstream oil and gas activities, in undertaking its duties, including the auditing of production sharing agreements (PSA) with oil and gas companies, helps TRA collect a deserved amount of taxes. I could go on about how cooperation by different government entities is not only important but necessary in ensuring the right revenue measures are taken with a view to effective tax collection.

TCRA early in May announced a tender to procure, install and operate a mobile phone traffic monitoring system (TMS) which, among many other good things, will help us determine, and indeed track, the amount of minutes dialed and the SMS volume and therefore independently (yes, by ourselves) verify the amount of government revenue that could be due from the mobile phone companies.

This is where the nexus between the TCRA initiative and government revenue is found, a connection that Jozeni missed because, in his line of thinking, all initiatives relating to government revenue “start and are concluded at the Ministry of Finance”.

Last year, mobile phone operators reported that a total of about 20 billion minutes were dialed. We have no reason to believe that the operators lied about this number, but would it not be nice if the government, through TCRA, could verify the number on its own without relying on reports by the operators?

In 2010, Ghana’s TCRA deployed a more or less similar tracking technology to monitor just international calls traffic in and out of Ghana, and, within a year, in 2011, Ghana’s TRA increased its revenue collection from telecom operators by US$40 million, which was over and above what they were collecting before.

It is important to point out here that the culprits causing government loss in revenue include unscrupulous private individuals who do ‘SIM-boxing’ – that is, routing international calls and terminating them to a simple device set up in their homes and then connecting them here locally using local numbers. That’s the reason you sometimes receive an international call with a local number on your caller ID, thus depriving revenue to both telecom companies and the government.

Therefore, it can’t be so disastrous, as Jozeni would want us to believe, for a government leader, be it a minister, deputy minister or PS, to call for measures against this and other malpractices.

Obviously, the contribution of the telecoms industry to the country’s economy goes beyond taxes. I need not list here all the benefits accruing from telecoms sector investments in the country as they are obvious. But the fact remains that the sector could contribute far more than it is doing now. And one of our tasks at the ministry is to ensure that it does.

At the moment the telecoms sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP stands at a paltry 2.5 per cent. However, in Kenya, its contribution is 9 per cent while in Uganda it is 5.2 per cent. The 2.5 per cent contribution is at a glaring variance with the scale and pace of the sector’s growth.

Last year, the sector grew by about 22 per cent.  Thus far, it is the fastest growing sector and the growth has been steady for the past 10 years. Between 2001 and 2010 it grew at an average of 11 per cent per year while the GDP grew at an average of 7 per cent.

Total cumulative investment in the sector during the same period amounted to Shs. 2,563 billion. On average, telecom companies invested about Shs. 256 billion per year. Also, the mobile penetration rate increased by 53 per cent per year (on compounded annual growth rate) from the year 2001 to 2010. With this rate of increase in penetration, telecoms economists suggest that the industry’s contribution to the GDP should have been at least 5.3 per cent, not 2.5 per cent!

With these numbers I would like to tip off Jozeni to expect us who are charged with the development of the sector to continue talking about and working for more government revenue from the sector and for its increased contribution to the economy. I communicated this message to TCRA and the mobile phone operators that I visited recently. The encouraging thing is that almost all the operators I visited were committed to ensuring that the sector contributes more, and their future plans indicate this commitment. 

While the issues of telecoms taxes and contribution to GDP are important, it will be unfortunate if the discussion on role of the telecoms sector to the economy and improvement of people's lives remains solely on these matters. A lot has been done in the sector over the past 10 years, including an increase in financial services inclusion facilitated by Mobile Money. Just last year alone, mobile money services grew by 293 percent. An average distance to a bank is 50 kilometers, but thanks to the explosion of telecoms Mobile Money services, Tanzanians can find money transfer and other financial services within one kilometer.

The debate we should be having is whether this Mobile Money financial intermediation catalyses economic growth or is it just sheer money circulation with little impact on promoting consumption in the real economy or in fact contribution to savings and investments that spur wealth creation? Is the current regulation on mobile money sufficient to deal with issues of fraud, money laundering and customer protection?

Another discussion I am keen to have is what is the best model to get telecoms services access to areas that don't have access - areas that are deemed "commercially not viable" by telecoms operators, so that geography, settlement patterns and income levels do not deprive some of our people the benefits of telecoms services.

Also, of the Shs 1.6 trillion revenue grossed by telecoms operators in 2011, Shs 1.3 trillion came through voice services. Now that we have fibre optic network in most of the country, how do we move the sector to the next level, beyond the dominance of voice services, to the applications of more and sophisticated IT services and products? How do we create a critical mass of ICT entrepreneurs and hubs of innovations to create ICT solutions to our development and governance challenges? These questions, beyond telecoms revenue, occupy us in the Ministry and in associated institutions such Costech.

I talked about all these issues during the past weeks. Policy criticism – and indeed ideas – on these matters by Jozeni would have been heartening.

Jozeni also seems to be obsessed with titles: minister and deputy minister, and who can say or do what. This is a trivial matter, given the momentous task ahead of us to fix challenges in the telecoms sector. Everyone in government speaks on and executes government policy. In his article, he fails to point out where and which government policy was contravened.

He also fails to point out where the minister and deputy minister have contradicted each other. He eventually settles on the hypothetical “suppose the minister doesn't countersign the deputy minister’s directive…”. Well, on the flip side, suppose, as is the case now, the minister and the deputy minister speak the same language? Then his whole argument collapses, as it surely does.

Sure, the government has had its fair share of challenges in coordination and public communication, but Jozeni’s article misfired as a hit-piece on me and on this challenge.

As far as leadership style is concerned, Jozeni suggests that former prime minister, the late Edward Moringe Sokoine, the Member of Parliament for Vunjo, Mr. Augustine Lyatonga Mrema and myself are cut from the same cloth. If one entertains the idea that Mrema’s name here is misplaced, I would be flattered. -----------

--------   January Makamba is a Member of Parliament for Bumbuli, and Deputy Minister for Communications, Science and Technology.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Critique of a Tanzania People

Humanity has always been advancing; even during hard times humans constantly find ways to manipulate their environment and innovate new technologies to guarantee their immediate survival on this planet. However, the realization of human progress as a specie have been uneven. This is obvious. Inequality across the countries and across individuals have been demonstrated for decades. But humanity have always been stratified, there were no egalitarian era recorded in our history. So the pursuit of equality is impractical. I am not suggesting a complete alienation from The Commons. I am merely pointing out the obvious, and provide clarity in this important subject. The process of wealth creation is the only solution to decrease rampant inequality. Inequality will be decreased not by distributing the existing wealth, but by the poor creating their own wealth. I will explain.

With this backdrop, it is important to understand that individual wealth creation has never been achieved by sets of legislations alone. Self determination and strong work ethics have complimented societal laws to guide the creation of populous middle class. You see, the construction of a strong middle class is a generational process. And it involves enormous sacrifices from the parents by heavily investing in their children. An average American parents spend up to $38,000 per child by the time the child reach 34 years old.  In doing so, they are guaranteeing a healthier and educated offspring-- a skilled job, hence higher purchasing power, and a lifetime taxpayer to the state. Rich countries had amassed wealth by conquering, and extracting free raw materials with free labor. But you should not overlook the role played by their citizens in taking advantage of resources provided by the states in improving their well-being. If you look at countries that have gotten wealthier, their citizens had played a bigger role in sacrificing and not expecting hand-outs.

This model of wealth creation is contrary to Tanzania's, and like-minded countries. The triumph of democracy has enabled the people to choose their leaders (rightly so). But it has also forced aspired leaders to be willing to say anything to be elected. Gone were the days of "tujifunge mkanda"; older generations of leaders used to call on Tanzania people to work hard to betterment their children's lives. The new age of politicians will promise anything for a vote. Re-distribution of land, free education, free healthcare, and even daring to cheat the markets. Voters desires have become entitlements, and are made to believe that the responsibilities for creation of their personal wealth is government's. Even country's conversation has turned populistic and simplistic. Intellectuals and politicians spend their days discussing about sitting allowances, and percentage of Muslims and Christians on constitution committee.

We should be worried when voters have unrealistic expectations from the government, which are shaped by politicians' rhetoric. The truth is no government interventions will influence citizen's capabilities. Free education will not educate your offsprings if you are a bad parent. Capabilities are built by self determination. Tanzanians have to start looking at ourselves, our attitude, work ethics, and our values if we wish to truly decrease the inequality gap. And start looking for a leader who will tell you that, having gold buried hundreds of feet underground doesn't mean a sh!t until it is in the jewelry store.

I will end with this. We are the most populous country in East Africa which has a net negative remittance. That is we send more money to our relatives abroad than they send back home.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Letter to My Fathers

Letter to My Fathers
(read at PEN & MIC event on 6 February 2011)

Because you have not been listening to me, I have decided to write to you – so that my children’s grandchildren may know that you are I were made of different cloths.

I have a lot of bones to pick with you. But the bottom line is this: you have failed to realize the mission of your generation, you have failed to inspire my peers to greatness, and now you want to drag me into the schizophrenia, the insecurities, and the dwarfed ambition of your generation.

I do not understand why you have not managed to be as selfless as your father, who continues to inspire me even though I haven’t met him.

I am disappointed not because you have not set the conditions for my kids to be astronauts, but because your greed, your narcissism, your hypocrisy are setting the conditions for me to be cynical – and therefore underachieve.

I do not expect you to build a Space program. But the least you can do is hand the country over to us in one piece. We will take it from there.

But for that to happen, I am going to have to say ENOUGH. So, I write today to tell you ENOUGH.

ENOUGH with your obsession with being vindicated at all cost – you embarrass us by insulting each other in newspapers each morning.

ENOUGH with extreme verbal rhetoric and fire and brimstone in explaining your differences with your peers – you remove the possibility of compromise; you corrode the hearts of those of us obsessed with reason.
ENOUGH with licking the boots of those owning the media – you bestow legitimacy to shadowy figures of questionable moral rectitude.

ENOUGH with your daily proclamations that you are clean, you are for justice – while we know that what you own and what you have could not have come from your income, that you took a concubine, that on a trip to China, you flew first class and drank whisky more expensive than mathematical sets of the entire school.

ENOUGH with your habit of theatrically and hypocritically hugging and laughing with a person we all know you detest. We don’t understand it.

ENOUGH with your reliance on the false crutches of witchcraft to ostensibly brighten your face, sweeten your tongue, and neuter your adversaries.

ENOUGH with pleading and waiting for Santa Claus to come and fill your coffers so that you can pay my teachers and buy my textbooks.

Of course, we see some things that you have done: more roads, more clinics, more skyscrapers, bigger budget, bigger parliament, free and frenzied media. But then these are managerial stuff. What about the stuff of leadership: Community. Society. Arts. Culture. Truth.

ENOUGH with everything: with your love for ambiguity; with your distaste with clarity.

Before I go, I want you to help me with few things:

Why did you get Tanzania to be called an experiment?

• Your embraced multipartism at one point, you dropped it, and adopted it again.

• You embraced capitalism at one point, you dropped it, and adopted it again.

• You change curriculum everyday – at one point you dropped history and geography – the essence of self-knowledge and knowledge about the world. You even dropped chemistry and physics – the essence of conquering the frontiers of the unknown universe. Then, you reinstated them.

• You started the East African Community – at great cost. Then you killed it – at greater cost. Then you restarted it – even without really being sure that you want to be in it.

• You waited until 2004 to build secondary schools in all corners of Tanzania. Seriously, where were you all these years? A generation of my peers BEFORE these new schools could not earn a living with their secondary education. A generation of my peers AFTER these schools can’t earn a living with this education.

Perhaps it is not your fault. I know you have had to contend with the harsh realities of your era – in which you were denied of as simple pleasures as a television broadcast. Perhaps the shoes you have had to fill were too big for you – and the might and the sacrifices of the pre-independence generation dwarfed you, and made sterile your art of possibility.

So, time is now for us to run the show. In fact, we already run stuff. Back in the days, you were the most high-tech person in the house – when the cassette player was the most high tech gadget in the house. Today, when gadgets are more complicated, you call on us to “configure”. This means we are wired for this complex world than you can appreciate. We run a lot of stuff around town. We make stuff work – at the banks, at the malls, in server rooms. We design, we create, we execute: from banners to ringtones. We tweet - and I may need to explain this: that is, with our fingertips, we talk to the world. Surely, we can steer our country forward.

Of course, we are not perfect. Just as you, we are prone to intellectual laziness. Some of us are tempted to live beyond our means. And, for some of us, something that is not “fasta” – including a university degree – is not good enough. But, despite this, we are good enough to create the future we want. And time is now.

I have to go. In the meantime, if you ask me what exactly do I want, I will tell you this: I want stuff to work. Full stop. We care less about your tantrums that you were right yesterday and your certain peer was wrong; that you are for truth and justice and your certain colleague is not; that you killed the lion with your bare hands – and there are no more heroes these days; and that, me and my peers, are impatient and undisciplined, and that we are embodiment of moral decay. Maybe. And, if so, we learnt from the best. Still, hand over the country to us in one piece. It is not too much to ask.

Thank you,


February 6th, 2011

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Engaging Bumbuli Constituents....

So, when I ran for MP I decided that I should engage my constituents as much and as often as possible. One of the ways I decided to use was SMS as lots of people, even in rural areas, have mobile phones. But I figured that most of my people will be constrained - and the excercise will not be effective - if they have to pay to send SMS to me. So, I decided to make it a free service. That people in Bumbuli send free messages when they want to contact me. But, somebody has to pay for it. And that is me. I applied for a short-code with TCRA for these 1500... numbers. Then negotiated with mobile phone companies for at-cost SMS rate. I then distributed the number - through posters and in public meetings - for my people to send messages if they have ANY matter - advice, complaint, etc - that they want to bring to my attention. The messages go into a web platform, and every morning and afternoon, my Assistant Alex and I log-in to see what Bumbuli people are saying. When I'm travelling Alex emails me the day's messages. We respond to some, take action on others, and also forward others to responsible authorities in the District, example DC, DED, OCD, etc. The program has been running for almost a year now and has been wildly successful. I know more about issues on the ground - even when I'm in New York - than officials on the ground. In terms of cost, it is actually cheaper than one would think. Initially, it was expensive as we were getting a lot of messages, most of them saying things like "Mheshimiwa, kumekucha, umeamkaje?". With public education, we cut down on those.

In the system, we can segment messages on issues, areas (kata), etc. On March 6th, I was in Vuga, and Alex, from my office in Dar, emailed me Vuga SMSes so that I can address the issues while there. Here I provide some. And this is just Vuga, we have so many messages from many different places.

On Tuesday, March 6, 2012, alex manonga <> wrote:
> Nimeambiwa leo utakuwa Vuga, hizi ni baadhi ya kero ambazo zimekuwa zikijirudia na huenda zikajitokeza. Nimekutumia ili uwe na picha halisi kabla ya kuzungumza na wananchi, mipira tayari Hozza alimkabidhi Diwani kwa baadhi ya teams. Nitakuwa nafoward kwa viongozi zile message ambazo hazihitaji privacy protection kama hiyo ya mwisho inayomtaja Diwani. Baga nitakutumia baadaye.

> 2.56E+11 Nashukuru sana mbunge kwa sms yako kwasasa nipo kilimanjaro kwa wazaz mwl wa vuga.
> 2.56E+11 Haruna shemhina kijiji cha kidundai  kata vuga maoni ni kuhusu baraba yetu  ya kutoka bangala kidundai kila mwaka tunapewa ahadi lakini hakuna kinachofanyika nakuomba  ndugu m h mbunge hili swala liingilie kati
> 2.56E+11 Ruzuku mpaka mwezi gani katika kij chetu kiungo chakuunga bomba maji yawafikie watu pesa tungeitumia sasa m kiti kishewa vuga
> 2.56E+11 Bashiru Ally .katib u wa c.c.m tawi la Kidundai kata xa  vuga jimbo la Bum buli Mhe mbunge  ni lini kero mama ya Barabara kidu ndai itatuishia?
> 2.56E+11 ni mwl wa s/m vuga napenda sana mazingira ya vuga lushoto lakn fedha yng haitosh pamoja na kulipia kodi TUNAOMBA UJENZ WA NYUMBA ZA WALIMU ahsante
> 2.56E+11 Kero yangu kwako Mh.Mbunge ni tatizo la maji katika eneo lako la Kata ya Vuga maji ya kisima yanapatikana kwa siku ya Ijumaa tu .Na ina kuwa tatizo kubwa kwa sisi wafanyakazi kufanya kazi katika mazingila magumu kiasi hiki.Itafika mahali ukose wafany
> 2.56E+11 Tunakupongeza kwa juhudi zako ktk Jimbo letu la Bumbuli.Tunaomba swala la umeme kata ya vuga,uliwekee kipaombele kwani tumeona Tanesco wamekuja kupima,tunaomba wasiishie kupima tu.mungu akupe maisha marefu na afya njema Mbunge wetu.Ni mimi mwl.MAHONG
> 2.56E+11 MH.MBUNGE mimi ni mwl wa shule ya msing vuga tunaomba tujengewe nyumba za walimu kwan kulipa kodi hatuwez kwan mshahara nimdogo na majukum ni mengi
> 2.56E+11 Asalamu Akeykum Ndugu mbunge napenda kukupa pore sana. Tatizo letu vijana kataya vuga kijiji cha Baghai ni michezo .Mipira kwetu ni haba pamoja na jezi
> 2.56E+11 Tunakushukuru,MH.MBUNGE kwa juhudi zako katika Jimbo letu,Bado kilio chetu cha umeme kata ya Vuga tunakusubiri sisi wapiga kura wako kata ya Vuga.
> 2.56E+11 Kwakua Maji Niuhai Uharibifuunaofanyika Katikachanzo Chamaji Kihitu Katayavuga Inahitaji Kushughulikiwa Bilakuchelewa.
> 2.56E+11 Vuga Eneola Kihitu Limevamiwa Nawachimba Madini Katikachanzo Chamaji Yanayotumi Kwawananchi Tunaomba Msaada .
> 2.56E+11 Je utatusaidiaje ss tunaosoma sayansi ktk shule yetu wakati hatuna maabala na walimu wa sayansi?.Nimimi Hemedy toka Vuga Bazo sec school.
> 2.56E+11 Maji niuhai kwa binadamu ila sasa ktk kijiji chetu vyanzo vya maji vimeharibiwa na wachimba madini na inasemekana wana kojoa na hajakubwa pia.utatusaidiaje kunusuru afya zetu.Ni mimi Herasy toka Vuga Bazo.
> 2.56E+11 Mh salam alaykum wananchi wako wakitongoji cha mtimule bado ile kero yao ya maji imekua ina wasumbua sana  wanaijadili kila siku hawajapata ufumbuzi ni mimi M .A.Shembilu kijiji cha Baghai kata ya Vuga
> 2.56E+11 Mh,mbona vuga mikopo kwetu tabu sana tatizo nini tunaiyona kwa wenzetu.
> 2.56E+11 Mh.mbunge lijue tatito la shule ya Sekondari Vuga-Bazo.Kuna upungufu mkubwa wa walimu wazazi wa Vuga wanakuomba wewe mtetezi wao uwatatulie tatizo hilo kubwa.SALIMINA MAGOGO WA VUGA-KISHEWA.
> 2.56E+11 Je utatusaidiaje ss tunaosoma sayansi ktk shule yetu wakati hatuna maabala na walimu wa sayansi?.Nimimi Hemedy toka Vuga Bazo sec school.
> 2.56E+11 Mbona hatuoni ahadi ulizotuahidi vuga hata ofisi ulioahi kwa ajili kukuona tabu.
> 2.56E+11 Ahsantesana  MH.JANUARY MAKAMBA kwakutupatiamipiraborakabisa vijanawavuga kwakwelitumefurahi kwakuona MBUNGE wetu unajalimichezo nakutakiakazinjema nauzidikutukumbuka nimimi HASSANI ISSA timu yaKIHITU
> 2.56E+11
> 2.56E+11 Kamua baba hivyo hivo Afled vuga
> 2.56E+11 Tunahitaji vifaa vyamichezo kama vile viatu&mipira ilikuendeleza vipaji vuga.Heras toka vuga bazo.