Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mamdani on Shifting Research/Teaching Focus

This excerpt is from an interview that the new Director of Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) at Makerere University, Professor Mahmood Mamdani, recently gave to Moses Mulondo of Sunday Vision
The whole process [of declining university standards] was set into motion in the early 1990s when the Government succumbed to the pressure of the World Bank to cut funds to the university so as to increase funding for primary education. What the Government and the World Bank forgot was that you cannot expand the primary education sector without expanding university education because you need university products in building a strong UPE [Universal Primary Education]. The policy itself was wrong.
You cannot have a successful UPE without a strong university system. Their policy was wrong because they assumed that you could let a university system collapse and it would not affect the primary system or secondary system or even the economy and other sectors.

A university is like a power generating plant, generating intellectual power which feeds all sectors of the country including industries, businesses, education, health and indeed all other sectors.

It must be known that the fastest growing economies in the world are knowledge-driven and the fastest growing sectors in these economies are knowledge-driven.

The idea that investment in higher education is unproductive is nonsense. Even the World Bank has realised it and changed its policy. It is time the Uganda government realised that the World Bank was wrong and give university education the priority it deserves.
Most people think of knowledge as something you read of in a book. The crucial question is who writes these books? What is the process that one goes through to produce a book?

A country which wants to lead in anything has to seriously invest in research otherwise it will be forever dependent on what others produce as knowledge. The problem with depending on other countries’ knowledge is that they don’t face the same problems which we face as Uganda or Africa. It is through your own research initiatives that you can think for yourself.
Makerere University needs to grow its own timber. It means you cannot be like a primary school which waits for others to train its teachers. You have to train your own lecturers. Makerere needs to put more emphasis on postgraduate studies, PhD programmes. It requires a vibrant culture of research which would shift the focus from looking for answers to learning how to formulate a problem.
Today, the whole teaching focus is on how you solve a problem. The most important thing is to know what the problem is. About 90% of the solution lies in the problem. You cannot import a solution.

I cannot take the design of a Swedish architect to build a house in Uganda. My design must reflect local conditions, use local resources in response to local problems. Anything from the outside must be complementary to this. That is what we call sustainable development. Sustainable development requires research that leads to long-lasting solutions. Research means knowing the society you live in and knowing yourself.

Serikali ya Umoja wa Kitaifa au Serikali ya Mseto?

Lifuatalo ni jibu alilolitoa Mwanasheria wa Masuala ya Katiba, Profesa Issa Shivji, kuhusu tofauti kati ya 'Serikali ya Umoja wa Kitaifa' na 'Serikali ya Mseto' kufuatia Referendamu ya Kuunda Serikali ya Umoja wa Kitaifa Zanzibar:

Katika mfumo wa vyama vingi, pamoja na ushindani wa kisiasa, inaweza ikatokea kwamba hakuna chama chochote kinafanikiwa kupata viti [vingi vya kutosha] (majority seat) katika Bunge ingawa kimepata wingi wa viti ukilinganisha na vyama vingine. Kwa hivyo kitashindwa kutawala kwa sababu sheria na maazimio ya kawaida yanatakiwa kupitishwa kwa [wingi wa kutosha] (majority) bungeni. Kwa mfano, [mgawanyo] (distribution) wa viti katika bunge la viti 200 ukiwa ni chama A - 80, chama B – 60, chama C – 30 na chama D – 30 hakuna chama chochote kilichopata zaidi ya viti 100. Kwa hiyo, chama A kitaanza kujadiliana (negotiate) na vyama vingine ili kuunda muunganiko (coalition) – serikali ya mseto. Katika majadiliano (negotiations) vitu muhimu ni: 1) kwa kiasi gani wanaweza kukubaliana(compromise) juu ya programu na sera zao na 2) uelewano kuhusu kugawana wizara (share ministries). Mfano wa hivi karibuni wa serikali ya mseto ni Uingereza.

Serikali ya Umoja wa Kitaifa [SUK] ni tofauti kabisa. SUK inaweza ikatokea katika hali mbali mbali – kwa mfano, katika kipindi cha mpito kutoka mfumo moja kwenda mfumo mwingine – kwa mfano huko Afrika ya Kusini. Ili kuepukana na machafuko ya hali nchini vyama vinakubali, kama kamuafaka, kugawana madaraka (share power) ili hatimaye waweze kujenga imani ya wananchi katika mfumo wa siasa za ushindani (competitive politics). Pia inaweza ikatokea katika hali ya machafuko kiasi kwamba hakuna hata chama kimoja kinaweza kikadai kwamba kina uhalali wa kutosha – yaani legitimacy na walio wengi katika jamii (Kenya ni mfano) au kama Zanzibar, jamii yenyewe imegawanyika takribani sawia (almost equally) – imegawanyika katikati kisiasa au imegawanyika katikati kwa namna mbalimbali ukiachilia kisiasa (split in the middle politically or split along certain lines other than political equally). Katika hali kama hiyo hata ukipata viti vingi kuliko chama kingine bado hukubaliki na karibia nusu ya wananchi (almost half of the population). Katika hali hiyo kutakuwa na migogoro baada ya migogoro na kila mara uchaguzi utavurugika au utakuwa rigged (chakachuliwa) n.k. Kwa hivyo vyama vikuu vinakubaliana kugawana madaraka (negotiate to share power) ili warudishe imani ya watu katika mfumo wa ushindani. Ndio maana, Serikali ya Umoja wa Kitaifa (SUK) sio muundo wa kudumu bali ni muundo wa serikali ya mpito au temporary (wa muda mfupi). Katika SUK vyama vinayoingia katika seriakali vinakuwa na lengo moja tu – lengo lao ni kuleta mshikamano wa kitaifa ili warejeshe hali ya ushindani na sio uhasama. Kwa hivyo wanaweka programu zao na sera zao kando na wanakubali kuwa na programu moja ambayo wanaona itakubalika na walio wengi (large majority), hususun kuchukua hatua za makusudi kabisa kurejesha amani na utulivu.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Misemo/Mipasho ya Magari Barabarani Tanzania!

Friday, August 20, 2010

'Creative Insights' - Just Another Donor Theatric?

Yesterday I watched this interesting play depicted by the photos above at the University of Dar es Salaam. A similar play, we were told, "was carried out in Ifakara, Kilombero District by University Students from Fine and Performing Arts and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication." In fact we were further told that the "play is a result of research by the same students, who lived with ordinary wanavijiji for 21 days watching how the communities interface with the environment. They then put their observations together in a creatice piece of work and took it back to the communities where they lived and performed it for them." Interestingly, it known as "Creative Insights" Project Program, and it supported by Norway through the Programme on Institutional Transformation, Research and Outreach (PITRO).

Indeed the performers were creative, adapting a 'traditional'/'cultural' dance associated with invoking the 'ancestors' so as to 'inform', or rather, 'teach' the local communities on how to conserve the environment (mazingira) through 'good governance'('utawala bora'). As I watched I could not help but wonder: Since when did the local communities lose sight of (indigenous) ways of preserving their environment to the extent that they now have to be taught how to do it. I ended thinking of what one of their assistance lecturer refers to as 'donor theatre.' She thus aptly describe this form of 'aid-ed' theatre and its 'dependency' consequences:

"The history of donors and NGOs in African theatre, like any other field, coincides with the
adoption of the economic liberalization policies.... In practical sense, there is no area of theatre in Tanzania that is today free from the varied consequences of donor funding. Conversely, theatre practitioners and other stakeholders are turning to donors with the ready-made socio-economic and development agendas for assistance. The most favourable area for funding by donors is [Theatre for Development] TfD. Donors have taken theatre and mostly use it as a ‘medium of communication’ to address global agendas. They include issues such as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).... Donor theatre has created audience which prefers free admission, and it becomes difficult for the same artists to stage a creative performance and ask the same audience to pay for admission.... Market callousness which donors have created for theatre has been basically to satisfy targeted audience sitting in donor countries’ offices abroad and not the poor and the so-called marginalized Tanzanians.... One of the basic and fundamental conventions of theatre is aesthetics in the creative imagination... So when funding is embodied it is clear that the performers’ imagination has been interfered, influenced, manipulated and even corrupted. These sensations and imaginations are the ones which aroused audiences’ emotions and feelings, ‘make believe happens’. Most of the theatre plays themes revolve around donor funding priorities; such as campaign for human rights, malaria, HIV and AIDS and others. Audience is now used to low quality, ‘parroting’ theatre and it is difficult to persuade (the audience) to pay for such performances. The theme of performances’, have to relate to donors’ funding areas as mentioned before. For more than ten years, the focus has been on the same themes which to a certain extent it becomes monotonous. In some places especially in big cities, it is difficult to mobilize audience to watch such plays. One of the audience members complained that, “today’s plays are very dry, they don’t have taste”.... In some incidences, actors do not even understand the content of the messages but they present the information to the audience who are expected to understand and take action.... Clearly stipulated, donor theatre does not emphasize on the ‘aesthetics’ but ‘message’ and this is a TfD practice...Theatre has to depend more on donors and, as a result it compromises its status...." - Vicensia Shule on 'Tanzanians and Donors: Opposing Audiences in Public Theatre'

Mwaka wa Uchaguzi Kuleta Mageuzi ya Umaskini?

Mwanablogu wa Udadisi jana alikutana na umati mkubwa uliomsindikiza Mgombea wa Kiti cha Urais kwa tiketi ya Chama cha Wananchi (CUF), Profesa Ibrahim Lipumba, kwenye ofisi za Tume ya Uchaguzi. Swali alilobaki nalo Mdadisi kichwani ni: Je, Tanzania Bila CCM = Tanzania bila UMASKINI?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Making Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) 'Marketable'!

A very informal survey on employers and potential employees in Tanzania has tentatively revealed that one of the main challenges facing upcoming professionals, even the most talented among them, is developing a 'marketable' Curriculum Vitae (CV). As one expert on providing capacity building for CV writing put it, a lot of CVs are nothing more than a shopping list. It seem then that there is a need to help each others to develop our CVs in such a way that they truly reflect our capabilities and show what we can offer. Here are some few basics tips which are by no means exhaustive and could be debated/challenged especially by those who are against conventions made by the neoliberal (free) market economy:

1. Just let what you have done so far speak for itself i.e. you don't have to spend a lot of time and space pompously saying I am good on this or I am great on that (e.g. if you describe what you did well e.g. I was the coordinator of Roots and Shoots, tasked with organizing environmental awareness campaigns then the reader of your CV will know that you have good leadership skills even if you won't say I am a good leader and orator just ike Barack Obama). This rule of thumb has to do with the adage 'actions speaks louder than words' so let the evidence speaks for itself. It is also in line with this comment from a colleague - which I am still working on - regarding my CV: "It is too crowded"!

2. Make sure that you describes exactly, albeit very briefly, what kind of tasks/activitiies/responsibilities you were undertaking while holding a certain post/position (e.g. it is not enough to say I was an intern or a program officer at a Research Foundation - the reader of your CV will want to know what this was all about e.g. you can say I was an intern responsible for conducting documentary research, organising research workshop and writing research reports; this will make the reader get a feel of what you can really do). This ties with HakiElimu's motto on 'Elimu ni Ujuzi Siyo Cheti.'

3. The CV is not a complete autobiography; it supposed to be short/concise (some experts even claim it should not be more than 3 pages) therefore you really have to strictly prioritize the things you want to put in there - if your audience/target/reader is someone from an academic institution who is interested in knowing how many papers you have written or published then s/he may not be that interested to know that you worked at Shoprite as a teller while you were on holiday; s/he may actually be more interested to know that you work as an intern in a publishing house or in a library - of course this depends on whether s/he want to know how flexible you are to work in different contexts (e.g. in this regard one colleague advised me to include my soccer/football medal in my CV) but, again, sometimes it is just better to omit some things that do not really apply to what you are looking for; if you want a job as a mechanic in my garage then I won't be much interested in knowing that you wrote so many articles in a newspaper about African Philosophy)

4. If you are fresh from school/college/university it may be a good idea to briefly state what you did in your major projects so as to give an idea of what you can do when employed. As a fresh graduate your best shot is not only the grades - those dreaded GPAs - you got but also the stuff you can do both at the curricular and extra-curricular levels. For example, if you took a degree in Business Administration and Management, you can briefly explain how you managed a business project as a part of your course. Or if you have a degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology you can briefly explain a research you conducted and its relevance to the job you are applying to, lets say, a job on medical research. All in all don't get carried away for a 'CV is a summary of what you have done in the past but not everything'.

5. Due to our messed up education system in Tanzania, especially in regard to the confused medium/language of instruction in schools and colleges, we have a very serious challenge when it comes to writing so let us not shy away from asking others to proofread and/or edit our CVs.

So far those are some of the points I could come up with now so others can chip in with more tips and/or cautions. Otherwise, for anyone who is interested in exchanging CVs as a way of supporting each others you are welcome to directly email me your CV at chambi78@yahoo.com and I will do the same. Freely you have been given freely give, so they say them believers in the power of sharing.

Carpe Diem!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mazungumzo ya Tanzania Njema Yaanza Rasmi!

Wazungumzaji Wakisikilizana
(Kutoka Kushoto: Fancy Nkuhi, Zitto Kabwe na Omar Ilyas)

Washiriki wakifuatilia Mazungumzo

Wadau wakijumuika katika Iftar
Mfululizo wa Mazungumzo ya Tanzania Njema umeanza rasmi Jumapili iliyopita. Mazungumzo haya yanaratibiwa na Taasisi ya Tanzanianjema. Washiriki mbalimbali hususan vijana walijumuika pamoja siku hiyo katika Mkahawa wa Vitabu wa Soma kuzungumza na wanasiasa vijana kuhusu changamoto wanazozipata katika medani ya siasa na hasa katika harakati zinazoendelea za uchaguzi. Wanasiasa waliotoa uzoefu wao ni Fancy Nkuhi, aliyekuwa katika kampeni za kupata nafasi ya kugombea ubunge kwa tiketi ya CCM/UVCCM, na Zitto Kabwe ambaye anagombea tena nafasi ya Ubunge katika Jimbo la Kigoma Kaskazini kwa tiketi ya CHADEMA. Mfululuzo wa mazungumzo haya utaendelea, kwa taarifa zaidi tembelea http://www.tanzanianjema.com/

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soma Poetry Night/Jioni ya Mashairi - 13/08/10

Soma Book Café is inviting you to an exciting and insightful poetry session.
We welcome poets and poetry lovers to come and listen or participate in the recitals.
Bring a poem to recite - your own or any other you love.
The subject is “Personal Accountability” – it is always good to begin by looking from within isn’t it?
If you are interested in reciting contact us, so that we include you in the program.
Please note that we welcome poems in Kiswahili and English languages.

Mkahawa wa Vitabu Soma unapenda kukukaribisha katika jioni ya mashairi ya kusisimua.
Tunakaribisha washairi na wapenda mashairi pia kujiunga nasi kughani au kusikiliza.
Mada ni "Uwajibikaji binafsi."
Kama ungependa Kushiriki kwenye kughani tafadhali wasiliana nasi ili tukujumuishe kwenye ratiba.
Mashairi yanakaribishwa kwa lugha ya Kiswahili au Kiingereza .

: 13th August 2010
TIME: 18h00
VENUE: Soma Book Café
Contacts: info.soma@infinet.co.tz or 0784 806 806

A Day in a Life at Hiari-Documentary by Amil Shivji

For all those concerned with the plight of street children:

Hiari Orphanage

You may also wish to check out the following films by Amil:

The Maple Lie

My Broken Umbrella

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hapa ni Wapi? 'Where is This?'

1. Nyumba ya Makumbusho?/A Museum?

2. Magofu ya Kihistoria?/Historical Ruins?

3. Jalala?/Dump?
Pata Jibu Hapa:/Get the Answer Here:


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Freely Available Online: A New Book on 'Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright'

Read the Description and/or Download the Book at:


Monday, August 9, 2010

Bustani ya Milenia: Chuo Kikuu - Changanyikeni

Bango Linaloitambulisha Bustani ya Milenia

Barabara inayopita Pembeni ya Bustani sasa ina Lami

Maji kutoka Chuo Kikuu kwenda Changanyikeni

Friday, August 6, 2010


1. Ukokotoaji wa Hesabu za Vipeo na Vipeuo

2. Ukokotoaji wa Hesabu za Solo

3. Ukokotoaji wa Hesabu za Mipango Nyoofu

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Kama sehemu ya Mkutano Mkuu wa Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) unaoendelea hivi sasa hapa Morogoro, Profesa Issa Shivji amealikwa kutoa mada. Anaanza kwa kusisitiza kuwa ataongelea uzalishaji tofauti na wazungumzaji waliopita walioongelea soko. Anasisitiza kuwa 'soko ni matokeo - ni mahali ambapo unauza bidhaa. Lakini zile bidhaa lazima zizalishwe kwanza kabla hazijauzwa. Huwezi kuuza bidhaa hewa - japo kuna watu wanauza bidhaa hewa. Mfumo wa kuzalisha bidhaa ndio msingi wa mfumo wa kiuchumi, kijamii na hata kisiasa. Nani anayezalisha? Nani anayefaidika na uzalishaji ule? Nani anayetoa jasho na nani anakula matunda ya jasho hilo? Hayo ni maswali ya msingi na muhimu kabisa hasa katika jumuiya ya wazalishaji, na hasa wazalishaji wadogo - wakulima, wafugaji na wavuja jasho wengine!'

'Nchi yetu bado ni nchi ya vijiji. Sasa tuna vijiji zaidi ya 12,000. Takribani 80% ya watu wetu wanaishi vijijini. Ingawa takwimu za hivi karibuni zinaonesha kuwa mchango wa sekta ya kilimo katika uzalishaji wa kitaifa (GDP) ni asilimia 26%. Tulizoea kuona mchango huo ukiwa ni nusu (50%) ila sasa takwimu zinasema zimeshuka mpaka 26%. Mchango wa kilimo ni 26% japo 80% ya watu wetu wanaishi vijijini - hii maana yake nini? Ina maana asilimia 80% ya watu wetu inazalisha pato kwa 26% tu? Hili ni suala la msingi tunaloposwa kujiuliza sababu zake!'

'Tuelewe mfumo wa vyama vingi kwa mtazamo na msimamo wa wazalishaji wadogo. Huwezi kuzungumzia wakulima wadogo kama hawapo wakulima wakubwa - hivyo hivyo huwezi kuzungumzia wakulima maskini kama hakuna wakulima matajiri. Huwezi kuongelea umaskini bila kuuelewa utajiri. Katika jamii hiyo hiyo kuna mgawanyiko. Katika jamii hiyo kutakuwa na mfarakano - hakutakuwa na mtazamo mmoja. Tunasikia hoja mbalimbali kuhusu wakulima - kuwa ni maskini kwa sababu hawafuati kanuni za kilimo cha kisasa na kuwa wavivu. Lakni wakulima sio wategemezi. Wao ndio wazalishaji. Katika jamii wasio wategemezi ndio maskini. Wale walio tegemezi ndio matajiri.'

'Kuna Tabaka la Wavuja Jasho na Wavuna Jasho!'



Mpaka sasa mada zote katika Mkutano Mkuu wa 15 wa MVIWATA zimejikita katika kuhamasisha uzalishaji wa chakula kwa ajili ya biashara na si chakula tu. Hotuba ya ufunguzi ya Waziri Kiongozi, Philemon Luhanjo, kama ilivyosomwa na mwakilishi yake, ilifungua pazia na msisitizo wa uzalishaji mkubwa kwa kuzingatia Mwito wa Kilimo Kwanza. Hata fulana za mkutano walizovaa washiriki zina kaulimbiu hii 'KILIMO NI MASOKO.'

Na mada ya Mkuu wa Chuo Kikuu Cha Ushirika Moshi (MUCCoBS), Profesa Faustine K. Bee, imeweka msisitizo katika uimarishaji wa masoko ya kilimo ili wanufaike na fursa za soko la Pamoja la Afrika Mashariki. Ili hili liwezekane Profesa Bee anasema kuwa inabidi tuweke msisitizo katika: (1) Elimu na uhamasishaji mf. unaoepelekea wakulima na wananchi waelewe uwepo wa fursa hii muhimu ya kiuchumi; (2) Ujasiriamali na ujuzi/umahiri wa masoko - mf. katika kuzalisha bidhaa zinazohitajika katika soko na wala siyo soko kwa ajili ya bidhaa; (3) Kuboresha upatikanaji wa fedha - mf. kuwa na taasisi mahsusi kwa ajili ya sekta ya kilimo; (4) Uimarishaji na uboreshaji wa taasisi/asasi wakulima - mf. kuhamasisha mikataba ya kilimo; (5) Upatikanaji wa taarifa na kufanya utafiti na masoko -mf'. kuongeza kasi na urahisi wa kuzipata; na (6) Uimarishaji wa miundombinu - mf. vituo vya masoko/minada ya mifugo, usafirishaji na mawasiliano, utunzaji wa bidhaa kwa kutumia maghala, ulinzi na usalama.

Licha ya mada hizi kuwa na mambo mengi ya umaendeleo (developmentalism) zimejikita katika mtazamo wa uliberali mamboleo (neoliberalism)/mfumo wa soko (market economy). Hazijaweza kuonesha undani wa mtazamo/mfumo huu athari zake kwa wakulima wadogo wanaoshauriwa waageuke na kuwa wakulima wakubwa wa kibiashara. Pengine mchana kutakuwa na mitazamo tofauti kidogo kutoka kwenye mada zitakazotolewa na Mwalimu Bashiru Ally na Profesa Issa Shivji.


Mkutano Mkuu wa 15 wa Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) umeanza rasmi leo hapa Mjini Morogoro Katika Ukumbi wa CCT, Kigurunyembe. Mada Kuu ya Mkutano Huu ni 'Soko la Pamoja la Afrika Mashariki: Je, Ni Fursa kwa Wakulima Wadogo?' Hivi sasa mada ya kwanza ndio imeanza kutolewa na Profesa Faustin Bee, Mkuu wa Chuo Kikuu cha Ushirika Moshi (MUCCOBS). Mada hii inahusu 'Changamoto za Soko kwa Wakulima Wadogo'. Muhtasari wa Kiuchambuzi wa mada zinazotolewa hapa utawajia kadri mada zinavyotolewa.

Profesa Issa Shivji akiwasili Mkutanoni, hapa anaonekana akikaribishwa na Mwanachama wa MVIWATA - Mchana huu atatoa Mada kuhusu 'Demokrasia na Wakulima Wadogo'.

Wanachama wa MVIWATA wakijiandikisha tayari kuanza Mkutano - Leo ni Warsha ya Kitaifa na Kesho ni Uchaguzi wa Viongozi Katika Mkutano Mkuu wa Mwaka (AGM).

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

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