Interlude 2

Open letter to The President of Tanzania

Right Honourable President Jakiya M. Kikwete of Tanzania


Thank you firstly on your recent stand regarding the East African Community (EAC). Working together for an EAC common market is a distinguished goal for the whole community. Everyone in the community will benefit. Perhaps the restless steps taken by 3 of your neighbours are just signs of their growing impatience with delayed EAC development. I believe everyone appreciates that the common aspirations within the community are much more beneficial than unilateral or even trilateral actions by only some of its members. Development of a political, infrastructural and financial union for the common good is, I believe, the goal of everyone in East Africa.

The reason for this letter is to ascertain your views on what has been regarded as heavy-handed and at times downright illegal means used by a few of your fellow citizens, even a few of your fellow CCM party members to completely disregard not only the will of the people but also the laws of the land. With journalists and journalism under threat, with the recent illegal closure of two of our media outlets, with the beating and near murder of Dk. Olombiya last year, with the several attempts on the life of one of your more righteous and effective ministers, Dk. Makyembe and more recently with the murder of Dk. Nvungi it seems to me that the several highly placed persons, whether in government or elsewhere who may be behind these incidents have lost the plot. I speak here of those whisperings that are on the lips of most of your people. Of course, they are only suspicions and those that you confront will, of course deny all involvement. These highly-placed deniers are the true traitors and cowards of this land, not the simple thugs or robbers who beat up a doctors’ representative or who went into someone’s house to steal a laptop!

I don’t need to tell you that social order in the community is the spine of a successful economy. When some in the community feel it necessary to take the law into their own hands, this is the start of the breakdown of social order. You only need look at the examples of Russia, China, Indonesia, Mexico to see the effect of the lawless minority in the top echelons of society – those that abuse the respect that is awarded them, those that are intent on maintaining their personal power-base and associated wealth – these are the ones that will let your country bleed.

You may already be aware of these issues. I will repeat that these are the whisperings on the tongues of your people. In 2015 you will be honoured as an ex-president. It is my hope and I’m sure the hope of millions of your fellow citizens that you will leave behind a legacy of goodwill, wisdom and understanding. I hope also that you will be able to walk away knowing that you have done the best for your people in stemming the tide of inequity that seems now to be growing relentlessly (see also The Guardian, January 1, 2014). Those who are benefiting will certainly not stop themselves. The positive leadership and accountability initiated by your first president, Julius Nyerere in his time are still remembered now. Perhaps your final year of leadership will also show us the way to a more positive and accountable future for everyone in Tanzania.

Yours sincerely, a concerned visitor


About johnderonde

UK-based charity worker in Tanzania
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