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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Storm clearing, but what next?

10th February 2012
Editorial Cartoon

A Chinese proverb says there are three truths - my truth, your truth and the truth. Nelson Mandela is meanwhile on record as having once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Both quotes have special relevance to the experience Tanzania has just had in the form of a stand-off between the government and a section of doctors in the country’s public service.

It is only thanks to the wisdom of various stakeholders, including ordinary citizens who saw the situation degenerating into a crisis, that we are at last seeing light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

Dialogue has unlocked doors and windows, leading to sanity and making reason carry the day in that the stand-off has ended peacefully and striking doctors have promised to resume work with immediate effect. It’s a development the nation and all those wishing Tanzania and Tanzanians well will applaud and find comfort in.

Yes, the going has been very tough and rough these two past fortnight or so, as the strike ran on and took its toll. But hard or bitter as it may be, some things are just better forgotten to make it possible for life to go on.

Of course, we have no option but to learn from the sad experience we have had contending with the cruel events of these last two weeks. It’s no simple matter when medical personnel, including specialist doctors, decide to down tools and thus leave patients to their own fate.

The Guardian feels honoured to have played the small part it had time and other resources for in appealing for the kind of interventions we have seen bearing fruit we can bet all sides that were party to the conflict are satisfied with.

Given their prominent positions in society, some institutions and institutions will obviously and admittedly have played a much more pronounced role in seeking an end to the saga.

We appreciate their intervention and pray that they will not relent in their efforts as we are yet to witness a definitive end to the problems we have been grappling with.

We also know that reaction to the events revolving around the doctors’ “industrial action” has been and remains widely divided, which is only natural.

But our lowest common denominator in this particular case is the fact that our people’s lives are at stake and the perpetration of arguments and counter-arguments can only make things worse, and by no means better.

This is precisely why both the government and doctors have seen of the logic of burying the hatchet, so to speak, so that normalcy resumes as talks continue. This, again, is as it should be.

We are happy that the storm is clearing. Why not agree with former United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar and bear in mind that a society is judged not so much by the standards attained by its more affluent and privileged members as by the quality of life which it is able to assure for its weakest members?

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