Yanga leaders ought toknow that trespassing into politics is pointless

12Jan 2022
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Yanga leaders ought toknow that trespassing into politics is pointless

​​​​​​​A quiet revolution is passing in the soft underbelly of archrival contests in the city of Dar es Salaam, and the now enthroned ‘people’s club’ dared to state to congratulate those who earned the trust of Union President, Samia Suluhu Hassan, and appointed to -

Yanga's Chairman, Mshindo Msolla.

-to various top-level positions at the weekend.

It was a statement without precedent and a bad example for other community organizations, as it is not a habit, actually it is taboo, to interpret an appointment that narrowly.

This taboo has lasted for the 60 years of independence, and it isn’t altogether surprising it is Yanga breaking it.

There is a legend that after the Union, Zanzibar President, Sheikh Amani Abeid Karume, was showing open affinities with the Jangwani Street club, and when things were at a certain high, President Julius Nyerere saw it fit to dot the i’s and cross the t’s as they say.

From then on top political leaders would use influence behind the scenes for this or that facility, or in the case of President Karume, contribute tangible sums of money for club projects like building their Jangwani headquarters, etc.

But public identification with a club, or entertaining a situation where the club feels it is opportune to issue a statement, is wrong.

At a certain moment, prominent corporate advocate and top government official Samuel Sitta, when he was Speaker of Parliament, told MPs that he wrote the Simba SC constitution – implicitly, as the club changed from Sunderland FC to Simba SC in the early 1970s. 

From the time he wrote the constitution to the moment he made a public observation about it was slightly over 30 years or at least not below, nearly a generation.

He was like an elder recounting his life’s exploits to grandchildren, not taking sides in political or community terms, where being on that side would mean this or that as for political loyalties.

‘Utani’ undertones as relating to loyalties to the two clubs is something quite familiar in the legislature, and has tended to be overly noticeable during the past half-decade, and it is partly due to this change of tone and composure that Jangwani Street club's leaders thought it opportune to make their pleasure public and visible.

In a fairly recent exchange in the debating chamber, outgoing Speaker Job Ndugai was pulling the leg of Finance and Planning Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, on some budget item, or rather when overall gestures of recognition were being sprayed around after the budget was read. They were the camp leaders.

Yet there is a difference between jokes exchanged between elected officials playing their due roles in the hemicycle, and saluting this or that individual for being recognized as fit for this or that position.

In a rather superficial sense, it looks like a formality but on closer observation, one finds that it isn’t; it comes down to saying that the President is right about this fellow as we also like him or her, which is improper.

It is to carve out a stakeholder’s position regarding that appointment as if your views had been heard or taken account of in that appointment, a non-starter proposition - of being a stakeholder.

Still, another problem lurks in what the club statement said, congratulating all those who earned the trust of the President, without saying anything substantive tied to that plaudit.

The club did not attempt to suggest what sort of situation it expects on account of the good appointments it was praising, or indeed why appointments had to be there in the first place.

Left in that mode it is a scalar quantity in elementary physics, that is, a one-legged quotient that needs another aspect to propel it into motion like another leg.

The club could appreciably not do that as this would lead to a direct appraisal of either those appointed or, differently, the president, and this could inconvenience even the target of their uncalled for plebiscite on those appointments, and even have it revoked.

Crowding behind an individual and praising the president for his appointment isn’t to show loyalty to the president but to that individual, giving him a solid aura of having been appointed as a matter of right, as an unavoidable individual. That could easily backfire, not?

So the Yanga statement infringed on the taboos a community organization has to observe but it didn’t cross any red lines of loyalty, as then that would have unavoidable consequences.

Still, it isn’t an example to be emulated as it is narrow in its outlook, issuing a public statement for happiness on one of their own being appointed to higher positions in the government, instead of calling a private party and congratulating him.

A series of such congratulations on WhatsApp would largely have sufficed, instead of issuing a blank statement that says nothing of appointments or cabinet changes other than praising them.

Hence it breached a taboo but in a cowardly fashion, had it gone further the club would earn a vibrant tongue slash.