The year 2012 of our Lord is now with us. We have no option but to welcome it. Whether we collectively do so with joy and optimism or with gloom and pessimism is a different matter.
So yours ever joins you in observing this annual ritual which normally begins at midnight when a new baby, awaited for 52 weeks, finally sees light of the day, or rather the darkness of the night.
A related tradition is one of making New Year resolutions, mainly at personal level, although some institutions and communities incorporate them in their operational plans.
New Year resolutions made by individuals are characterised by their short life span. They come with a bang and much zeal but most enforcers, except highly principled individuals, forget about them within the first quarter of the year, if not within the first few weeks.
However, the exercise of figuring out yearly resolutions is not a useless one as there is a self assessment motive behind it, which is a good habit worth adopting even at community level.
Now, if Tanzanians opted to embark on the annual self evaluation undertaking and use the experience to set priorities for the incoming year, what would our balance sheet look like, and what priorities would we set for 2012?
Join the writer to venture into this exercise and later on participate in the debate on this theme, as your input might make a difference in the country’s socio-economic, political and cultural development during 2012 and beyond.
It is true the challenges we are experiencing are so many that short-listing the most acute is a challenge in its own right. In my opinion, however, one of the problems to contend with is disaster management.
Some serious incidents which occurred in 2011 have clearly shown that we seem to excel in disaster mismanagement. Cases like the military bombs explosions which took place in Dar-se-Salaam suburbs, the capsizing of MV Islander in Zanzibar, and the rain floods havoc in Dar es Salaam, exposed our incompetence in handling disasters.
Many lives were unnecessarily lost and property destroyed simply because in all these happenings interventions came late and were executed incompetently, to put it mildly. This state of affairs should not be allowed to continue.
This perennial problem of ours, that is power shortage, nearly brought the country to its knees in 2011, as most of us know too well. Not only is the blunder of overdependence on hydro-electricity power at stake, but also the dirty hand of corruption and the tendency to politicise power generation and distribution activities.
Since the longstanding mess in this sector has badly crippled our national economy, it is high time we took measures to ensure what we have gone through is not repeated in 2012 and beyond. Failure to take remedial actions will have long term implications to our development.
But how do we positively move forward on this front when the spin doctors handling the patient are the same? A frightening scenario, this one!
The third item on my list of national priorities for 2012 is the constitutional challenge. The year 2011 will be remembered as a time when a long journey to the new constitution began. Forget about the wishful thinking- cum- propaganda that it will all be wrapped up in 2014.
Given the false start reflected in the controversial law to guide the whole process, what we are likely to have in 2014 is old wine in a new bottle, implying the clamour for a new constitution will be amplified once the stillborn one is in place. In any case, it is important to participate in the constitutional debate when it takes off in 2012, as even a reviewed constitution is likely to improve a few things here and there.
Last but not least is the fate of our “madafu” Shilling, read the value of our local money when weighed against international currencies used in international trading.
Experts are telling us that the T-Shilling is experiencing a free fall, and that a combination of this development and other factors are the ingredients behind the double digit inflation now heading to the 20% level.
What are our economic wizards, both fake and genuine ones, planning to do to tame inflation in 2012? For lack of space I can’t comment on what we ought to do in 2012 to put a break on the mad race for the 2015 Presidential seat. Happy New Year to fans of this column and the wananchi in general!
Henry Muhanika is Media Consultant