Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Africa’s new crop of deadly clowns

It started with Zimbabwe’s dictator, Bob Mugabe. After ruling Zim since independence in 1980 Mzee Bob got a taste of power, loved it and decided to keep it.

Over decades the people of Zim got tired if him. They voted him out. But since he controlled the instruments of power and state muscle (army, police and party thugs) Mzee Bob decided to stay put. He thumbed his nose at his people and millions of Zimbabweans have now voted with their feet and fled the country.

Zimbabwe is run by Mzee Terror, his wife and cronies company limited. Ironically the people of Zimbabwe fought and died for freedom and independence in the chimurenga war of liberation. The liberators have turned into a terrorists.

Mzee Bob has been forced into a hated power-sharing form of government with opposition leader Morgan Tvangirai. This wa after the mzee clearly lost the elections. But he would have none of it

Enter Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. He too, had a taste of power and decided that no one else looked pretty being president of Kenya, except himself. So when the Kenyans voted him out, he decided that they were out of their minds. So he fiddled with the figures and crudely stole the elections. This was with a lot of help from the Kenyan electoral bodies appointed by Mzee Mwai himself.

The Kenyans told him to stuff it and decided to fight. More than 1500 Kenyan souls died in the mayhem until Mzee Kibaki agreed to common sense. He was forced o share power with the real winner, Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM). And Kenya now even has a new constitution.

Just when we are about to relax we hear there is another clown in Cote D’Ivoire. Monsieur Laurent Gbagbo, who has been ruling have the country for the past 10 years, has also taken a taste for power. Last week he got soundly clobbered by his opponent, Alassane Ouattara. Now war drums are sounding out all over the country. There is a smell of blood all over.

I was just wondering – is that it? Is this a new trend in our continent? In the post-independence 60s Africa had crude and brutal coups and a way to change power. Lately we have decided butchering each other as a way of sustaining power is too crude for almost everybody. Now we are having the blatant stealing of polls.

If you lose? Well, you stick around forcefully. You are wearing the guns. You have the murderous thugs on your payroll. You have the muscles. That, in common language, is called dictatorship. Is that the new trend in Africa?

Do people have to be pushed around until, in desperation, they decide to go for their pangas and stones and butcher each other? Because one can see it coming. Former President of Sausi, Thabo Mbeki has tried to talk sense to the two Ivorian leaders, but both sides seem to be adamant. Both have appointed and sworn-in their governments.

Looking at all those instances and you will find no noble ideal for the good of their people. In all cases it is all because of naked greed in all the three cases I have mentioned above. It is all about who does the eating.

One wonders – is Bongo next? Is that the shape of things to come or are we also going to opt for governments of ‘national reconciliation? I can see it being experimented in Zenj. Will it work?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

We demand a new constitution now!

Maybe she was being starry-eyed after being sworn-in as a new cabinet officer in the ministry of constitutional affairs last week. The brand new minister, Celina Kombani rejected the need for to overhaul the Tanzanian constitution branding the call for it “pedestrian.”

Privately I doubt if she lives in such a cloud-cuckoo land not know the overwhelming call for a new constitution. I gather she said that such talk is “pedestrian” which I wonder if the reporter wanted to equate with the Kiswahili – maneno ya mtaani.

“Let them come with something concrete in writing, showing which sections (of the constitution) have problems, why and suggest the alternative. The government should not be forced to respond to these sensitive issues through reading newspapers.”

Do I detect am tinge of pooh-poohinh of newspapers and the media in Aunt
Celina’s dismissal? Because I suspect that her ladyship is implying that
what is read in the papers ought not to be trusted or taken into serious
consideration. Only those words uttered in official circles are ‘serious’ and intelligents while the rest of us are bull-shitting! Only they can think and have the monopoly of brains.

If there was no need form constitutional review and reform why did the Prez, Jack Mrisho himself, think that the heavyweight issued merited a whole ministry? He should have made her a minister for something else.

Strange. For, at the same time opposition MP for Wawi, Hamad Rashid
Mohammed of the Civic United Front (CUF) has cautioned against the now
tired tactic of government pussy-footing to escape from responsibility.

Mr. Hamad said that his party has filed more than three letters to the
Government talks over constitutional changes nothing has been done: “Who
does not know the long cry of having a new constitution, we wrote a letter to
President Kikwete when he took over the office in 2005, and likewise to
former President Benjamin Mkapa but nothing has been done.” He said
That the ninth parliament he prepared private motion but was not given
a chance either.

Academics, politicians and the public at large have been clamoring and
calling for a review of constitution and everyone knows that – except Aunt
Celina. She thinks all that is “pedestrian.”

Which makes one wonder – was there a need for a whole ministry of
constitutional affairs? If so – then what is her job description then?
Maybe to tell Tanzanians that there is no need for a new constitution. So we got ourselves a brand new ministry of constitution affairs to tell us that we don’t need a new constitution! No wonder we have a bloated cabinet.

I hear that the minister cautioned that if not handled properly, it could
plunge the nation into serious problems.

Indeed. Dismissal and pooh-poohing of such matters of national importance
as “pedestrian” does not bode well for Bongo. Or, maybe Aunt Kombani
was a bit excited and loudly thinking with her mouth.

The minister further claimed that the craving for a full review of the
constitution was not in the interest of citizens and the government. It
reminds me of statements I used to read during the cold ideological wars between eastern European and capitalist countries,
of the 50s and 60s. Then you got those statements from the ministry of

Today, I would wish that politicians should check their gearing systems,
before engaging their mouths. The demand for a new constitution is real. It should not, at any moment, be treated as a gift from politicians to the people of Bongo who voted for them in the first place!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

After poll gains I would consolidate myself

We are witnessing quite some exciting times. The political climes are changing. Opposition parties, Chadema and the Civil United Front (CUF) have made agreeable gains in the just-ended general elections while very questionable things have been coming from the ruling party, CCM and its government.

Political pundits have felt that CCM has for long been engaged in political self-destruct. It has been conducting political hara-kiri, thinking it could always manipulate Tanzanians and literally get away with murder. The people, through their votes are saying no. Not anymore.

I don’t know whether it’s a heightened sense of euphoria on the part of the opposition or ill advice. But Chadema has come out and said that they don’t recognize the results of the presidential elections in which the Prez, Jack Mrisho Kikwete, has been given the go-ahead to continue with the job for his final five-year stint.

If I was a member of the opposition, I would, of course, voice my serious misgivings about the results. I mean, everyone in Bongo is questioning – what has happened to millions of votes in the presidential votes which simply ‘disappeared’. Word in the street is that the figures were crudely messaged by the National Election Commission (NEC).

Even the state organs, like sekyuliti, have been implicated. They have snarled their denial. But then, they would do that, wouldn’t they?

Everyone with common sense in Tanzania knows this is the last dime for the NEC. I doubt if it will last another 12 months. And I think that is what the opposition should be fighting – the scrapping of that one-party supremacy anachronism called NEC.

If I was in the opposition, I would also mobilize for a strong movement for a new constitution. Not for the review, but the drafting of a brand new constitution. This colonial joke we call the constitution should go – fasta!

It is ridiculous. What we have got here is a constitution for a monarchy. The president is almost God. He reins over us mortals at will. We are all ruled and exist at his pleasure. Thank God we have had relatively level-headed God-fearing rulers since independence. What if we would be unfortunate and get murderous clowns as rulers, you wonder.

If I was the opposition, I would consolidate by intensifying the ‘Operation Sangara’, which everyone knows has borne fantastic results. I would concentrate on civil and parliamentary mobilization. Aim for more legislators in Parliament. Then, come 2015 we would have expected change.

You see, one would have thought that the focus should be of the big picture, not one passport size photo. On winning the wider war, not a battle. Whether you like it or not, the ruling CCM has been thumped on the nose.

Now, thumps to the nose are usu

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ally very painful, especially to people who have been used to riding roughshod over others. Bullies.

Ideology is dead, you see. There is only the ideology - of making money. The campaigns for office have been not about improving peoples’ lives. One side people knows that by saying they want to fight and improve the lives of their people, the candidates were actually meaning the lives of their own bank accounts and that of their families.

We have a start. But, come 2015 people will ask what development has been introduced in their constituencies. That’s a good start. If there is nothing to show for it, then they should be kicked out and make way for those more capable of delivering!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The genie wakes up!

After more than 40 years of being subjected to outrageous doses of chlorophorm and other sleep inducing substances, the Tanzanians are waking up from a decades a long stupor. People, especially the youths, have decided to say that they have seen through the numerous farces and lies and they are going to do something about it.

After the elections, it seems not anymore. The people of Tanzania have said enough is enough. Basta - As the Italians would say when they have it up to their necks. The opposition numbers going to the Legislature have doubled to more than 50. Premier Mizengo ‘Pete’ Pinda has rightly been bounced back Very sexy, if you ask me.

I still don’t know about this democracy business in the CCM, when they bar men from contesting for the Speaker system. Still, I can breathe with Aunt Anna Makinda
in the Bunge and not some political dinosaur as Speaker.

Those ruling party MPs, who have been treating the Bunge like a well-paying and glorified air-conditioned guest house will have to wake up have been jolted to sanity after being kicked in the butt. More should be kicked out, now! The greatest victory for the majority of Tanzanians is the surprise realization – so it can be done then?

So a government of a bunch of clowns who have been acting as demi-gods can simply be removed by a vote? Indeed – who dares wins! The next thing is the knock-on effect. After last Sunday people have realized their own power.

Historically revolutions have been festered, reared and sparked from the cities. It is in the cities where you get the glaring inequalities in society and it is in the cities where you get a radicalized populace, eager to sacrifice themselves.

The changes in Bongo have started in Dar es salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya and other urban centres. In Mbeya they have even said it is better to hire a DJ than listen to the empty crap every five years.The genie has woken up and will never go back into the bottle. Everyone with anything upstairs knows that.

Some of us have sought refuge in cynicism. It seemed hopeless. That the country is being run mostly by a bunch of con-men masquerading as men of honor? Our country has been run by mostly thugs in suits brazenly standing there and telling the people that their grinding poverty and hopelessness is, eti, progress and development? That, having their kids sitting on floors in dusty rooms and a school comprising of one teacher is progress? All this while the thugs in suits are exporting their children to decent schools in foreign countries.

Tanzanians have watched with impotent anger as their country is being raped financially. in EPA, Kagoda, Deep Green robberies and nothing has happened. They have been told that their government will do something about it. Nothing. Zilch.

Presently the rape of Tanzanian’s forests continues and the poaching in the country’s national parks is going on unabated and people who perpetrated that crime were actually seeking political office. The rule of impunity will have to end.

We expect a howl of protest to nepotism and cronyism, which have been endemic in government and its promotion of numbing mediocrity.
I am sure that a Bunge with a combination of the likes of Tundu Lissu, Mheshimiwa Mnyika, Anne Kilango, Harrison Mwakyembe among others will quicken the blood of millions of well-meaning Tanzanians.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shkamoo Mzee Kikwete

Ah so. Mzee Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal has bounced back as running mate of the incumbent president, Jack Mrisho Kikwete. Fine. Makes one think, who is he? The Mzee has been hovering in the background of the Zanzibar politics for ages.

One would have thought that he would have retired from Zanzibar politics and play with grandkids while sipping spiced tea. Not Mzee Bilal. He seemed to enjoy the political fray in the Isles. His opponents cursed him and most have wished that he would disappear in some forest in Zenj. But he would not go away.

He looks quite a spright old fellow and maybe he should stick around, laying foundation stones, opening dispensaries and having spiced teas. As you know, in most of our countries, these old guys never retire. PS and an assortment of civil servants can retire. Not politicians.

It reminds one 0f the late Mzee Deng-Tsiao Ping in Chinese politics of the mid-80. Father of China, the late Mao-Tse-Tung tried very much to oust this communist comrade, but Mzee Teng just would not go away. He eventually achieved power when Mao died. Now Mzee Teng is credited to the four modernizations which have made China a world power.

Old chaps can be quite handy in some places. They have a tendency to say ‘No’ and mean just that. Stubborn is the word. Teng Tsiao Ping stood up to the late Chairman Mao
To the chagrin of his boss and in the end he won with his neck intact on his shoulder.

In Bongo what we see is a bunch of psychophants who would agree with anything to please their boss. I hope Dr Bilal means it when he says that he will work diligently and obey the boss. I am sure in his age, he has come to realize that sometimes ‘working dilligently’ means saying ‘No’ to the boss. You see bosses all over the world always listen to what they want to hear and disregard the rest.

Most of us have never liked the scandals which have beset the outgoing government. Most of us are outraged with a sense of impunity by our rulers and no punishment for it. Is Dr Bilal going to look at Jack Mrisho in the eye and tell him, frankly, that this cannot go on? We hope so.

Oh, by the by, how will these two guys greet each when they meet at work? I find it hard to imagine Dr Bilal smiling sheepishly at his boss and saying: “Shkamoo, Mheshimiwa rais…”

I think they will resort to: “Assalam Aleykum.” Will be in order. Although The Prez, Jack is quite westernized and for the rest of us he does not mind a: “Hi Mr President…”

You see, why I am saying that, is because there are all those boot-lickers who grovel to power to the extent of embarrassing most other people. Something like: “Shkamoo mtukufu rais. Everything is ready mzee…”

Mzee? Surely Jack is not a mzee. He is middle-aged and to see old octogenarians address him as ‘mzee’ is liable to make us faint.
May we not discover oil

I am a born optimist, but I fail to tell myself that if Bongo were to tap oil tomorrow there is a bright future ahead us.

Our local press has been saying, incorrectly, of course, that if Tanzania discovers oil, then everything is going tot be roses and lovely things are going to come our way.

TV pictures of the oil spill caused by British Petroleum (BP) on TV, show horror stories by the mess created in the Gulf of Mexico in the US. People in tears because of ruined ways of lives. The BP has been forced to pay a tonne of money – and they will pay.

But why go to the US? Let’s look at our continent. What have the Africans who were blessed with oil have to say? Nigeria tapped oil 40 years ago and what have they to show for it? A constant civil war through religious and tribalism the, outrageous pollution, outrageous and unbelievable corruption which only Nigerians are capable of.

Gabon’s oil is owned by the former president Bongo’s family. Angola’s oil is owned by the Van Dunen clan which has been calling the shots, since the late first president Agustino Neto’s reign as president. The Nguemas in Guinea Bissau are milking their country’s wealth as if that is not their country. With such psychological types as an example in Bongo – who needs oil?

We are busy plundering what we have. We are constantly being bombarded that Tanzania is a resources rich country. We have the minerals; lovely fertile land, lakes and you name it.

But the next thing you hear is a load of rubbish and nonsense. That we have to tap nuclear power. That is? When we are pussyfooting with hydro-electric power? That? When were thumbing our noses at solar-power. Well, the US president, Barrack Hussein Obama has plans to start solar farms in the US.

When other people are getting sensible, our bums in suits are talking of nuclear power. The idea is to get uranium, send to France to be purified. Then bring it back to Bongo to fuel nuclear reactors for Tanzanians. Our bums, whom people say have been to school, think in such twisted manner.

They steal crude by the ship-loads in Nigeria and other African countries ‘blessed’. They are protected by the mafia law of ‘omerta’. Silence. We have such a law in our beloved Tanzania. We will be left with cavernous holes where our gold was, like Mwadui diamonds area.

Nigeria is slowly but surely being left with frightening pollution and poverty stricken peasants in the Niger Delta were the oil is being exploited. That is with a few crooks in government, most owning airlines and turning the country a free for all to rape.

One would have thought there would be legislature on the management of our natural resources. You see it’s criminal to have a system whereby one man can parcel off bits of a country in the name of ‘privatisation’.

They sold (or rather, gave away) the NBC in the ‘privatization’ How come the NMB had it shares floated and it went well? Jamani, even the Chinese are floating shares of a bank started by Chairman Mao Testing. They never sold it to one capitalist company?

So you want oil? Who is going to own it? BP or some of those big oil companies. What will Tanzanians get out of it? Remember, the people of the Niger Delta got fed up with the looting of their resources. Now they are fighting for it. Now it is a machine-gun galore.
Don’t let them fool you. It’s not that difficult running a country. The people want free, and decent, education. They want free, and decent medicare, and they want jobs aplenty not for anybody, but Tanzanians