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!