Friday, June 26, 2009

Stealing billions is national security?

I am a mtoto wa KiAfrica. Was raised here and now I hear plenty of shkamos from kids followed by the word ‘Mzee’. That is a sign of respect from the younger guys in society.

This automatically means I have to watch my step as ‘Mzee.’ No necking in bars, no bonking with some chick at the Gymkhana grounds or in the back-seats of cars. No getting sozzled on booze like there is no tomorrow, no childish fights for chicks and no peeing in public. In short, etiquette demands that I respect myself to the nearest decimal. And – no lying. Wazee don’t look pretty when they lie.

Be courteous, respect everybody, and obey the law. Certainly no bullying of the disadvantaged people in society. But when I was growing I was taught not to take any crap from anybody. Because the closer you look at society, the more you realize that there are plenty of hyenas out there dressed up as lambs.

Sober governments, which claim to respect democracy, the rule of law and good governance should also behave like adults. The thing is, do they? Hardly!

The recent events in the Bunge testify to that. The government, through the Speaker of the Bunge, Sam Six have been busy gagging legislators from asking questions on how the tax-payers’ monies have being spent. Or, more likely, mispent. Stolen.

The CCM government has been savaging the Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition in the National Assembly, Dr. Wilbrod Slaa after he demanded an explanation as to the controversial payments made by the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) to a string of dubious gold related companies. Reason? National security.

Said Dr Slaa: “To classify a company like Meremeta as a top secret military project is a deliberate attempt to the Government to mislead the public about this matter. This has nothing to do with national security.” He said.

“The Government should be honest about this thing and publicly disclose where the $155 million paid by the BoT to this company actually went.” He added.

It’s like a Mzee after being caught with his pants down performing lewd acts with someone in a public toilet. You ask him, “Mzee you were caught groaning with someone in the loo. What was happening?”

The Mzee comes out, breathing hard and grunts: “Nothing! And I will not say anything for reasons of national security!”

Others who have heard the grunting from the loo by the Mzee will shake their heads in belief and say: “Kale kazee ni kahuni sana! Kajambazi!”

Dr Slaa has told the House that he would not be silenced even after a government order – which is rightly so. Those MPs are at the Bunge not as beauty contestants. They are there to act on our (wananchi) behalf. Where are the bloody Meremeta billions?

If the money has been chopped, then Tanzanians have the right to know about that. But that is not bloody ‘national security’. It is theft. As Dr Slaa told the Bunge he was querying about grand theft in government, not the TPDF.

So the government would like to make us believe that what befalls the military equals to national security? Who said soldiers can’t be thieves? It’s like the dirty old man caught in the loo saying: “I was grunting in the loo because we were playing marbles!” Utterly laughable. The government is trying to use the ‘national security’ crap to intimidate us!

Even other MPs are fed up with the charade. They have warned against a rising tide of grand corruption in the country, saying efforts to fight the vice so far have been disappointing.

In a rare show of unity, key legislators from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) joined forces with their opposition counterparts in the House to demand much more decisive action from the government in tackling high-level graft.

Mama Anne Kilango Malecela (Same East – CCM) has issued a direct challenge to Premier Mizengo Pinda to give the House a proper briefing on progress made so far in the officially-declared war against grand corruption in the country.

We are ready to listen. But if Mzee (meaning Government) insists that when he was caught moaning with delight with a young chick in a public loo, they were playing marbles, then we will pretend to agree. That being caught grunting in the public loo is a matter of national security? Some utterances by the rulers deserve nothing but contempt and ridicule they deserve.

Monday, June 22, 2009

CCM MPs turn tail in Dodoma

Last week some MPs seethed with rage and vowed that this year’s Budget, tabled by Finance Minister, Mustafa Mkulo, will never see the light of day.

But now we know that it was drama all along. The MP for Ilemela in Mwanza Region, Tony Diallo told Braza Mkulo that he and his mates were going to dissolve the Bunge. “You are in trouble, brother.” He fumed, adding that Braza Mkulo was favouring his constituency and fishing to the Prez by building fancy two-way lanes from Msata nowhere. Then Tony marched out in a huff.

Nzega MP, Luke Selelii also foamed in the mouth and without mincing words said that the entire cabinet should be cursed for selfishness and an anti-people stance.

At least the Kobondo MPs, Kitonsi Mporogonyi, was more forthright AND HONEST. He accused Braza Mkulo of getting a cut in the cooking oil tax exemption. But he went even further and suggested that the MPs should get have their palms greased too. Which made sense to me – elongate the gravy-train.

Some stood up and took note to the high theatre. But some of us have been in the game for quite awhile. We called their bluff. The MPs were simply playing the cameras So it was eyeball-to-eyeball between Braza Mkulo and the tough talking MPs.

The nation held its breath. When the curtains were raised in Dodoma on Thursday the CCM tough talkers blinked, turned tail and chickened out of the debate.

The Speaker, Sam Six, had earlier warned that MPs that if they were opposed to the budget the Bunge would be dissolved and that would be that.. Not one MP from the CCM said fyoko! All of them said ‘aye’. Some of them reportedly suddenly developed strategic bouts of diarrhoea and did not show up at the Bunge at all!

Braza Mkulo airily brushed the MPs away and told them that they can go and jump in high hell and he is not even considering resigning from his prime post.

One thing I know in Bongo is that the calls for ministers resign are just MPs playing the cameras. In the United Republic of Tanzania, ministers and other personages of high consequence never resign. They are sacked, pure and simple.

Reason? You see to resign from the job of, say minister of finance, is to attract instant poverty. Which fool will do that? It’s like the tough talking MPs themselves. They figured that if the Bunge was going to be dissolved, then they were never sure if they will ever be voted back. So it was simply a question of money. Mshiko. Why risk your pay cheque?

I had hidden making my decision armed with an observation by an American scribe. He summed it all up: “Politicians are people who say a lot of words without saying anything.” He said.

He said if you believe them, you will believe anything. You are a goner. Umefulia!

EPA Two coming

I’ve heard about the stimulus package offered by the government and immediately winced painfully – welcome back grand corruption. If you are in Dar you can see the rot oozing and smell the stench from as far away as Chalinze.

Eti, in its so-called stimulus package the government plans to bail out co-operative unions and individuals for losses incurred in selling local crops on the world market.

Bail out? So the government is in the business of bailing out loss making firms and individuals? I think I qualify, immediately. I lost a million dollars trying to sell words and TV rights to the world media. I am in the news business, you see. Will our benevolent government compensate me?

You can look at naked corruption right in the eye. Who will determine which private companies incurred losses in selling local crops in the world market? Those guys don’t bother me. They could easily be bribed.

Take this scenario. A government official decides that Adam Lusekelo Company Unlimited has lost out in the world market. I could claim a million dollars. Of that million I will ‘voluntarily’ contribute $200,000 to some party fund (you-know-which-party). Predictably the money will be used to buy silly little hats and scarves for next year’s general elections, or simply be pocketed by some smart ass.

I can see it in my mind’s eye. Fisadi Jones and his likes are now busy forming fake companies, which will apply for compensations for their losses incurred in selling local crops in the world market. Monies which will be awarded to them and never be re-paid.

It will simply be EPA all over again. To put the icing on the cake, there will be another charade about taking people to the courts and it will die down, just like how the present EPA is being allowed to die down. No punishment, of course. It’s not in tour culture.

You see, it is so tempting. The government is actually forcing a handful of smart Alecs in the country to commit criminal activities. Now they are simply busy changing their names and forming shell companies and putting fronts for guys who will siphon off the ‘stimulate package’.

Hamad Rashid Mohamed, who is also the leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament, has been giving a free lesson on economics to government honchos: “In a free market economy, companies will be making profits and losses. Serious traders will always set their crop buying and selling prices depending on the futures market.

“The government will plunge the nation into another scandal similar to EPA.” He said, referring to the looting of $133 million from the Bank of Tanzania’s external payment arrears account.

And there is very great temptation to the con-men, with their fake companies to go for the fraud. In the United Republic of Tanzania the guilty ones are never afraid. The system is very just to the crooks – nothing happens them. Jails are very much still for thieves who steal the odd cell-phone or a couple of chickens.
Digesting this year’s beer budget

I sat at my favorite watering hole, with a pile of newspapers to read and digest the minister of finance’s offerings. There is lots of wishful thinking in our mindset. We still are looking for lovers abroad to keep us.

A waiter came and asked me what I wanted. “Beer.” I said while wincing within my body. I did not know the new price on booze, you see.

“Shilling elfu mbili mia tano, Mzee.” The waiter huffed with an unmistakable sadistic glee on his face.
“What? It was only two thou, yesterday!” I protested.
“New prices Mzee. Ask Mustafa Mkulo.” The waiter offered with the same look of satisfaction of seeing me wince under the new price imposed in our usually predictable beer budgets.

I didn’t say anything more, lest the waiter got a violent orgasm with happiness. It was not his fault, really. It is now left to beer consumers to, you know, adjust their habits.

I know some guys who have been instantly turned into alcoholic chemists. They mix their drinks to increase the ‘wham’ in their booze, for as cheap as possible.

A colleague orders a beer, a potent beer. Then he orders some Konyagi and starts mixing the stuff with a skill of the government chief chemist. By the time he finishes the mixture, he is floating away in cloud 14!

I know another mzee who is a pensioner. Before he comes to the watering hole he goes to this set-up where he buys a small bottle of local gin (gongo). Then he orders a bottle of Ze Kick beer and also mixes the stuff. I have always been touched by that look of quiet satisfaction when he takes the first sip.

The mzee then starts eating garlic in between sips. At first I was alarmed and asked for the reason.” It helps suppress the smell, you know, of that gongo from my mouth. You mother, at home hates it” he said.

I was getting drunk, just imagining the pongs of a spouse who has drunk a mixture of Ze Kick beer, gongo and raw garlic. I wonder if the next budget session will have some form of tax against smelly mouths. Because government is very instrumental in forcing people to go to ridiculous lengths to get a drink.

The thing is the government will never do away with guys who enjoy their beer. The idea is not to ‘fix’ them. The guys will always go for a drink, whatever happens.

The only casualty will remain the boozer’s family. It’s unpleasant, but the truth is that most boozers are driven to start to massage their family finances, in favour of accommodating their boozing.

Some boozers even brag about it. “Koma amisi abana bende kitali. Amenye ju nna!” A Mnyakyusa from the southern Mbeya region will yell. It simply just means that - get bombed and let the children go naked. Their mum will sort it out!

Praise thee women of the world. Where would the family be without you


Kwanza nianze kueleza kabisa. Nikimwita kajambazi mwanafunzi wa Shule ya Pius Msekwa aliyemuuliza aliyekuwa Waziri Mkuu Lowassa Mkoani Mwanza namsifia. Ndiyo waTanzania tunaowataka. Wanaouliza maswali kama – kwa nini?

Alimuuliza mkuu kwa nini kauli za viongozi haziwiani na matendo yao. Na alimuuliza sababu za zilizomfanya rais ateue watu kama wabunge kuwa wakuu wa mikoa ilhali Bongo ikiwa na watu wengi wenye uwezo.

Namwita mwanafunzi huyo kajambazi. Kajambazi ka Bongo. Lakini nina maana mwanafunzi huyo ni shujaa. Ameuliza swali la akili. Nasikia vyombo vya usalama vilijaribu kumzonga mbavu. Siamini!

Mimi nafikiria kuwa vyombo vya usalama vina kazi muhimu zaidi kuliko kuwanyanyasa vijana wa kiTanzania wenye akili.

Nadhani vyombo hivyo vingemlinda sana mwanafunzi huyo. Ameonyesha kuwa bongo zimo ndani ya kichwa chake. Ningekuwa na fedha za kutosha ningekalipia hako kajambazi kenye akili mpaka kaende chuo kikuu. Ndiyo kitu tunachohitaji Tanzania. Bongo, na siyo wababaishaji

Kajambazi hako kalimuuliza waziri mkuu kuwa yeye na wasaidizi wake wanahimiza vijana kusoma kwa bidii na maarifa ili wawe viongozi wa taifa la kesho, lakini hawaoni hayo katika matendo yao. Lowassa alishindwa kujibu swali hilo.

Safi kabisa. Kajambazi hako kalikuwa kanasema mambo ambayo kila mtu mtaani anayasema. Mfano mimi. Nilimuona Hayati Mzee Nyerere nikiwa darasa la tatu. Mzee alikuja kwenye Open Day yetu, katika shule ya msingi ya Salvatorian, huko Kurasini, Dar es salaam.

Mzee alituambia kuwa sisi ni taifa la kesho. Poa kabisa. Tukaenda sekondari, mpaka chuo kikuu. Tulikuwa bado tunaaambiwa sisi ni taifa la kesho. Mzee ang’atuka na kurudi Butiama. Mpaka tukamzika Mzee wetu.

Baado kuna njemba zilizokuwa awamu ya kwanza, leo zipo. Awamu ya pili na njemba bado zipo. Awamu ya tatu. – njembist bado zipo. Na sasa awamu ya nne – njemba baado zinadunda tu! Aaa-a-a-a-h, masihara hayo!

Kama kajambazi kalivyokuwa kanasema haiwezekani kuwa mtu mmoja anakuwa kila kitu, Mbunge,Legino Kamishna, mwanyekiti wa Bodi ya Shirika la ndege la Tanzania, Msaidizi Kuu wa Chuo na mjumbe wa CCM NEC. Utani huo!

Leo mimi na uzao wangu kichwani mvi kibao – baado minjemba mingine imeezeeka na inatuambia sisi ni taifa la kesho. Jamani kesho hiyo ni ya lini? Watu tumekuwa! Tumeoa! Tumeachwa! Tumeoa tena! Tumejukuu! Baado tunaambiwa sisi ni taifa la kesho. Kesho ni lini? Eti mpaka ujipendekeze. Wengine mama zetu walitufunda na kutuasa tusijipendekeze.

Nadhani hawa wajomba wanaotutawala hawaelewi. Juu ya kuwa wanaweza kuchagua washikaji kwenye utawala, wananchi pia wanataka mabadiliko. Siyo Tanzania tu. Nchi zote ulimwenguni watu anachoka kuona sura zile zile kila siku.

Kale kajambazi ka shule ya sekondari ya Pius Msekwa kamesema kweli na kalindwe. Haiwezekani kuwa katika nchi ya watu 40 milioni na kuzidi mtu mmoja atakuwa na vyeo lukuki. Waziri yeye, Legino yeye,mbunge yeye, mwenyekiti wa bodi za wakurugenzi tatu ni yeye, mkurugenzi wa wachunga mbuzi wa Tanzania ni yeye. Utani huo!

Zenj advised to have a baby boom

People of Zenj have been strongly advised to go for each other, like there is no tomorrow, and make babies so that the Isles population can increase to respectable numbers – something like the Mainland population.

The Civic United Front (CUF) legislators in the House of Raps, sorry, House of Reps, have criticized family planning in Zenj in that it controls population growth. Wall-l-lahi tena!

Mr. Haji Faki Shaali (Mkanyageni- CUF) has asked Zanzibari intelligence to conduct covert operation to understand why Zanzibar’s population is actually shrinking.

“I think the study will discover that we have a high influx of foreigners entering Zanzibar everyday.” He suspected that Mainlanders have been sneaking into East Africa’s paradise isles without permission by the UN. There have been persistent rumours that Mainlanders have been settling in the Isles and pretending to be locals there, complete with khanzus and misuris..

To quell this trickery by Mainlanders the legislators asked the Isles’ government to re-introduce the use of passports to Mainlanders who travel to Zanzibar, but not to Zanzibaris who travel to the Mainland.

Mr Shaali’s views were echoed by Mr. Rachid Seif Suleiman (Ziwani-CUF) and Zakia Omar Juma (Special Seats-CUF). They all have strongly advocated that Zanzibaris should stop being lazy and manufacture as many babies as they can. The idea is to have a population equal to the mainland. The United Republic of Tanzania has 44 million people. This includes 2 million from Zenj.

Independent observers feel that if Zanzibaris want to catch up with the Mainland then they have really got hard work to do. They say that the Revolutionary Government is seriously deliberating start a Ministry of baby making.

It might be called the Ministry of Baby Making, Totos, Marine and Culture (UZALISHAJI) A mother of 14 in Zenj has been strongly tipped to get the job. She qualifies.

Meanwhile Tanzanians have been showing mixed reaction to plans to have a baby boom in Zenj. One minister, known to have strong connection to the EPA scandal said that he could not discuss the issue since it had something to do with ‘national security.’

He suggested caution: “I think this is a sensitive issue which could affect national security. I suggest that we have a referendum in Zanzibar to ask if there should be a baby boom or not. Zanzibaris are a sensitive lot. If you ask them wrongly they could accuse that it all has to do with the Union with the Mainland. They could suggest the dissolution of the Union.”

Amid the baby boom talk, the Isles Shadow Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr Said Ali Mbarouk has told the House, that this year’s budget does not show seriousness in tackling social and economic problems.

He said that Zenj has failed in its poverty reduction strategic programme (MKUZA) because abject poverty was now even more evident among many Zanzibaris.

You just wonder. If CUF legislators in Zenj want a baby boom, what are the tots going to be fed with? Sand? I think the rest of us in the United Republic of Tanzania should be told.

Run! The cops are coming!

Hey what’s happening here? Police say they have caught 5 cops who have been in partnership with some civilian bandits to commit acts of banditry in the different parts of the city.

The cops say they holding in the lam, five cops who are working in tandem with common bandits to spread fear all over the city. They are said to have a large crime network.

Now one wonders - who will save us civvies from the cops? In the days of yore one used to feel safe when one saw a cop or two on the beat. Not anymore. You simply melt to the backstreet and hope you don’t meet a kibaka who will gladly hold you up with screw-driver on your face.

Both alternatives are terrifying enough. But an unholy alliance between cops and vibakas is just too ghastly to contemplate! When a kibaka ambushes you, he will hold a screw-driver on your nose and order you to pay money, or else! Since you want to save your nose from being drilled, you pay up.

If a bandit cop ambushes you and arrests you claiming that he has caught you with ganja, cocaine and all that dangerous stuff, what then? Then he orders you to pay up or face charges and ruination to your rep. You don’t want trouble, so you pay up.

The vast majority of people of Bongo don’t even know their human rights. You could be wrongly arrested. Instead of suing the bandit cop for that, you are only too happy to be released. You are supposed to sue the bloody thug in uniform, just like we would like the thugs in suits to be charged for unarmed robbery in the name of the people of Bongo.

Cops have also been caught trying to steal from the, believe it or not, the police. At least two were planning to steal some cocaine and heroine from Kilwa station where they are being impounded and stored as evidence. The two cops got a bit creative. They wanted the drugs worth, 176 million. The idea was to re-cycle the drugs back to the streets. Recycled cocaine, courteousy to the Tanzanian police. They got nabbed.

Which brings in another question – where do the impounded drugs go to, after being submitted as evidence? In other countries the nasty drugs are publicly burned and civilians are invited to watch the show.

But in Tanzania the drugs simply melt away. I shudder to think that there may be some cops at in the anti-narc squad who are actually drug peddlers. If there are, then who will save us from the cops?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bongo needs stimulation?

I was never the one to be excited when budget sessions were on. Over the years I have learnt to recognize the sense of de javu whenever some politician starts to utter the miracles he will perform next year. You shrug it all off with a ‘seen it all’ attitude.

Agriculture or whatever is left of it is the backbone of our entire economy, we are told. This year agriculture has been allocated Shs 666.9 billion, an increase of 30% compared to 513 bn in 08/09. The song of agriculture being the ‘backbone’ of our economy has been sung to us by our politicians since the days we were in nappies to date. What do we see? Nothing. Zilch!

Where are all those billions going to? We want to see Black Tanzanian farmers be the background of our agriculture. No bloody wawekezeji from abroad. We want to see that money be loaned to Black Tanzanians to be able to do their lands. We want statistics, their names from each region. We want them to be role models for our children and people in rural areas. The demented thought that foreigners are waiting to save Tanzania with basketful of dollars should be banished to hell.

Education. They have been allocated Shs 1.74 trillion, an increase of 22% compared to 1.4 trillion in 2008/09. Are the teachers going paid decently, or what? Are our little tots going to stop the government-condoned practice of sitting on floors in their classes? Where does the money go? To buy silly looking scarves during elections?

Health. It has been allocated Shs 963 bn, an increase of 5.7% compared to Shs 910.8 bn in 08/09. Hey, I was surprised when I witnessed a baba, at the Mwananyamala being forced to go and buy new nappies and new stuff for his newly arrived baby. He said he had not money.

The hospital said they were not releasing the baby wrapped in rags. He went out and got a loan. The geezer had to realize that he had his fun manufacturing the baby – now it was payback time. See? It needs just as little bit of imagination to right the wrongs in society.

Water. That has been allocated Shs 347 bn, an increase of 50%, compared to 231.6 bn in 2008/O9. Lack of access to safe drinking water is also a national scandal. Water is life. Some 45 years since independence and we still have not realized that. Tanzania is flooded with water resources nearly everywhere. But our water management is dismal. Why? And where does the money go? To buy silly looking hats and T-shirts during elections?

Energy and minerals. The disaster ministry. Politicians have been frightening the voters in the recently-held elections in Busanda that if they don’t elect a CCM candidate the small scale miners will be fixed. If they elect CCM the district will be electrified post-haste. A load of rubbish, of course.

The big mining companies are all teeth with joy. They have managed to persuade (I didn’t say grease some palms) the government to continue being exempted from paying tax.

Finance minister, Mustafa Mkulo announced in his budget speech that the decisions to abolish tax exemptions on petroleum products will not affect already existing mining companies. Which means someone was playing with words here - since no mining company is coming in now.

The mining rip-ff is to continue with the approval of our rulers. Gold mining is the fastest sector of Tanzanian’s economy. Minerals now account for nearly half of the country’s exports, making it Africa’s largest gold producer.

Abolishment of tax exemption on petroleum products that mining companies have been enjoying is one of the key recommendations of the presidential mining review committee chaired by Judge Mark Bomani. But it has been ignored by the government which is strictly on the people’s side.

The show now shifts to the legislators. Are they going to take the ‘infrastructure’ budget sitting down? Plans for a double-lane highway where the prez, comes from. Next year there could be plans to build an international airport and even a deep sea harbour at Msata. That won’t surprise me!


CCM sasa wataka ukomo wa uongozi?

Nasikia yanatoka Mwanza hayo, CCM sasa wameanza kugundua kuwa kwa kweli demokrasia ya kweli ni ndoto tu. Hapa tunazungumzia katika ‘demokrasia’ yetu ya kinamna tu. Haina itikadi, msimamo wala nini – ni pochi yako tu. Hamna kitu kipya kinasemwa. Kila chama kinazungumzia ‘maendeleo’ na kupambana na rushwa. Ambayo tunajua ni masihara tu.

Kwanza wabunge wenyewe wa CCM walichoshwa na vibano kutoka kwa wakubwa wao wa chama. Eti wabunge wa CCM wanakaa kama kamati. Hamna hiyo! Wanaenda kupata kibano iliwaseme wanachoambiwa – siyo wanavyofikiria. Kwa lugha ya kawaida tunaita udicteta katika chama.

Sasa dogodogo wa chama wanasema kuwa kama mambo yatakuwa yanaendela hivi basi kamwe hawatakuwa na chansa ya kuwa viongozi wa chama hicho. Ni kwamba kuna mizee ambayo haitaki kung’atuka katika uongozi wa chama hicho.

Sasa wanasema kuwa endapo katiba ya chama hicho itaweka ukomo wa uongozi kwa wanachama kama ilivyo sasa kwa urais ndani ya katiba ya nchi itasaidia kutokomeza vitendo vya rushwa ndani ya chama – na tumeona laivu, yaani.

Na kwa nini rais tu? Kila mtu lazima aambae, lazima ang’atuke. Mawaziri, makatibu wakuu, ma-lejino kamishna, kila mtu. Pia huwezi kuwa mjumbe wa Halmashauri Kuu kuanzia UHURU hadi leo. Kwani we ni nani bwana?

Huwezi mtu kuwa waziri kuanzia Adam na Hawa. Huko ni kujifanya huoni sheria za Mwenyezi Mungu. Huwezi mtu ukawa bosi katika awamu zote nne. Huko ni kwa upande wa watawala kuwatukana Watanzania.

Mmoja wa dododogo wa CCM huko Mwanza, Lucas Mashilanga ameshauri kiwango cha miaka kumi kinatosha. Bwana Mashilanga angeelewa kitu kimoja. Sisi binadamu kimsingi ni waroho.

Mpe mtu yo yote ulaji basi atataka akae hapo hapo mpaka siku atakayokwenda kwa muumba wake. Na kama itawezekana ampasie mtoto , au hata mjukuu wake nao waendelee na ulaji. Kila mtu chini ya ngozi yake anapenda kuwa mfalme.

Sasa naona Bwana Mashilanga amekuwa anawasikiliza viongozi wake waki-rap sana kuhusu demokrasia. Naona alianza kuamini na ku-rap utumbo huo kuhusu demokrasia. Kitu ambacho amesahau ni kuwa demokrasia inaonyeshwa kwa vitendo, siyo blah…blahhh.

Pia ndugu yangu na ndugu zangu wengi wamekuwa wakiota kuwa wananchi wanapewa demokrasia na viongozi. Hamna hiyo! Demokrasia inapiganiwa. Uhuru siyo kitu cha bure ambacho kinatolewa kama zawadi kutoka kwa watawala. Vitu hivyo vinapiganiwa kutoka katika kila kona ya jamii. Ukikaa kimya nao watakaa kimya na kutawala mpaka wakienda makaburini mwao.
No one is going to Dodoma!

Many guys in Bongo are used to talk about Tanzania’s imaginary and unbuilt capital of Dodoma. They think that by some sort of miracle the capital will be transfer from Dar to Dom.

Well, let them think anyone is going to Dom. I know bloody well that no one who matters will be going to Dodoma. Let’s check out the facts on the ground. There once was a ministry of capital development. Now it has simply been wiped off the map.

Ask any government ruler if he really wants the government to shift. As usual he or she will hide under statements like: “We committed ourselves to shift the capital to Dom. I remember Mwalimu once said…” But watch his body language. He will be oozing a negative signs from every bit of his or her body.

Watch the infrastructure in the ‘capital’. The roads are a joke. Over the decades of this Dodoma ‘capital’ one would have expected an Arusha-Tunduma via Dodoma and Iringa highway. Another road would have been Dar/Dom to Tabora and eventually Mwanza.

But in our budget joke, double lane roads are to be rebuilt in Msata area where the prez and the minister of infrastructure, Dr. Shukuru Kawamba come from and Kilosa, where the finance minister comes from. That’s it!

The roads I saw in Dodoma while I was little and going to Mkwawa Hi in Iringa are almost still the same.

The streets in the Dodoma township itself are a laugh, the service industry non-existent. That is one area in our crumbling towns which we have done a great job of destroying. There used to be a department called Town Planning in our town halls, It has been abolished, I think.

Dar es Salaam is basically a slum. Few roads have been built, especially those leading to where the rulers live. The is hardly any water in Dar. I wonder if there is any water in Dodoma. You go to a guest-house and they bring you water in a plastic bucket.

A major difference is that Dar, while a mere slum, has attracted super-markets. The increasingly consumerised and emerging middle class will do anything to sabotage plans to move to Dodoma.

The only thing which is plentiful in Dodoma is nyama at Maili Mbili area in the environs of Dodoma. Oh, another thing which is plentiful in Dodoma. It is the dust. Now I don’t think that nyama choma and clouds of dust are reasons enough to transfer the capital to Dodoma.

Our benefactors, the US, the EU and anyone who matters have made their seats in Dar. The diplomats hardly look like they are in a hurry to shift to Dodoma.

Okay, one might say that presently we can see a bit of excitement from Dodoma as the Bunge is performing. When they leave the town goes back to sleep and eating nyama choma and beer.

It’s about time we Tanzanians cut this hypocrisy that we are going to transfer the capital Dodoma. You just cannot move the capital to the town when the entire government, plus the president, are holed up in the slum called Dar es Salaam!

Nani zaidi - Barak au Sarkozy?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil MPs

Looking at our honourable MPs perform before the cameras in Tanzania’s unbuilt ‘capital’ of Dodoma, you start to wonder. It seems the majority of them have traveled all the way to Dom for a long siesta – and for the money, of course.

How come among the 200 plus parliamentarians we have, only a handful – hardly ten per cent – who really come out swinging? Or is it the agents of our country who plan and spray the Bunge buildings in Dodoma substances like chlorophorm which provoke strategic amnesia amongst out MPs?

They seem to forget that our country is in dire straits. Reports say even our glorious government has been held in a straight jacket and pocketed my big money. But the MPs, except a few trouble makers, don’t seem to notice anything.

As we see it from the sidelines it seems that for most our MPs, this s is just an haute couture session. Who dresses better than the other MPs. Maybe we should start a fashion session at the Bunge to find out who is smarter to look at than the rest.

Come to think of it we could borrow a chapter from what the Ugandans have done. An independent Ugandan think tank has published performance scorecards for every MP in the country.

Graded from triple A to F, the reports measure such things as attendance and participation at debates. Naturally, this has been very welcomed by the voters.

Opposition MPs scored higher than those from the governing party, and men, snored…I mean did better than women. That could easily have been Tanzania. The opposition in Bongo rocked the country to its foundation whilst most of MPs from the governing party have been playing the hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil ploys. They would say: “Fisadi? Where?”

Such a system of monitoring MPs should be adopted in Tanzania yesterday. Frankly, there are some MPs who travel to Dom to collect allowances and maybe enjoy the week-end beer and nyama choma.
Of course the MPs have been distinguishing themselves with demands for more dosh. It is never enough. Okay even if they are terrified of asking questions to their party superiors, how about setting up decent constituency offices? A place where the wananchi could hear news on the radio, read papers, and even watch TV is welcome.

You could suggest something like that, only to hear that a place like Busanda has no electricity. One wonders if the MPs have ever heard about solar-powered radios and TVs. That one can get solar powered electricity, with the right effort, instead of listening to Minister of Energy and Minerals, Bill Ngeleja’s fables about providing electricity to every region where there is a by-election.

I know some MPs who have never uttered a word, since they entered the parliament. We definitely should start giving them marks for their dismal performances.
Don’t be fooled with the numbers

The minister for money, Braza Mustapha Mkulo has been talking about numbers. He has said Shs 9.2 trillion is expected to see the country through the current bad times and finance next year’s General Election.

The new Budget will be about 32 per cent bigger than last years 7.2 trillion, an increase of 2.3 trillion. The economy is growing by more than 7 per cent, blah…blah. So much for the numbers game. Me? I am not impressed, of course.

I have always insisted that to check out the index of the economic growth you will instantly see it on the guy and the dame in the street. You see ‘growth’ in the people, not from fancy numbers read out in the Bunge. Trillions this year. It’s probably going to be zillions of Tanzanian shillings next year. You wonder - are we seeking to intensify our brotherly relationship with Zimbabwe, or something?

And according to Braza Mkulo (pictured below, practising weight-lifting) infrastructure projects will exist only in the Coast, Morogoro and Iringa regions. Some 100 billion has allocated to building three roads in the constituencies of his Infrastructure counterpart, Dr Shukuru Kawamba (read; campaigning for next year’s elections)

Part of the chunk of the money will also go the constituency of the chairman of the Finance and Economic Committee, Dr Abdalla Kigoda. Korogwe-Msata-Handeni-Mikumi, Wazo Hill and ultimately Dar road. (read;campaigning)

Braza Mkulo doing some weight-lifting
Put the icing on the cake, and fishand please the ‘Mzee’ at Ikulu. The Chalinze-Segera road is now to be turned into a double lane show. This is in a country where many Tanzanians have never even seen a tarmarked road!

Which is great? I would have done even more. If I was in the Finance and Economic Affairs set up I would suggest that an international airport be built at Msata. Kwa Mzee. Fishing is an art which some politicians excel at

That’s it for infrastructure development in Tanzania. The rest can go to hell!
Guys have started to campaign for elections under the guise of ‘Budget’ thing.

But some MPs, CCM MPs, have started to see red over the Budget joke. Tabora Urban MP, Mr. Siraju Kaboyonga asked: “I have not seen any allocations for the construction of the Dodoma-Kigoma roads, as well as rehabilitation of the central railways line. The two are the most important infrastructure projects that could earn much revenue from transit trade to the neighboring countries. Where are our priorities?” he asked.
Kaboyonga, a CCM member, asked why the government planned to expand the Segera-Chalinze road into to two lanes, while more important ones had yet to be constructed. I could easily answer that for our beloved government. The double lane will make it easier for Mzee’s motorcade to zip in and out of the area without too many hassles. I think it was a patriotic move which will boost the economy to 12 per cent next year.

Another MP, Tony Diallo, a former minister of water, took a combative dive on the move by Finance Minister Mkulo. He is angry about the Geita-Mwanza road. He accused former finance minister, Basil Mramba of pinching the monies for the road and to go and build roads in his constituency in Rombo. The present Budget ignores the Geita-Mwanza road.

In their sabre-rattling the MPs have sworn that they are going to block the next Budget session next week. They even threatened that the Bunge could be dissolved over Braza Mkulo Budget plans.

Is that real, or are our MPs politicking with an eye on the election show next year?
Urafiki wa mashaka!

Siku mbili tatu zimepita nimekuwa nasoma soma makala kadhaa kutoka nchi jirani (kaskazini) Watawala wetu wamekuwa wakijifanya wanapendana sana. Ghafla wengine wamesema tuharakishe kutengeneza jumuiya ya Afrika Mashariki.

Mimi nashangaa sana. Sijui ndiyo siasa hiyo au utumbo gani unafanyika. Wenzetu wanataka ardhi ya Tanzania. Eti mtu yeyote Afrika Mashariki aweze kukaa katika nchi yoyote. Eti tutumie vitambulisho tu na hamna haja ya pasipoti.

Unajua hakuna dharau kubwa kama mtu akikufanya bwege. Wenzetu Kenya wamekuwa wakitufanya mabwege, na sisi tumekaa kimya tu. Eti tuko waungwana.

Wana makala wa nchi jirani wamekuwa wakitutukana sana. Sasa ni muda wa kuwaambia Kenya waambae zao. Waache kabisa kutufanya Watanzania mafala.

Ukweli ni kuwa kwa wenzetu ardhi wamejigawia wakoloni wao weusi. Wakubwa kuwa na eka 500,000 za ardhi si kitu cha kushangaza sana. Uchoyo huo umewaondoa mamilioni kukaa mijini na ardhi haipo tena. Kaskazini ya nchini yao ni jangwa.

Sasa wamekuwa wakiinyemelea ardhi ya Tanzania kwa miaka mingi. Wanataka uchumba, tena uchumba wenyewe kwa nguvu. Jamaa hawajui hata kubonga!

Sasa wanatishia kuwa kama Tanzania haitaki kuingia Jumuiya hiyo, basi wengine, ikimaanisha Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda na Burundi waendelee.

Mimi na Watanzania wengi tunakubaliana. Wacha Kenya Uganda, Rwanda na Burundi waendelee na Jumuiya hiyo. No problem!

Naona hata Waziri wa Ushirikiano wa Afrika Mashariki nae kachoshwa. Ujanja ujanja wa kitoto kutoka kwa wenzetu umemchosha. Amesema jumuiya hiyo ni ya kusadikika. Kuwa baadhi ya nchi wanachama zinaendekeza unafiki na ubinafsi katika Jumuiya hiyo.

Alisema kuwa tatizo la ujanja ujanja na ubinafsi linaloonekana kuweka mizizi katika jumuiya hiyo, litaipeleka pabaya ikiwa hatua madhubuti hazitachukuliwa kukomesha. Alisema Tanzania imejitolea kutoa elimu ya bure kwa nchi za EAC namna ya kupiga vita ukabila.

“Ukiniuliza tumefaidika nini nitakujibu badala ya mategemeo ya kupungua na kuondoa kabisa vikwazo vya kibiashara, ndiyo kwanza vimeongezeka.” Alisema.

Tatizo ni kuwa wenzetu wamekuwa wakijifanya wao ndiyo wajuaji sana wa Afrika. Hawana ardhi ya kutosha sasa wanataka kuhamia Tanzania. Eti ndiyo ushirikiano. Masihara hayo!

Jamaa wako kibao visiwani. Eti wanajua huduma kwa watalii. Utumbo mwingine! Sababu ni kuwa wanajua kiingereza. Hilo ni tatizo la muda tu. Ni sisi tuwafunze watoto wetu hicho kiingereza, kifaransa na hata kichina. Huwezi kufanya uamuzi wa kudumu kwa ajili ya tatizo la muda.

Hujifanya wanapendana na kupiga picha lukuki kwa ajili ya magazeti yetu, Watanzania wawaeleze wenzetu kuwa mtazamo na kasumba ya kujifanya wao ndiyo magwiji wa Afrika Mashariki hatuutaki.

Tuheshimiane na kuacha kabisa madharau hayo. Kama wataendelea na jumuiya yao, safi kabisa. Ila mambo ya kutaka kutuibia Watanzania ardhi yetu wasahau kabisa!
They eat too much while we starve!

The so-called rich countries are having problems – they eat too much. You go to their supermarkets and you pity the guys. Eti, there is a thing called low-fat yoghurt. Mgando.

They talk of lean meats and a bewildering array of products which are designed to keep you thin. Apparently they have even sneaked into our system to believe that a thin woman is beautiful. You find thin women talking about the ‘English figure’ Nonsense of course!

I want my baby to be as big as a tank. I want to be the tank commander. So she can eat all the stuff she wants. But it seems that the rich countries up north are having eating problems. They can’t keep their mouths shut.

They eat while they work, they eat while they are watching junk on telly, they eat while they are travelling and they eat even while they are worrying! I think they eat while making love!

But not us. In fact we hardly eat. Go around Bongo and ask anyone who has had three meals a day. Maybe the prez and a few government leaders who never pay for their meals. The rest of us survive on a meal a day and maybe drop in a snack here and there, if you are in the habit of attending seminars,workshops and all those eating gatherings.

I call them eating gatherings because I have seen few fruits from such meetings. But they do nutritional wonders to most of the participants. A week of a seminar at Ngurdoto Lodge in Arusha can restore a DC’s health.

There is a minister who has visibly changed since the prez, Jack Mrisho made her minister. I guess it is the endless ‘eating thing’ You eat things you don’t pay for. You ride cars you never dreamt of and you tour places you have never dreamt of at government expense. What more can a guy want?

So the whole game is about eating. Me? My maxim remains what I read when I was little – eat only when you are hungry. I think the animals are far superior than us in this.

A lion will hunt only when he and Mrs lioness are hungry. After that an antelope will pass under his nose and he won’t bother. But we humanoids eat too much.

You see a fat slob stuffing chocolate into her or his face and he thinks it is cool. It is just not cool! Maybe we should learn from animals. But we should not emulate the leopard. Leopards behave like African politicians. They want everything for themselves.
Ethics? Kick me if I am dreaming!

Last Friday I woke up and called for the papers. That is the way of us hacks. You must be on top of the news if you want to be an effective journo

As usual guys were machine-gunning and blowing up each other in different parts of world. Mzee Bob Mugabe was winning the elections before the people of Zimbabwe had even started to vote.

Same news in the papers. But I got stunned when I read the headline of my beloved daily blah. It had a banner headline reading ‘Ethics to dominate NEC meet’ at a CCM party meet.

Something was definitely very wrong somewhere. I started reading the banner headline again. Again it read about ethics.

Impossible! I grabbed my dictionary. Just near the word ethics was the word ‘Ethanol’ which is a kind of alcohol. Then I went down to the word ‘ethics’ it said a moral principal and ethics is a study of moral principals. Maadili..

Then I started laughing. Moral principals after what is happening in Tanzania! In journalism we must be very careful with the use or misuse of words. Ethics? Where?

You simply cannot talk about the ethics of Richmond briefcase company. You simply can’t even imagine the ‘ethics’ of the BOT, EPA bank robbery. There are no ethics there, just plain greed.

You can’t call any ethics in the ruinous IPTL, Songas and other deals designed to suffocate Tanesco to death. Is that ‘ethical’? Is it ethical to force Tanesco to hike power tariffs to hapless Tanzanians.

Now I hear that the BOT twin-towers have been built for more than $400 million. Prices treble from the real value so that some guys can steal money and offload the cost to the Tanzanian tax-payer. I guess that is ethical!

For in Bongo reality is stranger than fiction. You pay 152 million a day to somebody you don’t even know. Next we will be hearing that Tanesco has been paying the same kind of money to some ghosts.