Are we heading to Emmaus or hades?

Tony Zakaria

PICTURE this for a moment. Imagine we are back in 2015, a few days after the Tanzanian general election. Perhaps you are heading to Kinondoni from my favourite church called Saint Peters.

In front of you are a number of folks, deep in a heated debate, wondering how their favourite candidate who promised a changed Tanzania, who would make Tanzania great again.

We all have our favourite people whether political, social or spiritual, right?. How many presidential candidates were there again? A good number, and they all promised to transform the nation into prosperity, albeit with widely differing approaches. Only one of them could win the presidency.

We can imagine supporters of the losing candidates feeling really let down, as if the world as we know it was coming to an end. So this bunch of guys in front of you on that believable (kusadikika) day would have been talking about the hot button topic of the time.

Imagine you pretend to be unaware of what had recently transpired and innocently asked what issue was making them hot under the collar. What issue? Where are you coming from?

Did you nor hear about our ‘president-in-waiting’ losing the election for the white house because bulldozers have made too many raids in the country, so much some voters believed he would build a bridge and road to Pemba island if voters asked for it? Our candidate who was left in the political dust was going to create wealth for every artisan, motorcycle driver and small trader, and now the new leader might just bulldoze all illegal businesses parked on road reserves.

This kind of scenario also happened a long time ago according to scripture. Prophet Issa bin Maryam, aka Jesus Christ promised eternal salvation to those who would mend their ways, do the right things in their families and communities, love God almighty wholeheartedly and their neighbour as they love themselves.

He fought for the poor, the downtrodden, and the sinner regardless of economic status. He became unpopular with the establishment and they fought and defeated him unto death.

So a few days after his death, his followers were travelling to a location near the capital Jerusalem and as they were hotly debating the events of the few days prior to their sojourn, a stranger asked what they were going on about. One of the group gave him an answer which many of us who enjoy asking questions where none are desired would have remembered for a long time.

Are you a stranger in these parts that you don’t know the recent events? What events, the stranger further probed. That our leader was killed and nobody even knows where his body is. We have confirmed his body is not in the tomb, which is what some ladies had said but we could not believe them at first.

We are told in the gospel of Luke that those people were on their way to Emmaus and the person who was questioning them was the Son of man himself. He chided them for being persons of low faith who did not believe in what was foretold by earlier prophets.

Humanity has not changed much since. Mwalimu predicted CCM will keep winning you know. Anyway, in 2015 there were many who would not believe the CCM candidate had won the presidency, and wondered how that was even possible.

Even today some cannot believe CCM is still in power and president JPM is surgically carrying out radical excisions of societal cancers of modern day selfishness, in public or private business practices.

There are groups of people who seem forever on the way to Emmaus, still wondering what happened to their saviour. Move on guys, whatever social or economic agenda your guy/gal wished to carry out is still out there for you to act on. Two or three members of parliament can pool their constituency funds for three months and with it make local roads in their districts passable. Or pay for water wells to be dug. Or provide schools with books and computers.

Finding fault with every action the fifth president or his assistants take will not make the lives of Tanzanians better. One of my readers asked me a few days ago, and I was not on my way to Kinondoni or Mwembe Yanga.

He said, is citizen number one going in the right direction? My answer was that we as a nation had reached a right and everybody was involved in it, passively or actively. To change this country from this state of affairs requires a leader who is willing to make mistakes. My reader appeared relieved at my answer. He said he got his answer. We are going in the right direction. My hypothesis to him was JPM has two opposition groups.

The first is all those who politically opposed his party and his candidacy in 2015. The second is within his own party and government rank and file, who were used to easy money, little work. The political opposition camp he knows how to manouvre around. But the ones within his team are the trickier bunch to handle.

I said this in response to my reader observing there is a lot of (political) noise around, claiming we have lost the rudder to the national ship and are heading for the proverbial rocks.

If you listen to all the noise, you might be excused for believing that Tanzania is one of the worst countries to live or do business in at the moment.

If you are a business person who was used to a corrupt system where money made things right and are unwilling to change to the new system where honesty and integrity is valued, then doing business is no longer easy.

If you are a public service employee who benefitted from frequent absence from duty and travelled extensively abroad on government- funded trips of questionable national benefit, you will not like the austerity imposed on public servants. Your pockets may have acquired holes that cannot be mended easily without the Yankee currency.

If you are an accountant or cashier who had slipped in a couple of fictitious employees into the salary list, or a technician who got promoted to chief engineer without having attended the school of engineering, you would be hating the national CEO right now.

But if you are a parent with six school-age children, you would be singing hallelujah every day knowing this president has fulfilled the wish of the founding father Mwalimu Nyerere of making education as much a privilege of the peasant offspring as of the elite. We may yet see affordable health care for majority of people.

It is time to mend our ways, and be good citizens for the good of our country. Being selfreliant should not depend on the government of the day. Let us reach Emmaus together.

We are in control of our economic, social and spiritual salvation.

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