In response to the series of articles that I wrote in the EA to stimulate debate about President the Fifth, I got a rather delightful email from a reader titled "Revolutionary?... I don't think so" And I quote:
"... after reading your last two submissions I think that you have compromised the revolutionary credentials that most Tanzanian youth wear so proudly. I cannot understand why you would take positions of certain people who declare that they do not see anyone who was fitting to replace them as head of state. How can you DISS such a large proportion of the youth which you represent with such an easy swipe when you discount anyone outside of a small clique of the current government operatives as capable of being a good president?
Please remember that you and your generation are the future of this country and the sooner you all rise up and take up this noble cause, the sooner Tanzanians will have a better life.
I put it to you that a part of your job is to inspire the youth to rise up and take their rightful positions in the society. It is not to try to perpetuate an old and tired approach. Can you just look across the border and see what is happening in Kenya...by the way when last did you visit your neighbors to gauge where Tz is in the scheme of things?"
Folks, that there is how to administer an ass-kicking. I loved it.
So this week the draft of the new constitution has come out and one of the recommendations is that no one under the age of 40 should run for President- there's a bottom threshold. For the record I think there should be a top threshold as well- no one over the age of 65 should run for President either. Possibly 60. We have to keep things reasonable and a 20 year threshold gives hopefuls two decades to work the magic of their ambition.
As for 2015: nope, still not keen for a greenhorn to inherit our current mess. But a recent discussion with My Lady of the Considered Smiles I was offered another potential candidate who could be absolutely perfect for a Caretaker President who could manage a solid transition. So now there's three folks I am personally interested in. Gotta go do my homework on the new candidate. Bonus: finally, a female candidate to- possibly- get excited about :)
As for the neighbors and what they can teach us about how we should run this our fair land*: Burundi? No comment. Rwanda? Even less comment, especially at this delicate time when Tanzanians are practicing diplomatic restraint in the face of a storm in the aftermath of recent comments made by Jay Kay. Let's see...hmm, Malawi? Nah. Mozambique? Interesting, I like what little i have seen of the opposition's work. Zambia? Um. I need to do my research. Uganda? You're joking, right? I mean, definitely admiring of the citizenry but that political set up is ridiculous. Sorry. Kenya? If we ignore the glaring problems of hereditary power with hints of monarchism, inequality and exploitation issues, pathological tribalism... sure. That vetting thing they're doing with public officials? Very nice. We could do with that. And the deliver-or-starve work ethic has its benefits.
Oh, wait. Did I leave out the Democratic Republic of Congo? Enough said.
*You know, nobody tries to "understand" or "predict" Canada by studying Mexico. African comparative politics? Not my favorite thing kabisaaaaaa. We're not that simple, we should not be that simplified.