Why disabled Arusha elder remains bitter to this day

Sunday April 5 2020

 

By Zephania Ubwani @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Arusha. Anney Anney, a 69 year old famous elder in Arusha, is a bitter man.

This is not necessarily due to the disability he suffered when he was approaching his 10th birthday.

He is bitter because he has no shelter after government-owned premises he lived in with other tenants were demolished in 2013 and each of them told to fend for themselves.

Ever since, he has ‘hopped’ with his wheelchair from one area of the city to the other in search of comfortable accommodation but largely all in vain.

“As a person with disability, I lead a horrible life. The government should assist me with a plot. Then I will look for funds to build a simple house,” he told The Citizen recently.

Until only recently, his efforts to have the authorities to avail him land for the purpose appeared to have hit a brick wall. Nevertheless, he is confident he would one day win the battle.

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His ‘never-say-die’ zeal to reach out the district, regional and top national leaders has seen him face to face to some of those he targeted.

These included an encounter with the minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr William Lukuvi.

That was in April last year when the minister was in Arusha to officiate an event related to his docket.

“The minister was sympathetic to my plight. He directed me to see officials of the National Housing Corporation (NHC). I did but my problem is still there,” he said on Friday.

At different times since the house he lived in was demolished, he had been to the district and regional offices to plead assistance, notably a comfortable place to live.

Contrary to what would have been expected of any person with disability like him, Anney affirms he has not been begging for money to eke out a living.

“I am a broker. I can manage to earn something for my day-to-day subsistence,” he said in an interview.

However, he admitted age was already taking its toll on such kind of business (brokerage) because it demanded extensive movements in town to meet clients.

“What I am pleading for is a plot. I believe I can secure a loan from financial institutions such as banks to build a house,” he said.

The hard talking Anney is no ordinary person. He could not be taken for granted for his disability. At one point he had been branded troublesome.

He confesses stigmatization for persons with disabilities was still rife in the society and that partly contributed to his plight. He cited immediate relatives who appeared not much concerned about his plight. He is also a political activist and was one time (in 2007) locked in for five months for alleged instigation against the authorities.

He was among the founders of the Civic United Front (CUF) in the early 1990s and was the first chairman of the opposition party for Arusha Region.

He is no longer active in politics but is an admirer of measures being taken by the government against graft, misuse of public funds and red tape he says denied innocent people of their rights.

“The fifth phase government is doing what were Mwalimu’s (the Founding Father) ideals,” he said, noting that leaders should serve wananchi with dedication.

Mr Anney’s life had its ups and downs. He was born in 1951 in Mbulu District in present day Manyara Region.

At a tender age, like other village kids he went to school. He was physically fit and running up and down the hilly terrain of Mbulu until 1959 when he became disabled because of polio attack. That’s when the first phase of his life long troubles started. He was immediately handed over to the church charities and in 1964 while aged 13 years he found himself at Salvation Army hostel in Dar es Salaam.

Five years later (1969), he was back in Mbulu to continue with courses meant for children with disability at the Roman Catholic parish. It was here where he learnt typing.

He thereafter jointed the then East African Posts and Telecommunications (EAP& T), an institution of the former East African Community (EAC) where he worked until its collapse in 1977.

For a brief stint he was employed by Mbulu District Council as a clerk before he resigned to venture in cereal trading before he settled in Arusha in the 1980s as a broker.

For him, the sky was still the limit and got involved in political activism to found the CUF branch in Arusha.