As self reflection on the state of social service delivery in Tanzania continues more people are becoming of the view that government is capable of providing free key social services like education but the failure to do so is linked to corruption, lack of will, vision and daring courage to try It is time Tanzanians changed their mindset by tackling challenges facing their nation instead of dismissing their opponents who believed that they had the capacity of doing things differently This assertion was made by the Chairman of the Agenda Participation 2000, retired Justice Lameck Mfalali in Dar es Salaam shortly before he officially launched the Non-State Actors Charter and Public Dialogue on the Tanzania Citizens want during and after elections 2010. Justice Mfalali told a well attended meeting of non-governmental organizations, media and invited guests at the sprawling Ubungo Plazas Blue Pearl Hotel that it was wrong to write off presidential candidates who said they were capable of making education, health free if they were elected in the forthcoming general elections. The government has minerals over and above cash crops and yet it is unable to provide free education and medical services if the first phase government was able to provide free education, why is it difficult for the present government, he asked. He said it was curious that those who said it was impossible for one to introduce free education from kindergarten to university level had themselves had free education during the first phase government of President Julius Nyerere. Justice Mfalila send participants into ripples of laughter when he said: One official from one of the contesting parties who had described those pledging to bring free education if elected as cheats had actually had free education with me at the University of Dar es Salaam. For instance, while pursuing our university education, we were not required to carry money for our fees the government simply provided us with cheques for our fees, the former Court of Appeal Judge said. He said even those who had been selected to pursue university education outside Tanzania in the neighbouring universities of Nairobi in Kenya and Makerere in Uganda had their cheques paid promptly and in advance by the Tanzanian government. The Tanzanian government dispatched cheques to foot their education in those universities while at the university, the government took care of bills for our laundry and food without fail. Im now told that you are now having difficulties even meeting students bills for their food, he said. Justice Mfalila said during their time they had free education from primary to university level when the governments source of income accrued from cash crops such as cotton, sisal and cashew nuts. Since then, he said, things have changed quite considerably. He said one of the main reasons why the first phase government was able to provide free education to them despite its weaker income base was because it was judicious in its expenditure and contained corruption. Had Mwalimus government been involved in the kind of tricks ( colloqialy translated into Kiswahili as ujanja, ujanja) others after him engaged in, he would not have been able to provide us with free education from primary school to university level, he said. He said had the last and present governments made judicious use of its rich mineral resources, and in particular gold, Tanzania would have done wonders in its provision of social services such as education, health and water. Justice Mfalali said it did not make sense for a government endowed with one of the most expensive minerals in the world, gold, not to lack comfortable earnings which it could have used in providing free education and other services for its citizens simply on account of wrong mining policies and contracts. He said the present price of gold at the world market had remained significantly high over the past years. He noted that last year (2009), one foreign gold mining company in the country exported significant amounts of Gold and yet the government did not receive adequate revenue in return from the sales. Tanzania has five foreign gold mining companies and currently ranked as the third largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. Justice Mfalali proceeded to ask the audience how much was earned from the tons of gold exported from the Country. He said had Tanzania had good mining policy which ensured that its people benefited from its mines, the country could earned handsomely for its gold and the returns from these exports could finance key social services like education. He explained that the present rate of three percent royalty earned from gold mining companies to the government was not only outrageous but outright stupidity. For instance, he said even if Tanzania had a gold mining contract with the foreign mining companies that demanded that for every 100 kilogram of gold, the companies send one kilogram to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT), the countrys earnings for the many tons of gold exported would have been quite considerable. Justice Mfalali wanted the public to consider how many tons of gold were earned from all the five companies last year. After you have come up with your figures, now try to find out how much earnings Tanzania would have had if it had had the one kilogram of gold from every 100 kilograms formula in place, he told the audience who were visibly disturbed by the telling revelation. When you carefully consider what I have just told you, you realize that shot ourselves in the foot by coming up with a stupid mining policy which led to the production of equally stupid contract surely, we cannot be more stupid, he said sending the audience once more into fits of laughter. He said the problem with our mining policy is that it does not even help us find out how much tons of gold foreign mining companies in the country are fishing out of the bowels of the earth! What is worse, he said, even when they are preparing their books on how many tons they had produced versus income earned, we are not there to verify it! he said. Those responsible for enforcing the law are also corrupt and have no integrity to protect government revenue from the sector. He said in 2004 during the term of President Benjamin Mkapa, he (Judge Mfalila served as Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and as the head of the body responsible for all major governments appointments, he was required to supervise the appointment of the first every Chief Government Geologist. The move, he said, followed after an attempt to ask the president to appoint the chief government geologist had led to the latter pushing the responsibility of looking for a person whose qualification fitted the post to the PSC. President Mkapa being a person who always wanted things to be done professionally, he said, he told us that his position did not allow him to know who could wear such a cap. Get me three potential names for the post with recommendations in the order of importance, then I would do the needful, Justice Mfalila quoted the president as telling the PSC. He said before they floated the advertisement for the post in the media, they decided to formulate questions that would be directed to the candidates for the post. We decided that whoever would be able to answer satisfactorily the question on what he would do to ensure that Tanzania benefited from its mineral wealth, and especially, gold, would join the three-man race for the post, he said. He said they wanted a man for the post of chief geologist who would be able to change the entire mining system which reduced the country to poverty. The retired judge said during his short leadership spell as deputy prime minister, the Tanzania Labour Party Chairman, Mr Augustine Lyatonga Mrema was able to collect, through the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) 16 tons of gold. The BoT had in turn deposited the gold in a Swiss bank, hence giving Tanzania a very strong economic base, said the retired judge adding that, the new development was however, short-lived. Some international agencies were not happy with the development that had earned Tanzania a modicum of economic independence. They feared that such economic independence on the part of a rich mineral resource country like Tanzania would make her extremely difficult to control, he said. These agencies literally directed Tanzania to stop buying gold from small scale miners (large scale gold mining investors had not yet started), arguing that the government was involving itself in a job that did not belong to it! It would be recalled that before the government decided to buy gold from its small scale miners, neighbouring countries that had no gold had transformed themselves into gold exporters! In fact, this was the time when Kenya set up a gold buying company which eventually ended into a mega scandal that came to be known as the Goldenberg scandal. The retired judge said the most unfortunate thing was not the international agencies poor advice to the Tanzanian government, but rather the governments decision to toe the line! He said that was the most stupid thing. How could they have caved in to the international agencies pressure? After all, the gold was ours and the government was ours. Why did they (government) harbour fears? The international financial institutions had absolutely no business turning our decisions around, he said. At this point, the retired judge quoted what the founding father of the nation, Mwalimu Nyerere had once said: If I gave you a bad advice on how to undertake something and you go on to implement it, between the two of us who is stupid? Mwalimu had said. Mr Mfalila called on Tanzanians to elect leaders capable of not only protecting the countrys natural resources but also ensuring that the nation benefited from such resources. He said the nation badly needed creative leaders who could, at the end of the day, help in bringing about prosperity both to the people and the nation at large. The retired judge said that it was due to this that people should refrain from heckling at candidates who said they were capable of bringing in free education if they were elected because these are the people we want not those who have failed, he said. The judge said, lay in creativity, innovativeness, determination, vision, commitment to fight corruption and steering the country to a better course. He said the United States of America was the most powerful nation on earth simply because its forefathers had worked had in transforming their nation to its present position. If people who had come all the way from Europe and settled in the USA had done that why not Tanzanians, he asked. He said those people (in the USA) had done what they did because they had not taken orders from anybody. Mr Mafalila said the day Tanzanians became cured of their present disease of corruption, misuse of public resources, lack of self confidence, poor innovation and listening to bad advice and took the destiny of their nation into their own hands, Tanzania as a nation would be on its way to success. After end of the Second World War, he said, the USA Minister for Finance, Mr Marshall told his government that as long as Europe, especially West Germany, was economically weak the entire world would not be peaceful. It would be recalled that after the end of the war, following the surrender of what came to be known as the Axis-Germany, Italy and Japan at Potsdam city, in East Germany, the Allies, led by the USA and the Soviet Union emerged. The USA led side controlled the west, including West Germany (which was divided into two parts, West and East) and the East part of Germany fell on the Soviet control. The division saw the west part pursuing capitalism and the Eastern part following the Soviet Unions socio-economic policy, Communism. He said the USA extended massive financial assistance to West Germany which came to be known as The Marshall Plan, after the name of the USA minister for finance who had mooted the assistance idea. West Germany which has since October 3rd 1990 united with its East part to form Germany, following the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November 1989-hence communism in East Germany, is currently third most powerful economic nation in the world after USA and Japan. The present Germany economic status was earned through the Marshall Plan assistance. But it is important to note, just as pointed out by the retired judge, Germanys economic success was earned not only through sheer had work on the part of its people, but also because they were endowed with rich human resource. Although they had been defeated in the war, they had however, adequate all kinds of engineers, doctors, economists and so on who made full use of the money in turning around their countrys economy. Mr Mfalali said Tanzania had massive gas resources, but continued to reel under poverty despite being endowed with such important energy which is crucial for any economic development. He said had such massive gas resources been in other country, the story would have been different as they could have used more profitably. Mr Mfalila said it was very unfortunate that although the country had a whole modern faculty of engineering, no efforts were being made to make full use of such a resource. He said had the country had imaginative and creative leadership, they could have easily challenged the faculty of engineering at the University of Dar es Salaam to produce a natural gas fueled car. This is what other countries the world over have been doing for many years, a tactic that has taken them places, he said. He said during the Second World War when British troops fighting against the Germans in North Africa under the command of Britains most decorated commander and soldier, General Montgomery, got stuck as a result of the desert. The then British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill directed engineers and scientists in Britain to look, urgently, into the possibility of producing a troop carrier vehicle that could easily overcome sand in the desert. He said it was Sir Churchills directive that eventually led to the birth of what has today become known as the Four by Four vehicle-as represented by Land-rover, currently popularly known as SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle). He said he would like presidential and other candidates to be imaginative people, fearless people who are not dwarfed by socio-economic challenges. He said it was disgusting to note that Tanzania more often than not sought food assistance from countries like Japan which have very little land for agriculture. He concluded with a call on Tanzanians to tighten their boots.