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Archive for January 7th, 2010

Things that make you go hmmmm…

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The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr. William Ngeleja, got into an altercation with a security guard (Swahili needed) at the Standard Chartered ATM yesterday. According to Mr. Pascal Mnaku, an employee of Ultimate Security Ltd, Mr. Ngeleja was in the booth talking on his mobile phone and he was trying to alert the Minister to the fact that other clients were waiting to use the ATM when: “The Minister suddenly turned around and started shouting at me asking me ‘Do you know who I am? You don’t know who I am!’ and he started swearing at me…*” Mr. Mnaku was summoned along with his superiors to Minister Ngeleja’s office in the afternoon for further discussion. 

Cautionary tales: other memorable instances of public egotism include former Minister for Finance Basil Mramba’s statement that the government would buy a presidential jet even if this meant that we would have to ‘eat grass’ (Swahili needed) to afford it, former Minister for Infrastructure Development Andrew Chenge’s dismissal of his massive, and allegedly suspect, personal fortune as Vijisenti’ (Swahili needed) and former Tabora Regional Commissioner Ukiwaona Ditopile Mzuzuri’s homicidal bout of road rage (Swahili needed)

*Translated from Kiswahili.

UPDATE: So, Mr. Ngeleja responded to the above story. He told Mwananchi (Swahili needed) that he was talking on the phone while waiting for the ATM to dispense his third consecutive cash withdrawal when Pascal Mnaku entered the booth, invading his privacy and demanding that he leave so that other customers could use the machine. Mr. Ngeleja apparently tried to reason with him, but Mr. Mnaku became verbally aggressive all the while showing no sign of knowing who he was talking to:

“I am certain that guard didn’t know who I was during that time, as he was starting to get confrontational one customer tried to warn him that he was speaking to a Cabinet Minister but he continued to shout *” 

Yes, Minister. 

*Translated from Kiswahili.

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Written by serengetiadvisersblog

January 7, 2010 at 17:09

One-week story arc: A Third Term for President Karume?

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In November last year when CUF Secretary General Seif Sharif Hamad and President Abeid Amani Karume of Zanzibar emerged from a one-on-one meeting to announce a new friendship of sorts, it came as a surpriseThis sudden rapprochement between CUF and CCM in Zanzibar emphasized how impotent the stalled Mwafaka Talks championed by President Jakaya Kikwete turned out to be in addressing the ‘Zanzibar problem.’ And CUF’s top-down decision to acknowledge the legitimacy of Mr. Karume’s presidency is a clear reversal of their assertion that CCM has stolen the last two elections in Zanzibar and is ruling against the law.

Mr. Hamad and President Karume have been reluctant to give details of their talk, which has served to fuel speculation and raise anxiety in at least two groups: CUF members who are not keen to get into bed politically with CCM, and those who worry about the state of the union between Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania. For CUF members Mr. Hamad’s actions might be construed as a betrayal- a cynical abdication of CUF’s political platform at the expense of two hard-fought elections. For those who worry about threats to CCM and the Union, this new alliance between age-old adversaries is another demonstration of Zanzibar’s perpetual dissatisfaction with the Union- it subtly pits Zanzibar against the Mainland, rendering CCM’s position in the isles that much more complicated.

When a seasoned Zanzibar politician, CUF Director of Foreign Affairs Ismail Jussa, allegedly suggested earlier this week that President Karume should stand for a third term his statements were greeted with some consternation. Even allowing for the newspapers’ blatant over-statement of CUF’s intentions in this regard, Mr. Jussa’s personal remark reminds both CCM and CUF party members that their new ‘friendship’ in Zanzibar is an informal coalition between two parties brokered by their leaders without any consultation with their constituencies. This is a familiar political tactic: national security and the greater good have been used to justify top-down decisions as important as Ujamaa and the Union.

Interestingly, CCM were first to reject the idea publicly, (Swahili needed) stating that they have no intention of starting down the messy road of constitutional reform to extend term limits. A few days later, CUF Chairman Ibrahim Lipumba carefully distanced (Swahili needed) his party from Mr. Jussa’s idea:

‘That is not our position as a party. In keeping with our constitution, organ that has the power to make such a decision is the National Executive Council.*” 

The third term suggestion may be a careful test of the political waters, and both CCM and CUF are treading very delicately and ambiguously around the possibilities it has raised. What Mr. Jussa did, above all, was highlight the general desire for a peaceful election in Zanzibar, a matter which hinges entirely on coming up with the right answer to one question: Who can legitimately succeed President Karume?

*Translated from Kiswahili.

Written by serengetiadvisersblog

January 7, 2010 at 16:34