Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Spot the difference

The Tanzania Information Office (MAELEZO) ‘entrepreneurs’ have just discovered a new way of making some extra bucks. They are peddling another mug-shot of the Prez, Jack Mrisho as the new official portrait.

The difference? Hardly any. It’s the same old Jack, with a smile on his visage. I wondered what would have prompted MAELEZO officials to feel that the country needs a brand new face of the president to smile benevolently at us from all those walls.

If the new portrait was to be used as a campaign launch, then few will notice the differenced. Or, maybe it would be used to brighten up the many dingy government offices. Frankly most government offices look like they have been designed by sadists. The moment you enter most of them you feel depressed – you feel like crying.

Anyway, back to Jack’s new portrait. What would have made the MAELEZO honchos start another business of getting Mzee’s new portrait and direct all government offices, SUs, private companies to buy the new photos for Shs 15,000 each? Let’s do some sums. How much will a thousand portraits make?

Maybe the new portrait has a better smile. I got out my smile-o-meter to checked Jack’s dental formula. In both photos, the old one and new, the Mkuu is all teeth. In the first portrait, his smile has only five teeth. In the second photo he is baring 8 top teeth. I hear that tooth-paste making companies are falling all over themselves in an attempt to make Mzee endorse their products.

Still – why a new portrait? In the first one the face is pictured in profile. In the second one taken full nondo – straight faced, with more teeth. It must have been the work of government spin-doctors (wapambe, nuksi). All over the world those guys are bad news. They are the ones who persuade African presidents that their ‘wananchi’ want the boss to change constitutions to rule them for life and a load of other rubbish.

Spin-doctor number one could say: “Mzee, we have to change your portrait. The one we have now is good. But we plan a portrait in which you will look benevolent, carry authority, look soft hearted and a stern man who will brook no nonsense, at the same time. A portrait which will depict you as a visionary and a leader who is intelligent and yet humble, God- fearing and fearless at the same time. And frankly, the people want to see more of those teeth.”

Mzee will ask what is wrong with the first portrait. Enter spin-doctor number two: “You see, Mzee, in the first portrait, you look a bit cheeky. As if you are giving the glad eye to a member of the opposite sex. Now you see the United Republic of Tanzania comprises of male and female species. While that look might gladden the madada, it can offend your fellow men.”

The Mkuu gives the nod for the spin-doctors to go ahead. Lets do the sums again – how much is TShs 15,000 multiplied by a hundred thousand portraits?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

CCM-Mafisadi versus CCM-Safi

It looks so surreal, but it’s true. The Speaker of the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samuel Sitta (Sam-Six) has just survived a major political lynching by his own party. His crime? He is doing his job perfectly!

Almost too perfectly, his enemies think. They have been baying for his blood at the CCM politburo meet in Dodoma and think he should be kicked out of the ruling party for speaking against graft!

According to insiders in the party politburo a senior member (who is a known for his communist sympathies and years for a one-party system of the 60s, spoke for about 45 minutes in which he slammed the Speaker for being too eager to run parliament based on the Westminster system, while failing to protect the thieving ways of some of the members of the ruling party.

In what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated move more than 40 of the key CCM committee launched direct attacks on Sitta and other ‘rebel’ MPs for speaking out against high-level corruption in government.

The politburo members accused the Speaker of ‘embarrassing’ the government by allowing the MPs during the recent parliamentary budget to openly criticize senior public rulers, both past and present. They implied that the rulers past and present deeds should be equated to deity – to be worshipped.

MPs who are the real stars of the anti-graft campaign are Anne Kilango Malecela (Same East) Lucas Selelii (Nzega), Christopher ole-Sendeka (Simanjiro) Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe (Kyela), Aloyse Kimaro (Vunjo) and the Speaker himself, Sam Six and millions of informed Tanzanians.

Sources say that the Speaker has effectively been put ‘on probation’, and will be monitored by three wise men in the politburo. They are former president, Mzee Ali Hassan Mwinyi, ex-National Assembly Speaker, Pius Msekwa and Abdulman Kinana, a former Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Their job will be to breathe down the necks of the Speaker and other ‘rebel’ MPs. If their future behaviors are deemed unsatisfactory the committee will call an emergency meeting to dismiss them from the party. This is not the politburo of Communist North Korea we are talking about. It is the politburo of a party in the democratic and multi-party system of the United Republic of Tanzania!

Analysts feel that in shielding crooks within the party and government the party has given the nod to wanton plunder and the big time corruption to go on.

Karatu MPs, Dr Wilbrod Slaa of the opposition CHADEMA party has said that he was not surprised that the Speaker and other anti-corruption crusaders within the CCM were now being intimidated and threatened with expulsion from the ruling party.

“All this proves that the forces of corruption have a huge influence within both the CCM and the government itself.” He said.

Godfrey Zambi (Mbozi East- CCM) has defended that Speaker in his parliamentary leadership so far, saying it would be a shame to discourage him from continuing to conduct parliamentary proceedings without fear or favour.

It seems the supporters of the alleged crooks in the CCM are desperately trying to turn the Speaker into a CCM whipping boy to support any of their whimsical dreams. Will the Speaker turn the other cheek and comply to those whims?

Poetic justice favours the brave few, but clean crusaders. They are facing heavy flak from the supporters of grand corruption. But right is always right and always wins in the end, analysts say.

Kyela MP, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said at the meet, that the party friction arises from two opposing groups; one supporting grand-corruption and the other opposing it. “This fight will only end when corruption is swept away. Other than that there will be no negotiations or reconciliation.”

Some of the pro-corruption politburo members were said to boo all those anti-corruption crusading MPs. “Such uncouth behavior can only be from members who have nothing to say. It is easy to boo.” Said an analyst.

Some say that there have been many short-sighed and amateurish responses from the pro-corruption delegates. Gagging the anti-corruption MPs does not mean that the pro-corruption MPs will be listened to.

Reacting to the CCM clampdown on CCM-Safi members, lawyer/activists and political commentator, Tindu Lissu has said last week’s attempt by the ruling party to control parliamentary proceedings were basically illegal.

According to Lissu, CCM would be breaching the law if it were to take action against its MPs for comments made during debates with Parliament with all legislators have a certain entitlements under the Parliamentary Immunities, Powers and Privileges Act Number 3 of 1988.

Fortunately, few other members see the issue of the corruption drive more clearly than the rabble rousers. One politburo member, Abdulrahman Kinana summed it up: “The accusations of grand corruption against the top CCM leaders are the ones which are destroying the party.”

“What the pro-corruption members of the CCM should know is that it is no use talking when no one is listening.” Said an analysts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jihadhari na mamluki wa uandishi!

Nimeliona jambo hili linatokea mara kwa mara kukiwa na uchaguzi au kama kuna tukio ambalo limelitingisha taifa kama vile kujiuzulu kwa aliyekuwa waziri mkuu, Edward Lowassa na mawaaziri wawili.

Jambo lenyewe ni kutokea kwa tabaka fulani katika fani yetu ya uandishi ya watu ambao huwezi kuwaita waandishi, bali mamluki wa fani hii.

Wakati wa uchaguzi uliopita wanasiasa waliajiri wazi wazi mamluki hao. Wao hawana maadili yo yote katika maisha yao. Wao wanachoabudu kiko katika madhabau (altar) ya fedha.

Watu kama hao watakupamba mpaka utaona kizinguzungu. Hawana aibu. Kama wewe ni jambazi lenye kuvaa suti, mamluki hao watasema wewe ni mkombozi na uishi milele, Amina!

Nakuwa wa kwanza kukubali kuwa wapo sana mamluki hao. Sasa hivi umetokea ujanja wa mamluki hao kutaka kuwakosha watu fulani waliotuibia mabilioni kuwa,eti, ni watu safi. Na wanaonewa tu na Kamati ya Wabunge wakiwa na mwenyekiti wao, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe. Kiyu ambacho ni utumbo mtupu.

Kwanza mimi binafsi nashangaa kwa nini watuhumiwa hao wasichukuliwe hatua za kisheria? Nasema kila siku nchini hii mtu ukiiba kuku mmoja basi tunakuchoma na moto. Lakini ukiiba mabilioni – hapo sawa!

Mimi wala sitaupamba uhalifu huo mchafu na kuuita ufisadi. Nauita vile nilivyozoea – wizi! Mijizi imetuibia mabilioni, halafu sasa imeanza kupakaziana.

Tatizo la mwizi ni kusahau kuwa siku zake ni arubaini. Na jinsi ya kumpata mwizi ni kama ukitaka kumvua yule samaki wa baharini. Chuchunge.

Akiuma chambo wewe muongezee mshipi aende nao. Atakwenda weee-e-e! Akijua mambo shwari atameza chambo. Ndipo hapo utampata kwa ulaini.

We msomaji, unafikiria mambo hayo ya wizi baina ya viongozi tumeanza kutasikia leo? Wala! Tumeyasikia siku nyingi tu zilizopita. Lakini ukisema tu watu kama Mzee Kingunge Ngombale Mwiru wanakujia kama kifaru. Ushaidi uko wapi?

Mamluki wengine wanatafuta mambo ya ajabu kabisa. Ukabila.Eti akiwekwa mmasai mmoja hatiani basi kabila lake lote linaharibiwa jina na wengine kudhalilishwa. Utumbo mwingine huo. Hakuna kitu kibaya kama wapambe.

Tunaambiwa Lowassa alipokelewa kifalme Monduli. Na kwamba kiasi cha watu elfu kumi wa jimbo lake walijitokeza kumlaki na idadi ya magari ilikuwa ni 400! Poa kabisa! Na zulia jekundu lilitandikwa. Wameandika mamluki hao.

Mimi hayo ya magari elfu au watu 10,000 au 50,000 hayanihusu. Ninachotaka kujua ni hela yetu iliyoibwa kwa kutumia makampuni feki iko wapi? Na hayo magazeti yanayowapigia ndogo ndogo yale majizi ni ya nani hasa? Si ya swahiba wao Rostam Aziz? Sasa?
Invoiced! 'If you love me buy me a car '

The other day a chap was telling stories me about his love life. Actually he was complaining about his relationship with a chick. Most guys do complain about their love life, if you can offer enough ear, that is.

“I had hardly greeted her and she asked for my cell phone number, which I hastily offered, thinking that it was my good looks at work.” He said.

“Oh yeah!” I nodded, encouraging him on. Good looks? The guy looked like he had just stopped a speeding Bajaj with his face.

“I had hardly disappeared into the loo, before my cellphone rang. It was her
ladyship. Believe it on not, my man, she called me darling.

“There were a lot of darlings in between her sentences. Then she asked me to transfer five thou bob to her voda account.” He explained.

“Do you work as a voucher salesman to voda, or something?” I asked.
“No, man. She just ambushed me with the request. I said ‘why not? Since we were building this, you know, relationship…”

The geezer then transfered the money to her. Immediately after the transfer there was a beep. It was the chick. He phoned her back. “But I have just transfered money to your account. Do you still have to beep me?” He asked.

The dame told him that she needed the phone money to talk to her mother somewhere in the in the middle of nowhere in the United Republic of Tanzania. By the way did he know that her mother was sick?

The geezer told me that he made sympathetic noises and promised to do something about it for his now sick mother-in-law. That was it for then. Before he went to bed there was a call, from his ‘darlingi’ again. She said she missed him terribly and she would have invited him to her home. Except that she had not paid the rent for the next six months. Would ‘darlingi’ fix it?

“That was on day one?” I asked unbelievingly. The geezer nodded, beaming like he had just been announced a mega lottery winner. Then I knew I had a jerk for a colleague. I asked him if she had delivered the merchandise and he said no.

“On day two she beeped me and asked me to meet me her at this fancy hotel. She ordered some stuff I don’t even know. It cost me a bomb. But I paid for it. Later, we went to my place and, you know…”

“Yes, I know. You ended up playing draughts in your bedroom..” I sneered.
“Yeah. But that was after I promised to by her a car.”
“What? Are you crazy? You promised to buy her a car for sex? You are one hell of a geezer. Fall-l-a-a wee-e-e!”

Then I started thinking. I know there is a sucker born every minute in this world, but that was really something. The guy had a great job in the government thanks to his parents, but underneath he was really a hungarian.

The thing was he had simply been dealing with a glorified prostitute. Not a sex worker, mind you. With a sex worker you talk shop. How much? Five thou a trick. You pay, then wham, bang, thank-you ma’am. That’s it.

But this prostitute called herself ‘darlingi’ was simply milking the poor geek by using sex. The sex worker is honest and deserves more respect. But the glorified prostitute was simply tarting around and pretending to be decent which she was not.
The chap was a real jerk. How could one be manipulated like that in the name of love? Hardly had he even looked at her and he was being ‘invoiced’ in the name of love. The geek must have started very late in the love business!

No taxi over loading

The Dar es Salaam Regional Govermor, Bill Lukuvi, and police Commander, Sule Kova giving an on-the-spot guidance to Temeke cab driver, Saidi on good nutrition. They told him to eat plenty of veggies and to go slow on ugali and other starches. Meanwhile Commander Kova told the driver that traffic cops will keep a watchful eye on the cabman lest he overloads his taxi with himself

The human body

  • It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach
  • One human hair can support 3kg (6.6 lb).
  • The average man's penis is three times the length of his thumb.
  • Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.
  • A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.
  • There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
  • Women blink twice as often as men.
  • The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
  • Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.
  • If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
  • Women reading this will be finished now.
  • Men are still busy checking their thumbs for length
Dealing drugs is allowed in Bongo

You should hear the way government honchos and the police bay about the evils of hard drugs. They are evil, they say. They destroy lives, especially of our kids, they lament.
When he was campaigning to be the numero uno pessonovante in the Tanzania politics, the Prez, Jack Mrisho, told Tanzanians that he knew drug dealers - by their names. That he was about to unleash the might of the state against big time drug dealers. We, the wananchi are still patiently waiting for that move.

One thing you learn when you are a Tanzanian is to wait. As some Persian sage once said – it is only the first 100 years which are difficult while you wait.

But I believe that Tanzania is fighting drug trafficking with all its might. Six months ago cops nabbed a beat-nik in Kinondoni area. He was peddling cocaine. He was arrested with the evidence and also was found with serious wads of cash at his home.

When taken to court, the punk arrogantly pleaded guilty and was given a very stiff penalty of paying a 5 million shilling fine or six months in jail. He promptly paid the fine and went back to the criminal business of peddling drugs.

A fortnight ago another drug ‘mule’ was caught in the act of bringing in cocaine. Mules are those young men and women who use their bodies as ‘containers’ to transport hard drugs. The desperadoes usually store the drugs in their rectums.

After discharging cocaine pellets from his rear, he also arrogantly pleaded guilty. The punk was also given a hard sentence of 10 million fine or six months in prison. He promptly paid the fine and is now back in business in the streets.

Morogoro police are currently bragging that they arrested three guys who were bringing in ganja to Dar – some 200 sacks. The police never said the street value of the ganja. But I wouldn’t worry too much if I was one of the crooks. If convicted cocaine dealers are given a six months sentence with the option to pay a joke of fine, then ganja smugglers will be set free. The usual scenario is the cops usually relieve the crooks off the loot and sell it themselves.

From those sentences it is clear that the government is giving our young men and women a nod and a wink to go ahead to be drug ‘entrepreneurs’. Hundreds of hopeless desperadoes in Tanzania will gladly join in to be drug mules. You can openly see that in the streets Dar and Zenj, Stone Town.

In neighboring Kenya when the police catch you with a joint of ganja, you are fined double the value of the msokoto – plust 10 years in jail.
In Saudi Arabia if you are caught peddling drugs you may easily loose your head. It will be chopped off your neck with a razor sharp jambiyeh and may the Lord have mercy on your poor soul.

In the Far East and other places like Thailand you simply face the firing squad when you are caught messing around with drugs. I remember a lady in Dar who was suddenly prosperous and ostensibly doing very fine materially. The Yemen customs police saw drugs in her body containers. The authorities opened up her tummy, removed the evidence and left her to die, which she did.

But in Tanzania, do drugs and they give you an obscenely low fine which you pay and promptly go back to your ‘business.’ Preventive punishment is not in our culture. In fact big time thuggery is very rewarding in Bongo.
Hakuna kama elimu. Lakini…

Nilikuwa kwenye kona yangu moja kijijini nikiangalia watu. Mimi napenda kuangalia na kusikiliza watu.

Kidogo nikaanza kumsikiliza aliyekuwa mkuu wa mkoa wa Dar es Salaam (Sasa ni kuu wa mkoa wa Mwanza), Abas Kandoro akianza ku-rap kuhusu mradi wa kujenga mashule mengi tu kwa ajili ya watoto wetu wa mkoa huu. Poa kabisa.

Baadaye nikamuona kwenye TV. Sitazungumzia kuhusu rangi mbaya za nguo alizovaa. Nazungumzia mambo aliyokuwa anayasema. Alisema maradhi, umaskini, elimu kuwa ndiyo adui tuliokuwa tunapambana kuanzia tumepata uhuru.

Akasema lakini adui mbaya zaidi ni kukosa elimu. Poa sana plus plus!
Hamna kitu kibaya kama jitu mbunju. Baya zaidi limbunju ambalo linajifanya janja. Yako kila mahali, serijkalini makanisani, miskitini na mengi zaidi mtaani.

Hivyo bwana 'legino' wetu wa Dar es Salaam akasema kuwa wanaDar es Salaam tuchagie kwenye mpango huo wa shule ili sekondari hizo zijengwe. Namuombea Braza Kandoro kila la kheri.

Namuombea kwa sababu mimi binafsi sitoi senti tano kwa mchango huo. Naona wametoa namba ya akaunti ya kuchanngia. Sichangi kwa sababu baado nina maswali lukuki ya kuuliza.

Nani atakuwa na mamlaka na uwezo wa kuzitoa fedha hizo. Mtu mmoja au kamati? Majina yao nani? Sitaki kuchangia mitaji ya wahuni.

Uoga wangu ni kuwa hizo fedha zikianza kurundikana katika akaunti hiyo kila mwana kamati ataanza kuweka ‘kampuni’ ya ndugu zake ili kuanza kizitafuna. Yametokea hayo hapa Bongo, wala si mageni.

Kwanza bwana michoro. Atakuwa ni shemeji wa mjumbe wa kamati hiyo? Halafu ujenzi utakua ni wa matofali. Nani ataleta matofari hayo? Fulani, ambaye ni hawara wa mwenyekiti wa kamati. Yametokea hayo!

Jee, nani atawaajili wachimba msingi? Mwenyekiti wa kamati ya ujenzi ambaye atampa kazi hiyo kaka wa mchumba wake – yaani shemejie.

Nani ataleta simenti? Baba mdogo wa Katibu fulani katika serikali ya mkoa. Madawati je? Mchumba wa mwana kamati fulani. Haya! Nani ataleta madawati. Hayo yatakuja tu (Ingawa nasikia shule ya sekondari ya wasichana ya Msalato huko dodoma, wameanza kukaa sakafuni. Hakuna madawati)

Walimu je, watatoka wapi, Braza Kandoro? Zamani kazi ya waalimu ilikuwa inaheshimika sana. Siku hizi mtoto wako akisema anataka kuwa mwalimu kila mtu anamuona chizi!

Mimi ninashuku kuwa hizo fedha zitatafunwa na hakuna mtu ataulizwa swali lo lote. Fedha na mradi wa mabasi ya shule ya watoto wetu ziko wapi? Haya mchango wa madawati ya watoto wetu Dar es Salaam, nchango wake, ambao ulikuwa chini ya ofisi ya rais – fedha ziko wapi? Madawati yako wapi?

Ninachojua mimi kwa elimu dunia yangu, mtu anayeita watu wengune wachangie, kuna wengine wanangoja kuutafuna mchango huo. Kwa haraka sana nasema kuwa mkuu wetu wa mkoa anaweza kuwa na nia safi kabisa!

Lakini kuna wengine wanaongojea fedha ya kustaafu. Ukiwapa mwanya huo watazoa fedha hizo na kuingia mitini. Kwa kifupi ninawashuku wote wanaohusika na dili hii. Ni nani hao? Nani atasaini kutoa fedha hizo? Tutapata mahesabu kwa nani?

Sisi waBongo tumeumizwa sana na majambazi yanayovaa suti yakituambia utumbo kuhusu ‘maendeleo’ ya nchi yetu. Hasa wana maana maendeleo yao binafsi na familia zao!

Braza Abasi Kandoro ajue kabisa kuwa hilo si swala tu la kuchangia. Tunataka kujua nani watadhibiti fedha za wananchi. Tusije tukashikana makoo baadaye!
Taxi overload forbidden!

The Dar es Salaam Regional Govermor, Bill Lukuvi, and police Commander, Sule Kova giving an on-the-spot guidance to Temeke cab driver, Saidi on good nutrition. They told him to eat plenty of veggies and to go slow on ugali and other starches. Meanwhile Commander Kova told the driver that traffic cops will keep a watchful eye on the cabman lest he overloads his taxi with himself!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Killer robbers condemned, unarmed robbers forgiven

In a movie-style raid ten armed robbers on Friday killed a watchman and wounded 14 in a daring NMB bank raid, in Temeke in Dar es Salaam.

The gangsters, who came in three vehicles bearing government and SU numbers plate, carried heavy weapons including hand grenades. This was the first time a gang used hand grenades to rob a bank in Tanzania, but not the first time armed robbers targeted the NMB bank.

One of the grenades was used to blow up the security guard, Seif Mwikwike to bits. At least 14 people were injured, four of them seriously in the 15 minute raid in which the gangsters escaped with 150 million shillings.

Then grenades and the heavy weapons are widely believed to have seeped through Tanzania’s porous borders with its western neighbors, including Burundi and DRC.

Police have thrown a cordon around Dar es Salaam city and Home Affairs, Lawrence Masha has vowed that the police had mounted a major manhunt for the robbers. “We are confident we will get them all.

“It was a most unexpected and rapid incident, but we will make sure that we get to the bottom of this… they (robbers) should be assured that they are not going to get away with this. We are going to get them.” He promised.

While the Home Affairs minister was talking tough, Parliament in Tanzania’s un-built capital of Dodoma on Friday gave the nod to the unarmed robbery of Sh 15.48 billion that the government had failed to recover over the last decade.

The debts were in tax claims, uncollected accounts, theft or misappropriation of monies by public officials and expired government supplies across some agencies and ministries.

The money included Sh1.76 billion stolen at the Ministry of Water, between2001 and 2004, with the buying of the hugely over-priced water compressors. The ministry’s employees bought three water compressors at a price of $950,000 from Canada, instead of $210,000 for similar equipment from Belgium. This means $1.8 million dollars have been pocketed in that deal. No one has been arrested and no one has talked tough as the result of this daylight robbery without violence.

Deputy ministry for Finance Omar Yussuf Mzee, told Parliament while requesting for debt cancellation that about Sh 463 million was the amount stolen by dishonest workers. He said another Sh 11 billion was in pending arrears whose collection has become untenable, while Sh 1.3 billion has simply disappeared in irreconcilable accounts.

The Same East MP, Anne Kilango-Malecela told Parliament that his should be the last time the Bunge was asked to help the government clears debts it owes. “We will not accept in the future to hand you that privilege. It is unfortunate that we are letting thieves go scot-free.” She said, adding that Parliament should not approve embezzlement of public funds. The government has said nothing about taking stern measures on the unarmed robbers still in its offices.