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Tanzania in the Cross road- New Constituion

Discussion in 'KATIBA Mpya' started by kimatire, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. kimatire

    kimatire JF-Expert Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Joined: Nov 27, 2008
    Messages: 365
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    EVER SINCE INDEPENDENCE in 1961, Tanzanians have lived under regimes that have exploited and oppressed them. The vast majority of our people have become poorer, and many are living in greater misery than was unimaginable when we became independent. On the other hand, a handful of Tanzanians have become fabulously rich, most of them through corruption, stealing of state resources, and bribes from those to whom state favours were extended. Since the corrupt included presidents, ministers, and civil servants, they were protected from prosecutions. In this way there developed the culture of impunity that has caused and continues to cause great damage to our society and economy. On the strength of these ill gotten gains, some families have established dynastic politics, promoting candidates who have done little to deserve public office. There is a clear causal link between the affluence of the few and the misery of the many.
    Few politicians have shown any vision about our country. What Tanzania needed at independence was a leader with the vision of a Nyerere who would weave its different tribes and communities into a nation committed to the unity and development of the country, and welfare of all Tanzanians. Instead the politicians promoted and played upon ethnic affiliations, stirring up ethnic loyalties on the one hand and ethnic animosities on the other. They claim to be protectors of their tribes, which would suffer great hardships if their tribal politicians were not elected. But their principal interest has been to grab state power, for only through the abuse of state power can they accumulate wealth. They also use ethnicity to protect themselves from criminal sanctions; by pleading that criminal charges against them are an attack on their tribe. Electoral politics have become largely about ethnic alliances, ever shifting because there is no commitment to values and policies, merely calculations of winning office. Unfortunately some people are all too ready, no doubt fuelled by bribes, to defend their ethnic “leaders” against well founded allegations of corruption or violence. Consequently the country has become deeply divided along tribes and regions, vulnerable to periodic bouts of ethnic looting, displacements and killings, under the sponsorship of politicians.
    Thus politics have become the preferred route to wealth, requiring little effort, untroubled by their conscience. If honest politicians get into parliament or the government, they are quickly infected by this culture of greed. Few ministers or parliamentarians care about people’s welfare. This is why political alliances can change quickly and why it makes no difference which politician or which party wins elections. Politicians, united by common objectives of reaping the rewards of politics, form a political class which will do their best to sabotage values of the new Constitution, especially integrity. This is obvious from the way in which they are closing ranks against the ICC but care little about the victims of the violence they engineered.
    The moral decay in public life perpetrated by the political class is obvious: cheating in elections, packing commissions with political party nominees, willing to use extreme violence, and engaging with and protecting drug barons and other criminals, regardless of harm to communities or threats to national security. State officials fix and pollute the institutions for truth and justice. The police and local authorities connive with crooks to evict the poor and powerless, the Constitution ineffective against the onslaught of bulldozers. The establishment protects criminals and thugs who serve it. For the youth who are the 78% of Tanzanians – unemployment has almost been criminalized. At the same time, parliamentarians are said to cast their votes at the direction of the biggest bidder; thus has the Bunge become a sordid market, corrupting democracy.
    On the other hand, people pursuing social goals inconvenient to the establishment, are arrested when they criticise land grabbing or victimisation of IDPs, or seek to participate in public affairs in accordance with the Constitution. They are arrested, detained for, sometimes, long periods, occasionally charged with offences for which the police are unable to provide any evidence, or often released without any charge—but only after having suffered, with their families, great inconvenience, discomfort and anxiety: clearly a message to reformers. Ministers, bureaucrats and their patrons thrive on these illegalities: impunity for friends and jail for proponents of justice and reform.
    In short, our country has become a volatile, divided, violent and corrupt place, where poverty defines the deprivations and insecurity of the majority of the people. There is justifiably lack of trust in state institutions and leaders. They have plundered our national wealth; given our natural resources, including land, essentially for private profit, to outsiders, without public disclosure; cut down our forests, some turned into charcoal shipped off to the Middle East, some for agriculture, both for private profit, while our environment degrades, and people starve; transferred astronomical sums of public money to corrupt “business” men for the export of fictitious gold and diamonds Tanzania does not produce; bought military aircraft and other security equipment at exorbitant prices.
    Our presidents, previously men of limited means, became billionaires within months of assuming office. The same rush of unexplained wealth seems true of most of ministers, prime ministers and their aides. Illegal appropriations of vast tracts of land, some of which are uncultivated, while millions are without access to land and the disparities of wealth, and thus the life styles among the people, are so enormous that they seem to belong to different worlds and cultures. Half of Dar’s population lives in slums in appalling conditions which denies them the most basic rights of dignity and survival, while a few families lead a life of great affluence. Some public schools operate without the most basic facilities while billions of shillings, mostly donations from abroad, are stolen by teachers and ministry staff, and the minister in charge refuses to take any responsibility. The obsession with ethnicity and our poverty deny the fundamental premise of social solidarity and national unity.
    We are a nation adrift, squandering the great potential among our people, especially our youthful majority; ironically at the moment when people have voted overwhelming for a new Constitution which has given hope to many.
    Constitution beckons to a new future
    The Constitution enjoyed this degree of support because it rejected the style of politics that has dominated us since independence. It places at the centre of state and society integrity, democracy, human rights and social justice. One of its main objectives is to ensure to all a life in dignity, meeting the basic needs of even the most deprived. It aims at an inclusive and vibrant democracy, through wide participation of the people in public affairs, honest leadership, and full accountability for the conduct of the government. It seeks to transcend tribal politics and to unite us in our commitment to new Constitutional values, including patriotism, embracing a broader Tanzanian identity of which we can be proud of. The Constitution promises us much, and sets out the institutional framework for achieving the national values.
    President Kikwete have in the president’s speech on new year day described the new Constitution as “an embodiment of our best hopes, aspiration, ideals and values for a peaceful and more prosperous nation”. He predict that the Constitution “will fundamentally transform our nation politically, economically and socially” and lead to “productive and dignified lives”. He drew attention to “the new ways of conducting public affairs”, saying, “This Constitution’s leadership code and values makes it clear that people who will present themselves for public or state offices will have to be individuals of integrity, willing to be held accountable by the people and the institutions and laws of our country....The leaders must guarantee that the Bill of Rights is enforced...”. He urged us to complete the journey of “our transformation” by “seizing the moment with courage because the birth of the Second Republic holds great promise for the Tanzanian people”.
    Seize the moment
    While the people long for the new dawn of integrity and social justice, they feel powerless in the face of the ever present corruption, land grabbing, and divisive ethnicity, mostly with the support of the administration and the police. They long for integrity among public offices and justice from judges, as they see that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor, and no justice for themselves. There is widespread discontent with the present establishment. People feel that they have been betrayed on the new Constitution and notice that the goals of the Constitution are daily being violated, sidelined, crassly and blatantly, while politicians continue to invoke ethnicity, imperilling peace and harmony among the people. In all this the politicians seem unconcerned about the public reaction.
    The people realise that the Constitution promises them much, but some do not feel empowered by it. But many others do sense that it is through their own agency, in co-operation with others, that the promise will be realised. So increasingly people are organising themselves into groups (professionals, women, youth, religious groups, numerous grassroots organisations) searching for a new social and political order. Focussed on the youth, we intend to work together with them and others searching for change to fulfil the agenda of the Constitution. In order to achieve our objectives, for ourselves and future generations, we will facilitate partnerships for pursuit of Constitutional goals, promote co-operation across ethnic divides, etc. use possibilities for people for participation, decision making; engage with the rural and urban poor; encourage awareness among people of the Constitution and their rights. In the absence of effective and stable political parties, social movements have the potential to influence political policies and developments. This is what we intend to do.
    Thank-you and God Bless Tanzania....