Not so fast, Acacia, let’s define ownership first!


ERICK Knutsson, one of the finest diplomats and gentlemen to have been born and bred from Sweden, once said that after the so-called ‘scramble for Africa’ in the 19th century at Berlin, then West German, was done, there remained just one more continent to scramble for and he called that continent ‘The Future.’

Indeed, many of us who happened to learn history from the eyes of European teachers couldn’t have seen that in those terms; we knew the Europeans were just out to fight it out for a piece of ‘colonial’ jurisdiction on a piece of land now called Kenya or Tanzania;

we didn’t see it in terms of a future full of other dangers other than just physical colonisation of backyards where our chiefs kept their concubines. Yet, even in those misty years, the colonial powers were busy trying to colonise our very way of thinking as well.

That’s why, for instance, when some idiots calling themselves ‘investors’ are shown the door, the Western media gangs up to call our leaders all sorts of names – dictators, for one – knowing fully well that they’re also out to ‘dictate’ terms to us.

What nonsense! After literally stealing billions from exports of mineral sands and to which the government reacted by sealing off the loophole, the Western media are now saying ‘Tanzania’s bulldozer’ is ‘targeting the London miner’ Acacia.

Gold miner Acacia Mining announced it was seeking arbitration to settle its dispute with the government. The announcement was made just a day after Parliament approved two bills that seek to give Tanzanians absolute ownership over all natural resources.

And that’s the issue with the Western media – absolute ownership of our own natural resources. So whose resources should they be, if we beg a simple question? For a start, Tanzanians need to learn from past experiences, such as those from Ashanti Gold in Ghana.

Our brothers and sisters in that West African nation did the right thing when they worked out a ‘deal’ with the foreign investors in Ashanti which made sure, for instance, that all people displaced by its mining activities were resettled elsewhere – with decent housing and piped water supply to boot.

In Tanzania, the hapless local were literally ‘shoved’ aside, if not ‘buried under’ as unconfirmed reports once said; and whether true or false, the reports belie the behaviour of our leaders when it comes to dealing with some of our so-called investors.

Yes, we’ve had very good investors in our midst. All that the Head of State is saying is that not all of them are that good and certainly, not Acacia, going by what’s been happening in its backyards.

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