- Was it mere coincidence that Kenya’s Independent Elections & Boundaries Commission (IEBC) set October 26 for a repeat of the August 8 presidential poll whose result was annulled by the Supreme Court on September 1 – ordering fresh polling within 60 days?
Today, October 26, is an intriguing date in History. For example, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was born on October 26, 1961!
Was it mere coincidence that Kenya’s Independent Elections & Boundaries Commission (IEBC) set October 26 for a repeat of the August 8 presidential poll whose result was annulled by the Supreme Court on September 1 – ordering fresh polling within 60 days?
That highest Court in the land didn’t specify a date. So, IEBC set October 19 for the repeat… Then – perhaps out of the workings of the Sisters of Fate, sheer coincidence, calculated machinations or a combination thereof – it switched to October 26, President Uhuru’s 56 birthday!
Oh, never mind Kenya’s travails here – or that English King Alfred the Great (born 849AD, reigned 871-899) died October 26, 899…
Also, pooh-pooh the fact that the vivacious Hillary Clinton – America’s 44th First Lady, 67th State-Secretary and 2016-US presidential aspirant) – was born on October 26, 1947!
The story here today ISN’T about October 26 births, deaths – or whatever! It’s about efficaciously exploiting Tanzania’s ‘porous’ leather sub-sector for substantial econo-growth. Doing so when the 5th Phase Government of President John Pombe Magufuli is hell-bent for leather (no pun intended here!) on Industrialization would expedite meaningful and sustainable socio-economic development. ‘Leather’ is animal hide or skin dressed ready for use; hide is the covering of big animals like cattle, while skin is that of smaller ones, like goats…
Tanzania’s potential for a vibrant leather industry is huge, being home to the second-largest livestock herds in Africa – after Ethiopia – with 25.8m head of cattle, 16.7m goats and 8.7m sheep (Year-2015 data).
This locally-available resource is potential raw material for tanneries and leather factories manufacturing goods for domestic and export markets, including upholstery, footwear, bags and belts.
Tanzania has eight leather-related SMEs operating below 30 per cent capacity – and may close shop for lack of enough inputs, 70 per cent of which are smuggled out, mostly raw. [EastAfrican, February 17, 2017].
No-doubt nobly acting to improve the quality and quantity of hides and skins, as well as increase domestic value-addition and reduce exporting hides and skins, Tanzania formulated the ‘National Leather Sector Development Strategy (2016-2020)’ – parallel with the
‘Integrated Hides, Skins-and-Leather Sector Development Strategy’ – to improve animal husbandry and enhance leather industry productivity!
The government also established a ‘Livestock Development Fund’ to “have a competitive, coordinated leather industry built on modern technology, best practices – and responsive to the market!”
Surprisingly, the government hiked tax on hides and skins exports from 40-to-90 per cent in FY-2012/13! [See ‘Leather sector limps despite State bid to make it vibrant,’ The Citizen: June 6, 2013].
But, all that hasn’t improved matters! The situation’s still bleak, with Tanzania continuing to import leather products – and plastic goods that are invariably inferior to their leather cousins!
Oh well, I don’t know…
But, as the Confederation of Tanzania Industries’ Policy-and-Advocacy Director Hussein Kamote reportedly said, “… Tanzania has failed to tap the huge-income potential in the leather sector which guarantees new jobs if well-coordinated!”
Tanzania Tanneries Association Chairman Onorato Garavagli was more pessimistic, saying the situation worsened after the government hiked the levy.“It’s no longer good business; tanneries are experiencing hard times for lack of raw materials – and may close down anytime!” [The Citizen-BusinessWeek, June 6, 2013]
Ah, well… The government needs to revisit, review and revamp its leather business set-up to efficiently fuel its ambitious industrialization drive.
If necessary (oh, really!), we should seek help from the martyrs Crispin and Crispinian who were beheaded on October 26 in Year-285CE (or was it 286?) for preaching Christianity to the Gauls!
The two made shoes at night for a living and philanthropy – and became Patron Saints of cobblers, curriers, tanners and other leather workersfor their noble efforts! Cheers!