Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Married Man

A Married Man

Contiguous is his smile, bright his brain
He smells sexy, and sounds sophisticated, too elitist to turn decent women on,
Smart and handsome, just like a movie star version 
He is the man I have met in my dreams and imagination since the day love is known
But he is married, Now that I have met him in person, 

I am not ashamed to admit, I am helplessly in love with him. 
I love his eyes, his ears, his style, 
The height of his neck and the stretch of his legs, 
The accuracy of his brain, his balanced sense of morality, 
The punch of his voice and calmness of his composure,
God, do I have to say it more …. Nampenda

But I am that girl, who believes not in being a mistress, 
Not because I am selfish and I need him to be my own – that is not pointless, 
But I can’t stand a thought of a tearing wife as he waits for him spending time with his mistress
Or the despair of his children – dad can no longer play games, busy being loved in secrecy 

A friend told me, all men cheat, 
If not with you, it will be with someone else, so if I love him, better be me!  That make sense, right? 
But would I be able to call him first thing in the morning when all I wanted to hear is his smooth voice to turn my sanity and make my day bright? 
Or it will be a life of steering on my phone hoping he will sneak a text between his meetings or wife's kitchen surveillance rights? 

The say, married men don’t love, they use, but I disagree, 
All I have seen in him is the loving of the highest degree. 
He doesn’t love me because there is trouble in paradise but simply because he loves … me-ee
Truth is I feel the same way. But our crime, meeting in odd times, the world condemns me-ee         

If you should know
Gallons of tears I have shed before God begging to make us connect  
Here he is, just like I prescribed with one minor mistake 99% correct
Can I real go back to God complaining that, he got one thing to correct?
How, will that not make me an ungrateful brat? 

I have met many men to surely know he is the one 
But I have not lived to enjoy the pain of anyone 
Should I love him as mine or let go and fight my feelings on my own. 
Brothers and sisters tell me am not insane! 

@Mwanahamisi 'Mishy' Singano

Hasira ni Udhaifu

Hasira ni Udhaifu

Hasira hazijengi, wahenga walitwambia
Mbona sasa huzitengi, mwenzangu wazikumbatia
Tena kwa makeke mengi, bila hata kujutia
Hasira ni udhaifu

Ulitongoza kwa pole, huku ukinyenyekea
Ahadi tele na tele, na nyimbo kuniimbia
Nikakuchagua tule, dume nimejipatia
Hasira ni udhaifu

Ndoa ya kisheria, dunia ikashangilia
Mizinga na zumaria, vyote wakatupigia
Wadini walihudhuria, baraka kutupatia
Hasira ni udhaifu

Ndani tumeingia, hasira waniletea 
Hila zimekuingia, kila kitu wakemea 
Vitisho wanitishia, tena kwa kunionea 
Hasira ni udhaifu

Wanangu wawachukia, waziwazi wawambia
Vita wawatangazia, eti adabu kuwatia 
Huku ukiwatambia, ubabe ulojitwalia 
Hasira ni udhaifu

Wewe si mume wa kwanza, wanne wametangulia 
Ubabe utakuponza, wana watakuchukia
Hakika watakubeza, dharau kukujazia
Hasira ni udhaifu

Ulezi ni kuwafunda, pale wanapokosea
Kwa mapenzi bila inda, heshima utajijengea
Nasi tutakupenda, mapenzi kufurahia 
Hasira ni udhaifu

Hasira ni udhaifu, si sifa wala ujanja 
Watu kuwatia hofu, kamwe hutakidhi haja
Waonesha upungufu, wa ubaba wenye tija 
Hasira ni udhaifu

Unanipa fadhaiko, ndoani mtikisiko
Kucha huishi vituko, vyenye kuleta sikitiko
Walitafuta anguko, maafa mtiririko
Hasira ni udhaifu

Nakuomba kwa hisani, acha ubabe wako
Amani ilete ndani, nifaidi mke wako
Watoto wawe furahani, Jenga familia yako
Hasira ni udhaifu

@Mwanahamisi 'Mishy' Singano

Resolving the Cyclic Cashew Crisis in Tanzania


Resolving the Cyclic Cashew Crisis in Tanzania

Chambi Chachage

Tanzania has just witnessed a tale of the sacking of two Charles. One, the Minister who was responsible for agriculture and, another, for industries. What has been dubbed 'koroshow' is behind this, not least because the cashew board has also been dissolved alongside other related reshuffles. Korosho is the Swahili word for cashew.

For politicians from the opposition camp, this is that moment when they remind both the electorate and the government that 'we told you so.' Zitto Kabwe, the leader of ACT Wazalendo, continues to be a 'thorn in the flesh' of the ruling party and its government as he boldly presents facts after facts to shows what it takes to resolve the cashew crisis. As for the President, apart from firing and hiring, he has also asked the military to get ready to ship thousands of tons of unprocessed cashew if traders won't buy them for the stipulated price by Monday. The 'koroshow' has turned into a 'koroshodown.'

My task here is not to gauge their prospective solutions as I don't really know what they will actually achieve. In that regard, the best I can do is to wait and see. For me, the interest is to revisit potential solutions from scholars who have researched the matter in the past with the hope that we will be more attentive to the likes of them.
Let us start with Dr. Blandina Kilama whose PhD dissertation was on 'The diverging South: comparing the cashew sectors of Tanzania and Vietnam.' In an article aptly entitled 'Crisis Responses in the Cashew Industry: A Comparative Study of Tanzania and Vietnam', the economist looks at the impact of the global financial crisis on the crop. She shows how, compared to Vietnam, Tanzania only managed to protect the cashew farmers and not the processors.

One may argue that her article is outdated as it was published in 2009. However, the effects of the economic crisis she was referring to continue to linger. Moreover, it seems we are repeating some of the same mistakes. At that time, this is what she sharply observed:

"In Tanzania kernels production has fallen from 2006/07 to 2008/10, same with earnings falling in 2007/08 season.... As cashew continued to loose its price in the world market, processors found it difficult to buy cashew, while auctioning together with exporters. For example, the Premier Cashew Industries (PCI) halted processing cashew in 2009; similar option was thought by BUKO in Masasi."

Dr. Kilama wrote that nearly a decade ago but it sounds as if she is writing it now. In the case of Vietnam, in contrast to Tanzania, she notes, everyone made profit then. Why? Mainly because of an "incentive of 4% reduction in interest rates on loans taken for productive purposes that was introduced to curb for the credit tightening occurring due to decline in international trade."

Now let us go back a decade earlier. Dr. Joyce Nyoni and the late  Prof. Seithy Chachage published a research report on the 'Economic Restructuring and the Cashewnut Industry in Tanzania.' Among other things, they observed that the "buying of the crop was delayed and exporters could not export...." It is interesting to note that they referred to this as  a "crisis of cashewnut marketing in the buying season 2000/2001." They also quoted one farmer saying:

  “The government announced that we should not sell cashewnuts below the set price of Tsh.540/=. So we listened to them and when buyers came offering between Tsh300/= - 350/= we did not sell since we were already told that “walanguzi” will come to swindle us. Now they have left and we still have nuts in the house not knowing what we will do. It would have been much better if we had sold, even at a low price than having no money, while cashew is the main source of our income. The government has betrayed us and decided to let us suffer.”
Yes, that is not a farmer who is being quoted today - it is one who was quoted nearly two decades ago. Such cases from the past indicate that what we have is not simply a cashew crisis but a cyclic cashew crisis. And how do you resolve something that is cyclic?

By going back to the root cause and uprooting it once and for all! 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Kwa Nini Waandishi Mahiri wa Safu Wanapungua?


Kwa Nini Waandishi wa Safu Wanapungua?

Na Ezekiel Kamwaga

MIAKA kumi ya utawala wa Rais Jakaya Kikwete itakumbukwa kwa kuwa na kada maarufu ya waandishi wa safu mahiri ambao waliongeza sana mauzo ya magazeti na kulisha maarifa na taarifa mbalimbali kwa wasomaji wake.

Ingawa ni utawala wa Ali Hassan Mwinyi ndiyo uliofungua milango kwa vyombo vya habari binafsi kufanya kazi zake, kilele cha utendaji na kufahamika kwake kilikuwa wakati wa utawala wa Kikwete ambapo mitandao ya kijamii ilisaidia kupaisha umaarufu wa waandishi hao wa safu.

Katika miaka ya awali ya Rais Mwinyi, waandishi kama Stanley Kamana (RIP), Ndimara Tegambwage, na Kajubi Mukajanga walikuwa maarufu kwa sababu ya kazi zao murua kwa wasomaji.

Kwenye utawala wa Rais Benjamin Mkapa, gazeti maarufu zaidi lilikuwa RAI ambapo wanasafu kama Jenerali Ulimwengu, John Rutayisingwa (RIP), Johnson Mbwambo, na wengine wengi walikuwa wakitimiza wajibu wao wa kiuandishi ipasavyo.

Kuna wakati watu walikuwa hawanunui RAI kwa sababu ya kilichoandikwa nje (habari) bali walinunua kwa sababu walitaka kuwasoma wanasafu mahiri waliomo ndani.

Sitasahau namna watu walivyokuwa wakinunua RAI mwaka 2005 wakati Mhariri Mtendaji wa Habari Corporation wakati huo, Salva Rweyemamu, alipokuwa akifanya uchambuzi wa wasifu wa waliokuwa wamejitokeza kutaka kuwania urais wa Tanzania kupitia CCM. 

Kwenye utawala wa Kikwete, magazeti yaliyokuwa na wasomaji wengi kwa sababu ya wanasafu yalikuwa ni MwanaHALISI, Raia Mwema, na Tanzania Daima ambapo waandishi kama Privatus Karugendo, Joseph Mihangwa, Ansbert Ngurumo, Ulimwengu, Msomaji Raia, M.M Mwanakijiji, Saed Kubenea, na wengine walijipambanua kwa uandishi wao wenye kalamu kali.
Katika utawala wa Rais John Magufuli – walau kwa miaka hii mitatu ya kwanza, hakuna gazeti jipya wala wanasafu wapya waliojitokeza katika magazeti wanaosisimua watu kama ilivyokuwa huko nyuma.

Kimsingi, kama kuna mtu anayesomwa na watu wengi hivi sasa basi atakuwa ni Mange Kimambi ambaye si mwandishi kitaaluma lakini anaandika taarifa zake kupitia mitandao ya kijamii.

Mimi ninaamini kwamba umaarufu wa Mange unatokana na hali halisi iliyopo nyumbani. Wakati wa utawala wa Kikwete kulikuwa na Bunge lililooneshwa mubashara, vyama vya siasa viliweza kuzunguka mikoani kufanya kampeni na vyombo vya habari vilikuwa na uhuru mkubwa zaidi wa kukosoa kuliko ilivyo sasa.

Kwa sababu hali hiyo ya uhuru imebadilika hapa nchini, mfumo umeamua kutafuta njia nyingine ya kupumua ambayo sasa ndiyo amekuwa Kimambi. Mange alikuwa anaandika tangu wakati Kikwete akiwa madarakani lakini hakuwa maarufu sana kwa sababu aliyokuwa akiyasema yalikuwa yakisemwa hapa pia.
Hata hivyo, hii ni mada nyingine tofauti na mada ya leo. Turejee kwenye hoja yangu mahususi kuhusu kupotea kwa wale wanasafu mashuhuri au kupungua kwa makali ya safu zao.

Hakuna sababu moja pekee ambayo ndiyo imesababisha wanasafu wapungue. Nimekuwa nikiulizwa maswali kuhusu kutoonekana kwa Mbwambo kwenye gazeti la Raia Mwema lakini huyu ni mwandishi ambaye aliaga kabisa wakati akiandika makala yake ya mwisho.

Mbwambo ambaye ni mmoja wa wakurugenzi wa kampuni ya Raia Mwema, ameamua kwenda kuishi kijijini kwao wilayani Same mkoani Kilimanjaro tangu mwaka 2015. Huu ni uamuzi wa tofauti na wengine.

Wapo wanasafu ambao wameacha kuandika kwa sababu malipo wanayopewa na vyombo vya habari vya hapa nchini ni kiduchu na mbaya zaidi sasa hawalipwi kwa wakati au hawalipwi kabisa.

Vyombo vya habari vya Tanzania vinapita katika kipindi kigumu kimapato na hivyo vingi vinashindwa hata kulipa mishahara wafanyakazi wake. Chukulia kampuni kama Sahara Communications ambayo ina tatizo la mishahara kwa wafanyakazi wake kwa takribani miaka miwili sasa. 
Kampuni ambayo haiwezi kuwalipa wafanyakazi wake, inawezaje kuwalipa wanasafu ambao mara nyingi si waajiriwa wake? Kwa sababu ya kutolipwa, wapo wanasafu ambao wameamua kuacha kuandika ili kutumia muda wao kufanya mambo mengine.

Wanasafu wengine hawaonekani kwenye magazeti kwa sababu magazeti ambayo yangeweza kukubaliana na uandishi wao yamefungiwa na serikali. Wiki moja iliyopita nilikutana na aliyekuwa Mhariri wa MwanaHALISI, Jabir Idrissa, ambaye alinieleza kwamba kwa mwaka mzima sasa amekosa nafasi kwenye magazeti kwa sababu makala zake ‘zinaogopwa’ kwa kuwa zinaweza kusababisha gazeti kufungiwa.

Kwa hiyo, kama huoni makala za Jabir Idrissa, ujue sababu mojawapo ni hiyo.

Wapo pia wanasafu ambao wameamua kuacha kuandika kwa kuhofia kwamba wanaweza kuingia matatizoni na vyombo vya dola. Wameamua kutulia hadi pale watakapoona mazingira yamebadilika.

Kuna mwanasafu mmoja mashuhuri ambaye ameacha kuandika kwa madai kwamba siku hizi akiandika, makala zake huwa zinahaririwa kiasi cha kubadili kabisa alichotaka kukisema.

Badala ya kuandika na kushuhudia makala zake zikibomolewa na kuundwa upya, ameamua aache kuandika ili abaki na heshima yake ya nyuma.
Wapo wanasafu ambao sasa wamepata vyeo serikalini na kwa sababu hiyo hawawezi tena kuendelea na aina yao ya uandishi wa kukosoa iliyowapa umaarufu huko nyuma.

Kimsingi, kila anayepunguza makali au kuacha kabisa kuandika ana mojawapo ya sababu nilizozitaja hapo juu.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

TANZANIA MAY NOT BE A DICTATORSHIP BUT...

TANZANIA MAY NOT BE A DICTATORSHIP, BUT HOMOPHOBES, SEXISTS AND MYSOGYNISTS ARE ENJOYING GREATER FREEDOM

Shangwe Muhidin

Recent political developments in Tanzania suggest that the revitalized debate on the state of politics in Tanzania is no longer on whether the country’s young democracy is in jeopardy but more if authoritarian tendencies of the current regime are justified. That was the takeaway from a conference held at the University of Dar es Salaam on November 1, 2018 in which President MagufulI attended as a “special participant,” according to organizers. The president wasted no time in warning that “democracy has limits.” 

It was a déjà vu for those in attendance. Last year, the president issued similar warnings, cautioning journalists that press freedom had its limits. “Not to that extent,” was the president’s uncompromising words shot to those who were dreaming of limitless freedom.

President Magufuli’s administration came at the backdrop of a public malaise resulting from his predecessor’s government. It almost made sense when, for instance, he and his supporters used the phrase kunyoosha nchi to justify any drastic measures his government took to rectify what we were now told were past mistakes. Kunyoosha nchi simply means to “straighten the country.” The country had maladministration wrinkles, it was about time someone ironed it.
 Even the most vocal in the call for a new constitution settled for this new buzz phrase: straightening before writing a new constitution. “This country needs constitutionalism, not a new constitution,” barked Humphrey Polepole who before his appointment as CCM’s Ideology and Publicity Secretary was the leading voice in the call for the new constitution. For a people that had lost hope in politics, let alone the government, this message resonated well.

However, this predisposition of those in power served as an automatic justification virtually for every decision made. In the name of straightening the country, public meetings by political parties have been banned, some artists have been banned/suspended or arrested for alleged indecency, and a good number of people are now facing sedition charges. Opposition politicians are crowding police cells accused of the most ridiculous of charges. 

In 2017, Godbless Lema, the Arusha Urban member of parliament spent four months behind bars after he was denied bail on several attempts. His crime? He had announced that, deep in his sleep, he dreamt of President Magufuli’s passing before 2020! Note that the next presidential elections will be held in that year. As I write this piece, Kigoma Urban Member of Parliament and a firebrand opposition figure, Zitto Kabwe, has just been released on bail after being remanded for ~48 hours on sedition charges. 
Much as it has been three difficult years for democracy enthusiasts in the country in general, those sympathetic of the regime, and still harbor egalitarian values in their consciousness are having it worse. Many times they have been compelled to come out to offer explanations even for matters which defy common-sense. Most of them feel they just have to defend the regime.

So, when President Magufuli warned alleged trouble makers in the Southern regions of Lindi and Mtwara that he would start dealing with them by beating up their aunts (shangazi, in Kiswahili), the ruling party’s women wing, UWT, rallied behind him saying the pronouncement was okay by any measure. It was after strong criticism by activists who had rightly pointed out the president’s statement was sexist and promoted violence against women, a common practice in our communities. I am not saying UWT is a democratic institution at heart, but one gets a feel of how far regime sycophants are ready to go to impress.

Similarly, when the president encouraged Dar es Salaam residents to give birth to as many children as they wished, the Health Minister, Ummy Mwalimu, felt the urge to explain; she insisted that family planning was still an official government policy and that the president was only joking! But no, the president has since repeated his call to ditch family planning, not once but twice, and the minister must have felt it is wise to duck the issue altogether. Perhaps aware that the president wasn’t joking, she has remained quiet. 

Such is the state of politics in the country. Fear. Uncertainty. Flattery. Silence. Etc.

Now, homosexuality has returned to Tanzanian public discourse after the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (whom I will call City Governor for his domineering authority) announced a manhunt on gay people. It must be said that, despite a very strict legislation which makes homosexuality a crime, the government’s position on this issue has for a long time been not less than playing the proverbial ostrich. Bury the head in the sand and pretend it does not exist, act hastily and often clumsily when there is a trigger of the sort of the recent sextape. To put this into perspective, in 2016 it banned the sale of lubes in a bid to curb homosexuality!
What prompted this latest debate on homosexuality is a sextape involving a man and a woman engaging in the act of sodomy. Just to be clear here, what is in the video was not an act of homosexual sex. It was two heterosexuals indulging in their sexual escapades. But ours is a society that sniffs danger and act fast. The enemy was swiftly identified and the manhunt declared: apprehend all gay people. 

Typical of a patriarchal society, the young lady has become something of a public enemy while her male ‘partner in crime’ enjoys less scrutiny. Few even know his name. Indeed, the whole discourse on homosexuality only demonizes gay people and almost offers amnesty to bisexual or even straight men who sleep with them. In a show of masculine insecurity, female homosexuals/lesbians usually do not receive similar condemnation.

Nevertheless, it was time to get to work for the City Governor. He promptly requested the public to cooperate by texting him names of any gay person they knew. It’s not the smartest of methods but it’s not the first time he has used it. Last time seemed not so successful. He had urged the public to unfollow gay people on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or face the wrath of the law. Nothing happened, at least in what is in the public knowledge. 
Perhaps more determined this time, he has announced to have received names of hundreds of suspects hours after his plea to the public. What happens remains to be seen but news of suspected gay people being physically attacked are beginning to emerge. A video showing a helpless young man being harassed by a group of people (men) has been circulating on social media. The harassers are heard threatening to apprehend and hand him over to authorities. 

The Governor’s antics are defining features of our current crop of politicians, one of which is their tireless attempts to impress their appointing powers (and to a lesser extent the public). Under pressure to deliver, they go out of their ways inventing roles beyond their job description. Pedestrian in their understanding of leadership, they have resorted to appealing to people’s moral values while the cities they govern have no public toilets! Their moral compass stubbornly revolves around Victorian morality, so much that the gulf between politics and religion is narrowing by day.
Few days after his declaration of the war against gay people, the Governor was seen attending a service in church, soaked in tears. He later explained that he was seeking divine intervention to get rid of this evil, adding that he had gone to the altars to repent on behalf of the city and its people. See, for the likes of the Governor, homosexuality is ungodly before it’s illegal; anyone in the fight against the evil becomes God’s foot soldier. It’s a holy war, too tempting to be ignored by, in most cases, men (not women) of God!

At the same time one rapper (stage name Dudubaya) who has no relevance in the current music scene has begun posting a series of videos and interviews in which he openly names people he accuses of being homosexual. He has quickly regained his lost fame for exaggerated ‘bravery.’ He speaks with confidence, pays no or little attention to the fact that false accusation can render him defamation charges. Such is the audacity of a homophobe in Tanzania. Following the infamous pardoning of two child rapists in December 2017 by the president, one would be forgiven to think that in this country it’s better to be a child molester than gay. Sad.

On the other hand, attacks on women are no longer isolated incidents in Tanzania. Consider this video here where a woman is physically assaulted by shameless men after being accused of prostitution and extortion. Her attackers have no shred of fear of breaking the law. Attacks on women are not necessarily physical. So, when the Unguja Magharibi police chief warned the public in May 2018 that making sexualized sounds such as whistling amounted to sexual harassment it was nothing than a source of ridicule on the internet as sexists and misogynists dismissively ridiculed the warning.

Not long ago, a hash tag #Umama dominated social media spaces in the country. Umama means motherhood or femininity, but here it is employed as a derogative term for men who “act like women”. Insult after insult, ridicule after ridicule, we were schooled how men ought to behave as men, and not, despicably, as women. It was an extension of hatred towards women on the one hand and stupid hyper-masculinity on the other. 
Motherhood, a symbol of life, care and love is now being presented as something shameful that “real men” should try to avoid. When taken to task, supporters of this assault hid behind the banner of utani (jokes), blatantly displaying their ignorance of psychological damage that such jokes may have on the self-esteem of those on the receiving end of it all, or on the minds of our young ones. They are reproducing patriarchal socialization.

The unintelligent Umama joke came as another equally foolish joke which pits the masculine men of rural and less urbanized places of the country against “men of Dar es Salaam” who are assumed to be less masculine and thus feminine, weak and bad. The latter are just too feminine for the former to stand: they are too emotional, they cry in public, they eat french fries (locally known as chips) instead of ugali, they watch romantic TV series instead of hyper-violent Hollywood movies, they do manicure and pedicure, and they even do massage! 

Tanzania is not an ideal democracy even by our African standards. But these tendencies of homophobia, sexism, and misogyny are now happening in the new age of the internet. More than ever we are able to read the minds of people on their posts. The keyboard is exposing the best and worst amongst us. 

At the same time the political leadership is not helping matters when it issues statements that either condone homophobia, sexism, and misogyny or are just indifferent. A wife beater must have found comfort in the president’s words that he would beat up our shangazi. When the president emphatically spoke against reintegration of pregnant school girls in the education system, he somehow promoted the tradition which condemned girl children as they are coming to terms with the dynamics of their biological makeup. When a government minister tweets derogative words such as machoko (faggots) to refer to homosexuals, homophobes are encouraged to victimize gay people. And when the political leadership remains tight-lipped when our mothers and sisters are harassed in the streets and on online spaces, it is the sexists and misogynists who are enjoying our freedom! 
They should not be allowed to. 

Karibu kwenye ulingo wa kutafakari kuhusu tunapotoka,tulipo,tuendako na namna ambavyo tutafika huko tuendako/Welcome to a platform for reflecting on where we are coming from, where we are, where we are going and how we will get there

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP