Ok, while the #WhatWouldMagufuliDo dust is settling…and the “Maguphoria” is inhabiting in Tanzanians’ minds, I feel like sharing something too. This is also the start of a new series I am going to have on the uniqueness of Tanzania as a country- based on its vision.
In 1958, Nyerere envisioned Tanzania as a “Candle on Kilimanjaro” sending rays of love, hope, and peace within and outside its borders. Indeed, Tanzania did so. Tanzania built the national conscious and maintained peace and unity within its borders. The country fought so much for the liberation of its neighbours. In 1967, following the Arusha Declaration- Ali Mazrui wrote of Tanzaphilia– a romantic spell which Tanzania casts on. Recently a British scholar- Hanno Brankamp linked Tanzaphilia with Magufuli.
However, the economic misperformance was a wall that, at times, hindered the rays of this candle to pass through. Worse than economic misperformance and in relation to, national ethics detorariated. Since early 1990s we witnessed speedy emergence of politicians who lacked ethics and, for them, personal interests preceded national interests. Corruption levels rose so high. Mediocrity replaced hard work. Goran Hyden’s advice of “no shortcut to progress” was buried. And we found ourselves in a situation whereby high economic growth rate- mainly due to our enormous natural resources (mining and wildlife (tourism)) – only benefitted the few and left many in dire poverty. Tanzania- a country built on social equality- has become one of the most vivid unequal society in the region. The inequality has been affecting social relations and the national consciousness that was built with lots of investments and costs has been on decline. Shameful odours of tribalism and faith differences started to emerge underground.
In pondering about this, I wrote in 2013, on the importance of the national torch (Mwenge) – the symbol that is supposedly meant to remind us of our national vision- a Candle on Mountain. The national torch, due to corruption, has now been associated with one of activities that waste national resources. I understand this argument, but I differ. Yes, it has been expensive to run the national torch across the country but this is mainly because the process left the “message” out and focuses on money (allowances) and corruption. Somehow the process also became partisan – the public related it to the party more than taking it as a national symbol. But the torch is meant to remind Tanzanians of who we are – our identity, unity, peace…
Somehow with a mixed reaction, when I saw the Magufuli campaigning logo (the M with the torch on top of it) my mind went into a marathon. I knew the person who created it is a genius. At the same time I asked myself, how can CCM use a national torch as a campaigning logo for their candidate, and the opposition did not even boycott or complain? Well, no one seemed to have noticed. And…the smart part about that when that symbol was used there were no CCM words on it, only the green and yellow colours.
Now, may be that was a prophecy. In a recent tweet conversation, Mkuki Bgoya, who created the logo told me that he thought of our vision- the #Candle when he created the logo.
I am now really glad that Magufuli is becoming a candle- citizens of other African countries are demanding their leaders to be like Magufuli. Again, Tanzania is sending rays of…! Steering peace and peaceful means of getting good , faithful, hardworking leaders.
I wonder…if Tanzania’s leadership is the needed variable towards the true “Africa Rising” story- i.e. active citizens who demand and put in place responsible leaders who bring true changes to all !!!