Obama's been experiencing a little "pushback"from his client base lately. Apparently he has failed to personally pull manna from the heavens and deliver upon the impossibly high expectations that he encouraged as a candidate. To every household, with his own two Presidential hands. Heh. In a similar vein, our man Jay Kay is experiencing a little push-back from the wenyenchi. Of course, how a leader handles adversity is a wonderful demonstration of their character. Obama's an intellectual introvert and frankly doesn't need any external approval to keep his shit together. Also, he's got Michelle. Jay Kay on the other hand is struggling a little. Our President is a charismatic extrovert who has been behaving like he's lost his mojo. Term one must have been quite the education. Heh.
I know perfectly well that it is the fashion this year to focus on Jay Kay's many failings. That's just a hazard of the job: to be President means accepting the self-inflicted burden of unrealistic expectations and incessant criticism. And there is absolutely no doubting that Jay Kay has let us down by not living up to his promise of leadership.
If I had any reason to believe that Dr. Slaa would be an effective President, I would vote him in without a shred of pity for my man Jay Kay. The good doctor is intelligent, canny, brave and- most shocking in a politician- conscientious. But he's also the most effective opposition we've ever seen and without him I fear that our Bunge is going to lose its way again. There are so few good people in power, it's a damn shame to lose even one brilliant parliamentarian.
Also, let us not be disingenuous about this: The Establishment is not going to let Dr. Slaa be the President we are all hoping for. The Establishment is no joke, people. If it exhausted all good will out of the fantastically stubborn (if irascible) Benjamin Mkapa, do you honestly think it will fail to drive the good doctor clinically insane within a year? And that's the best-case scenario I can come up with. There are considerable structural and cultural impediments to "regime change" at the moment, the biggest of which is a hysterical and idiotic press that renders our political discussions in the most superficial terms. Dr. Slaa is the man we need in 2015. Opposition: get busy folks, there's a lot to do in the next five years if you're going to offer change we can believe in.
In the meantime, I have to think seriously about what to do tomorrow. I want to support Jay Kay because if there's one thing I know we can take to the bank it's his complete devotion to Tanzanians. Man loves this country and her people more than he loves his wealth and welfare*. It's a small distinction, but if you have any doubts about how important this small distinction is may I draw your attention to the post-independence history of any one of the eight countries bordering Tanzania. Please meditate upon their leadership experience at your leisure.
There is also the issue of integrity. Modern democracy has taken on some of the characteristics of consumer culture: if it doesn't make you happier/sexier/increase your income/fix your insecurities as soon as you take it home, take it back to the store and bitch at the manufacturer. As a snob, I find that behavior shockingly uncouth to say the least. We're picking a flesh and blood person, complete with design flaws, to become Public Servant Number One. Voting is not like buying a car and it shouldn't be about acquiring a Big Daddy. To get Catholic on you, voting is the sacrament and the mystery of democratic faith. We need to give this some mature consideration, for (expletive deleted)'s sake.
All of which is to say I'm sitting on a rock looking at a hard place. Do I vote in Jay Kay in the hopes that he'll grow into the President we all thought he would be in term two? Do I vote Jay Kay because I'm a stick-in-the-mud who utterly despises fair-weather friendship? Will he find his mojo again in time to handle 2015's CCM melt-down or is he an adorable but lost cause? Is Dr. Slaa a harbinger of things to come, or is this the real, crucial moment? Does one vote even matter at the end of the day?
It's my country. I'll vote like I own it. Besides, if things go well at least I will have a brilliant MP to flaunt in the face of non-Kawe residents. A girl's gotta get her kicks where she can :)
* Our Celebrident is a Tanzanian politician who belongs to CCM. I'm not saying he's dodgy (because I can't afford legal representation for libel and I do not feel like going to remand) but the corridors of power are narrow and smeared with ethical compromises. "Allegedly."