Friday, 19 December 2014

#WeddingDiaries : Wedding Off

Scheduled to meet Gupta, my suit designer at Sarit Centre, Nairobi. Heated argument with my fiancée. She walks away from me but later says am the one who has walked away from her. Writing thus blog entry from Text Book Center. Feel so low. A Christmas band plays carols outside.  Nairobi people shopping and eating out. The festive season is alive in Nairobi. Thinking of getting Martin Meredith's book 'The Fortunes of Africa '. Feeling sad. I pray for strength. God hear me. I love you.

I sent this message to Joan :

     Am sorry I've not been the perfect person you envisioned. Forgive me for everything I've ever done to you. Find it in your heart to forgive me. My dear, am on my way to Arusha. Kindly send my stuff by shuttle tomorrow morning. It has been very difficult for me but my dear know that I will always love you.

Her responses:

Ni sawa my dear. God bless you abundantly.. Na ufanyiwe unavyo nifanyia... If u want to call off the wedding... Call my uncles n everyone uwaambie. I have forgiven u for everything.

Will send your stuff.. Pick them and pay for them.

If thats what umeamua... I will respect it.

I have nothing to say. Siwezi kuforce.

Will ask my bro to take the stuff to town now.
Am almost at home.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Kikwete must sack corrupt ministers to prove his credibility

JAKAYA KIKWETE’S tenure as president comes to an end next year. President Kikwete has many international admirers and has received adulation from the major Western democracies. As president, Kikwete twice hosted two US presidents – George W. Bush in 2008 and Barack Obama in July 2013. With many branding him the “darling of the West,” Kikwete in March 2013 received the Chinese president Xi Jinping, demonstrating to the world Tanzania’s non-alignment foreign policy. 
Although many interpreted the US and Chinese presidents’ visits as competition for Tanzania’s natural resources, it was a diplomatic victory for Tanzania. Kikwete scooped the Most Impactful Leader in Africa Prize in April 2013 and in July 2014 the Icon of Democracy Award.
With the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Good Governance in Africa failing to get a winner this year, many have predicted that President Kikwete will win it when he retires. Despite the international accolades, President Kikwete has faced myriad challenges at home. Major corruption scandals have engulfed his presidency.
Parliament recently passed a scathing resolution to have Kikwete’s Cabinet ministers revoked over the Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) that has rocked his government. A government report implicated the Prime Minister in the scandal that resulted in the plunder of more than $120 million from the country’s central bank by private businessmen and government officials.
With PM Mizengo Pinda narrowly escaping the censure, President Kikwete has no choice but to take action on the ministers implicated in the scam and prove that the international accolades were given to him on merit. 
Nicodemus Minde
Arusha, Tanzania.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

#Tanzania: A Sleeping Lion Awakes

The November issue of Guardian Report looks at Tanzania rising fortunes. As a stable country politically, Tanzania is seen by many as the next frontier in the East African region. Endowed with an array of mineral resources, excellent weather, magnificent tourist destinations among many other things, Tanzania's political stability has seen a huge attraction to foreign investors and direct investments in areas of mineral exploration, banking and finance, tourism and in many other commercial deals. The Guardian in an exclusive report looks at Tanzania-UK relations, tourism and speaks to key stakeholders to Tanzania's increasing fortunes. There is a Q&A with Tanzania's Finance Minister Saada Mkuya where she highlights among other things the government's efforts to increase capital access to SMEs, Tanzania's GDP growth and bridging the gap in people's access to credit and integration to the banking industry.

Further analysis is done in Tanzania's tourism sector. Our tourism sector has not be aggressively advertised. Doing so will help convince many tourists from Europe, Americas, Asia and indeed Africa visit the magnificent tourist destinations such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Selous, Zanzibar among many. The Commissioner General of Tanzania Revenue Authority explores the effective ways of tax collection and government financing through revenue and tax. Further insights are given by the Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe, embattled Minister for Energy Prof Sospeter Muhongo, TANESCO Managing Director among others.

Tanzania stands at a critical transition for progress and development. Sound leadership, vision and accountability remain crucial in taking Tanzania to the next level.

See links:


Thursday, 27 November 2014

#Poem: What Truth?

What truth?
The idea of justice. Truly utopian
Masses concerned, quizzing and reflecting
Engaging, calling, texting, many vibrant..
In the end they will prevail
You're left groaning - they laugh
All the way into the bank and the ballot
Triumphantly they dance, ironically you join in
And life goes on
The truth  

Monday, 17 November 2014

Lessons for Tanzanians? The Day Burkinabe People Recovered Their Voice

Here is an interesting article I came across this morning. As a keen follower of African politics, I was pleased to see the dethroning of an autocrat in Burkina Faso. The people of Burkina Faso without Western persuasion said enough is enough. The longtime dictator Blaise Compaore was forced out. Compaore had overthrown Thomas Sankara in a military coup in October 15, 1987. Compaore was trying to change the constitution and extending his reign. The article by Amy Niang examines how the people of Burkina Faso recovered their voices.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Peace and Tranquility as Zanzibar marks four years of the GNU

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the historic Maridhiano agreement signed by President Karume and the opposition leader Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad in Zanzibar which later formed the government of national unity after the general elections in 2010. This extraordinary act between the two leaders heralded a new beginning in Zanzibar. I assess the the GNU vis-a-vis democracy in an article submitted to the Kujenga Amani forum. Regardless, the GNU has brought remarkable trnsformation in the sociopolitical setting in Zanzibar. Zanzibar remains at peace and the two primordial nemesis in CCM and CUF now somehow coexist. For more details on the GNU in Zanzibar see link below.

Maridhiano Zanzibar
President Karume and Maalim Seif shake hands to seal the historic Maridhiano agreement in November 5 2010. Besides them in Ismail Jussa


Monday, 27 October 2014

#Poem: #ThanksGiving

I stop and wonder,
Think and ponder,
The great blessings and splendor,
Life in abundance, smiling no wonder
I raise my eyes and thank him above for grace and grandeur
The good health, radiance, my troubles I surrender
My cries and tribulations, He is my fender
A thanksgiving prayer to my God my redeemer

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

#NyerereDay: A Time for Reflection

Happy Nyerere Day to all Tanzanians and to everyone who espouses the ideals of a great man. Nyerere is the embodiment of our nation. Though he had his weaknesses as a person, Nyerere stood for equality, progress and self-reliance. He believed in a unique form of African socialism which he termed as 'Ujamaa'. I grew up idolizing the man. His picture still hangs in my bedroom wall. I read his books, listened to his speeches and promised myself to be as selfless like him. Mwalimu Nyerere was a man of vision. He envisioned a Tanzania that is self-reliant and free from external aid. He succeeded in uniting Tanzanians. We are one people with one language thanks to Mwalimu Nyerere. 

Today, Tanzania risks being divided by partisan politics. The current constitutional conundrum risks dividing Tanzanians. Nyerere would have loved to see a consensual approach to the constitution process. The process has been hijacked by politicians who only look for their personal interests. The process has lacked nationwide consensus which any constitution process should have. The process has been about which side is stronger instead on building consensus (maridhiano). The process has been hurried by the powers that be. The powers that be want to gain political mileage instead of nationwide consensus. People's views have been ignored by the powers that be. Cynicism and antipathy is now rife among many Tanzanians. As we mark this day, it is important that we take time to reflect. Let us do a self-reexamination and see where we went wrong. We should mark this day by reflecting on the ideals Mwalimu championed. HAPPY NYERERE DAY!   

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

#Katiba Watch: Chenge stealing the show!

The Chairman of the drafting Committee, former Attorney General Andrew Chenge has been stealing the Katiba show. On 24 September, he unveiled a constitution draft that is now termed as the Dodoma Draft or what many are now referring to as the CCM draft. Mr. Chenge was at one time accused of massive corruption. He made further headlines when he retorted by saying the money he was accused of stealing was mere 'vijisenti'. He was later re-branded as 'Mzee wa Vijisenti'. He later resigned from his post as Infrastructure Minister and kept a low profile.

When the Constituent Assembly was set up in February this year, Chenge's name was mentioned for the position of the Chairman of the CA. The position however went to Mr. Samuel Sitta, who according to political commentators was a deliberate ploy to position himself for the post of the presidency come next year. Mr. Chenge, however, took up the post as Chairman of the Drafting Committee in the CA. Mr. Chenge, who many claim has a sharp legal mind has repositioned and re-branded his image. Mr. Chenge read with admirable articulation the proposed new constitution draft. The draft is now even known in some quarters as the Chenge Draft. Maybe he has more up his sleeves.   

Monday, 15 September 2014

#ICC: The demise of State-Referral? (Part II)

Last week we examined in an introduction, the continued withering of the state-referral technique of triggering the ICC jurisdiction, This week we continue by exploring further why states are now not ready to refer themselves to the Court. William Schabas, the criminal law guru, in an edited volume (The International Criminal Court and National Jurisdictions) views the state-referral technique as a 'trap for the court'. He writes: "If a State refers a situation against itself, that is, against its rebels, in the context of a conflict, it is doing so with a result in mind." He argues that for a state like Uganda, the result involved withdrawing the threat of prosecution in exchange of something. As pointed out in the previous posting, state-referrals have been used by governments to deal with dissidents and in the cases of Uganda and CAR, rebels that fought the government. It has also been argued that this mode of referral was also used by governments to pass responsibility to another party, and in this case the ICC, under the excuse of being willing but unable to prosecute international crimes. 

All the eight cases/situations before the ICC are all African in nature. This has been interpreted in various quarters but mostly in Africa as an affront to Africa's sovereignty while others have argued that the ICC is targeting Africa and Africans. Since the last state-referral in December 2004, there have been no further referrals pursuant to article 14. The UN Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC in march 2005 while other cases have been initiated by the Prosecutor's proprio motu mechanism. States have been encouraged to assume obligations on crimes of international nature committed in their territories. States are more and more viewing the state-referral as a 'trap' by the ICC. When the African Union (AU) adopted a Resolution regarding the International Criminal Court in October, 2013, it was a statement that no other African country will refer itself again to the Court. At the nascent stages of the ICC, state-referrals gave the Court credibility. With the seemingly geographical targeting, state-referrals will wither.  

States now view the self-referral method as selling its sovereignty to an external party. When Kenyan legislators in 2013 voted to withdraw from the ICC, they did so in an act of defiance. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his VP William Ruto face criminal charges before the court. The legislators just like the AU resolution, saw the ICC as targeting Africans and infringing on their sovereignty. It looks unlikely that another African or indeed any other state party to the Rome Statute will refer itself to the ICC in the new future. Regardless of the imminent demise of state-referral technique, the ICC is facing many other challenges mostly on its credibility. Many have questioned its selective method of cases while at the same time it not initiating investigations in cases where crimes against humanity, war crimes continue to be carried out. The Court needs a reevaluation of its mandate, legality and its future.   

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

#UraisTanzania2015: A New Brand in Tanzanian Politics

When the results of the Nyalali Commission were released before the return to mulipartism in Tanzania in 1992, a whooping 80% of Tanzanians were against multiparty democracy. Despite these findings, the Commission recommended the introduction of multiparty democracy. The Commission, in its own admission observed that the 80% had known no other system than the single party dictatorship of CCM and that was what informed their response. Tanzania went on to adopt the Political Parties Act and Tanzania became a 'multiparty democracy'. Despite the registration of a number of parties, the ruling party CCM maintained and continues to somehow maintain its hegemonic status. This change was at the time alien to many Tanzanians and indeed many African states. The democratization brigade came alongside the fall of Berlin wall and according to Francis Fukuyama's postulation "the end of history" and the triumph of liberal democracy. The change heralded a new beginning to politics in Tanzania.

As Tanzania approaches its fifth multiparty election next year, we are witnessing a new brand of politics. The ruling party continues to enjoy virtual voter monopoly, largely due to its propaganda machinery and state-controlled resources. There still is no real inner-party democracy in Tanzania despite the party election facade often witnessed. Senior party positions are controlled and influenced by external influences mostly borne out of economic interests. During the first CCM presidential nominations, it is believed Mwalimu Nyerere's choice of candidate influenced the process. It is not known who his heir apparent was  before he died in 1999. President Jakaya Kikwete succeeded Benjamin Mkapa, who was regarded as a Nyerere's protege. With the elections next year, many names are already cropping up with the grand-old party CCM. The race seems to pit the young versus the old. The discourse has degenerated into youthfulness versus octogenarians. When youthful assistant minister January Makamba publicly stated his desire for the country's top job in July this year, a host of other names in the green-party have cropped up. Names such as the the ex-Prime Ministers Edward Lowassa and Fredrick Sumaye and current PM Mizengo Pinda. Other names are William Ngeleja, Mark Mwandosya, Bernard Membe, Asha-Rose Migiro, Prof Anna Tibaijuka, Mwigulu Nchemba, Samuel Sitta and most recently Hamisi Kigangwalla. The green party, unaccustomed with this new brand of politics, went on to call a disciplinary committee to look into the declarations made by its members to run for the top job. However, those who have so far put forward their interest have done so in a modern way. For instance Dr. Kigangwalla launched his bid with a speech flanked by his wife and children and his parents where he outlined his vision for the country. He also launched a social media campaign with harsh-tags.   

Experienced democracies world over teach us the values of internal party democracy. Values where each individual has the right to declare his vision to run for office. But that being said, it is imperative for those who seek office to do a self-examination and see if they fit the bill. In as much as democracy allows free-will, we should understand that leadership is service and not a job. The presidency is an institution that calls for individuals of high moral character, integrity and servitude.

This new brand of politics is needed for political maturity both at the party level and nationally. Tanzanians should embrace this as a sign of increased democratic space but in the same light do a thorough scrutiny to those who have declared their interest for the top job.     

Thursday, 4 September 2014

#ICC: The demise of State-Referral?

The International Criminal Court is a Court of last resort. The Court is a permanent institution with powers to exercise its jurisdiction over persons who bear the greatest responsibility for crimes of international concern. Conscious of the history of criminal acts against people, the world envisaged to repress such crimes through the creation of a permanent criminal tribunal. The atrocities committed are now monitored by the ICC by bringing the perpetrators who bear the most responsibility to justice. Even with the legal backing, the ICC has faced challenges on the question of cases it brings to book and the situations it omits. Equally, the ICC has had its detractors as well as proponents. 

The Court's jurisdiction can be triggered by three ways. The first is the state-referral or the self-referral, the second is through the UN Security Council referral and the last is through the prosecutors own volition also referred to as proprio motu. Of particular interest, we shall look at the 'self-referral' or 'state-referral' technique of triggering the Court's jurisdiction. Article 14 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court allows a State Party to refer a situation, including crimes committed within the state's own jurisdiction, to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) for investigation. There is no doubt, this mode of referral has had controversies among legal scholars. It is worth noting that of the eight situations at the ICC, only the first three were state referrals. It has been argued, rightly so, that self-referrals are inconsistent with the independence of the Court and its complementarity principle. Others have argued that state-referrals have been used by governments to fight oppositions in their countries. The initial referral to the ICC was the Uganda self-referral in 2003. The government of Uganda referred the situation in northern Uganda where atrocities were being committed by the Lord's Resistant Army (LRA). In March 2004, DRC also referred the situation in the Ituri region in Congo to the Court. And in December 2004, the OTP received another self-referral from Central African Republic. Self-referrals are well within the confines of the complementarity principle in Article 17.  Article 17 on admissibility of cases, points out that a case is admissible only when a state is unwilling and genuinely unable to prosecute a case. 

Are we seeing the demise of state-referral?

We continue from here in a subsequent posting.....


Friday, 22 August 2014

Lest we Forget Libya!

Every week we look at an article that is making inroads in the field of international relations. In the recent weeks, the world has been grappling with the war in Gaza, the Ebola outbreak in the Western African states of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. The embers of the conflict in Ukraine seem to be cooling off while infighting in Iraq has seen America sending rescue missions. Closer home in Tanzania, there seems to be no answer to the constitution deadlock. I hear the ruling party is flexing its political muscles while the UKAWA group remains intransigent

On Libya. While the global media casts its cameras in Gaza, Ukraine, Iraq and West Africa, the infighting in Libya seems to be forgotten. I asked my Canadian-Libyan friend Amjad how Libya was fairing after the fall of Gaddafi, and his answer was "The militants have taken over". Foreign Policy Magazine in the Passport series looks at the situation in Libya. Titled "Don't look Now, but Libya is Falling Apart", the author,  Siddhartha Mahanta, explores how the militants are fighting for the control of the oil wells in Libya. NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 which led to the fall of Muammar Gaddafi has been a subject of international debate. When the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 for a no-fly zone over Libya on 17 March 2011, the fall of Gaddafi was inevitable. The legitimacy of the resolution under the pretext of Right to Protect (R2P) is also a subject for debate. Critics of the UNSC further highlighted its flaws with the passing of Resolution 1973. 

Libya is now in the hands of hungry militants who are fighting themselves. One wing of the militants are aligning themselves with Islamists. Just like Iraq was stable under Sadam Hussein, so was Libya under Muammar Gaddafi. One excruciating fact is that both countries were undone by UNSC resolutions, which were against international law norms. As ISIS continue to wreck havoc in Iraq, the militants in Libya will get more radicalized. At whose expense was the brutal removal of Sadam and Gaddafi? The people of Iraq and Libya must be cursing and questioning the motives of the powers that be. But as we say in international relations, albeit in the realist thought, 'States pursue power at all cost and their primary concern is state survival'. 

Friday, 15 August 2014

#US Foreign Policy: Similarities in President Obama and Bill Clinton Approaches

Every week we look at an article that is making waves in the world of international relations. This week we look at the US foreign policy. The latest issue of Foreign Policy Magazine looks at the decline of America's world influence. In what they term as 'declinism', the issue, drawing largely from Samuel Huntington's postulation of American tendency to fear decline, looks at how America's global influence in dwindling. Paul Kennedy's book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers which has given a historical account of the rise and fall of great civilizations has been used as reference to this seemingly American decline. Has America hit the Peak as FP discusses?

Reading Stephen Walt's opinion in the FP Magazine, he tries to explore the FP prospects of Madam Hillary Clinton if she wins the Democratic nomination and win the presidential elections in 2016. Walt asserts that "With her knock against Obama, Hillary Clinton was criticizing [during her interview with Atlantic] more than one former president's foreign policy." He goes on to explain the similarities in foreign policy between President Obama and President Clinton. It makes an interesting reading observing the distinct similarities of the two when it comes to formulation, approach and execution of FP goals. Walt cheekily calls it Obama's  (Bill)-Clintonesque approach. See article for further analysis.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

CCM reading from KANU script, we all know what happened!

Having grown up and gone to school in Kenya at the height of their 'second liberation' one thing was clear: people power reigns. When the agitation for reforms started in the late 1980s, KANU government in a chutzpah fashion cracked its whip by harassing and jailing dissidents. Coinciding with the fall of the Berlin Wall that marked the triumph of liberal democracy, the reform agenda gathered momentum in not only Kenya but the world over. An intransigent President Moi and his government agreed to repel section 2A of the constitution and Kenya became a multiparty democracy in 1991. Despite the opposition loosing the 1992 and 1997 elections, they continued pressing the Moi regime calling for reforms. The opposition saw constitutional reforms as the only way out. When calls for minimum reforms were thwarted by the Moi regime in 1996, prior to the elections the following year, the writing was on the wall for Kenya. Moi went on to easily beat his opponents in the elections in 1997. 

Calls for reforms did not end there. The opposition together with other pressure groups coalesced demanding for change and constitution reforms. A Commission for Constitution Reforms of Kenya was set up in 2000 after intense pressure. Moi regime had began to cave. Despite the brouhaha, Moi continued to dillydally on the process. President Moi anointed Uhuru Kenyatta as his heir apparent since his term was coming to an end in 2002. This did not augur well with a section of KANU politicians who jumped ship. Led by Raila Odinga and a host of other political figures such as George Saitoti, Kalonzo Musyoka, Simeon Nyachae, Mwai Kibaki, Moody Awori, Charity Ngilu and many others coalesced and formed a formidable NARC coalition ahead of the 2002 election. Their agenda was to remove KANU from office and  a championed for a new constitution. Law and behold, the indomitable KANU was resoundingly defeated. Legends and tales of the 'Jogoo' party are still told to date. Ironically, CCM, the 'independence' party seems to be reading from KANU script. With the constitution process in Tanzania at a deadlock, CCM has refused to yield to the opposition demands. 

Tanzania is not Kenya when it comes to politics, neither is CCM KANU. But lest we forget, as Aldous Huxley postulates 'that men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach". 

Democracy versus Stability: Political Reconciliation and the Government of National Unity in Zanzibar

A Government of National Unity was set up in Zanzibar after protracted peace efforts between two historical rival parties CCM and CUF in 2010. The GNU was pre-election pact sealed after the Maridhiano Talks between the Zanzibar president Amani Karume and CUF leader Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad in November 2009.  This move heralded a new beginning in Zanzibar. Despite this fact, I assess in the article the prospects of democracy vis-à-vis stability in the isles.
Please find the full article from the digital forum Kujenga Amani, a forum of the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) here:

Monday, 4 August 2014

Katiba Watch: An Intransigent UKAWA; JK in the US

The Constituent Assembly resumes tomorrow after a three months hiatus. Intrigues during the first CA sessions saw a section of members under the Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (UKAWA) umbrella, decide to walk out of the sessions in April. The UKAWA group which is made up of the opposition parties, CHADEMA, NCCR, CUF and other like-minded members have claimed that CCM has hijacked the process and are pushing for a party agenda. Mediation efforts aimed at convincing UKAWA to return to the sessions have failed. Both sides have taken strong unwavering stances. UKAWA have vowed not to return unless the CCM members agree to only discuss the contents of the proposed constitution draft. 

Mbowe, Mbatia, Lipumba
UKAWA Leaders. From left; J.Mbatia, F.Mbowe and I.Lipumba
The President has been accused of jeopardizing the process when he deliberately decided to take party sides during the inauguration of the CA. He has now traveled out of the country. Analysts have argued that the president, as the symbol of national unity, could have placed national interests ahead of party interests in the constitution debate. The president is attending the US-Africa summit in Washington. It was widely expected that he could have used his position to broker the standoff in the Katiba process. 

The prospects for a new constitution now look bleak. Academics and policy practitioners are even proposing a halt to the Katiba process. However, this comes with alarming caution that going to an election without a new constitution could spell disaster in Tanzania. Comparatively, Zimbabwe and Kenya post-poll violence in 2008 was as a result of going to an election after a constitution fallout.     

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

#Iran Nuclear Talks: Who's the real loser?

Every week I post an interesting article on issues foreign policy and international affairs. Today, we look at an article by Camelia Entekhabifard who analyses the ongoing Iran nuclear talks with the P5+1 posted on Al Jazeera website opinion space. 

She posits that as much as China and Russia side with Iran, the end of sanctions in Iran will not go down well in Beijing and Moscow respectively. She is of the idea that Russia, China and black marketeers all have something in common - that is, they have nothing to lose if the talks fails. Iran would likely grow more reliant on Russia as a regional security buffer and Russia would lose an oil and gas competitor and might even secure a better deal with Iran if the talks fall apart.

Another interesting point made here is on the stability of the region. The Middle East region faces numerous security challenges. Israel, an arch enemy of Iran is now fighting Palestine's Hamas. In what started as kidnapping of Israelis, the retaliatory attacks have killed over 200 Palestine people in the last week. It has been argued that a failure of the Iran Nuclear Talks will further destabilize the region. For more indepth analysis see link below. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Mtanzania wrong to insinuate that Kenya could be behind the Arusha Attacks

Arusha town has been hit by spasmodic bomb attacks in the recent past. There have been attacks during opposition political rallies as well as a bomb thrown into a Catholic Church in Olasiti during its inauguration last year. This year a bomb was thrown into a local pub injuring a number of people. Just last week a bomb was thrown inside the house of a Muslim cleric as he broke fast. Tanzania has enjoyed peace and stability for the better part of her history. The recent wave of attacks are reminiscent to the Al Shabaab and Boko Haram terror attacks in Kenya and Nigeria respectively. The Al Shabaab and Boko Haram menace are largely Islamic extremism. Kenya and Nigeria have had a torrid time and this has seen their international standing fade quite considerably. 

Two days ago, Arusha was hit by another bomb attack, this time in an Indian restaurant called Vama. Eight people have been seriously wounded with one victim's leg amputated. Speculation on the causes and who could responsible for the attack is rife. I have closely followed the reporting of the incidence from a local and international standpoint.

Arusha Bomb Attack
Tanzania newspaper report on the bomb attack in Arusha
Local newspapers have today carried headlines of the Arusha incidence. One local newspaper, Mtanzania has caught my attention. It has carried a headline "Siri Milipuko ya Mabomu Arusha yabainika". This loosely translates: "Secret behind Arusha bombings revealed". Reading the story, Mtanzania quotes a tourism stakeholder who implicates Kenya to the Arusha attacks. He says that Kenya is using all means to cripple the tourism sector in Tanzania. He says that the main aim is to scare away tourists who are fleeing Kenya due to insecurity and finding alternative destination in Tanzania. 

I have also spoken to a number of my friends here in Arusha and they believe this could be one of the reasons to the attacks. Arusha town is the gateway to a number of tourist sites in Tanzania. The Guardian Nigeria reports in its website that "Arusha is a key town for Tanzania's tourist industry, a major source of foreign currency for the eastern African country."

The police is yet to establish the motive of this recent attack. It is however wrong to implicate a foreign country without substantive evidence. Kenya and Tanzania have been good friendly countries for many years. Despite competition in the tourism market, it is foolhardy, inappropriate and impetuous to imagine this. The security personnel in Arusha should reexamine itself and intercept impending acts of violence which could just local criminal operations.        

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

#WorldPolitics: Why is the World Cup more exciting than World Politics?

I will be posting links to interesting articles touching on International Politics and Foreign Policy in my blog from today. 

Here is an interesting analysis by Hamid Dabashi, one of my favorite authors and commentator of world affairs. He ponders why the World Cup is more interesting than World Politics. Even though he hasnt mentioned the fact that he has been over the moon for Iran national team qualification to the World Cup and the somewhat inspiring performance, I believe this article has been highly motivated with #TeamMelli. I was also supporting Iran by the way.  

Here is the article courtesy of Aljazeera:  Why is the World Cup more exciting than world politics?

Iran, World Cup, World Politics
Iran World Cup Cartoon

Sunday, 29 June 2014

The Two Karumes; A Bicycle and and a Range Rover

A picture of a gray-haired Mwalimu Julius Nyerere hangs on bedroom wall. Besides it is a small picture of Thomas Sankara in a military combat and red beret and on my study table lies a picture of Martin Luther King as he addressed civil rights supporters at Lincoln Memorial in Washington in 1963. I admire these three men. They remind me who and what I want to be. They are all great men in the eyes of the world. Despite their glittering roles in modern history, their simplicity and modesty inspire me the most. 

This week am in Zanzibar for work. I have had an opportunity to visit the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) headquarters which was the venue Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume, the first president of Zanzibar was assassinated in 1972. Outside the party headquarters is his statue with a revolutionary message:

 Zanzibar Serikali yetu ni ya Usawa
Hakuna Bwana Juu ya Binadamu Mwenziwe
Kila Mwenye Haki Apewe
Tumepindua Kuondoa Mabaya
Lengo Letu
Kuleta Usawa na Maendeleo
Ubinafsi ni Adui wa Maendeleo

As you get inside the building, on the right hand corner is a small office where Mzee Karume used as an office and where he was killed. Inside the office is a small table with few chairs. Besides the chairs is Karume's bicycle. Am told that Mzee Karume always used this bike to go around and that was the only means of transport that he owned. 

Later in the day, as I take my colleague to the airport, we are stopped by police sirens. I ask my Zanzibar friend, Salim what this was about. "Karume is going to the mosque for Friday prayers," he tells me. A white porsche Range Rover pulls over at the mosque and Amani Karume (immediate former president of Zanzibar and son of Mzee Karume) walks out and heads to the mosque. Am told his house is barely a kilometer from the mosque. I try to juxtapose my morning encounter with this and am dumbstruck. How times change! After all, we are not all cut from the same cloth!

Ramadhan Kareem from Zanzibar.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Is the Date of General Election Silent in Tanzania's Draft Constitution?

Elections are the recipe for true democracy. They embody pluralism, equality, and representation in a given polity. In any given democracy, elections are held once in every agreed time frame as established by the country's constitution. They could be once in every four, five or seven years. With an established national electoral body, elections are done, depending on the government structure, from the ward representatives all the way to the president. 

The US, which is the semblance of true democracy outlines the date of elections as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Kenya's new constitution outlines the date of election for the six elected officials as the second Tuesday in August in every fifth year. Article 101 (1) of the Constitution of Kenya outlines that, the general elections of members of parliament shall be held on the second Tuesday in August in every fifth year while Article 136 (2)(a) states that the election of the President shall be held on the same day of the general election of MPs. This date also applies to the County Assembly Members (See Article 177) and Gubernatorial elections (Article 180).  

Repressive African regimes in the past have used the election date as a weapon against the opposition. This together with the unilateral appointment of the chairman of the electoral body and it members has been used to surprise the opposition by catching them unprepared making it easy for the ruling incumbent to sweep victory, albeit through fraudulent manner.

Tanzania's draft constitution is pretty silent on the election date. I have looked at the draft carefully reading each chapter and article but I have not come across the direct mention of an election date. Critics have argued that the public, politicians and the members of the Constituent Assembly have placed too much attention on the structure of the union (the most contentious issue) leaving other important subjects. As am not a constitutional expert, I welcome views on this.       

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Movie Blended: Why it was done in South Africa and not Tanzania

The Movie Blended
Last June, Tanzania was voted the best Safari Country in Africa by Some of the reasons given among many were; superb wildlife, the great annual wildebeest migration across the Serengeti and Masai Mara, the exquisite authentic African wilderness, availability of wide ranging budget safari options, beautiful sandy beaches of Zanzibar and political stability of the country. Tanzania is well blessed with good tourist attraction and hospitable people. We have prided ourselves as such. In the East African region, Tanzania competes with her neighbor Kenya in the tourism sector. Both countries rely significantly on tourism as a source of foreign revenue. In addition to Kenya's somewhat better physical transport infrastructure, the country has advertised itself better internationally as a centre of tourism in the region. Kenya has branded itself better than Tanzania. Just two weeks ago, a picture ran in various social media sites of the new Kenya Airways (KQ) dreamliner christened Mt. Kilimanjaro. There was the usual hue and cry from a section of Tanzanians that Kenya is 'stealing' our mountain.
A scene in South Africa in the movie blended
I just watched the movie Blended, which stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. This romantic comedy further highlights Tanzania's lack of aggressive tourism advertisement. A blind date between Jim Friedman (Adam Sandler) and Lauren Reynolds (Drew Barrymore) went bad and as fate would have it land tickets to a family vacation in Africa. Their destination was to this family resort in South Africa. The great tourist attractions of South Africa are showcased in the movie. Their national parks, their cultures, hospitality (can't match Tanzania's) and the general experience. What great advertisement!

As the best safari country in Africa, I was expecting the tourism ministry in Tanzania to have lobbied hard to showcase our country (Do they even know about the movie in the first place?). The ostrich ride cannot match beauties of the Great Ruaha National Park, the hot balloon ride can be matched by the Serengeti balloon experience. We could showcase the vast Ngorongoro escarpments, the mighty Kilimanjaro, the beautiful Zanzibar, the chimps in Gombe National Park. Or the plains of Serenora and Lobo in Serengeti which are the habitats of lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, elephants, warthogs, baboons, monkeys etc. But again, the government is doing nothing to the ever increasing poaching activities in our parks. Elephant and rhino tusks are traded like bananas. The government vacuously watches on with government officials implicated in this illicit trade. Again I ask myself, maybe it is good that the movie opted for South Africa. When will we learn? As they say "Let sleeping dogs lie."   

Monday, 2 June 2014

Tanzania’s Foreign Policy: Need for Assertive Regional Approach

President Obama has been advancing American foreign policy this week.  First at the lawns of Rose Garden where he provided America’s withdrawal timetable from Afghanistan and at West Point where he spoke to the newest graduates of US Army. The catch-phrase of his speech was “America Must Always Lead”. President Obama affirmed that United States is a global leader and a nation that “must always lead on the world stage.” Some critics have labeled his speech as vacuous while others described it empty. America has always projected its foreign policy on a world stage. Its key foreign policy pillars include democracy, human rights, good governance, and world security. 

I followed Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Bernard Membe’s budget speech where he gave his ministry’s budget estimates, revenue and expenditure for the year 2013-2014. I picked up a number of foreign policy articulations from his speech. Tanzania has always played a significant role in world affairs. Historically, Tanzania has been the center for liberation struggle in Africa. Southern African countries such as Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia credit Tanzania for their liberation. Of late Tanzania has been embroiled in a diplomatic spat with Rwanda and at the time of writing this, British envoy to Tanzania is been accused of being complicit to the acquisition of Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) which is controversial. Foreign Minister Bernard Membe has also been hosting his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davatoglu. These are all FP projections from Tanzania.

Bernard Membe’s budget speech in parliament outlined Tanzania’s stand on a number of world issues. He outlined Tanzania’s position on ongoing conflicts such as those in Syria, Central African Republic and Mali. As much as Tanzania is trying to project its foreign policy at the continental and world stage, it is imperative that regional FP should rank highest. Foreign policy has been defined as the strategic positioning of a state towards other states with national interests as the focal point. A well outlined foreign policy is fundamental in foreign engagements. Going by Membe’s speech in parliament, Tanzania seems to be somehow, neglecting regional policy. The excuse could be there is an East African Affairs Ministry which is tasked to deal with regional matters. This notwithstanding, the Foreign Affairs Ministry is the nerve of foreign policy articulation in any state. The speech did not exclusively address the diplomatic spat with Rwanda either. I was also expecting the speech to also touch on the threat of terrorism in neighboring Kenya and Tanzania’s seemingly isolation by the Coalition of the Willing (CoW) states of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The Al Shabaab terror in Kenya could cross boarder and wreak havoc in Tanzania. Membe was however very articulate in economic diplomacy, where he contextualized it in terms of health, agriculture, livestock and fishing, industries and infrastructure and transport. He also buttressed the need of having dual citizenship in Tanzania.

Tanzania is geopolitically well positioned to be a focal point in the region. It should be more assertive in regional FP and just like the US have a say in many regional matters and lead at the regional stage.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

That Moment

That Moment
That defining moment
That moment you felt it was so close
That moment you knew finally, I got it
That moment you think you gave your all
That moment, an inner conviction that yes, this is it
That moment you told everyone; your friends, your family
That moment
A disappointing response;
A disappointing email, a disappointing text
A hollow feeling; a feeling of ineptness; sorrow; anguish
A dejected face; a feeling of regret; a feeling of why me?
A maudlin feeling; tearful and angst
That moment
You cry and wish it hadn’t happen
You look on the screen again and again
You call and tell your loved ones
You want to pray but you feel unheard
You don’t want to eat; you can’t step out of the house
That moment
New beginnings; a breakthrough; a smile
A song of praise; a dance of victory
You shout in glory; abundance of joy
A spring in your step
A thanksgiving prayer
That moment

Monday, 12 May 2014

Rational Actor Model in Tanzania-Rwanda Diplomatic Spat

Foreign policy analysis is the resultant of human decision making with direct or indirect consequences on foreign entities. Foreign policy has been defined as those strategic goals formulated by a state in relation to another state. On a larger spectrum, foreign policy could also include strategic goals formulated by a state in relation to international organizations and or multinational corporations. Foreign policy involves goals, objectives, projections and outcomes which are premised on national interests which in typical International Relations discipline falls under the Realism school of thought (realpolitik). 

Tanzania and Rwanda have been embroiled in a diplomatic spat albeit an ambivalent one. For years, the two East African states have coexisted peacefully. They have enjoyed sound diplomatic relations which has seen Tanzania hosting the peace talks of 1993 between the then Hutu government and the then rebel Tutsi outfit of  RPA. After the unfortunate Rwandan Genocide of 1994, Tanzania has hosted the UN International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha. This long and outstanding relationship seems to be on the rocks.  President Kikwete during the 50th anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, called on Rwanda to negotiate with the rebel outfit because the military efforts have failed. In a quick rejoinder Louise Mushikiwabo, the Rwandan Foreign Minister described Kikwete’s remarks as “aberrant” and “shocking”. A war of word between the two states ensued with President Kagame allegedly publicly threatened to hit president Kikwete. See link for further details. 

The diplomatic tensions have since escalated with reports indicating President Kagame and Kikwete are not seeing eye to eye. As members of the East African Community, the two have been avoiding each other during EAC meetings. This has even resulted to the rise of the Coalition of the Willing (CoW) which includes Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda sidelining Tanzania and Burundi in what they term as Northern Corridor Infrastructural Projects. When Rwanda was marking the 20th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide on April 7, President Kikwete did not attend. Kikwete's excuse was that he was on the same day attending a national holiday in Zanzibar. When Tanzania was marking the 50th anniversary of the political union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar in April 26, President Kagame declined to attend. And during the EAC meeting in Arusha recently, Kagame did not attend instead he sent a representative. The height of this came last week during the World Economic Forum in Abuja, Nigeria. The two were in attendance but observers says that they avoided each other. Although it remains as speculation, it is evident that the tensions have reached fever pitch. 

While explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis, Graham Allison's seminal work captures three models of decision making that are crucial in foreign policy. Allison posits that the attempt to explain international events by recounting the aims and calculations of nations or governments is the trademark of the Rational Actor Model. The central unit of analysis here is government action which is influenced by government officials. In this case, the protagonists are the two heads of state and their Foreign Ministers. Tanzania's Foreign Minister Bernard Membe is an international relations scholar who understands the complexities of decision making. His Rwandan counterpart, Louise Mushikiwabo has also carried out her duties well and thoroughly understands her country's national interests. The basic precepts of rational actor model are (1) goals and objective; (2) alternatives; (3) consequences; and lastly (4) choice. These precepts formalize the concept of rational actions that underpins economics, decisions, and game theory as most importantly individual behavior. The outcomes of decisions that follows this model are mostly based on national interests and individual behavior which is value maximizing. 

Whilst this is the case, Tanzania and Rwanda must appreciate their long standing brotherly relationship that has endured troubled pasts. Longstanding foreign policy is not hinged upon personality or behavior of the head of state rather it is embedded on a historical appreciation of one another. This is what builds venerable ties between and among states.   

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Nuisance of the iPad at the Funeral

The hearse carrying the coffin, a sleek black Mercedes Benz broke down at the hill few meters from the home of the deceased. The hilly terrain coupled with the April long rains made the ascendance hard. We drove our car right behind another salon car that carried the widow and her two daughters and in front of them was the hearse. I rolled down the window on the left side to see what had happened to the hearse which had now pulled over. A splash of water, almost similar to that of a fountain sprinkled with force. I asked my dad who was driving our car what could be wrong. "The horse-pipe burst, there is no way it can move from there!" he told me with a dejected look. My mum, who sat quietly said almost cynically "He (the dead person) has refused to get home". According to some African traditional customs, the dead refuse to reach home and it has been explained with cases of break downs of cars, too much rain which impede vehicles from getting to the funeral on time and many other similar cases. 

The coffin was removed from the Mercedes Benz and put into a white Land Cruiser Pick-up which was carrying mourners. We got to the home of the deceased right on time. The funeral mass was being conducted by the brother of the deceased who is a priest. One surprising thing was this gentleman, slim and in casual wear who was taking pictures using his iPad camera. He walked around sometimes switching the iPad to video mode. The funeral was in a remote village of Kibosho, in the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The villagers looked bemused at the iPad. The gentleman squeezed himself between a forest of people as he tried to take pictures and videos of the proceedings. He approached the casket and took pictures around as well as pictures of the bereaved family. 

As the casket was being carried to the grave after the funeral mass and eulogies, the gentleman went ahead of the procession and continued recording and taking pictures. Sad songs were sang as the priest performed the last rites before lowering the coffin into the grave. Not to miss a moment, the gentleman was at the grave site recording and taking pictures with his iPad. As the pall bearers lowered the coffin the gentleman continued doing just that. The iPad almost slipped from his hands and into the grave. He breathed a sigh of relief as he put his iPad into its casing.

I bet you have come across such people at other foras say at a wedding, in church and other public functions such as prize-giving days, graduations etc. The problem with taking pictures with the iPad camera is that people will think you are showing off especially where the gathering has people from all classes. There should also be an unwritten iPad etiquette law. For instance using it like that gentleman at the funeral should be discouraged.   

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Thirty Years later, Sokoine Remains a Tanzanian Statesman

Nations world over are built on the ideals of their founding fathers. Some like in America, the sheer will and dedication of the founders molded a nation while wisdom, courage and selflessness built empires, strong democracies and civilizations. Historic moments such as revolutions, civil wars, crises, constitution making, war for independence, and many others define polities. Great men also define nations. When I was growing up, tales of Tanzanian great men where told to me either by my parents or at school. Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a man whose stories were told to me as a child. I grew up listening to his speeches in the national radio, seeing his face on the currency, his grayed hair portrait hung on government offices and private businesses. During one Christmas holiday in our rural home, as I looked into my dad's high school and college books, I found Nyerere's book "Miaka Kumi Baada ya Azimio la Arusha". I read it despite not knowing exactly Ujamaa was at the time. Of course I was born after the Arusha Declaration of 1967 that made Tanzania a Socialist country in what Nyerere termed as "Ujamaa is Tanzania's unique form of Socialism" in yet another great book "Freedom and Socialism" which I read later on. Nyerere was not the only Tanzanian hero I knew while growing up. Edward Moringe Sokoine was another Tanzanian statesman whose remarkable leadership was told to me while I grew up. As an avid lover of history and politics, I read of this great Maasai man who served as Prime Minister of Tanzania on two occasions.

Reading yet another Tanzania history book "Maadili ya Taifa na Hatma ya Tanzania: Enzi kwa Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere" by Ibrahim Mohamed Kaduma, he recalls in 1980 when Edward Moringe Sokoine vied for a seat in Monduli Constituency together with a driver in the Department of Livestock and who was his supervisor. This was the Tanzania of old when character and service was the drive for power and not money, wealth and status. Prime Minister Sokoine as is written was a man with character, love for the people, and one who wanted a better Tanzania. He condemned corruption and excessive capital accumulation - some allude his death to these principles that he stood for. Reading yet another book (I can't recall the title or the author), it is written that Edward Sokoine died in a car crash. Although it is believed that he survived the crash after a collision with a car driven by a South African man by the name Dumisani Dube, it is said the man finished him off. That is a story for another day. A man who spoke openly in support of equality for the ordinary Tanzanian passed away on 12 April, 1984. Thirty years on, the Tanzania he envisioned where government is free from corruption and without excessive and exuberant capital accumulation is still there. Without wealth, riches and glory that comes with status you cannot vie for an elective post and win, ask Torongey, the man who vied for the Chalinze seat with the President's son. You cannot get a job if you don't know somebody, electoral corruption is rampant. But again, he did his best in a short stint as Prime Minister and he remains a man of honor in Tanzania.       


Monday, 7 April 2014

Ujana, Usasa, Udijitali; Namkumbuka Monika wa Mwisho wa Kosa!

Jana, Jumapili, jua angavu na hali ya hewa tulivu. Nipo katika shughuli zangu za kawaida za Jumapili. Natizama mechi ya Ligi Kuu ya Uingereza, Everton wanacheza na Arsenal huku nikifuatilia kwa utaratibu mechi za Ligi Kuu Tanzania Bara kwenye simu yangu ya kiganjani kupitia mitandao ya kijamii. Yanga inacheza na JKT Ruvu huku timu ya vijana ya Tanzania - Ngorongoro Heroes wanakipiga na Kenya. Mara napata simu. Ni mzee wangu anauliza niko wapi. "Nipo hapa Sakina natizama mechi baba," namjibu huku Everton wanapiga goli la tatu. Dah! Vipi tena Arsenal? Mporomoko huu sio mchezo. Rafiki yangu pembeni ananiambia nisishangae ni kwmba wanarudi ile nafasi yao wanayoipenda - nambari nne! Shabash! 

Baba anataka twende naye kumwona ndugu yetu mgonjwa. Nasita kidogo kwani Liverpool ndio wanaingia uwanjani Upton Park kucheza na Westham. Kaida yangu nikutizama mechi zote. "Sawa baba, we nikute hapa twende kumwona mgonjwa" namjibu kwa shingo upande. Baada ya dakika 15 hivi bado milango migumu kwa timu zote, natoka baada ya baba kufika pale Sakina. Napanda gari, mama naye yuko. Namsalimia na tunaondoka kwenda kumwona mgonjwa nyumbani kwake. 

Ndugu wengine wamefika nyumbani kwa mgonjwa kumpa pole baada ya kulazwa kutokana na presha kupanda ghafla. Tunasalimiana kwa bashasha, furaha kama kawaida ya Watanzania. Baada ya kumpa pole mgonjwa hadithi zinanoga. 

"Mara ya mwisho kukoona ulikuwa mdogo sana vipi habari yako?" wananiuliza. Natabasamu tu. Katika maongezi yetu pale suala la ndugu kutotembeleana linaibuka. Ujana, usasa na udijitali unatajwa kama sababu ya mkengeuko huu. Nakumbuka kwa haraka riwaya ya Mwisho wa Kosa iliyoandikwa na Z. Burhani. Tuliisoma riwaya hii na kutahiniwa Kidato cha Nne. Namkumbuka mwalimu wetu Bwana Mugambi na Mama Shihemi, walikuwa bora sana. Monika, mhusika mkuu alitoka Ulaya masomoni na kurudi nyumbani na usasa, ujana na ujiditali kama inavyofahamika nyakati hizi. Monika alijishaua, alijibetua na kujidahi kuwa hawezi hata kunywa uji wa Bi. Keti. Yote ni kutokana na usomi na elimu ya magharibi. Maongezi yetu ya jana yalinikumbusha Riwaya ya Mwisho wa Kosa na mkasa wa Monika huku nikijilinganisha.

Hakika kizazi cha siku hizi, sio tu cha vijana bali hata wazee wa kisasa. Tumesahau tulikotoka huku tukikumbatia usasa. Tumesahau utamaduni wetu, watu wanakutana kwenye mazishi tu. Ndugu wamesahauliana kabisa. "Yaani niko busy sana!" ndio kauli zetu. Lakini kama Z. Burhani anavyosema Mwisho wa Kosa ni pale Monika aligundua usasa na ujana ni mpito; utamaudini wake unabaki pale pale. Tuenzi utamaduni wetu, lugha yetu na falsafa ya Kiafrika! Majuto mjukuu huja baadae!