TOO MUCH ON POLITICS
I enclose my cheque to renew my subscription to Tanzanian Affairs for two years. The time I spent in Tanganyika from 1950 to 1962 was perhaps the happiest and certainly the most interesting part of my working life and I value greatly the link that Tanzanian Affairs represents with that time. I’m sorry to say, however, that the space devoted by TA to politics seems to me to be excessive. Politics is after all largely concerned with sharing out the economic cake and I am personally more concerned with the wealth generation that the economic cake represents rather than with its division. When there is plenty of wealth, all citizens benefit, but if there is not enough wealth the citizens are impoverished. Mentions of economic activity in TA are very broad brush -how, for example, are the old economic staples of cotton, coffee, cashew nuts and sisal faring nowadays? My particular interest lies in transportation, which is rarely mentioned although economic activity can only take place effectively in the presence of properly functioning transportation systems. One of my fondest memories is of the train from Dar es Salaam arriving punctually at Kigoma station in the early morning; I wonder if it still does so. TA sometimes mentions aid money being provided for some road or other, but rarely deals with the tiresome business of road maintenance. Is a road project added to the transportation capital by aid valued properly and cared for, or is it neglected and allowed to deteriorate until another lot of aid capital is needed to refurbish it? I found the review of ‘Complimentary Water Systems in Dar es Salaam: the case of water vending’ absolutely fascinating. But I should very much like to know the reasons for ‘the inability of public utilities to provide secure water provision to Dar es Salaam households’ .
I am indebted to you for this constructive criticism which has been noted. A questionnaire sent to readers of TA some time ago indicated that political development was the subject readers were most interested in. You will be pleased to note that our Subscriptions Manager, Mary Punt, has persuaded Janet Horsman (many thanks to her) to write a piece for us on the roads of Tanzania as they appeared to her in July this year. As this article arrived just as we were going to press we have had to squeeze into two places. Meanwhile in Parliament much praise was bestowed by opposition MP’s on Minister for Works John Magufuli for striking off the register 859 out of2,210 road and other construction contractors for failure to abide by the conditions of their registration. The Minister told parliament that his budget allocation for this year of Shs 167,508,471,600 would cover, inter alia, rehabilitation and maintenance of the central corridor and Mtwara road projects, the 508km Dar-Kibiti-Lindi-Mingoyo road and major bridges -Editor.
Thank you for another excellent bulletin. The item on p.24 [TA 69] is seriously dismaying and indicates that political lobbying is still needed -any expert comment you can include on this matter will be appreciated. Archbishop Mtetemela is concerned about current education in Tanzania -perhaps the Christian Council of Tanzania should challenge the government over it. May I add a note to the obituary of Eliewaha (NB spelling) Mshana (p.31)? He was the first Tanzanian to write an original work for the Swahili theological textbooks programme. It was a commentary on Ga1atians entitled ‘Tumewekwa Huru’, Completed in 1975, it included his own translation from the Greek text and was based on his lectures delivered at The Baptist Theological College, Arusha. His desire was that African culture should be properly recognised and that Christians should work out culturally appropriate ethics and lifestyles for contemporary Africa. I received much personal encouragement from Eliewaha in our endeavours to develop the theological book programme in Swahili.