Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Tribute to the Returned Son of Africa

A Tribute to the Returned Son of Africa Pius Adesanmi

Chambi Chachage

Africa is still mourning the loss of one of its finest sons, Pius Adesanmi, and 156 passengers in the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on a Sunday morning. Touching tributes are pouring from all corners of the African continent and its Diaspora. Payo as his compatriots called him surely touched many Africans.

I am one of those who were touched by his love for Africa and its people. We met virtually through the USA Africa Dialogue Series' listserv. For over a decade I took it for granted that one day we will meet physically in one of the African public forums. So, I received the shocking news of his untimely death with regret, sadness and, of course, anger at such an avoidable loss of lives in our continent.

While grappling with the finiteness of our lives on this earth that prompted Moses, as recorded in Psalms 90, to pray, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom", I have been thinking about the life and times of Pius. His apparent premonition is replayed over and over again in my mind. I have been wondering what went in his mind when he thus quoted Psalms 139 a few minutes before he boarded the plane: “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

The touching tribute from his lifelong friend has helped me to put all this in perspective. "When your plane stalled three hours before landing in Accra in 2016," recalls Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú, "you were shaken." She goes on: "I tried to dismiss it as turbulence but you told me oxygen masks deployed and that events of your life flashed in your face. You told me; “Bamidele, ó dà bí plane crash lọ má pá mi”. (Bamidele, it seems I will die in a plane crash)...."

For Pius, it seems, counting ones life like Moses was the order of the day. No wonder, as Bámidélé aptly puts it, Pius lived quickly and circumspectly by tirelessly and hurriedly working as if he knew he won't live to see his 50th birthday. While in Nigeria in 2013 he is said to have penned this other premonition: “Here lies Pius Adesanmi who tried as much as he could to put his talent in the service of humanity and flew away home one bright morning when his work was over.” It is hard to accept that his work was over on that fateful Sunday morning when he was on his way to meet African colleagues in Nairobi in the service of humanity in Africa.
Judging from the tributes from those he has passed the baton to, however, it seems his work is only over as far as mortality is concerned. In terms of immortality, the work will continue through those he has mentored and inspired both directly and indirectly. Even the spiritual book he loved gives credence to that for it states somewhere in Revelation 14: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." As far as his African country is concerned, and by extension, Africa broadly defined, Pius thus summed up the role of his writings for posterity:

Yes, it is sarcastic. Ironic. Witty. That was Pius at his best. I am thus reminded of his intervention in a discussion sparked by my 'Not So Long a Letter to a Prodigal Son of Africa', a rejoinder to his article on 'The Prodigal Son' in The Zeleza Post. Pius responded:

Pius felt, rightly so, it was a given that any member of the USA Dialogue Africa Series and any similar virtual and physical space ought to, first and first foremost, work for the betterment of Africa(ns). That was not debatable. What was open for discussion are the approaches, for better or worse. He, therefore, elaborated:

 "The point is we have fundamental differences in terms of how we perspectivize contributions to the advancement of the continent. We are also debating how such philosophical differences affect or determine our conflicting understandings of African studies as epistemological proposition and institutional reality. Chambi and I are at antipodal points of these issues because, for him, African studies as epistemology and as institutional reality would appear to be tied to an inflexible idea of geography as destiny: inside good/outside bad, a most insipid Orwellian binary that has led him to the even more insipid assumption that the Africa of his understanding can only imagine narratives of the outsider as prodigal, never mind that the very text he is critiquing speaks of the lumping together as amoral flight of so many rich and diverse trajectories in the transnationalization of African academic labour. If, on the other hand, you believe that African studies as epistemology and institutional reality inhabits multiple loci and spaces of articulation that are not bounded by geography, it follows that agents in those spaces, local or outside, face institutional vicissitudes. The question then, Ken, is: is one set of vicissitudes worthier of enunciation than others? Are the institutional challenges you face as an Africanist in Michigan less equal than those you face in your classrooms in Yaounde and Dakar? Are you a moral, Africanist in Yaounde, an amoral Africanist in Michigan? When is an African classroom?"

One cannot help but say touché in hindsight. At that point I was so disillusioned by spatial location that seemed to limit the material and intellectual contribution of Africans who resided outside Africa's geographical boundaries. No matter how well-intentioned, it seemed to me, they had ontological and epistemological limits of having to engage with Africa from a faraway vantage point. It is thus not surprising that Pius took me to task when addressing his rhetorical questions on whether geographical locations matter: "These are the questions that nombrilistic and moralizing nativists like Chambi reframe malapropistically in terms of the obviously more formidable material conditions of the African classroom in Africa. But who the heck is arguing with the that?" Ouch!

Now, ten years after that exchange, I am seriously rethinking my apparent nativist position in regard to African scholars living in the Diaspora. It is possible, I am starting to be fully convinced, that one can reside far away from the continent geographically/physically and yet contribute meaningfully to the continent, materially and intellectually. The life of Pius is a testimony to that. The responses he received to his article under discussion exemplify this. He noted:

 "This, [is] a text that speaks of "many stories and numerous experiences" of diasporic African friends, colleagues, students, acquaintances gathered over the years. Were she to be able to read English, even my grandmother in the village would understand that the text in question self-fashions as a composite of all these different stories and experiences, hence the deluge of emails flooding my inbox from diasporic African readers of The Zeleza Post since that blog appeared there: "Dear Prof Adesanmi, thank you for telling my story in your Letter to an Old Flame..." Incidentally, the most moving of such testimonial emails came in from Chambi's Tanzania, authored by a good lady tired of having her Canadian trajectory criminalized every time she is in Tanzania. I hope she forgives my indiscretion because she is one of the numerous silent members of this listserv. Don't we teach our students not to swith into automatic mode and receive every African text as autobiography? Don't our friends in Francophone Africa teach their students not to instinctively establish une parfaite adequation entre la vie et l'oeuvre?"

Pius' conclusion to the debate is as damning to nativism as it is illuminating about appreciating the role of 'natives' who have either been forced or even opted to reside outside of Africa 'proper' due to various reasons yet work tirelessly for the continent and its people:

Since then deeper collaborative efforts between African scholars in the Diaspora and have been on the increase. For sure, they have their challenges some of which are born of the apparent animosity between their 'loci'. Nonetheless, overall, there is a clear indication that they are beneficial for what Pius has referred to as ameliorating Africa's material and developmental condition. In his case, he also became more and more involved in such mutual efforts. As his dear wife, Olumuyiwa Balogun-Adesanmi, reiterates, he "lived and died in service to Africa." Why, then, am I calling him the returned son of Africa? Simply because Pius was connecting even further with continental Africa as the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)'s tribute highlights:

"Though he does not formally appear in the registers of CODESRIA as a member until 2018, Pius’ intellectual work intersected with that of the Council. His convictions, his take on the politics of knowledge production, his interest in mentoring young academics and his expectation, indeed his demand for excellence, all reflect positions that the Council holds, cherishes and advances. It was therefore easy to convince Pius, at a meeting of Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Advisory Council in Nairobi in March 2018 that he needed to engage the Council activities more. On the basis of such discussions, Pius was invited to the 15th General Assembly with the express task of observing the Assembly and submitting a critical piece on the proceedings. Pius was struck by a tension between the social sciences and the humanities at the Assembly and offered to support our work to enhance the interdisciplinary conversations he sensed the Council wanted to encourage. He was on course to submit this critical piece to a syndicated weekly column carried in four different papers. He also was on course to submit an expanded version of the piece for publication in the CODESRIA Bulletin when the hand of death robbed us of this rare privilege. Pius had also just accepted to support the Council as a resource person for the Meaning-Making Research Initiative (MRI) Methodology and Scholarly Workshop to be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 1st to 5th April 2019. Additionally, he had accepted to be on the scientific team of advisors working with CODESRIA’s Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded programme on African Diaspora support to African Universities. The indefatigable worker, Pius had also just set up a new team that he was leading on a Carnegie-supported project on Higher Education. There is no doubt that the crash has robbed us of a young, energetic, boisterous colleague, one whose presence among us elevated us and bestowed a sense of direction to our work."

Boeing, why, why? Africa, why, why? God, why, why?

Yes, "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God"!

Rest in Power Pius 'Payo' Adebola Adesanmi.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

CUF-Seif Kuhamia ACT:Maswali Mengi Kuliko Majibu

CUF-Maalim Seif Kuhamia ACT:Maswali Mengi Kuliko Majibu

Emmanuel Mohamed

Habari za Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad kutoka chama cha CUF kwenda ACT yawezekana ikachukuliwa kimazoea maana imeshakuwa kasumba kuwaona wanasiasa wakihama vyama. Isitoshe si mara ya kwanza kwa Maalim Seif kufukuzwa  katika chama kikubwa. Lakini tofauti ya Maalim Seif aliyefukuzwa CCM miaka ya 80 ambapo alilazimika kujenga vuguvugu lililokuja kuunda CUF ni tofauti na wa leo. Si haba leo anapohama huku tayari akiwa na uwanja mpana wa kuchagua chama cha kuhamia.

 Sasa ni kwa nini Maalim Seif na watu wengi waliokuwa wanachama wenzake wa CUF wanakata tanga la CUF na kupandisha tanga la ACT? Maalim Seif anatoka katika chama kikubwa chenye misingi na nidhamu ya chama na uzoefu wa kitasisi akihamia katika katika chama kidogo na kichanga. Wengine wanasema tembo kahamia kwenye kibanda. Kitasalimika? Pia wengine wanasema dodo limeokotwa kwenye mnazi. Litalika?

Nilisubiri kwa shauku kubwa kuona mapokeo yake leo pale kwenye ofisi za ACT na kumsikiliza kwa makini Maalim Seif; mosi, nikitamani aongea juu ya Muungano na hatima ya vyama vya siasa ili kujibu swali iwapo umefika wakati wa kutanua wigo wa siasa zake na wafuasi wake hadi bara? Pili, ili kujua ni kwa nini 'CUF-Maalim' ijiunge na ACT badala ya vyama vingine hasa chama kikubwa cha CHADEMA ambacho ilishirikiana nacho kupitia UKAWA kwenye uchaguzi wa mwaka 2015. Tatu, nilitaka kujua kama Maalim Seif ametoka CUF kama mtu au taasisi. Nne, kutaka kujua ACT itajiendesha kwa mfumo upi huko Zanzibar ambako ndipo medani kuu ya kisiasa ya Maalim Seif. Tano, nilitaka pia kujua ni jinsi gani ACT imejipanga kujihuisha kwenye baadhi maeneo ya Tanzania Bara ambayo, kihistoria, CUF imeota mizizi.

Ingawa maswali haya nilikuwa nayo kichwani, yalishabihiana kwa kiasi kikubwa na maswali kadhaa ya waandishi ya habari kwenye tukio la leo. 
Maalim Seif na Viongozi wa ACT walijaribu kuyajibu. Ufuatao ni muhtasari wangu wa baadhi ya maswali waliyoulizwa:

  Inasemekana umehamia ACT ili ugombee urais, je, ni kweli? Wafuasi wako wa CUF wanashusha na kuchoma bendera pamoja na kukwangua rangi majengo ofisi za CUF, huoni huo ni uharibifu? Huo msemo wa wafuasi wako wa 'ulipo tupo', hauoni unakuza siasa za mtu (personalities)? Ni nini maoni yako kuhusu siasa za taasisi (institutions)? Kwa nini baadhi ya wabunge hatuwaoni wakihama nawe? Pia inasemekana walikudekeza na kukufanya Sultani CUF, je, umejitayarisha na mazingira utakayokutana nayo ACT? Je, una lengo la kuuvunja Muungano toka moyoni?

Kama ilivyo ada, wanasiasa kutokuwa na majibu kamili siyo jambo la kushangaza. Lakini msikilizaji anaweza kudadavua maongezi yaliyojiri katika mapokezi hayo na hotuba zilizotolewa kupata majibu ya maswali. Majibu hayo yanaweza kuibua maswali zaidi.

Mwenyekiti wa ACT, Yeremia Maganja, alijibu swali la kwanza la kwa nini ACT kwa mkanganyiko mkubwa wa lugha na maudhui. Ila ukimsikiliza kwa utulivu mkubwa unaweza kukokotoa mambo makubwa matatu. Mosi, Mwenyekiti alisema chama cha ACT kinaongozwa na Maganja Doctrine ambayo ni mchanganyiko wa itikadi, kwa lengo la kutanua demokrasia na kuleta mabadiliko ya kuondoa ukandamizaji wa wananchi. Hivyo, ACT ambayo inajitanabahisha na siasa za ujamaa wa kati, inaweza kabisa kufunga mbeleko na siasa za uchumaji, kama lengo ni kuunda Tanzania yenye usawa. Ingawa huu ni mwanzo mzuri, maongezi ya kina yanahitajika kuoanisha itikadi zao. Ukizingatia kuwa hii ni mara ya kwanza kwa baadhi yetu kuisikia 
Maganja Doctrine nachelea kusema pengine ilikuwa ni jitihada ya ACT kujioanisha kiitikadi na kile ambacho CUF hupenda kujitanabahisha nacho sana, hasa hapo zamani, kama itikadi yake, yaani 'Utajirisho.' Hapa kilicho muhimu ni namna ambavyo Azimio la Tabora litatumika kuoanisha na kuiuza itikadi ya CUF/Utajirisho na ACT/Ujamaa katika uhuisho mpya wa ACT.

  Pia Mwenyekiti Maganja alisisitiza kuwa ujio wa CUF-Maalim umekuja wenyewe bila shurti. Suala hili lilikaziwa baadaye na Malim Seif aliposema ACT walituomba tuhamie kwao hatukuja. Ila tukafanya tathmini na mwisho tukaamua kuja Maneno ya Biblia kutoka kwenye sura ya 60 ya Kitabu cha Isaya mstari wa 22 nayo yalitumika kujenga hoja kuwa tukio hilo limetokea muda sahihi au mwafaka na kupelekea familia ndogo kuwa kubwa. Suala la kutafakari ni, je, muda sahihi ni muda gani hasa? Ni kipi hicho kimewezesha wanachama wa CUF kuhamia ACT sasa? Je, ni ugomvi wa CUF-Maalim na CUF-Lipumba tu? Au kuna masuala mengine nyuma ya pazia kuhusiana na mkono wa Chama-Dola, mtafaruku wa Chadema-Ukawa, na mchanyato wa Udini-Ukanda?

Kabla ya kuhitimiha hotuba yake, Mwenyekiti aliweka nadhiri akisema kuwa haki ambapo haipo, kwa pamoja tutapambana. Akitumia mfano wa jamii ya Wakurya, alitoa rai ya udugu wa ACT na CUF uwe ni wa kudumu. Alisema kuwa, kwao mkoani Mara watu huchanjiana, na kula damu, ili wadumu. Kiongozi wa Chama, Zitto Kabwe, alidhihirisha hili pale ambapo kadi za wanachama waanzilishi wa ACT, kama Profesa Kitila Mkumbo, waliokuwa wametoka zilipewa kwa wanachama wapya waliokuja kutoka CUF ambapo Maalim Seif alipata kadi nambari moja. Walipata kadi hizo zilizogombolewa kwa pesa na kulipiwa ada yenye fungamano la uwanachama wa miaka 10. Sasa mtu unabaki unajiuliza kwa nini umlipie mtu ada miaka 10? Je, hili lilikuwa ni suala la kuchangia chama na/au ishara ya kuonesha kuwa kiukweli huu ni muungano wa kitaasisi na kiungozi wa vyama viwili, hivyo, itarajiwe kuwa wanachama wapya watakuwa na nafasi za juu za uongozi katika ACT? Ama pia likuwa ni ishara ya kuwa watadumu muda mrefu?

Swali la kwa nini CUF-Maalim imejiunga na ACT lilijibiwa zaidi na Kiongozi wa Chama. Maalimu Seif na viongozi na wanasiasa waandamizi waliombatana nao, Zitto alisisitiza, wamejiunga ACT kutafuta namna ambavyo upinzani utaendeleza safari ya kudai haki na demokrasia katika Tanzania. Ukiwa kiongozi ulioko kwenye nyoyo za wananchi, alisema, hawawezi kukutupa. Zitto pia alitumia fursa hiyo kuzungumzia somo ambalo ambalo viongozi vijana wanalipata kutokana na uzoefu huo wa Maalim Seif wa kujenga imani kwa watu wanaokupa dhamana ya uongozi maana wao wana uwezo wa kufanya lolote ili kufika wanakotaka kufika.

Ni dhahiri pia kuwa suala la muungano mpana wa vyama vya upinzani lilikuwa vichwani mwao hasa ukizingatia kuwa uhamaji huo haujatokea katika muktadha wa UKAWA na pengine kupelekea hofu kwamba utakuwa kikwazo. Kwa mfano, Zitto alikishukuru CHADEMA kwa kuipongeza ACT kwa ujio huo wa CUF-Maalim. Kutokana na changamoto na mitihani ambayo vyama vinakutana navyo sasa hivi, alisisitiza, tunahitaji kushirikina kwa pamoja.

Maswali ya kujiuliza hapa, ni: Je, katika siasa za kutoaminiana ACT, imejipangaje kushirikiana na vyama vingine hasa katika muktadha huo ambapo Maalim Seif hakujiunga na washirika wake wakuu wa UKAWA, yaani, CHADEMA? Yale madai ya kuwa kumekuwa na jitihada, za kupangwa au kutopangwa, za kuikuza ACT na kuishusha CHADEMA ili kupunguza upinzani kwa CCM yatajibiwaje katika muktadha huu cha chama kidogo kuhuishwa ghafla katika kipindi cha kuelekewa Uchaguzi Mkuu wa 2020? Katika mazingira ambayo CUF ilijengewa wasifu hasi wa kuwa chama cha kidini kutokana na kuonekana kuwa kina wafuasi wengi zaidi wa dini mojawapo, je, ACT ambayo nayo inaonekana ina mwelekeo huo huo imejipangaje kujenga taswira ya chama kisicho cha kidini ama cha kikanda hasa pale kanda inapohusishwa na dini?

Inaonekana CUF-Maalim ilifanya uchambuzi wa kina kujua wajiunge na chama gani na naamini nao walijiuliza baadhi ya maswali hayo hapo juu yanayonitatiza. Ambacho ningependa kujua ni namna ambavyo watayajibu maswali kwa sera na vitendo. Kwa mfano, katika majibu yake leo Maalim Seif nilimsikia akisema:

Wachambuzi walisema pa kwenda ni ACT wazalendo – nawatoa wasiwasi wanachama wa ACT wazalendo. Tujue kwamba tuna jukumu kubwa kwa wananchi. Wamechoka hawajui waende wapi. Tumekuja kuonesha njia. Tumekuja kuongeza nguvu, siyo kuiteka kwa kushika nafasi ya uongozi. Watanzania wajue wanachoomba iwapo wakikiunga mkono tutaleta mabadiliko ya kisiasa na kiuchumi. Kutoa uhakika wa chakula, elimu, afya – ndio malengo ya wananchi wa bara na visiwani.

Huo wasiwasi wa kumezwa na/au ACT kuchukua zaidi taswira ya CUF-Maalim siyo jambo dogo. Ni suala ambalo ACT inapaswa kulishughulikia kwa umakini na stratejia ya hali ya juu. Pamoja na Maalim Seif kumsifia Zitto na viongozi/uongozi wake kwa kuwa na maono, ujasiri, na nidhamu ni ukweli usiopingika kuwa timu ya CUF-Maalim ndiyo ina uzoefu mkubwa wa kitaasisi katika hayo. Maalim Seif mwenyewe nilimsikia akilithibitisha hilo aliposema.

 Tulipokuwa CUF tulijitahidi kujenga taasisi. Ndio maana mimi naondoka nchini kwa miezi sita chama kinakwenda. Chama kina competent leaders. Tumekuja hapa kujenga taasisi. Wananchi wana mapenzi yao vile vile. Jiulize kwa nini wanipenda? Hajajikweza. Anybody is free to speak to Maalim Seif. Anatembelea watu katika vijiji vyao. Maalim ana-represent aspiration za watu. Niwe ndani au nje ya chama au serikali, nitaendelea kuwa na wananchi....Watu wanashusha tanga na wanapandisha tanga ili safari iendelee. Wanachama ndiyo rasilimali yetu. Ni chama masikini. Majengo siyo ya CUF tumekodishwa au kuazimwa.

Utaasisi wa CUF-Maalim unaweza kuwa mbaraka mkubwa kwa ACT. Lakini pia unaweza kuwa laana kubwa. Hivyo, changamoto ni kuhakikisha unakuwa ni mbaraka badala ya laana kwa kujenga chama ambacho taswira yake ya kitaasisi siyo wasifu tu wa ki-mtu na kidini wa mafahali wake wakuu wawili: Maalim Seif na Zitto.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Women and Men: Balance for Better?

Balance for Better?

Mwanahamisi 'Mishy' Singano

It's International Women’s Day (IWD) today, a big day for the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and governments across the world. So, let me start with a traditional salutation: Happy Women’s Day everybody! I know most of you are busy now, hosting IWD events, either in public or within your organizations, what an impressive achievement! 

But, for how long have we been celebrating International Women's Days? Over 100 years, right? Yes, this year it is the 108th IWD commemoration, to be precise. The question is, have we made progress worth the celebration? Are we actually using this day to reflect and strategize on practical steps to advance women's rights in our spaces as it is expected of us? Or it has somewhat become another Christmas and Eid for CSOs to host a public feast?

If you ask me, I will say, with confidence, that the International Women's Day is being used and abused by CSOs, who ought to be custodians. It's no longer a day to galvanize women around specific issues and press hard for action. Yes, it's no longer a day to put our feet down and demand the right to be heard and action taken. Surely, it is no longer a day to pledge for the changes we want to advance within us and outside us.

 It has become a day to eat fancy food, wear a nice new polo t-shirt, and giving women a new set of khanga and/or kitenge, without forgetting dancing to a famous Swahili song, ‘ wanawake na maendeleo, tufanye kazi tusonge mbeleeee’ or ‘malkia mwenzangu wa nguvuuuuu jasiri….” This is depressing to say the least.

Let’s consider for a moment this year's theme, ‘balance for better.’ How many CSOs are reflecting on how they could balance their organizations for better? I decided to speak to CSOs because, if we are not living the values we aspire, we got no moral authorities to demand them from anyone, including the government. And by CSOs, I don’t only refer to women's rights organizations, but the entire organized civil society community. 
To date, we still have many CSOs rejecting the basic concept that the neutral position is a male position. I am thunderstruck every time I hear learned brothers and leaders of organizations publicly saying, ‘this is neutral, there is nothing gender on this.” Really?

Do I really have to level with you about that? So, long as what you’re doing is consumed by, or affect (directly and indirectly), human beings, be it electoral policy or call for transparency in extractive industry contracts, there is everything gendered about it. I know you know this because all of you keep on singing, ‘men and women experience the world differently.’ Why, then, do you assume that there ought to be something called a ‘neutral position’ if men and women experience the world differently?

A neutral analysis or proposition equals a male-favored analysis or proposition. It is as simple as that. And you know what? Because of the so-called neutrality in what we do, we aid patriarchy to persist by consciously perpetuating the systematic exclusion of women across the board. If there is one thing CSOs have to stop in order to attain the balance for better’, then it is this lunacy of neutrality. Or, if CSOs dont want to query the patriarchy of neutrality, at least they should be open about it and say publicly, ‘we are men-focused organizations, so, we can all keep the records straight. 
I don’t know if, after all these years, we still need to have a national forum to discuss and debate if there is such thing as ‘gender issues’ and non-gender issues, or famously known as ‘technical issues.’ Honestly, you got to love men, the way they have mastered the art of packaging ‘their things’ to look so fancy and important. Its a known fact that CSOs are spending millions of money paying ‘male consultants’ to give ‘male positions’ on the so-called technical issues. When these organizations are pushed harder by gender activists and women s rights organizations, they often respond to them, with attitude, by saying, ‘you should have shared with us, that gender analysis.’ 

Let me break this down so you can understand my frustration. You  pay millions of money to men to come up with half-baked positions and analyses. Then you ask for a free gender analysis? Isn’t that first class exploitation of women by our very organizations which are supposed to embrace and advance our rights? 

I could go on and on, on everything we are doing wrong in the organized civil society community when it comes to advancing women’s right. But I intended this to be a blog post, not a policy paper. So, I present to you these punchlines, categorically:

  • If your organization is best known for ‘neutral’ analyses and propositions, you are not balancing for better.

  • If you major spending on consultancies goes to male consultants, you are not balancing for better.

  • If most of your procurement are to male-owned businesses, you are not balancing for better.

  • If women staffers are paid less than their male colleagues, you are not balancing for better.

  • If you have less women in leadership positions, you are not balancing for better.

  • If you only invite women to speak on ‘gender issues,’ you are not balancing for better.
As a womens right advocate and a feminist, it gives me no pleasure to consume all my energy for internal battles. We have the bigger war to win outside our organizations and you are not doing us a favor by continuing to nurture a patriarchal culture within civil society spaces. This holds us back. 

The fact that you have decided to dedicate your life in the organized civil society community means you believe in it and want to be part of the change for the better world. Then let me use this day to remind you that women makes more than half of the world population, are the majority of the poor, the most excluded, and thus at the periphery of the democratic and political spheres. Balancing our narratives, stories, policy analyses, research, resource use, and representation, will make our organizations and the world a better place for both women and men.
Happy Women’s Day!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Kisa cha Wananchi Walioibagaza Demokrasia

Kisa cha Wananchi Walioibagaza Demokrasia

Chambi Chachage

Sijui kwa nini leo nimekikumbuka tena kisa nilichohadithiwa na Bibi yangu, Mkunde wa Maore, nikiwa mdogo. Kinahusu watu waliokombolewa kutoka utumwani. Maisha yao mapya hayakuwa na watawala wa kiimla waliowazoea. Wakiwa na migongano walienda kwa waamuzi waliowasuluhisha hadi wakapatana.

Lakini siku moja wakaja juu wakidai na wao wanataka kuwa kama wenzao wa nchi jirani. Walichoshwa na waamuzi wapya ambao hawakuwa kama mwamuzi aliyewapa mikoba. Badala ya kuamua kwa haki, walikula rushwa na kupindisha hukumu ili wafaidike.

Kwa hakika ni sababu ya msingi kabisa kutotaka mafisadi wawe waamuzi. Lakini badala ya kutafuta waamuzi wazuri ili waendelee na mfumo huo huo ambao kwa kiasi kikubwa ulikuwa umegatua madaraka na hivyo kuwa wa kidemokrasia zaidi, wao walitaka mfumo wa kifalme. Eti mtoto akililia wembe mpe. Ila mwonye.

Basi mwamuzi wao mstaafu akakubali kwa shingo upande kuwatafutia mfalme. Ila akashauriwa awaonye. Bahati nzuri maonyo hayo yamerekodiwa katika historia yao. Yanasema:

"Mfalme atakayewamiliki ninyi atakuwa na desturi hii; atatwaa wana wenu na kuwaweka kwake, kwa magari yake, na kuwa wapanda farasi wake; nao watapiga mbio mbele ya magari yake. Naye atawaweka kwake kuwa maakida juu ya elfu, na maakida juu ya hamsini; na wengine atawaweka walime shamba lake, na kuvuna mavuno yake, na kufanyiza zana zake za vita, na vyombo vya magari yake. Na binti zenu atawatwaa kuwa wafanyaji wa marhamu, na wapishi, na waokaji. Atatwaa makonde yenu, na mashamba yenu ya mizabibu, na ya mizeituni, yale yaliyo mazuri sana, ili awape watumishi wake. Naye atawatoza ushuru wa mbegu zenu na wa mizabibu yenu, awape maakida wake, na watumishi wake. Atawatwaa watumishi wenu na wajakazi wenu, na ng'ombe zenu walio wazuri sana, na punda zenu, naye atawatia katika kazi zake mwenyewe. Atawatoza fungu la kumi la makundi yenu; nanyi mtakuwa watumwa wake. Nanyi mtalia siku ile kwa sababu ya mfalme wenu mliyejichagulia."

Maonyo hayo hayakufua dafu. Wakaendelea kulilia wawe na mfalme mmoja wa kuwaamua na siyo waamuzi wengi. Tunataka "kuwa na mfalme juu yetu", wakasisitiza, "ili sisi nasi tufanane na mataifa yote; tena ili mfalme wetu atuamue, tena atoke mbele yetu na kutupigia vita vyetu." Sauti ya wengi ikawa sauti ya Mungu.

 Huo uhuru wao wa maoni ukaheshimiwa. Ikawa wengi wape. Demokrasia hiyo waliyoichoka na hata kuibagaza ndiyo ikawapa kile kile walichokitaka. Wakasahau kuwa kuna wakati bibi na babu zao walishawahi kuwa chini ya himaya ya kifalme na kitumwa. 

Wananchi hao wakajipatia Mfalme wao. Muda si mrefu wakaanza kulalamika mno. Yale yote waliyotahadharishwa kuwa yatatokea yakatokea. Lakini ndiyo hivyo tena, mfumo wa kifalme ukadumu.

Usiniulize kwa nini nimekumbuka kisa hiki. Nimeshajibu. Sijui.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Nini kimemrejesha Lowassa CCM?

Nini Kimemrejesha Edward Lowassa Chama Cha Mapinduzi?

Ronald B. Ndesanjo

Siku chache tu baada ya Ndugu Edward Ngoyai Lowassa kurejea Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), kumeibuka mjadala mkubwa miongoni mwa jamii ya Tanzania. Sehemu kubwa ya mjadala imekuwa ikihusishwa na kile kinachoelezwa kukata shauri kwa Lowassa na kukubali yaishe ili mambo yake ya kifamilia, biashara na mali yaende vizuri bila vikwazo toka kwa serikali ya CCM. Pamoja na kwamba sababu hii inaweza kuwa na mashiko, hasa kwa upande wa Waziri Mkuu huyo wa zamani wa Serikali ya Tanzania, sioni CCM ina maslahi yapi kwa mambo binafsi ya Lowassa kunyooka. 
Hivyo basi, suala la msingi ninalotafakari katika makala haya ni kipi hasa kimepelekea CCM kumpokea Ndugu Lowassa chamani hasa baada ya kumnanga kuwa ndiye kinara wa ufisadi punde tu alipohamia upande wa upinzani. Inastaajabisha kidogo kuwa CCM wamefanya jambo lilelile walilofanya CHADEMA miaka mitatu iliyopita; kumpokea mtu waliyemtuhumu vikali kwa ufisadi. Je, ni nini hasa alichoondoka nacho Lowassa ambacho CCM bado wanakihitaji?

Mwanzoni mwa miaka ya 1990, hasa kuelekea uchaguzi wa Raisi na Wabunge, ndipo jina la Edward Lowasa lilianza kuvuma katika siasa ndani ya CCM na Tanzania kwa ujumla. Mheshimiwa Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete aliibuka kidedea katika mchakato wa kutafuta mgombea wa uraisi kwa tiketi ya CCM japo mwisho wa siku Mheshimiwa Benjamin William Mkapa ndio aliyepewa nafasi hiyo. Nyuma ya ushawishi na hatimaye ushindi mkubwa wa Kikwete alikuwepo rafiki yake mkubwa (wakati ule), Lowassa. Ni katika kipindi hiki ndipo Lowassa alianza kuonesha uwezo na ushawishi mkubwa katika siasa za CCM na Uchaguzi kwa ujumla.

Kwa kipindi cha miaka 10 ambapo Mkapa alikuwa Rais, yaani kuanzia 1995 mpaka 2005, Lowassa na Kikwete waliendelea na harakati zao za kuutaafuta uraisi kama timu (maswahiba) mpaka kupelekea kubatizwa jina la kundi la Muziki wa Rhythm na Blues la Marekani, Boys II Men. Katika harakati hizi Lowassa alisemekana kuwa kinara wa kupanga na kutekeleza mkakati wa kumuwezesha swahiba wake Kikwete kupeperusha bendera ya uraisi kwa tiketi ya CCM na ikiwezekana kuwa Raisi wa Awamu ya Nne wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, jambo ambalo lilifanikishwa vizuri sana. 

Ni katika kipindi hiki vilevile ndipo ambapo Ndugu Rostam Abdulrasul Aziz, kinara mwingine katika siasa za CCM na swahiba wa Lowassa, anatajwa kuhusika kwa kiasi kikubwa kumpeleka Kikwete Ikulu ya Magogoni. Pamoja na kuwa Rostam hakuwahi kutangaza hadharani kukihama CCM, ni ukweli usiopingika kwamba amekuwa kando sana na shughuli za chama hicho tangu mwaka 2015. Wakati wa tukio la juzi la kurejea kwa Lowassa pale Ofisi ndogo ya CCM Lumumba, Rostam alionekana akiwa na shati lake la rangi ya manjano; na hii sio bahati/ajali.
Pamoja na mambo mengine, vyanzo vingi vimewahi kuripoti kuwa uswahiba wa ndugu Lowassa na Kiwete ulikuwa umejengwa juu ya makubaliano kuwa pale Kikwete atakapomaliza muda wake wa uongozi basi Lowassa atachukua nafasi yake. Mikakati na harakati zao ndani ya CCM zilikuwa zimepangwa kuwezesha hili kutokea. Ila kama ijulikanavyo kwa wengi, safari hii haikufika mwisho kama ilivyopangwa kutokana na Lowassa kujiuzulu wadhifa wa Uwaziri Mkuu mwaka 2008 kufuatia kashfa ya umeme ya Richmond. 

Hata hivyo, harakati za Lowassa kuwania Uraisi wa Tanzania hazikukoma mpaka pale alipoenguliwa na Kamati Kuu ya CCM kuelekea uchaguzi mkuu wa 2015. Binafsi nadhani historia hii ya Lowassa katika siasa za Tanzania na nafasi yake ya kipekee katika siasa za uchaguzi za CCM kwa takribani miaka 20 ni sababu kubwa na ya msingi ya kurejea kwake katika chama hicho. Ukimuondoa Baba wa Taifa, Hayati Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, nadhani Lowassa ni mmoja wa watu wachache ndani ya CCM ambao wametawala siasa za uchaguzi wa Tanzania tangu mwaka 1995. Na katika hili huwezi kuacha kumtaja Rostam Aziz, Right-Hand Man wa Edward Lowassa.
Ushawishi mkubwa wa kisiasa wa Lowassa nchini Tanzania ni jambo lingine linaloweza kuwa limepelekea kurejea kwake CCM. Pamoja na ukweli kuwa upinzani umedhoofika sana kwa sasa, mwanasiasa huyu bado ana kundi kubwa nyuma yake ambalo kwa namna moja ama nyingine linaweza kuikosesha CCM usingizi hasa katika kipindi cha uchaguzi mkuu tunakoelekea. Kurudi kwa Lowassa kutalirudisha kundi hili katika kambi ya CCM; jambo ambalo ni la manufaa kwa chama hicho kuliko kubaki upande wa upinzani. 

Sababu nyingine kubwa ya kurejea huku nazihusisha na siasa za ndani za CCM hasa baada ya Lowassa kukiacha chama hicho mnamo mwaka 2015. Itakumbukwa kuwa, baada ya Lowassa kutangaza kukihama CCM, kulitokea sintofahamu kubwa ndani ya chama hicho kiasi kwamba baadhi ya watu walitabiri tukio hilo kuwa mwanzo wa kusambaratika kwa CCM. Hili lilitokana hasa na nguvu na ushawishi mkubwa aliokuwa nao Lowassa ndani ya chama.
 Japokuwa CCM ilibaki salama bila kusambaratika, kuondoka kwa Lowassa kulikigawa chama katika makundi makubwa mawili; wale waliodhaniwa ni kundi la Lowassa na waliokuwa upande mwingine ndani ya chama. Mgawanyiko huu umekuwa mojawapo ya changamoto zinazokikabili CCM hata sasa hasa pale ambapo tumeshuhudia wale waliodhaniwa kuwa upande wa Lowassa kujikuta katika hali ngumu ndani ya chama. Pengine kurejea kwa Lowassa kunaweza kutibu donda hili.

Suala jingine linalofanana na hilo ni kwamba; kazi aliyokuwa ameifanya Lowassa kabla ya kuondoka CCM mwaka 2015 ilikuwa imemjengea nguvu na ushawishi mkubwa ndani ya chama na alikuwa amejihakikishia kupita katika kinyang’anyiro cha kumpata mgombea uraisi kwa tikeki ya chama hicho. Kuondoka kwake ghafla kulikiacha chama katika mshangao na pengine hii ndio sababu baadhi wachambuzi wa mambo wanalihusisha na “uamuzi wa dharura” wa CCM kumnadi mgombea na si chama chenyewe hasa kutokana na kutokukubalika kwa chama hicho wakati ule.

 Wengi walijenga hoja kuwa katika uchaguzi mkuu wa 2015, CCM kilibebwa na mgombea wake. Kwa hali ya mambo ilivyo sasa si rahisi kwa CCM kujihakikishia nguvu ya mtu mmoja kukibeba chama katika uchaguzi mkuu ujao. Hapa ndipo nguvu, uzoefu na ushawishi wa Lowassa katika siasa za uchaguzi unapohitajika ndani ya CCM.
Kufuatia uchaguzi mkuu wa 2015 kumefanyika mabadiliko makubwa ndani ya CCM. Kwa kiasi kikubwa mabadiliko haya yamebadili mfumo mzima wa uendeshanji wa shughuli za chama na hasa siasa za uchaguzi. Si rahisi kubaini mabadiliko haya yatakuwa na matokeo yapi kwa upande wa CCM katika uchaguzi mkuu ujao. Katika kuweka mikakati ya ushindi suala la fedha linaweza lisiwe tatizo kwa CCM bali utengenezaji na uratibu wa mkakati wa ushindi. Hapa ndipo uzoefu na ushawishi wa Lowassa na swahiba wake Rostam Aziz ndani ya CCM unapohitajika.
Ni ukweli kuwa CCM inaweza tumia njia nyingine kushinda uchaguzi, kwa mfano, kupitia sheria na nguvu ya dola chini ya serikali inayoongozwa na chama hicho. Pamoja na hilo, nadhani CCM bado inaona umuhimu wa kujiandaa vema kwa kinyanga’anyiro cha uchaguzi mkuu ujao. Ninajenga hoja kuwa ni katika muktadha wa masuala niliyoyaeleza hapo juu kuwa CCM kimebaini ni jambo la manufaa kwa Ndugu Edward Lowasa kuwa upande wao na si vinginevyo. 

Sioni ni kwa namna gani masuala binafsi ya kifamilia, biashara na mali za Lowassa inaweza kuwa sababu ya msingi kwa CCM kumpokea!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mazungumzo na Uzinduzi wa Kitabu na Tovuti

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Institutional Memory and the Cyclic Cashew Crises

Institutional Memory and Cyclic Cashew Crises in Tanzania

Chambi Chachage

It is nearly 'half a year' since I penned some suggestions on Resolving the Cyclic Cashew Crisis in Tanzania. The proposed solution of uprooting the root cause seemed impractical. Readers were left wondering 'what' - and even 'who' - is the root cause.

As the crisis continues, I ought to clarify that the root cause is both institutional and individual. It is the collective and personal inability to sustainably use our accumulated knowledge, information, and wisdom. The systemic failure of our reminder.

This, then, is a question of institutional memory. Of how we store and retrieve our collective memory. And of when and why we use it as a reminder of what to do or not to do. Yes, and of who to remind.

Let us go back to 2012. The then Public Organisations Accounts Committee (POAC) tabled its annual report to the parliament. Among other things, it presented pictures of the cashew processing factory that had been privatized to BUCCO Investment Holdings Limited. POAC's verdict was as damning as the photographs:

Four years later, the Tanzania National AGOA Strategy prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI) was published. BUCCO was listed in its table on "Current cashew processing factories capacities and operational status." Its capacity was 10,000 tones per year. And its status? "Closed"!

POAC - now the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - and MITI knew or were supposed to know. In other words, two entities from two key institutions in our 'liberal democracy' - the legislature and the executive - had the institutional memory. Yet in 2018 we had to experience the moment of embarrassment when another assessment  publicly confirmed that the BUCCO factory cannot process cashew.

Embarrassing for a few days earlier the factory was somewhat 'nationalized' if not 'militarized' and mandated with the task of processing more than 5,000 tones of cashew. We unnecessarily became the laughing stock. Luckily enough, those mandated were/are methodical hence their decision to reassess the factory, a task that would have been redundant if the parliament and the government had publicly invoked their institutional memory.

MITI asserts it has now done a comprehensive assessment of our capability to process cashew. Our capacity, it has affirmed, is still insufficient. We did not have to wait this long let alone witness the pain of long-suffering cashew farmers to acknowledge the obvious.

So, the moral of the story is the same: Let's uproot the root cause.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

On Why Pastoralists Must Look For Alternatives

From spears and shields to hoeing and hawking:
The future of pastoralism and why pastoralists must look for alternatives

Ronald B. Ndesanjo

If one would describe a livestock keeping livelihood system of Maasai communities in northern Tanzania, the concept of resilience would most probably come on top. Resilience, as defined by W. Neil Adger in his 2006 paper, Vulnerability, refers to “shocks and stresses a social and ecological system experiences and its capacity to adapt to it.” Maasai pastoralists have been known particularly for their resilient livestock-based livelihood system. 
In the literature, this livelihood system is usually referred to as pastoralism or nomadic pastoralism depending on what aspect of the system one is making reference to. For the sake of this piece, I adopt the definition by Ced Hesse and James MacGregor in their 2006 paper, “Pastoralism: drylands’ invisible asset?”:
“Pastoralism is a form of livestock production or traditionally arranged ranching especially where mobility (a common feature among pastoral systems) is a key option. This is a livelihood system based on livestock keeping in conjunction with other undertakings as a reasonable economic engagement embedded in firm socio-cultural and environmental objectives.”  
For centuries, the pastoral Maasai of Northern Tanzania (but they are everywhere now; much on this later) have managed to sustain their livelihood system (pastoralism) regardless of a range of perturbations, particularly environmental (including climate) change. Central to this form of resilience is pastoral mobility. It entails moving sections of herds to different places in search of key resources; water and pasture. This is not (as most still regard it) wandering around of pastoralists with their herds. It is a complex and highly organised traditional system known as transhumance that has been crafted and perfected over centuries. Together with that, pastoralism has been held together by a social system of patronage depicted, for instance, by cattle loaning and barter trading.  
Mobility, which is the lifeline of pastoral livelihoods, is finally falling apart, following a substantially diminished capability of pastoralists to sustain it. In this blogpost, I highlight a number of factors that drive this trend. These include: government’s attitude towards pastoralists and their livelihood system(s), land compartmentalization, land use change in pastoral systems, population growth, change of lifestyle among pastoral Maasai, and climate change.
Throughout the post-independence period the Government of Tanzania (Tanganyika for some three years or so) has demonstrated a negative outlook towards the pastoral way of life. This situation is likened mainly to colonial legacy and “modernity” thinking that has informed most political and governance decisions since independence. During the colonial era pastoralists encountered a lot of problems with colonial government(s). One dimension of the animosity was colonialists’ attempt to integrate pastoralists into their economic system (largely a capitalist mode of production) where production is meant for consumption, surplus, and profit making. To the contrary, the motive of pastoralists has never been to produce for the market. In pastoralists’ eyes, cattle is a way of life if not life itself!
This thinking was adopted by newly independent governments mainly because what had really changed was the people who were running the government. Economic and political systems were more or less reflective of former colonial government(s). As such, pastoralists and post-independence government encountered similar disputes between them. The government has always perceived pastoralists as backward, anti-development, and destructive to the environment. 
In view of that, service-led development, for instance, is an area that pastoralists have clashed with the government. The government’s thinking about development has always been informed by this notion of “modernity of things”. Characteristic of this is persistent efforts to sedentarize the pastoral people (adversely affecting mobility) so that development in form of piped water, schools, hospitals, extension services, etc., can be brought to them. Operation Imparnati” in the 1970s and 1980s and cattle branding in 2016 and 2017 are cases in point. 
Another driving factor is compartmentalization of administrative boundaries at local (village) levels. Administrative boundaries in Tanzania are defined by village (the smallest unit) all the way up to the nation-state. It is a common thing in the development process to form new villages, districts, and regions out of existing ones. The reasons are several; political, economic, geographical, etc. What is really a problem (particularly in the pastoral context) is the restricted access associated with this trend. 
Now it has become a norm for village A to restrict village B from accessing its resources e.g. land, water, and pasture, especially in times of scarcity. It is even worse when it comes to cross-border interactions, especially among pastoral Maasai to whom national borders are an alien thing. Since pastoralism strives on communal patronage in terms of resource use, the compartmentalization works to its detriment. It is tempting to add the conservation dimension here but let us save that for another blog post. 
Between 2013 and 2016, I was conducting research in the Simanjiro District in northern Tanzania. This is a commonly known pastoralist dominated area. But, given the land use changes I witnessed, there is no doubt Simanjiro is increasingly becoming an agro-pastoral district. Emboreet division, where one finds the Simanjiro plains (crucial wildlife breeding and livestock grazing area), was increasingly being transformed into a cropland. This has serious irreversible consequences on the quality of soils and hence its productivity. As such, grazing patterns and even wildlife breeding (in this case wildebeest from Tarangire National Park) will (if not yet) adversely be interrupted.
Maasai people are famously known for being proud and protective of their culture no matter when or where they are. This is something some people will agree to. But that may not necessarily be the case now since they are also embracing change, albeit not as selectively as they used to. Young Maasai people, for instance, are increasingly abandoning rural life to look for alternative livelihoods in peri-urban and urban areas. 
One of the push factors is that pastoralism no longer serves as a reliable livelihood option for the reasons highlighted here and several others. Together with that is the further exposure to “modernity” which, in most cases, is associated with urban life. Cattle herding is the responsibility of male youths, so, if you lose a segment of these people to other livelihoods in urban areas, the sector suffers substantially.
It should also be noted that population is growing rapidly in pastoral areas. Together with natural increase, the growth is largely driven by immigrants who move to semi-arid (predominantly pastoral) lands in search of areas to open new farms. In the case of Simanjiro, for example, there is a migration pattern where people from Arusha region (a Maa speaking agro-pastoral community commonly referred to as Waarusha) are moving to Simanjiro in search of farmland. The pull factor is sufficiently available i.e. (vast) land which is apparently virgin and flat (suitable for mechanised tilling). To a certain degree this is creating land pressure (and potential for land disputes); one thing that does not mix well with pastoral mobility.   
What makes matters worse is climate change. On top of the socio-economic and political dynamics noted above, climate change has made it even harder for pastoralists to sustain their livelihood system. Droughts, for example, have become more intense and frequent. Rainfall patterns have changed thus adversely affecting mobility patterns and livestock productivity. Not only that, extreme climatic events are increasingly being associated with heavy, but very short-lived, rains that cause flooding and its associated impacts on livestock, particularly deaths by diseases and drowning (although rare).  
I cannot conclude with certainty that pastoralism, as we have known it, will completely disappear. However, it is quite clear that it is undergoing substantial changes. It is very likely that pastoralism will shift from a complex socio-cultural, economic, and ecological system to a mere commercial entity where a few wealthy and highly politically connected individuals (Cattle Barons) will control the livestock (cattle) value chain. This will see a lot of small holder herders being reduced (from cattle owners) to mere herds persons or completely pushed out of the system.

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