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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day - A Litmus Test for Selfishness?

Valentine's Day - A Perfect Litmus Test for Men's Selfishness

Mwanahamisi 'Mishy' Singano

It’s Valentine's Day! A celebration of Love and Romance. So, Happy Valentine's Day, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Honestly, I did not intend to write this today. I planned to use my Valentine's day to enjoy me, myself, and I. But conversations with women and men made it irresistible not to write.

Today is one of those days where some women will be very happy. Some will be unsure of how they feel in terms of whether they are loved and appreciated enough. But many will be holding their hearts with intense pain.

Yes, I am specifically talking about women because it seems to me that men, mostly African men, held a conference and agreed that Valentine's Day is not really for them. We know that women are affectionate, emotional, loving and tender. Often these traits get praised when women use them to keep up with men's insensitivities, coldness, and all other 'BS'. But when a woman goes out of her way to demand the expression of affection and love, the patriarchal clan gangs against her.

It amazes me how men casually throw the excuse that Valentine's Day is “not my thing”, it is "not African" or it is "unreligious". Why should it be ‘your thing’ for you to do it? Isn’t love a sacrifice for the happiness of others among other things? How could buying your loved one a gift or taking her to a romantic evening not your thing?

Who are you? A man from Pluto? (Ohh yes, I’m totally in for that, we are all prostitutes remember?). Actually one of them (men) told me, “I don’t need a day to celebrate my love for her, I love her everyday!” Honestly, I looked at him and wondered how his logic work. If he loves her every day, why not today? Why insulting our intelligence? A man who loves and spoils his wife or partner on a daily base won’t hesitate to go overboard with an extra doze on Valentine's day. And the reverse is also true.

Of course, most of the couples celebrating Valentine's Day are middle class. Men in these relationships know why such a special day is important in keeping let alone rekindling the flame.These are men who have been exposed, economically stable and often claims to be progressive. But does this make them colonial and not African enough? In the case of religion, does it make them barbaric? After all, wasn't Saint Valentine religious?

Speaking of the un-Africanism of Valentine's Day, could someone tell me, when did Africans (men and women) meet and agree that Love and Romance is not for them? Wasn’t it a part of the coastal culture in East Africa for men to spoil their wives with unlimited gifts and citations of romantic poems, indulging them with tenderness every now and then? Why, then, do our men often hide under the guise of the "externality of modern romance" while they could bravely tell us to our faces that:

“I am an African man. I have been groomed to be selfish, I have been nurtured to take care of me and my feelings alone; and, most importantly, I embrace the patriarchal idea that a typical man should be mechanical as romance is only for the weak. I own you and, because you are my property, I am in no business to entertain your emotions and feed your desire for attention and affection!"

This naked truth will not only serve men from lying and dealing with nagging wives and partners who can’t kind of accept that they are not pampered, cared, and appreciated as they should. Such truth will, in so many ways, wake up women to start the journey of self-appreciation and self-love. When women finally gets it, like I did, we will all know the complexity of the system of oppression. Yes, all of us will appreciate the sophistication of patriarchy and its associated patriarchal culture, especially in terms of how self-sustaining it is.

When women truly know this truth, we will look at our male partners on a day like this and see the full display of patriarchal oppression. This should be enough to give us the anger we need to fight the system of patriarchy so that our daughters won't need to beg for someone’s affection and love to feel whole.

For those in tears today;

Join the movement.

We should all be Feminists!

Mapenzi Mubashara: Mama Sele, washa!

Mapenzi Mubashara: Mama Sele, washa! 
Muhidin J. Shangwe
Leo asubuhi wakati  nikiwa kwenye gari naelekea kazini huku nikisikiliza redio Clouds FM nilisikia tangazo la kipindi maarufu cha Leo Tena. Si tangazo jipya, binafsi nimelisikia mara nyingi sana. 
Lakini leo nililielewa tofauti.  
Nitarejea tangazo hilo kwa nukuu ambazo si rasmi bila kupotosha maana/ujumbe. Nafanya hivi kwa sababu, mosi, sikumbuki neno hadi neno kwenye tangazo husika (lakini nakumbuka ujumbe), pili, nina jambo nataka kulieleza.
Ningeweza kusubiri hadi tangazo hilo lirushwe tena ili ninukuu kiufasaha lakini nina dukuduku ambalo siwezi kusubiri kulisema. Hivyo mniwie radhi pale ambapo sijanukuu kwa ufasaha.  
Kwenye tangazo hili inasikika sauti ya mwanaume mwenye lafudhi ya Kichaga. Anaitwa Baba Sele. 
Baba Sele anamtaka mkewe, Mama Sele, awashe redio ili asikilize kipindi cha Leo Tena. “Mama Sele, washa!” anasikika mwanaume huyo kwa takribani mara tatu, akirudia rudia wito wake huo.  
Wakati wote huo Mama Sele anaonekana kutoelewa mumewe anataka nini. “Niwashe nini?” anahoji. Kisha analalamika, “Niwashe nini jamani? Si unaona nafua nguo, na kule mtoto analia? Au kwa sababu bado sijapika chakula?”
Baba Sele yeye hana habari, anaendelea tu, “Mama Sele, washa!” Mwisho, Mama Sele anagundua mumewe anamtaka awashe redio ili tu asikilize kipindi cha Leo Tena! Mama Sele anawasha redio na mumewe anafurahi! 
Tangazo hili linaweza kuonekana ni la kawaida tu. Na wengi hubaki kucheka lafudhi ya Kichaga ya Baba Sele – na inawezekana kabisa aliyetengeneza tangazo alilenga hilo tu. Hata Baba Sele haongei kwa ukali kwa maana ya kuamrisha. 
Lakini kuna kitu cha ziada, na kinahusu taswira inayojengwa na tangazo husika. Ni taswira ya mfumo-dume.
Baba Sele amewasilishwa kama mwanaume ambaye “amekaa tu.” Unaweza kusema ni mwanaume ambaye akiwa nyumbani hana kazi zaidi ya kuketi kwenye sofa au kivulini na msuli wake, miguu juu, huku akisikiliza redio. 
Mama Sele kwa upande wake ni kila kitu. Ni mfua nguo. Ni mbembelezaji mtoto. Ni mpishi. Na kama hiyo haitoshi, ni mwasha redio! 
Ni hivi: Mama Sele afue nguo, abembeleze mtoto anayelia, bado aamuriwe kuwasha redio na mumewe ambaye tangazo linajenga taswira amekaa tu! 
Hii si taswira ngeni kwenye familia zetu na jamii yetu kwa ujumla. Na huwa tunathubutu kusema hayo ni majukumu ya mama! Mtazamo huu ni hasi na hauendani na zama tulizo nazo.
Hizi ni zama ambazo, wakati Mama Sele anafua, Baba Sele alitakiwa ambembeleze mtoto, na pengine aingie jikoni kupika ili Mama Sele akimaliza kufua afike mezani wale. Au kama Mama Sele yu apika jikoni, basi Baba Sele afue nguo na/au ambembeleze mtoto. 
Ni zama za kusaidiana majukumu majumbani na kwingineko. Na haya ndiyo Mapenzi Mubashara (Kaulimbiu ya Siku ya Wapendanao kama inavyochagizwa na Clouds Media Group). 
Tangazo hili, kisanii, linaakisi jamii yetu ilivyo. Na ndiyo maana wengi wetu hatuoni kasoro hii ninayoieleza hapa. Lakini vyombo vya habari na sanaa kwa ujumla vina jukumu kubwa zaidi ya kuelezea tu jamii yetu ilivyo. Ni jukumu la kwenda mbele zaidi na kutafuta suluhisho, na pia kusema hili ni sahihi na lile si sahihi. 
Sanaa na vyombo vya habari haviwezi kujificha nyuma ya kivuli cha kufichua tu yanayojiri kwenye jamii. Vinatakiwa vituongoze katika namna ya kuleta mabadiliko chanya ya kifikra. 
Kuelezea tu namna jamii ilivyo bila kuonesha njia sahihi ni kupigia chapuo mila na desturi mbaya au zilizopitwa na wakati.

Monday, February 11, 2019

A Workshop on Dar-es-Salaam's Entrepreneurs

Friday, February 1, 2019

Care - It is more than Washing Dishes and Cooking

Care is more than Washing Dishes and Cooking!

Naomi Shadrack

Care is a relationship of interdependence between a care provider and a care receiver. Every human being needs care at all moments of life. We need care from morning when we wake up to evening when we retire to our beds. One cannot survive without care!
What has motivated me to write this blog post are discussions on radios and televisions on some aspects of care. I feel they reduce the weight that care must be given. This is especially the case when women are asked: 'Do you cook at your home? Do you wash clothes?' As good as they seem to be, these types of questions are incomplete as they generate answers that do not address the fundamental question of care and its multiple dimensions.
At the core level, care involves interaction between people with varying needs. It may be direct or indirect, physical or mental - and even emotional. Direct care in the domestic domain necessitates the presence of the care provider in which he or she may wash clothes, cook food, carry water, feed children, nurse the sick, attend to the elderly, and ensure the wellbeing of the whole family. Indirect care may involve sending money to cater for the provision of water, school fees, and source of energy for a household or coordination, planning, and supervision of physical care providers. Both forms of care involve a certain level of mental and/or emotional labour. 
So, care is not simply about washing dishes and cooking food!
It is about time that we start approaching care from a broader perspective. Instead of asking influential people whether they perform certain activities associated with care, we can ask them how they care. Asking a woman minister in the government whether she cook at home or not and using that as the reference for all Tanzanian women is undervaluing care. It also masks the burden of gendered care. We can broaden the discussion by focusing on which care activities, who provides them, how does one provide them, and what resources does one has access for the care. 
Such questions will tell us, as a country, how hard we are supposed to work to ensure everyone gets decent care. It will ensure that we are including care as a policy priority in our national development models and plans. This will help us to lift the gendered burden of unpaid care at the household and related levels in our society.
Applauding a well-educated or successful business woman because she says she cooks or wash dishes and clothes at home without an explanation on how she does so overlooks the underlying class dynamics of care in our society. Does that woman walk more than four kilometres to fetch water and firewood for cooking? Or does she have all kitchen appliances surrounding her in a neat kitchen? Could it be that she can cook with a rice cooker while browsing the internet and put clothes in a washing machine that keeps her nails clean and well-done? What if she delegates most of the care work to others through paying them as domestic workers or relatives?
 This is not a woman who has to be a reference on addressing care provision and related issues in a stratified society such as ours.
Care provision is a very important subject for the sustainability of our society. It is an ever-present reality in our lives as it cross-cuts the entire set of public policies. Provision of care involves, but is not limited to, asking: Is there a school? Do children go to school? Are they well-fed in the school? How do they reach school? Who provides water in school? What is the cost of being in school? 
As such, care involves the way communities are structured and socialised. Care influences the economic wellbeing of both the care providers and recipients. Full-time care providers find it hard to engage in economic activities necessary for growth of their income and families. Hence, care has to be streamlined into household budgeting and financing. By addressing issues of care in a broader perspective, we will optimise the different economic initiatives that both the government and other stakeholders are undertaking.
So, if one wants to address or get a model for care provision in the households, bear in mind that this is not a question of 'do you wash or cook?' Rather, it is a deeper question of the what, when, where, who and how does one care. It is a question of the cost(s) of care!

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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