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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Lack of focus: Tanzania`s bed of roses, or thorns?

15th January 2012

If what has been going on in Tanzania’s political scene is anything to go by, then Tanzanians should brace themselves for more surprises by the time 2012 winds up!

The ball was set rolling late last year when the opposition NCCR-Mageuzi did what surprised and shocked many, namely, the withdrawal of party membership of its most popular legislator, Mr David Kafulila.

Many could not believe their ears because this was one party that had before the 2010 general election been consigned to the dustbin of electoral politics on account of not having a single legislator in the august House!

Having been reduced to little more than a hollow political party, many were therefore surprised when the same party decided to close the door to one of its most influential legislators.

Financially, the withdrawal of Kafulila’s party membership meant that the opposition party would receive less subsidy on account of having reduced the number of their legislators from four to three.

For it is important to bear in mind that subsidies are paid to political parties in accordance with the number of legislators such parties have in Parliament.

In short, the bigger the number of legislators a political party has in the House, the more money in subsidy such a party would get from the government.

Had it not been for the court, the Kigoma South legislator would have lost his parliamentary seat and with it, his lucrative earnings in salaries and other pecks.

Before dust on the Kafulila incident had settled down, the Civic United Front (CUF) dismissed from the party its strongest legislator, Wawi MP Hamad Rashid Mohammed.

And like Mr Kafulila, there are all signs that the Wawi legislator would keep his parliamentary seat, courtesy of the court which Tanzanians must be very thankful because unlike other institutions, the judiciary has refused to be influenced by any individual or institution.

To date it is not known what set off Kafulila on a collision course with his leaders in the opposition party.

But rumours, which are not in short supply in Dar es Salaam (described as Rumourville in 1965 by the founding father, Mwalimu Nyerere), has it that the collision is somewhat related to the 2015 presidential election!

Whisperer has been informed that the struggle within the NCCR-Mageuzi has the objective of creating space for bigwigs from the ruling party, CCM, who may soon be kicked out as a result of the on-going in-fighting.

But that is another story that would require fuller treatment.

Just when many believed that they had seen the last political soap opera, as starred by Kafulila and Hamad Rashid, the Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli set Kigamboni residents’ tongues wagging when he told them if they did not wish to pay for the new ferry rates, wapige mbizi (they should simply dive and swim to their homes).

Interestingly, opinion is divided over what has come to be referred to as the Kigamboni ferry Magufuli saga.

One group supports the minister, arguing that Dr Magufuli was right in defending the raising of the fare for Kigamboni ferry.

The group says if other city residents are paying Sh300 in commuter fare, why should Sh200 raise eyebrows?

However, the second group which opposes the minister and is supported by Dar es Salaam members of Parliament argues that the ferry is a bridge.

Whether one wants it or not, must cross it, hence it cannot be treated like a commuter bus.

What is however, rather unfortunate about the foregoing developments is that political ramblings are increasingly becoming a fashion in Tanzania with disputes taking centre stage!

But for some of us, our only fear is that the time for doing things is running out! When are we going to start delivering?

Away from politicking, Mpanda has just had its new airport!

It is quite interesting however that  there is an old airport in Sumbawanga and badly in need of a facelift, barely 200 kilometers away!

Again, rumours have it that Mpanda got the airport because the prime minister is coming from the place!  Whilst airports are good for the country’s development,  it is important to ensure that old airports are improved before embarking on new airports.

One finds the same thing in a new upstart town, Chato which has been transformed into a district and is presently connected with tarmac roads!

Interestingly, Chato is overtaking old townships such as Biharamulo and others!

I’m told there was also an effort to transform Chato into the capital of a new region, Geita!

If you asked for my opinion, it is time this country stopped developing areas on the basis of where big people in the government or the ruling party comes from. That is if we don’t want to produce another Nigeria!

We all know that the rabbit we have is very small and that it cannot be well shared among ourselves.

But let’s at least stick to economic driven as opposed to big shot driven developments.

Rukwa Region is the country’s leading food basket. Let’s think of infrastructure that would ensure that the region serves us well as the country’s granary.

Surely, spending Sh30billion on a new airport instead of a railway link to Tazara that could be used in ferrying maize to the rest of the country is not very intelligent!

Let’s not forget that the completion of Mpanda airport gives the two regions of Mbeya and Rukwa three airports within 200 kilometers  to one another !

Absence of intelligence could also be said about building a new port and airstrip in Bagamoyo instead of working out modalities for decongesting the Dar es Salaam port whose cargo handling equipment are second to none in southern Africa!

Therefore Tanzania’s main problem is not lack of funds, but rather lack of priorities on the part of those entrusted   with the task of executing economic projects.

Mwalimu Nyerere told Tanzanians more than once that for any country to forge ahead, it required four things; namely people, land, good policies and good leadership.

Going by what has been going on in this country that is endowed with all kinds of natural resources that include, among others, untold quantities of minerals, we seem to have everything in place except one thing, good leadership!

Indeed, if we had good leadership we would not have been building say an airport where there is no need to have one or losing precious lives in floods that could have easily been avoided if we had focused on leadership!.

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