New year angst at beautiful Tanzania
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Tony Zakaria
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A M not going to make new year resolutions that I may not keep. But I want to direct my fire at a few culprits whose exploits are threatening the tranquility of this oasis of peace called Tanzania.

Am very upset at farmers and cattle keepers fighting the whole year round. What is going on? Every month animals killed or wounded, properties damaged and at times human lives are being lost be- cause of cattle grazing in the wrong place. Some pastoralist take their cattle into game parks because the grass is plentiful there.

There is pressure on arable, fertile land for three man - made reasons. One, people have been reproducing at the same rate since we gained political independence from Britain 55 years ago. Two, livestock keepers have increased their animal stock to unprecedented levels. We now have 25 million livestock and 50 million people.

The land area has remained the same at 945,000 square kilo- metres. Third, environmental degradation lead- ing to desertification of some provinces that were traditional areas for cattle-rearing. Think of Shinyanga, Arusha, parts of Kili- manjaro, Manyara, Dodoma, Singida and Mara.

Am angry at government for standing on the sidelines while pastoralists migrat- ed their herds to Morogoro, Coast, Mbeya among other provinces that have been ‘in- vaded’. Do we not know why we had so little rain between November and Decem- ber 2016?

Wananchi everywhere are demand- ing clean water from government but who killed the forests? Students graduating from colleges are angry at government for not creating jobs. I blame politicians for mak- ing jobs promises.

Is it the government’s responsibility to create jobs for everybody? Tanzania has many colleges. Citizens and non-citizens can study here for courses and degrees of one’s choice. Government does not tell it’s people what college degrees to aim for. If one chooses to go to college, let it be for acquir- ing knowledge, not for jobs.

Otherwise one needs to study what is needed by the mar- ket. Are Tanzanian graduates willing to take on any job that will put food on the ta- ble? College diplomas are not worth much these days. Just because one has a degree does not guarantee getting a job.

Having two de- grees is not a formula to have a well-paying job or promotion at work. Am angry at the ignorance of our youth who think jobs are an automatic right once you graduate from college. Or veterans at public or private organ- isations who believe since they have mas- ters degrees, they should be placed higher in the food chain.

That said, leadership competencies cannot be taught in class. Just because a permanent secretary or company direc- tor has a PhD does it mean s/he has the requisite people skills needed to bring out the best performance from the tens or hun- dreds of subordinates.

Personal temperament, leadership style and dedication to the job may be crucial criteria to making the one with masters de- gree more qualified to head a department than a colleague with a doctorate. Am boiling over all of us educated per- sons in Tanzania for failing to come up with life - changing innovations to make us and Tanzania rich. Why we have not produced our own mini Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, John Dell or Jan Koum of Whatsapp? Be- cause it is a lot of hard work.

Am angry at directors and ministerial bosses who attended meetings at fancy ho- tels in Dubai, London, Washington, and other capitals at great cost to taxpayers but without tangible benefits for ordinary citi- zens.

We all have to eat but from the same national cake. How many mining and electricity gen- eration agreements did senior Tanzani- ans negotiate on behalf of the land of the Kilimanjaro in the last 10 years? Did those agreements always incorporate the best in- terests of the people of Tanzania?

Or did we sell the family jewels for the price of glass beads? How many big shots who represent Tanzania in high level meetings bother to read briefing notes before meetings? How many big and small shots read materials in seminar folders before their meetings begin?

How often do our teams challenge fa- cilitators, investors, bankers and others to ensure the nation gets the best deals? Have we been making foreign compa- nies and individuals rich at the expense of wananchi? The answer is probably yes. No company, bank or individual will invest without expecting anything in return.

This is standard business practice. But it is our duty to safeguard the inter- ests of the Republic. Perhaps patriotism has become a rare commodity in the na- tional warehouse

. I am livid over wananchi who waste hours arguing over soccer, the benefits of live Bunge, which political party is respon- sible for why their lives are not flowing with milk and honey, or which opposition politician will make the next president of Tanzania. None of these can put food on the table.

The president talks about his election motto ‘hapa kazi tu’ since late 2015. He has said nobody should be drinking or playing billiards during the day; everybody should be working to build the nation. Farmers should be busy in their gar- dens, traders and factory workers likewise. It is all about work and nothing else.

Why are some having difficulty following him? Some Tanzanians love to argue over trivia and pretty soon their banter can es- calate into a verbal battle so intense you would think the winer would get a gold medal. The mouth cannot plant corn, cof- fee or beans.

Such local talk experts should find bet- ter use of their debating skills elsewhere in the East African Region, for example in conflict countries as peace and reconcilia- tion negotiators.

In Tanzania we only want serious doers in agriculture, the manufac- turing industry and in the service sectors. Let us begin the year 2017 with a firm resolve to change the way we live, study, work, relate to each other.

We have to make the national cake bigger as we work to share it equitably.

Happy new year.

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