WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS?
Asked, during an interview in AFRICAN CONCORD (February 1 1993) who were his role models, Chief M K 0 Abiola, one of the two candidates standing in the elections for the Presidency of Nigeria, selected two leaders. The first was John F Kennedy – for his charisma, his commitment and candour.
And second was President Nyerere. What qualities do you admire in him? he was asked. “His incorruptibility, his great belief in his ideals (although he hung on to them too long even when he knew that they were not working) … here is a President who would gladly fly in an economy seat, a man of God who believes that life should be a life of service. I met him at the summit of First Ladies in Geneva. He is a man of tremendous generosity. I will always remember him for the encouragement he gave me that day; he told me that I would soon not be just a chief but the most powerful of all chiefs. I am talking about someone whose attitude and whose policies to life and to people I want to emulate”.
‘IN A FEW YEARS DODOMA SHOULD BE A GREEN TOWN’
‘In 1973’ wrote Abdulrahman Said Mohammed in the April-June issue of the BBC’s FOCUS ON AFRICA MAGAZINE, ‘Tanzanians decided to move their capital inland from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma. But progress has been slow and not a single Embassy or High Commission had yet moved to Dodoma … The city is four times bigger than it was ten years ago and now boasts a population of 200,000 people … the Gogo people were the original inhabitants but few now live in the town centre. They have been displaced by the Chaga and Rangi, Indians and Arabs who dominate commerce and trade …. despite the Government’s apparent lack of enthusiasm, industry has been attracted to Dodoma. There are two bottling plants producing different kinds of wine, red port and Imaga brands. There are two printing presses … More than 5,000 new homes have been built … no buildings more than three stories high … emphasis on the use of burnt brick and tiles … and a modern sewerage system has been provided …. Millions of trees have been planted, creating a micro-climate, improving the rains and the scenery and reducing strong winds…. But, in spite of all this, Dodoma’s future is gloomy. As a new multi-party era dawns, more and more politicians contend that the transfer of the capital from Dar es Salaam is too costly for a country as poor as Tanzania’.
Reviewing a book called ‘Enigmatic Proconsul: Sir Philip Mitchell and the Twilight of Empire’ in the DAILY TELEGRAPH Elspeth Huxley wrote: It was in Tanganyika that (the Colonial Governor) Mitchell made his name as an exponent of indirect rule the system by which the colonial power governed through indigenous institutions such as chiefs, their councils of elders and so on. Education was his other priority. He concentrated on teaching an elite fitted to take over an eventual western-type democratic government. But when a hand-picked African elite did emerge, its members turned on their chiefs and elders and indirect rule passed into history’.
“TEA FORESTS RATHER THAN TEA BUSHES”
The problems involved in rehabilitating tea at the Eastern Usambara Tea Company’s Kwamkoro and Bulwa Estates were described by Judith Gerrardon in the CDC MAGAZINE No 2 1992. ‘During the 20 years prior to the Commonwealth Development Corporation’s arrival in 1988 the estates had been allowed to deteriorate. According to Estate Manager Chris Mselemu, during the period of parastatal management they had tea forests rather than tea bushes. The mountain road was impassable and the factories were run down. The workers were paid erratically. Now, four years later, it is hard to believe that so much has been achieved. virtually all the fields have been weeded and production has quadrupled ….. the road has been rebuilt … a satellite dish provides television for the first time in the workers recreation hall. … a government primary school is being built and a college for 400 was due to be opened in late 1992 ….. ‘but renovation is a slow process … it can sometimes be more expensive than starting again …. there were serious labour problems at the beginning, as, after 20 years of state ownership, the people in the area did not believe the new management would be any different from the old …… now 40% of the labour force is from the surrounding area ….. ‘
‘THIS MADDEST OF PURSUITS’
Martin Cropper, reviewing a book called ‘Hearts of Darkness’ by Frank McLynn in the SUNDAY TIMES had much to say_ Extracts:- ‘ … the pious and cyclothermic Livingstone; the brilliant melanothobe Burton; the height-challenged Stanley; the unspeakable John Hanning Speke who could hardly face dinner without first laying waste to the embryos of pregnant females he had slaughtered ….. What were these men doing in Africa? Suppressing the slave trade? But they inadvertently opened up new routes for the Arabs.: even the Royal Navy antislavery warships in the Zanzibar roads were supplied by slave labour. Spreading Christianity? But “Saint David” Livingstone himself never made a single permanent conversion. Spreading civilisation? Well, yes – civilisation as understood by the purveyors of firearms … The sheer captiousness of the great explorers, exacerbated by paranoia-fomenting malaria, beggars belief … (the book) concentrates on the pre-colonial actualities of this maddest of pursuits …. ‘
PRIVATE INITIATIVE, PUBLIC APATHY
Under this heading AFRICA EVENTS (March 1993) wrote about the ‘accelerated pulse of private activity in Tanzania pounding the economic arteries of the country …. on a scale unheard of six years ago’. ‘A mushroom carpet of new up-market houses is sweeping across empty lots of land around Dar es Salaam. Two-legged mobile stalls, in the shape of teenage boys, parade the streets, their outstretched arms each carrying half a dozen shirts of so on steel wire hangers, looking like walking urban scarecrows … 3 , 500 vehicles are imported every month, the bulk turning into taxis, minibuses and light goods transporters: …. in the outskirts of the town, drive-in roadside market gardens vie with developers for vacant niches of land: … the unemployed and the underpaid and the budding entrepreneurs are all jostling for release and fulfilment. It is no easy task. It would have been a damn sight easier if government played its part … but …. poor roads, telephones not good enough.. erratic power supply, suicidal Bank credit (30% interest) ….. and the most damaging aspect of official lethargy is the heightened intensity of bureaucracy and behind it the corruption … ‘.
TURNED INTO SEMI-DESERTS
Efforts over many years to curb environmental degradation in the Bariadi district of Tanzania have failed and some areas have turned into semi-deserts according to an article in DOWN TO EARTH (December 1992). They failed because they ignored the traditional knowledge of the people. The authors of the article praised what they described as the former sophisticated system of governance in the villages: one institution was the dagashida – a men-only community assembly that meets once or twice a year to formulate customary laws and to settle issues. The colonial state and later, the independent government, brought about a diminution in the authority of the dagashida but it survived because it retained power in two areas the state did not control – regulating the occult and organising defence against cattle raiding. At recently revived meetings of the dagashida the district authorities were called on to stop issuing permits for charcoal makers to cut trees, ensure that the people collaborated in the digging and maintaining of wells, restricting bush fires and so on. However, the authors noted that village leaders and petty politicians were beginning to show resentment. The author of the article concluded that we do not know where all this will lead to’.
CURBING THE PRESS
NEW AFRICAN (April 1993) quoted President Mwinyi as stating that “All the newspapers are against us. They have been calling us names until they have exhausted their bad vocabulary. We won’t tolerate further invective”. Shortly thereafter the Swahili newspapers MICHAPO (Palaver) and CHEKA (Laughter) were banned.
“CLIMBING A MOUNTAIN IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO”
The son of the mountaineer Chris Bonnington was recently found not guilty of a £10,000 burglary (DAILY TELEGRAPH January 12). Speaking of his vast relief Mr Bonnington (Sen.) said that he had taken his son, on bail awaiting trial, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. “It is technically an easy mountain … but it was a rich and very good experience. Having something like this hanging over you is not pleasant … climbing a mountain is the best thing you can do. It focuses your mind on getting to the top” . The son is a musician with the pop group ‘Puro Sesso’ (Italian for ‘Pure Sex’) .
DOCTOR OF LAW FOR AN ALUMNI OF MAKERERE
President Museveni of Uganda awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) on Mwalimu Nyerere at Makerere University on January 29 1993. He gave five reasons for the award Nyerere’s support for the liberation struggles in Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the welding of Tanzania into one united people, his clean leadership, his crusade for human development in the Third World and, of course, as most Ugandans remember, his being instrumental in the removal of Idi Amin Dada in 1979. But, as AFRICA EVENTS (March 1993) pointed out, it was ironical that, of the two previous similar awardees, one was none other than Idi Amin himself!
TANZANIA WITHDRAWS FROM THE WORLD CUP
Tanzania has withdrawn from the World Soccer Cup because of financial problems. NEW AFRICA (March 1993) stated that the team had no hope of qualifying after its 3-1 defeat by Zambia. Most of the players in the Zambia team perished in an air crash off Gabon at the end of April on their way to play Senegal.