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Poor Africa knows where its wealth goes

There can still be more news begun in the same token, saying: “The tail of a dog has suddenly become a delicacy in a restaurant in the country because of an aphrodisiac element claimed it contains,” the ‘Investigator’ can reveal. Well, our paper can reveal. We can reveal. So and so can reveal and so on and so forth. It may sound as a fashion.

So, fashionably, Reporter at Large too, from his wanderings, can as well begin his latest finding as: “Africa is one of the richest continents if not the very richest in natural resources, but the poorest of them all,” a drama group recently revealed to diplomats and government officials in Nkrumah Hall at the University of Dar es Salaam in the city.

At that gathering, which took place on May 25, the anniversary of Africa Union Day, the audience was entertained by an artist group in the city that satirized assistance provided to schools by alluding to the fact that it was all wasted or embezzled. The assistance by the stake holders was massive.

Still, despite it, schools had no desks and pupils had to sit on stones or cross-legged on the floor. Reporter at Large went round and without naming names, visited some schools, the so-called English medium schools. The revelation substantiated what the drama group had said. The pupils were seated on what appeared as desks while the teachers struggled to teach in English they spoke with difficult.

The words or sentences were translated in Kiswahili without explaining in English the meaning of the Swahili words used to Explain the English sentence. “Ukitaka kusema funga mlango, unasema: “Shut the door,” was the subject sentence. The students did not, but would have loved to know what ‘ukitaka kusema funga mlango, unasema’ was in English.

That teaching session was a drama itself. A drama group satirized the system as one that taught in English, but set examinations in Swahili, complicating the student’s comprehension severely. More mysterious still, at the momentous meeting was why Africa has so many natural resources ‘but it is Asia which uses it’ the dramatists parodied.

That was merely part of the truth, because it is other parts of the world that consume that wealth. Tanzania is, for instance, the chief world producer of tanzanite. Ironically, it is not the mineral’s chief exporter. That fact may be a platitude to some readers. But the satire further revealed the truth about the country’s indigence amidst this abundance of natural wealth.

Those who voiced their criticism of the irony were considered noise and troublemakers deserving retribution because being simple beings, they dare not question the source of the wealth those walked the corridors of power had. “Wisdom is to remain silent,” the dramatists said. In fact the converse is the truth. Remaining silent is being foolhardy and speaking aloud about the paradox is wisdom.

One of the speakers squarely put his finger of the reason for Africa’s dismal economic position on the globe. The political system of democracy that the continent’s leaders have always abused or merely spurned would indeed be their road to peace if implemented and respected. Since democracy means the right of the individual, violators of that right ought to be made answerable.

Consequently, punitive measures would not be out of place. The bottom line is, rich Africa is the poorest of the continents because it loses much money through greed of its leaders, who pretend to be democratic, but cling to power despotically. That, however, is by and large. Particularly though, is why Tanzania is so poor while it is not de facto poor in natural resources either.

The raw materials notwithstanding, everybody wants to fill their own stomach at all costs without doing anything for national good. Reporter at Large wandered just a little more before an encounter with a glaring evidence fiscal waste and embarrassing laxity on the part of the authority. Morogoro Street in the city’s suburb of Ilala teemed with traders of various food items most of whom reportedly paid a levy of 1,200/- daily.

“But they give us a receipt for 500/- only,” said Khadija Azizi who sold vegetables. Other traders paid a levy of 2,000/- daily, but was given a receipt for 1,000/- only,” Ms Azizi explained. Evidently the tax collectors robbed the state of a lot of fund and it was done with no compunction. What made trade at Morogoro Street was that traffic was denied passage there until 11 am which means tax collection would be focused there during the business hours.

No wonder some one can say Africa or for that matter, Tanzania is rich, but poor because of inaction, dishonesty and abuse of human rights. Everybody has the right to access to a health facility and live in a healthy environment. In urban centres and in Dar particularly, that environment is filthy.

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Author: LAWI JOEL

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