We are all guilty of the collapsed Dar building

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I feel guilty hugging my son too hard… almost as if I am rubbing salt on the wounds of mothers’ who lost their sons in the collapsed Dar es Salaam building last week. I feel guilty cooking or eating a good meal, for I wonder in what state food must be consumed by these mothers. Sleep eludes me night after night, yet when I do dose off, I wake up feeling guilty, for how will these mothers ever sleep in peace again?

Many a mothers have lost their child, yet the trauma of waiting for others to unearth your baby from heavy crushing stones as minutes pass by, and hope fades, is a torture I can only imagine.
I feel the pain, a deep pain…

And then I feel anger, real anger. One part of the world is able to dig out alive miners from deep within the ground days after the disaster (Chile), but a child asking his mother to rescue him from the suffocation of the rubble over a mobile phone had no chance!

Chance at life eluded all those strong men undertaking the construction of an approved building that never should have been. The women who fed these men, so that they could return home and feed their children, never saw those children again.

Surely we should cry and we should mourn. But when our emotions come under our control, we MUST feel angry. And the anger should not die down fruitless. The anger should spur us to question what destiny we are shaping for the next generation. Is it not our sins that have brought forth the wrath of the Lord, nudging us to look within? Let us look within… for the sake of the grieving mothers whose pain we can only imagine.

I penned down those feeling less than a week ago, in the aftermath of what has become known now as the ‘Dar Tragedy’. And those feeling are alive within me today too. To say the least, I am still angry… but along with being angry, I am also concerned.

The new feelings come from the image I saw today. The owner of the ill fated building, Mr. Ladha, on his knees surrounded by armed officers – apparently on his way to or from court.

The image of an old man, in a vulnerable position, tugged at my heart. I am probably treading on sensitive waters by even suggesting that the man deserves to be treated humanly. But he does.

It is much easier to point figures and pass judgments – this has always been the case in human history. After all, what is there to debate, we reason – the man owned the building, he was ‘apparently’ warned of dangers, he was ‘apparently’ given permission for a 10-storey building but decided to construct 16, he is ‘apparently’ greedy and corrupt and most importantly, he ‘apparently’ is the murderer of all those victims of the collapsed building.

So, emotions tell us quite clearly that he is a guilty man and should not be spared any thoughts or feelings of sympathy.

But I disagree. And I am very conscious of the pain those mothers are still in as I say this, of the loss of the country’s able men and women, and the spirit of those who perished. It is not to dilute their sacrifices that I ask for emotions to take a back seat, while facts to come forward. In fact, it is to honour those souls that I ask we accord the man his dignity – he is innocent until proven guilty.

Let all those ‘apparent’ matters become facts. Let us hear the other side of the story. Let us keep a close check on corruption in the justice system too so that if there are those who are guilty, they don’t walk out free by dishing out a few million shillings. But at the same time, let us also adhere to basic principles of justice.

Why is the man down on his knees? Is he being humiliated? Threatened by those fierce looking guns? And yes, we want our government to act and provide justice, but let us not forget that the government too – through its own arm, the National Housing Corporation (NHC), was joint owner of the building. Who is the face of NHC facing justice? Where are they?

Often, it takes a tragedy to jolt a sleeping community. Yes, we are all screaming against greed and corruption today. Kudos to us. We should have been doing that long ago.

We should have been screaming corruption when we gave ‘small’ bribes to traffic officers on the streets. We should have been crying out against greed when we offered ‘chai’ to TRA officers who check our accounts books. The incidences are so many, and so well known by us all that I do not need to list them here.

I am not denying that greed and corruption have been involved in the collapse of the infamous building. I am not denying that murder has taken place. I am not advocating that culprits go free. What I am saying is, let us not make judgements on individuals before we know all facts – before they are presented and countered. When the verdict is clear, we may be justified to make our own judgements.

Furthermore, even those facing justice deserve humanly treatment. Let us not forget the principles of human rights in our anger.

But most importantly, if a building has collapsed and killed because of greed and corruption, it is not one man who is to blame. We have all played a part in creating a corrupt system in Tanzania and continuously fuelling it. And for that, we are all greedy, we are all corrupt and we are all murders. Let us start pointing our fingers within.

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Kenya 2013 elections

Kenyatta

I am not Kenyan, but I cannot dissociate myself from Kenya either. As an East African (Tanzanian), I have been through my share of love-hate relationship with my neighbours. But looking at the bigger picture from beyond our borders, I find myself having a rather soft spot for the Kenyans. I see them as my brethren.

Today when I compare our similarities and differences on a global scale, I can hardly pick out the differences. That was not the case while I lived within the East African borders. In Tanzania, I had a long list of our differences.

While it has taken me moving away from the region to get a clearer view, Kenyans themselves have proved that their vision is clear while living within. By voting against foreign interference in the 2013 elections, Kenyans have made history in Africa. They have clearly announced to the world that was keen to divide them into ethnic groups that they have risen above that.

This is not to say that ethnicity is not a major dividing factor in Kenyan politics today, as well as in other walks of life. Indeed, ethnicity remains a huge concern.

However, what makes me laud Kenyans today is the fact that they saw the foreign interference as a bigger devil – a much more vicious enemy than their fellow Kenyans (of different tribes).

This truly is how Africa needs to see things. Rich in resources, the continent needs to get to grips with the vision that Kenya has displayed. We may have our differences and we may not even like one another very much, but we are stronger when we stand together and united – and shun foreigners dictating our every move.

The ruling tribe has already had its share of favours in Kenya. And the new President has allegedly benefitted enough already thanks to his dad (the First President of Kenya), in accumulating Kenya’s resources as his own. The plight of the people in the Coast for example, troubles my mind with the Uhuru win. Kenya is not an equal society, and I don’t see that improving with the present leadership.

Still, I say kudos to Kenyans. This is because sovereignty of a nation is above all its other problems. If Kenyan leaders have proven corrupt and guilty of massacre, it is the right of Kenyans to hold their leaders responsible. And true, the present infrastructure may not make this possible for now, but the struggle within to do so is better than extending hands to foreigners. This especially since the foreigners we are talking about have yet to show their sincere goodwill towards Africans.

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Why is Tanzania’s shift towards Israel wrong?

Tanzania's shift towards Israel documentaryThe documentary, Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel reveals how Tanzania has moved away from the policies of its founding father, the Father of the Nation, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere.

Nyerere was a strong anti-imperialist. He believed in core values of liberating oppressed people, not just in Africa, but world over. This is why Tanzania’s first foreign policy was built around support of the oppressed people globally, along with assisting liberation movement.

It is in this context that Tanzania broke all ties with Israel following the latter’s aggression towards its Arab neighbours in the six-day war of 1967. Nyerere was also instrumental in convincing the rest of Africa to follow suit. Just as he was in the forefront of liberating South Africa from its apartheid system, so was he all out supporting the liberation of Palestine.

But, in a world that is constantly changing, where priorities and interests have very short life spans, is it justified to expect Tanzania to refuse change and stick to policies of the bygone era? After all, so much has changed. Nyerere’s socialist ideologies have been defeated. The world is focused today on economic empowerment. Do Nyerere’s ideals as far as his foreign policy is concerned, even fit for debate?

I would argue yes. Change is inevitable, and should be embraced. We cannot disengage ourselves from the world – and from its global policies. But, we must not also sink so low in trying to win the hearts of the people advocating policies that completely negate our core values – values on which our nation was built.

Tanzania came into being as a nation that respected diversity, where everyone was equal. I clearly remember the songs we learnt and the constitution we crammed as children emphasising that all human beings are equal and Africa is one.

African unity is another subject I feel passionately about. But this is a discussion for another forum. However, the theme of all human beings being equal, is a value that I would argue, makes us what we are – Tanzanians.

It is in that context that I believe our nation cannot support another nation, group, society or organisation that challenges humanity. Nations like Israel, that openly discriminately against Palestinians, treating them as less of humans. Israel’s oppression towards Palestinians is thankfully no more a subject of argument – thanks to the diversity in the global media that has now challenged the once dominant Western propaganda over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In fact, the well-known and respected Russell Tribunal held in South Africa last year declared Israel an apartheid state. That being so, how Tanzania can become chummy friends with this nation, and still claim to uphold the values on which it was found, is a valid question to raise.

There are many countries in the world today that suppress either their own people, or other nations. And Tanzania should be raising voices against them all. However, when a country is specifically born out of aggression, feeds on aggression and openly considers others less of human beings, than that country cannot and should not be a friend of Tanzania.

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How much interest on “Tanzania” documentary?

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Tanzania’s shift towards Israel documentary

Below is the links to the sites picked up the documentary up until 26/02/2013

 

  1. Documentary: Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel P2 on Vimeo

► 24:41► 24:41

vimeo.com/59511678

Feb 12, 2013

Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the Palestinian cause have been 

  1. Trailer: Tanzania’s Shift Towards Israel on Vimeo

► 1:06► 1:06

vimeo.com/58978873

Feb 5, 2013

Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the Palestinian cause have been 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel

/…/AllDocs.aspx?…

Feb 11, 2013 – Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel. Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the Palestinian cause have been abandoned 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel « Aletho News

alethonews.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/tanzaniasshifttowardsisrael/

Feb 12, 2013 – TV’s documentary program “Tanzania’s shift toward Israel” Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the 

  1. Tanzania’s shift toward Israel — wavuti.com

www.wavuti.com/…/tanzaniasshifttowardisrael-p… – Translate this page

Tanzania’s shift toward Israel — 14/02/2013. 0 Comments. Comments. Leave a Reply. Receive 30% off Pillow Encasements 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — Documentary

djia.tv/…/tanzaniasshifttowardsisrael-ii–tvs-docu… – United States

Feb 13, 2013 – TV’s documentary program documentary “Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel” Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — Documentary | In 

in-the-news.net/tanzaniasshifttowardsisrael-ii-tvs-documentary/

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 2:29 am and is filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the 

8.    Tanzania’s shift toward Israel (I) — TV’s Documentary | In The …

in-the-news.net/tanzaniasshifttowardisrael-i–tvs-documentary/

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 11:30 pm and is filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 

9.    Tanzania’s shift toward Israel (I) —  TV’s Documentary – nieuws

nieuwskoffer.blogspot.com/…/tanzaniasshifttowardisrael-i-press.ht…

Feb 13, 2013 – TV’s documentary program documentary “Tanzania’s shift toward Israel” Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed 

10.                    Tanzania Shift towards Israel – Sekenke Forums.

sekenke.com › … › Ukumbi wa Sekenke › Videos – Translate this page

1 post – 1 author

Default Tanzania Shift towards Israel. /doc/detail.htm…towards+Israel Source: TV. Life Goes On. makaimati is online now. makaimati 

11.                     Documentary: Tanzania’s Shift …

https://twitter.com/TVDocs/status/301382634314014722

Feb 12, 2013 – Documentary: Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel P2 · Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the Palestinian cause have 

12.                    Tanzania’s shift toward Israel (I) — TV’s Documentary | E Web …

ewebnews.net/?p=10920

Feb 12, 2013 – Tanzania’s shift toward Israel (I) — TV’s Documentary. Like? Share  Israel continues war against Iranian TV channels. Added by Staff 6 

13.                    ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY SHIFTS TANZANIA TOWARDS ISRAEL!

wanabidiiblog.blogspot.com/…/wanabidii-economi… – Translate this page

[wanabidii] ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY SHIFTS TANZANIA TOWARDS ISRAEL! Saturday, February 23, 2013 0. ‘The below video looks at how Nyerere’s policies 

14.                    Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — TV’s Documentary …

beta.intellectualrevolution.tv/96955

TV’s documentary program documentary “Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel” Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the Palestinian 

15.                    Tanzania’s Shift Towards Israel | ShooFeeTV

www.shoofeetv.com/program/5564133/tanzaniasshifttowardsisrael

Tanzania’s Shift Towards Israel Edit Tanzania’s Shift Towards Israel Edit information · Add images of Tanzania’s Shift Towards Israel Add information. Rate: 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — TV’s Documentary 

www.yayil.com/video-juBnnNN5pNyMrLY

Feb 13, 2013 – Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — TV’s Documentary download, Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — TV’s Documentary video, 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel from alethonews.wordpress.com

browse.feedreader.com/c/Aletho_News/317791387

Feb 14, 2013 –  | February 12, 2013 TV’s documentary program “Tanzania’s shift toward Israel” Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of 

  1. Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — TV’s Documentary

somalipeacemaker.blogspot.com/…/tanzaniasshift-… – Translate this page

Feb 13, 2013 – Tanzania’s Shift towards Israel (II) — TV’s… ‘Saudi troops block Bahrain dialogue’ · ‘Saudi troops block Bahrain dialogue’ · Presidential 

  1. Trailer: Tanzania’s Shift Towards Israel and Related News

www.rsshog.com/…tanzaniashifttowardsisrael/…

Feb 5, 2013 – Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of supporting the oppressed and the Palestinian cause have been abandoned in Tanzania in favor of 

  1. Iran: Sera ya Mahusiano ya Kimataifa ya Tanzania inaegemea upande 

www.jamiiforums.com › General Forums › Jukwaa la Siasa

4 posts – 2 authors – 17 Feb

Published on 12 Feb 2013 TV’s documentary program documentary “Tanzania’s shift toward Israel” Looks at how Nyerere’s policies of 

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