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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

‘Posho! Posho! Posho!’ Is this the real issue in Tanzania?

                                                 Mr Makwaia wa Kuhenga.

We are living through very interesting times!
An opera is underway in the very august House of the representatives of the people of this country, Parliament. One day you will hear one honourable MP saying he is ‘sending back to sender’ his posh and expensive four-wheel-drive vehicle and another day you will hear another MP saying he will no longer sign up for his daily allowance due to him while parliament is in session!

Eh! Bwana! All these things, uttered by a couple of our honourable MPs, have made splash front-page headlines in our daily tabloids. But the question is: Is this stance the real issue in the overall context of the development of this country? Or are these simply typical noises one would hear in a neo-liberal social economic order just like those noises one hears in a market place (gulio)?
Or more appropriately, aren’t these noises simply populist – intended to hoodwink the majority of the poor people of this country now that the search for the next president of this country has begun come the General Election four years from now?   

As I followed these utterances and the subsequent headlines they have made in the print media, someone has come to say to me: “Look, ignorance is bliss sometimes. One is more at peace with himself/herself if one does not know what is happening…

He went on: “These guys making these noises to make an impression to the people of this country that they care have been pocketing Sh90 million immediately after taking oath of office as members of Parliament, this is over and above the Sh7 million they pocket monthly as salaries, not to speak of the not less than Sh300,000 a day they pocket as daily allowances when Parliament is in session and so on and so forth.

Why didn’t they speak up in 2005 when they first entered Parliament and wait for this time? What a difference this money they now reject could have made if it was channeled to improve the public health and education sectors?”

Indeed, ignorance is bliss sometimes! One of these days, I will be coming up with a theme related to this saying! But for now, let us address the market place noises we are being subjected in the context of the last question poised by a friend of mine on what difference the money our honourable MPs are suddenly declining to pocket would have made to our very poor public health and education sectors, to mention but only the two basic ones to the lives of the people of this country.

To start with, I do not know the politics of the honourable MPs who have made headlines in rejecting the posh and expensive four-wheel-drive vehicles and the poshos (allowances), do you? Are they left-wing or right-wing politicians? What is the ideology of their political parties? All I can gather about them is their tendency of taking a jibe below the belts of some inept guys in the ruling party and hurling mabomu about some misdeeds of others in the polity!

This is one point. Another point is that the ruling party itself seems to have abandoned its sustainable ideological path of socialism and self-reliance whose raison d’être was to fend for the poor majority of the people of this country. In the last three decades, it has embraced the principles of a market force economy, hook, line and sinker!
Had it played along with pressures of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank conditionalties to
“structurally” adjust the economy those days after the first Administration of Dr Nyerere and chosen instead to restructure the economy with Tanzanian “characteristics” as the Chinese had put it, while strategically and tactfully pursuing the ujamaa agenda, the very poor state of the majority poor of this country would have been averted.

Who does not know, even among all our Members of Parliament from all political colouring that the public education and health sectors are the most miserable in this country? Who does not know that this country has been considerably de-industrialised to the extent that the whole country has been turned into a huge super market for goods not produced here?
Who is worried about this situation? Why hoodwink the people about non-issues, which are plain populist stances?

Just take a look at our public schools, that is, those schools run by the government. They are in poor, miserable and pathetic conditions.
Who is worried or concerned? Even those schools reputed as “private” schools, now mushrooming everywhere, what is the quality of education in those schools? Who inspects them to at least discern whether their quality is commensurate with the fees they charge  parents?
Just go to hospitals run by the government.

 What do they look like? They resemble prisons, don’t they? If you can have patients sharing one bed or sleeping on a bare floor, what impression does one get?
So please, let us all be serious, most of all, those whom we have chosen to represent us in the National Assembly.
This country is now on the brink: perilously poised to explode because of the obvious contradictions between the filthily rich minority and staggering poor majority who have no hope but are subjected to hoodwinking noises of returning this vehicle but pocketing Sh90 million on the other hand!

Makwaia wa Kuhenga is a senior Tanzanian senior journalist and author.


emu-three said...

Yah, imekaa vyema hiyo, kwa kifupi nasema hivi `toka lini aliyeshiba akamjua mwenye njaa'!