|Strong winds caused blowing snow that wreaked havoc across the Greater Toronto Area on January 27, 2019. (Photo by Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto)|
Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa
Tuesday, 29 January 2019
Sunday, 27 January 2019
|In a rare event, this group of hippos was captured in swimming in the muddy waters of the Serengeti National Park in South Africa. The semi-aquatic mammals have webbed feet while their eyes and ears are placed high on their skills allowing them to remain above the surface of the water. Really? Is Serengeti in Tanzania or SA? What's wrong with Yahoo's team? Get the facts right please.|
Wednesday, 23 January 2019
The death of the Todii song among others, Zimbabwean Oliver Mutukudzi 'Tuku' is yet another big blow to music lovers in Africa and the world at large. Tuku, the giant of a man was a no normal musician but a baobab tree. For over 40 years Tuku traversed the world as he entertained and taught it through his exceptionally unique music. Being one of his religious fans, I feel sorry for his family and the family of music lovers. We are all here to pass. One important thing to note is that Tuku has died on the same day and the same month his best friend Hugh Masekela died. What a coincidence! The worst is to precede. Fare well Oliver Mutukudzi 'Tuku' for mission accomplished fare-thee-well.
Sara Zvakanaka Tuku.
Hamba Kahle Tuku.
Thie Wega Tuku.
Nenda Salama Tuku.
Zorora Murugare Tuku.
Zorora Murugare Tuku.
Though Canada’s richer than the EAC put together, it’s something to teach. It spends public funds carefully. In some provinces, ministers drive their own cars; and whoever breaks the law is dealt with uniformly. The Canadian Press (18 March, 2017) quoted Alberta’s Service Minister, Stephanie McLean, as saying “it is certainly important for us to show a different face, a different government, one that cares about every dollar and cent that is being spent and to follow through on that commitment by letting interested parties know how it is being spent without going through a lengthy freedom of access request.” Joshing apart, Alberta is the richest province in Canada with the GDP of C$78,154 (richest.com, 13 May, 2013) thanks to producing oil and farm produces. With such a GDP, Alberta dwarfs many countries including Western ones. For example, according to the statisticstimes.com, 22 February, 2017) Germany, the strongest economy in the EU, had the GDP of US$ 40, 952. Despite such opulence, Alberta still forces its ministers to drive their cars. I don’t know if this makes sense to our chauffeur-driven prone biggies. Again, this, among others, shows why Africa has remained poor. We tend to blame our former colonial monsters for exploiting our countries. Ironically, we’ve never applied the same rationale to our homegrown colonial masters who form big governments to reward their friends on our expenses. You can’t do that in Canada.
Regarding how to treat ministers, Canada’s a lot for the EAC to learn. In 2008, former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Dan Williams was in hot soup after a mere junior police officer caught him talking on his phone while driving contrary to the law of his Province. He admitted the wrong; and things were straightened up. What an ideal behaviour! Guess what’d have happen had it been in Tanzania, Kenya or Uganda. Wouldn’t this cop be putting his finger on fire by arresting the PM? How many of our biggies are ready to lead by example like this gentleman? I’m trying to imagine a police apprehending a minister for either speeding or not wearing strap in the streets of Dar, Kampala or Nairobi. It is totally unthinkable. If, on earth, there’s a cop one can comfortably do business with, is no other than a Canadian one. So, too, Canada’s a good place to be a cop. Differently from our cops, Canadian cops are highly education. Currently, one of the qualities one must have to join Canadian Police Force is that a person must have a university degree.
By being highly educated, Canadian police are able to work professionally by upholding civil and human rights. They are not trigger-happy like the ones I know. On one too many occasions, Canadian police are renowned for their accountability and professionalism. What about ours? Aren’t they renowned for brutality, sleaze and trigger happiness? The Daily Nation (23 February, 2017) quoted the Amnesty International 2016-2017 report indicating that Kenya took a lion share in shootings and killings of civilians with a total of 122 killings out of 177 reported in Africa for the year 2016. This isn’t all. For, the report says that the figures in Kenya are higher thanks to the “lack of official database of police killings or enforced disappearances.” As for Canada, according to the CBC (24 Nov., 2016), police shot 18 people of whom 9 died. The city of Calgary was ranked high with 10 shootings of which 5 people died; followed by Toronto with 6 shootings of which 3 dies and Vancouver 2 shootings of which 1 person died. As for our southern neighbour, the US, according to the ibtimes.com (25 Sept., 2016) there were 708 fatalities resulting from police shooting in which 173 were African Americans. This means that you have ten times of being killed in the US if you are black. Therefore, if you are black living in the US must take note. For trigger happy US police, the slogan is: If it looks, walks, quacks like a duck, it is a duck. Oddly, our governments and police have never appreciated the fact that it is the same citizens police are shooting or ordered to intimidate that pick the tab in paying their salaries and recompenses!
Canadian police aren’t only good at their job but they are also rewarded for that. The Globe and Mail (6 Sept., 2012) discloses that “a first-class officer in Canada’s big cities now earns C$80,000-C$90,000 a year on average–before overtime and benefits. That makes them among the most generously compensated police in the world” thus, have no reasons to be corrupt.
Source: Citizen, today.
Monday, 21 January 2019
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Thursday, 17 January 2019
President John Pombe Magufuli needs to drum up time and again the concept of building Tanzania that has made him a ball and chain. Although Magufuli has already said this time again the he doesn’t want to build Tanzania for himself but for the Tanzania, it seems, a few understand his mission-cum-vision.
As President’s already practically indicated, Tanzania isn’t his private estate. Therefore, whatever he’s risking doing is for you and me. If President Magufuli wanted to build the country for his benefit, his disparagers would have already showed some anomalies on this. When he decided to purchase airplanes to resuscitate the Air Tanzania Ltd, detractors accused him of spending money that wasn’t allocated by the parliament. Had there been any graft and malpractices, detractors would not cling unto complaining that the monies spent were not set aside by the parliament. For the President, if Magufuli were intending to benefit his people or himself, he’s already achieved that. For, if he even decides to serve only one term, his retiring pecks suffice to make him live comfortably. Refer to those who did nothing and retire and got retirement perks for doing nothing. Africa has a lot of such leaders.
If we accountably conduct ourselves and fairly treat President Magufuli, we must agree that, at least, he’s something to show in terms of achievements. While Tanzanians were used to leaders who loved to travel abroad squandering their taxes, Magufuli has flatly refused to replicate such a form of graft by putting a stop on such endemic and systemic abuses of public funds and resources. How much money has Magufuli saved by his frugality and strictness? Doesn’t he deserve kudos for this? As if it wasn’t enough, many public officers spent millions in self-serving activities and hiking their allowances and catering services provided by their family members, friends or partners. Have we easily and quickly forgotten how public offices became cash cows for a few corrupt elements in the upper echelons of power that used to spend much money and time on fake conferences, seminars and paying themselves per diems for such abuses and profligacy? We used to complain about a few corrupt elements selling public vehicles to themselves at throwaway prices. Go check in public departments if such a crime is still rife as it used to be. Come to public employment, it seems, we have forgotten how nepotism and rent seeking were endemically the order of the day. Mnyonge mnyongeni, haki yake mpeni. So, too, it seems, we’ve easily forgotten how the high and the mighty used to send their relatives to be medically examined and treated abroad after sabotaging our medical services while Magufuli, thrice, treated his mother, wife and late sister locally. Although this can be seen as a normal thing, looking at the history of our country and Africa in general wherein power means exceptionality and access to better service paid for by public money, it isn’t. As per the late father of the nation, Mwl Julius Nyerere, it needs the courage of the mad or one to pluck up one’s courage. This said, apart from being courageous, by allowing his beloved ones to be treated locally, surely, Magufuli showed how selfless he’s. Nonetheless, such things can be ignored, normalised and trivialised, they indeed aren’t. After exiting power, they’ll define him and his presidency.
While others sold public parastatals at throwaway prices, Magufuli’s busy reclaiming them for the benefit all Tanzania equally. While some of his predecessors made do with ghost workers, Magufuli quickly and singlehandedly purged them and saved billions he channeled to public services. Is this a small feat really?
Further, have we forgotten how our airports, borders, harbours, police stations, public offices and roadblocks etc. became private enterprises for making a killing for a few corrupt and greedy officials who used them to mint and print quick bucks?
Although the situation has improved tremendously, I seriously implore President Magufuli to introduce lifestyle audit in order to deal a blow to those who acquired wealth illicitly. If anything, this is the area Magufuli hasn’t zeroed in yet. I live in Canada. There is no way any citizen or resident can own any money or any property without showing how he/she acquired it. To make sure that everybody complies with this requirement; all Canadians and residents fill their tax returns annually. Whenever anybody’s tax return shows some wealth that’s no explanation, the authorities zero in and take the said wealth while requiring the owner to show cause or face the wrath of the law.
In sum, Magufuli needs ignore all these noises and fulfill his mission-cum-vision based on tenda wema uondoke ornemo profita in patria or no one is a prophet in his own land as Latin maxim suitably puts it. However, Magufuli seem to have reached his ultima thule even before finishing his first term in office.
Source: Citizen, yesterday.
Wednesday, 16 January 2019
Looking at how the West helped the Arab Spring in the Maghreb, one can smell a rat when it comes to African spring. The West doesn’t take it seriously so as to add up to people’s demand for the fall of dictators. Take Libya, for example, had the West pooh-poohed protesters as it currently is in Sudan, the late Muamar Gadaffi would have still be in office after brutally thwarting the demonstrators the same way Omar Bashir is doing in Sudan today. However, by the look of things, Bashir seems to have run out of tricks he applied for over three decades to hold on power.
Sudanese ended the year 2018 in style. The world recently saw Sudanese rising up against their long-time dictator that’s been in power for three decades. They want a change of government that would bring a democratic and responsible government elected by the people. After suffering many years of brutality, corruption and miseries under Bashir, Sudanese decided to say enough is enough. As a coalition of professional unions (Associated Press, December 27, 2018) say it, “today, we the Sudanese people ... have crossed the point of no return on the path of change.” Will there any point of return despite the West giving Sudanese a cold shoulder? The Sudan Tribune (December 28, 2018) answers the question maintaining that “the Sudanese popular uprising is inevitably victorious.” When will Bashir pack and hit the road? Nobody can exactly tell despite the writing on the wall.
Sudanese seem to have become impatient and tired of Bashir after subjecting them to intimidation and manipulations for many years. As it was in Libya, nobody would think Gadaffi would easily fall. Again, this was made possible by a powerful hand of the West that used the uprising to settle scores with Gadaffi. Now, should Sudanese wait for the West to come to their aid or just press on? Chances are that the latter is the option due to the fact that they seem to have become sick and tired of indignity Bashir subjected them for a long time. The Washington Post (January 6, 2019) cites one protester, Aseel Abdo saying “I simply feel like we’ve been living without dignity. People are standing in endless lines for bread—the elderly and even children. I have girlfriends who would spend the night at the petrol station waiting to fill up their cars.” This angst speaks volumes as to where Sudan is heading as Bashir’s grip on power hangs in balance.
To gauge what should be expected out of this standoff, we need to know the force behind the uprising. As oft-aired, when the price of bread shot up, Sudanese found that, apart from having no hope, the regime had no alternative whatsoever. Instead of bringing bread and other essentials down, the cash-strapped government invented imaginative enemies to appease the Sudanese to no avail. Up until now, the government seems not to gate it as it faces the mass that is mad enough to chew nails. Despite this precarious situation, like any cliff-hanger, Bashir seems hell-bent to cling unto power come hell or high water. However Bashir has witnessed many uprising since taking power, the current one is far and few between comparably. This is why many think that this is the beginning of the end of Bashir’s long-time dictatorship.
Source: The African Executive Magazine today.
Saturday, 12 January 2019
Tuesday, 8 January 2019
Looking at how rickety and ever seething the the East African Community has always been since its inception, one can comfortably foretell it’s seemingly demise. When’ll this happen? History and time can accurately tell. The current bottleneck revolving around many things including animosity between or among some members, colonial-sired sovereignty and the lack of a vision for true unity, among others, has a lot to tell. So, too, the history of the EAC since it was conceived soon after independence has a lot to tell.
The EAC I died after Idi Amin toppled Milton Obote in Uganda in 1971 and as per one of the brains and founders thanks to being in the upper echelons of the then ruling party the TANU, one Pius Msekwa (Daily News, June 28, 2018), the death the EAC so, too felled Mwl Julius Nyerere's dream of forming a federation of East Africa. The same way, the current bottleneck swooping from Burundi accusing Rwanda of sabotaging it is likely to allow history to replicate itself again. Currently, the authority in Bujumbura isn’t happy about how the EAC members have addressed its concerns.
Apart from simmering misunderstandings between Burundi and Rwanda, the EAC has never performed well thanks to every member to want to have its cake and eat it. This is where the crux of the problem lies. Instead of striving to unite member states and thereby form a single country, every country’s clang on and lilted with its myopic interests. One thing humans are good at is not learning from history. One’d think; the demise of the EAC I would have forewarned members not to repeat the very same mistakes of not striving for true unification of the region. Again, why’s it been impossible to actualise the union? This isn’t a simple question. However, the major stumbling block is power hunger among the leaders of the member states. For, every president wants to remain president even when his or her people want a full unification of the EAC member states. Have we ever tried this? Who wants to touch such a burning button, especially our leaders for the fear of losing their powers they seem to owlishly have monopolised?
Another thorny issue is how to use resources found in the area wherein some countries have more than others. For example, Tanzania has many more sources of resources such as minerals; land and peaceability compared to others with encumbrances such as conflicts, huge population, lack of true democracy, landless population, tribalism and the likes. I for one, as a Tanzanian, if asked what’s good for the EAC, I’d offer one and only one logical condition; member states must quickly and truly unite and form a unitarism, federalism, or confederalism with revolving presidency, or whatever they may settle for but not the current hoax, the EAC. For, it is nothing but a burden that’s refused to decolonise itself and do away with colonial carryovers and mentalities emanating from the division and the partition of Africa. This is because Africa knows how weak it has been so as to become vulnerable before the preying imperialists that divided and weakened it.
Time for petite imperial presidencies is long gone shall Africa aspire to move forward competently and confidently. With the united EAC, some chronic burdens such as distrusts, landlessness and lack of democracy in some member states, rancour among members and tribalism will practically be baulk at and nipped on the bud easily. If you clinically look at EAC members, it is only Tanzania and slightly Uganda that have fewer burdens and have been along each other through thick and thin. For example, Burundi, Kenya and Rwanda suffer tribal bouts while South Sudan is currently fragile thanks to an ongoing violent conflict with a smell of tribalism as well. The other day, I laughed a lot when Somalia, with its scars, wanted to be allowed to join the EAC. What’s it bringing in; if we face and own it, that others want? This business of unification must be seen in purely mutualistic but not altruistic or parasitic manner.
Arguably, when those interested in having a single united country known as the EAC or whatever agreed upon, especially the countries that have no susceptibility, must step up their game and remind those with vulnerability the importance of doing so. Their resources and peaceability are the bargaining chips they have to chirp in the dialogue. For, accepting the union is likely to profoundly help vulnerable countries more than any others. This is why, if every country keeps on pulling severally, countries like Tanzania and Uganda that comparably have no ills can form their own united country and ask other countries such as Mozambique and Zambia, which, apart from having land, moderate population, and peaceability, have resources to bring to the table. Methinks what’s blinded our people to fail to press their presidents to go for a united EAC is good language of doing business. If we observe the situation for a long run, we need to have a single country that can preclude the above mentioned ills some members have. And it must be clearly stated that those countries need countries that have no baggage than the later need them.
Pulling severally instead of doing so together creates, furthers and reinforces distrusts among the member states. Hypocrisy and vainglory aside, the existence and the logicality of the EAC have always been the realms of fiction so to speak. It is time to think big and go for the total unification of member states to form one country or kill the EAC instead of waiting for it to die a natural death that’s currently foreseeable.
Source: Citizen tomorrow.
Friday, 4 January 2019
Follow this link and see how academics in Africa are connecting. This about illegal immigrants that Europe is currently facing.https://www.thecable.ng/murder-on-the-mediterranean
Wednesday, 2 January 2019
After reading Jenerali Ulimwengu’s piece in the East African (Dec., 24, 2018) with hoopla, wondering why the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) attended the conference that brought together revolutionary parties in Namibia recently, I sort of found myself laughing and wondering how easily some of us tend to disremember if not to play-act. To bring everybody in a bigger picture, Ulimwengu, my former employer and mentor in journalism I awesomely adulate and respect’s castigating the CCM and the current government for abandoning the onus envisaged by Mwenge “to shine without our borders and bring hope where there is despair, love where there is hate, and dignity where there is spite.” For whose interests was the Mwenge to shine without our borders if not ours first? To accentuate an unclothed reality, we need to twig the fact that today’s situation’s totally different after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Let’s ponder together. If Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, for example, can recognise Israel (BBC, July 29, 2013) and decide to talk peace with Israel, who’re we? Further, in 2016, Egypt and Morocco signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), which obliges signatories to live peacefully among themselves (Xinhua, Sept., 6, 2016). As if it isn’t enough, the BBC (Nov., 6, 2018) discloses that in October, 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife met the Sultan of Oman on a surprise, eight-hour visit - the first of its kind in over two decades. Who’re we? Should we eschew Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Oman as well simply because they decided to liaise with Israel? How do we draw a line between national and international obligations and rights?
The answer and rationale for queries above are simple that the above countries aim at protecting their national interests but not international ones. Fortunately, president John Pombe Magufuli put it categorically clear that he wouldn’t trade our national interests with those of the others who can’t, likewise, reciprocate shall our interests be in a peril. Although self-determination is a right of and for any and every humankind, methinks; charity begins at home. Those who think that we need to keep on bleeding for others that won't bleed for us should remember a raw deal our brethren are getting in South Africa, the country we sacrificed and toiled for to end up turning our people into makwerekwere or aliens. I don’t wonder if I remind others and myself that during the Kagera war nobody’d believe that Libyans and Palestinians would support Idi Amin (Citizen, October 14, 2014). Once bitten, twice shy. Magufuli, like anybody who cares, remembers this. If the mahatma like Nelson Mandela, geared by the interests of his people, decided to wholeheartedly work with the Boers to see to it that South Africa’s rid of apartheid, who’re we?
Further, Ulimwengu chirps “I am talking of the new-fangled “friendship” with the kingdom of Morocco, to the detriment of the people of Western Sahara, and with the Zionist state of Israel, at the price of abandoning the suffering people of Palestine.” Whose interests our government is to consider first between those of two mentioned entities and ours? Ulimwengu must remember. Palestinians once sold Tanzania two conked-out planes to raise money. Who’re we to replicate this by paying with economic opportunities the duo’s to offer?
Moreover, Ulimwengu queried if the CCM’s still a revolutionary party. The answer’s simple and clear in its name not to mention the efforts President Magufuli is undertaking to free Tanzania from wanton beggarliness and dependency while it sits on immense source of resources. So, too, this answers Ulimwengu’s query “so, why did Tanzania’s ruling CCM attend a meeting of former liberation movements?”
Additionally, it’s on record. The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) later the CCM played a very central role in liberating many countries globally. For the sake of argument, even if the CCM’s abandoned its sacrosanct onus on liberation, which isn't; and not the case, still boasts the accolades of once contributing hugely to the cause. Arguably, attending the said conference, apart from having nothing to contribute to its sister parties, the CCM could still deservedly learn either through listening, being reprimanded, queried or just keeping mum as it did. This is its right as it’s for Ulimwengu to task the CCM. Importantly, we need to be realistic vis-à-vis our national interests. If Palestine’s Arab brethren have decided to cooperate with Israel, who are we? Compare the economy of Egypt, Morocco and Oman to ours. Who are we? Besides, when we talk of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, despite being African, like their cousins in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, and ironically even Sudan, have never felt to be Africans. Remember how our black brethren running away from miseries in the Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) are discriminated against and sold as slaves. Methinks, candle love that’s always defined Africa needs to come to an end.
In sum, Ulimwengu and the likes need to know. Under the current world order, economy plays a greater role than politics. Times for politics to be everything and above everything are long gone. I’d, thus, like to humbly submit. There’s neither disloyalty and perfidy nor other emotive and loaded jargons in dealing with Israel and Morocco. And the CCM’s still a ground-breaking party per se.
Source: Citizen, today.