-Tanzania and other African countries have an imponderable problem, which can without exaggeration be summarised as how to make rural areas livable. Will youths remain there in 10 years, and how far can seniors return to rural areas upon retirement? These questions are valid as we are mostly rural attached even now.
All the same we ought to have our place in the discussion concerning the the theme for this year’s World Habitat Day, of accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world. The theme recognizes that cities are responsible for some 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. How far that is also true in the country is a different matter, as Tanzania leads in Sub-Saharan cattle numbers, along with Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as other less noticeable cattle like beasts in the national parks. They all have their part in carbon emissions but it is safer to think of humans in the issue.
With our rather complex list of issues relating to habitats, local events and activities during World Habitat Day may not have been thorough on how national, regional and local governments and organizations, communities, academic institutions, the private sector and all relevant stakeholders can work together to create sustainable, carbon-neutral, inclusive cities and towns. In Dar es Salaam for instance the talk of town was the systematic demolition of troubling hawkers’ structures along city streets, and even in market areas, throwing up a Pandora’s Box of how youths eking out a living peacefully will adapt. They will move to less palatable street corners and neighbourhoods.
While we talk of emissions there is still a problem of violence on account of implausible opportunities for youths in particular, while a portion of the clergy berates entertainment as moral failure rather than a gainful industry, where youths can practice skills, yes, including dancing skills. It means World Habitat Day means plenty of things to so many people, but with our Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project, we are playing at least a small part in reducing the use of fossil fuels. We shall do even better if we can find ways of ending the use of charcoal for gas if access can be eased, or ‘bow-beaten coal.;
UN experts say that the day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. Yes, indeed but it is not easy to use any such power as life is difficult for most people and they visibly react when their balances are disturbed. Those who want steep carbon taxes can look at what happened with the mobile cash health and education tax. It isn’t that easy.