THE sleepless city is extremely quiet and bleak. The smiling faces of her people have waned and anger has taken its toll. Snitchers and haters have increased in the communities and are ready to kill anytime.
They just hate a person whose life seems to be okay in their eyes and understanding. Heartrendingly, all you can see in Dar now are gloomy faces of men and women from all walks of life. The City Centre is no longer vibrant as it is used to be. Things have completely changed despite government’s effort to connect the city.
Without mincing words, Dar es Salaam city which is the hub of Tanzania’s economy and the commercial city has lost its past glory. Most business people have relocated to the suburbs or moved to other cities and major towns. For some reasons in recent years, Dar has failed to attract new businesses and as such has slipped in the darkest end. I am sure city fathers have noted this drastic change and are working on strategies to lance the boil.
A quick and random survey on her striking and lucrative hotels, restaurants, malls, local markets, bars and pubs will give you a picture of what has become of Dar.
The city girls who were once looking flamboyant, expensive, stylish and untouchable have become ‘small’ and ‘speak’ local languages. At bars and pubs you will find them in groups happily guzzling local brands.
They have become allergic to imported brands such as Savannah, Windhoek, Red bull, Heineken and the like. Candidly speaking, the economy has shaped the way people spend and has instilled ‘self-censorship’ into their minds. Worth noting, marriages have been strengthened as men no longer go to ‘workshops and seminars’ out of Dar over the weekends.
Findings show that they now spend much time with their wives and children than was ever before. The reason for this is by no means mystery, they have become ‘economical vegetarians’. Ugandan university students will say, ‘Man you have become veggie economika 3.1.1.’
There is a belief that when the economy slips the most hit section of the society are men.
This means to a great extent men’s strength is directly linked to providential superiority (PS). Psychologically, when a man is broke he usually loses focus and ‘appetite’. Thus a financial muscle gives a real man confidence and a daring nerve. Hahaha, ‘Wanaume wa Dar’ mpo?
Whilst Dar’s glory has slipped, her sister cities in East Africa namely; Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura are rocking and have continued to attract new businesses. In any city there are places worth visiting as they carry the history and culture of the residents of that city. If you go to Kampala, for instance, and fail to visit Wandegya is like you have not visited Kampala. While in Kampala you will visit places like Angenouir, Vision, Kawempe, Kololo, Bugolobi to mention but a few.
And whilst in Nairobi place like Kibira, Simmers, Florida 2000 are a must visit areas. In Dar we had Billicanas (Bills), Drive In, NDC Club, Tesco Club, Salamander, which are all history. Places like Kariakoo, Manzese, Sinza and Kinondoni are a must visit areas for visitors.
To revamp Dar, her residents need to be empowered in terms of job creation, supporting businesses by creating an enabling business environment, cutting taxes modestly and increasing investment in education, training and new technology. If city fathers are keen at reducing poverty and income inequality this is all they need to do.
With a well-developed and connected infrastructure in place, Dar’s glory will resurface in the near future. On the other hand, Dar’s historical buildings and grounds need to be preserved and protected at all cost. Equally the history of street and building names needs to be written and stored for the benefit of present and future generations. The city has come a long way with much effort and resources.
Pupils must be taught the city history at an early stage for them to appreciate and nurture the great work of our grand fathers and mothers. One must know why the late father of the nation, Mwl. J.K. Nyerere and his subordinates decided to name our City streets after great sons of Africa such as Samora, Aggrey, Azikiwe, Shabban Robert to mention but just a few.
I am sure our top leaders understand the drastic change of Dar’s status and the environment under which her people operate right now. That they are aware of the fact that 80 percent of our county’s revenues comes from this City. Presumably, they are aware of this and are working on a modality to motivate and empower Dar residents through jobs creation, putting in place an enabling and empowering business environment, investment in education and infrastructure.
The trickle-down effect must be created and government’s commitment to empowering Dar residents should be crystal clear. It should sound like, “I will be there for you until the last dog dies.”
Have a great ‘SATO’ Comrades