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Beggars can’t be choosers? So how come our ministers travel first class?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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    Beggars can't be choosers? So how come our ministers travel first class?



    Posted Sunday, November 13 2011 at 13:55

    If I were to dwell on the endemic disease of donor dependency, I would point out that it's an infection that you catch from your government. The Tanzania government, for instance, has checked into intensive care ward with serious terminal symptoms of this debilitating cancer, and pundits are putting their smart money on imminent collapse.
    This is a government that knows that it rules over an impoverished population that is growing in numbers and diminishing in wealth, becoming poorer every year, hemmed in between galloping demographics and an incompetent, corrupt and clueless leadership.

    There have been innumerable unresolved cases of theft in government departments. No sooner has the latest scandal become a debating point than a new one emerges to compete for attention. It seems someone is experimenting with the camel's back, trying to discover that nth straw that will break it.

    Amid this thievery, our government has deepened its reliance on donor assistance, becoming a veritable beggar, a word you will nowadays hear routinely if you are talking to a slightly tipsy diplomat. It seems there is nothing our rulers will not beg for or accept as a gift, even when demeaning, such as the offer by a corporate entity to do four toilet "holes" for a school.

    While travelling abroad to beg, our ministers travel first class, and see nothing wrong if on the same plane the ambassador of a donor government is in economy or business. Who's the idiot who said beggars can't be choosers?

    Part of Dar es Salaam's road congestion is caused by all the huge monsters from Japan bearing government number plates. Each one of these cars is the equivalent of a small factory employing 10 people. Once I heard the prime minister complaining about these gas-guzzlers, and believed that he was about to take action to stop their importation, but the joke, as usual, was on me.

    The spendthrift government is now busy throwing a bash to mark 50 years of Independence, celebrating that we're still alive, I suppose. Even in the gloom of the plunging shilling and soaring costs, some people in government institutions are wallowing in tenders to provide commemorative T-shirts, kitenge and khanga wraps, brochures, fliers, diaries, calendars, banderols, posters and all sorts of unnecessary and wasteful items for celebrations that, seriously, should have been replaced by a little cerebration.

    Tenderpreneurs - that's what they call them in South Africa - have never had it better.

    And yet they will go begging again, even when they are insulted by fatigued benefactors. They will continue to beg even when they have large mineral deposits that they have gifted to foreigners for a song.

    The infection takes place when the citizens of this beggary imitate their government. A commoner feels the urge to behave like a royal prince, so he decides his son's wedding must cost $20,000 - Tanzanians count in dollars these days - which he does not have. He sends cards to people, including some he hardly knows, demanding contributions, sometimes even fixing a minimum.

    Then he will badger, harass, press and cajole till you buy your freedom by sending your contribution. The millions of shillings are blown up in one week in which a series of weddings - kitchen party, send-off, wedding proper, post-wedding, etc - are organised in sumptuously decorated venues and the food and drink are just regal. Six months after the royal wedding, the couple is separated, and soon divorced.

    You could also mention the hordes of young people who own expensive Android phones but have to beg for airtime; those who buy cars but expect uncles and sugar daddies to buy fuel…

    Blame it on the government.

    Jenerali Ulimwengu, chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper, is a political commentator and civil society activist based in Dar es Salaam. E-mail:

  2. EMT

    EMT JF-Expert Member

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  3. Gaijin

    Gaijin JF-Expert Member

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    Beggars can't be choosers; why do we have special seats in the Bunge?
  4. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

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  5. ubun2

    ubun2 Senior Member

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    Finally somebody telling it like it is!
    Priorities are shifted it seems, flying first class is priority rather than providing medicines, staff, equipment at the local hospital. OR providing desks, teachers, books at local schools. Nosedive of shilling, high youth unemployment, holding corrupt officials accountable, NOT a priority.
    A corrupt system cannot sustain itself.
  6. Augustine Moshi

    Augustine Moshi JF-Expert Member

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    Great piece. But our Mini-Stars are not beggars; we are. We are very poor because they eat everything, including our share. They like to posses not only what is theirs, but also what is ours. They suffer from possession mania.

    The reality is as follows: a very rich group of people (our ministers) go to beg from some relatively rich people (donors) on our behalf; but all the alms so provided end up in the pockets of the ministers. Now, fifty years on, we continue to become poorer and poorer and our minister richer and richer. Ours is truly the mother of all vicious circles.

    TIMING JF-Expert Member

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    swali zuri kwa wanawake
  8. Augustine Moshi

    Augustine Moshi JF-Expert Member

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    We have special seats for special people. Our Mothers, Wives and Sisters are very special.
  9. Habdavi

    Habdavi JF-Expert Member

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    Nice article. As we celebrate 50 years of Independence, we each need to ask ourselves, when are we going to shun from this embarassing state of our country? Our solutions addressed not only in keynote speeches in political platforms but also our actions.
  10. Njowepo

    Njowepo JF-Expert Member

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    A beggar has no choice
  11. Dickson Mpemba

    Dickson Mpemba JF-Expert Member

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    A beggar has no choice, but not in this beloved country of ours!!!
  12. T


    May 15, 2014
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    because our commander in chief travels on GULFSTREAM private jet