In March this year, I was visiting London and I was taking pictures of different historic buildings. Everything was going very well until I looked at some wall sculpture which represented and symbolized different continents and categories stretching from education to science. These wall sculptures were situated at a building near the UK's Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street. Though not expecting anything dreadfully shocking, looking at the symbol portraying the 'African continent', I found myself quite shocked indeed. I found the wall sculpture Africa very disturbing, specifically the handcuffed woman, which is a symbol of slavery. The fact she had no top on also symbolized primitiveness. In my view, the picture portrayed by the sculpture was very degrading, but I concluded I should not blame the person who made that portrait. Instead, the portrait reflected how history has judged our continent for the past 600 years.
After I reflected on the truth which has defined our continent for the past 600 years, it was evidently true that our continent is filled with negative associations from the slave trade, hunger, wars and many other similar situations. The questions I asked myself was, what do we do? Are we ready to sacrifice something useful and desirable right now so that the future generation should be better off and enjoy a positive view of Africa?
The answer is clear that the future of African history is in the hands of its decision makers. This means that there is a linkage between the decisions and choices we make today and the future history of Tanzania and Africa in general.
Perhaps the biggest problem with Africa today in achieving this goal is a lack of visionary leaders like Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere. What is emerging today as modern African leaders are the kind of leaders who have no ability to make hard decisions and make necessary scarifies for our future. These kinds of leaders are very good in blaming others for our problems rather than providing leadership and looking for solutions. This has become a quality of many Tanzanian leaders and it has attracted many wrong people into politics.
I think it is time to start making the necessary sacrifices for our future, we have had enough of the blame game. We cannot have a positive history of Tanzania if our lawmakers care more about their present than our future. When we trust our lawmakers to watch out for our best interest they do not. Honestly speaking, in a poor country like Tanzania, if the priority of our lawmakers is to pass a law which will create a prestigious place to bury National Leaders (National Leaders' Funeral Act, 2006), then we are in trouble and we have a long way to go in making a Tanzania without poverty! Tanzania has much bigger challenges which expect its members of parliament to tackle them wisely rather than setting aside millions of shillings that will pay an international firm to provide a detailed design for the national leaders' cemetery. I think that proposal is a misuse of funds and is a bad decision because that money could have been allocated in extending healthcare services to Tanzanians who dream to have health centers in their villages. My deepest disappointment is that, the members of Parliament have failed to push for reforms which are required in Tanzania. Instead they became a rubber stamp even for the programmes which are not priorities for the country and squandering many opportunities, while leaving their constituency having neither hospitals nor clean water.
Our Members of Parliament should be frontline, in the efforts to remake the history of Tanzania, which they can do, by pushing for reforms which will liberate the country from poverty. Their success as Members of Parliament won't be measured by their ability to win elections but on how they have helped their constituency to escape from poverty and disease. Our Lawmakers should wish to become very powerful and achieve as many legislative success as the late U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy, who worked so hard to champion for the poor, not only in his country, but all over the world. His hard work has changed many lives and that is the kind of spirit which is desperately needed in our country from our members of parliament.
History is going to judge us and therefore making right decisions which will transform Tanzania and Africa is something that must be pursued at every opportunity and at every level of authority, until the job of remaking a positive history of Africa is done .