Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa
Monday, 29 August 2022
Saturday, 27 August 2022
Saturday, 20 August 2022
Thursday, 18 August 2022
The expression ‘constitutional change’ is actually a twin concept, which implies two distinct processes: one is the enactment of an entirely new constitution; but the other is the introduction of changes in the existing constitution. In their recorded history, countries like the United States of America, and India, have not enacted any new constitution, they only have been making amendments to their existing constitutions from time to time, as the need arises.
In a refreshing departure from the normal practice and procedure described above; President Kikwete introduced new additional procedural steps to be taken in the process of implementing the constitutional change that he had decided to initiate; which he did through a new law enacted by Parliament, titled “the Constitutional Review Act, 2011, which was designed to govern that constitution - making process.
It can however be said, that this matter of issuing ‘guiding principles’ in constitution-making, Tanzania has taken a distinctly different approach of its own. This is because, in the making of their independence constitutions, countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa; their ‘guiding principles’ actually represented a consensus of the different social groups involved who held differing vested interests, and were each seeking guaranteed protection of its particular interests.
Tuesday, 16 August 2022
Before I delve into what I’m to aver, I must make some clarifications. I’ll do so by asking a few questions to help my readership to decide if what Kenya recently did is ‘unAfrican’ or just Kenyan.
Considering the imbroglio that hasn’t been addressed and resolved yet, are the results that the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced recently legally binding? Do they hold water considering that four out of the seven electoral commissioners openly distanced themselves from the results? Why did the IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati, override the four commissioners? Why did he hurry to announce the results? Do we need to listen to the commissioners and the Azimio to know why this occurred so that we can know more before passing an informed judgment? There are more questions than answers.
The other day I read an article by Charles Onyango-Obbo (East African, 14 August, 2022) saying that Kenya did something ‘unAfrican’ to mean electoral transparency as if it totally were. I see nothing new here if I remind myself and refer to what’s been transpiring in Botswana since 1966 or what transpired in Malawi and Zambia since 1992. I feel bad when some of our people become their own enemies and portray Africa including themselves as an inferior society that’s to be tutored by the West on everything. I don’t want to say such characters are bought. My understanding is that the problem is ignorance if not coloniality or personal inferiority complex. Such people must underline the fact that pre-colonial Africa was democratic and peaceful. That’s why history has never recorded any war of any magnitude compared to Europe’s WWI and WWII or genocide in Australia and the Americas.
Secondly, when COO, as he’s known for those who have worked with him for a long time, asserts that Kenya did something ‘unAfrican’, he doesn’t define what African and what ‘unAfrican’ mean. COO writes “what happened in Kenya was different and new in that it went over the top, and weaponised electoral openness, at a time when Africa is facing a democracy crisis.” Seriously? Let me play the devil’s advocate. Can you compare the slapdash conclusion of recent Kenyan elections with those of Malawi and Zambia since the introduction of multipartyism? Is it because some people like to see everything by replicating what’s happening in their countries without even thinking rationally based on history? What type of openness is this if four commissioners out of seven can boycott the results issued by their own commissioner? What does openness imply and mean when competitors refuse to concede?
Kenya’s elections would have contributed something to Africa’s democracy had it not ended the way it did. I hate generalization. It is wrong to ignore the examples above of the countries whose elections have always been credible and peaceable. If COO is talking about a warring country as a replica of Africa, which also is wrong, maybe he might have a point, though a weak one.
Stating generally that Kenya has become a harbinger of electoral openness is an understatement if we remind ourselves about what Botswana’s been doing since gaining independence or what Malawi and Zambia have perfected. Those who know the history of Kenya’s chaotic elections and rigging allegations will agree with me that the problem always is not how voters vote but how results are received and reached at. That’s that.
If I can be honest to myself, Kenya did what it’s been good at, doing things in a Kenyan way, which means that its transition to democracy is still premature. How can we take a pride on such a thing while some of the participants view it as a sham or something abnormal?
Another thing that I’d like us to consider are the CVs of the competitors. As I’m writing, nobody knows if the President-Elect with his Deputy President will be sworn in. This is because there’s a sub judice issue on the legality of Rigathe Gachagua’s fitness to hold public office after being convicted of a criminal offence. What does this say? Kenya might have a very progressive constitution. However, it is a paternalistic system. If we clinically view the CVs of the contenders, especially the frontrunners, who are ethical?
Practically, electors choose the leaders that look like them. If they’re corrupt, they’ll elect corrupt people. If they’re clean, they’ll elect uncontaminated leaders. I’m not a judge on this matter. I remember. When I was in Kenya, I would hear some Kenyans say that ‘it is our turn to eat.’ They would exonerate a thief and say proudly, “even if he’s a thief, he’s our thief.”
Democracy also revolves around ethics. If democracy is a heaven, those entering it must be ethically clean and trustworthy. They must be like the wife of Caesar who, when was accused of wrongdoing, her husband told her that he knew she was clean. However, being the wife of Caesar, she’d to be beyond any reproach. Therefore, what Kenya did isn’t ‘unAfrican’ but Kenyan.
Monday, 8 August 2022
Kwanza, nikiri. Juhudi zako za kuleta maendeleo ni za kupigiwa mfano. Tangu uchukue ukanda, hakuna kilichoharibika. Sana sana kilichokosekana ni kubadili mfumo wetu wa hovyo uitwao uwekezaji wakati kiuhalisia ni uchukuaji unaowawezesha wageni kutuibia kwa kisingizio cha uwekezaji. Je hapa alaumiwe nani iwapo tumejiwekea mifumo ya kujiiibia na kuibiwa?
Mheshimiwa Rais, niruhusu nitoe mfano toka hapa Kanada na baadhi ya nchi za Kiafrika nilizodurusu mifumo yao ya uwekezaji. Ukitaka kuwekeza hapa Kanada, unapaswa uwe na si chini ya Dola za kimarekani 200,000 au Dola 75,000 kama umewekeza kwenye kampuni ya Kikanada chini ya kinachoitwa designated Canadian angel investor group. Ukiwa na kiasi hiki, unapewa visa haraka haraka kuingia na kuanza kuishi na familia yako huku ukipewa ukazi wa kudumu au uraia––––kama utautaka––––baada ya kuishi hapa kwa miaka mitatu bila kutoka. Hapa wanao watasoma na kutibiwa bure sawa na wakanada. Hii ni kwa mujibu wa tovuti ya serikali ya cic.gc.ca.
Mheshimiwa Rais, ukitaka kuwekeza na kuingia Botswana, unatakiwa kuwa na ima Pula za Botswana milioni moja au Euro 82,000 au Dola za kimarekani 93,000. Kwa Tanzania, kama si mtanzania, unapaswa kuwa na Dola 500, 000 na mtanzania Dola 100,000! Kwa Namibia ni Dola za kimarekani 135,000 au NMD 2,000,000. Kwa nchi zote tatu, raia wao hawahitajiki kuwa na kiasi chochote. Je sisi tunafanya hivyo kumkomoa nani? Jibu ni kwamba ni kwa sababu tunawanyima watanzania wenye uraia pacha fursa ya kuwekeza kwao na kuendeleza nchi zao baada ya kusotea fedha ughaibuni. Matokeo yake, wanatafuta nchi nyingi kwenda kuwekeza wakati wanao uwezo wa kuwekeza kwao. Kwanini tusiwamotishe watu wetu wenye uraia wa nchi nyingine lau kwa kuwawekea sharti katika kupewa uraia pacha kulingana na uwezo wao wa kuwekeza nchini badala ya kupoteza muda tukibembeleza wageni wakati watu wetu wanazo fedha nje lakini wanahofia kurejea nyumbani na kuibiwa kwa vile hawaruhusiwi kufanya baadhi ya mambo?
Mheshimiwa Rais, niliwahi kuandika makala juu ya namna Waziri Mkuu Mstaafu Mhe. Mizengo Pinda anavyoweza kusaidia watu wetu wengi wasio na ajira au wastaafu kuishia maisha bora huku wakianzisha miradi inayoweza kuwasaidia wao na familia zao huku wakitoa ajira kwa wengine na kuwa vyanzo vizuri vya kodi na maisha bora. Baada ya makala hiyo kusomwa, nilipata maombi mengi toka ughaibuni yakitaka niwaunganishe na gwiji huyu wa kilimo na uwekezaji bila mafanikio tokana na kutokuwa na mawasiliano yake. Nilijaribu kutafuta baruapepe au simu yake toka kwa rafiki yangu Spika Mstaafu, Mzee Pius Msekwa, bahati mbaya hakuwa nayo. Nilikwamia hapo na kushindwa kuwasaidia wenzangu waliovutiwa na uwekezaji wa Mzee Pinda.
Mheshimiwa Rais, naomba ujiulize. Je mfumo wetu wa uwekezaji unatusaidiaje kama nchi wakati wezi wengi tena wa kigeni wanautumia kwa kusaidiana na wezi wasio na uraia pacha wala uzalendo kuingia na kupiga fedha na kuondoka? Rejea kilichotokea wakati kampuni ya kihindi Rites Consortium lilipojifanya kuwekeza kwenye Reli na kuishia kutupiga mabilioni na kuondoka. Je mfumo wetu wa uwekezaji unatusaidia kama taifa au kutuumiza? Kwa nchi za magharibi, ukiwekeza, watakutoza kodi, utaajiri watu wao na kuwalipa kiwango cha juu cha mshahara, kulipia bima na mambo mengine. Mfumo wao, kimsingi, ni wa kuwahudumia na si wa kuhudumia matapeli kama ilivyo yetu iliyochakaa na kujaa ujanjaujanja. Mifumo ya hapa haina huruma na mgeni. inamhudumia mwananchi kwa mgongo wa mgeni. Nitoe mfano wangu binafsi. Mie na mke wangu tuna nyumba hapa. Tumeinunua kwa kulipa aslimia 30 na zinazobaki tunalipa taratibu kwa kutozwa riba kubwa tu. Tunafanya kazi na kutozwa si chini ya aslimia 30 ya mishahara pia tunalipa kodi ya manunuzi.
Mheshimiwa Rais, hapa wanahimiza watu waongeze ujuzi. Ukianza, unapewa tuzo kwa sharti kuwa lazima uchukue mikopo ya masomo ambayo hutozwa riba pindi tu ukimaliza masomo. Mfano, katika shahada yangu ya uzamivu, nadaiwa karibu milioni 100 za kitanzania. Japo huu ni uwekezaji kwangu na familia, umeiingizia fedha nyingi Kanada kwa sababu tu imenipa fursa ya kuongeza maarifa.
Mheshimiwa Rais, sasa turejee kwa wanadiaspora waliowekeza ima kwenye ajira, biashara au elimu. Je tunawasaidiaje na kujisaidiaje kama nchi inayohitaji uwekezaji uwe mkubwa au mdogo? Tumeshindwa kuwa na mfumo hata wa kuhamisha fedha za watu wetu bila kukatwa na kuibiwa. Hivi, mfano, kama mtanzania anataka kurejesha nyumbani Dola za kimarekani kiasi chochote. Kwanini tusiwe na utaratibu wa kupeleka fedha hizo kwenye ubalozi wetu akapewa risiti ya malipo zikatumika kulipa wafanyakazi huko, akaenda kuzipokea nyumbani ambako atakuwa ameokoa aslimia kumi ya fedha husika? Mfano, nikiweka Dola 200,000 ubalozini zikalipa mishahara nikaja kulipwa na serikali sitakuwa nimeokoa Dola 20,000 kiasi ambacho, kwa mikoani kinaweza kujenga banda au kuanzisha kijibiashara ya ufugaji hata wa kuku, mbuzi au samaki.
Mheshimiwa Rais, hii ndiyo njia inayotumiwa na wageni wengi nchini kuhamisha fedha zao bila kupoteza hata senti. Hebu wachunguze wawekezaji au hata wafanyakazi wa kigeni walioko nchi kwa vibali vya kufanya kazi. Utakuta kila wakisafiri kwenda kwao hawahamishi fedha. Lakini ukiuliza fedha yao iko wapi huioni. Inapitia kwenye balozi zao ambapo huenda kulipiwa kwao.
Mhe. Rais nisikuchoshe, nashauri uanze kudurusu namna ya kuwavutia watanzania waioko nje. Kuna fedha inaweza kuingia na kunufaisha taifa. Chukulia mfano mtu ambaye anapata mshahara wa Dola 100, 000 kwa mwaka. Huku anakatwa kodi si chini ya 36,000. Je anaweka akiba kiasi gani? Je kama anaruhusiwa kuhamisha fedha yake baada ya kuamua kurejea nyumbani atakuwa na fedha kiasi gani na zinaweza kusaidia taifa kiasi gani? Naomba tutafakari pamoja.
Chanzo: Raia Mwema leo.
Sunday, 7 August 2022
As per the Al Jazeera (11 April, 2022), the Ukraine conflict’s likely to adversely impact on African countries vis-a-vis food independence and security. I didn’t know that Africa still depends on a small country like Ukraine for its supply of wheat. This doesn’t add up for a country that covers only 603, 628 km2 compared to Africa’s 30,370, 000 km2 to feed Africa. Something is wrong somewhere. What does Africa supply to Ukraine that it produces? Don’t tell me the minerals. Does Africa own its own minerals while they don’t benefit it? Does African countries with oil own it while the multinationals benefit while the so-called owners suffer? Compare the lives of citizens in oil-producing African countries with those they supply? If anything, African countries with oil and minerals own mine holes and the pangs of pollution while foreign companies enjoy the profits.
Africa’s goofs and quandaries need profound explanations to understand. It doesn’t convince common sense for the country that’s 1/50 of Africa to feed Africa. The analogous allegory I can give here’s of a baby breastfeeding its mother. But again, Ukraine does feed Africa. Then what’s iniquitous here? What’s the miracle here? Are Africans like elephants? Elephants are huge. They’ve huge body mass and brains. Yet, they’re destroyed by a small human to the verge of extinction. Again, elephants are beasts. They’re not human. Again, who are Africans in such an equation?
To avoid being seen as I’m dissing my people, look at the picture of African leaders. Most of them are fatter than their donors. Their lives are posher than those of their donors. They pay themselves bigger salaries than their donors. The other day I was watching UK’s parliamentary session. What a simple affair that it is! Thereafter, I watched my country’s parliamentary debates, huge hall with all avantgarde gadgets and grandeur. Again, if you listen to the representatives in the two, you understand why ours are gigantic. It is because we’re reckless and selfish since we serve ourselves as opposed to our donors’ representatives who serve their countries and people.
The other day I read somewhere that countries in West Africa were importing onions from the EU! I also read somewhere that Kenya, despite being surrounded by the mighty Lake Nyanza, was importing septic fish from China whereas some Chinese traders were exporting clean fish from Kenya to China! How do you call this folly and futility? When push comes to the shove this must be said that it is more than a shame for such a humungous country to be fed by any country while it has everything for producing for its people except a will to do so. Whom do such bestiality and comportment help dear African brethren?
Bovines, ewes and goats can comfortably depend on one type to feed them since they’re faunae. No shame at all for such brutes to be fed by human even by another ogre but not humans. For Africa even a part of it to be fed by small countries like Ukraine is more than a disgrace for whoever whose marbles upstairs are still intact. How come while African countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Zimbabwe, all except Kenya, Madagascar and Botswana are bigger than Ukraine grow wheat, yet this tiny country beat them? What’s wrong? Asper Gro Intelligence (16 April, 2015), the World Bank identified 3.84 million hectares of land suitable for wheat production in Sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of which is in East Africa. This is almost equal to the amount of land dedicated to the cultivation of wheat in Argentina, one of the world’s major producers of the crop.
I don’t get it for a humongous country like Sudan covering the area of 1, 886,068 km2 to starve simply because a country like Ukraine that’s less than 1/3 of the same’s at war and thus can’t feed it. Is the problem here natural or nurtured? What are all heads of Sudanese as a replica of Africa doing? Ironically, while Sudan’s starving and weeping for wheat from Ukraine, the same’s the guts to pointlessly lease out its land to Gulf countries to produce food for their citizens while its own people are starving to death! What are the hands of Sudanese doing? Food’s power. S/he who’s able to feed oneself is a free person. Hunger’s slavery. This has become evident to Europe whose power dependency on Russia turned it into a laughingstock when it failed to fully apply sanctions against Russia. Had it dared, its economy and posh life would become the things of the past.
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founder, used to say that for the country to develop, it needs three things namely land, people and good policies. What is missing here? Sudan like Africa’s the land, people and policies. What else is missing? Are our people abnormal? Is our land barren? Are our policies wanting? The first two are Okay. The third ingredient seems to be the matter. It is the missing link. Our people are normal and land productive save that our policies are abnormal so to speak. Take Sudan, for example, how’d it feed itself while it ruled instead of being led? The same applies on many African countries. Many African countries lack leaders. They’ve tons and tons of rulers but they’re bankrupt when it comes to leaders. They’ve policies. Yet they lack sound policies. When it comes to sound leadership and policies, Africa’s bankrupt. Leaders are accountable. So, too, they feel shame. What do you expect out of shameless rulers whose powers are but a private estate for them, their tick-like bloods, courtiers, and cronies? What do you expect of beggars in chief? What do you expect of such shameless men and women who take pride in aid and begging even from smaller countries by land and people than theirs? When’ll Africa see the light if it can’t even learn from such a simple matter as the Ukraine conflict? Why’s Africa at home with chicken mentality. The chickens eat what they don’t produce and produced what they don’t produce. The needle sews many clothes, but it is forever naked. The spoon scoops tons and tons of food yet, it is forever hungry. Who wants such a life? These are beasts and tools. Africans, to the contrary, are humans. Again, is it the same way others understand us? Refer to the treatments of useful Ukrainians compared to Africans and others.
In sum, there are no important lessons Africa needs to learn from the Ukraine conflict like feeling shame, starting rethinking about its future, frugality, and above all, loathing and stopping dependency and extravagance. We’ve what it takes to feed ourselves. Again, what’s amiss is self-worthy and sense of humanity. We’re living and thinking like animals as if we’re animals. A few examples above speak to this anomaly. Suppose––––God forbid––––the conflict in Ukraine drags in for year. You can take this to the bank. Many countries ruled by corrupt and swindling rulers will crumble since hungry people will take over. Instead of being fired up by their humanity, deprivation and destitution will do the show.
Source: Daily Monitor today.