Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Can the Somali Speak Academically?

"Earlier this week, an academic journal was brought to my attention: the Somaliland Journal of African Studies, which published its inaugural issue in February. It describes itself as a journal “covering African affairs at large, but with a particular focus on East Africa and the Horn” and “put together with students at scholars of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies of the University of Hargeisa.” Missing from the journal’s editorial board, board of advisors, and authors were said Somali students and scholars. Not one Somali from outside of UofH, either. Instead, the editorial and advisory boards were made up of nine European and US based academics (as well as two PhD student editors) and three Ethiopian academics affiliated with Addis Ababa University. On my Facebook page, I called for a Twitter conversation on March 25th under the hashtag #CadaanStudies.... As a public post shared widely, many Somalis participated in the Facebook thread to critique the journal. The tone shifted completely when one of SJAS’ advisory board members, German anthropologist Markus Hoehne, entered the thread with comments so patronizing many of us were left wondering if we had encountered a real-life early 20th century anthropologist caricature. His defense of SJAS and “cadaan” domination of Somali Studies: Somali social scientists do not exist, and non-Somali academics will continue to dominate the field until you Somalis dislodge us..." - Safia Aididhttp://africasacountry.com/can-the-somali-speak-cadaanstudies/

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tanzania Human Development Report 2014

Friday, March 27, 2015

5th Woman Scream International Poetry Festival

Tanzanian Lawyer on the Bill to amend Islamic Law

The Bill comes to amend or rather supplement the Islamic Law (Restatement) Act Cap. 375. This is a 1964 Act of Parliament that set the grounds of the Islamic law. The Act was mindful that there are schools of law in the Islamic religion, and wanted these schools to be recognized.

In terms of operation the Act empowered the Minister (responsible for legal matters) to prepare statements of Islamic law. These statements become the law that can be enforced in our ordinary courts. The Act is categorical that a statement of Islamic law when published (by the Minister) “shall be deemed to be an authoritative, conclusive and proper statement of the Islamic law in respect of the subject and according to the school to which it relates and shall be applied and given effect to accordingly by all courts in any cases and matters which are to be determined in accordance with that school of the Islamic law.” 

The Act makes provisions for two important exclusions: first, the statement of Islamic law cannot relate to criminal matters. A proviso in the Act states, “Provided that no statement shall include any provision purporting to declare any act or omission criminal.” So, by design the Act only permitted Islamic law to be recognized and applied to civil matters. And, not all civil matters but matters related to marriages and succession/inheritance. 

The second caveat is that application of the law is not mandatory to all Muslims. Put it differently, the statement of Islamic law will not bind a Muslim, unless that persons decides to follow the statement by choice.

As far as I know our Courts have in numerous occasions, applied Islamic law where parties go to court needing their rights to be determined in accordance with the Islamic law. The rights here are in the sense of personal status, marriage and inheritance.

Now what does the Bill brings in?

The central theme of the Bill is the mode (or forum) for administration of the statements of Islamic law. Now instead of the rights under the Islamic law to be administered by the secular courts, Kadhis’ Courts are established to deal with the application of the Islamic law. 

The Bill does not enlarge the scope of application of the Islamic law. It is maintained that the Islamic law shall apply to “personal status, marriage divorce or inheritance.”

So, the Bill introduces a new set of court system (Kadhi’s Court) do deal with the matters of Islamic law which were hitherto dealt with in the ordinary courts. As before, nobody is going to be forced to go to Kadhi’s Court. The proposed new section 4(4) in the Bill says: “Kadhi’s Court shall be self financed and parties shall subject cases and matters for determination by the Kadhi’s Court on voluntary basis.” 

Kadhi’s Court will not have the implementation machinery such as the police; court brokers, etc. To remedy that, the Bill proposes to empower the Minister to make rules to govern the enforcement of decisions of Kadhi’s Court.

Now my personal analysis of the Bill as a lawyer:

1. The Bill gives powers of making rules of procedure of the Kadhi’s Court to Mufti. I was wondering if all the Islamic sects would agree with the Mufti. I was wondering whether a college of scholars from various schools would have been a better organ for making such rules. 

2. The Bill does not provide for appeal system from the Kadhi’s Courts. It is silent what happens when one is not satisfied with the decision of the Kadhi’s Court.

3. Financing is a crucial point for the Kadhi’s Courts to function. The Bill only says that: “Kadhi’s Court shall be self financed…” Since this is an Act of parliament it is necessary, in my view to give some directions on the finances. Since Kadhi’s Court will be a statutory body some guidance are necessary for its finances. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Regionalism & Factionalism in Multiparty Politics

Acting on Regionalism and Factionalism in Tanzania’s Multiparty Politics

Chambi Chachage

She hails from one of the regions in the northern part of Tanzania. Her revolutionary sympathy seems to lay with a political party that is accused to be primarily ‘north-based’. When I asked her about what is increasingly referred in Swahili as siasa za ukanda (politics of regionalism) within the country in relation to party formation, she remarked: “hakuna chama kisicho cha kikanda” (there is no political party that is not regional).

In a country that has been celebrated for containing the politics of ethnicity especially during the ‘single party’ reign of its first President, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, it is ironic that ‘tribalism’ is rearing its ugly head under the guise of regionalism. For sure the conditions for starting a new party after the return to multiparty politics in 1992 have attempted to ensure that we don’t end up having a party that is based on a region. But it appears this has not been sufficient enough since the law stipulates that a party only has to have at least 200 members from at least 10 regions to be eligible for registration.

Little did we know that regionalism in Tanzania will come to mean something more than mkoa (region). Currently, the country has 30 regions. But when people talk about the politics of regionalism, they are talking about the politics of an area that constitutes more than one region. In other words, they are talking about an area in which one or a couple of ethnic group dominates. This area can be outside of the ethnic group’s region of origin.

CHADEMA, the leading opposition party in Tanzania, is a case study as its detractors claim its main ukanda is the area that constitutes the northern regions of Kilimanjaro and Arusha. Since, ‘commercially’, the Chagga are the ‘predominant’ group in both regions, they easily become the allegedly face of this party. This is almost convincing given that its founding chair is a Chagga based in Arusha and its current chair is a Chagga who also happens to be the Member of Parliament (MP) of the Hai constituent in Kilimanjaro.

Probably not knowing that he was feeding into the discourse – if not propaganda – that the party’s accusers were continuing to propagate, its then member, Zitto Kabwe, penned these words in 2012 after campaigning in a by-election somewhere between downtown Arusha and Kilimanjaro: “Jambo moja la dhahiri baada ya uchaguzi wa Arumeru ni kwamba ukipanda basi kutoka Moshi kwenda Arusha, utakuwa ukipita katika ngome ya CHADEMA. Ni ngome ya CHADEMA kuanzia Moshi mjini, Hai, Arumeru Mashariki na Arusha Mjini…eneo hili sasa ni Liberated Zone, yaani ukanda uliokombolewa.”

At the risk of misquoting the quotable quote, one can thus directly translate those words: “One things is clear now following the by-election in Arumeru, that is, if you board a bus from Moshi to Arusha, you will be passing in CHADEMA’s stronghold. It is CHADEMA’s base from Moshi town, Hai, East Arumeru and Arusha Town…this area now is the Liberated Zone, that is, a region that has been liberated.” In other words, since then the MPs of all those constituents across the legendary highway are from CHADEMA.

Yet, like his ex-fellow members who did not hail from the north, he thus defended the party resolutely in a lengthy online interview in the social media in 2012: “Chadema ni chama cha kitaifa. Kingekuwa chama cha kidini au kikabila kingefutwa. Katika uongozi wa Chadema unapata watu toka mikoa na kabila mbali mbali, pia watu toka dini mbali mbali. Diversity hii haipatikani katika vyama vingi humu nchini. Nadhani mtazamo huu unapandikizwa na watu ambao hawakipendi chama chetu na wanaoona chama kama threat kwa maslahi yao binafsi.  Pia sisi kama chama tunapaswa kuwa makini sana, hasa viongozi tunapofanya kazi zetu ili kutothibitisha taswira hii mbaya dhidi ya chama chetu. Baadhi ya wanachama wa CHADEMA ndio mabingwa wa kueneza jambo hili…Chama chetu kimesambaa nchi nzima na viongozi wake ni wa dini zote na makabila yote.”

Risking misinterpretation, one can thus paraphrase those words by way of translating: “Chadema is a national party. If it was a religious or ethnic party it would have been deregistered. In Chadema’s leadership you get people from various regions and ethnic groups, as well as people from varying religions. This diversity is not present in many a party in the country. I think this perception is propagated by those who do not like our party and who view it as a threat to their personal interests. As a party we also need to be very careful, especially when we do our work as leaders so that we do not affirm this bad perception about our party. Some member of CHADEMA are the champions of propagating this perception…. Our party is spread throughout the country and its leaders are from all religions and ethnicities.”
Now, having fallen from the grace of his (former) party, the tables have been turned on him. His new party, Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT), is now on the receiving end of accusations about being primarily ‘west-based’. By this they mean the regions of Kigoma, where he hails from, and Tabora, that is connected to it.
Maybe also unaware, he fed this discourse-cum-propaganda when he held rallies in downtown Kigoma and Kasulu soon after CHADEMA stripped him of his appointed leadership positions in the party in 2013. Tellingly, before Zitto joined ACT officially in 2015, it won majority of the seats in Kigoma’s Mwandiga, in 2014’s local governments elections.

For conspiracy theorists, even the choice of Tegeta in Dar es Salaam as the place he was officially issued with ACT’s membership card capitalized on the apparent presence of an ethnic enclave from Kigoma. They extrapolate this from the fact that in 2013 Zitto was vocal by questioning – and intervened successfully against – the arresting of Tanzanians from Kigoma residing Tegeta who were wrongly accused of being illegal immigrant.

Dar es Salaam, the de facto political headquarters and de jure commercial capital of Tanzania, is a melting pot of ethnicities in the country. So, it is quite disturbing when its areas are associated with particular ethnic groups. Maybe it is understandable in relation to the dynamics of migration. The problem, as we have observed in neighboring countries, starts when such ethnic associations are politicized especially in the context of elections.

Gathering solid data on ethnic composition, particularly in cosmopolitan areas, has not been our preoccupation. “The Tanzanian government has not gathered any census data on ethnic affiliations since 1967”, aptly noted Matthew Collin in 2013,  “considering the matter to be taboo”. But like many other researchers, especially those from abroad, for him it is an interesting matter as his study on ethnic enclaves in Dar es Salaam attests.

Yet it is an open secret, for those of us who cling to the taboo, that such and such an area is this or that ethnic enclave. I, for one, resided in a street where CHADEMA won in the 2010 general elections and now, in 2015, I have moved too a street that is not very far from that one and where CHADEMA won the local government elections in 2014. People hardly talk openly about it but it seems almost everyone knows why this is a ‘liberated zone’.

We can opt to dialogue openly and honestly about these politics of regionalism-cum-ethnicity that are slowly but probably surely extending beyond the regions where those ethnicity originates from. Or, as Professor Samuel Wangwe has recently cautioned us, keep taking our nation for granted as if our ‘unity in diversity’ has and will always be there as if the task of building the nation is done.
Zitto’s close ally, Professor Kitila Mkumbo, may be utterly right by thus decrying the ‘conspiracy theory’ against their new party vis-√†-vis CHADEMA and the coalition of leading opposition parties known as UKAWA: “This theory that ACT has been founded for the purpose of ‘divide’ and ‘rule’ remains a theory.” They may even be both right in insisting that they are building a party that is not only patriotic and democratic, but also nationalist and socialist. What remains to be seen is whether they will act against and move beyond the legacy of regionalism that is an Achilles heel of many a political party.

Here it would be instructive for the de facto – and probably soon to be the de jure – face of the ACT party to recall and reapply this personal clarion call from back in his heydays of (political) activism: “I must graduate from being a divisive figure to a uniting figure.”

Welcome to the Mwalimu Nyerere Resource Centre

Welcome Remarks

By Professor Issa Shivji
Director, Nyerere Resource Centre (NRC)

Mhe. Mzee Mkapa, Mhe. Mzee Msuya. 

Dr. Hassan Mshinda, the Director General of COSTECH 
 Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, friends and comrades. 

Let me add my thankful voice to that of Dr. Mshinda in welcoming you all to this our milestone function. It comes to mark the end of three years’ research work. You have made us proud by accepting our invitation and attending. 

Some three years ago, together with two colleagues, Prof. Saida Yahya­‐Othman and Dr. Ng’wanza Kamata, we embarked on what we knew then was an ambitious project, and what we know now to be a VERY ambitious project. This was to write a biography of Mwalimu Nyerere. I am pleased to say that Dr. Mshinda enthusiastically accepted our request to provide the funding for the project. 

Any intellectual project of this nature is as exciting in the research as it is in the writing. We were fortunate that we were able to visit, both internally and abroad, various libraries, archives and personal collections. We also conducted numerous interviews. I am very delighted to see many of our respondents here today. All of them,  including many of our leaders, graciously accepted to sit with us for long hours, sometimes in several sessions, to have conversations with us. We may have buried or mutilated some traits of Mwalimu’s legacy, but one has lingered on, especially among the first generation leaders, and that is humility. Former presidents, prime ministers, ministers and senior public servants; heads of the army and security and parastatals, and above all Mwalimu’s family, sat with us for long hours, engaging in animated discussions – frankly and completely devoid of arrogance. A couple turned us down; a few had selective amnesia, but those were rare exceptions. The majority opened up and eagerly talked to us. They gifted us their time and their rich memories, albeit with a little nudging from us. A few opened their private collections to our inquisitive eyes. This gives me courage to appeal to others who have similar collections to make them available to researchers­ ‐ maybe through the Nyerere Resource Centre! To all who received us with such generosity, we are extremely grateful. Ahsanteni sana. 

The research for the biography had two expected outcomes. One, the obvious one, was the book, which we hope to complete in due course. The second, the less obvious, is what we are inaugurating today ‐ the Nyerere Resource Centre. The essential objective of the Centre was simple and clear to us from the outset – to store, preserve and make available to other researchers the material that we had collected in the course of our research. That is the archival function of NRC. COSTECH has agreed to provide us with a new home for that documentation aspect. But the other major function became apparent to us in the course of research. As we read the documents – Mwalimu’s file notes, letters and draft articles – and ruminated over them for long hours in animated and infectious exchanges, we felt that the ideas and thoughts expressed were not for archiving. Documents are archived, ideas are not, or ought not to be. Ideas must live and we should continually breathe life into Mwalimu’s ideas. The only way to enliven ideas is to critically discuss, debate, question and analyse them. Discussion is the mode of existence of ideas. It is through a clash of ideas that knowledge develops. We therefore, decided that the second major function of NRC would be to organise, in different ways and through different formats, a contestation of ideas. And what could be a better place to provide the space than a Centre in Mwalimu’s name under a Science – I underline Science – Commission? 

There was another aspect that we discovered in the course of interviewing retired leaders, particularly those of the first and second independence generation. We found them agonizing over what they were observing, wanting to talk, to reflect on their own roles and their own place but also to engage in current debates and prospects for the future of our country. This made us add another important dimension to NRC ‐ a platform, a space, a forum for these leaders to meet with each other and to interact with intellectuals, scholars and researchers to discuss and reflect freely on vital issues, without being constrained by the bland niceties of protocol or the prejudices of partisanship. You will find these considerations and thoughts reflected ‐ albeit in a small way ‐ in our programme for these two days. No doubt this is an initial effort – we are learning to walk. Nonetheless, we are very much encouraged by the way the idea of NRC – KAVAZI LA MWALIMU NYERERE – has been received. We depend on all of you for support. Don’t expect unanimity or uniformity in our discussions; don’t expect partisanship and politicking in our debates and discourses. We aim to discuss and debate grand ideas. And through debate and discussion – and in our short training courses ­‐ we want to develop strategic, long-­term thinking. We want to take a longer view of history and we want to  think beyond the next election, beyond political parties, beyond existing forms of governance and, for that matter, beyond existing forms of democracy and economics. Humankind is not so depraved that it can only think of democracy in terms of a game of musical chairs – changing the faces of its rulers every five years. No, we are not so bereft of thought that buying and selling of commodities – the market ‐ sets the limits of our economic imagination. We are starting small but we want to think big ‐ without expecting Big Results Now. 

Let me end by mentioning two things, one fundamental, and another mundane. First the mundane and expectedly, it is the money question. We would like KAVAZI to be self-­sustaining, at least in its operational costs and to achieve this we have set up an endowment fund. We are grateful to NSSF, and Dr. Ramadhani Dau, for making an inaugural contribution. We invite others to follow suit. 

We are thankful to the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for giving us a grant to cover the operational costs for the first year. Rosa Luxemburg is a great name in the history of socialism. She fought for the cause of the downtrodden, the oppressed and the exploited of the world. And she gave her life for the cause. “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains”, she said.

Indeed. And noticing our chains is not enough. We noticed the chains of slavery, we moved, and broke them. We felt the chains of colonialism, we moved under the leadership of Mwalimu, and set ourselves free. Now we must perceive the intellectual and ideological chains of mental slavery, neo-­colonialism and neo-liberalism, and move to unshackle them. May KAVAZI make a small contribution towards that movement. 

Second, and more significant is the name ‐ KAVAZI LA MWALIMU NYERERE needs to be explained. There have already been surprised enquiries and raised eyebrows. The Kiswahili for archives is MAKAVAZI. It has no singular. But we wanted to accentuate both the singularity and the greatness of this particular makavazi, storing as they do documents by and on Mwalimu. We wanted a name and conceptualization which would reflect their distinction. We also wanted to demonstrate the infinite generative and creative capacity of all languages and of Kiswahili in particular. So, KAVAZI “la” Mwalimu, the great archives, to be made greater by what all of us can  contribute to its diversity and depth. We are aware that there is no singular for MAKAVAZI, just as there is no singular for Archives. But, if the English speaker wanted to underscore the greatness of particular archives, he or she wouldn’t flinch from saying ‘The Archive”.

Karibuni KAVAZINI.

Karibuni Kavazini: Kavazi la Mwalimu Nyerere


Na Profesa Issa Shivji
Mkurugenzi wa Kavazi 

Mhe. Mzee Mkapa, Mhe. Mzee Msuya. 

Dkt. Hassan Mshinda, Mkuu wa Tume ya Sayansi 

 Waheshimiwa Mabibi na Mabwana, marafiki na makamaradi 

Napenda kuungana na Dkt. Mshinda kuwakaribisha kwenye shughuli hii adhimu. Ni kilele cha kazi yetu ya utafiti wa miaka mitatu wa kuandika biografia ya Mwalimu Nyerere. Tumefarijika sana kwamba mmekubali mwaliko wetu na kujumuika nasi. 

Miaka mitatu iliyopita, pamoja na wenzangu wawili, Profesa Saida Yahya‐Othman na Dkt. Ng’wanza Kamata, tuliamua kuandika biografia ya Mwalimu. Ulikuwa uamuzi wa kijasiri kwelikweli lakini mara nyingine lazima uamue kufanya linalotakiwa kufanywa. Bahati nzuri, Dkt. Mshinda alikubali kugharimia mradi wetu. 

Wakati wa utafiti wetu, tuliweza kukusanya nyaraka katika makavazi mbalimbali ndani na nje ya nchi pamoja na kuwahoji watu mbalimbali, wakiwemo viongozi wastaafu wa ndani na nje ya nchi. Tunashukuru kwamba, bila kusita, wengi wenu mlitupokea na kuzungumza nasi kuhusu Mwalimu. 

Ni kweli kwamba kuna mengi katika urithi aliotuachia Mwalimu, ambayo tumeyasahau au kuyapuuza. Lakini kuna jambo moja lililojengeka katika hulka ya viongozi wetu, hasa viongozi wa kizazi cha kwanza baada ya uhuru, ambalo bado lipo, ingawa limeanza kufifia. Hulka hii ni upole na unyeyekevu, bila kuwa na kiburi, jambo ambalo sio kawaida kwa viongozi wengi. Marais wastaafu, mawaziri wakuu wastaafu, viongozi waandamizi serikalini, wakuu wa vyombo vya ulinzi na usalama, wakuu wa mashirika ya umma, na zaidi, familia ya Mwalimu ‐ wote hao walikaa nasi kwa masaa mengi ya mazungumzo. Wachache walitukatalia, na wachache zaidi waliamua kusema yale tu waliyotaka kuyakumbuka; ingawa hao walikuwa wachache sana.

Baadhi ya wale tuliowahoji walituruhusu hata kuchambua nyaraka zao binafsi. Hii inanipa ujasiri wa kuwaomba viongozi na wananchi wengine walifikirie Kavazi kama mahali pa kuhifadhi nyaraka zao.

Wote tunawashukuru kwa moyo mkunjufu. 

Tulitarajia kwamba utafiti wetu utazaa matokeo mawili. La kwanza, ambalo ni wazi, ni kitabu ambacho tunaendelea kukiandika. La pili, ambalo sio wazi sana, ni KAVAZI LA MWALIMU NYERERE ambalo tunalizindua leo. Lengo kuu la KAVAZI lilikuwa wazi tangu mwanzo, ambalo ni kukusanya na kuhifadhi nyaraka na taarifa tulizopata wakati wa utafiti wetu. Hii ndio sifa kuu ya makavazi. 

Tukiwa tunaendelea na utafiti lengo la pili lilijitokeza. Tulipokuwa tunasoma na kujadili nyaraka mbalimbali – madokezo ya Mwalimu katika mafaili, barua na makala zake, n.k. – tulifikiri kwamba haitoshi kuhifadhi nyaraka kana kwamba fikra za Mwalimu ni mfu. Fikra zinastahili kuwa hai. Uhai wa fikra ni kuzijadili, kuzidadisi, kuzichambua na kuzikosoa. Mijadala ndio utambulisho wa fikra. Migongano ya fikra ndio huzaa ufahamu na uelewa mpya. 

Ndipo tukaamua kwamba Kavazi liwe na shughuli nyingine muhimu. Kupitia njia mbalimbali – kama mihadhara, makongamano, mazungumzo n.k. – Kavazi litandaa malumbano juu ya fikra za Mwalimu pamoja na masuala mengine muhimu ambayo yalikuwa yanamtatiza. Na bila shaka Tume ya Sayansi ni mahali mwafaka pa kuendeleza mijadala ya aina hii. 

Kadhalika, tuligundua jambo jingine wakati wa mahojiano yetu na viongozi. Wengi wao, hususan wale wa kizazi cha kwanza na cha pili baada ya uhuru, na ambao wamestaafu, wanakereketwa na mengi, wangependa kujadili, kubadilishana mawazo na kushiriki katika mijadala ya kitaifa bila vikwazo vya kiprotokali. Kwa hiyo, tukaona Kavazi linaweza kuwa mahali pa wao kukutana na wenzao, na wasomi na watafiti, na kujadili nao, kuzungumza nao, kubadilishana taarifa na mawazo na kutoa mchango wao. Fikra kama hizi ndio zimechangia, kwa kiasi fulani, katika kuandaa ratiba ya sherehe hizi za uzinduzi. Huu ni mwanzo; fikra zetu zinakua. Tunawategemea nyinyi kutuuunga mkono. 

Bila shaka kutakuwa na mawazo mengi katika mijadala yetu. Kutakuwa na migongano ya mawazo. Tunatarajia kujadili na kudadisi  mawazo na fikra pana – fikra za kimaendeleo, sio fikra mgando. Tunakusudia kuendeleza fikra‐mkakati katika mijadala na masomo yetu. Tunataka kuangalia mbele, sio tu ya kesho au keshokutwa au uchaguzi ujao. Mijadala yetu itakuwa inaangalia mbali na wakati wake utakuwa wa masafa marefu – zaidi ya malumbano ya vyama vya siasa, zaidi ya mifumo iliyopo ya demokrasia na kiuchumi. Tunataka kufikiri na kuwafikirisha wanazuoni wetu kuhusu mifumo mbadala. Binadamu hajafilisika kifikra kiasi cha kukubali kuwa demokrasia ni mchezo wa kubadili sura za watawala kila baada ya miaka mitano. 

Binadamu hajafika kilele chake cha ubunifu kiasi cha kudhani kuwa soko ni mfumo pekee wa uchumi. Tunataka kuvuka mipaka ya ufahamu iliyowekwa na mifumo tawala. 


Napenda kuhitimisha kwa kugusia mambo mawili, moja ni la msingi, na jingine ni la kawaida. La kawaida linahusu fedha. Tungependa KAVAZI lijitegemee. Ndio maana tumeunda mfuko maalum (endowment fund) ambao utazalisha fedha za kujiendesha. Tunamshukuru sana Dkt. Ramadhani Dau, Mkuu wa NSSF, kwa kuchangia fedha za awali za kuanzisha Mfuko huu. Tunawakaribisha wengine wachangie kuukuza Mfuko wa Kavazi.

Tunashukuru shirika la Rosa Luxemburg waliotupa fedha za kuendesha shughuli za Kavazi kwa mwaka wa kwanza. Jina la Rosa Luxemburg lina umuhimu wa kipekee katika historia ya ujamaa. Rosa alipambana dhidi ya unyonyaji na udhalilishaji wa wavujajasho. Na alijitoa mhanga katika mapambano hayo. Aliwahi kusema kwamba: “Wasiosogea hawatambui kuwa wana minyororo” - “Those who do not move, do not recognise their chains”. 

Naam! Tumeitambua minyororo ya utumwa; tumesogea na tumeivunja. Tumeitambua minyororo ya ukoloni; tumesogea chini ya uongozi wa Mwalimu, na tumeivunja. Sasa tunapaswa kubaini minyororo ya kiitikadi na kizuoni tuliyofungwa na wababe wa mitazamo ya uliberali mamboleo; tunapaswa kusogea ili tuivunje. Ni matarajio yetu kwamba KAVAZI litachangia, ingawa kwa kiwango kidogo, kuchochea kusonga mbele. 

Jambo la pili, ni kuhusu jina la KAVAZI LA MWALIMU NYERERE. Jina hili linatakiwa kufafanuliwa, japo kwa ufupi, kwa sababu limezuwa mjadala. Tafsiri ya Kiswahili ya neno la Kiingereza ‘Archives’ ni Makavazi, kwa maana ya mahali pa kuhifadhi nyaraka za kale na za kihistoria. Kama ilivyo kwa neno la Kiingereza (archives), neno Makavazi halina umoja. Hata hivyo, kwa hisia na dhamira zetu, makavazi yanayotunza nyaraka zinazomhusu Mwalimu yana umuhimu na hadhi maalum. Na sisi tulitaka jambo hili lijitokeze waziwazi katika jina la chombo hiki. Ndio maana tumediriki kubuni neno KAVAZI ambalo ni mzizi wa neno au dhana ya makavazi. Ili kusisitiza upekee wake, tunaliita ‘Kavazi LA’ Mwalimu Nyerere, na sio Kavazi ‘ya’ au Kavazi ‘ka. Kwa wazungumzaji wa lugha ya Kiingereza ‘Kavazi la’ ni sawa na kusema ‘The Archive’; huwezi ukasema ‘The Archives’ katika wingi.

Tunaamini kwamba hatimaye neno KAVAZI litazoeleka. Tutafarajika ikiwa tutasikia vijana wetu na watafiti wakiambiana: TUNAKWENDA KAVAZINI. 

Karibuni Kavazani.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shadowed Sight

Shadowed Sight

Long is the shadow
Short is the sight

Fuzzy shadow
Dizzy sight

Dark eyesight
White shadow

Shadow in sight
Sight on shadow


© Chambi Chachage

Kizazi Kipya – Tanzania’s Lost Generation?

Kizazi Kipya – Tanzania’s Lost Generation?

Dada Mzalendo (U.S.A.)

Where do I begin? I feel like giving you a development of my thoughts over the years, lakini that would be too private, akin to sharing with you a page of my diary. And I don’t think you want to read that. Nevertheless, elements of my personal life will pop up here and there. And I will try my best to put some structure into this because my brain is, currently, a chaotic place.

So, I really don’t know exactly what I’m going to say but I’ll just ramble on and hopefully we’ll get an interesting conversation going and figure out what to do with this renewed, revived, ever-present hunger for Tanzania. I like using ‘hunger’, I recently adopted it and I can imagine you can relate to it. Like me, you might be an individual who has grown up in Tanzania and lived or studied abroad.

Anyway, as I said, I don’t know what I’m going to say. In fact, I don’t know much about anything concerning Tanzania. And the realization of this has been recurring since high school. The realization has become stronger after coming to the US. Mixed with feelings of homesickness, wonder, awe, shame, fear and embarrassment, I have been thinking very hard about my particular experience and how it has influenced my ‘Tanzanianness’.

If I could sum up in one paragraph my current thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations for Tanzania, it would be as follows. First and foremost, I feel there is a significantly large lack of education among middle and upper classes. Yaani, watu ambao hatujawa na shida ya maisha kwa kiwango ambacho maskini wanakuwa nacho, tunakuwa wapumbavu. I am speaking of myself here. Because of my comfortable circumstances, I have become a product of societal conditions that have rendered me to feel superior, all knowing, and, above all, separate from, yet still belonging to, Tanzania’s society at large. I felt this all through primary school, secondary school, and in high school.

One of the moments that taught me otherwise was when I partook in an Intercultural Dialogue Camp that a friend organized in Tanzania last year. It was like a conference, a joining of various youths in Bagamoyo for a night. The main idea was getting to talk about culture, the role that Tanzania’s youth play, politics etc. For a while I had realized that the smartest people, the people who knew most about society, government, and current affairs were poor people. 

Kila mara Baba alikuwa ananiambia nisome magazeti lakini hata sikufanya lolote. Kisa? Nilikuwa naona uvivu. Niliona ni bora nikae tu au niangalie sehemu ya Grey’s Anatomy au Big Bang Theory. Na niliweza kufanya hivyo kwa sababu nilikuwa na laptop na nilienda shule ambayo tulikuwa tunapeana filamu n.k. What I am trying to say is that; I feel as though the better circumstances you have, the more opportunities you have to mingle with money or other countries and worlds, the less you care about what is happening in your own backyard. This may certainly not be true for many. And I am not saying this is always the case. In some cases, it makes you want to care MORE (after some maturity of course).

Namna nyingine ambayo nimeona kuna upungufu mkubwa miongoni mwetu (middle and upper classes) ni lugha. Kwanza kabisa niseme tu kwamba ni aibu kwamba sijui Kimachame wala Kimarangu zaidi ya kusalimia. Ingawa ni vizuri Tanzania hatuna ubaguzi wa kikabila, ni kwa sababu hii hii wengi wetu ambao tunaishi mjini, tunapoteza cha kwanza, lugha; pili, maadili na tatu, ujuzi wa ujumla wa historia ya wazazi wetu. Sawa, mara kwa mara, wazazi wetu wanatuhadithia kuhusu utoto wao lakini haitoshi.

Nakumbuka miaka kadhaa iliyopita Baba alinipa kitabu cha Petro Itosi Marealle, Maisha ya Mchagga hapa Duniani na Ahera. Needless to say I haven’t finished reading it. Lakini nataka kusema ni kitabu ambacho, kama kinavyoitwa, kinaongelea mila na desturi za Wachagga, kuanzia maelezo ya taratibu zinazofanyika mtoto akizaliwa mpaka maelezo ya mchakato wa kubalehe kwa vijana. Mpaka leo, natamani kuishi muda ule.
Pamoja na changamoto nyingi ambazo wazazi wetu wamepitia, ninaona kama maisha yale yalikuwa bora kwa sababu kulikuwa na uwepo mkubwa zaidi wa utekelezaji wa kawaida wa mila na desturi. Lakini sina maana kwamba sasa hatuna mila na desturi za pekee lakini zaidi na zaidi kuna tabia ya kwenda uzunguni. Simaanishi tu kuondoka Tanzania kimwili, namaanisha haswa kimawazo. Na mwisho wa siku ninafikiri hizi tabia zinavuma zaidi miongoni mwa vijana wa middle and upper classes. Would you agree?

Pamoja na upotezaji wa lugha za asili kwa kizazi hiki, kuna upotezaji wa lugha ya Kiswahili chenyewe. Desemba mwaka 2006 wakati wa Kipaimara changu, nilizungukwa na familia, marafiki, ndugu, na jamaa. Muda ukafika wa kutoa hotuba yangu. Nilianza kusalimia na kumshukuru Mungu kwa Kiswahili kwa sababu nilizoea sana sana maneno hayo. Kisha nikasema, “I will switch to English because I’m more comfortable speaking in it.”

EBO! Mpaka leo nikiwaza siku hiyo natamani sakafu ifunguke inimeze. Eti nini? Sawa, ukweli ni kwamba kwa kuwa nilikuwa kwenye mfumo wa shule ambapo Kiingereza kilivuma, uzoefu wangu wa Kiswahili ulikuwa umepungua lakini nilikuwa sioni hata chembe ya aibu. Na kwa sababu lugha ya Kiingereza imekuwa mojawapo wa lugha zetu za kitaifa; na kwa kuwa kihis[her/ha]toria wakoloni walichochea wazo kwamba wako juu yetu, basi Kiingereza nacho mpaka leo kinawakilisha maisha fulani ya juu. Haiishii hapo, mtoto wa ubatizo wa wazazi wangu naye kwenye ubarikio wake alisema vivyo hivyo. Kipindi hiki nilikuwa ninaelewa zaidi juu ya upuuzi wangu na nilimuonea aibu kwa hali ya juu kabisa.

Mwaka jana nilikuwa na hasira sana kuhusu hili tatizo na nikaanza kujiuliza maswali magumu. Hivi, je, umeshawahi kuwaza ni kwa nini tunatumia Kiingereza kila tukitumiana ujumbe mfupi wa simu/meseji (texts/sms) au tukiwa tunaongea kwenye simu? Bila shaka, tunatumia Swanglish lakini mara nyingi ni Kiingereza. Sawa ni rahisi na (haraka) zaidi kuandika Kiingereza hasa unapokuwa unatumia simu zenye huduma za kisasa (smartphones) lakini hali hiyo pia inaonesha kwamba tunatumia Kiswahili mara chache na tuna utegemezi wa Kiingereza.

Kwa hiyo, niliamua kuanza kuandika meseji za simu kwa Kiswahili tu! Binamu yangu mmoja akanijibu, “Why are you speaking like that?” That ndo nini? Si ni lugha yetu! Nikahoji, “kwa nini WEWE unaongea kama hivyo?”

About three years ago I was keen to learn about how law works in Tanzania. So, I asked my dad to accompany him to one of his court appearances. You cannot imagine the utter shock I experienced when I walked in and heard everyone speaking in English. Before we left, I literally had to pick up my bottom jaw from the floor. Outside, I asked my dad, “kwa nini wanatumia Kiingereza? Mtu akija ambaye anaongea tu Kiswahili inakuwaje?” He replied, “there are translators” or something like that. I simply could not believe what I was hearing. How exclusive it is to have English as the medium of communication in court when a majority of the country is not proficient in it. Halafu nikafikiria Bunge. Mbona saa nyingine huwa nasikia Kiingereza na saa nyingine Kiswahili? Na tunapenda sana kuwacheka watu waki“chemsha” kuongea Kiingereza. Tunacheka na tunatumiana hivyo virecordings n.k. Just sad.

Hivi karibuni nilipokuwa nachati na rafiki yangu mwingine, kama kawaida nikaanza kuongea kwa Kiswahili kitupu. Kwanza, akasema kuwa ameushangaa ujuzi wangu wa Kiswahili; pili, akaniomba niongee kwa Kiingereza kwa sababu ilimpa changamoto kusoma Kiswahili. Huyu rafiki ni Mswahili fulu! Hana mchanganyiko wowote na amekulia Bongo. Bila shaka, alisoma sekondari ugenini na cha muhimu zaidi ni kwamba ni mtoto katika familia yenye uwezo.

Nilishawahi kumueleza Mama kuhusu hiki kitu. Unajua alinijibuje? Alisema, “ndiyo hivyo hivyo watu maskini watakuja kuwapindua nyie middle class”. Na ninamwamini kabisa. Ingawa wengi wetu tunasikia wajibu na tunaelewa umuhimu wa kujifunza kuhusu Tanzania na kuwa na uelewa wa jamii na lugha yetu/zetu, nahisi kama bado kuna wengi ambao tunakimbilia maisha bora nje ya nchi au hapo hapo Bongo na tunakosa picha nzima.

Hali hii inaniogopesha lakini najua nina hamu zaidi ya kujitambua na kufanya yale ninayosisitiza ni sawa, yaani kutumia uwezo wangu kujiboresha kifikra na hatimaye yeyote ninayemzunguka.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dame on a Dime

Dame on a Dime

I don’t care about making a name
Nor adding a dime
Let alone being a prime
What matters is going home

I ain’t playing any game
Or chasing any fame
Even when getting any blame
What matters is coming home

I can’t keep feeling the shame
 Yet go on doing the same
While breaking the frame
What matters is moving home

I won’t be thinking of this pome
And keep sinking in this crime
Of acting like this mime
What matters is settling home

© Chambi Chachage

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Literacy-Language Story: A Fanciful History?

A Fanciful History: Annar Cassam On the Literacy-Language Story


Prof. Karim F Hirji

In her contribution entitled: TheLiteracy-Language Story, Annar Cassam contends that (i) the literacy programs implemented in Tanzania during the Mwalimu years had, by 1980, raised the literacy rates among school children to 90% and among adults to 80%; and (ii) these achievements together with other stellar gains in the education sector were drastically reversed by the Structural Adjustment Conditionalities imposed by International Financial Institutions and the West. She contrasts this fate with the spectacular and sustained achievements of Cuba under Castro, but then contends that African nations could not have followed the Cuban path. To Africa, only an Ujamaa type alternative road to development was available or feasible.
After joining the University of Dar es Salaam, in the company of many fellow students, I participated in voluntary adult literacy activities. In the evenings and on weekends, we spent one to two hours teaching reading, writing and basic arithmetic to residents of the surrounding area. The language of instruction was Kiswahili. I continued this work, but not that consistently, until 1973. Especially at the outset, enthusiasm was high and attendance was good. People, especially women, were eager to learn new skills. In that respect, I am in agreement with the positive sentiments underlying Cassam’s contribution.
Nevertheless, I am of the view that her general contentions are misleading and exaggerated. Deriving from selective and flawed data, they reflect the tendency among veterans and intellectuals of that era to uncritically glorify the Nyerere years. We need to set the record straight because only when armed with the actual achievements and mistakes of the past can we extract useful lessons, learn from them, and chart a viable path forward.
1.    Statistics: The reports of multilateral agencies like UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, World Bank as well as of national funding agencies such as DANIDA, NORAD and SIDA corroborate what Cassam says and more: That up to the early 1980s, Tanzania showed higher levels of progress in literacy, education, health services and water supply than most African countries. The gains were and are attributed to the policy of Ujamaa na Kujitegemea (Socialism and Self-Reliance).
2.    The catch is that many of these statistics had a strong positive bias and painted a rosier picture than what actually prevailed. How did that occur?
3.    First, we need to bear in mind that by the mid-1970s, Mwalimu had abandoned his pledge of moving towards self-reliance. Contradicting the Arusha Declaration, Tanzania stood among the top per capita recipients of external development funding in Africa. The main funders were the Western nations and agencies. For their part, these entities, upon pouring in a lot of money in Tanzania, had a vested interest in showing to their taxpayers and providers that the funds were being put to good use. Fine outcome statistics served their interests well. That these data did not well reflect the reality on the ground was not a serious concern.
4.    In early 1974, I was ejected from the University of Dar es Salaam upon the express order of Mwalimu. An assistant lecturer in the Department of Mathematics was overnight transformed into a Planning Officer in the Regional Planning Office of Rukwa Region. With my wife and just born child, I was in Sumbawanga for two years. (It is a long story that I will not go into for now).
5.    I bring this episode up here because my stay in Sumbawanga gave me a direct experience of the process of generation of the kind of statistics Cassam cites.
6.    In the middle and at the end of the fiscal year, the Regional Planning Office (RMO) had to submit a report to the Prime Minister’s Office indicating the progress made or not made in sectors like education, health, social services, economy and transportation. However, a systematic scheme for collecting these data did not exist. For education, we relied on the numbers given by the Regional Education Officer; for health it was the figures from the Regional Medical Officer, etc. It was not clear how they got their data. Many times, we saw clearly flawed or incomplete numbers. Say, we had to state the number of rural dispensaries with adequate staff. The RMO might tell us 7 but our boss would say there were only 5. So we worked out a compromise, and placed that number in our report.
7.    Basically, our report was designed to show the Prime Minister’s Office that allocated funds had been spent well, that our numbers were in line with what was stated in the past, and that sufficient problems remained to justify the continued flow of funds. All my suggestions and plans to collect reliable information were scuttled by my bosses. They listened patiently to what I said but then forgot about it. In this bureaucratic setting, the presence of a qualified statistician did not affect the quality of the socio-economic development data being generated.
8.    A similar kind of situation prevailed in almost all the regions. Such data were collated at the national level in the Prime Minister’s Office, and put in the official reports. The reports of external bilateral and multilateral agencies were mostly based on such official data. A few of them carried out their own surveys and there were direct data collection efforts at the national level as well. But these efforts were not well implemented and generally lacked good quality control measures.
9.    In the mid-1990s, a documentary film dealing with the decades of Norwegian assistance to Tanzania was produced by a team from that country. I was in Norway when it was shown. It showed that many of the claims of achievements made in NORAD reports were hot air. Some projects had failed to take off; some had stalled in the middle and some had fallen into disarray a few years upon completion. Earlier, a book assessing Westernsupported water development projects in Tanzania had noted that failure to involve local communities had often produced unused, unusable and unsustainable facilities. Here too, what was on paper did not generally match the outcomes in the field.
10.Research by many scholars, Tanzanian and expatriates, who were not beholden to TANU, also showed wide disparities between the claims of the politicians and the actual situation with regards to many aspects of the progress under Ujamaa. Many papers and books, including those relating to education, documented the large gap between words and deeds.
11.The claims of spectacular progress in raising literacy rates during this period have thus to be viewed in the light of this overall context. There is no reason to believe that literacy data were of a higher quality than other data. They too were affected by the lack of systematic data collection and the tendency to exaggerate.
12.During my stay in Sumbawanga, I visited many towns and villages in the area, and talked to a large number of ordinary people. Most of them openly told me that when the policy of Ujamaa was first announced, they fully supported it. They were enthusiastic about the mass literacy and health education programs. However, when the implementation was seen to be poor, when their living standards hardly improved, when the bureaucrats treated them the same way as the colonialists had done, they turned against the policy and its associated components.
13.In 1974/75, people in Rukwa Region were moved by force into the Ujamaa villages. In a move done without prior planning, human rights abuses were rampant. A lot of common property was looted, generating much anger on the ground. Participation, especially by males, in many Ujamaa programs including the literacy schemes plummeted.
14.I am a statistician of forty years standing. I have studied many social and economic development reports and know their methods of data collection. I think I am quite well qualified to speak on the veracity or otherwise of such data. It is my opinion that the numbers Cassam relies on to make her case about the language-literacy story do not hold up to scrutiny.
15.I do not dispute or agree with her language-literacy claim. What I say is that her figures are not reliable enough or sufficiently adequate to conclude that the use of Kiswahili was a prime reason behind the success of the literacy programs in Tanzania. One has first to show that these programs did achieve exceptional results. You cannot make a sound case from flawed data. The use of Kiswahili may or may not have been a critical factor. We simply do not have the information required to conclude one way or another.
16.My impression is that the gains under Ujamaa, including those under regular and adult education, were impressive in the initial five to six years but especially after the mid-1970s, they stalled and the situation began to reverse. In contrast to the impression given by Cassam, these reversals predated the institutions of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Neglect by and incompetence of the ruling party functionaries were major factors behind these negative trends.
17.I also note that the employees of agencies like UNESCO were and are paid exorbitant salaries and allowances to `assist people in poor nations.’ They had and have a strong conflict of interest in the reporting of outcomes. Consciously or otherwise, the underlying need to justify their privileges implies that their reports carry the potential of a strong built in bias.
18.Conflict of interest is a documented feature of modern day research. It generates skewed data and thus needs to be considered and controlled for in the evaluation of the outcomes of any scientific research or other type of report. Many scholarly journals today require an explicit declaration of conflict of interest.
19.My claim of bias thereby derives from a solid methodological foundation. There is a large body of critical papers that elaborate on the nature of such bias, and its effect on data quality. Further, I have myself published scientific papers relating to this issue.
20.Let us by all means continue the important debate on the literacy, education and language connections. But let us base it on reliable information and numbers. We need to avoid drawing major conclusions from politically influenced, limited and biased statistics.
21.Cassam further discusses the SAP and contrasts the experience of Tanzania with that of Cuba. If my health and time permit, I will address these vital issues in the near future in another contribution.

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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