Yup, that was the sound of my government flushing yet another decent civil servant down the toilet. And to imagine there's former ministers who are still MPs, walking around with the temerity to claim that they are innocent and... wait for it... "misunderstood". I beg to differ: no one is more misunderstood than honest public servants, all three of them. Heh.
Before Tido Mhando joined the national broadcaster, there was TVT. To say that it sucked would be to heap far too much praise on it. What it did, in fact, was embody the worst aspects of a captive party mouthpiece with tricks employed by the likes of Mobutu in the 1980s. Although Mobutu's propaganda machine had some pretty unbelievable craziness* going for it which made things interesting. The only thing TVT had going for it was access to archival footage.
Then Tido came home from a long stint at the Beeb, got hired by The Establishment and apparently decided to put the Public back in our public broadcaster. He's had a four-year run. It has been glorious, each year better than the last. So you can imagine, I have been laboring under the impression that the Kikwete administration is genuinely media-friendly.
Which doesn't mean that The Establishment feels the same way. I suppose it was only natural that it punish Tido and team by firing him unceremoniously. TBC's election coverage was too focused, too professional, too non-partisan, too bloody detailed and well-researched. If I was a zealous apparatchik, I imagine I would fire him too for having the audacity to do his job.
If this firing thing really sticks, it's going to be very interesting to see what happens next. I certainly look forward to making fun of his successor. If we're lucky, perhaps Tido will stick around to teach aspiring Tanzanian broadcasters how to do their job, because lawd knows we could do with some standards.
What's the lesson here? Work for this here government at your own peril. Unless you're a kleptomanic "misunderstood" "socialist", in which case you'll feel right at home.
*Like, the daily broadcasts would start with an image of Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku wa Zabanga and all his titles descending from the skies to the strains of the national anthem. And at night, naturally, at the end of the broadcast he would ascend again into the heavens. It has to be seen to be believed :)