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The 1979 Iranian Revolution strongly reminded the world that religion and politics cannot be separated. It was political revolution that was led by a religious leader- Grand Ayatollah Khomeini. Up until then with a fallacy from the enlightenment era and the confusion on the meaning of Westphalian Sovereignty (separation of church and state – mind you this did not mean separation of religion and politics ), political scientists were comfortable with the idea of considering religion a matter outside politics. Even politicians and political scientists who are Christian had put a blind eye on Isaiah’s prophecy about Jesus Christ that “The Government will be upon his shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6). Politics of Cold War and the relative stable world in the same era had also played a part in ignoring the force and power of religion in politics.
Even without complicating matters with academic outlook, let’s be practical. With a very simple language- Religion is about ‘followership’ – it is an institution made of people who are sharing similar beliefs of a supernatural being / power. As an institution, religion has become very strong due to resources, transnational character (crosses beyond country borders), loyalty, and unmeasurable convincing power mixed with faith. We know politics is about controlling and distribution of resources. Religion has all these qualities of politics. Moreover, its controlling power is through soft means- belief- , which is more powerful than coercion. The powers of religion can be exemplified by its ability to mobilise for good things ( development activities, reconciliation, revolutions to oust authoritarian leaders, and for demanding democratic and self-determination rights-such as the work of the Catholic Church in Latin America) and for bad things such as crusade wars, slavery, colonialism and recently terrorism.
“Human Beings are political animals” – how do you then say an institution of people (religion) can be separated from politics while it is an association of the very same people the politicians are “leading” or rather “ruling”?
Well, this brief entry is my brief contribution to the reactions on the recent statement given by Bishops of the Lutheran Church in Tanzania as well as the previous statement by the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Tanzania – on the political situation in the country among other issues. One of the popular reactions against these statements is that the church should not interfere in politics. I find this to be such a feeble statement.
In Tanzania, religious groups must and have to interfere in politics because when politics go bad its the religious groups that first and foremost bear the burden. Religious groups are faith-based civil society. Bad politics directly affect not only the followers of religions but also their very mission in the country. The Lutheran and Catholics churches in Tanzania provide significant health and education services. Although I do not have statistics with me here, in hindsight it is almost safe to argue that the combined healthcare service provision by these two churches is more than the one provided by the government. The churches own referral hospitals , district hospitals (most districts are served by church owned hospital- some of them in partnership with the government), and hundreds and hundreds of health centres and dispensaries. Most secondary schools and a number of big universities with campuses across the country are owned by these two churches. How then can you tell them to not interfere with politics, while the government itself depends, hugely, on them to provide public services to the very people it collects taxes from? How can you tell them to stop talking while they are the ones to take care of suffering people when the country’s economic situations go bad out of bad politics?
If you are a poor government (in terms of GDP and all other standard economic indications), it is best to embrace religious institutions and respect them because they bail you out. Developing countries, such as Tanzania, are (even if unconsciously) at the mercy of religious organisation for their survival.
So lets fix our situation and stop blaming responsible religious leaders who are there to serve people. In whatever case, from time immemorial, religion has never and can never be separated from politics.
I have, finally, watched #BlackPanther. Thought I was so late to watch it until I saw how full the cinema theatre was.
The characters are marvellous. The three ladies (Nakia, Okoye, and Shuri) who were the main characters are so beautiful. Wow, #AfricanBeauties indeed…and so are the two men (T’Challa and T’Jadaka) – super super handsome. I also loved how well they acted- in terms of performance. Each of the main character was my favourite. Shuri was especially super sweet and cool. 🙂
Well, there are a number of excellent reviews on #BlackPanther, and so I do not need to do another one- neither can I try since am not a student of films neither good at reviewing aesthetic.
Nevertheless, I’ve a few observations to make – and a brief conclusion. Here we go:
Africa has lots of resources and brain powers but there are so many factors that fail us from properly using them. These resources have remained “potentials” and also our “identity”. Wakanda was not known for anything else (its people, culture etc…neither its advanced scientific lab) but for Vibranium. Africa is always identified by its natural resources- never so much its people, culture, talents,etc… Continue reading
Yesterday I was passing at the Public Library in Moshi and my mind started a marathon! I thought, why is this not one of the main centers in my beautiful town? It looked boring. Old fashion. Unattractive. I thought where do secondary students hang out on Saturdays and /or evening these days? In my teenage years as well as school holidays, I spent lots of in the Moshi library. I loved it. It was a social place. I remember my sister, Alilya, making many friends there.
So yesterday, I got very disturbed. Continue reading
A good friend of mine, who is a billionaire – in all senses- worthy several millions of US dollars, usually gives me several pieces of advice including on health, fashion, beauty, fitness, etc & career (I often wonder why am I not yet a billionaire like him). He does not have a university education, he tells me. And it has been hard to believe it but because I know and trust his honesty and confidence, I know he doesn’t lie and so he didn’t lie. However, he has learnt much more than many people, who I know, with university certificates. His skills- in particular cognitive are of highest levels. The soft skills are a challenge- depending on how you define them- but if you consider confidence and presentation skills – his are unbeatable. If there’s one person who has defined “Disruption” for me, it’s him. He always reminds me to remove the “Oxford” thinking and let my brain operates properly outside the academic structured thinking framework. Continue reading
It is where the dense forest on various hills habited by chimpanzees meets the deepest lake in Africa, and the second deepest in the entire world. #Gombe national park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika is one other unexplainable marvellous place in Tanzania.
Indeed, my trust that Tanzania is the most conserved hence most beautiful country in the world is further embedded. Tanzania- a country that was envisioned by its founder-Mwalimu Nyerere- as a #CandleOnKilimanjaro- possesses most beautiful natural places in the world including Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, and Zanzibar. Apart from these known ones, there are many other precious and super super beautiful and amazing places that are less known. Today, I’m talking about one of them – Gombe!
On Saturday 9th December – on the independence day- I spent my day in Gombe. My journey started in Kigoma town where we boarded Tanapa (Tanzania National Parks) boat. We cruised for two hours to get to Gombe (depending on your budget, there’s an option of speed boat, which takes much less time- or passengers boat, which takes longer about 4 hrs). The boat ride was already an amazing fun. Lake Tanganyika is tranquil – remember it holds 18% of the world’s fresh water. The cruise passes through various villages on the shore with beautiful scenery. You get to feel the culture, especially on the evening when young and energetic boys are rowing their many boats ready for fishing expeditions. The cruise offers a view of sunrise and sunset in the morning and evening, respectively.
Following the villages- you get into a part, where the national park starts and you notice the difference with a dense forest- a tropical rainforest on top of alternating hills with perfectly naturally lawn/green lands on top. The park has – on beach front- all facilities- reception, lodge (including tented lodge), restaurant, and a welcoming office with wifi.
When you start hiking, however, it gets 100% natural with tight/deep equatorial tropical rainforest. The hiking is so fulfilling and stress relieving. The chimpanzees are in their natural habitat and your presence does not disturb them. #Gombe has hundreds of them – a sign of successful conservation efforts given that they are endangered species.
Jane Goodall did a lot of research in Gombe, there is still lots of her “footprints” on the forest- for example- her feeding station. There is still an ongoing research by her institute. Thus, Gombe is also an international research centre for chimpanzee. There’s also a peak on one of the hills known as Jane’s pick.
Other astounding features in the park including refreshing full of pressure water falls.
The view of the lake from the hills is close to none of the scenery you’ve ever seen- it is as if you are looking at the sky on the ground!
Kigoma has a rich history. It is the home to over a century old #MVLiemba- a Germany war ship assembled in Lake Tanganyika during the first World War.
(Source: google image)
The ship still operates with international routes to DRC and Zambia.
(source: photo taken by the author on her phone)
Today, I visited the Port of Kigoma and I couldn’t stop thinking. Am having sleepless night out of the missing tourism potential. There were multitude of passengers waiting to go to Zambia through various stops using #MVLiemba on Lake Tanganyika. I was sad. Everything- the waiting, the set-up, passengers treatment etc- all display serious issues and manifestation of poverty. The ship was scheduled to leave at 4pm (it will then get to Zambia on Saturday (3 days after). It only operates twice a month) – at 7pm, it had not left, leave alone check-in the passengers in. I asked and was told may be the journey will start at 9 or 10pm. I wished to wait and see but I couldn’t.
(source: photo taken by the author on her phone)
Last time I was in Kigoma in 2013, I was super lucky as my host arranged for a special tour in #MVLiemba. I toured the whole ship and was thrilled. Then I was too academic- and I kept thinking of Plato and his analog of the ship. I blogged my experience and thinking.
Well, today I asked myself many questions- and mostly on why haven’t we turned Kigoma into a powerhouse through tourism.
Here is my thinking:
#Kigoma is the gate way to Central and Southern Africa. It is partly composed of the beautiful Lake Tanganyika, through which its connected to Burundi, DRC, and Zambia.
Lake Tanganyika looks like a sky on the ground!
(source: photo taken by the author on her phone)
The Municipality is also a home to Ujiji- one of the key global historical town famously known as a first meeting point for Dr. Livingstone and Stanley, where Stanley uttered the popular historical phrase “Dr. Livingstone, I presume!”
(source: google images)
The town-Ujiji- keeps a long culture – mixture of Arabic and Swahili/African culture. It is a potential cultural tourism area.
Kigoma is also a home to two national parks – the habitats of the endangered Gorillas – Gombe and Mahale.
(source: google images)
Now, why is Kigoma not yet the centre of tourism for the entire region- Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa? Why aren’t we using #MVLiemba as a tourist ship – with restaurants, bars, discos, etc inside it – doing specialized/designated touristic trip across the lakes to different countries?
My suggestion is as follows:
- MV Liemba should be turned into a touristic ship with all amenities into it. The government can invest on a new, safer, faster ship for transportation purposes- or encourage private sector to invest on ships to transport people from Kigoma to DRC, Burundi and Zambia as well as other in-country stops.
- Harmonize tourism efforts in the region through designing of touristic packages that include Gombe, Mahale, and Lake Tanganyika voyage tours.
- The Cultural Heritage and Antiques department should enhance tourism in #Ujiji by modernizing the streets, the Dr. Livingstone Memorial Museum, and the slave routes.
- Encourage cultural tourism in #Ujiju- the old houses, the streets, the hanged bed hand crafted bed sheets, are a gem and so are the warm people around.
If these attractions are enhanced and harmonized, we can be sure to develop the Western part of our country. There are already key infrastructure in place – such as well-functioning airport- so the above should not be a hard to implement- they are a quick wins.
I urge all of us to think beyond our traditional means of economic development towards developing centres that will expand our economy. Tourism is an industry and it can fit very well with our industrialization policy. It has multiplier effects and can ensure massive employment.
Let’s do it.
“There is no such thing as society” is increasingly becoming one of my favourite quotes. Margaret Thatcher was heavily criticised for saying so. I understand her. Society locks people. Continue reading
Observing the actions and reactions of the Bunge (the Parliament) in recent times on various issues, I’ve been asking myself, what’s going on? Distracted Reflections. Marathons in my mind. Disturbed. Laughing and crying for my nation. Then, just a few minutes ago , I remembered a module I taught 8 years ago at the University of Nottingham, titled “Political Ideas in Revolution” of which we discussed Edmund Burke among many other political theorists.
Burke, who was once a Member of Parliament for Bristol (UK) spoke on the role of Parliament (quoted below). A piece, which I think can be useful in reminding the Bunge (one of the three pillars/branches of the Government – with vested constitutional powers in the lines of the Magistrate and Executive) of its key role. Acknowledging and understanding what Burke said will help the Bunge to get back to its esteemed role rather than being a laughable partisan theatre it is threatened to become!
Here is what Burke said:
…Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole…(Burke: The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke. 6 vols. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854-56).
I humbly advise all MPs and the entire leadership of Bunge to read this and be reminded of the true service that they are called upon by Tanzanians to perform. Let’s stop partisanship and hostility and serve our nation!
The adoption of liberalization policies in Tanzania in early 1990s and partly out of the great achievement in obtaining independence in most Southern African countries, led Tanzania to abandon its #Liberation foreign policy strategy and adopted #EconomicDiplomacy. With that, related actions and efforts followed – using legal and institutional amendments (see for example the Mining Act 1998)
“I am conscious of the criticism I am subjected to by some of my political opponents and compatriots that in an attempt to woo investors I have given away too much…Much as I understand the concerns of those who wished the government to mine gold itself, or take a larger share of the proceeds, I believe the path we have taken is a better alternative,…We will continue to nurture the kind of investment climate that will enable us to turn the mineral wealth underground into a catalyst for rapid growth and development of our country and its people…” Benjamin Mkapa, President of Tanzania (1995-2005), in the speech delivered in 2000 in Geita. Continue reading