YOU notice, as you grow older, that you get excluded from a number of opportunities, including eligibility for employment. Now, it looks like, if you were born before October 29, 1959, you may not qualify to be nominated for vying for the position of President on the ruling party’s ticket, come the next General Election.
This is according to a front-page news item titled: “Mixed Reaction Greets JPM’s Successor Hint” appearing in the Good Citizen of Wednesday November 18. The President, it is reported: “hinted that the party’s Central Committee (CC) will not endorse a candidate older than himself”. Naturally, this drew mixed reactions from stakeholders. We quote a paragraph from the news item:
“With some of the political analysts saying the President seemed to have already prepared a young person to succeed him, others opined that during his (President) ‘rain’ he had shown faith in the youth and provided opportunities for the group in the top leadership of the Nation”.
You have read right. The writer used the word “rain”. He should not be blamed for that, for at least two reasons. One, rain has been pounding Dar es Salaam, for the past few days. It has been rain, rain everywhere, refusing to go to Spain, and causing extensive flooding. The rain may have even flooded our minds.
For, you can be sure, the writer did not intend to use the word “rain”. Instead, he had “the President’s reign” in mind. With “rain” being at the tip of everybody’s tongue, the writer found himself making that lapsus, that slip of the key board, which led him to type “rain” instead of “reign”.
The second reason could stem from the fact that the two words: “rain” and “reign” are homophones: meaning (as if you need reminding), words having the same pronunciation, but different meanings, origins or spelling (eg “new” and “knew”).
Homophone “philia” may be at the root of another lapsus in the article. Noting that the President has been encouraging the youth to vie for top positions, a political commentator is reported to have observed the following on this youth-empowering policy:
“Its purpose is to encourage the youth to be ready for the top position, and remind the elders around him so that they do not think of that opportunity but rather ‘live’ it for the youth”.
It will be obvious that the writer did not intend to use the word “live”. Instead, he had “leave” in mind”. Elders should not salivate for that top position. Instead, they should “leave” it for the younger generation.
A development expert is cited as saying the following: “CCM has invested heavily in fostering the party’s strong young people who will be its successors”.
Surely not! The oldest political party in the country is not fading away any soon, to be succeeded by young people. Rather, the successors for the elderly holding positions of leadership in the party, will be the young who have been groomed for some time now.
Finally, a lawyer is reported to have protested that the constitution does not set an age limit for a candidate. He had Joe Biden, the US President-elect, aged 78, in mind.
Well, there is a minimum age though. You must be 40 to run for Presidency in Tanzania.
This may have to be looked into, given that so many African leaders were young when they took the top leadership positions of their countries: Samuel Doe was 29, Jerry Rawlings, 32, Michel Micombero, 26, Yahya Jammeh, 29, you name them.
If you do live long, think of leaving positions of leadership to the younger generation. A succession plan guarantees continuity.