What 2018 holds in store for Tanzania as political unrest looms
By Anaclet Rwegayura
Tanzania should be prepared for uncomfortable months ahead in view of the political unrest in neighboring countries, says DW columnist Anaclet Rwegayura – adding that “God has given Tanzania a second chance to survive.”
Tanzanians start every year with all sorts of predictions by local fortune-tellers. However they provide no broad outline of likely events.
2018 is another year when citizens of this country have no choice but to face the world’s advancing digital economy and political challenges on their own.
Improved productivity should be the main driver of all endeavors to meet the nation’s needs in every sector. First and foremost, Tanzanians must face the challenge of being more dynamic and industrious to accelerate economic growth.
President John Magufuli has articulated a future-focused pathway for the nation that appears to be reborn at age 56 (since independence) and struggling to find its rightful place under the sun.
Primary leadership task
It’s unquestionable that creating vision and direction toward the future is one of the primary tasks of leadership. In fact that is the truest test of great leadership.
Presently, almost every government ministry and institution is in some sort of a rehearsal of its plans to do an effective job. Sometimes, that requires hours of nitty-gritty work by leaders to help workers under their charge perform properly.
Over the past two years, the president has worked hard to clear administrative and political hurdles which had bogged down the country’s progress due to public service inefficiency.
In a nutshell, the administration aims at raising Tanzania to the status of a middle-income economy by 2025, an agenda that should leave no one behind. It goes without saying that every citizen must broaden the lens with which they look at the challenge of development.
Structural reform required
Reaching that goal requires structural transformations, the eradication of poverty and illiteracy, and giving parents hope to see their infants take their first steps, grow up and mature. Above all, Tanzanians need to build national resilience so that their nation could recover quickly in case of unforeseen setbacks.
If it were fortune-telling, God has given this country a second chance to survive and escape the misery that would come with perpetual underdevelopment.
The public in general see the government as doing a fabulous job at whatever it undertakes. For them, progress must be noticed every passing month, despite the fact that personal incomes have dwindled.
President Magufuli has put the brakes on outflows from state coffers and, consequently, sources of fake private incomes have dried up.
Analysts blame the laissez-faire attitude on the past guards of public funds while the people appreciate the president’s ability to do his job. Money is being pumped into the economy through modernization and construction of railways and highway networks, airports, power plants, educational institutions, mining and tourism – among other ventures.
If 2018 was Magufuli’s final year in office, it would pain Tanzanians to bid him good-bye. His efforts to make sure that public interests are taken care of properly have won the hearts of many, including the opposition camp.
Tanzania’s opposition parties, however, seem to be off-track at a time when their members are decamping to the grand old Chama Cha Mapinduzi party, on grounds of satisfaction with the government’s performance.
Peace thanks to a democratic tradition
None of them appears to be at the forefront in terms of articulating hitches with the way the country is run. Noticing the opposition’s growth in leadership ability getting stunted, the people’s minds flash to the past years of one-party rule but with unexplained questions.
Is the opposition working itself out of its official role? What will the New Year bring to Tanzania’s political arena?
What’s clear is that leaders of the opposition have failed to consider downward mentoring of leadership that would take over when they step down.
It is often taken for granted that Tanzania’s peace is related to the country’s democratic tradition and stability. There is some truth in this belief. But the country still faces a big challenge to address the broad social questions of inequality and injustice in order to reinforce the democratic tradition.
Tanzanians, for this reason, cannot dare say they are no longer fearful of what tomorrow will bring. They should be prepared for uncomfortable months and some years ahead, especially, in view of political unrest swirling around in neighboring countries because their effects can spill over borders.