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Power cuts, a failed transport infrastructure, a lack of imagination in our foreign policy, a bloated public sector, lack of freedom of expression – we have to wonder what is going on. A number of people may wonder what has happened to sanity within the Tanzanian government corridors! The answer is actually quite simple and is right there to be seen: we have a government, and a political system, that is not fit to govern and even though, we have better alternatives [if not solutions]; oppression is on the highest side…
The ‘loud’ silence
President Jakaya Kikwete has held his peace as his subordinates continue to blow the wind of confusion as each of the governing authority arms come up with their own versions on the recent Arusha saga.
Following the deaths of three persons killed during the peaceful demonstration against the ‘flawed’ mayoral elections in Arusha municipality which left three dead and a number of civilians wounded; the head of the state has kept ‘mum’ as those who feed under his leadership sprout with a number of pronouncements.
Act against the Force’s code of conduct
The Minister of foreign affairs Bernard Membe recently pronounced the action taken by the police force in Tanzania during CHADEMA’s peaceful demonstration as “against the force’s code of conduct.”
This pronouncement came a few days after he was ‘pressed’ against the wall by the diplomats who seem not to have been quite pleased with the riots and subsequent deaths and injuries sustained by the demonstrators.
The most surprising thing about this pronouncement is that shortly after it was let out, a number of pronouncements have also been issued by two other people. Namely, Mr. Paul Chagonji – Tanzanian Police Force’s Chief of Operations and Minister in the President’s office, Stephen Wassira. But let’s start looking at this from the beginning!
Ignoring the Outcome of Police’s thoughtless action
Mr. Membe in his address to the member of the diplomatic Missions in Tanzania who gathered for a meeting and ‘demanded’ to hear the stand of the government on the issue did not in actual sense treat the matter with all honesty. In the first place, Membe refused to acknowledge the pain and loss felt by the families of the deceased and also for those who are still nursing the wounds.
In his discussion with the media who probably pressed him as well to reveal the content of the deliberations with the members of the diplomatic missions in the country; he claimed that “During the meeting with ambassadors, they had pressed me to give the government’s stand over the killings… I told them that the government statement would be issued within this week that it was dismayed by the killings; I offer my condolences to the families which lost their loved ones. I also pray for quick recovery for those who have been injured.”
In this kind of language there are two notable issues that should not be ignored; non-committal attitude of the government to join with others to condemn this act by the police and showing the citizenry that the sitting government loves her relationship with the international community than her own people.
To any person with a bit of logic, the first thing the sitting government was expected to do was not to sit with the members of the diplomatic missions in the country but to give an explanation to the people of Tanzania first – beginning with those who were met with the scathing treatment. Some of the members of the diplomatic missions in the land are actually not even interested in the lives of Tanzanians but of the looting business between their countries and the greedy leaders. It would therefore, be in order for Mr. Membe to tell Tanzanians who really is ‘served’ by the sitting government.
Stand by me, Have your bread buttered!
The statements issued at different times by the Police Force’s Chief of operations, Paul Chagonji and the Minister of State, Stephen Wassira only shows that they are in the positions they are to keep their allegiance to the President and have their bread buttered.
Mr. Chagonji stated that, “they [the police force] will enforce law where applicable and when any person and or party defy the existing authorities.” Without substantiating what he actually meant, this could be read as to say that the police force is and can only protect the existing members and supporters of the sitting government.
To narrow this even more; it could as well be read to suggest that they [the Police Force] will only look after members of the Chama cha Mapinduzi – CCM. If this is the thought of line my learned friend is inclined to; then this goes against the code of conduct and the manifesto of the force which is “service to all” and the whole police force is reduced to a partisan tool.
On his part, Wassira only spoke as any other servant of another [not a nation] can. He said that, “the road to further inquiry into the skirmishes which led to the deaths of three and many injured is clear. This would result into finding whether CHADEMA is responsible for the above mishaps or the police force.” This is taking away the weight from where it belongs and trying to create a path where it can never be. Shifting blame to make one-self ‘better-than-the-other’ is an old game which was easily overcome by truth.
Looking at the whole scenario; the handling of the Arusha killings and battery, the government of Tanzania wants the members of the general public, the people of Tanzania, diplomatic and the international community to discredit the opposition movement in the land. This is a failed ‘political cold war.’
The Arusha saga could be termed as the sitting [questionable] government’s strategy to turn the attention of the people of Tanzania from other important issues like that one of Dowans and the sky-rocketing bill sent to TANESCO which the same government and a number of the high profile members of the same are named; the constitution review issue which has sparked a number of diverging views including that between the Artoney General, Frederick Werema and Mr Jakaya Kikwete.
Lest we Forget
The trend we are seeing even in the subsequent mayoral elections everywhere in the land shows that there is something fishy within the sitting government. On this note therefore, it would be good for the same international community looking into Sudan and Ivory Coast to start doing something if at all what may become of Tanzania [God forbid!] could be stopped before it becomes a full bloom problem.
It should be remembered that this happens at the time when even the Presidency of Jakaya Kikwete is still questionable in the minds of many voters in Tanzania. There are a number of questionable issues since Kikwete was declared the winner of the recent elections in Tanzania.
In all that has been said on the Arusha saga by Minister Membe, Minister Wassira and Tanzanian Police’s Chief of operations; Tanzanians are still waiting for Mr. President to say something [if he has anything to say!] These sprouting spokespersons are just a confused lot who want to derail people from issues of substance.
One of the African traditions says that, “it is a taboo for a rooster to roost at odd hours of the night” and when it does then it must be killed. True democracy does not come from killing the rooster which roosts at odd hour but to listen to the sound of it and act accordingly and with discretion.