Thursday, September 25, 2008

Becoming an Apologist for The Establishment

I was having a delicious discussion the other day - one of those where you start out with the problems of power provision and end up dissecting the political nature of the country- and I found myself more often than not defending the Establishment and its current manifestation. Please, don't swallow your tongue in shock, there is a simple explanation: I have gone conservative. Now that I have to care about little things like the price of land/real estate, general security, a relatively stable economy, investment opportunities and blah blah blah it makes sense to appreciate a system that generally 'works' for me.

Also, the long and sustained cynicism about the current administration has fatigued me: it is getting in the way of our basic appreciation. Oh, I know. Don't bother quoting GDP per capita figures, income inequality data, tossing corruption dossiers at me or asking whom the system 'works' for. The list of things that could be improved is as long as the line-up of reformers who have one thousand and one reasons why they are smarter, more ethical and better suited to run Tanzania than the incumbent. Guess what though my darlings: most of you barely have to run your families, let alone a leviathan of a social construct called a country filled with a few million people who think they depend on you personally for their well-being.

With that kind of pressure , navigating the various tensions and schisms that threaten Tanzanian stability all time is not exactly an idiot's job, nor is it a one-man show. The very fact that we function at all after barely half a century of "self rule" is evidence to me of a pretty effective system. I was accused of being Machiavellan in my thinking because I mentioned that sometimes small injustices (i.e. human rights abuses) are often committed for the 'greater good'. This is not entirely accurate: what I believe is that in order for us to enjoy our current stability and relative success as a nation-state, Tanzania's leaders have done a few unsavory things in the past. People have paid, and others continue to pay, sometimes in blood, for what we are today. Let us not forget that as we sip our Safaris in present-day comfort and malign our idiot leaders.

The main reason I have become an apologist for the current government is pretty simple: I think that there is evidence of a genuine desire on the part of Jay to the Kay to open up the Establishment a little bit, and to break with our oppressive past. It takes some doing to redirect this behemoth from its centralized, repressive tendencies to something a little more amenable to individual rights, social justice and prosperity. Every time there is a protest, or a politician exposes malfeasance, or a newspaper sticks its pen in the eye of the government, I get a thrill. We are finally becoming the kind of place where citizens can express dissatisfaction thanks to the attitude of the current administration. This is not a development I am inclined to take for granted.

So while I have no intention of giving the Party or its Government an easy time, you better believe I am not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater either. And that is how one becomes a (not-so-closet) apologist for the Establishment. Give me enough time, I might become more Catholic than the Pope...

1 comment:

  1. As i read the post, i wonder what happened to the radical one...eti she is now conservative..hmmm! i hear you on JK's intentions but i still think he is not thinking in any discernable strategic way. every thing with him seems to be a knee jerk reaction. but i guess we will see when his wafadhili are unable to cough up teh dough cause their own probs back home. then we will see how the collective leadership actual performs


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