A CHAT FROM LONDON: A confusing speech about Tanzanians living overseas

Friday August 10 2018

Freddy Macha

Freddy Macha 

By Freddy Macha

There is a basic rule of life. That without shelter, food and clothing we cannot exist. This rule does not clarify that all three ingredients require work and therefore, money, for upkeep.

Life is considered a tough job.

There is the stereotype- feel overseas that Africans live closest to wild animals. This is because the continent is still untapped and her abundant resources, richest world-wide.

But there is the truth about making a living in Africa. Only 15-20 percent gets formally educated. No education, no good job. The rest have to rely on emotional intelligence. Or as one of my brothers used to say: Maisha ya kubahatisha bahatisha. ..

You never know how long you shall live, whether the bus, truck or car will arrive safely without overturning. Most citizens reside in rural areas where logistics are a lottery. They might risk moving to Arusha, Nairobi, Kampala, Kinshasa, Yaoundé, Dakar, Lagos, Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, but here is the real jungle. The rough, tough mumbo-jumbo of making a living (in huge cities) is not easy if you are uneducated and poor.

Fifty years ago, after most of the continent threw away colonialism; information relied on word of mouth. In 2018, the internet furnishes us with instant information. An ill-formed mind can twist and turn minds of people as long as there is an Android phone by the bed-side. Another equally uniformed mind quickly believes and spreads whatever has been received. Unverified video clips merely scatter like dust, pebbles and mist. So goes the phenomenon of Citizen’s Journalism.


Everyone Becomes An Expert. Hearsay. Fake News. Rumours believed and taken as a Good Morning, Habari Gani, Mulibwanji, Asalaam Alaykoum, Sango Nini, Bawoni, Ori Otya greetings. Believing is easy these days. The cell phone and her dedicated shoe string – the internet- are now our church and mosque. We believe everything. Researched, studied or not. Part of the 21 century menu.

Thus was the speech by Home Affairs Minister, Kanji Lugtola. Quickly scattered on the net, last week on social media.

Note. The misspelt Minister’s name. “Kanji” instead of Kangi. “Lugtola”. Not Lugola.

That is a minor detail but proves what happens when “everyone” becomes an expert. Wajuzi Wengi. Chinese Whispers.

Debates and questions, sweeping statements. Rapid wire. Fire.

In my opinion the Minister was stating a government formality.

Countries have rules about travel. Those of us who have roamed the globe encounter hard rules, soft rules, strict rules, strange rules. Rules, period.

If you ask for a visa to Austria, Israel, Switzerland and Canada – you shall feel like bursting into tiny bits of mangled flesh. But the guys behind the immigration windows don’t bat eyelids. Abide. Period. No Rushwa. No chow-chow.

Where are you going? How much money do you possess? Your job? Who is your host? Questions. Forms to fill. Now President Donald Trump has even forbidden seven Islamic nations from entering the USA. Rules; period.

However, following Minister Kangi Lugola’s speech- overseas Tanzanians were in a trance and dance and stance of doubts and...

The London High Commission issued a statement on 6th August Monday insisting that the Ministry shall clarify. These are “internet rumours” – not an official line.

Meanwhile a discussion on Lete -Chai TV suggested two main thoughts. Before a policy is implemented it should be discussed. Therefore the Minister’s speech should not have been taken as decree. Two. That the Minister’s declaration should have been more specific. His Excellency could have cited the Middle East saga whereby a multitude of citizens flocked to the Tanzanian Embassy in Oman, protesting at how they have been mistreated. WE have to be reminded that going overseas is not an evergreen paradise with 72 fresh virgins.

This tale, plus others that have occurred in China and the UK (which The Citizen and this columnist reported around ten years ago) need adequate guidelines...

Here is the moral of the story.

Over 75 per cent Tanzanians have not received formal education beyond primary school. Going overseas without professional know how is dangerous. We shall continue hearing about young uneducated Africans drowning in the Mediterranean Sea or working for bogus rich lords in the Far East. Our struggle to reach those three tenets of life: food, shelter, clothing.

The internet revolution has offered us tools of communication, however, the struggle still continues. Or as the Jamaican musician, Jimmy Cliff sang in 1969: “I have a got a hard road to travel and a long way to go

A hard road to travel and a rough, rough way to go

But I can’t turn back my heart is fixed

My mind is made up, I will never stop

My faith will see, see me through.”