Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What Lugola has up his sleeves for tricky docket



Home Affairs minister, Mr Kangi Logola

Home Affairs minister, Mr Kangi Logola 

By Louis Kolumbia @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. He takes charge of a docket that many have come to describe as a political hot seat. Mr Kangi Logola replaces Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, who was sacked last week as Home Affairs minister. He becomes the third minister in a space of two and half years in President John Magufuli’s administration.

The President’s first choice – Charles Kitwanga – was kicked out after he was accused of drunkenness in Parliament. His successor – Dr Mwigulu – had an array of reasons laid out for him as he was shown the door. Dr Magufuli said he was not impressed by the performance of the ministry – citing inaction by the minister in dealing with unending road accidents and rampant corruption.

Granted, the new minister cannot have illusions about what needs to be done. The fact is, he has his duty well laid out for him. In show of readiness to take on the Herculean task, he hit the ground running – travelling upcountry to be at accident scenes a few days after he was sworn in at State House in Dar es Salaam.

Yet, the question remains. Will he be able to please the President? Posterity will judge.

But in an exclusive interview, our reporter, Louis Kolumbia, had a chat with an upbeat Mr Lugola, who talks about his mammoth task, priorities and strategies:

QN: How did you receive the news of your appointment?

ANS: I was in my constituency – Mwibara – in Mara Region, when the news broke. I was happy because promotion is evidence that the Head of State trusts your capabilities as an individual. But, the happiness has its limit because I am supposed to think about how best to execute my duties to meet the President’s expectations.

The Home Affairs ministry is considered tough. What are your plans?

The ministry is very sensitive because of its role in the maintenance of peace and security in the country. It has under it, the Police, the Prisons, Fire and Rescue, Immigration and the National Identification Authority (Nida). It is this ministry that is supposed to provide security to the President and the Presidency.

The ministry is also charged with ensuring that members of the public engage in income-generating activities in a peaceful and secure environment. We currently face the threat of Tanzanians destabilising that peace by uttering seditious statements, and creating panic by issuing falsified economic statistics all in a bid to conflict with government. There are others who are accusing the Police of abductions and killings. These people intend to create the impression that the government is doing nothing, for example, to find the missing people.

I will not allow this to continue.

You received a widespread public backlash last week after the statement you made on the mysterious disappearance of MCL reporter Azory Gwanda, Ben Saanane and Kakonko District Council chairman Simon Kangoye. How do you react to that?

There are people who are misleading the public that the missing people were kidnapped and killed. These are preposterous suggestions because the Police are still investigating the cases. Law enforcement agents cannot conclude that someone is dead without thorough the completion of the investigation progress. What if you pronounce someone dead, and two days later they resurface? There are cases of people who disappear without informing their families – and look for work in mines. In my previous role in the Vice President’s Office (Environment and Union Affairs), I met a person whose family thought he was dead, but he was working on a mine. There are many men abandoning their families.

My ministry is still investigating the cases involving Gwanda (Azory), Saanane and Kangoye. Members of the public should be patient.

What do you say about the so-called ‘unknown people’?

There are conspiracies linking the security organs with these people who are branded “unknown people”, who have allegedly been engaging in various criminal activities across the country. But it stems from the fact that members of the public are not aware of the culprits perpetuating crime. However, linking the security organs with the so-called “unknown people” is an act of sedition. That should immediately end. Police officers are ordered to arrest anyone linking security organs with criminals (unknown people).

These accusations are aimed at creating conflict between members of the public and the government. That will not happen under my leadership. We cannot allow people to go to the extent of branding their government a government of killers.

Therefore, those who spread these lies will be hunted down and arrested everywhere, including bars. And the cybercrime department should do the same for social media.

How many cases of sedition has the government won history?

This is a statistical question that requires thorough preparation, but regardless of the number of cases won by the government, suspected criminals are arrested for questioning.

What do you have to say about allegations that there are rogue elements within the Police who cook up cases against innocent citizens, and drag their feet when it comes to investigations?

It is true. There are a few police officers who are implicated. I have directed the ministry’s Permanent Secretary to prepare a document for the Police Force to report daily incidents. The will enable the headquarters to know, timely, what is happening especially at police stations on the outskirts. This will help us to take appropriate measures on time.

However, members of the public should also learn to lodge their complaints with the complaints desks available at all police stations across the country. In addition, they should follow procedure by reporting to the Officer-In-Charge of the station, Officer Commanding Districts (OCDs), Regional Police Commanders (RPCs) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) – in that order – if no measures are being taken.

Then regarding delayed investigations, many factors should be taken into consideration. In some cases, it could be the need to travel abroad that delays the process. More so, investigations may require the involvement of other government institutions, such as the Office of the Chief Government Chemist.

However, that is not to say we don’t have cases of police officers deliberately delaying investigations. We are hoping that the document that is being prepared will provide the lasting solution to these problems. For you own information, in this new plan, all departments will be required to have top officers at the headquarters to link the ministry with the grassroots level.

You disbanded the National Roads Safety Council soon after assuming office, as a measure against inaction against the unending road accidents. But, what exactly should be done to permanently address the problem?

The council had failed to fulfil its responsibilities. In any case, its term in office had expired after serving for 10 year, instead of three years. We want the council reformed.

Vehicle inspections will be strengthened through increasing the number of stations and inspectors, as well as the participation of the private sector in the process. More so, the government is also going to launch a countrywide verification exercise of all vehicle inspectors. We will remove and deal with dubious characters from the list of inspectors.

Drivers will be tested for alcohol levels at every weighbridge. There will be logbooks where the names of the driver and traffic officers are recorded – and this will be verified at the end of their journey.

We will also take stern measures against traffic officers trying to protect drivers with bad speed records.

In addition, I have since asked the Permanent Secretary to take stern measures against District Traffic Officers (DTOs) or Regional Traffic Officers (RTOs) from the top 10 accident-prone regions.

These areas include Ilala, Kinondoni, Temeke, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Dodoma, Manyara, Dodoma, Tabora and Tarime-Rorya. Some of the measures are demotion, salary deductions, public parading and where necessary termination of employment.

Do you stand by your decision to order the Prisons Commissioner General, Mr Juma Malewa, out of a meeting room after he came in late? There are some people who feel that wasn’t proper.

Official in departments that are under the Home Affairs ministry need to have the highest degree of discipline. Members of the public shouldn’t look at the position of the person who was kicked out of the meeting; rather, they should consider the importance of discipline.

I cannot, for example, arrive late for a meeting with the President. Therefore, it was the right decision. Otherwise, I wouldn’t deserve to be the Home Affairs minister. My role is to safeguard the status and reputation of the Home Affairs minister.

What are your top five priorities?

My first one is implementing the directives given by President John Magufuli during my swearing in. I will also fight crime, instill discipline and professionalism among the security officers, and ensure peace maintained in the country.

Do you plan to contest for the presidency at some point?

President John Magufuli’s shoes are oversize to me. Therefore, I haven’t thought about it.

Why do you always walk with the CCM manifesto?

President Magufuli gave the document to me in 2015 during the General Election campaigns. I have been using it ever since, as a source of reference, as a reminder of what CCM has directed the Head of State to do. This enables me to properly assist him.

I would like to be buried with the CCM manifesto when I die. This is regardless of whether or not the current manifesto will be the one being used at that time. There is no any other political party with a similar manifesto.

Who is Kangi Lugola outside politics?

Kangi Lugola is a sportsman leading the Kangi Bomba Cup in his constituency.

The Cup pools soccer, netball and choir loving people together. He is a long-time and successful athlete, and footballer who registered an outstanding record in 1982, after finishing first in a 400-metre race. That impressed his coach – Clever Kamanya – who awarded me with a pair of shoes.

Kangi also played for the Nyundo Football Club, in Sengerema. But he is neither a fan of Simba nor Yanga – he kind of supports both teams.

Outside Tanzania, he is a fan of Barcelona and Argentina, which sadly suffered an early exit from the World Cup in Russia.

Who do you think will be crowned champions of the Fifa World Cup 2018?

Croatia will emerge champions. My prediction is that Belgium will defeat France, while Croatia beats England in the semifinals. The finals will pit Croatia against Belgium, and Croatia will surprise the world.

Interesting. And on Bongo Flava – are you for AliKiba or Diamond Platinumz?

None of the above. I am, instead, inspired by Asley and Baker. However, AliKiba is more disciplined than Diamond, who has been accused of arriving late for some shows.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Access to public information still a mirage - Part 2

Journalists are the hardest-hit by the lack of

Journalists are the hardest-hit by the lack of urgency among those who man information desks in the offices of Regional Commissioners and municipal councils.PHOTO|FILE 

By Peter Nyanje @pnyanje pnyanje@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Though the Access to Information Act and its accompanying regulations have provided for seamless flow of information, the situation has not improved, according to a research commissioned by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT). Results of a study involving the offices of regional commissioners and councils in seven regions established that the presence of the law, notwithstanding, officials were still reluctant to release information as asked.

To complement the MCT work, MISATAN also commissioned another study in the seven regions of Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Mwanza, Kigoma, Arusha, Dodoma and Mtwara. The study involved journalists who sent questions to respective offices and responses were as follows:

Dodoma

According to the researcher, accessing information at the Regional Commissioner’s Office was a challenge. The researcher says efforts by journalists to unearth various developmental challenges that face this region fail because of lack of cooperation by information holders as exemplified in the Regional Commissioner’s office.

“It is very hard to get a response from this office. A good example is the letter I hand-delivered on April 27, this year, and had a copy signed. But until May 15, I hadn’t received even a call from them,” says a researcher from Dodoma.

On the contrary, the Municipal Council in Dodoma seems to be open and cooperative. Officials give information regardless of who wants it and without questioning why that information is needed.

“I tendered my request letter on April 27 requesting an interview with the director; I got the response on May 12.”

Mbeya

A research assistant was instructed to prepare a request letter with questions and hand-delivered it to the office of the Mbeya City Council Director. It was well-received and after one day she received a call from an information officer who told her that he had received her letter and was working on it.

“After two days, I got another call asking me to go get my answers because they were ready,” she says.

But the situation is a bit challenging at the Regional Commissioner’s Office. Despite the fact that the RC had scheduled meetings with members of the public twice a month (every first and last Thursday) to listen to their concerns. “I submitted my request letter to the RC’s office on the 27th of April and it was received by the registry. But no one even acknowledged receiving it until the 21-day period expired on the 16th of May,” the researcher notes.

Mtwara

A research assistant in Mtwara also hand-delivered a letter to the RC’s office and also sent a copy via the Regional Administrative Secretary’s email: ras@mtwara.go.tz.

“I never received an acknowledgement. I had to make a phone call and was promised that they will get back to me, but all to no avail,” she said adding:

“I used similar ways to submit my request letter to the Director of the Municipal Council, by hand and via email, mtwaradc@mtwara.go.tz. There was no formal acknowledgement. I met the public relations officer at a public function and he promised to work on the request. He never did, even after calling him on different occasions.”

At the Municipal Director’s office, officers at the registry did not cooperate, but were busy hawking.

Kigoma

It was a different story in Kigoma where the Regional Commissioner’s office received the research assistant well. “The office cooperated, and as a journalist I can attest to the fact that they are accountable and transparent,” she said.

According to the Kigoma researcher, the office of the Municipal Council on the other hand cordially receives visitors as well, but doesn’t act on request letters in time.

“It was very disappointing that when I followed it up they (the Registry) told me that my letter was nowhere to be seen… they lost it,” said the researcher.

Arusha

A research assistant in Arusha reported that she managed to get the information requested within 21 days after the letter was submitted. However, the main challenge in this office is getting information via the email address given.

Even though the world is fast-changing, especially in communications, and despite the emphasis on e-government as well as the use of technology, many public officials are not catching up as fast as they are supposed to.

The researcher noted: “I have always believed that email is the fastest way to get information across and it was my hope that they will respond but all to no avail. I had to make a physical visit to get the information I needed.”

Mwanza

A researcher assistant arrived at the RC’s office on April 25 to submit the information request letter. It was received and a copy signed with the Registry attendant.

There was a challenge in getting the contacts of the person who received the letter for follow up, but later she reluctantly gave the number.

A follow up after 14 days did not yield anything. The researcher had to make a physical follow-up on May 9, but the letter could not be found.

The officials claimed the reply was sent, but noone could trace it. “My assumption is that no one worked on that letter. Even after I tried to follow it up , it yielded nothing.”

On the same day that a letter was delivered at RC’s office, a similar request was delivered at the Mwanza City Council offices. Despite the fact that the receiver asked the assistant researcher to go back after three days for follow up, she never wanted to share any contacts that would help him during follow ups.

Some 10 days later, there was no formal reply from the person in charge. Physical visits to the office did not bear any fruits.

The registry officer took the researcher to the public relations office where she was told that the land officers (to whom most of the questions were directed) were still working on the information requested.

“I decided to look for the director himself. I bumped into him on his way to the conference hall in the same compound and reminded him of the letter I submitted, but without stopping he said he was busy and wasn’t ready for any interview.”

Dar es Salaam

A research assistant in Dar es Salaam recommended that the Regional Commissioner’s office improve their customer service. This includes communication skills and attitude when it comes to dealing with clients.

The researcher described the services at the RC’s office as not impressive, especially from those who man the registry department.

But on the other hand, the Dar es Salaam City Council is described as the best example of how a public service should be in terms of customer handling. They receive every visitor with respect and listen to them. They would assist you in any way.

To be continued….

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How young activists are keeping Mandela’s legacy alive in Africa

 

By Alan Hirsch

Last month, at a conference on African Inequalities co-organised by our school and the London School of Economics, the first audience question came from a young woman. Why, she asked, was the graduate school relaunching as the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance when Mandela’s legacy of appeasement entrenched much of apartheid’s economic structures?

Her question, despite its narrow context, echoes the broader concerns of many students and young people struggling to reconcile the present need for meaningful transformation with Mandela’s first steps towards its possibility.

This demand for a more critical view of his legacy troubles some who are intent on preserving the Madiba mythology or those who are focused only on his remarkable personal and moral qualities. Young people are too radical, too eager to break instead of consolidate, the arguments go.

But I believe there’s a healthy debate to be had about his legacy. And only by looking back at it through fresh eyes will it be possible to extract what’s valuable. And for young people to build on the best of what he achieved.

Mandela’s greatest legacy is much broader than the merits – or otherwise – of his policy decisions which were constrained by the circumstances of his times.

His central legacy was the example he set of bold, self-sacrificing yet ethical and accountable leadership. Mandela’s leadership is a beacon for our times, all over Africa.

Increasingly, young people across the continent are taking up Mandela’s challenge. Some are already leading powerful civic and political organisations and campaigns. For example, Sampson Itodo has successfully spearheaded a campaign to benefit young Nigerians seeking political office. He is one among many innovative and effective young Africans.

Youth activism is critical in this challenging era when Africa is both the youngest continent and the poorest.

Reasons for optimism

Itodo is executive director of YIAGA, an advocacy group that promotes young people getting involved in governance. He also convened the Not Too Young To Run movement, which spent years petitioning the Nigerian government to change constitutional constraints on the age limits of those running for office.

I first met Sampson in 2016 when he was a participant in our school’s Emerging African Leaders Programme – one of many offered for emerging African leaders from mid-career civil servants to high level experts.

Known as the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, our work has always been inspired by the urgent call Mandela made at the University of Cape Town in 1990 to [transform] centres of learning into institutions that have relevance to the future of the country and the continent.

Sampson was one of 30 participants on the programme that year, drawn from ten African countries. Among them was a Ugandan transitional justice coordinator, a South African human rights lawyer, a Kenyan food security activist and a Zimbabwean public health programme director focusing on eliminating malaria. Despite their geographical and occupational differences, they were all passionate about creating and sustaining meaningful change – in their countries and across the continent.

Investing in young leaders creates the kind of legacy I believe Mandela himself would have been delighted by: a living memorial, carried out by young, politically-engaged people pushing the imagination of what our continent can and should look like.

Actions speak louder than words

Mandela knew that actions spoke louder than words. This is evident from the fact that he was remarkably disinterested in preserving the heroic cult built around him. He left explicit instructions, routinely ignored, that he should not be treated as a demi god and that no statues or monolithic structures should be erected in his memory.

On May 31 this year, Sampson’s bill was passed overwhelmingly in the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives. President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law. Any Nigerian from the age of 35 years can now run for President, and from 25 years for the House or State Assembly.

Although he drove the process, Sampson did not achieve this remarkable feat alone. He did it through two years of concerted, strategic mobilisation of young people who cared about representation and wanted a voice in a political system they felt had failed them.

For Sampson, as for so many young people on the continent, Mandela’s legacy of belief in the power of youth action is alive and well.

The author is Professor and Director of The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Uganda’s social media tax: Here is the humbling bit

Uganda recently introduced a social media tax.

Uganda recently introduced a social media tax. PHOTO|FILE 

By Nicholas Sengoba

Since July 1, accessing social media in Uganda will set you back by a ‘mere’ USh200 as an entrance fee into the party. Now many of those who enjoy WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many others are not ordinary hard up citizens scratching for a living. But they are up in arms.

They say by levying the tax, the government is trying to muzzle them. That it is their right and freedom to communicate via social media.

Others like Timothy Kalyegira are very gleeful and wish that the tax would go up to about USh500 because most of the people accessing social media (probably the ones he interacts with) are not exactly a serious lot.

That they hardly reason or think correctly as they rush to make arguments. That they are prone to making typos, don’t appreciate good photography and generally are wasting this opportunity of tapping into the vast potential that is social media to bring about political, social and economic change.

Government on the other hand, says this ‘luxury’ called social media that prompts many to gossip, spread false news and incite the public, must be taxed to contribute revenue for national development.

Suffice to say that there is almost nothing this USh200 can buy in the Uganda of today, not even a sweet. So, you can’t rule out that most people are digging in as a form of protest. They just don’t want to finance the government mostly for political reasons.

The enduring argument being that ‘their money’ will just go into the pockets of the fat cats and their cronies. All that will become clear in the days, weeks and months to come. For me, the most humbling aspect of the brouhaha this matter of social media taxes has caused is the one about the opportunism of African countries, how they have been spoilt into waiting for outsiders to think for them and what impact this has had on their productivity, imagination and ability to invent or create things.

To speak very plainly, both the government, which intends to fork in billions of shillings by taxing social media and those beating their chests claiming access to social media as their right have contributed nothing to its making. They are just taking a piggy ride.

Yet when you think of it, social media is not exactly about building using motar and stone. You don’t have to possess big muscles to be part of the Internet and communication revolution. The whole thing is virtual and provides equal opportunities for those with access to the Internet.

An American executive on Wall Street and the barefooted shamba boy in Mutukula have equal opportunities on the Internet. The difference is what they do with this access to the World Wide Web. Their cerebral limits, interests and attitude determine which direction they take on the Internet and how it benefits them.

You see, one may choose to share jokes and the ‘latest nudes’ the whole day on social media and this one is the wont for many.

Then there are those who get the most out of this business by creating apps that they sell and get billions of dollars. They are the brainy warriors who have put their creative spirit to test. Many of the inventors or investors of Facebook and Twitter plus a whole load of others are now billionaires. We are talking about the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Bill Gates and all the people in Silicon Valley and other Tech Hubs.

These ones burn the midnight candle and to make happen, what many of us who come in to simply use and (abuse if you asked some) and are now calling ‘our right.’

Just imagine if we woke up one day and the maverick President of the US, Donald John Trump, restricted the use of social media in countries like Uganda for preposterous reasons that it is encouraging ‘terrorism!’ What will become of this ‘right’ of ours?

Mr Sengoba is a political analyst

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The bigger story in the sacking of Mwigulu Nchemba

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The sacking of Dr Mwigulu Nchemba as Home Affairs minister was something any analyst could see coming. It started a long time ago after and when his ministry became non-functioning. There are some hunches one would employ to easily presage what was in the offing for Mwigulu. His sacking tells a very bigger story than any person can expect.

No untouchables

First of all, it is fact that nobody in President John Magufuli’s government is untouchable. Everybody is vulnerable, especially if and when his or her performance is sluggish or does not meet Magufuli’s expectations. Mwigulu’s dismissal should act as a reminder to other ministers and public officers who seem to be more of liability than asset or those who think they are sacred cows under Magufuli. Guys, Magufuli has clearly and openly shown that what he needs is delivering but not anything else.

For example, the minister under whose watch many blasts occurred before the current one came to power must keep an eye on his performance.

Other ministers are known; and some have already been warned like it was for the one whose ministry failed to address issues that have to do with minerals.

Mysterious killings

Secondly, Mwigulu lost it when he failed to curb the Kibiti mysterious killings that saw many innocent people killed for unknown reasons. So, too, Mwigulu failed to articulate his strategies in curbing the anathema.

Essentially, when the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ernest Mangu, was shown the door, time was up for Mwigulu. Sadly, Mwigulu didn’t read the writing on the wall and the signs of time.

For example, Arusha Town MP Jonathan Lema warned that after failing to address many shortfalls, Mwigulu would be cannibalised by the same power that appointed him. Instead, he kept on doing just the same by maintaining his inertness and sleaziness as he slept at the wheel.

There is a famous adage that humans don’t learn from history; and if they do, they do it in a wrong way. As the Minister of Home Affairs, Mwigulu would have revisited the history of the former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi who decided to resign after some innocent people were killed under his watch when he was Minister for Home Affairs.

When Mwigulu was generously advised to call it quits, he sealed his ears hoping things would calm down; and thus survive. On this, had it not been President John Magufuli’s forbearance, Mwigulu would have been history a long time ago.

Besides, Mwigulu lost it all when many accusations on illegally issuing working and residence permits surfaced without him reining in. Further, up until now, Tanzania’s passports and other documents such as IDs are not protected as they are supposed to be. Such documents used to be sold like peanuts to criminals and international criminal gangs.

Corrupt ministry

Thirdly, Mwigulu presided over a very corrupt ministry that was oft-accused of wrongdoings. For example, the police are ranked higher when it comes to corruption allegations. Refer to the simmering mortification involving the procurement of old and dubious police vehicles that recently forced president Magufuli to vent his anger on the matter. Further, refer to the Lugumi scam about which Magufuli, too, complained and ordered the incoming minister to look into, not to mention Nida scam.

Sluggish police performance

Fourth, Mwigulu’s general sluggish nature of police performance sufficed to force Magufuli to boot him out. Apart from this, police are renowned for their heavy handedness when it comes to dealing with dissent voices in the country. Under Mwigulu’s watch, many accusations of the lack of peace in the country grew day by day; and as the person in charge did nothing to address them as if it wasn’t his business.

‘A sitting duck’

Fifth, Mwigulu will be remembered as the Minister of Home Affairs who was like a sitting duck thanks to his indolence and let-down in addressing critical subjects under his docket. This is why Magufuli wondered how people he entrusted with public offices would only appear at unimportant occasions but not on the scenes that needed them most.

In sum, thanks to his sluggishness, Mwigulu’s sacking was long overdue. It is sad that he didn’t see it coming, up until, he’s caught off guard. How many’ll blindly replicate the same and suffer the same fate? Time will accurately and timely tell.

Off the cuffs, I applaud Mwigulu for being ahead of others when it comes to donning on national flag. Again, donning on a flag without delivering is as good as nothing.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Obama set to deliver Mandela event speech



Former US President Barack Obama. PHOTO | FILE

Former US President Barack Obama. PHOTO | FILE 

By Political Platform Reporter

Pretoria. Former US President Barack Obama is set to deliver a high-profile address on July 17, marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

The speech will be paired with a five-day gathering of young African leaders that will include workshops and training, as well as a town hall with Obama. The Obama Foundation said it had received 10,000 applications for the 200 available slots in the programme.

Mr Obama, whose father was from Kenya, visited Africa several times as President, though he never met Mandela on those trips as the anti-apartheid leader was ailing. They had met once earlier, in 2005, when Mandela was visiting the United States.

Obama has spoken and written extensively on Mandela’s influence in his life, including inspiring his early political activism. Obama flew to South Africa in 2013 to speak at Mandela’s funeral.

It makes for a continuation of efforts Obama began while in office to cultivate young leaders through leadership training programmes and town halls.

During his last trip to Africa as President, Obama convened a meeting with young people in Nairobi to discuss social issues and leadership strategies. He held similar events in South America and Asia.

To honour the centennial of Madiba’s birth, the lecture’s theme will be ‘Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World’.

“The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will focus on creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality,” noted the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The lecture will take place on Tuesday next week, a day before Nelson Mandela International Day, and will be held at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. About 9,000 people are expected to attend.

For most of his life, Nelson Mandela fought for democracy and equality. His presidency was defined by his efforts to solidify the fragile democracy of South Africa, and by his lessons on the politics of bridge-building over the politics of division.

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is a unique platform to drive debate on critical social issues in South Africa and around the world.

Meanwhile, Beyonce and Jay-Z will lead an A-list lineup to mark 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth in a Johannesburg festival by the Global Citizen movement to eradicate poverty.

The December 2 event will draw a number of leaders in an attempt to throw a spotlight on fledging efforts to eradicate poverty.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Press freedom and journalist safety in Africa

Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) managing

Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) managing director Francis Nanai addressing journalists on the disappearance of MCL reporter Azory Gwanda last year. At a recent meeting, members of the International Press Institute (IPI) asked the Tanzanian government to expedite an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing since October 2017.PHOTO|FILE 

By Special Correspondent

Abuja. The members of the International Press Institute (IPI), meeting at their 67th Annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress on June 23, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria, adopted by unanimous vote a resolution calling on African governments to protect the safety of journalists and to repeal laws that are being exploited to prosecute them.

IPI members expressed concern that that space for press freedom is fast shrinking on the continent, with governments and politicians using archaic laws and as well as new measures to silence critical voices and independent media. The emerging threat to press freedom in Africa and other parts of the world includes attempts by governments and politicians to harass journalists by smearing critical coverage as “fake news”. Of particular concern are new laws related to digital communication, which will effectively silence government critics.

IPI members noted that Ghys Fortuné Dombé Bemb editor of an independent paper in the Republic of Congo, has been in prison since January 2017. Similarly, journalist Mohamed Adnan Diri was sentenced by a court in Somaliland to 18 months in prison on charges of criminal defamation and publishing false news.

In Angola, journalist and 2018 IPI World Press Freedom Hero Rafael Marques de Morais faced up to four years in prison on charges of insult to a public authority over a 2016 article scrutinising a real-estate transaction involving Angola’s then attorney-general. He was acquitted on July 6. Marques has faced decades of harassment and prosecution at the behest of the government for exposing corruption and human rights abuses. Additionally, several Angolan journalists have fled the country to protect the lives of their families and are living as asylum seekers in neighbouring countries.

IPI members also expressed concern over the lack of progress on media freedom in Zimbabwe following the departure of former President Robert Mugabe, whose rule saw Zimbabwe become one of the world’s most heavily censored countries. The biggest continuing threat to media freedom in Zimbabwe is the country’s oppressive media legislation, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not indicated a clear willingness to reform.

IPI members also recalled with concern the decision by Kenya’s Communications Authority to force a group of private broadcasters off air over their coverage of an opposition leader’s symbolic presidential “inauguration” following a tightly contested presidential vote in autumn 2017.

IPI members also expressed concern over the methodical and worrying suppressing of press freedom in Tanzania, including the closure of five publications and two radio stations, as well as the passing of laws that pose a threat to media freedom. IPI members also asked the Tanzanian government to expedite an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing since October 2017.

Several journalists in Africa have been killed in apparent retaliation for their work in recent years. IPI members urged African governments to ensure that those who commit crimes against journalists do not enjoy impunity and ensure that courts and law enforcement authorities are capable of ensuring justice.

In Nigeria, three journalists were killed in 2017. Those cases are still under investigation. IPI members urged the government of Nigeria to expedite the investigations and bring to justice those responsible.

IPI members also urged governments in Africa as well as the African Union to take robust action to ensure the protection of journalists in conflict zones. Five journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2016 owing to the ongoing conflict there, according to IPI’s Death Watch. Working with media organizations in Africa, African governments and the African Union should support safety training of journalists and in collaboration with insurance companies, offer health and life insurance to journalists at a discounted premium.

IPI members summarised their concerns by calling on all African governments to:

• Release all journalists imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression and drop all charges against them;

• End impunity for crimes committed against journalists;

• Promote freedom of the press, independent journalism and respect for the rule of law;

• Provide safety training to journalists; and

• Arrange for health and life insurance to journalists at discounted rates

(Issued by the IPI Secretariat)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A glimmer of hope for press freedom across the globe

 

By The Post Editorial

When journalists face blatantly political trials under authoritarian regimes, very often the judge becomes a tool of the authorities. But last week that changed in Angola. Judge Josina Mussua Ferreira Falcão acquitted a prominent journalist and activist, Rafael Marques de Morais, of bogus charges of insulting the government.

Marques and an editor, Mariano Brás, in 2016 published an exposé of dubious land transactions by then-Attorney General João Maria de Sousa. The judge threw out the criminal charges against them.

“This court believes that we would be doing very bad as a society that wants to progress, if we punished the messengers of bad news,” she said. The judge added that the land sales were “tainted with irregularities” and the article fulfilled the journalists’ duty to inform the public. The victory was particularly important as a reaffirmation of the significance of independent Angolan journalism; Marques has spent nearly two decades uncovering corruption and malfeasance.

Sadly, Angola is an exception to global trends. The same day Marques was acquitted, six columnists for the once-popular, now-shuttered Turkish newspaper Zaman received sentences of up to 10½ years for “membership in a terrorist organization.” That’s how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodogan has labeled the movement of his onetime ally, exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of sponsoring a failed 2016 coup.

Turkey, which once enjoyed a vibrant and robust free press, has become a gulag for reporters under Erdogan. More than 150 journalists are in prison, and nearly 180 outlets have been closed. Three more newspapers and a television station were darkened on Monday.

Zaman columnist and novelist Ahmet Turan Alkan questioned the integrity of the justice system during a June hearing in Istanbul. “I suppose I must have irked and infuriated the government,” he said. “But do not expect me to apologize.” He added that he would not seek mercy from his oppressors: “I would not lick the knife that is cutting my throat.”

His defiance was echoed by two Reuters journalists in Myanmar, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who exposed the military’s massacre of Rohingya Muslims in a village and now face the government’s wrath. On Monday, a court lodged formal charges of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act against both journalists.

After the ruling, Wa Lone, in handcuffs as he was ushered into a police truck, protested that they had committed no crime. “We will not retreat, give up or be shaken by this,” he vowed. This noble steadfastness is just what Aung Sang Suu Kyi once showed the world in the face of a military dictatorship. Now that she is Myanmar’s de facto leader, she should free these gutsy and determined journalists.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The truck loader eyeing South Sudan presidency

Richmond. Just minutes into the night shift at Lowe’s, beads of sweat sparkle on Bol Gai Deng’s forehead. He’s at the back of the suburban Richmond, Virginia, store, unloading a 54-foot truck crammed with leaf blowers and barbecue grills, Drano and pitchforks - tough work that drives off most in a matter of weeks or months. Deng has stuck with it for six years because he likes having his days free for his other gig: running for president of South Sudan.

Virginia prides itself on being the “mother” of presidents. Eight US heads of state were born there, more than in any other state. That’s not counting Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the Petersburg barber who became the first elected president of Liberia in 1847. With Deng - an adopted son of Virginia who arrived as a Sudanese refugee two decades ago, just ahead of a wave known as the “Lost Boys” of Sudan - the commonwealth might someday claim one more.

“Africa does not want rulers. It wants leaders,” said Deng, a US citizen in his late 30s who does not know his precise age. “I’m a leader because I trained in America.”

Deng pursues the presidency of the world’s newest and perhaps most desperate country with infectious passion and an unlikely band of volunteers. A former Richmond TV anchor who has never been to Africa acts as an adviser. A grass-roots Republican activist, more practiced in Virginia legislative races than international affairs, serves as political strategist and occasional stylist, picking up a woolen Costco overcoat for Deng ahead of a meeting at the United Nations in December.

A month before that, Deng pressed State Department officials to call for elections in his war-ravaged homeland - something the cowboy-hatted President Salva Kiir has refused to do.

A fellow refugee who advises Deng on security deemed a campaign trip to their homeland too risky. So in May, Deng traveled instead to Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, where he promised crowds of displaced South Sudanese that he would usher in an era of democracy and honesty.

For the most part, Deng makes his bid from Virginia, where he still lives with the family who took him in. His $15 hourly wage is enough to pay his bills and bankroll a shoestring campaign that relies largely on social media and free help from Andrea McDaniel, a longtime NBC12 anchor who met Deng at a charity event, and Don Blake, president of the Virginia Christian Alliance, who encountered Deng through church.

Beyond the Lowe’s loading dock, where co-workers have taken to calling him “Mr. President,” Deng has his share of believers. They span the U.S. political spectrum despite the country’s deeply polarized immigration politics.

Those on the right tout Deng - a Christian kidnapped as a young boy by the mujahideen and forced into slavery - as validation of President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” and other hard-line stances on immigration. To the left, he’s proof that refugees can flourish and offer hope to their homelands if only America would welcome them.

Deng’s campaign operates out of Blake’s offices at the Virginia Christian Alliance, which leads battles against abortion and gay rights in the state Capitol. Hundreds of African American Baptists, gathered at a Richmond convention in June, gave Deng a standing ovation, comparing him sympathetically to children fleeing Central America today.

“If it was US politics, he would win every debate because he would simply tell his story,” said Shawn Utsey, a Virginia Commonwealth University psychology professor and interim chairman of the school’s department of African American studies.

Deng earned a bachelor’s degree from VCU and was the first student to sign up for the homeland security major the school created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He had hoped to get a job with the FBI or Department of Homeland Security, but his command of written English was too limited.

On a campus with eight or nine Sudanese refugees, Deng stood out because he was always organising something, Utsey said. Deng put together a program to help local African immigrants improve their English, led efforts to build a school and deliver medicine to South Sudan, and staged a two-day conference on Sudan that drew diplomats and scholars from Washington and elsewhere.

“Of all the Lost Boys, I’ve not heard any of them saying, ‘I’m going back to make a difference,’ “ Utsey said. “He came here, achieved some success, and the whole time he did that, he was worried about his people in South Sudan and how he would improve their lives.”

While Deng is well known among Richmond’s South Sudanese community, it’s not clear that he has a broad following across the diaspora. His campaign Facebook page has 3,600 likes.

His name did not ring a bell with a few prominent South Sudanese expats reached outside the United States, including Peter Biar Ajak, a Lost Boy who is now a World Bank economist working toward his doctorate in Cambridge, England, and Brian Adeba in Canada.

“I bet as soon as a peace deal is finalised, people will come out of the woodwork [to run],” said Adeba, a deputy director at the Enough Project, which seeks to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

Whatever his political prospects, Deng has been given time and attention from government experts in the United States. He has met several times with William Leighty, former chief of staff to Democratic Virginia governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who has trained government leaders in countries as different as Scotland and Nigeria.

Some of Leighty’s advice to Deng was universal, such as the need to build a cabinet that “reflects all people, not just the people who support you,” Leighty said. And some of it was specific to Deng’s country - spun off from Sudan proper in 2011 and soon mired in a civil war that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people - which lacks the most basic infrastructure for governing or modern life, such as a functioning financial system.

The east-central African nation, which started out with a population of 12 million, has 2.5 million citizens living in camps in neighboring countries, 2 million internally displaced and 7 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to State Department figures.

Deng was about 7 years old when raiders from Sudan’s Muslim north swept into his Dinka village in the south, killing men, raping women and kidnapping him and hundreds of other boys and girls.

Enslaved for years, he managed to escape while tending cattle by hopping on a passing train. He made his way to refugee camps in Khartoum and Cairo. In 1999, when he was about 17, he reached suburban Richmond, where a church had offered to resettle him and three fellow Sudanese teens.

It’s hard to square that horrific past with the sunny, 6-foot-4 string bean who strides through Lowe’s like a small-town mayor in a Fourth of July parade. He has friends all over the store, from fellow unloaders in back to customer service reps out front.

Members of the unloading crew take turns going inside the truck, rolling the contents down a conveyor belt for the others to sort and move to store shelves. It gets terribly hot in the truck in summer.

When Deng’s not inside, he’s always checking on the guy who is, said Kim Gray, 27, one of three men helping Deng empty a truck one weeknight last month.

“He cares for people a lot,” Gray said. “He has a kind heart, very kind heart.” (Washington Post)

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Access to public information still a mirage - Part 1

 

By Peter Nyanje @pnyanje pnyanje@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. When government introduced the Access to Information Bill 2017, and after it was debated and passed by Parliament and later signed into law by President John Magufuli, there was some hope that it could be the solution to the longtime demand by many, for the seamless flow of information, especially from public officials. That, sadly, has not been the case.

Almost a year since the law was promulgated, things have not changed for the better as anticipated by many people, as attested to by a recent report commissioned by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT).

Conducted by Benedict Alex Ishabakaki, the study found out that it was not the absence of the law, which jeopardised people’s access to information, but rather, the conduct of the information holders.

In his findings, Mr Ishabakaki noted that though the law clearly outlines how information should be shared, the problem still persists. The report presents the level and extent to which the Act facilitates the access and free flow of information, its possible deficiencies and impact on access to information. It also looks at regulations’ conformity to international and regional standards, as well as Article 18 of the Constitution.

A separate report commissioned by Misa Tanzania cements the public officials’ behaviour as a major impediment to access to information. The report, which will form a second part on this analysis, is drawn from a research conducted in seven regional commissioners’ and council offices. A questionnaire was sent to these offices asking for information on a myriad issues, but most of them either did not respond timely or did not respond at all.

Strong points

The regulations, which were made under section 20 of the Access to Information Act, No.6 of 2016, contain a number of strong points, which empower information seekers and oblige the information holder to cooperate.

Generally, the regulations have cured some of the omissions or gaps manifested in the parent Act, according to Mr Ishabakaki. The regulations have given flesh to some of the skeletal provisions of the ATI by expanding the scope of the information to be accessed, obligations of the information holder as well as free flow of information.

“The regulations may be considered a milestone achievement compared to the parent Act; this is so because the regulations have addressed some of the omissions or gaps contained in the Access to Information Act,” reads part of the report.

As noted earlier, to a large extent, the regulations put in place clear mechanism, which facilitate access to and free flow of information. They contain provisions, which ensure the free flow of information and unhindered access to information.

Under these regulations, it is now illegal for information holders to refuse to give information dully asked. Information holders are obliged to establish, maintain and update regularly a widely accessible holder and user-friendly publication scheme, which may contain information it possesses, nature of its core functions, activities and operations.

This intends to ensure unhindered access to information under the possession of the information holder. To make sure that the information holder does not give information at his leisure, section 5(1) of the regulations impose an obligation on the information holder to publish certain key information as soon as they receive or generate them even though there is no request for such information in place.

Section 4(1) of the regulations sets a minimum content of the publication scheme while section 4(2) requires a maintenance of hard and soft copies of the information at the premises of the information holder or any other reasonable public places.

“This is meant to ensure that the user may be able to access the information in whatever form they want,” noted Mr Ishabakaki.

Other guidelines

The regulations also put in place conditions with regard to the kind of key information which the information holder is under obligation to publish. These include legislation, memorandum or charter for its establishment, its existing policy, procedure and rules, its budgets, the financial account, contracts and annexes that have been entered with third parties to list but a few.

“This is a commendable approach, which will not only ensure unhindered access to the vital information but also facilitate free access to information to the public,” says the report.

In general, the regulations have expanded the scope of the information, which the information holder is under duty to publish.

The regulations also prohibit an information holder or officer to demand a person who is requesting access to a certain information to provide reasons for such request. This is a remarkable milestone and cures the gap contained in the ATI, which was silent on this aspect and thus creates an avenue for abuse by the information holder.

Information holders will also have no excuse when it comes to the rejection of disclosure of information on grounds that the requested information is exempt. This is guaranteed in the regulations.

Moreover, the regulations impose additional obligation to the information holder to give notice to the person requesting access to information, in case partial access is granted, informing him that only part of information is provided after severance of the exempt part, reason for such decision, name and designation of the person giving decision and right to apply for review regarding non-disclosure of part of the information.

But, as we might see in the next article, though these regulations provide a clearcut atmosphere for access to information, conduct by public officials is now a new impediment to access to information. To be continued next week…

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Is political violence brewing ahead of poll?

 

By Chipo Dendere

Harare. Zimbabweans head to the polls on July 30, in the first presidential election since the ouster of President Robert Mugabe last year. Until a week ago, Zimbabwe’s presidential campaigning had been relatively peaceful, with the exception of some violence reported during the party primary elections.

That changed abruptly on June 23, when Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s new president, survived a grenade blast at a political rally in Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city. The president’s office announced on June 26 that two people died from injuries sustained during the attack, while 49 others remained in the hospital.

This was the first time Zimbabwe had seen a direct attack on the life of the sitting president. In the past, the country’s election-related violence has largely been state sponsored. Examples include the 1983 Ghukurahundi massacres that left more than 20,000 dead; the 2005 Operation Murambatsvina that displaced over 700,000; and the post-election violence in 2008 that forced opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the presidential race.

Q. Who is behind the Bulawayo blast?

A. Two people have been arrested in connection with the attack. The main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa, has not been linked to the blast.

In an interview with the national broadcaster, Mnangagwa dismissed the notion that the attack could have been engineered by people from Bulawayo, the epicenter of the 1983 Ghukurahundi massacres. Some in Zimbabwe continue to hold Mnangagwa, who was state minister at the time, personally responsible for the atrocities.

Mnangagwa blamed the Saturday attack on what he called his “usual enemies” - referring to unknown assailants who have made at least six attempts on his life prior to becoming president. After a cyanide attack last October at a Zanu PF rally, Mnangagwa had to be airlifted to South Africa for treatment.

Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu PF, remains deeply divided and politics is now more militarised. Mnangagwa appointed to top positions in government the army generals who announced the 2017 coup that led to Mugabe’s ouster. There is also increased military presence in rural areas.

Statements by the ZanuPF youth league, war veterans and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga all point toward internal party strife in the Zanu PF as cause for the blast. Mnangagwa told the BBC that he suspected the Zanu PF’s G-40 faction, made up of supporters of Grace Mugabe, Robert Mugabe’s wife.

Mnangagwa’s G-40 comments follow a recent pattern in which Zanu PF elites have accused fellow party members of disloyalty and sabotage. For instance, in 2014, Mugabe fired vice president Joice Mujuru and eight cabinet ministers on allegations of factionalism and a plot to kill him. Mnangagwa later replaced Mujuru as vice president.

In the last two years, tensions have intensified between the two major factions within the Zanu PF: the pro-Grace Mugabe G-40 faction and the pro-Mnangagwa Lacoste group. In October 2017, Grace Mugabe publicly pushed for Mnangagwa’s dismissal.

When Mnangagwa was dismissed, nine out of 10 Zanu PF provinces supported Mugabe and his wife. But Mnangagwa’s dismissal alienated war veterans and military elites. In response, the military placed Robert Mugabe and his family under house arrest, neutralized the pro-Mugabe security sector and pushed for civilian arrests of G-40 members, many of whom remain in exile.

After the November transition, when Mnangagwa became president, pro-Mugabe security sector officials Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and Happyson Bonyongwe, chief of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), were forced out and have not been seen in public since.

Q. What do citizens think?

A. While state media has remained silent on potential suspects, Zimbabweans have turned to social media for possible explanations. Zimbabwean urbanites are very active social media users - over 90 percent of Zimbabweans own mobile phones and an estimated 5 million out of an estimated 13 million Zimbabweans are active users of various social media platforms.

A popular theory on social media, peddled by media mogul Trevor Ncube and self-exiled former minister of information Jonathan Moyo, points to friction between Mnangagwa and his vice president. The vice president facilitated the military intervention that led to Robert Mugabe’s forced resignation in November.

Chiwenga supporters have dismissed this argument, citing the decades-long friendship between Chiwenga and Mnangagwa. Chiwenga’s wife, moreover, was one of those injured during the attack.

Q. New tensions in the lead-up to July’s elections

A. What happened that recent Saturday brought new tensions into what had been a relatively peaceful campaign. Chamisa, opposition leader and successor to the late Morgan Tsvangirai, has been able to campaign freely across the country, including in rural areas that were previously a no-go area for the opposition. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has yielded to some opposition demands for reforms, including the release of an electronic copy of the voters’ roll. Just days after the attack, election stakeholders signed a peace pledge. The president has said elections will go ahead as planned on July 30.

In a recent Afrobarometer survey, (conducted prior to the Bulawayo blast), 84 percent of Zimbabweans reported being registered to vote and expressed commitment to democratic election of their leaders. Almost all - 97 percent - would like the government to ensure a violence-free election. Analysts expect the election will be closely fought.

Dendere is a consortium for faculty diversity fellow and visiting assistant professor of political science at Amherst College.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A response to concerns about Nyerere article



Father of the nation Julius Nyerere. PHOTO|FILE

Father of the nation Julius Nyerere. PHOTO|FILE 

By Dalaly Peter Kafumu

I read with astonishment the article by one Atilio Tagalile; titled ‘What Went wrong in passing of the Tong from Mwalimu’, published in The Citizen of June 27, 2018 in the ‘Political Platform’ on page 13. At first glance, seeing the title, I thought it was a chronicle of the original and honest leadership of Mwalimu Nyerere to Tanzania. I expected to read about Mwalimu’s great strides to emancipate Tanzania from colonialism and propel it into political and economic independence and prosperity.

Reading the lines further, I realised that it was, instead, a rebuttal to the article ‘Nyerere and the vision of a United Africa - Part 4’ that formed a six-part series on the pan-African activities of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.

If Atilio had read the 1st, the 2nd and the 3rd parts of this series, he would have understood that the fulcrum of the narrative was not on Nyerere’s achievements in local politics, but on his noble works on pan-Africanism.

First, Atilio accused Dr Kafumu of looking at Mwalimu as an individual and not as an institution. Indeed, the aim of the series of Dr Kafumu’s articles was to look at Mwalimu Nyerere, Father of the Nation, as a pan-African individual who had to lose so much in his internal politics to spread his pan-African dream of a united Africa.

Although he struggled locally to bring economic development to his people, through the 1967 Arusha Declaration and education for self-reliance that called for the implementation of an economic socialist programme, Mwalimu Nyerere also spent enormous time, energy and the country’s resources to try and secure the freedom and unity of the African continent, at the expense of the economic development of his own country. He believed that: “……Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and the African peoples to be disregarded and humiliated...”

It is true indeed that Nyerere, overwhelmed by the global wind of socio-economic and political change, after 24 years of hard work in 1985, surrendered to the capitalists by stepping aside to allow the imposing of new economic order to engulf Tanzania and indeed Africa. The reference to the 1984 was an error in Dr Kafumu’s narrative on pan-Africanism.

However, the series of articles on pan-Africanism are only intended to look at the lives and struggles of some of the founding fathers and forefathers of African nations, who wanted a free and one United Africa. These leaders were the first generation of leaders who were ordained to fight colonialism and imperialism head-on, and thereafter, sought to unite the continent.

For the sake of Atilio and the like, it is, therefore, fitting to recap here that in Part One of the series of articles on pan-Africanism the columnist wrote the following: “…The genesis and metamorphosis of the stories of these great leaders began 60 decades ago in the late 1940s when African countries began the long road to freedom by waging liberation struggles from colonial rule and the dream to have one united Africa. It was the dawn of a new era; the beginning of self-rule for these countries… In this eon, the continent conceived and begat these first generation of leaders who all had a common vision of pan-Africanism. They all wanted a completely free and one Africa; a United States of Africa. These leaders were the firebrand of Africa’s liberation struggles...”

Therefore, the columnist, in a series of articles on ‘Pan-Africanism and a United Africa’ narrates the stories and anecdotes of the following dozen of pan-Africanist great leaders: 1. Kwame Kofi Nkrumah of Ghana 2. Patrice Émery Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo 3. Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea 4. Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria 5. Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein of Egypt and 6. Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal.

Other Leaders are: 7. Jomo Kamau Kenyatta of Kenya 8. Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia 9. Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania 10. Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi of Libya 11. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa 12. Samora Moisés Machel of Mozambique 13. Thomas Isidore Noël Sankara of Burkina Faso 14. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and 15. Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe. These were Great Pan-Africanists to be cherished.

Again, journalist Atilio accused Dr Kafumu of not telling of the endeavours of Mwalimu Nyerere to protect the mineral resources endowment and wealth of Tanzania. In response, I would repeat the earlier response that the alignment and emphasis of Dr Kafumu’s narrative on Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is on pan-Africanism and not on Nyerere’s triumphs and disappointments in local politics as Atilio tends to suggest.

At this juncture, I would advise Atilio to refrain from blaming the columnist, but rather for public knowledge, write on the rise and fall of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere; detailing his original philosophies and ideologies to lead Tanzania out neo-colonialism and disentangle the country from economic bondage as this would indeed be an interesting piece of reading.

In conclusion, I would say: Atilio sir, on one hand you write on the internal leadership of the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, please, but on the other hand let me also chronicle the patriarchs of pan-Africanism to remind the current African leaders to take the flaming torch of African unity to completion as was envisioned by the forefathers of pan-Africanism.

The giants of pan-Africanism envisioned as was featured by Bob Marley the pan-African singer that - Africans must move out of Babylon (neo-colonialism), and go to their Father’s land (the United States of Africa) and yes, it would be good and pleasant before God and man to see the unification of all Africans.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

What Ethiopia, Eritrea deal means for peace in region

Hundreds of Eritreans demonstrate in front of

Hundreds of Eritreans demonstrate in front of the African Union headquarters in support of the UN inquiry report and asking for measures to be taken against Eritrea on june 26, 2015 in Addis Ababa. PHOTO|FILE 

Addis Ababa. No one saw it coming, but a lasting peace deal may have finally arrivedfor Ethiopia and its longtime sparring partner, Eritrea. The two countries, which share a common culture, language, and history, have been at odds for years.

The conflict came to a head in May 1998 when the two countries went to war over the border town of Badme. Both wanted it on their side of the border. A peace deal – the Algiers Peace Accord – was signed by both parties after two years, but neither side complied with it for the next 16 years.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Ethiopia’s new premier Abiy Ahmed has promised to fully comply with the accord. This means he’s willing to end hostilities between the two countries, and to pave the way for peace.

Ahmed has also promised to accept the outcome of a 2002 border commission ruling, which awarded disputed territories, including the town of Badme, to Eritrea.

On Eritrea’s part, the country’s President Isaias Afewerki recently announced that he’s ready to talk peace with Ethiopia. An Eritrean delegation has since landed in Ethiopia for talks. And the welcome ceremony for the three-member Eritrean delegation indicated how much Ethiopia wanted to end the current status quo of animosity.

By accepting Ahmed’s olive branch, Afewerki showed his readiness to engage in a conflict resolution process that could potentially end the most damaging inter-state conflict in the Horn of Africa’s contemporary history.

Soon after his announcement, Eritrea’s anti-Ethiopian rebels (known as the Ginbot Seven) declared their readiness to end armed struggle with Ethiopia.

If the conflict resolution process succeeds it will signal new hope for the entire region. A lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea will provide much needed stability in the Horn of Africa where competing global political dynamics are often at play.

The history

Ethiopia’s military regime, led by Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam, was overthrown in 1991. The rebel forces, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and Eritrean People’s Liberation Front, joined forces to defeat Mengistu and played a major role in bringing systemic change to Ethiopia.

After this victory, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front actively pursued its long-held aspiration to administer the state of Eritrea, which then formally seceded in 1993. Meanwhile, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front led the formation of a four party coalition known as the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front which has governed Ethiopia ever since.

The two ruling parties enjoyed a promising honeymoon period in the transitional years after Mengistu’s ouster. Ethiopia used Eritrea’s Red Sea Port for its import-export trade. Eritrea’s government continued to use Ethiopia’s currency, the Birr. But it wasn’t long before the regime in Ethiopia started questioning the Eritrean regime over a series of its fiscal and political policies.

Relations began to sour and quickly deteriorated to the point of war which first broke out in May 1998. Because their shared border had never been demarcated Eritrea laid claim to, and invaded Badme. The invasion developed into full blown conflict, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands soldiers from both sides.

It was disastrous for both sides. Meles Zenawi, then Ethiopia’s premier, and President Afewerki oversaw the destruction of two struggling economies. They also created a humanitarian crisis in the region. Both nations engaged in regional proxy wars, most notably in Somalia. And both countries hosted anti-regime rebel forces from the other side.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who ruled from 2012 to early 2018, was unable to engage meaningfully with Eritrea for a variety of reasons including stiff resistance from the old guard among political elites and lack of response from Eritrea. This impasse led to a stalemate between the two countries which became known as “no war and no peace”.

But Ethiopia’s new premier is showing stronger resolve by promising to enforce the Algiers Peace Accord, and accepting the boundary commission’s decision on the Ethiopia/Eritrea border demarcation. Luckily for Abiy, Afewerki has responded positively.

Economic stability in the Horn

The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has had a destabilising influence on the Horn. One point of contention has been Ethiopia’s military presence in Somalia. Backed by the West, the country’s military is supporting the Somali government to fight Al-Shabaab. Eritrea has criticised this intervention claiming that Ethiopia’s presence in Somalia is doing more harm than good.

For its part, Ethiopia has accused Eritrea of supporting the terrorists. Over the years, this proxy war between the two countries has had the potential to spark regional conflict.

The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea also spilled over into neighbouring Djibouti. Djibouti, which is one of Ethiopia’s main economic allies, has been engaged in a war with Eritrea over a disputed border at Dumeira Mountain and Dumeira Island, which are claimed by both countries.

The area is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes and has long been recognised as being a part of Djibouti.

Ultimately, the prospect of peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea is likely to have a calming effect on the Horn. If stability is achieved, Ethiopia – a country with an estimated population of over 100 million – could realise its potential as a regional economic and military power.

First published in Conversation Africa

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Nyerere and the vision of a United States of Africa

 

By Dr Peter Kafumu

Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, a philosopher and teacher, led Tanzania from 1961 to 1984 when he voluntarily stepped aside. His legacy as a pan-African is expressed in the continuing chronicle. Towards the end of his life, his presence and influence in Tanzanian politics was more vivid. Julius Nyerere died on the 14th of October 1999 at St Thomas’s Hospital in London where he was being treated for leukemia.

Today, Nyerere continues to inspire millions of people in Tanzania and elsewhere, especially in other parts of Africa. The legacy of Nyerere can be summed up by some tributes accredited to him by many of his peer leaders, academics and politicians across the African continent as expressed here below.

Yoweri Museveni

During celebrations to mark the Martyr’s Saints of Uganda Day on Sunday the 3rd of June 2018 at Namugongo, in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni, a staunch follower of Mwalimu Nyerere described him as “…A devoted Christian and patriot who espoused pan-African values…a devoted Catholic, patriot and a true pan-African and a great leader. Why not call him a saint….who worked to unite us all…”

Julius Malema

Julius Malema, a leading opposition figure in South Africa, giving an address at the Africa Day Cerebrations on the 25th of May 2018, had this to say: “…Let us celebrate a pan-Africanist, Julius Nyerere. Those are the people who welcomed the ANC and the PAC in exile in Tanzania and made it possible to be trained and come back to fight against the nonsensical murderous apartheid regime… It was people like Julius Nyerere who received us when it was difficult…You will never know the role Julius Nyerere played in the revolution because those who write our history distort it to suit the white man…”

Kenneth Kaunda

Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, at the funeral of Nelson Mandela on the 15th of December 2013 in South Africa, could not hide his appreciation of the contribution of Tanzania and Nyerere in the African liberation struggles: “…Mama Maria thank you for coming to join us here. You and your husband did something important to Tanzania. This young president here (Kikwete) comes out of your work; continue to support him. May God bless him (Kikwete) and others like him who have come to know the importance of what Julius Nyerere did for us all...”

David Chacha

And historian David Chacha, of the University of Dar es Salaam, urges people of Africa to cherish Nyerere: “…Africa needs to keep alive the dream and vision of Mwalimu Nyerere for a shared destiny of the African people. The full realisation of our being lies in our collectivity as Africans. Our freedom, strength, dignity, survival and prosperity as a people depend on our unity as Africans, for only in unity can strength be found…”

Indeed the legendary pan-Africanist leadership of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is cherished across Africa. In Tanzania it is celebrated annually on Nyerere Memorial Day.

The spirit of Nyerere and other pan-African founding fathers must bind us together as one continent and each year we must celebrate a day to remind ourselves that one day Africa will be one nation – the United States of Africa.

We must end the story of Julius Kambarage Nyerere as one of the forefathers of pan-Africanism by singing part of the song of unity: ‘Africa Unite’ by a pan-African singer – Bob Marley.

In this song, he appeals to the people of Africa to unite and liberate themselves from neo-colonialism. The song goes: “…Africa unite: because we are moving right out of Babylon (neo-colonialism), and we are going to our Father’s land (the United States of Africa)… yes, how good and how pleasant it would be before God and man… to see the unification of all Africans…”. Yes, AFRICA MUST UNITE.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Magufuli must employ lifestyle audit of public officials



NKWAZI MHANGO

NKWAZI MHANGO 

By Nkwazi Mhango

When President John Magufuli ascended to power, he quickly took on graft and won accolades locally and internationally. Thence, many countries seem to have underscored the centrality of waging on graft the same war in order to redeem their governments and people. Recently, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta took a leaf from Magufuli by heroically declaring war on graft.

Kenyatta introduced what’s known as lifestyle audit wherein the lifestyles of public office bearers must be scrutinised to see if they correspond with their licit incomes. Underscoring the true nature of the lifestyle audit; not to mention its practicability and viability, it is time for Magufuli adopted the method in Tanzania.

In his endeavours to create and salvage his legacy, President Kenyatta shocked friends and foes. On declaring the war against graft in Kenya, he vowed to nab all culprits conscientiously in order to eradicate or box graft in.

However, despite such grandstanding and toughtalk, Kenyatta, up until now, hasn’t made his war clear due to the fact that it is not supported by the law. Without any legal backing, Kenyatta’s war on graft is seen as a castle in the sky. Thus, many whippersnappers are making lots of ruckus, rumpus and whoop-de-dos in what’s seen as the war of nerves aiming at dubiously making Kenyatta look good and serious.

This is because saying is one thing, but delivering on it is another, especially when a force behind it is an offspring of a former president who was marred by mega graft, not to mention the fact that he is an heir of wealth accumulated through what many believe are corrupt means.

Source of wealth

Kenyatta was quoted recently as saying that “everyone in the public service will have to explain the source of their wealth and all those found to have plundered public coffers will be put to task to explain the source of their wealth.” The world is still waiting to see.

Many are wondering: how will Kenyatta put to action his new medicine for deeply-seated graft in Kenya while he’s been in bed with corrupt biggies since coming to power? Kenyan anti-graft crusader John Githongo once called Kenyatta’s war on graft a “theatre of absurd” (Huffington, November 5, 2016).

After Kenyatta professed his war on graft that’s, for a long time, doggedly mudded Kenya, many suspects were up in arms yawping as others are now trying to whirr the whole thing whole-hog as their means of unyoking themselves from the looming dangers shall Kenyatta make good on his vows. Despite such well-acclaimed proclamation, Kenyatta’s detractors are still cagey, thinking his move’s just a mere ruse aimed at stealingthunder if not stealing the show. Kapsabet MP, Oscar Sudi was quoted as saying that “everybody should be audited, including the president, beginning with his late father Jomo (Kenyatta) coming down to him.” All told, will Kenyatta dilly-dally and shilly-shally or cannibalise all corrupt elements in his fold and government?

As for Tanzania, I think, the lifestyle audit resonates with Magufuli’s stance on graft. For, it is doable and feasible to take a leaf from Kenyatta by institutionalising it without necessarily politicising and weaponising or just declaring it without putting practical legal measures in place.

For example, there’s a legal requirement for public officers to declare their wealth. Again, does this help while the declared wealth’s neither made public to the common binadam nor being publicly corroborated or scrutinised?

This has been like whitewash because there are some big fish implicated in mega graft scandals such as EPA, IPTL, Lugumi, Kagoda, Presidential jet, SUKITA, Richmond, Radar, UDA and many more that have never faced the music.

Tellingly, lifestyle audit’s important and sine qua non because it’ll serve many purposes including: first,doing justice to pauperised people and their country by delivering justice to both culprits and victims. Secondly, knowing the wealths of our people will help the government to tax, task and question them on whatever seems illegal. Tanzania’s legal requirement for public officers to declare their wealth is but a toothless dog which lifestyle audit’ll give teeth to and put to notice those who still languish in old ways of making wealth. Essentially, this is the panacea Western countries used in curbing graft. Thirdly, it’ll send strong signals to all that still think they can get away with murder.

In sum, lifestyle audit will restore sanity in the public service. Our people know who’s or stole what, when and where everything is stashed. We need to have the society that rewards accountability and hard work but not wrongdoing. It’s become a norm for a person to go to bed a pauper and wake up a tycoon without necessarily explaining how such bang-bang success was attained.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Out in the cold, which way Mwigulu?

Former Home Affairs minister Mwigulu Nchemba.

Former Home Affairs minister Mwigulu Nchemba. He was fired on Sunday. PHOTO | FILE 

By The Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Sunday’s sacking of Dr Mwigulu Nchemba as Home Affairs minister has not only left him at a crossroads, but also ignited heated debate in the public domain on the next move the Iramba West MP is likely to make in his political career.

President John Magufuli dropped the minister who assumed the docket on November 2016 in a mini-cabinet reshuffle that caught many people unawares.

Dr Nchemba was forced to skip a prayer event in Kigoma shortly after the announcement to remove him was made on television. He was due to preside over the function as the chief guest.

The news immediately drew wide speculations about the reasons for his sacking, with many commentators on social media insinuating he paid the cost for letting human rights violations escalate under his watch. Other people expressed surprise that the Iramba MP and losing contender for the CCM ticket for presidency in the 2015 General Election was dropped despite a spirited attempt to align with and defend what he believed satisfied President Magufuli.

This parody – of turning a blind eye to the numerous acts of rights violation, a crackdown on opposition parties by the police and rising cases of extra-judicial killings –would cost him dearly as his boss was apparently interested in virtually something else.

On Monday, Dr Magufuli gave a long list of reasons why he dropped the minister, and the reasons were completely off key of the many ones that were being touted as failures of the minister.

Among the concerns raised by the President was the war against corruption, embezzlement of public funds, frequent road accidents and failure to tackle issues affecting lower cadre uniformed personnel in the ministry. Dr Magufuli said he had been unimpressed with the performance of the ministry’s top leadership and blamed the minister (whom he did not mention by name) for presiding over the rot in the docket.

The president named Lugumi –a forensic contract through which the police reportedly lost over Sh30 billion, the more than Sh176 billion National Identity Development Authority (NIDA) scandal, the suspect importation of 700 police cars and trucks, suspect police uniform tender, frequent fatal road accidents and issuance of work permits to foreigners among the issues he was dissatisfied with.

The Head of State did not mention anything around the rights violations or the state of insecurity that was top of mind among speculators.

So, was the former minister backing the wrong horse when he vehemently defended acts of police impunity or kept quiet when the public cried for action in, for example, the attempted assassination of Singida East MP Tundu Lissu, the Kibiti murders, the killing of university student Akwilina Akwilini and suspect murders of opposition activists? Many of these cases remain unresolved with no sign of any ongoing investigations.

Reality may have therefore come crushing for the former minister who now faces the daunting task of repackaging himself to salvage any public trust that remains as he looks to take his place among the backbenchers in Parliament.

That the President cracked the whip when Dr Nchemba appeared to disregard public opinion and do everything possible to be in the good books of the President will serve as a lesson to always remain morally faithful and upright with the wishes of the masses. It now remains to be seen how the Iramba West MP reconciles his current predicament with the political aspirations that he harbours.

Dr Nchemba was one of the CCM aspirants for the presidency in 2015 and is said to be among the ruling party’s well connected cadres when it comes to grassroots mobilization. His star shone from when he was named CCM deputy secretary general for mainland and was among the core team that campaigned for President Jakaya Kikwete in his last term and also played a key insider role to ensure Dr Magufuli succeeded Kikwete.

In fact, his place in the cabinet along with that of Mtama MP Nape Nnauye and environment and union affairs minister January Makamba, was perceived as payback for their respective roles in delivering victory for Dr Magufuli amid an unprecedented onslaught by the opposition bolstered with the entry of former PM Edward Lowassa.

Dr Nchemba now joins Mr Nnauye who has since fallen out with the President and is a a fire spitting backbencher. How he responds to his vanquishing from the cabinet at a time when public opinion of his standing seems to be very low remains to be seen.

The road ahead may be tricky to manouvre for the President has sent out a strong signal that he will brook no dissent or challenge in the party where he is the all-powerful national chairman. Even though he may still enjoy grassroots support and connections, Dr Nchemba remains an ordinary member of CCM in the current mix o things.

Recent CCM constitutional changes engineered by Dr Magufuli means he has no significant position to fall back to because as a cabinet minister, he was not allowed to hold any official party position. The sacking from the cabinet therefore means he will remain without any government or party trappings of power.

Independent political analyst and fellow politicians feel Dr Nchemba has himself to blame for what has befallen him. There are those like Kigoma Urban MP Zitto Kabwe who were quick to embrace him with an eye on his role as an influential backbencher, and others such as Alumeru East MP Joshua Nassari who say Dr Nchemba should suffer the political consequences of going against the public grain and not be welcomed to the backbench as a hero.

He says not even the recent drama involving the government standoff with the Church in which Dr Nchemba won some praise for forestalling a fully blown out war would be enough to dissuade the voice against the former minister’s failures.

Dr Nchemba recently formed a team to probe reported official letters sent to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) and the Tanzania Evangelical Conference (TEC) over Easter and lent messages this year that rubbed the government the wrong way.

He suspended the registrar of societies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) Merlin Komba who signed the said letter which drew wide criticism as it was seen as a direct affront on the church by the state.

Former Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) executive director Dr Hellen Kijo Bisimba says the public shouldn’t stop or be stopped to question the former minister’s performance because some issues have been attributed to his inefficiency.

She says this is what happened to former information minister Nape Nnauye who was reminded of his role in banning “Bunge live” broadcasts and ‘hand goal’ phenomena which is often likened to election rigging. Prof George Shumbusho of Mzumbe University says the president is the only person who knows why some people are appointed in certain positions and reasons for their dismissal.

“The president was entrusted with the right to appoint and right to dismiss, therefore I consider his sacking as something normal,” he said.

The don says Dr Nchemba’s future political life will not differ with that of Nnauye in advocating for his voters’ interests as MP.

“He has no other option other than strongly serving and advocating for his constituents’ development unless he decides to remain silent expecting another appointment.”

Additional Reporting by Loius Kolumbia

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why Bagamoyo has centre stage in Zimbabwe’s political transition

President John Magufuli with his Zimbabwean

President John Magufuli with his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa in Dar es Salaam last week. The Zimbabwean leader was in Tanzania for a two-day state visit during which he visited Bagamoyo where he underwent military training in the early 60s. PHOTO|FILE 

By Political Platform Reporter @TheCitizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Thousands of years ago, they bore a cruel fate in a place of scorching heat. Captured by the ‘devil incarnates’, they were chained together and walked hundreds of kilometers to this place. Millions of them shipped from here to suffer slavery.

For this, Bagamoyo has remained a place of emotion. A place of emotion for many Africans – and decades after the end of slavery, for many who left their homes to fight for freedom – liberation from the chains of colonial subjugation.

The high-profile names that quickly come to mind from southern Africa are those of Mozambique presidents Joaquim Chissano and Samora Machel, as well as Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

These prominent revolutionaries passed through Bagamoyo in their quest for the liberation of their countries and were among 59 cadres from Frelimo (Mozambique), six from Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and five from South Africa, who underwent military training at a camp in the small town 75 km out of Dar es Salaam.

For the Zimbabwean President, it was an emotional trip down memory lane last week when he visited one of the places of his beginnings as an African liberation fighter.

On the second day of his two-day state visit to Tanzania, Mr Mnangagwa was in Bagamoyo where he toured the first military camp in the area – the place that gave him and fellow cadres the emotionally significant embrace they desperately needed in their quest to dislodge the brutal Ian Smith regime back home.

Tanzania provided one of the initial bases of the liberation movement in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia).

Mr Mnangagwa is said to have arrived in Tanzania through the Bagamoyo training camp in 1963. The camp was Mozambique liberation movement Frelimo’s headquarters then.

Back home two years later, he was among the first liberation combatants to operate in Rhodesia. He was arrested and jailed in January 1965 after blowing up a locomotive near Masvingo – a province in south-eastern Zimbabwe and home close to Great Zimbabwe, the national monument from which the country takes its name.

However, he escaped the mandatory death sentence by a whisker because he was underage, although he served a 10-year sentence at Khami Maximum Prison near Bulawayo – Zimbabwe’s second largest city – before being deported to Zambia upon his release.

Special assistant

In Zambia, he worked with Kenneth Kaunda’s Unip party and practised law, and was appointed Robert Mugabe’s special assistant at his party (Zanu PF)’s Chimoio congress in 1977.

The two worked side by side since 1980 when Zimbabwe got its independence. He was in Mr Mugabe’s government ever since – until last November when with the help of the army, he took over power from his mentor, citing incapacity to continue leading. Speaking during his tour of the Bagamoyo site, the Zimbabwean President said he was “extremely grateful” to be back in the area 58 years after his year-long stint at the camp.

“We were 59 comrades of Frelimo, five comrades from Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – and six comrades from South Africa; this was around May-June in 1963, which is now 58 years ago.

“The local population was very kind to us and assisted us in many ways. May I thank the government of Tanzania and Mozambique for preserving this historic place.”

Kaole Wazazi College of Agriculture has since been built on the site.

Cadres who volunteered to join the war, the Zimbabwean state-run Herald reported, President Mnangagwa did not do so for financial gain, but were driven by a commitment to free their countries from colonialism.

Road to independence

According to President Mnangagwa, the road to independence was long and arduous.

“It’s a long, long, arduous road – the struggle,” he said. “Again, I must say we should not focus on me; focus on everybody who travelled this arduous road to independence.”

Leadership, he said, was a reward for commitment, honesty and hard work. “You can pass thorough State House the entirety of your life, but I can assure you that someone (travelling) on foot to China, will reach China on foot (and) you will still be passing by State House without getting in,” he said.

“So, it is a system, a structure, a process, where through your sacrifice, your commitment, your perseverance and consistency in the revolution that the people recognise you and reward you stage by stage, step by step as you discharge those responsibilities with commitment and honesty and hard work.”

The Head of State and Government also donated $10 000 to Kaole Wazizi College of Agriculture.

President Mnangagwa on Thursday described Tanzania, which got its independence from Britain on December 9, 1961 and was part of the Frontline States, as a midwife of the liberation movements on the continent.

“Tanzania is the midwife of our freedom,” he said. “It is our duty, we of the older generation, to teach that legacy. Tanzania must be understood and cherished by the younger generation.”

The Zimbabwean leader’s visit to Tanzania came a few days after he survived an assassination attempt that he blamed on a Zanu-PF faction that was reportedly led by former President Mugabe’s controversial wife Grace.

In a meeting with Zimbabweans in Tanzania, he is said to have downplayed the attempt on his life saying there would not be any security crackdown ahead of the country’s harmonised election on July 30.

Interestingly, Bagamoyo may in the foreseeable future continue claiming the centre stage in Zimbabwean politics – at least as long as the country’s liberation war heroes are at the helm of power.

At the height of the battle pitting the ruling party’s two main factions jostling to succeed the aging Mugabe last year, Bagamoyo popped up when the question of seniority among the competing cadres was posed.

Heated debate within Zanu PF as to who was senior in terms of history and arrival at liberation struggle front and bases between then Vice-President Mnangagwa and then Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi centred on Bagamoyo.

The Defence minister – who was said to be aligned to the G40 faction led by the then-First Lady Grace Mugabe – was at a certain point among the favourites to succeed the Zimbabwean strongman.

That dreamed vanished with the brief November 15 military takeover. But according to a report in the Zimbabwe Independent last year, there had been an argument as to the military seniority of the two cadres based on who arrived in Bagamoyo first.

There was a group that suggested the former Defence minister arrived in Tanzania earlier than Mr Mnangagwa – who got to Bagamoyo in 1963.

The Zimbabwe Independent cited Mr Sekeramayi’s parliamentary profile, saying on December 28 1961, with the assistance of Mugabe, he left the country to Tanzania and then overseas to join the struggle and in pursuit of further education.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Keeping conflict at bay: What Tanzania needs to do

Members of the Council of Pentecostal Churches

Members of the Council of Pentecostal Churches of Tanzania - (Coast Regions) during a past meeting to pray for peace in Tanzania. PHOTO| FILE 

By Mosenda Jacob @TheCitizenTZ news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. For a nation of over 50 million people with different religious beliefs, and more than 120 ethnicities, it has always been a wonder how peace and stability have reigned supreme in Tanzania for decades now.

Despite episodic disturbances blamed on sectarian tension a few years ago in Geita and Tanga, the country has remained a beacon of hope in a region and continent where religious divides and ethnic challenges are the order of the day. Maintaining that record is the challenge that the country’s leadership faces.

Religious leaders, the government and non-governmental players are continuously working on finding ways to keep conflict at bay.

And now, Search for Common Ground, a global organisation that works in various countries to build and maintain peace, recently organised a three-day workshop in Dar es Salaam in one of the latest efforts to foster interfaith collaboration and social cohesion in Tanzania.

The workshop pooled various players from various quarters to brainstorm on how the nation can preserve its global reputation as a haven of peace in the sub-Saharan region.

Reverend Thomas Godda, executive director of the Interreligious Council for Peace Tanzania (IRCPT), noted that while Tanzania has managed to elude outright violence and conflict for decades now, there is still need to adapt strategies to maintain that record.

“The need to keep the country’s reputation for peace and stability prompted Search for Common Ground and IRCPT to call this workshop; this should also trigger our government and the entire political ecosystem to come out and join hands to strengthen community resilience to violent conflict,” he told Political Platform at the weekend.

He cited the cases of Tanga and Zanzibar where spates of violence a few years ago as a wakeup call that the risk remains – and that collaboration between religious and political leaders needs to be taken a notch higher to stop any threat to peace in the country.

There was general consensus among the stakeholders at the workshop that for any plan to work, religious leaders and politicians should be at the forefront, finding common ground and sending out the message of oneness and social cohesion.

Other strategies tabled were coaching community leaders, women, youths, and security forces to support locally-led facilitation to create opportunities for inclusive decision making on divisive conflict issues.

Sheikh Muhidin Zubeir, executive secretary of the Imams Community-Zanzibar, said maintaining peace in Tanzania will demand doing away with the tendency to point accusing fingers at each, or distancing oneself from responsibility.

“Instead of leaving it to religious leaders, it is important for political leaders to understand the role and importance of dialogue; they put their differences aside for the sake of the country,” he said.

Promote good governance

“More so, the aim must be to promote good governance, encourage objectivity, especially in the media, support and strengthen community peace building and conflict transformation, reinforce community resilience and ability to overcome differences that may divide Tanzanians.”

The Muslim leader also quickly pointed out that Tanzanian clerics had an obligation to advise the government on anything that threatened the country’s peace. “We will continue with our efforts through our forums to advocate tolerance and mutual respect,” he said.

But, can the two sides find common ground on sensitive matters? Relations between religious leaders and the political establishment recently took a bitter turn after the government threatened to deregister religious groups whose clerics meddled in politics under the guise of preaching.

In their defence, clerics have always argued that they have a moral obligation to condemn societal ills - including what they described as the reversal of the country’s democratic gains.

Some have also been critics of the notion of separation between religion and politics – a position that, apparently, puts them on a collision course with politicians.

But others, like Ms Shamim Khan, from Bakwata, is of the opinion that religious leaders will play a more central role in peace building if they steered clear of politics – especially during sermons.

The problem, as far as she is concerned, is that there is always a high risk of politicians taking advantage of religious leaders, to use them as pawns in the political game.

She said: “Religious leaders should be reminded not to be manipulated by politicians or allow the latter to use houses of prayers for political campaigns and discussions because doing so soils their reputation as role models in the society.”

Nevertheless, Ms Khan was also quick to note that it behoves the government to promote peace by first and foremost promoting justice and the rule of law.

Mr David Chanyeghea, executive director of New Age Foundation, the religious leaders-politicians tag team is not an option when it comes to peacebuilding.

“We have already witnessed the success of these two working together (through the interfaith committee) to reconcile conflicting groups in areas such as Mwanza and Geita where violence broke out over who should be slaughtering animals between Muslims and Christians; as well as in resolving the farmer-herder conflicts in Tanga,” he said. ENDS

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Nyerere and the vision of a United States of Africa

 

By Peter Kafumu

The vision of a United States of Africa and pan-Africanism is rooted in the stories of the first generation of African leaders, including Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. This week we continue to recite the life story of this great pan-Africanist who hoped for a united Africa.

Nyerere, overwhelmed by the global wind of socio-economic and political change, after 24 years of hard work in 1984, raised his hands up in surrender to the capitalists, stepping aside to allow the imposing change to engulf Tanzania and indeed Africa. He stepped aside and Ally Hassan Mwinyi was elected President of Tanzania.

On the 4th of November 1985, in his farewell speech to leave office as President of Tanzania, Nyerere the pan-African disciple, thanked his people for their endurance and patience when he had to spend time, energy and the country’s resources to try and secure the freedom and unity of the African continent. He said:

“I thank you because your support for those struggling against colonialism and apartheid has been inspired by your feeling…We, therefore, understood from the beginning that cooperation cannot be confined within our own national boundaries, and total African liberation and unity is important for all of Africa’s peoples…”

When South Africa became independent in 1994, he was delighted to see the achievement of the first objective of the OAU and he said: “…When President Nelson Mandela took his seat to represent a non-racial, post-apartheid democratic South Africa the final objective, the first objective of the founding fathers have been achieved has been achieved, our continent have been totally liberated from colonialism and racial minority rule…”

In his retirement, Nyerere also continued to protect the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar that formed Tanzania as a seed for the unification of the African Continent. Speaking to leaders of the ruling party Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in 1995 he warned“….if you discriminate one another by saying that they are Zanzibaris and we are Tanganyikan, this is a grave sin of disunity and once committed it becomes a monster killer…it is like cannibalism; once one eats the flesh of his own kind, he/she will not end this inhumane act…”

Out of office, Nyerere persistent in his belief in the pan-African miracle of Africa to liberate itself from economic bondage. In a speech at the 40th Independence Anniversary Celebrations of Ghana in Accra, on the 6th of March 1997 he urged the current African leaders to strive for unity by saying:

“…A new generation of self-respecting Africans should spit in the face of anybody who suggests that our continent should remain divided and fossilised in the shame of colonialism, in order to satisfy the national pride of our former colonial masters. Africa must unite! …That call is more urgent today than ever before…”

He ended his speech by encouraging he current leaders to unite the people of Africa to form a congregation of strength that would fortify the independence of Africa against neo-colonialism; he said: “…Together, we, the peoples of Africa will be incomparably stronger internationally than we are now with our multiplicity of unviable states. …Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and the African peoples to be disregarded and humiliated. And it will, therefore, increase the effectiveness of the decisions we make and try to implement for our development...”

On the 16th October 1997 Nyerere, speaking to the Parliament of South Africa in Cape Town he again reminded the people of Africa that they needed to unite to free themselves from economic captivity.

He said: “…We should all encourage Africa to depend upon ourselves, both at national level and at the collective level. Each of our countries will have to rely upon its own human resources and natural material resources for its development. But that is not enough. The next area to look at is our collectivity, our working together. We all enhance our capacity to develop if we work together…”

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Handshakes, sexual scandals and ‘denuclearisation’



NKWAZI MHANGO

NKWAZI MHANGO 

By Nkwazi Mhango

It started in Kenya with the two nemeses, Raila Odinga’s and Uhuru Kenyatta’s handshake. Thereafter, there followed the same between Kim Jong Un, DPRK president and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in that led to Kim’s and his American counterpart, Donald Trump’s meeting and handshake.

Currently, the world is abuzz with the breakthrough as far as peace in the Korea Peninsula is concerned. However, there are those who doubt the so-called deal making between the US and the DPRK. What the world must expect is the matter of time to tell.

Before this steppingstone, or rather a milestone, there were backstabbing, grandstanding, horse-trading revolving around trade tiff not to forget trash-talking between Trump, on the one hand, and Canada and the G 7 that recently congregated in the city of Quebec Canada, on the other hand. Before the last handshake, it started with the big guys and ladies if not plaster saints during the Quebec summit. It was during this very summit that ended becoming G 6+1 namely the rest of the industrialised countries against the US.

The driving force was the reciprocal tariffs imposition on each other. The rain started to beat the G7 when Trump–under his ‘America First’ mantra–decided to impose 25 per cent of tariffs on aluminum and steel which would badly affect Canada and the EU.

Such a move tingled Canada so as to openly engage in trading barbs with its southern neighbour and biggest trade partner. Things went out of control after Trump’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said that Canada backstabbed Trump and the Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has a special place in hell (Daily Post, June 10, 2018).

So, when the richest leaders of the world congregated in Canada, many thought they would iron out their differences in order to avoid setting a bad precedent of how disorganised and selfish they might be. Instead avoiding to put their dirty linens on the agora, the biggies of the world exacerbated the problem so as to evidence a cutthroat competition of the titans.

Due to their failure to iron out their difference, Trump went ahead by even recanting to be part of the communique the Quebec summit issued.

So, too, Trump left his colleagues and world baffled. For, he was the last to arrive and the first to depart heading for Singapore where he met with Kim at the island resort Capella promising the world to make a deal that ended up becoming vague and more of a Photoshop.

Along with the Quebec summit, there was an antithetical summit in Qingdao, China under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) that brought together ten mainly Asian countries plus Russia. In attendance were the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan, the members and the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan that attended as observers.

Apart from summits and handshakes, there was another ugly face of the high and the mighty mainly the sacred cows who faced a shame of it all. This is after the South Carolina-based members of a Baptist church in Red Bank in Lexington decided to move the statue of Jesus simply because it was too catholic (Christian Post, May 30, 2018). Good for the statue, it later got accommodation at one church just 32 kilometres west of Columbia.

In the same breath, the Catholic Church had to bite the bullet by coming clean about sexual scandals it has recently faced globally. It came to light that some Catholic clergy violated their flocks for many years in different parts of the world; and their bosses turned a blind eye or participated in the commission of the crime.

For example, in Chile, for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church, all bishops offered to resign after they were water-tightly implicated in the cover-up of sexual scandals that, for many years, dogged their parishes.

In a collective admission, they said “we want to ask forgiveness for the pain we caused victims, the Pope, the people of God and our country for the grave errors and omissions that we committed” (CBC, May 18, 2018). How many are still out there globally? Time will tell.

To mollify the situation, the Pope had to ask for forgiveness on their behalf and the church. The Washington Post (January 16, 2018) quoted the holy father as saying “here I feel bound to express my pain and shame at the irreparable damage caused to children by some ministers of the church.”

Now that the dust has settled, what should the world expect from the above happenings? Will Trump give in and remove the tariffs he imposed on others or stay put? Will the SCO dethrone the shambolic G7? Will the implicated bishops get their comeuppance or get away with murder? Will Korea peninsula be denuclearised? What does Africa learn from all the above world episodes? Indeed, time will time.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The AU at 55: The sad truth and the way forward

 

By Mohammed Mansour Nassor

The African Union (AU) is an integral part of African unionism, and of the integration process that was initiated and championed by some of the greatest African leaders of all time. Notable among them are the likes of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Modibo Keita of Mali, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt, Sekou Touré of Guinea, Ben Bella of Algeria, Emperor Haile Selasse of Ethiopia and William Tubman of Liberia. The list also includes Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. There are many others.

But let’s start by recalling some of the quotes of some great African leaders: “Africa Must Unite”, said Kwame Nkurumah.

Another African great leader, Nelson Mandela, stressed: “I dream of the realisation of the unity of Africa whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.”

The African Union (AU) is an intergovernmental organisation that consists of 55 member states within the African continent. The AU, which was founded on September 9, 1999 replaced the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was first established on the 25th of May, 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The AU was established on the 26th of May, 2001 and launched on the 9th of July, 2002 in Durban, South Africa, under the watch of the former South African President, Mr Thabo Mbeki, who was its first chairperson.

The former name was changed giving rise to the new African Union (AU) after the great ideas of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in the mid-1990s. It was when the heads of state and government of the OAU issued the Sirte Declaration (named after Sirte, in Libya) on the 9th of September 1999, calling for the transformation of Organisation of African Unity to African Union. The Declaration was followed by summits at Lomé in 2000, when the Constitutive Act of the African Union was adopted and in Lusaka in 2001, when the plan for the implementation of the African Union was adopted. It should be noted that all UN member states based in Africa and on African waters are members of the AU, as is the disputed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

Previously, Morocco which claims sovereignty over the SADR’s territory, withdrew from the Organisation of African Unity, the AU’s predecessor, in 1984, due to the admission of the SADR as a member. However, on 30th of January 2017, the AU readmitted Morocco as a member state. The headquarters of the AU are in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa and currently the AU is chaired by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The Organisation of African Union and the African Union aimed to create unity and solidarity, maintain and promote peace and security among African countries, to enable member states to encourage international cooperation and to coordinate development and promote cooperation within the UN Charter framework, and other objectives that were added to the newly-established AU; like to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent, to promote democratic principles, popular participation and good governance, to promote human rights, to promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies, to coordinate and harmonise policies between the existing and future regional economic communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union etc.

On the 25th of May, 2018, it was the birthday of the AU, formally OAU. Now, let us analyse the failures and challenges of the AU.

Failures and challenges

The AU’s weakness in the case of West African states, is Liberia and Sierra Leone. Without the power of the United States, the civil war in Liberia would not have terminated in 2003. The AU showed a similar weakness in Sierra Leone. It was Great Britain, the former colonial power, that sent elite troops to permanently disarm RUF rebels. In the field of human rights, the AU has not made sparks.

Despite the efforts of this great organisation towards uniting and promoting solidarity among Africans of all countries within the continent, still we live in an Africa where xenophobia is on the rise.

Just a few years ago, there were xenophobia attacks in South Africa. The problem continues to grow from time to time and still no solution. The AU has not tried to stop it. Today Africa is where corruption and bribery is seen as a legal act. It has become so bad that one is left to think corruption is taught in schools. We live in an Africa where we fear to live our properties at home and go to work. Who knows, a thief might come or just be living next-door. We live in an Africa where poverty is a bushfire. Disrespect and hatred between Africans has emerged. This problem is spreading so rapidly and it has become so painful to African foreigners living in South Africa. This is considered already as a failure for the AU.

It was very sad in 2011 when almost all AU leaders failed to defend and to stand up strongly till the end with Libya as they allowed Nato and Western intervention. The AU tried to intermediate in the early stages of the Libyan civil war, creating an ad hoc committee of five presidents (Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, MalianPresident Amadou Toumani Touré, Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni) to broker a truce.

Eventually, the former AU chairperson of 2010, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was killed by external forces. The point is that, as a person, Gaddafi had his own mistakes and personal weakness, but Africans should have stood together to protect, defend their fellow African who devoted his time, money and resources to help a lot the African continent, especially the AU. Almost all African leaders could not show unity and solidarity to support Gaddafi, although the beginning of the Nato-led military intervention in March 2011 prevented the committee from travelling to Libya to meet with Libyan leader.

The African Union’s mandate in maintaining peace and security, including settling disputes had to be questioned so many times under different parameters when the association especially failed to resolve conflicts, despite having the necessary resources and materials. Africa is still facing unrest in DRC, Somalia, CAR and South Sudan.

This sometimes calls for the intervention of countries from the Western powers that only come to escalate and to fuel the conflicts and come to take something so precious away from Africa rather than resolving those disputes. This could be seen in DRC and many previous instances of dispute in African nations, and still at the moment no solution.

But the biggest challenge and failure is how AU failed economically. Africa been plagued with post-colonialism and neo-colonialism effects that cannot be ignored nor terminated, counting the fact that the continent has also been unsuccessful in trying to unify its economic associations for the benefit of the continent. Having 13 economic bodies has not been helped much. The Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and other regional blocs have remained functionless. The general economy of Africa is a disaster. According to official data of UNCTAD and WB in 2010-2011, intra-African trade is very low as it accounts only 10-11 per cent.

The African Export-Import Bank also notes that free trade in Africa was worth $180 billion in 2016, less than a fifth of the total $930 billion of trade on the continent. By way of comparison, free trade in Europe accounts for nearly two-thirds of all trade. Now the intra-European trade accounts to 70 per cent while intra-Asian trade is 25 per cent. It has become so hard for African nations to trade with each other. In addition, despite receiving vast sums of aid over the years, African countries have never benefited from a coordinated initiative such as the Marshall Plan, which saw Western European states re-emerge after the devastation of the Second World War in the 1940s.

The AU’s budget depends on the support of its partners and external donors. This topic often dominates AU summits. As a result, a Chatham House report once said: “African solutions to African problems continue to be a priority for the organisation. The AU continues to work hard to try to find avenues through which progress towards self-sustainability can be made.”

This year, after he was elected the new AU chairperson, Rwandan President Paul Kagame spelt out his plans for the AU. One of them was financial independence for the body; it was his first priority, followed by fighting against corruption and encouraging youth and women empowerment.

What should be done?

Economically: the OAU was all about liberating and uniting Africa against colonial domination. But now, the AU should focus on the economy. For example, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) under the Kigali Declaration that was launched in March should be ratified and implemented very quickly to accelerate further integration of the continent.

It is not just a name change. Rather, the desire to take the continent to a very different level economically by having good utilisation of resources and strong economic policies and plans etc. Many objectives of the AU are underlined in economic terms.

Politically: African leaders must have the political will to implement good governance and pure democracy and respect for the rule of law. Also, they must work together as a collective team to bring about the changes that we have all been dreaming of. African leaders must begin thinking like a community. They must start asking questions as a community.

They must start finding answers as a community. The leaders should begin to focus on individual problems as continental problems. Their efforts must not only be limited to having a common African currency, economic programmes, or a common defence policy, but also need to tell each other the truth and to be responsible when they go wrong. They need to change the lives of Africans for the better, for example in providing better education to people, improving health sector, the high level of unemployment across the continent, and especially among the youth who are the future of the continent. With this collective effort, Africa can wipe out some of its hindrances and minimise others. It is possible that, Africa can move forward itself. Let us have a commitment and work on it.

The writer is an assistant lecturer and PhD candidate in Economics, Department of Political Economy at Patrice Lumumba University (PFUR) in Moscow, Russia

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What went wrong in passing of the tong from Mwalimu?



Attilio Tagalile_tagalieattilio@yahoo.co.uk

Attilio Tagalile_tagalieattilio@yahoo.co.uk 

By Attilio Tagalile

On Wednesday, last week, I read with interest a piece by your guest columnist, Dr Peter Kafumu, which was headlined: ‘Nyerere and the vision of United States of Africa’.

Apart from reminding the world of the contribution made by Mwalimu in his attempt to bring about African unity, the honourable legislator failed to show why Mwalimu failed when he appeared to have had so many people, at home and abroad, behind him.

It’s my considered opinion that Dr Kafumu would have done justice to his piece if he had looked at Mwalimu not as an individual, but rather as an institution, on account of the fact that those who would later take over from him had worked with Mwalimu in different capacities, ranging from ministers to personal advisers and press secretary.

Whilst I totally agree with Dr Kafumu over the role of colonialists and neo-colonialists in bringing down the African union vision, I think Africans have also had a major share in the African continent’s political debacle.

Indeed, how do you explain the case of African leaders who cling endlessly to power, a tendency they had themselves previously questioned and condemned?

Talking about Tanzania, we all know that economically, Mwalimu was a heroic failure, to quote the late Kenya’s academician, Dr Ali Mazrui. But we also need and ought to ask ourselves why Botswana, which was a member of the Frontline States and under the chairmanship of Mwalimu succeeded in turning around their economy, thanks to diamonds, which we also have?

To somewhat digress, from the central issue of the failed African unity, Botswana succeeded, economically, because all the immediate three successors of the founding father of the Botwana nation, Sir Seretse Khama, had not only worked as cabinet ministers under Sir Khama, but also went on to implement the same economic blue print they had worked together with Sir Khama.

We now need to ask ourselves, and honestly at that, did we do what Botswana’s successive leadership did after Mwalimu stepped aside as rightly noted by Dr Kafumu?

Because Dr Kafumu is a geologist, former director of mining in the ministry of minerals, it would be important to remind him that Mwalimu had only allowed the mining of diamonds and small miners whom he knew could not exhaust the country’s mineral resources given the kind of equipment they had at their disposal.

Mwalimu had not allowed mining by powerful global companies because he said we did not have adequate local manpower that was knowledgeable in dealing with the highly technical field.

And this is where Dr Kafumu is supposed to come in and respond to the following question, and that’s: did we live to Mwalimu’s advice over the handling of our rich mineral resources?

The fact that President John Magufuli intervened over mineral concentrates is a pointer that we did not follow Mwalimu’s advice.

Back to Dr Kafumu’s subject of African unity, it’s instructive to remind ourselves that Mwalimu led Tanzanians from 1964, after the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar to 1985 (and not 1984 as noted by Dr Kafumu in his article).

His efforts to bring about African Unity was clearly demonstrated, firstly in the very creation of the Union, in the liberation struggle, especially of countries, which were then still under colonial yoke in central and southern Africa and through the formation, in 1967, of the East African Community.

As the chairman of the Frontline States, Mwalimu’s leadership would later be demonstrated through the liberation of Mozambique, Sourthern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, Angola and later Namibia.

Internally, Mwalimu succeeded in building Tanzania as a cohesive nation, through his introduction of three important tools, Kiswahili, the National Service and an education system that ensured that students did not study in their locality only.

But they were also afforded the opportunity of moving around the country in order to learn how their fellow countrymen and women lived.

In fact, nothing helped to forge Tanzania as a nation more than the three foregoing tools.

Through the education system and the national service, by the time students reached high school, college or university, they had already visited most parts of Tanzania.

Through the national service, the educated and those who had little or no education had the opportunity to live together as recruits or servicemen in the paramilitary institution.

And if the education system and the national service helped to bring the educated and illiterates together, Kiswahili would proceed to play the role of the glue between and among the youth.

Therefore, whenever we harp about Tanzania being an island of peace, we need to keep at the back of our minds the fact that the peace we often like to talk about did not drop from the sky like the biblical manna, but was built by Mwalimu through deliberate efforts.

And the question we ought to be asking ourselves today is: have we continued, as a nation, to maintain and nurture the three tools so that they can continue to serve us as means of gluing together Tanzanians as one, cohesive country?

In conclusion, the failure in forging African unity starts with the failure of the Tanzania leadership to take over from where Mwalimu had left.

Mr Atilio is a seasoned journalist

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cameroon and self-inflicted wounds of colonial dregs

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Cameroon used to be one of the most peaceful countries in Africa. Apart from being an economic powerhouses, thanks to its oil, fertile soil and peaceability, Cameroon seemed to, externally, be an idyllic example of the reunification of Africa.

This is because of the union of francophone Cameroon and Anglophone South Western and North Western Provinces that formed the Republic of Cameroon, Shrimp Republic or Republique des Crevettes or Camarões as Portuguese referred it; thus the name.

Apart from Cameroon, it is only Tanzania whose union, despite, sometimes, facing some brouhahas and bugaboos, has been going from strength to strength after many failed drastically. Nonetheless, this accolade is long gone thanks to the melting point the country is in after starting a self-destructive war.

The country is currently bleeding to death as it faces very divisive and violent politics revolving around colonial dregs that, too, revolves around linguistic, regional and toxic nationalism as they were chaperoned by former colonial monsters, the British and French.

According to the crisis.org, on October 1, 2017, tens of thousands of people began a peaceful march (holding a plant symbolising peace and chanting “no violence”) to proclaim the independence of Ambazonia (the name given by secessionists to their hypothetical state). Since then, the peaceful Cameroon the world knew cascaded to brutality and violence from both sides.

Ontological, since gaining its independence, the Francophone, the majority, has treated Anglophones as second-class citizens in their country through imposing French on them while stifling English. The Deutche Welle (March 22, 2017) quotes Ben Shepherd of the London-based think-tank Chatham House, who has been to the region as saying that Anglophone Cameroonians have been marginalised so as to lack development aid and support to the degree that they feel they should have.

Shepherd says that he knows a lot of English-speaking Cameroonian civil society and political organizations that have been systematically bilked out and marginalised from the business of running the state affairs for a long time.

Since this conflict started, hundreds of people have been killed while thousands displaced. Up until now, Nigeria hosts over 20,000 refugees from Cameroon (US News, June 1, 2018) that used to be a refuge for refugees from neighbouring countries and others such as Chad, the DRC, the CAR, Sudan and Nigeria itself.

Thanks to the systemic gullibility, naivety, uppity and failure to underscore the importance and meaning of their independence and national building, Cameroonians are now at the Carrefour butchering each other pointlessly. The Anglophone and the francophone are at war threatening the unity of the country after the latter subjected the former to what I can call dialectal apartheid as weaponised by the sick and tired regime that’s ruled Cameroon since independence. One would wrongly think that Cameroonians would get it. They still expect the West to help them after the AU has terribly failed. Again, the same plaster saints they go to seeking them to reconcile them are the same that enacted the linguistic acrimony and dichotomy they are in. It is sad. Cameroonians know when they became Anglophone and francophone but not when they became Cameroonians. That is to say, Cameroonians themselves are doing dirty laundry for their former colonial monsters that, in one way or the other, cannot help them in anything but selling them weapons so that they can finish each other.

Thanks to colonial toxicity, Anglophone and francophone Cameroonians see each other as enemies while the actual enemy is a corrupt and recycled regime that ruled this country since independence; which is the enemy Cameroonians they need to fight. Since Cameroon acquired its independence over five decades ago, has been ruled by two presidents among who is the ailing incumbent, Paul Biya, who, like any dictator, has turned Cameroon into his private estate; he can misuse and squander as he deems fit. His regime is made of bankrupt, old and recycled person who has nothing to offer to the country except to milk it. What can an 85-year-old hetman do to the country after being power for over three decades and a half? For such an old guard, whatever undesirable happens to the country is okay given that he’s nothing to lose at this eleventh hour.

In sum, colonial acrimony-cum-division does not only exist in Cameroon but also in the African Union (AU) that is supposed to intervene. The AU, since its inception, has been embroiled in linguistic division, especially when it comes to voting.

This is may speak to why since this mise-en-scene unfolded, the AU seems to, still, be in a slumber if behaving like a sitting duck. Nobody expects the AU to do a lot about this conflict given that itself has maintained and perpetrated the division of Africa.

that is adversative to its name. Like any divided entity, Cameroon faces linguistic divided spiraling along the Anglophone and francophone axis. I think this is why the AU has failed to quickly and chip in to intercede and see to it that the two warring parties are reconciled.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

GUEST COLUMN: Nyerere and the vision of a United States of Africa

 

By Peter Kafumu

As was indicated last week, to pursue unity and solidarity of the African continent, Nyerere, along with several other Pan-African forefathers, founded the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, and its institutions to deal with specific needs. It was envisaged that continental or regional cooperation and unity could be achieved through the OAU. The OAU was not only to coordinate and intensify the African liberation and cooperation, but it was also thought to be a precursor of ultimate unity of the African states.

Nyerere as one of a frontline pan-African leader; writing about the essence of the formation of the OAU and the unity of the continent, he asserted: “Africa wishes to have the political strength to prevent other powers using her for their own ends, and it wishes to have the economic strength to justify and support a modern economy, which is the only basis on which prosperity can come to its people….For each one of us is so weak in isolation….Without unity, there is no future for Africa.”

Throughout his political career as the leader of Tanzania, Nyerere continued to take a central role in the liberation struggle of the countries which were still under colonialism. Despite his country’s weak economic base, he gave his all, materially and morally, to ensure all Africa is free. Tanzania was there to give support to the liberation struggle as well as sanctuary to those who were displaced by war in their home countries.

By the 1970s, Nyerere supported several liberation struggle organisations like the MPLA of Angola; South and West African Peoples Organisation (Swapo) of Namibia; the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan African Congress (PAC) all of South Africa; Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) of Mozambique; and the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) of Zimbabwe.

These liberation organisations had their base and training camps in Tanzania. There were also thousands of refugees from Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique and the DRC who fled to Tanzania from government persecutions in their homelands. By the 1990’s it all culminated into the liberation of the entire southern part of the African continent where all those countries became independent nations.

Nyerere was a pan-African who was opposed to the continued fragmentation of the African continent, and in one of his speeches in 1966 he expressed his discontentment that: “…Politically we have inherited boundaries which are either unclear or such ethnologically and geographical nonsense that they are a fruitful source of disagreements….the present boundaries must lose their significance and become merely a demarcation of administrative areas within a large unit…”

Apart from his pan-African efforts to unite Africa; Nyerere also struggled locally to bring economic development to his people; through the 1967 Arusha Declaration he called for the implementation of an economic socialist program based on African socialism (ujamaa) philosophy that he coined from African “family hood”.

Nyerere was very opposed to the dependence upon gifts, loans, aid and investments provided by foreign countries and international companies to deliver economic development. He believed that foreign help would endanger the independence of countries and foster neo-colonialism. Through his philosophy of Self-Reliance (ESR) he always asserted that the cure to this malaise was unity and self-reliance of the African continent.

As Nyerere struggled to achieve the visions of pan-Africanism and attain economic progress for Tanzania and Africa in general; rich nations also continued to jerk Africa into a global trap - an economic conspiracy that would guide poor nations to dance the song of dependence lubricated by the drum sounds of money in form of grants (gifts), loans and foreign direct investments.

With the end of the cold war; a globalisation itch was constructed where the world became capitalist in essence and one village; and poor or rich were made to play the same dance as if there were equals in the development evolution schema. By this time Nyerere the socialist could not stand the wind of change and he stepped aside in 1984.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Magufuli’s refusal to globetrot vs Uncle Toms

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

There’s been fanaticism of faulting President John Magufuli almost in whatever he does. Detractors started with the purchase of planes and the resuscitation of Air Tanzania. These oddballs went ahead claiming that some of the planes wouldn’t be delivered. Thereafter, there followed attacks on Chato Airport. As if it wasn’t enough, they went on scorning free education, while some of them are the products of the same free education under Ujamaa. To cap it all, they are now at it again, faulting Magufuli for refusing to globetrot.

Tongues are wagging. Is being in the opposition an opportunity to peddle lies for political mileage, to just oppose everything illogically and unreasonable really?

I don’t know what such politicians will call Magufuli. One thing many don’t know is that the president who knows what he’s elected for, will never waste money and time globetrotting.

I recently heard Mbeya Mjini MP Joseph Mbilinyi querying President Magufuli’s refusal to globetrot. He wondered why Magufuli’s not making foreign tours.

To show that Mbilinyi’s just talking without having any scientific evidence, he didn’t even adduce a gist of evidence about the ramifications of Magufuli’s refusal to globetrot. What do we get as a country from shoptalk such as Commonwealth and Davos annual symposia?

If you ask the likes of Mbilinyi the benefits of globetrotting, they’ve nothing to show. Those who remember how former president Jakaya Kikwete used to globetrot know how his trips didn’t bring anything compared to other presidents who didn’t.

According to Mhango (2015), in Africa Reunite or Perish, Kikwete had already made more than 300 trips abroad as of March 2012 just six years in power. This means, Kikwete was making at least eight trips monthly. If you multiply 300 with $1 million per trip for six years, you get the whooping sum of $300 million spent by the President of a country that depends on begging and handouts from Western donors!

If you compare Tanzania’s economy under Kikwete and Kenya’s under Mwai Kibaki who did not globetrot, you find that Kenya’s economy was doing fine. My understanding is that, aid and investments are supposed to top up to homemade plans to develop the country economically.

This is why Magufuli’s industrialisation and renegotiating investment contracts are the more important. For me, globetrotting or believing that the development and prosperity of the country depends on foreign forces is typical colonial and archaic not to mention being needless laziness and unreasonableness.

It is sad that there are no statistics of how much money colonial governors spent when they were in Africa. Again, I am sure that they spent less than the amount our current spenders in power burn.

In April 2015, there was a dispute about the US president’s expenses on one trip to Africa. It was estimated that one trip the US president makes to Africa costs the taxpayer at least $60-100 million (Politucus USA, 2015).

Mbilinyi said that it is hogwash to say that Magufuli doesn’t make foreign tours because of avoiding unnecessary expenditures. He wondered why Magufuli sends his VP or PM if this is the case. I wonder how a person can fail to do simple calculus that the president spends much more money than his VP and PM. Presidential accommodation, security and other services cannot be compared to those of his juniors.

Again, why are some of our representatives wasting their voters making up things? There are a couple of reasons among which can be:

First, having colonised education resulting from colonial carryovers and toxic education that have become another anathema for Africa not to mention colonial mentality. Such people think that nothing good can come at home.

Secondly, dependency that forces such Uncle Toms to depend on donors to do everything for them as if they don’t have hands and heads full of brains.

Thirdly, a strategy to court and please colonial masters so that they can throw some coins to such political beggars who would like the President to waste a lot of money and time making begging trips abroad. Benjamin Mkapa and Kikwete were renowned for globetrotting. What did they leave behind apart from the boils that are giving Magufuli sleepless nights?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Looking at Israel-Palestine conflict, Tanzania has abandoned the oppressed - 1

Zitto Kabwe is The Party Leader of ACT

Zitto Kabwe is The Party Leader of ACT Wazalendo and MP for Kigoma Urban. 

Dodoma. This is indeed a new Tanzania which is abandoning major principles, promulgated by Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, which shaped Tanzania as it is known today around the world. Tanzania is regarded as a ‘rich’ country not because it has a lot of money or string economy, but due to its stance on defending the oppressed. But it seems that we are losing that clout at an alarming rate.

There are several signals which signify that Tanzania has not only diverted, but took an opposite direction to fundamentals of its foreign policy.

For instance, a quotation by Mwalimu Nyerere way back in 1967 over Israel-Palestine conflict, shaped the Tanzania stand over the issue. He said: “[......] Tanzania’s position. We recognise Israel and wish to be friendly with her as well as with the Arab nations. But we cannot condone aggression on any pretext, nor accept victory in war as a justification for the exploitation of other lands, or government over other peoples.”

This still forms the basis of our foreign policy but the following examples shows that we have started to deviate from these basics.

On October 26, 2016, as a member of World Heritage Sites Committee, which is made up of 21 countries, Tanzania voted against agreement to make Jerusalem a World Heritage Site status. This aimed at reconcile the city with its old past, as it was in 1967 before Israel invasion.

It was so simple agreement to Israel. All our ‘friends’ in the United Nations which we shared common position in Israel-Palestine conflict, such as Cuba, Vietnam and Angola supported this agreement and they were amazed as to why Tanzania took a different stand. Our stand as a nation has always recognising Jerusalem as part of Palestine as a condition to arrive at Two State agreement.

When we queried we were told that a Tanzania delegate to the meeting voted accidentally against the agreement and she will be disciplined. The government insisted that the vote does not represent Tanzania stand over Israel-Palestine conflict.

But this seem to be not true as recent incidents have continued to cement the notion that Tanzania has turned its back on Palestine – the oppressed. Look at these incidents;

One, after voting against Jerusalem in Paris at Unesco meeting on World Heritage Site, instead of disciplining the delegate who voted as it promised, the government promoted the Foreign Affairs officer. She has since then appointed our ambassador to Turkey. This showed that we have abandoned Palestine in favour of Israel.

Second, we have decided to open embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. This is not bad idea but if you consider the timing of the event, you will start to wonder what we aimed to achieve. Why have we decided to open this embassy at a time when the world is commemorating 70th anniversary of Israel invasion to Palestine?

Besides, there are reports that it is Israel who is funding operations of the embassy, no wonder they have directed us to open it at this time in moment. This is another thing which points to the conclusion that we have decided to side with oppressor and abandon the oppressed.

Third, when he was visiting Israel, minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga visited an area occupied by Israel bordering Gaza Strip. In his interview with Israel state television, he did not only express his embarrassment over troubles which Israel residents endure from Palestinians at the area, but he failed to censure Israel for development it is carrying in the contested area and the massacre of the innocent people.

It is amazing how a seasoned diplomat in the caliber of Dr Mahiga could not stand with other nations which support ‘Two States Solution’ like us. Dr Mahiga’s failure to condemn Israel was not accidental, and it shows that we have changed our stand.

Fourth, Tanzania has been named among 33 nations which participated during the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, a day when the world was also commemorating 709th anniversary of Israel invasion of Palestine land. Our government says it is against the US opening an embassy in Jerusalem, yet, we attend a ceremony in which the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem!

Fifth, on that day, Israel army killed 54 people, including women, children, disabled and activists. Many countries around the world have condemned these killings. South Africa has taken further step by recalling his envoy from Israel. Tanzania, which liberated South Africa has not said anything on this. We have failed even to condemn the killings of innocent people!

These five things indicate that we are not the same Tanzania which Mwalimu Nyerere dreamed of. We a New Tanzania which stands with the oppressors.

We are no longer Tanzania, which stands with the oppressed. We are being driven by economic gains instead of human rights and dignity.

It is hard to believe that this is the same Tanzanians which led the Africa liberation struggles.

I call for All Tanzanian people and particularly the legislators to continue supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people for their right as a nation and a state. We shall not abandon the oppressed of the world for unknown economic interests.

To be continued…

Mr Kabwe is MP for Kigoma Urban and ACT Wazalendo Party Leader

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Nyerere and the vision of a United States of Africa -11

 

By Peter Kafumu

As we continue to feature Julius Kambarage Nyerere, a pan-Africanist who lived his entire life pursuing unity both at the national and at the continental level, we at the same time reconnoitre the failed vision for Pan-Africanism. In the proceeding chapters, as we trace his life, we also cherish his strong belief that only in unity can strength and methods, be found to tackle the challenges of the African continent.

In January 1943, Nyerere went to Makerere University in Uganda to begin his teacher training, majoring in Chemistry, Biology, Latin, and Greek. Alongside his studies, he was interested in Catholicism, and he studied various Papal Encyclicals; reading extensively the works of Catholic philosophers like Jacques Maritain as well as the works of the liberal British philosopher John Stuart Mill.

While studying at Makerere University, his Pan-African values geminated as is illustrated by a letter he wrote to the Tanganyika Standard Newspaper in July 1943, when he said: “…capitalism was alien to Africa and that the continent should turn to ‘African socialism’…the African is by nature a socialistic being; the educated African should take the lead in moving the population towards a more explicitly socialist model…”

Nyerere graduated from Makerere with a diploma in education in 1947 and he returned to Tanganyika. He was then employed at the Saint Mary’s Secondary School (present day Milambo Secondary School) in Tabora, where he taught Biology and English. In 1949, he received a scholarship for further studies at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Economics and History.

Spirit of Pan-Africanism

During his stay in Edinburgh he met George Padmore, the West Indian pan-Africanist; and was then infused with the spirit of Pan-Africanism, which he would carry with him as a liberation torch throughout his lifetime as a leader.

He graduated at the Edinburgh and returned to Tanganyika in October 1952 and once again took a teaching career at the St Francis’ College (present day Pugu High School) in Dar es Salaam to teach History.

While teaching, he was also elected the President of the Tanganyika African Association (TAA), an association that was pushing for equitable social justice for the Africans. Under this leadership, TAA gained an increasingly political dimension, devoted to the pursuit for independence of Tanganyika from the British Empire.

On the 7th July 1954, Nyerere, transformed TAA into a political party, the Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu). Nyerere as a leader of Tanu was now fully involved in the plea for independence of Tanganyika. While the colonial government closely monitored his activities, his employer the Benedictines Catholic Missionaries were increasingly worried by his activities.

In August 1954, the United Nations of which Tanganyika was put under trusteeship, recommended a twenty-five year timetable for the Tanganyika territory to gain independence, and the issue was to be discussed at a UN Trusteeship Council in New York City. Tanu sent Julius Nyerere to be its representative in the discussions.

Pro-independence activities

Meanwhile, the government continued to pressurise his employers to terminate his employment because of his pro-independence activities. In April 1955, on his return from New York and amid mounting pressures to terminate his employment, he willingly resigned. Nyerere was very proud of his choice as he was once quoted saying: “…I was a schoolmaster by choice and a politician by accident…”

By the late 1950s, Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu) a political party led by Nyerere was now at its pinnacle. Tanu activities had expanded throughout the Tanganyika Territory and with a great support from the people; the independence struggles in Tanganyika was now at its peak.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The slippery slope back to iron fist rule in Africa

 

Pretoria. There is mounting concern in Africa about a lack of leadership as well as an increasing trend of hard-won democratic rights being reversed. One way this is being done is through presidential term limits being abandoned, or extended. This in turn is leading to a reemergence of authoritarian politics, and political violence.

Extending or abolishing term limits is not unique to the continent. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin won a fourth term in March 2018 after changes to the constitution and some nimble political footwork. And the Chinese parliament recently voted to abolish term limits allowing for the possibility of President Xi Jinping becoming president for life. Given that Russia and China play an influential role on the African continent these events don’t bode well for the future of presidents sticking to term limits on the continent.

Burundi is a case in point. A poll was held to amend the constitution to extend presidential term limits from five to seven years. Incumbency would be restricted to two consecutive terms. But the amendment doesn’t apply retroactively which means that President Pierre Nkurunziza could possibly remain in office until 2034. If he lives that long (he’s 55-years-old), and given that he assumed the position in 2005, this would make him president for 29 years.

Burundi is far from alone. Rwanda, Togo, Gabon, Uganda, Chad, Cameroon, Djibouti, Republic of Congo, Sudan, Eritrea, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have all fiddled with term limits. They’ve done this by abolishing, amending or ignoring them, or by simply not holding elections. Other countries such as Ethiopia, Gambia, Lesotho, and Morocco have never introduced term limits.

Some bids to remove or extend term limits and have failed. These include Frederick Chiluba in 2001 and more recently Edgar Lungu in Zambia, Olusegun Obesanjo of Nigeria (2005), Mamadou Tandja of Niger(2009-2010) and Blaise Compaore of Burkino Faso (2014).

Noteworthy is the fact that many West African countries actually adhere to term limits. This was recognised recently when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received the Mo Ibrahim leadership prize after duly serving her constitutionally mandated term.

The upward trend of amending or abolishing constitutional term limits is likely to increase if organisations like the African Union (AU) don’t deal with the problem. In many countries citizens showing their disapproval, have been met with repression and violence. Large-scale political violence is likely to be the consequence if the trend persists.

A rolling back of rights

Africa went through a wave of democratisation from the 1990s. Citizens took to the streets demanding democratic rights. In many countries, the uprisings ended decades of one-partyism and personal rule. The key demands were for multi-party democracy, constitutionalism and that democratic norms and standards be institutionalised.

It’s in this milieu that countries adopted a bill of rights, the rule of law, checks and balances and term limits. Presidential term limits were deemed necessary for a number of reasons. The view was that they would enable better governance, equal opportunity to serve in government, curb patronage politics as well as end authoritarianism. These norms and standards were also seen as a way to stabilise countries politically.

It certainly seems that these constitutional gains are being eroded by heads of state seeking to prolong their stay in power. There also appears to be little concerted attempt by bodies such as the AU to stop the erosion of hard-fought for democratic rights.

The AU’s silence may be because of ambiguity in norms and policy, and because of its leadership. The AU’s Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which was ratified in 2012, rejects unconstitutional changes of government. But it doesn’t say anything specifically about abolishing term limits. Article 23 (5) notes that countries will have appropriate sanction imposed on them if there are:

Any amendment or revision of the constitution or legal instruments, which is an infringement on the principals of democratic change of government

But it doesn’t spell out what type of amendments are being referred to. The second factor has to do with the fact that many holding leadership positions at the AU are the same men who have amended or abandoned term limits – or come from the countries that have done so. This suggests the organisation won’t be tackling the “third termism” trend any time soon.

A number of arguments have been put forward by leaders seeking to extend, or simply abandoning, term limits.

One is that term limits prevent people’s choice of president. Another is that African leaders have much more to do to bring about development and therefore need more time. A third is that they have the sovereign right to govern and change constitutions as they see fit. And finally, the strongman argument around a president’s ability to keep the country united and to create peace and stability.

Rwanda is a case in point. President Paul Kagame received 99 per cent of the vote in August 2017. There’s no gainsaying that there have been remarkable achievements in rebuilding a post-genocide Rwanda. But if there isn’t anybody capable of challenging Kagame after 18 years of rule, then he hasn’t created an environment for democratic leadership to emerge.

Africans celebrated Africa Day on the 25th of May. There is need to keep in mind the ideas that inspired formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 and the African Union in 2001. These were the Pan-African ideals of political and economic integration, solidarity, unity, dignity, justice and equality for all. The growing trend of “third termism” is likely to prevent African countries from reaching these goals.

Cheryl Hendricks and Gabriel Ngah Kiven, University of Johannesburg. Source: Conversation Africa

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Revolutionary intellectuals remain the beacon of hope

 

By ISSA SHIVJI

Intellectuals are producers and purveyors of ideas. They produce all kinds of ideas, many ideas: ideas to rationalize and legitimize, ideas to explain and deceive; ideas to mystify and mesmerize; ideas to decorate and demonize; ideas to inform and entertain—all kinds of ideas. They may produce ideas gratuitously or for a price—these days, more often than not, for a price. Thus ideas become a commodity, an artificial commodity. So to Karl Polanyi’s list of three artificial commodities—land, labour and money—we should add a fourth one: ideas.

When mystifying and clarifying ideas are fused together and systematized in a coherent whole, they become ideologies. As ideologies are propagated and disseminated, and internalized, they become common sense—beyond doubt, beyond question. Such ideologies we call hegemonic—following the Italian philosopher and political activist, Antonio Gramsci.

Intellectuals produce ideas to explain and define others, and in the service of others. But they also produce ideas to define and serve themselves. And they are very good when it comes to producing self-serving ideas.

They exaggerate and inflate their importance and role, their indispensability and alacrity, their sanctimony and sacrifice. Intellectuals are one species who are egoistic to the bone. But being masters of mystification, they package their egoism as altruism.

Who are intellectuals? Half a century ago when I was still a student at the University of East Africa, Dar es Salaam Campus, Ali Mazrui, the rising and shining intellectual star of the time, defined an intellectual as someone who is fascinated by ideas. “Even a clown is fascinated by ideas,” a student-comrade retorted, obviously in ridicule. Now with the maturity of hindsight, I say: why not? Indeed, a clown is an intellectual. And some clowns are bloody good intellectuals. They can do something that academic intellectuals can’t do.

They poke fun at power; they ridicule power. They not only speak truth to power, as Said would have it, but they also speak to people, which many of us fail to do. We speak to each other, and, a few, to our credit, do dare speak truth to power! If such few did not exist, we would have fallen from people’s grace long ago.

There are intellectuals and intellectuals. A revolutionary intellectual of humble intellectual origins (he was a school teacher), sitting in a fascist jail in Italy like Gramsci, gave us the first significant classification of intellectuals—organic intellectuals.

To simplify Gramsci somewhat, we can say there are organic intellectuals of the ruling bloc and there are organic intellectuals of the dominated classes. They generate and articulate respective ideologies from the elements of existing ideologies according to the hegemonic logic or principle of the dominating or dominated bloc. Organic intellectuals of the oppressed and exploited social classes may be considered, proto-revolutionary intellectuals to the extent that they seek to make the ideology—by word and deed—of the oppressed hegemonic. By thus participating in ideological struggles, they contribute to the underlying class struggle, even though they may not participate directly in such struggles. Some of these organic intellectuals may become actual revolutionary intellectuals by directly participating in class struggles.

We have examples of such revolutionary intellectuals in our midst. Amilcar Cabral was one such intellectual; so was Chris Hani, John Garang, Félix Moumié, Walter Rodney, to name a few. All of them were assassinated at strategic moments in the respective struggles they were involved in. We do not know how they would have metamorphosed on attaining power. I know of at least one and his metamorphosis in power—Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

He was the head of our University Students African Revolutionary Front (USARF) when we were students at the University of Dar es Salaam. He was involved in armed struggle to oust Idi Amin Dada, the coup leader who overthrew Milton Obote and ushered in an eight year reign of terror in Uganda. Obote returned to power only to be overthrown by Museveni, who took power with a pretty radical program of transformation. Once in power, Museveni, however, was so fascinated by it that now he doesn’t want to leave it. (I’m not sure if it is a normal trajectory—from being fascinated by ideas of power to being fascinated by power. I guess power produces its own ideas—like the idea of immortality in power.)

Some putative, revolutionary intellectuals, particularly in the academia, metamorphose into public intellectuals. This is a relatively new term in the African discourse on intellectuals.

I can’t recall if that is how we described ourselves in the heydays of the 1960s and 1970s. Public intellectuals, I take it, are political intellectuals. They comment on everything political but also on matters not so political. They are articulate and admired by young aspiring intellectuals and have many followers on social media. They are sought after by the media to comment on anything and everything. Their works and deeds are in the public domain and they do not shy away from publicity which, occasionally, puts them on the firing line of politicians.

A few, brilliant ones, migrate to the northern hemisphere joining Ivy League universities. Many, not so “brilliant,” remain home. A few of the remainder continue to be in the academia weathering the storm of economic scarcity and overt and covert political repression. Not so few, give up intellectual vocation altogether.

They shift their terrain to NGOs and policy institutes, where donor pressure and funding constraints metamorphose them from public intellectuals to policy pundits. Other few, not so few in some countries, “enter” politics as practitioners. They become politician-intellectuals. Very soon they find themselves increasingly giving up the consistency and commitment required of a public intellectual to become politician-entrepreneurs.

When I talk of few entering political power, I am not referring only to state power. I include entering into other sites of power—à la Michel Foucault—like university administrations.

What about our migrants to the North? A significant few attain celebrity status. They are held up as an example of some—I say some!—brilliance in an otherwise intellectually barren continent. They are under pressure to produce best sellers to maintain their status. And what sells best in the North is that which finds a niche in the academic fashion of the day. Which means they end up recycling and regurgitating the same content packaged in fancier language.

Said says somewhere: “All organic intellectuals are public intellectuals but all public intellectuals are not organic intellectuals.” I agree with the second part—all public intellectuals are not organic intellectuals.

In fact, many public intellectuals give up their organic link with the oppressed masses so as not to tarnish their public image. I am not sure, though, of the first part of Said’s statement. I don’t think all organic intellectuals are public intellectuals. If I am right in my description of public intellectuals, then organic intellectuals are not, and cannot afford to be public intellectuals. Their loyalty is not to the amorphous public. Their loyalty is to the oppressed, the downtrodden, to the wretched of the earth. And more often than not that loyalty has to be hidden, has to be disguised and at times has even to go underground rather than exhibited in public. When Said made that statement, maybe, he was thinking of public intellectuals in the North, or public intellectuals of the South living in the North.

Then there is another category of intellectuals. Fidel Castro, agonizing over the role of intellectuals in the Cuban revolution, in an address to the conference of writers and artists in 1961, talked about what he called honest intellectuals. Honest intellectuals don’t want to tell lies. They want to pursue truth and stick to truth. But they don’t want to speak truth to power.

They don’t want to take sides. That is not the job of intellectuals. They plead objectivity and neutrality. They desire change but don’t want to do anything about it. They are fence sitters. As fence sitters they are vulnerable; inevitably they roll over to the side of domination, their neutrality notwithstanding.

Honest intellectuals constitute a huge chunk of academic intellectuals. Their site of operation is universities and institutions of higher education. As the academia is increasingly commodified, universities become marketplaces. Academics, willingly or under duress, have to break up their courses and introduce new ones to make them saleable to the consumers. They have to package, brand and certify their products. History becomes “tourism and heritage;” corporate greed becomes “corporate responsibility” and democratic governance is taught as “good governance.” Archaeology is museumized whose artifacts are exhibited at a fee to ignorant and disinterested American tourists. Political economy is replaced by econometrics, with no sense of either politics or economy.

Africans in Africa study Africa in centers of African studies in the image of centers in the North. Aren’t all our studies African studies? Law students write PhDs applying the convention on rights of indigenous people to their own citizens. To talk of citizens’ rights is foreign, Western; to ruminate on indigenous rights is authentic, African! We have been metamorphosed—from colonial natives and migrants to neo-colonial indigenous and tyrants, thanks to imperial intellectuals and their African caricatures.

A few resist the metamorphosis but many, with an eye on funding, job security and promotions resign to their fate, taking pride in the ranking of their universities. Just as ratings agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, give credit rating to our countries, some fishy ranking agencies in the North rank our universities. Once upon a time our universities took pride in being centers of controversy; now we covet to become centers of excellence. You can’t attain excellence if you’re controversial! A simple truth often overlooked.

As I approach the end of my auto-critique, let me take the tongue out of my cheek and pay tribute to hundreds of revolutionary, including public intellectuals, who have sacrificed their lives and families in the service of the liberation of their countries and the emancipation of the masses.

Revolutionary intellectuals led our liberation movements. Revolutionary intellectuals initiated and organized our left, and democratic, formations. Thugs and mercenaries of imperialism and their hirelings have murdered revolutionary intellectuals all over the continent. They have been subjected to torture and humiliation of prison as Harold Wolpe was. But with Thomas Sankara they continue chanting: “While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.”

Revolutionary intellectuals, whether living or dead, continue to inspire and lead by example our young intellectuals. Revolutionary intellectuals are humble and modest people. They do not inflate their role nor do they suffer from inflated egos. They remain the beacon of hope.

History will reward them.

This article first appeared in an online magazine, africasacountry.com. We are republishing it with the permission of the author, Professor Issa Shivji.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Nyerere and the vision of a United States of Africa

 

By Dr Peter Kafumu

Julius Kambarage Nyerere is one of Africa’s leading pan-African heroes of the 21st Century. He was a passionate African statesman who believed that pan-African freedom was the only legitimate political action to emancipate Africa from economic bondage.

To him, pan-Africanism meant a united and self-determined African continent in pursuit of economic, political, social, ideological and cultural freedom. He portrayed this uncompromising pan-African stance when he said: “…African nationalism is meaningless, dangerous, and anachronistic, if it is not, at the same time, pan-Africanism...”

A pan-African in soul and spirit, Nyerere was also a philosopher, a sociologist and a teacher who is today referred to by his people as ‘Mwalimu’ meaning teacher.

Nyerere was a dedicated Catholic, with exemplary and original life in leadership that exhibited extraordinary cardinal Christian virtues like fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice. Nyerere’s display of cardinal virtues persuaded the Catholic Church that he was a great leader of cherubic proportions; and in 2006 the Tanzania bishops with a consent from the Vatican initiated a beatification process and eventual canonisation in the future.

Leadership treasures

Here in a series of articles that will explore and map his pan-African leadership treasures within Tanzania and abroad, we will reveal his greatness as one of the greatest pan-African founding leaders. We invite you to voyage together in this narrative of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere one of Africa’s great statesmen of our time.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born on the 13th April 1922 in Mwitongo area in Butiama town Mara Region. He was one of the sons of Chief Nyerere Burito of the Zanaki chiefdom. His father Nyerere Burito was born in 1860 and was appointed chief in 1915 during the German colonial administration of the then German East Africa.

At birth, Nyerere was given the name of ‘Mugendi’ meaning walker in Zanaki language, but then his name was changed to “Kambarage”, the name referring to a female rain spirit. Nyerere grew up in a polytheistic belief system of the Zanaki tribe assisting in the farming of the millet, maize and cassava as well as herding family cattle and goats.

As a son of a chief he was exposed to African administration, power and authority. Living in the communal royal compound gave him an appreciation for the collective living; that would later influence his political ideals and beliefs to coin his African Socialism ideology.

In February 1934 Nyerere began his primary education at the Native Administration School in Mwisenge, Musoma. He excelled in school and after six months his excellent examination results allowed him to skip a grade. In 1936 he completed his primary education and his final exam results were the highest in the Lake Province and Western Province regions.

Due to his excellent performance, Nyerere then earned a Government Scholarship to attend his secondary education at an elite prestigious Tabora Government Secondary School in Tabora Town that he began his secondary schooling in 1937. In October 1942, Nyerere completed his secondary education and was enrolled at the Makerere University College at Kampala in Uganda to attend a teacher training course.

His academic ability would allow him to enroll at Makerere College in Uganda East Africa and Edinburgh in the UK.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Zimbabwe election; will Jongwe punish Croc or square it?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Former Zimbabwe strongman, Robert Mugabe a.k.a Jongwe or rooster, may be history vis-à-vis power. However, his influence on Zimbabwe is still immense. Zimbabwe will go to general elections this year in which Mugabe will throw his weight behind the New Patriotic Front (NFP) party (VOA, March 5, 2018). Incumbent president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa a.k.a Ngwena, will fly Zanu-PF’s flag. Will Zimbabweans have a sound choice between two protagonists behind the mess the country is in currently? Is the new party really new? The coming elections, essentially will act as a Jongwe-Ngwena duel.

Apart from Jongwe and Ngwena, there is the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) which, essentially ousted Mugabe. We know that he who pays the piper calls the tune. We saw top military brass being appointed ministers, which is tad confusing. Are they military or politicians? Zimbabweans need to know. Will this marriage of convenience last? Who’s using who; and what does Zimbabwe have to gain or lose from such cobbled marriage? Arguably, it isn’t easy to tell the type of rule Zimbabwe is under now. I would like to carry it hermaphrodite if not an oxymoronic to mean; it is neither purely military nor political. It is polimilitary if not a milipolitical regime.

Many questions unanswered

The coup that’s called an ‘internal correction’ left many questions than answers as far as the future of Zimbabwe is concerned. As one Zimbabwean Lance Guma once put it, was the problem Mugabe or his outfit the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, which he equates with the snake in that Mugabe was a skin whose overthrow means just shedding the skin as it remains as poisonous as it has been for three decades. Now, let’s dissever Jongwe-Ngwena.

First, Mnangagwa was part and parcel of the same system renowned for his ruthlessness and cunningness in dealing with dissent voices. Refer to the Matabele massacres he supervised not to mention controversial road accidents that claimed the lives of many Zimbabweans who showed to be competent and amiable to the hoi polloi.

Secondly, Mugabe presides over a corrupt and ruthless government under Zanu-PF that propped him; and fully supported what he’s accused of. Has Zimbabwe pulled down the Capon and ushered in a Crocodile? Is Zimbabwe now at Oginga Odinga’s Not Yet Uhuru time or Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Easy if not Ngugi wa Thiong’o The River Between?

Again, the Capon’s domination tendency while the Croc has ruthlessness. Will Zimbabweans judge Mugabe harshly as they myopically and softly spare Mnangagwa and the Zanu-PF for their peril; or take the bull by the horns.

Logically, the Zanu-PF is the only vehicle Mugabe and his cronies used to lord it over Zimbabwe for over three decades. Therefore, there’s no way one can emancipate Zimbabwe without deconstructing the Zanu-PF among others.

Will Zimbabweans and their new leaders who practically are nothing but the extension of Mugabeism, smell the coffee; and do things based on the history of their suffering namely deconstruct and overhaul the whole system? Will they force the Croc to turn itself into a fish or all it go on devouring them? Will the Croc cling to its nature?

Due to the newness of the situation, nobody’s any inkling of what’ll follow except the Zimbabweans themselves. Importantly, they must avoid fearing the lizard to end up embracing the Croc despite all looking alike.

The Lizard’s no teeth while the Croc’s high-pitched ones. Will the words of Gibson Lovemore, a street vendor that Zimbabwe has got rid of a snake and replaced it with a snake come true?

Further, even the army that started the ouster of Mugabe is the one and only that kept Mugabe in power for over period of 37 years. Has the ZDF become the born again for the love of the people or their man? Apart from being the part and parcel of the mess that saw Zimbabwe being misruled for many years, is the ZDF piloting in the era where the gun is becoming mightier than the vote? Are we seeing the military democracy or a coup ala Zimbabwe coup? Who’s using whom between the army and Mnangagwa? Who’s in charge between the duo?

Sanction the army

Will Zimbabweans sanction the army and its man to get away with murder? Will they revisit the history of Mugabe’s jumble so as to weed out all who partook in its making? Will they be blinded by euphoria and sanguinity or being guided by logicality?

Many’d like to know how Zimbabwe will look after the coming elections, especially without Mugabe on the helms. For, like any despot, Mugabe turned himself into Zimbabwe. He’s Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe’s him. It is upon voters to decide how their country will look like. However, the choice is very hard.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Merkel seeks united front with China amid Trump trade fears

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) gestures

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) gestures alongside Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn (L) and FAW Group CEO Xu Jianyi (R) during her visit to the FAW-Volkswagen plant in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province on July 6, 2014. PHOTO|FILE 

Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel visits China on Thursday, seeking to close ranks with the world’s biggest exporting nation as US President Donald Trump shakes up explosive issues from trade to Iran’s nuclear deal.

Finding a common strategy to ward off a trade war and keep markets open will be Merkel’s priority when she meets with President Xi Jinping, as Washington brandishes the threat of imposing punitive tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.

“Both countries are in agreement that open markets and rules-based world trade are necessary. That’s the main focus of this trip,” Merkel’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz said in Berlin on Friday.

But closing ranks with Beijing against Washington risks being complicated by Saturday’s deal between China and the US to hold off tit-for-tat trade measures.

China’s economic health can only benefit Germany as the Asian giant is a big buyer of Made in Germany. But a deal between the US and China effectively leaves Berlin as the main target of Trump’s campaign against foreign imports that he claims harm US national security.

The US leader had already singled Germany out for criticism, saying it had “taken advantage” of the US by spending less than Washington on NATO.

Underlining what is at stake, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned the US-China deal may come “at the expense of Europe if Europe is not capable of showing a firm hand”.

- 11 visits in 12 years -

Nevertheless, Merkel can look to her carefully nurtured relationship with China over her 12 years as chancellor.

No Western leader has visited Beijing as often as Merkel, who will be undertaking her eleventh trip to the country.

In China, she is viewed not only as the main point of contact for Europe, but, crucially, also as a reliable interlocutor -- an antithesis of the mercurial Trump.

Devoting her weekly podcast to her visit, Merkel stressed that Beijing and Berlin “are

Devoting her weekly podcast to her visit, Merkel stressed that Beijing and Berlin “are both committed to the rules of the WTO” (World Trade Organization) and want to “strengthen multilateralism”.

But she also underlined that she will press home Germany’s longstanding quest for reciprocity in market access as well as the respect of intellectual property.

Ahead of her visit, Beijing fired off a rare salvo of criticism.

China’s envoy to Germany, Shi Mingde, pointed to a “protectionist trend in Germany”, as he complained about toughened rules protecting German companies from foreign takeovers.

Only 0.3 per cent of foreign investors in Germany stem from China while German firms have put in 80 billion euros in the Asian giant over the last three decades, he told Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

“Economic exchange cannot work as a one-way street,” he warned.

Meanwhile, looming over the battle on the trade front is another equally thorny issue -- the historic Iran nuclear deal, which risks falling apart after Trump pulled the US out.

Tehran has demanded that Europe keeps the deal going by continuing economic cooperation, but the US has warned European firms of sanctions if they fail to pull out of Iran.

Merkel “hopes that China can help save the atomic deal that the US has unilaterally ditched,” said Die Welt daily.

“Because only the giant emerging economy can buy enough raw materials from Iran to give the Mullah regime an incentive to at least officially continue to not build a nuclear weapon.”

- ‘Bring Liu Xia to Germany’ -

With Merkel needing China’s cooperation, activists are hoping that human rights issues won’t fall by the wayside.

They have voiced hopes in particular that Merkel would raise the fate of Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is kept under de facto house arrest by China.

“Here’s hoping Merkel brings #LiuXia to Germany with her--#China would be smart to release the latter now,” wrote Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch on Twitter.

Late April, German ambassador to China Michael Clauss told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that Liu would be welcomed in his country.

Asked if Merkel would meet with activists, her spokeswoman Fietz was non-committal, but said “as a general rule, the government and the chancellor campaign constantly for the question of human rights.” (AFP)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Confusion, squabbling undermine Trump’s steps forward on the world stage

President Trump, joined by Secretary of State

President Trump, joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks with three freed American prisoners after their arrival from North Korea at Joint Base Andrews on May 10. PHOTO | THE POST 

Washington. On North Korea, the government of dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to walk away from a planned summit after bellicose words from national security adviser John Bolton - who was then publicly overruled by President Donald Trump.

On China, trade negotiations have been undermined by fierce infighting among Trump’s own advisers - including a profane shouting match in Beijing between two members of the economic team.

And the pattern is evident on domestic policies as well. Trump has undercut his own aides and Republican congressional leaders with sudden threats to shut down the government over his promised wall at the border with Mexico.

As an emboldened Trump reaches for historic triumphs in hopes of bolstering his party’s prospects in November’s midterm elections, he finds himself repeatedly stymied by his old patterns of chaos and contradiction.

Trump’s agenda has been undermined by mixed messages and internal squabbles from within his administration - all compounded by the president’s own lack of discipline and his inconsistent ideology.

“It’s very, very volatile,” said Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Normally, there are different factions, and they both fight within the bureaucratic process for their viewpoints . . . but this is much more freewheeling, and the most volatile person is the president.”

“It creates confusion and uncertainty and undermines their initiatives,” he added.

Amy Zegart, co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said “the one consistent policy that Trump seems to have is that America is getting a raw deal in the world, but how to address that raw deal varies day to day and hour to hour. It is enormously important to have message discipline, and this administration is fundamentally unable to have it.”

That lack of discipline has been on vivid display over North Korea. Bolton complicated the delicate preparations for a historic summit between Trump and Kim, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, by saying the United States planned to ask North Korea to emulate the “Libya model” from a 2003 nuclear deal - to which the North Koreans attribute Moammar Gaddafi’s eventual downfall and death eight years later.

But after Pyongyang cited those remarks in threatening to cancel the summit, Trump promised Thursday that his administration would demand no such thing and that under a nuclear agreement, Kim would have protections and be “very, very happy.”

“He’d be in his country,” Trump said. “He’d be running his country. His country would be very rich.”

Still, there remains uncertainty about whether the summit will take place, even as White House officials are busy scouting locations and finalizing itineraries. And Trump has seemed to enjoy taking part in chatter that his work toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula could earn him the Nobel Peace Prize, an honour that was bestowed upon former president Barack Obama in only his 11th month in office.

With China, meanwhile, Trump is progressing in negotiations to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, which would fulfill a major campaign promise.

The White House on Saturday released a joint statement from both countries announcing an agreement for China to buy more goods and services from the United States, including agriculture and energy exports, with the stated goal of “substantially” reducing the U.S. trade deficit in goods.

But disputes within the Trump administration have burst into public view, projecting disarray when the team has sought to present a united front.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, a hard-line nationalist who penned the book “Death by China,” got into an expletive-laced shouting match with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during their recent trip to Beijing, where Trump had sent them to negotiate trade policy with the Chinese government.

And back in Washington, Trump abruptly ordered his own Commerce Department to scale back the severe penalties it had recently imposed on telecommunications giant ZTE.

Trump’s directive, which he later said was his answer to a personal plea from Chinese President Xi Jinping, came in a tweet that caught most of his top aides by surprise.

The Trump administration is hardly the first to have vigorous policy disagreements, but in past administrations, those debates largely played out in private, with the staff endeavoring to support the official White House policy in public.

But Trump enjoys, and even encourages, infighting, which often leads to those feuds spilling into the public arena.

“I like conflict,” Trump said in March. “I like having two people with different points of view. And I certainly have that. And then I make a decision. But I like watching it. I like seeing it. I think it’s the best way to go.”

White House officials reject the premise that Trump’s policy moves are sometimes overshadowed by episodes of conflict. They blame journalists for focusing on staff squabbles and scold them for not paying more attention to the president’s achievements.

Trump’s aides say that unwanted headlines - such as White House communications staffer Kelly Sadler joking about the irrelevance of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., because, as she put it, “he’s dying anyway” - do not impair meaningful progress on issues. One White House official cited Friday’s summit on prison reform as an example of the quiet work that proceeds behind the scenes.

Peppered with questions earlier this month about a number of administration controversies, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “If you look at what he’s doing every single day, he’s showing up to work, he’s working hard to make this country better, whether it’s through building our economy, creating jobs, defeating ISIS, fixing our judiciary system, helping with the legal immigration problems that we have.”

Most of Trump’s advisers have emerged as fully formed public characters in their own right, complete with differing ideologies, backstories and personal agency. As the president has chosen aides who looked as if they were out of “central casting” and elevated them to players in his daily West Wing dramas, so, too, has the media covered them as such - chronicling the petty feuds and internal squabbles in the president’s royal court.

“It’s almost like an absolute monarch where the various feudal lords are coming to try to figure out whether they can get something in or something out of whatever decision he’s making,” Zegart said. “It’s astonishing.”

Trump, who governs largely by impulse and instinct, lacks a clear traditional governing ideology on a range of topics, heightening divergent viewpoints.

“The president didn’t have a very deeply held philosophical view of foreign policy and national security,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican communications consultant.

“But the policy hands around him have been working on and caring about these issues and have deeply held beliefs developed over the past 25 years.”

In this particular era of social media and increased scrutiny on the White House, Madden added, “so much of this just ends up being litigated publicly.” (Washington Post)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mixed reactions on TZ’s new embassy in Israel

 

By Louis Kolumbia and Jacob Mosenda @TheCItizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. International relations differed with political scientists over whether the opening of the Tanzanian embassy in Israel was in line with the foreign policy.

While international relations experts support the government’s decision triggered by drastic shift in the country’s foreign policy from principled engagement to economic diplomacy political scientists, on the other hand, criticized the move, noting that the decision betrays long tradition of Tanzania’s support to the Palestinian cause. Political commentators believe that Tanzania was supposed to continue sympathizing with the oppressed and that strengthening diplomatic relations with Israel on the pretext of benefiting economically does not hold water since many other countries can offer the help that the Jewish state would give to Tanzania.

Dr Ahmad Mtengwa who heads the Economic Diplomacy department at the Tanzania and Mozambique Centre for Foreign Relations (TMCFR) is confident that closer relations with Israel will transform the Tanzania’s economy while, at the same time, leaving solidarity with Palestine undeterred.

“Our relations with Palestine don’t prevent the country from cooperating with other countries. Closer relations with Israel could, even, help Tanzania engage more productively with Israel as part of efforts to trying to resolve the historic Middle East dispute,” he said.

Mr Innocent Shoo, also from TMCFR echoed Dr Mtengwa’s comments. He listed a number of benefits Tanzania could register through the new relations with Israel in the areas of agriculture, security, pharmaceuticals and access to new markets for the country’s products.

“Israel has a very well developed agricultural technology which if transferred to the country will be critical in the industrialization drive,” he said. He said Tanzania will also benefit from Israel’s security and defense advancements which could be transferred to the country, noting that Israel is the only country that has, satisfactorily made every citizen, a reserve soldier.

The Middle East country has also made progress in pharmaceuticals. This is a good opportunity for Tanzania as it seeks to build a sizeable pharmaceutical base to bridge the import-export gap of medicines and medical equipment. Mr Shoo further said that Israel can also provide Tanzania with a market for textiles, flowers and leather goods which is key for Tanzania’s industrialization strategy. Diplomatic relations between Tanzania and Israel broke up in 1972 because of Israel’s support to apartheid regime in South Africa and oppression of Palestine.

“The apartheid regime no longer exists in South Africa. But, though the Palestine question is not yet resolved, the shift in Tanzania’s foreign policy allows the country to re-establish closer ties with Israel for economic reasons,” he said. But, a political science lecturer at the Kampala International University (KIU), Prof Abdallah Kizauli said getting closer to Israel betrays Mwalimu Nyerere policy towards the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“A foreign policy shift towards economic diplomacy is not an issue here. The issue is how we can continue to have solidary with the oppressed while cozying up to the oppressor! It’s not like the world has run out of partners that Tanzania can use to benefit, economically,” he said. The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) lecturer in Political Science, Prof Bakari Mohamed, also said he strongly opposes the government’s move.

“I totally disagree with the decision to open an embassy in Israel because I believe on the need for country like Tanzania to uphold principles of human dignity and self-determination. I don’t see any reason to support diplomatic relations with a country violating the two,” he told Political Platform in an interview. He said he was disappointed with the country’s decision to re-establish diplomatic relationship with Israel because the country’s behaviour has changed since the last time Tanzania broke the relations in 1972.

A Political science lecturer from Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu), Prof Gaudens Mpangala concurred with his KIU and UDSM counterparts, suggesting that Tanzania should continue upholding foreign policy sympathizing with the weak and the oppressed.

He said Tanzania, under the first president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was right to break relations with Israel because of its treatment of Palestinians. “It is difficult to see why the government should make a U-turn and reestablish relations not only with Israel but also with Morocco before the issues that led to the break up in relations were addressed,” he said.

“The government should state openly that it no longer supports the Palestinian and Western Saharan causes, the shift in foreign policy towards economic diplomacy notwithstanding,” Prof Mpangala added. The government has said its solidarity with Palestine will not be affected by the closer ties with Israel. President John Magufuli has said, in several instances, that Tanzania did a good job in supporting liberation movements in Africa and elsewhere and that it was time to focus on the country’s economic development.

“We spent a lot of time and financial resources to help other in the 1960s and 1970s. We needed those resources ourselves but we had the moral duty to help those who were still under occupation. Now is the time to build our country,” President Magufuli would say. Dr Mahiga on his part detailed, to the Political Platform, a number of benefits that Tanzania has got and is about to get from improved relations with Israel.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Augustine Mahiga said there were a number issues submitted to the Israel government that have been accepted, though he declined to make them public as he was in a hurry of catching his plane.

“They include a number of proposed Israel investments to Tanzania in support of the government’s economic transformation,” he told Political Platform in a telephone interview last week from Israel. Observers say Tanzania’s closer ties with Israel put the country in a fix as occasions will arise where it would have to choose between the two sides. And this will prove to be a litmus test in the UN votes where the Israel-Palestine conflict often plays out. Already in October 2016 Tanzania was forced to choose sides, kind of, between the two.

A motion, supported by Palestine and many other Arab countries, had come up at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s World Heritage committee, trying to “ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.” Motion was going to have a majority for the resolution. But Tanzania, along with Croatia, forced a secret ballot that is credited with denying a majority for the motion. Dr Mahiga told Israel journalists that Tanzania took some heat from some Middle East countries for its role in the Temple Mount motion.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CAG: Parties still can’t keep proper accounts

Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Professor

Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Professor Mussa Assad speaking at a press conference in Dodoma. PHOTO | FILE 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) reports in the last three years have revealed that a lot has to be done by the opposition parties in terms of improving financial management.

The 2014/15; 2015/16 and 2016/17 audit reports have exposed various financial irregularities which should immediately and seriously be addressed if they are to replace the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in the near future.

Observers say the failure by the opposition to manage the meager financial resources cast doubt on the parties’ capacity to oversee government’s financial resources, huge by any comparison, when entrusted they take over the country.

According to the audit reports, Chadema has been found with irregularities in the areas of procurement of goods and services, unaccounted collections of funds, unconfirmed loans, unaccounted payments and inadequately supported payments.

The CAG report says Chadema procured goods and services worth over Sh24.216 billion contrary to party’s financial management manual requiring that all procurements should be competitive and quotations from different suppliers should be acquired. The reports reveals that the main opposition party failed to deposit its substantial revenue amounted to Sh2.302 billion in the bank account managed by trustees during the 2014/2015 and 2015/16 financial years.

“My review on revenue collected by Chadema noted that Sh4.42 million was collected in 2014/15 and that Sh2.298 billion was collected in the 2015/16 financial year. However, the funds were not deposited in the bank account and party’s expenditure details were not provided,” CAG says, adding; “Non-banking of revenue collected implies ineffective controls over revenue collections which exposes the main opposition political party to risks of misappropriation of funds collected. Also, failure to obtain alternative quotations exposed the party to the risk of uneconomic use of party resources.”

Furthermore, the CAG audit report suggests that Chadema signed a contract on April, 2015 to secure Sh2 billion loan for political activities, noting that however, evidence failed to confirm receipt of the funds due to lack of documents.

The CAG report suggests that tax invoice no.201508226 dated August 26, 2016 valued at Sh866.600 million was settled by one of the party members on behalf of the party in respect of boards supplied and installed by the M/S Milestone International Co. Ltd.

“Out of the said amount Sh715 million was paid back over various periods to one of the party members, being refund of the secured loan without support of contractual obligations as a result of non-established loan policy,” reads part of the report.

Furthermore, the audit report establishes that Chadema issued advance payment to its staffs in form of imprests amounting to Sh400 million. The amount was used to carry party activities, but they remained unaccounted as to time of audit.

Report also shows that Sh20.9 million and Sh379.14 million were issued in the form of imprests during the 2014/15 and 2015/2016 respectively.

“The amount was neither retired nor reported as part of account receivables in the statement of financial position for the year contrary to Section 9.3. 1 to 9.3.6 of the party’s financial management manual of April25, 2012,” the CAG says.

Other opposition political parties were outlined to have failed to submit to the CAG financial statements which was contrary to Section 14 of the Political Parties Act of 1992 (R.E 2015) which requires all permanently registered political parties to maintain proper accounts of the funds and properties for the purpose of audit.

These parties include ACT Wazalendo, United Democratic Party (UDP), Tanzania Democratic Alliance (Tadea), Civic United Front (CUF) and the African Progressive Party of Tanzania, NCCR-Mageuzi, the National Reconstruction Party (NRA), United People’s Democratic Party (UPDP) and Party for People’s Redemption (CHAUMMA).

According to the CAG report, the law requires political parties with permanent registration to submit to the Registrar of Political Parties an annual statement of the audited accounts and annual declaration of properties owned by a respective political party.

Apart from financial statements, the audit report says some political parties had failed to perform bank reconciliation, noting that the move denied respective parties with internal control of funds.

Report says reconciliation of cash book balances and bank balances was important move for respective parties to identify inconsistencies and take immediate corrective measures.

Respective political parties included the Alliance for Tanzania Democratic Change (ADC), Demokrasia Makini, Chama cha Sauti ya Umma (SAU), and National League for Democracy (NLD).

The CAG recommended that Chadema management should strictly comply with its financial management manual in order to promote competitiveness and transparency in procurement processes and obtain the value for money for the goods and services purchased.

“I urge party’s management to account for Sh2.302 billion by providing proper documentation and ensure that in future all collections made are immediately deposited into bank account,” reads the CAG report.

The audit report also recommended that Chadema should continue to monitor and enforce compliance with its financial memorandum on early retirement of outstanding imprests after completion of the intended job.

“Political parties should ensure that bank reconciliation mechanisms are in place and that relevant officials properly check and review bank and cash book transactions in order to correct errors at an early stage,” reads the audit report.

“I still insist political parties to strictly comply with Section 14 (1) (i) of Political Parties Act Number 5 of 1992 (R.E 2015),”

He CAG added.

According to the CAG, the Registrar of Political Parties is advised to hold awareness programme and capacity building to political parties on the importance of preparation and presentation of financial statements.

The CAG reiterate that the Registrar should also hold accountable party leaders who fail to submit their financial statements for the audit purposes.

“The Registrar of Political Parties also is recommended to have capacity building programmes which will enhance political parties to be more compliant with the requirements of the Political Parties Act of 2009 (R.E 2015) together with its underlying Regulations and IPSAS requirements,” reads the CAG report.

Commenting on the report, Chadema director of Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs, Mr John Mrema said Chadema spent Sh14 billion during the period under audit, noting that the Sh24 billion stated in the report was recorded by mistake.

“We clarified the issue to the CAG and he has admitted that it was a mistake. We have also notified the Registrar of Political Parties in writing and that currently, we are waiting for the CAG to correct the mistake in his new report,” he said in an interview.

Speaking on the Sh2 billion loan secured by Chadema for political activities, Mr Mrema said Chadema clarified to the CAG that they secured loan in order to meet the deadline for purchasing equipment for the 2015 General Election.

“We told him, that Mlimani City Hall and the helicopter hiring processes lacked competitors during the procurement process. Also, money collected during the M4C fundraising in Mwanza, Mbeya, Arusha and Dar es Salaam remained in respective zones hence lacked financial justifications to be included in the national party account,” he said.

For his part, ACT-Wazalendo secretary for Ideology, Publicity and Public Communications, Mr Ado Shaibu, said his party was responsible for not being inspected, noting that CAG concerns outlined in the 2015/16 audit report remained in 2016/17.

“The problem facing many political parties including ACT is our failure to institutionalize our activities, resulting into lack of consistency and proper flow of information,” he said.

“We received financial management trainings from the CAG’s office after receiving unsatisfactory certificate on the 2015/16 audit. Failure to be audited in the 2016/17 have denied us with opportunity to show our progress,” he added.

Responding to critics who claim that opposition parties’ failure to manage their finances means they are not well prepared to lead the country Mr Shaibu said people should differentiate between being engaged in fraud or embezzlement- which was not the case in the CAG reports of opposition parties- and improper financial recording.

He said ACT-Wazalendo has embarked on a programme to train its staff on financial management.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

GUEST COLUMN: The failed vision of a united Africa - part xix

Dr Kafumu is a geologist and former

Dr Kafumu is a geologist and former Commissioner for Minerals. He is currently a member of parliament 

By Peter Kafumu

This is the final part of the story of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta the founding Father of the Kenyan nation and staunch pan-Africanist.

We complete the story by looking into his legacy he left behind.

By mid-1960s as years pass by, Kenyatta continued to age away; and his people increasingly called him Mzee Jomo Kenyatta; “Mzee” a Swahili term meaning “old and wise man”.

As an old and wise President of Kenya, he continued to remind his people the trickery of imperialism when he said: “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible. Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future”

He also frequently reminded his folks that independence was not the guarantee of improved livelihood and good life; but hard work was one; he said: “Many people may think that, now there is Uhuru, now I can see the sun of freedom shining, richness will pour down like manna from Heaven. We must all work hard, with our hands, to save ourselves from poverty, ignorance and disease”

Although his determination to instruct and lead his people to voyage to an economically prosperous nation did not diminish; but his health began ailing and he suffered two mild strokes in 1966 and 1968 and died peacefully while asleep on the 22nd of August 1978, at the State House in Mombasa.

He was then buried six days after his death.

Kenneth Nyangena an expert of development studies also described Kenyatta as “one of the greatest men of the twentieth century, having been a beacon, a rallying point for suffering Kenyans to fight for their rights, justice and freedom, whose brilliance gave strength and aspiration to people beyond the boundaries of Kenya”.

His message of reconciliation; that called people to “forgive and forget” was perhaps his greatest moral contribution to his country and to the history of humankind.

He always reminded his subjects to look ahead and forgive and forget the past and build the nation’s economy.

He said: “Where there have been racial hearted, it must be ended. Where there has been tribal animosity, it will be finished. Let us not dwell upon the bitterness of the past. I would rather look to the future, to the good new Kenya, not to bad old days. If we can create this sense of national direction and identity, we will have gone a long way to solving our economic problems”

Jomo Kenyatta is today regarded in Kenya and across the African continent as the “Founding Father of the Kenyan Nation”; he is a popular symbol of the Kenyan nation; the claim that is justified by the similarities between his name “Kenya-tta” and the name of the country “Kenya”.

Many other scholars claim that the life story of Kenyatta as a pan-African had great similarities to the life story of Kwame Nkrumah the founding father of Ghana. Like Kwame Nkrumah; Jomo Kenyatta is also remembered for “initiating the discourse and process that plotted the narrative of African freedom” Kenyatta and Nkrumah are also remembered for both making the dream of African independence in their respective countries a reality as well as pushing for liberation of other African countries through the OAU.

Jomo Kenyatta was an extraordinary pan-African leader; like his peer who dreamed of a free united Africa.

Kenyatta will remain as one of the forefathers of pan-Africanism and an inspiration for a united Africa. As was Kwame Nkrumah, and was Jomo Kenyatta; until his death the vision for a united Africa was not realized in his time and to date.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

BOTTOM LINE: Magufulification, Magufuli arrived at the right time

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Love or hate him. President John Pombe Magufuli is a wonk who though unexpectedly arrived at the rightest place and time in the history of our country. Those who still remember how the tussle for presidency was in 2015, still remember how Magufuli wasn’t among 800-pound gorillas in the race for the highest office in the land. Instead, two luminaries, Bernard Membe and Edward Lowassa, who ended up finishing off each other, were the toasts of the town.

Looking at how Tanzania was then, I must admit; arrival of Magufuli wasn’t an accident; and, if it were, it is a good one. The country was in shambles next to going to the dogs. Therefore, the country badly and deservedly needed a person like Magufuli. Corruption, embezzlement of public funds, systemic indiscipline, rent-seeking culture and other vices were rife. Who has now simply forgotten how drugs were tainting our image internationally? Who has now forgotten maltreatment in public offices, hospitals and everywhere else? Who’s easily forgotten tax evasion and low tax collection not to mention lack of leadership conviction, good intention and vision?

Now that Tanzania is on the right track, some detractors still wag their tongues accusing and discouraging Magufuli simply because his regime has denied them what to do or say. Indeed, Tanzania needed; and verily, still needs Magufuli and his so-called Magufulification. Under Magufulification, as a country, we’re able to embark on the industrialisation of our country; expanding infrastructure not to mention improving services in various sectors.

What else do we want? Those who think that commending Magufuli is kowtowing before him must look at the numbers of his achievements and the quality of services Tanzanians are now enjoying. Those who doubt Magufuli’s vision should go to rural areas and ask farmers whose produces were not marketable, but now are; though not all.

They’d go and see the roads, bridges, schools and hospitals among others Magufuli has improved.

Of all, Magufuli proved to be the man of another world after practically embarking on moving the capital city to Dodoma. If anything, moving to Dodoma is but the bone that hyenas failed to consume; if I may borrow Swahili proverb. Further, Magufuli wholeheartedly decided to take on mega corruption.

How many cases involving mega corruption are before the courts as culprits wait to hear their verdicts? How many sacred cows are now waiting for their fates to be known after cooling their heels in the dungeon that formerly was for wezi wa kuku? Who’d think that scams such as IPTL, Escrow and others would be dealt with mercilessly but legally?

I know as everybody knows; Magufuli still has a lot on his plate vis-à-vis other scams such as Mwananchi Gold, Lugumi, TICTS, UDA and others. Let’s give him a break; as we remind him that we’ve not forgotten such scams. Who thought academic corruption involving forgery and faking qualification not to mention ghost workers would become history?

Go ask students in our schools whose school fees are catered for by the government. Why don’t go interview the parents whose kids are getting free education. Go ask patients in various dispensaries and hospitals about the quality of services they receive compared to the time before the introduction of Magufulification. Why can’t we clap Magufuli and his Magufulification instead of crapping him up?

There are allegations that Magufuli stifled democracy. Well, it depends on what one looks into. Again, if we consider how democracy has never brought food to the table, we need to address and tote such assumptions carefully considering the real situation our country was in.

We need democracy. So, too, we need development. To address the issue of democracy, I posit that our people should be asked to decide what they’d like first between irresponsible democracy and controlled one that aims at creating space for the government to fulfill its promises. Here, there’s one thing we need to underscore. Magufuli isn’t implementing his personal policies. Instead, he is implementing the policies based on the promises he made during the presidential campaigns so as to secure the mandate he is now using to do whatever he is doing.

Hate the devil but give it its due. Those who doubt Magufuli’s move should go and ask expecting moms, particularly in rural areas. Further, they should ask the paupers who were ripped off by government officials who used to overtax them.

They should ask the paupers who are now using electricity over 50 years since the country acquired its independence. They should ask the people in flung regions such as Lake Region who used to travel to Dar Es Salaam via Kenya and Uganda.

In sum, those who abhor Magufulification should evaluate him internationally. Tanzania is the talk of the world today simply because of Magufulification. Foreigners coined even the term Magufulification. I, firstly, heard of the term in Zimbabwe; thereafter, in Kenya. Indeed, this shows how no prophet accepted in his town.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reunion isn’t enough to fix Kenya’s deep divisions

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition opposition leader, Raila Odinga. PHOTO | FILE 

Nairobi. In his latest state of the nation address Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta called for opening a new chapter of national unity and reconciliation.

This was Kenyatta’s first state of the nation address after last year’s disputed national elections which went into a re-run. Kenyatta reemerged victorious. But it was a pyrrhic victory as his main challenger Raila Odinga had boycotted the rerun.

With both men at the head of their ethnically aligned coalitions, Jubilee and National Super Alliance, the 2017 electoral season was highly charged and polarising. Odinga refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Kenyatta’s victory and threatened disruption. One of his actions was being sworn in as the people’s president. The mock swearing-in ceremony escalated tensions, culminating in threats of arrests, arraignment and deportation of opposition leaders. The press and civil society were also targeted.

Kenya’s politics has broadly been dominated by two families, the Kenyattas from the Kikuyu and the Odingas from the Luo ethic groups. Uhuru, son of the founding president Jomo Kenyatta, has gone head to head with Raila for the presidential vote twice – in 2013 and 2017. Both elections were marked by ethnic coalition building in which Kenyatta led the most demographically dominant coalition, Jubilee.

On both occasions, the outcome was a kind of ethnic census because Kenyan politics is highly charged along ethnic lines.

Since last year’s tensions, there’s been a visible rapprochement between the two men. Does this signal a broader bottom-up reconciliation process?

Perhaps the reality is that the momentum has started from the top but will take time to get to the bottom. Kenyan politics is notoriously tribal, in part because the system is built for zero sum gains in that it creates winners and losers. As long as this remains the case, Kenya will always remain susceptible to ethnic entrepreneurs as politicians seek to play the ethnic tramp card.

The rapprochement

The first sign of rapprochement between the two men took the country by some surprise. A staged handshake in March 2018 signalled a dramatic change of tone and de-escalation of tensions.

Government immediately mellowed its tone towards the opposition, signalling a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue. Within days, Odinga was serving as official government emissary to South Africa to attend Winnie Mandela’s funeral. And a joint team to oversee dialogue was announced.

But what does all this rapprochement mean? The joint statement following the first meeting sought to strike a new political tone. On the surface, it signalled the willingness of both men to draw a line under the acrimony that had emerged from the electoral crisis. This perhaps points to Kenya’s politics as not only complex but also unpredictable.

The country has been here before – after the 2008 elections of Mwai Kibaki thousands died in inter communal post electoral violence. Undertakings were given and efforts were made to build national unity. Yet a decade later, Kenyans are witness to more of the same, albeit on a lesser scale.

Questions are therefore being asked if there is any depth to the Kenyatta-Raila “handshake” beyond portraying both leaders as magnanimous and willing to compromise for the national interests. Their joint statement sought to heal divisions and open a new chapter of inclusiveness and security for all.

For now it is too early to deduce tangible evidence of political inclusivity though tensions have been greatly dialled down. Kenyatta’s public apology to those he “offended” was meant to portray him as a conciliatory statesman.

On the other hand Odinga had more political capital to gain by seeking compromise as a way out of the impasse. His defiance campaign was always deemed more disruptive and a political nuisance than strategically meaningful as the Supreme Court had validated the elections.

Much more is needed

What Kenya needs is transformative change, including constitutional reforms. This should include strengthening structures in which everyone feels represented. And the country needs to design a formula to provide a competitive but an embracing political framework that can deliver enduring peace and prosperity for all Kenyans.

Many lives were lost in the post electoral violence. The two leaders bear special responsibility and should therefore lead efforts to help heal and bridge communal divisions. The recent warming of relations between the two protagonists point to this effort. But they are not the only players. Others that would be equally important in bringing their communities on board in the broader effort of reconciliation. they include:

William Ruto, current deputy president and an ethnic Kalenjin,

Kalonzo Musyoka, former vice president, wider democratic movement leader, co-principle of NASA and an ethnic kamba, and Musalia Mudavadi a co-principal of NASA, former vice president and deputy prime minister, leader of Amani National congress and an ethnic Luhya would The role of civil society and religious leaders is also indispensable as partners in reconciliation and rebuilding inter-communal and institutional trust.

In the short and medium term, it’s overly optimistic to expect ethnic politics to dissipate in Kenya. This requires institutional change as well as a shift in attitude, values and culture like belief in collective prosperity, non-violent settlement of disputes and inter communal trust. For this Kenyan communities and their political leaders still have a great deal to do. (The Conversation)

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This is why media freedom has come a long way in Africa

 

By Tawana Kupe

Reporters Without Borders’ latest World Press Freedom Index shows two interesting things. Namibia, ranked number 17, has the most improved press freedom environment in the world. And Africa, with the exception of North Africa, came second in rankings on the most improved media environment since 2015.

Namibia’s rise in this ranking is stunning. Among the 180 nations that were ranked, it places the country close to the top-ranked Scandinavian nations, including Finland at number one, Netherlands (two), Norway (three) and Denmark (four). These countries also feature in the top five positions on the United Nations Index on Human Development.

Among African nations, Namibia ranks higher than South Africa (39), the country with the best constitutional protections for media freedom, and arguably the most extensive media infrastructure on the continent.

Indexes of the performance of nations on various indicators are growing in importance. But they should not be taken as the definitive indicator of the state of press freedom in any country or region. The situation in every newsroom – or an individual journalist’s circumstances – can be worse than the ranking of a particular nation.

Interestingly Namibia is the home of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press. It was followed ten years later by the African Broadcasting Charter calling for a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting system in the public interest. The Windhoek Declaration is the reason why May 3 was declared World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations. But a historical perspective provides better insight on the state of media freedom and its role in Africa today than rankings or indexes.

At the time of the Windhoek Declaration in 1991 most of Africa, including South Africa, was only starting on a journey towards improved media freedom. This, after decades in which one-party states, military regimes and the then apartheid regime had committed some of the worst violations of media freedom ever to be visited on journalists and the media.

Among some of the worst violations were routine arrests, detentions, imprisonment, killings and the exiling of journalists. Along with these were the bombing of printing presses, closure of critical media houses and state control of the broadcasting system and its regulation. Draconian laws were also passed preventing the normal functions of journalists. Lighter versions of the same violations were also evident in the few African countries considered democracies because of their pluralist politics. Examples include Botswana.

In fact Africa was known in the 1970s and 1980s as the continent that jails its journalists. But it did not have a monopoly. Asia and Latin America shared the same dubious distinction. In most countries privately owned media that were editorially independent from state control were often fewer and smaller than state-run print media and news agencies.

By the time the African Charter on Broadcasting was adopted in 2001, the state of media freedom across the continent appeared to have experienced a sea change. But it is also true that some countries had experienced some deterioration.

For example, Zimbabwe had entered a period of political crisis, leading to a media management regime that included registration of journalists and media houses, arrests of journalists and the continued monopoly of the state broadcaster, as well as closure of a privately owned daily newspaper. In the 1990s, as pluralist politics characterised by multi-party elections took root across the continent, a trend developed to license privately owned FM radio stations and television channels. Privately owned newspapers and magazines emerged. Online media also sprang up as Africa was connected to the internet and there was a hype that the future lay in digital or new media that was not easy for governments to control.

The competition between state and privately controlled media expanded the space for media freedom. In this context media were better able to strive to become independent sources of information and analysis. They could broaden public debate and dialogue, engage in investigative journalism as a watchdog of the public and give a voice to a wider range of people beyond government elites. For the first time it felt as though the vision of the Windhoek Declaration and the African Charter on Broadcasting could be realised. This nascent pluralism and vibrancy in which some media exposed corruption and misgovernance gave hope that the African media would now play a vigorous watchdog role that would usher in an era of accountability necessary for democratic governance.

Push back and hostility

The 15 years since 2001 have been characterised by a growing trend towards respecting the freedom of the media and expanding spaces for freedom of expression. But the trend hides many contradictions, some of which are identified in the World Press Freedom Indexes.

There is definitely some push back by governments. Despite the end of the era of legislated one-party rule, some leaders are reluctant to leave power. In these efforts to retain power against democratic norms, journalists and the media are casualties. Burundi is a recent example that has been cited in the Word Press Freedom Index. There is also a general hostility towards media’s attempts to probe and hold public officials to account. Politicians and public officials are often uneasy with regular engagement and requests for information. A culture of secrecy is still dominant and in some cases media legislation restricting access to information is still retained in the statute books from the colonial or apartheid eras. (The Conversation)

New legislation meant to promote access is often too cumbersome to use by journalists or carries new ways to restrict access.

Even private ownership has not necessarily come with the editorial and programming independence from owners and advertisers. Commercial pressures place constraints on journalists and editors trying to serve the public interest.

Part of the problem is that the new owners are often politicians or politically linked individuals or groups wishing to promote their own interests or curry favour with governments for commercial gain. Cross ownership across many economic sectors by owners can also create taboos on what can be reported.

Economic factors

A factor that limits media freedom often not discussed much in Africa is the effect of weak economies. Weak economies undermine the viability of a media dependent on commercial advertising. They also open up the media to editorial and programming influences that undermine their independence. In such situations large companies that dominate or have a monopoly wield power that has a deleterious effect on media content.

A culture of unethical journalism including “cheque book” journalism – where journalists are bought to, for example, smear opponents or divert the public from serious issues – has also crept in. It reduces the credibility that media ought to enjoy with the public. Independent regulation of journalistic ethics is necessary to arrest this trend.

Arrests, temporary closures of media, even online media, and harassment of journalists are not yet things of the past. In some countries like Eritrea, the country at the bottom of the index at 180, being a journalist is an occupational hazard of the worst kind. Five bloggers and journalists were held in jail for a lengthy period in Ethiopia until July late last year. Licensing regimes are not yet in the hands of independent public-interest bodies as the Charter on Broadcasting recommended.

Media freedom and freedom of expression in Africa is expanding. But we have not yet reached a stage where it is irreversible. Although the role of the media in creating an informed citizenry eager to participate in decision making is increasing, the situation in Africa remains precarious. (The Conversation)

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