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Tanzania: Land of constant complaints. The country seems well, but corruption is rampant!

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by jebs2002, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. jebs2002

    jebs2002 JF-Expert Member

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    by M.G. Vassanji on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 10:25am

    In Tanzania, is it that they complain too much, or they expect too much? Since the beginnings of economic and political liberalization in the 1990s, the nation has charged forward; the print media is bold and vociferous in both of the national languages, English and Swahili-especially the latter. Paved roads connect every part of the country, reaching towns and villages previously cut off during the rains; cellphones are in evidence everywhere. The country is connected. It's as if an engine turned on one day, and the once laid-back country, known as "the land of not yet," woke up. So what are the complaints about? Or, as a slick, modern voice on the radio says in an angular Swahili, "Wapi ni beef?"

    I'm sitting in a full minibus in the lush, hilly southern province of the country, heading from the provincial capital, Mbeya, down to Kyela on Lake Nyasa near the Malawi border. We pass areas growing wheat and corn, tea, banana, avocado, red beans and cocoa. We pass roadside markets selling vegetables, timber and locally made furniture. Finally we arrive at the market town, Kyela, known for its famous Mbeya rice. I can't help observing that if one did not long for modern amenities such as a hot shower, one could simply lie under a tree all day, picking the occasional weed, and not starve.

    On the way, my companion Felix, a local investigative journalist, points out other places of interest: the modest headquarters of a yogourt maker whose product now reaches all over the country; the modest house of a local man who owns hotels in the capital; a downhill bend on the road that was formerly called Uwanja wa Ndege, or "Airport," because-before the speed bumps came up-vehicles would fly off from this spot down into the valley below; a coal mine started by the Chinese. Felix also tells disturbing stories of abuses of village women by foreign mine workers.

    Indeed, the country is rich. Besides coal, there is gold, uranium and natural gas, and perhaps oil; food is grown abundantly in many parts and there's plenty of cattle. Then why the incessant complaints from everyone I meet, not only in the nation's capital, Dar es Salaam, but far away here in Mbeya and Kyela, where you cannot starve even if you tried? The problem is governance and corruption. Every morning in Mbeya you see trucks doing the rounds, piling up with bananas to take, presumably, to the capital. There is no adequate transportation for the produce. Tazara, the Tanzanian-Zambian railway, which once connected the south to the capital and port of Dar es Salaam, is now more or less defunct and remembered fondly. The Central Railway Line, built by the Germans when they colonized the country in the early 20th century, and which goes from the coast all the way to lakes Tanganyika and Victoria, is also useless. Air Tanzania, once thriving, is no more. The government, in a show of optimism, is planning another railway in the south, to be built perhaps with Chinese help.

    It's hard to believe, arriving from North America, seeing smart, oversized billboards showing happy, sophisticated people using fast Internet, air travel and mobile money transfers, and roadsides festooned with ads from cellphone companies, that about 80 per cent of the country spends its nights in total darkness. And for those fortunate enough to be connected to the grid, there are frequent and frustrating blackouts. The coal mine that I passed on the road to Kyela was projected to provide 300 megawatts of power; it was sold favourably to a politician's family member and is now almost defunct, apparently awaiting-from what I read in the papers-Chinese help. Meanwhile, prices rise and corruption is rampant. It takes typical Tanzanian humour to be able to live with it.

    Last year, a novel word found circulation in the Swahili language: vijisenti, a diminutive of senti, meaning "little cents," i.e. mere pennies. It was used by a well-placed politician who was questioned by the media about the several million dollars found in his bank account during an investigation. Mere pennies, he said, arrogantly. The official in question was connected with two major corruption scandals, one of them called "Richmond," in which a large contract was handed to a foreign company to fulfill the capital's electricity needs. A fraction of the promised power was delivered. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the area recently and, while unabashedly warning the Africans about the Chinese in their midst, promised help. But, as a Zambian minister responded to this admonition from "Mama Clinton," the Chinese have been in the region a long time, in Tanzania, in fact, since the 1960s, while the Americans were busy patting the hands of Kenyan politicians "fighting Communism." The Americans were worried that Africa was turning Red, and an American ambassador named William Attwood wrote a book called The Reds and the Blacks. It was the Chinese in those Cold War days who built the Tanzania-Zambia railway, passing through Mbeya, when the World Bank declined to help.

    The English-language papers, in an idiom that's now universal, love to trot out business statistics for the interest of the few. The GDP growth of Tanzania, at over six per cent, is one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa; unfortunately, this has not translated into social development. According to an Aga Khan Development Network report, the country ranks 148th in human development, out of the 169 countries surveyed. Life expectancy is 56 years; for every 10,000 people, there are only 10 health care workers. A recent survey, reported in a newspaper, found teacher-to-pupil ratios in the schools to be less than 1:80, and this may be optimistic; schools don't have enough textbooks, unless you go to one of the private schools for the rich, where you learn the new Swanglish, the Swahili-English.

    The gulf between rich and poor is so vast it is embarrassing. A cup of brewed coffee costs close to a day's minimum wage-imagine an $80 espresso in Toronto. Forget coffee in a decent restaurant, someone on minimum wage cannot even afford one of the mangoes that grow so abundantly in the region and that vendors hold up for sale to passing cars. Inflation is about 10 per cent. By the time a worker pays bus fare to and from work, what he brings home is often not enough for school fees, medicines and rent. As one such worker said to me quite categorically, "Maisha magumu." Life is hard.

    In Dar es Salaam, signalling new wealth, construction proceeds apace, often with callous disregard for zoning, safety or the heritage value of the buildings destroyed to make way. I was taken to the site of an eight-storey building, which, built over the foundations of the original two-storey structure, one fine day simply collapsed. Another such "multi-storey" began leaning sideways on its way to the ground, but a stalwart neighbour stood its ground to give it support; and so it stands, the Leaning Tower of Dar es Salaam, still occupied. Some of these multi-storeys are built so close to each other, the rooms are dark. And yet, those who can buy not one but two and three SUVs; sidewalks become parking lots, and streets where kids once played and people sat around in the evenings are now almost impossible to walk through.

    But Tanzanians are a relaxed, friendly people. The rigorous though idealistic socialist regimen of the 1970s and '80s did bequeath a sense of national identity and a pride in the national language, Swahili, that are the envy of neighbouring countries. As an Ethiopian-American woman in Mbeya said to me, you go to Kenya, and they are angry; in Uganda and Rwanda, they look scared. In Tanzania, you can walk by a policeman, push aside his automatic, and say, excuse me, let me pass. This is in answer to a question foolish visitors often ask: is an "African Spring" possible? Is Tahrir Square possible? Most people say no. The more cynical say, how is a social network possible if there is no electricity? Perhaps by keeping the people literally in darkness, the powers that be hope to contain mass organized protest.

    But for how long? There is a new official opposition in the country; it is urban and has youthful support, even in the high schools. It is called Chadema (Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo). It baits the government in parliament, asking awkward questions, and is brazen enough to be distasteful to many people. It is always in the news, especially in Swahili. Some even call it "activist." And the word is that the official party, the CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), which has ruled the country since independence, is nervous but cautious.

    M.G. Vassanji's travel memoir, A Place Within: Rediscovering India, won the 2009 Governor General's Prize for non-fiction. His next novel, The Magic of Saida, will be published in the fall of 2012.

    Source :
    Tanzania: land of constant complaints - World - Macleans.ca

    Wadau mlivyoisoma mnasemaje?
     
  2. s

    sentimental Member

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    Who paid him to write this? When people question things it doesn't mean they complain... Should walk a mile on the shoes of those he so called complainers and tell him to write again his story and see if he will think that way...Some people?? Geeze
     
  3. Abdulhalim

    Abdulhalim JF-Expert Member

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    Since we have enough documentation of our problems, I would be interested to know his/her view on how these problems can be eliminated, i just couldn't see any solution whatsoever.
    Great article nonetheless.
     
  4. mKaLI_mOkO

    mKaLI_mOkO Member

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    I personally liked the article though His/Her views are typically from an outsider. As for us indigenous people We have far better knowledge of our problems. Questioning our government concerning sensitive national issues are not complaints, but they seem so beacause they keep echoing almost averyday.
    God Bless Tanzania.
     
  5. A

    Allen Mushi New Member

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    well... yeah yeah here we go again with the cheap talk! we all know we have the potential and yes we are rich but u would've have enlighten us on the possible solutions or ways of solving our problems! calling us complainers aint right koz what we are complaining about is our right!

    sit down again think harder on the possible solutions and write to us back!

    otherwise u have learnt Tanzania very well! and Yes we will fight till all is right!
     
  6. babukijana

    babukijana JF-Expert Member

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    duh!!!****** ndo kwanza anatunga safari ingine ya kutmbeza bakuli baada ya kumaliza kazi kubwa ya uteuzi
     
  7. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

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    We R So Blessed... We need to have strong leaders to get rid of corruption.
     
  8. kipindupindu

    kipindupindu JF-Expert Member

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    Tanzania nchi ya amani na malalamiko!mwananchi anamlalamikia mbunge,mbunge anailalamikia serikali na serikali inawlalamikia wafanyabiashara.mbaya zaidi usalama wa taifa nao wanalalamika kuingiliwa na wanasiasa.sijui lini na nani watachukua hatua ?????
    lets wait and see.
     
  9. M

    Mbopo JF-Expert Member

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    The difference is the same. It is good that somebody else has seen it quite similarly! Complaints have reached an unprecedented high level and you really don't understand wha we need to be done. Pathetic!
     
  10. jebs2002

    jebs2002 JF-Expert Member

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    Naombeni mkukumbuke wakuu, swala kubwa si kulalamika tu, wananchi hata kwenye zilizoendelea wanalalamika, ila huyu bwana anashangaa kwanini watu wanalalamika wakati kila nyenzo iko mkononi mwao, kuanzia kura ya kuchagua viongozi, mpaka resources tulizonazo.
    Mwisho anashangaa na ufisadi wa hali ya juu tulionawo!
    Nimesoma hata kuna baadhi ya wana jamii, wanadiriki kuwaponda graduates wanaotaka kuanzisha biashara!
    Hii ni ajabu, yaani sie ni kuamini eti tukisoma ni lazima tuajiriwe?!
    Sasa mawazo kama haya ndio moja ya sifa ya umaskini wetu.
    Kama tungekua kweli tuna haja ya maendeleo na nchi yetu, basi kura zetu zingefanya kazi!
    Ila sie ni kulalamika bila kufanya lolote kila miaka 5 inapokuja!
     
  11. Himawari

    Himawari JF-Expert Member

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    Tanzania: land of constant complaints

    The country seems well, but corruption is rampant

    by M.G. Vassanji on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 10:25am

    [​IMG]Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images


    In Tanzania, is it that they complain too much, or they expect too much? Since the beginnings of economic and political liberalization in the 1990s, the nation has charged forward; the print media is bold and vociferous in both of the national languages, English and Swahili—especially the latter. Paved roads connect every part of the country, reaching towns and villages previously cut off during the rains; cellphones are in evidence everywhere. The country is connected. It’s as if an engine turned on one day, and the once laid-back country, known as “the land of not yet,” woke up. So what are the complaints about? Or, as a slick, modern voice on the radio says in an angular Swahili, “Wapi ni beef?”
    I’m sitting in a full minibus in the lush, hilly southern province of the country, heading from the provincial capital, Mbeya, down to Kyela on Lake Nyasa near the Malawi border. We pass areas growing wheat and corn, tea, banana, avocado, red beans and cocoa. We pass roadside markets selling vegetables, timber and locally made furniture. Finally we arrive at the market town, Kyela, known for its famous Mbeya rice. I can’t help observing that if one did not long for modern amenities such as a hot shower, one could simply lie under a tree all day, picking the occasional weed, and not starve.
    On the way, my companion Felix, a local investigative journalist, points out other places of interest: the modest headquarters of a yogourt maker whose product now reaches all over the country; the modest house of a local man who owns hotels in the capital; a downhill bend on the road that was formerly called Uwanja wa Ndege, or “Airport,” because—before the speed bumps came up—vehicles would fly off from this spot down into the valley below; a coal mine started by the Chinese. Felix also tells disturbing stories of abuses of village women by foreign mine workers.
    Indeed, the country is rich. Besides coal, there is gold, uranium and natural gas, and perhaps oil; food is grown abundantly in many parts and there’s plenty of cattle. Then why the incessant complaints from everyone I meet, not only in the nation’s capital, Dar es Salaam, but far away here in Mbeya and Kyela, where you cannot starve even if you tried? The problem is governance and corruption. Every morning in Mbeya you see trucks doing the rounds, piling up with bananas to take, presumably, to the capital. There is no adequate transportation for the produce. Tazara, the Tanzanian-Zambian railway, which once connected the south to the capital and port of Dar es Salaam, is now more or less defunct and remembered fondly. The Central Railway Line, built by the Germans when they colonized the country in the early 20th century, and which goes from the coast all the way to lakes Tanganyika and Victoria, is also useless. Air Tanzania, once thriving, is no more. The government, in a show of optimism, is planning another railway in the south, to be built perhaps with Chinese help.
    It’s hard to believe, arriving from North America, seeing smart, oversized billboards showing happy, sophisticated people using fast Internet, air travel and mobile money transfers, and roadsides festooned with ads from cellphone companies, that about 80 per cent of the country spends its nights in total darkness. And for those fortunate enough to be connected to the grid, there are frequent and frustrating blackouts. The coal mine that I passed on the road to Kyela was projected to provide 300 megawatts of power; it was sold favourably to a politician’s family member and is now almost defunct, apparently awaiting—from what I read in the papers—Chinese help. Meanwhile, prices rise and corruption is rampant. It takes typical Tanzanian humour to be able to live with it.
    Last year, a novel word found circulation in the Swahili language: vijisenti, a diminutive of senti, meaning “little cents,” i.e. mere pennies. It was used by a well-placed politician who was questioned by the media about the several million dollars found in his bank account during an investigation. Mere pennies, he said, arrogantly. The official in question was connected with two major corruption scandals, one of them called “Richmond,” in which a large contract was handed to a foreign company to fulfill the capital’s electricity needs. A fraction of the promised power was delivered. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in the area recently and, while unabashedly warning the Africans about the Chinese in their midst, promised help. But, as a Zambian minister responded to this admonition from “Mama Clinton,” the Chinese have been in the region a long time, in Tanzania, in fact, since the 1960s, while the Americans were busy patting the hands of Kenyan politicians “fighting Communism.” The Americans were worried that Africa was turning Red, and an American ambassador named William Attwood wrote a book called The Reds and the Blacks. It was the Chinese in those Cold War days who built the Tanzania-Zambia railway, passing through Mbeya, when the World Bank declined to help.
    The English-language papers, in an idiom that’s now universal, love to trot out business statistics for the interest of the few. The GDP growth of Tanzania, at over six per cent, is one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa; unfortunately, this has not translated into social development. According to an Aga Khan Development Network report, the country ranks 148th in human development, out of the 169 countries surveyed. Life expectancy is 56 years; for every 10,000 people, there are only 10 health care workers. A recent survey, reported in a newspaper, found teacher-to-pupil ratios in the schools to be less than 1:80, and this may be optimistic; schools don’t have enough textbooks, unless you go to one of the private schools for the rich, where you learn the new Swanglish, the Swahili-English.
    The gulf between rich and poor is so vast it is embarrassing. A cup of brewed coffee costs close to a day’s minimum wage—imagine an $80 espresso in Toronto. Forget coffee in a decent restaurant, someone on minimum wage cannot even afford one of the mangoes that grow so abundantly in the region and that vendors hold up for sale to passing cars. Inflation is about 10 per cent. By the time a worker pays bus fare to and from work, what he brings home is often not enough for school fees, medicines and rent. As one such worker said to me quite categorically, “Maisha magumu.” Life is hard.
    In Dar es Salaam, signalling new wealth, construction proceeds apace, often with callous disregard for zoning, safety or the heritage value of the buildings destroyed to make way. I was taken to the site of an eight-storey building, which, built over the foundations of the original two-storey structure, one fine day simply collapsed. Another such “multi-storey” began leaning sideways on its way to the ground, but a stalwart neighbour stood its ground to give it support; and so it stands, the Leaning Tower of Dar es Salaam, still occupied. Some of these multi-storeys are built so close to each other, the rooms are dark. And yet, those who can buy not one but two and three SUVs; sidewalks become parking lots, and streets where kids once played and people sat around in the evenings are now almost impossible to walk through.
    But Tanzanians are a relaxed, friendly people. The rigorous though idealistic socialist regimen of the 1970s and ’80s did bequeath a sense of national identity and a pride in the national language, Swahili, that are the envy of neighbouring countries. As an Ethiopian-American woman in Mbeya said to me, you go to Kenya, and they are angry; in Uganda and Rwanda, they look scared. In Tanzania, you can walk by a policeman, push aside his automatic, and say, excuse me, let me pass. This is in answer to a question foolish visitors often ask: is an “African Spring” possible? Is Tahrir Square possible? Most people say no. The more cynical say, how is a social network possible if there is no electricity? Perhaps by keeping the people literally in darkness, the powers that be hope to contain mass organized protest.
    But for how long? There is a new official opposition in the country; it is urban and has youthful support, even in the high schools. It is called Chadema (Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo). It baits the government in parliament, asking awkward questions, and is brazen enough to be distasteful to many people. It is always in the news, especially in Swahili. Some even call it “activist.” And the word is that the official party, the CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi), which has ruled the country since independence, is nervous but cautious.
    M.G. Vassanji’s travel memoir, A Place Within: Rediscovering India, won the 2009 Governor General’s Prize for non-fiction. His next novel, The Magic of Saida, will be published in the fall of 2012.

    Source: Tanzania: land of constant complaints - World - Macleans.ca
     
  12. Himawari

    Himawari JF-Expert Member

    #12
    Oct 7, 2011
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    Muheshimiwa (jebs2002) nimekusoma na tuko pamoja.
    Article ya huyu jamaa ina mantiki kubwa sana..., isome kwa makini utaelewa ana maanisha nini.
    Ni kweli tunalalamika sana ilhali nyenzo na dhana zote za kuondoa ufisadi/rushwa na kuleta maendeleo ziko mikononi mwetu.
    Watanzania wenzangu mageuzi ya kweli hayataletwa na wanasiasa bali sisi wenyewe.
    Think about it.
     
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