Saturday, July 30, 2016

Can Magufuli Control His State Apparatuses?

Can Magufuli Control His State Apparatuses?

Chambi Chachage

I am scared. What my President said in Singida has left me with goose pimples. The Citizen has not helped with this headline: 'Magufuli relaxes political rally ban, warns Chadema.' Nor Daily News with 'JPM Advises CHADEMA to drop defiance day move.'

What I heard through the video clip of the speech and read on the social media comes out more strongly. It is forceful. The President of Tanzania did not mince any words. As clear as crystal are the parameters that he has 'set' for the opposition parties to operate.

Of course, as 'usual', he was talking 'off the top of his head'. Hence such charged statements are prone to multiple interpretations and misinterpretations. Yet one can hardly doubt that he literarily made himself a prey to constitutional lawyers who would be quick to argue he has breached the very Constitution he is sworn to uphold.

Note, for instance, how the Leader of the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo) party, Zitto Kabwe, has interpreted Magufuli's clarification: "The President says he has not interdicted Members of Parliament and Ward Councillors from holding meetings "IN THEIR CONSTITUENTS'. First of all, the President has no mandate to allow or disallow the functions of Members of Parliament and Ward Councillors. This is the mandate of the CONSTITUTION and the law of the land."

"What is shocking", the ACT-Wazalendo Leader further notes, "is the Presidential directive that Members of Parliament have no mandate to hold meetings outside their constituents." For him and his party, this "means that even political leaders who are not Member of Parliament would not be allowed to hold political rallies." They thus hold their ground: "This is UNACCEPTABLE."

Rhetorically, the lawyer of CHADEMA, Tundu Lissu, who is on the record accusing Magufuli for being a 'petty dictator', queries if his political statements are indeed coming from the ones who have been advocating for national unity? Tellingly, he also argues that the strength of the President's argument does not stem from lucidity but from the power of the instruments of the state that he controls.

This brings us to Louis Althusser who, lucidly, attempted to make sense of how such powerful instruments operate. He aptly noted that the Repressive State Apparatuses (RSA), such as the police and the court let alone the army and the prison, functions by violence in a contrast to Ideological State Apparatuses (ISA), like educational institutions and political parties, that function by ideology.

However, he observed that in practise there is a thin line between the two hence his clarification that "every State Apparatus, whether Repressive or Ideological, 'functions' both by violence and by ideology, but with one very important distinction which makes it imperative not to confuse" them. "This", Althusser convincingly pointed out, "is the fact that the (Repressive) State Apparatus functions massively and predominantly by repression (including physical repression), while functioning secondarily by ideology."

So, what does this have to do with President Magufuli? It simply tells us when you are as popular as him, your best ally in retaining the people on your side is to primarily focus on ideology. This mean your ally in pushing for your agenda for transformation is, relatively, an ideological state apparatus such as the party he is now chairing and the schools and universities his government owns.

Any attempt to rely to much on repression through the repressive state apparatuses will not only alienate him from the leading opposition party but, ultimately, from the very people who are still enjoying the honeymoon of the new presidency. After all, when you are on record stating that the the opposition parties are in a state of lethargy, why expend so much energy to control their movement?

Experts on scenario-buildings have presented plausible trajectories that Magufuli's presidency can take. It is not yet too late to pick the best possible outcome(s). For Aidan Eyakuze it is this definitely not this paternalistic one: "'Father Knows Best' posture may produce an initially popular benevolent authoritarianism in the short term. But without a deep sense of self-awareness and a healthy dose of moderation on the part of the President, it can turn into bitter despotism." It is surely this: “We are on this journey together.”

Sabatho Nyamsenda's scenario is analogical if historical: "The rise of Magufuli may be likened to that of Louis–Napoleon Bonaparte, who ruled France between 1848 and 1870." Its deeper irony is that Mwalimu Nyerere whose presidency is now popularly likened to that of Magufuli once said we do not need an African Napoleon.

For us, the bumpy road to dictatorial hell can be paved with good developmental intentions hence a call to democratize development. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Jipu Kuu Kutumbuliwa na Gamba Gumu Kuvuliwa?

Jipu Kuu 

Kuna jipu na majipu, matabibu hutujulisha
Lipo lilo kama upupu, huwasha kwa bashasha! 
Ukubwae wa kikapu, hutuvimbia kama kasha
Kuu hili la Majipu, lini tatumbuliwa Asha?

Lishaiva hilo jipu, mbona bado twajipasha?
Au hadi twanguke pu, ndo twache kulilisha?
Hatuuchoki huu utupu, wauchekao Watasha?
Kuu hili la Majipu, lini tatumbuliwa Asha?

E Mtumbua Majipu, twaona rasha rasha
Sasa situmie diripu, wasiseme la hasha!
Libane kama tiripu, litoboke bila kubisha
Kuu hili la Majipu, lini tatumbuliwa Asha?

Uchungu wa vijipu, asiyeujua Washawasha
Muwashwa wa Kishapu, utungu wamtosha!
 Jipu Kuu la Majipu, lioshwe kama Muosha
Kuu hili la Majipu, lini tatumbuliwa Asha?

© Malenga Mdadisi


Jipu Hilo Jipu Gani?

Jipu Hilo jipu gani
Jipu lisilo na haiba
Jipu lisilo utani
Wala homa nasaba

Jipu liko ndani
Sistimu hukuna uhaba
Jipu limejaa uvundo usoni
Jipu lazima litumbuliwe

Bara na pwani
Mashariki kusini
Magharibi kaskazini
Mtumbuaji ashike pini
Huruma asiweke moyoni
Apasue jipu pwaaaa

Usaha uondoe nukhsani
Taifa letu adhimu
Lifurahie neema ya Mola mwenye Imani
Alotupa dhahabu na madini
Mito, mabonde, na mengi milimani
Hala Hala Watanzania, 
Shangilia awamu yenye nidhamu

© Leila Sheikh

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Miaka Kumi Baadaye: Itikeli ya Chachage (1955-2006)

"Maishani mwangu nimejifunza kuwa mvumilivu, kutafuta ukweli - japo kwa kiwango changu na ujinga wangu, na kutamani kufanya yaliyo haki.... Jaala yetu imekuwa moja. Na tuwatakie heri wajao yasiwapate haya....Siku yangu ya kufa ijapo, mawazo yangu ya mwisho yatakuwa juu yenu nyie, wala msinililie. Hakuna sababu. Nikumbukeni daima." - Sudi ya Yohana - C.S.L Chachage (1981: 99): Dar es Salaam University Press

Ten Years After: Remembering Chachage (1955-2006)

As we commemorate the life and times of Chachage Seithy Loth Chachage (8 January 1955 - 9 July 2006) let us recall what he once said on matters that were close to his heart and mind:

"I believe, democracy has to make sense of the interest of the contending groups. It has to be linked to the whole question of restructuring the social relations so that individuals and organisations are able to pose the questions within the context of control of resources and questions of social and political emancipation more sharply. What multi-party politics are doing is to reduce politics to the number of parties and the number of votes. It is for this reason that such politics are elitist, since their assumption is that people do not and are incapable of thinking, and therefore, they must be represented. People are incapable of making their own history, it is only the parties and the state which are capable of doing so. Here the attempt is to even deny the existence of politics outside the parties. Emancipation politics require that one recognises the other sites of politics such as the factory, the farm, the household, the street, the village, the school, etc. They require the involvement of all the people in resisting state arbitrariness and all forms of domination and exploitation. Is it possible to think beyond current party politics? Is it possible for parties which are organically linked to the working people to emerge? What mode of politics will make such a possibility a reality? These are some of the questions which remain hanging given the current political liberalisation" - Chachage's 'Some Reflection on the Limits of Multi-Party Democracy in Africa' in 1993

"For the publishing industry to regain its glory in Tanzania, it needs to abandon the view that it is a specialised concern and uphold the banner of public criticism. This means, it has to be the means, as Oruka puts it, for which the ordinary men and women can expression the fact that they are hungry or jobless. It has to be the means through which corruption, rhetorics and hypocrisy are exposed and condemned. Within this process of public criticism, problems (for example) of the various industries can be exposed, debated and dealt with. It is within the same process that it will be possible for all teachers to decide democratically what should become a textbook or what type of textbook is needed, and hence free textbooks from institutions"  -  Chachage on 'The Trouble with the Publishing Industry in Tanzania' in 1989

"Capitalism has been developing at a fast rate in the urban areas and it has done so at the expense of the countryside - this is a law of capitalism in general. Consequently, further development of agricultural enterprises has been constrained by the rapid capitalist accumulation in the towns in terms of drawing labour, capital, raw materials and food from the countryside" - Chachage on 'The Development of Urban Capitalism in Tanzania' in 1983

"It is suggested here that our knowledge can only be as good as the questions we ask. Historical knowledge which whose content represents an intervention in the current social reality as part of a theoretical weapon in current struggles, which is in dire need, is the one which analyses possibilities of social transformations and helps social actors to conceptualise theoretical canons for the transformation of the status quo or for its forced maintenance" - Chachage's 'Some Remarks on Ellen M. Wood's Talk on 'The Limits of Capitalism' in 1999

"What this amounts to is that, contrary to the current myth of a diminished role of the state, what is required to deal with the problem facing our country is a strong developmental state, which is at the same time democratic. That is, the challenge for us is how to emerge with development policies that will result in the building of a state-society nexus that is developmental, democratic, and socially inclusive.  By developmental is meant a state that is capable of facilitating and promoting economic growth while at the same time protecting national interests. Democratic means a state-society relationship that is based on popular control by the majority of those who are poor and marginalised. And socially inclusive means pursuing social policies that aim at provision of equal and equitable entitlements to productive and reproductive resources" - Chachage on 'Why is Tanzania Still Poor Forty Years After Independence?' in 2003

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Live Poetry Featuring Zuhura the African Lioness

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Storytelling and Children focused Family event

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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