EVERY grown-up person has something to tell in relation to history of his/her life experiences marked by events of all types. Obviously, there may be a pattern of similar events encountered by a person as dictated by settings such as village or urban life.
For those who growup in urban settings their youthful lifestyles at times spin around going to Cinema Halls and or Discotheque in groups.
Similarly, for youths in village settings they talk of grazing cattle, cultivating fields in groups and crossing flooded rivers and they perhaps enjoy. Drawing down memories on grazing cattle in the fields, most often there were arranged groups fighting with bare hand fists.
As expected always the winners were groups of older boys, who could then subject the defeated bloc to serve them by being forced to bring them sugar cane or potatoes plots even water drawn from a river, despite the defeated ones nursing wounds from the fight.
This scenario of boys arranging fights and ultimately the defeated subjected to serve their lords (winning group) is a direct reflection of how most African countries organize elections, and let their citizens contest for political positions, with the winners often clearly known even before the ballot is cast.
The winners similarly behave in different ways and press their defeated partners to work for them and in turn plunder national treasures and resources relentless without any mercy at all.
Looking back in history, Tanzania had well-established parastatal organisations with different functions including GAPCO, ATC, TACOSHIRI, NAFCO, RTC and many more.
These organisations employed many citizens who were eking out a living in a legal way and streamlined the services rendered to the Stakeholders.
In addition, there were textile factories like Sungura Textile, Urafiki, Mwatex, Kilitex, Morogoro Shoes Company, Mutex and many others.
All these national properties were established from taxpayers’ money and sweat, but were thereafter squandered, or stripped of capital and left useless just to be sold at a throwaway price to some few big boys.
The same happened to national owned Hotels, farming estates and ranches, you name them. The people or companies, which purchased them never developed them to attain capabilities and resume operations for the sake of ordinary citizens.
As usual explanations were delivered to the public to justify their failures, and protection to the individuals who ought to have been prosecuted in a court of law.
The tendency to squander and walk away freely and being cherished by the community for the unjustifiable enrichment, spread like bush fire. In the course, many public servants with big slots in the posts were enticed to confiscate whatever public property was within their area of jurisdiction.
This was the era where those in positions to access public resources formulated slogans such as ‘chukua chako mapema’ (pick up what belongs to you a soon as possible); kutesa kwa zamu (plundering public property in shifts); the big boys who never had direct access to the government properties baptized such bribes with goodwill rewards of Takrima.
The plundering behaviour continued to flourish and had no more restriction in dealing with government properties, and contractors joined the bandwagon of the looters, because they knew that their godfathers were in control.
Money destined to road construction, Health Centres, Schools, repair and maintenance were chewed up like ripe apples. Tarmac roads were constructed with the lowest standards and never lasted for more than six months post construction.
The responsible officers endorsed with the payments of the public services never supervised such work because kickbacks were at the background waiting to oil their hands after work delivery in style.
Some of the items supplied to government ministries were paid at exorbitant prices. Tax collection was never found in their vocabulary and not coordinated, meaning development projects to the public had to be shoddy or were not started at all, or the few which managed to take off, were never completed in or on time.
The transport sector was extremely affected and collapsed because the two railway lines from Dar es Salaam to Kapri Mposhi in Zambia, the Central railway from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma, Mwanza and Tabora all of them lost credibility.
The air Tanzania completely halted operations and this was the time when residents of the Lake Zone Regions were forced to travel by bus via Nairobi in Kenya and Kampala in Uganda.
They spent a lot of productive time and money travelling the long route which most took between 18 to 24 hours to reach Mwanza, Bukoba and Geita.
But this alternative route was much more comfortable than the gravel road from Dodoma to Mwanza where travellers during the rainy season had to spend about a week on the road.
Mother Nature is always good and fair; the big boys had to retire because of advanced age and joined the group of other senior citizens, including the larger groups of victims of big boys.
And to the surprise of some of us who suffered in the hands of the big boys, these very same people now demand equal benefits rendered by the government to the elders of this nation.
They are never apologetic and not ashamed of the atrocities they caused to the people during their term in government offices. Some have complained that their pensions are meagre, forgetting that they destroyed parastatal organizations and factories, which could have continued to generate revenues to the government, and hence midwifed some surplus money in the treasury to increase their pensions. But what always frustrates is the time when these formerly big boys used in the public transport.
They demand favours from the operators to even be given privileges of porters to wheel them through in life or move from one point to another.
A colleague asked one of the senior former big boys, what he can do now once given the chance to be young again, and he replied bravely that he can do everything in his jurisdiction to even buy a private jet. Many who heard the conversation were disgusted and started to throw in all sorts of words, with some becoming harsh.
Some speakers warned the senior that nowadays you plunder public property you will live like a devil and be in jail as a permanent place of residence.
However, in the course of the discussion a commentator reminded the group on the value of forgiveness, and he briefly spoke of the United States of America dropping bombs in two cities of Japan in 1945, and in turn still the Japanese have forgiven the Americans and they still continue to live in peace. Therefore, let us forgive these big boys for their past wrongdoings.
● Dr BONIPHACE IDINDILI, (MD, MPH,PhD) reachable via idindili@ yahoo.co.uk and or : +255718033851, or +255768 414 960.