Today is the 51st birthday of the United Republic of Tanzania. On December 9, 1961, a child called Tanganyika was born, before this child was baptized in 1964 and adopted the new name of Tanzania -- a result of the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar islands.
This child has grown amid political, economic and social storms. At 51 year old, Tanzania has weathered many challenges. From building a nation from zero to a point where we almost ruined it due to mismanagement of the economy, Tanzania has certainly seen its days.
As a young nation, having just recovered from the shackles of colonialism, Tanzania launched a war against poverty, diseases, illiteracy and hunger. On top of that the young Tanzania was forced to go to war with its neighbour to defend its borders as well as the security of our people. Not only that, the young Tanzania was also forced to fight the liberation war in Southern Africa---a war it fought bravely, but at great cost.
Back home, our four major enemies, namely, poverty, diseases, illiteracy and hunger continued to ravage our country. At the same time, another man-made enemy called corruption invaded our country, causing pain to millions but embarrassing wealth and other gains to a small group of greedy leaders and their allies.
As Tanzania celebrate its 51st birthday, it’s good to know that the very same major enemies it fought five decades ago are still alive and kicking -- with new vigour. The truth is that these enemies have also grown stronger than they once were fifty years ago -- reminding Tanzania that the war is still far from won.
Tanzania is more corrupt today than it was fifty years ago. Our shilling is valueless today compared to how strong it was back then. Our economy has declined rapidly during the past three decades, growing at a snail’s pace. Our political system is more corrupt than it was during the achievement of independence.
To put things into perspective, corruption has grown stronger in Tanzania during the past five decades, threatening the future of this country.
Today, justice is pegged on how much you have, not the credibility of your evidence or whatever facts you have gathered. Justice has become too expensive to afford for many of our people because of corruption.
As the nation gets swallowed with corruption, we see less political will to fight this dangerous enemy. When this is combined with a corrupt judicial system, it’s the common man who bears the brunt of injustice.
As we say happy birthday Tanzania, and congratulations for reaching 51 years old, our leaders should remember that we are more vulnerable today as a nation than we were fifty years ago. We aren’t vulnerable because our neighbours have nukes, but just simply because we have allowed our major enemies to mature and produce a new fighter called corruption.
We are aware about some major achievements that we have achieved as a nation, but our achievements have taken one step ahead, and two steps back. Today, as a nation, we still cannot produce enough food to feed our people. Today, we are still branded as notorious beggars, roaming the world bow in hand.
We aren’t supposed to beg at all if our resources were fully and equally utilized for the benefits of our nation.
That’s why the majority of Tanzanians are saying a skeptical “Happy Birthday Tanzania.”