representation


Recently, I decided to stop this blog in June or July of this year. That would have been about one year of blogging. There were three main reasons for this. Firstly, it takes time. Believe me, summarising IMF reports or discussing the gini co-efficient in your second language is not easy. Secondly, I was beginning to bore myself. Blogging anonymously means you have to leave a lot of yourself outside of the blog. So what is presented is not as complex or as interesting or as real as it could be. Another week goes by and there’s kifimbocheza, tapping away at the keyboard and giving out about something. Yawn. Part of me is kifimbocheza, but only a small part. Also, I expect to be busy with something else in the second half of the year.

As it is, I have decided to stop it now. The furore over the entirely innocent post made by Pernille, and the ensuing hate campaign, has contributed to this. I got involved in it to a certain extent and I have no regrets about that.

Given that the hate campaign against Pernille emerged from nothing, I no longer felt comfortable. I felt uneasy for a number of reasons. It was clear to me that part of the reason that she took so much heat was that she is white and, to an extent, because she is a woman. Having read the posts on Michuzi, some of the comments (most of them appeared to support her, we should not forget) and the bile on the facebook group, I’m pretty sure of this. More unnerving was the silence from other Tanzanian bloggers. I feel like I’m in a particularly unpleasant bar, where it could all go off at any minute. So I’ve decided to get my coat. I feel a lot more comfortable in the real Tanzania than the virtual one.

Before anybody gets upset about that last paragraph, it is not a commentary on Tanzanians in general. It is a commentary on the type of dynamic that can emerge from some elements of a young blogging/online community that is drawn from a wafer-thin stratum of Tanzanians, both here and overseas. It was started by some guy called Suby, using Issa Michuzi as his channel. Then a kid in Chicago puts together a hateful facebook group that is publicised by, that man again, Issa Michuzi.

It is also a commentary on the general lack of thought given to ethics in this realm, the Swahili language blogosphere. Another example is the way that the jambo blog network would just steal people’s content for their own (advertising driven) site. I appear to be the only one to have complained on a blog. But I know I’m not the only one who was unhappy about it. All you had to do was ask, lads. Is that so difficult? To paraphrase the late Professor Chachage, we appear to have a soko holela rather than a soko huru in our small Swahili speaking bit of the blogosphere.

I share one characteristic with Pernille. I’m a white foreigner. But what does that mean? We come from two very different countries, with very different cultures. I should know – I was once mbeba box in Copenhagen, working nights and sleeping six to a room. I know that some, though not all, readers of this blog thought I was Tanzanian, but I’m not.

I’ve enjoyed blogging. Maybe after some time I will emerge with something different. And I have a few ideas.

Meanwhile, if you want to think a little more about identity and the internet, click here.

And I had some good posts in my head – fired up and ready to go! But this dog is going for a walk. So, if you want to know how to track the movements of the presidential jet, you’ll just have to find out for yourself.


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Leo mchana, sote tulisikiliza redio kusikia Rais kutangaza Baraza mpya. “Nani atabaki?” “Nani atafukuzwa?”. Basi, ilitangazwa. Maswali tena. “Unamwonaje Mkulo?” “Jamani Andrew Chenge alikuwa Mwanasheria Mkuu wakati wa IPTL, si ndiyo?!”

Leo jioni, nilianza kusoma By the Sea, kitabu kimechoandikwa na Abdulrazak Gurnah. Niliguswa na yafuatayo…..

The upper air is always full of agitation because God and his angels live there and debate high policy, and flush out treachery and rebellion. They do not welcome casual listeners or informers or self-servers and have the fate of the universe to darken their brows and whiten their hair. As a precaution, the angels release a corrosive shower every now and then to deter mischievous eavesdroppers with a threat of deforming wounds. The middle air is the arena for contention, where the clerks and the ante-room afreets and the wordy jinns and flabby serpents writhe and flap and fume as they strain for the counsels of their betters. Ack ack, did you hear what he said? What can it mean? In the murk of the lower is where you’ll find the venomless time-servers and the fantasists who’ll believe anything and defer to everything, the gullible and the spiritless throngs that crowd and pollute the narrowing spaces where they congregate, and that’s where you’ll find me.

Je, umeshasoma ripoti ya Mwakyembe? Si unajua jinsi viongozi walivyokula? Dakika arobaini zilizopita, wabunge walikubali uteuzi wa Mizengo Pinda, Mbunge wa Mpanda Mashariki, kama Waziri Mkuu. Walimsifia. Walimpa moyo. Aliwashukuruu. Sitta alifunga kikao kwa mtindo wake. Lakini kumbe, alipewa karatasi kutoka kwa mmoja wao. Mbunge huyo alikuwa na swali….. “je, sherehe ya kumpongeza Waziri Mkuu itafanyika lini?”

Kashfa ya siku hizi ilielekea kuvunja siasa yetu. Mbunge huyo anafikiria nini? Chakula tu!

Chinese involvement in Africa gets a certain amount of attention due to rising Chinese investment in the continent. Less attention is paid to China’s political involvement, with the exception of Darfur. And even there is even less thought given to reflecting on developments within China, and considering them in the light of changes here.

Yesterday I read Alice Poon’s translation of a piece by Hu Shuli, which can be found here on the Asia Sentinel website. I am not aware of Hu’s background, but she can probably safely be described as a public intellectual. Some of the issues that Hu addresses remind one of political dynamics here in Tanzania.

Hu’s piece was written in the light of the 17th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party and analyses the prospects for political reforms catching up with market oriented economic reforms.

We probably have more to learn from places such as China when it comes to political change than from western donor countries, who have been driving the process here since the early 1990s.

Also have a look at the video link that Alice Poon gives us. Coincidentally, the full documentary was broadcast on Pulse TV here in Tanzania this week.

Mada ya leo ni Benjamin, siyo Richard. Wiki ijayo, tutajua nani atazawadiwa dola milioni tano kwa kuwa kiongozi bora – dola laki tano kila mwaka kwa miaka kumi, na dola laki mbili kila mwaka baada ya hapo mpaka kifo (dola za Amerika, siyo Hong Kong). Washindani ni wengi, kumi na tatu, mmojawapo ni Rais Mstaafu Mheshimiwa Benjamin William Mkapa. Sitaki kutafakari matatizo yake leo, bora tuzungumze kuhusu zawadi hiyo kwa ujumla.

Mchezo huu umefadhiliwa na Mo Ibrahim. Lengo la mchezo huu ni kuwatia moyo viongozi ambao wameendeleza utawala bora katika nchi zao. Sioni tatizo kwa suala la utawala bora. Nadhani sote tungefurahia utawala wa aina hii. Lakini kwanini hapa Afrika, inaonekana kuwa viongozi wanahitaji kulipwa ili kutoiba mali ya nchi, kukubali matokeo ya uchaguzi, na kuheshimu uhuru wa vyombo vya habari? Je, Meles Zenawi ataacha unyama wake pale Ogaden akiona fursa ya kupewa zawadi hiyo?

Mwanzoni, nilisema kuwa sitaki kutafakari matatizo ya Rais Mstaafu Mkapa. Lakini, si mbaya kulinganisha kidogo. Thamani ya zawadi ni USD5 milioni. Thamani ya kamisheni ya dili ya rada, ilikuwa USD12 milioni.

Ukipata nafasi, tembelea blogu ya Jumuwata. Wameomba tuchangie mawazo yetu kuhusu katiba mpya ya Jumuwata.

Hapa Tanzania, tumezoea kushirikiana kwa mabaya na mazuri. Lakini Jumuwata ni kitu kipya, ambacho tunajitahidi kushirikiana bila kukutana rasmi.  Sote tumekaribishwa. 

Hivi karibuni, nilibahatika kutembelea tovuti ya Mheshimiwa Nimrod Mkono. Inaonekana hapa. Mh. Mkono ni mbunge wa Musoma Vijijini. Napendekeza utembelee tovuti hiyo. Inaonyesha vizuri kazi ya mbunge hapa Tanzania.

Sina mabaya ya kusema. Inaonekana kuwa Mh. Mkono anajitahidi kuendeleza jimbo lake, hasa upande wa elimu. Lakini si mbaya kuuliza maswali machache….

Kwanza, kwanini tovuti hii imeandikwa kwa kiingereza? Je, lengo lake ni kuwasiliana na wananchi au kuwasiliana na wafadhili kutoka nje?

Pili, baada ya kustaafu Mh. Mkono, nani ataendesha miradi hiyo pale Musoma?

Tatu, je, kwanini haijaandikwa kuwa Mh. Mkono ni mbunge upande wa CCM? Asifiche kitu hicho. Kuchaguliwa na wananchi ni heshima.

Si kila jimbo lina mbunge mwenye uwezo kama Mh. Mkono. Je, wananchi wategemee uwezo wa mbunge wao kuliko serikali wakitaka maisha bora?

Kwa kumalizia, niseme kwamba nimefurahi kuwa mbunge mmoja anatumia teknolojia ya mtandao pamoja na mtandao wake binafsi.

Namshukuru Jaduong Metty kwa kunihamasisha kuhusu Mh. Mkono na kazi zake mbalimbali.