Zitto na Demokrasia

Zitto na Demokrasia

The Fear

with 8 comments

Over the years, I have developed a habit of going to quiet places and reflect in solitary. This has become very important to me as I critically think and evaluate my ideas. Over and over, I find myself reflecting about my country and her future direction. I reflect on development, leadership, and politics of my country.  This is mostly influenced and informed by my experience as a political leader, exposure to different places in the world, and readings. I have come to value readings and its impact on my personal development is invaluable. Previously, I used to read books that relate to politics, economics, or history. This has now changed. I have started reading novels, fictions, and philosophical books. This mixture of reading has further developed my thinking and the scope of my regular reflection.

Last week, while I was in Malaysia, I had more time to reflect. It was not easy. My reflection was haunted by fear. This fear was irresistable. Most likely, the fear was set-off by a passage I read in Tom Blake’s book titled ‘Doctor M: Operation Malaysia-Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad’. The passage, is quoted from Plato’s Republic, and it goes like this:

‘….but accepts the responsibility of ruling because he or she cares deeply about the Republic and the people in the Republic and only takes the job for fear of being ruled by a lesser’.  

This was almost a turning point for me. It triggered an urge in me. The urge of fear. It made vivid many fears that, I believe, were overlooked and disappeared back into the subconscious mind of mine.  This pumping fear on my chest overcame and deleted all the optimism I have had about my country. Previously I used to see only a rosy picture of Tanzania’s future. The fear helped me to see the reality and realised that the rosy picture was only an imagination and a wish at best.

I kept on reflecting and now the focus was on the fear. I asked myself, why fear? What is this fear about? I came up with two answers – the two fears. These fears are not mutually exclusive. They relate to each other.

Fear # 1: I fear about the leadership in my country. Plato’s Republic rightly noted the ‘fear of being ruled by a lesser’. Looking into the pool of people who position themselves to lead us in the near future was heartbreaking and scary. Not because many people are less smart or underprepared to run our country, but enormous challenges facing the country now subjects us to a thourough critical thinking about the country and developmental leadership. I fear about getting a leader who will be ‘lesser’. Lesser with regards to enormous tasks and need for wisdom to lead this big beautiful Tanzania into a prosperous future. We are faced by many challenges that can easily reduce someone to a ‘lesser’ if not wise enough. King Solomon asked for ‘wisdom to lead the great nation’. He was wise to know that the ‘big nation’ can easily make him ‘lesser’. He was not stupid but he realised that being ‘lesser’ is easy amidst challenges. We will need leaders who are ready to sit down, analyse the reality, and work hard. Leaders who would put selfish motives away and think of the nation. Who will not be influenced by party politics but people’s interests. A leader with a developmental mindset. Are Tanzanians wise enough to not choose a lesser?

Fear # 2: In connection to fear #1, the biggest challenge is abundance of natural resources Tanzania. Resources are a blessing and it is right for people to celebrate as we are doing in Tanzania.  There are hopes and politicians are doing a good job in underlining this hope. One Minister stated in the Parliament that “with the natural gas reserves Tanzania has, poverty will be history”. How I wish it was that simple! A plus and minus equation. Unfortunately the reality is opposite. There are chains of evidence that resources, due to many factors engraved within a ‘lesser’ leader, may lead to curse. This is evident in many countries of Africa that have been endowed with natural resources.

Larry Diamond and Jack Mosbacher observed that:

‘Oil booms poison the prospects for development in the poorcountries. The surge of easy money fuels inflation, fans waste and massive corruption, distorts exchange rate, undermines the compepetive of traditional export sectors such as agriculture, and preempts the growth of manufacturing.Moreover, as oil price flactuate on world markets,oil rich countries can saddenly become cash poor when booms goes bust (since poor countries rarely saves any of these revenue windfalls). Oil booms are also bad news for democracy and the rule of law. In fact, not a single developing country that derives the bulk of its export earnings from oil and gas is a democracy. Rather than fostering entrepreneurial middle class, oil wealth when controled by the governement, stifles by the emergency of an independent bussines class and swells the power of state Vs civil society.’

Similarly Paul Collier argued that:

‘…you would hope that the discovery of natural resources wealth would be a catalyst to prosperity, and sometimes it is. But these are the exceptions. Sometimes resource wealth has contributed to the conflict trap. But even if the country stays at peace it typically fails to grow; indeed, the surplus from natural resources exports significantly reduces growth. …over time, countries with large resource discoveries can end up poorer…’

In Nigeria when oil was discovered in 1970s, hoes were thrown away. Everyone looked up to oil revunues. Rents. Rents do not lead to poverty reduction. This is my fear for Tanzania. The discovery of gas and oil together with other natural resources leads us into neglecting agricultural sector even more. Agriculture is and for a long time will continue to be the backbone of our economy. Nevertheless, agricultural has been neglected. 2/3 of  us, 45 millions, are engaged in agriculture, yet we do not link it with other growing sectors of the economy, such as mining, services, and now gas and oil. This is my fear. If we do not revisit our strategy and link agriculture to our natural resources, we will not only remain poor, but get poorer.

This will need a leader who will make the challenges lesser, so he/she can be bigger.

Do you have the same fear? If so, what does it motivate you to do?


Written by zittokabwe

September 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM

8 Responses

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  1. I had similar fear but I different way. I do not fear about the promising future of our country but I have a fear of getting someone think like ‎you to build our great Nation. We are not sleeping giant, We are Great Nation and Tanzania can do great than anyone in Africa.A Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: Zitto na DemokrasiaSent: Thursday, September 26, 2013 7:35 PMTo: abdul1990tz@yahoo.co.ukReply To: Zitto na DemokrasiaSubject: [New post] The Fear

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    zittokabwe posted: “Over the years, I have developed an habit of going to quiet places and reflect in solitary. This has become very important to me as I critically think and evaluate my ideas. Over and over, I find myself reflecting about my country and her future direction”


    September 26, 2013 at 10:17 PM

  2. Dear Zitto, Despite my extreme bussy timetable I always read your articles as soon as I get notifications on my mobile. This has taken me.

    Very thoughtful.

    I always ask my self can we as a nation notice the trait of good leader? Or we just end up with anyone who is interested to be one? Do we really know a type of the leader we want accordoing to specific circumstances, needs and global trend?

    Do our leaders really know the problems and even have ideas on how to solve them? Many questions. The good things we have people like you who stirr up our thinking and questioning our status quo. Keep it up.


    September 27, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    • mweshimiwa,from the look of things we need to have abipartisan approach
      to emerging socialpolitical challenges affecting us coz if we seat back and watch
      expecting one ‘big brother’for help then w’ll be afailed state an ostrige like[hiding our heads in the sand
      pretending the danger has gone]only to be under threat from external forces.Leadership comes from the people and when the electorate are fed up!!!my crystal ball tells me they revolt against the lesser king.
      lets lay astrong foundation for the future generation thus history will speak loud and forever.

      hassan benson

      September 27, 2013 at 7:18 PM

  3. I have no comment against your fear brother.

    Jumanne Shitambala

    September 28, 2013 at 6:35 AM

  4. […] week Zitto Kabwe shared his reflections and posted a patriotic powerful note titled ‘The Fear’. In it, he explains his two fears: (1) fear of being led by a lesser; and (2) fear of ‘resource […]

  5. Honorable Zitto,
    It is good that someone of your stature sees and feels the FEAR. Some few years back, your fear was a nightmare to me but given time, I have come to realize that POVERTY caused by power-vacuum and lack of vision for our leaders is my biggest fear.

    Because of this fear, I left my employment and went back to my village to be a full-time advocate for change. Change is YOU, ME and ALL TANZANIANS. Let us fear no more!!


    September 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM

  6. Nakumbuka shuleni tuliambiwa ” Kuuliza si ujinga” na kama mtu hujui ni hatari kuendelea kuongelea kitu ambacho hukijui. Just ask. Manake “majuto ni mjukuu”. Katika haya mambo ya oil and gas, inasikitisha kuona viongozi wanarudia makosa yaliyofanywa na nchi zenye oil and gas resources. Mimi fear yangu ni kwamba tanzania kutakuwa na vita within 10 – 20 years. I really am hopeless. I see it coming. Yaani sometimes i wish tusingekuwa na resource yeyote ile.

    As an example, viongozi wengi wanaongelea capacity building. I honestly dont believe we need a petroleum curriculum. 2/3 of the world natural gas is in russia and middle east. So for those guys, a petroleum curriculum makes sense. For us, we’ve discovered gas, but not in quantities comparable to those guys. Even more, most of it its offshore, hata hiyo gesi hatutaiona, why is that, just google FLNG.

    Now with conservative estimates, a gas field, needs about 1000 people give or take. The core is about 150 people, the upstream people meaning process engineers, well engineers, reservoir…etc. Now the rest 750 is piping, mechanical work..which we already have in Tanzania. So it doesnt make sense to have a curriculum which will produce many graduates who end up with out jobs.

    Even more, oil and gas industry doesnt create jobs/employment, but what it creates is huge revenues.Now with conservative estimates, the costs/repair/maintenance for an asset is usually <10% of the total revenue for a productive asset. So for me, i would worry more about the 90% plus chunk of revenue. heck i would not even worry about building capacity i would just use expats specialists do the work for move on. I mean all over the world there is lack of skilled oil and gas workers, hence, lack of skilled locals is not news.

    so for me, i agree with stop all licencing and exploration activities. Some argue Mozambique wana 250 tcf hence we cant wait, meli itatuacha, but for me, this is a marathon not a sprint, lets take out time and reflect and get it right. Unfortunately i think we are already late, especially once the new gas and oil poilcy is passed,



    October 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

  7. […] Zitto Kabwe wrote recently: […]

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