Sunday, September 25, 2011

Three Opinions From Outside of This Box

There's a nice little culture of informed dissent fomenting in the online TZ intellectual life these days. Here are three recent independent pieces that provided some solid critiques and alternative perspectives:

Jason Lakin of the International Budget Partnership takes exception to the "political will" explanation for what really creates political change: at least as applied to politicians. While I don't think all politicians are devoid of the capacity to serve the greater good, I think he's right to call out civil society on our willful blindness to the mechanics of political change in favor of fuzzy ideals and easy catch-phrases:
Consider recent events in India: Anna Hazare, public crusader, ended his hunger strike a couple of weeks ago after persuading parliamentarians to strengthen an anti-corruption Bill. For 12 days, Hazare did not eat. Large numbers of Indian citizens took to the streets to support his cause. And then, parliament capitulated. Did parliamentarians suddenly discover their missing “political will”? They did not. They discovered instead the will of Indian voters.
Omar Ilyas takes exception to Chadema's recent political activities and the unholy mess they are trying to create in our political culture. It has to be said, I concur with him and have been waiting for exactly this kind of focused critique of Chadema's strategy. I want to like this party (although they are Conservative) and I am trying to respect the handful of keen minds that they have put in parliament. My MP is in league with this band of agitators. I think many of us are having to pull away because their actions are long past indefensible and heading towards threatening. If this party wants to reclaim its quality support, Omar's first paragraph pretty much says it all. This is about defending a political culture that has taken us decades to perfect: (apologies: its too pretty to translate into English and I am too lazy this morning. Please for to ask the Google Translate):
"Matukio ya hivi karibuni ambayo yamefanikiwa kupata nafasi ya juu katika vyombo vya habari kuhusiana na Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) yamenijengea mtazamo kuwa ili CHADEMA kushinda katika safari ndefu iliyonayo kama mtawala mbadala kinapaswa kushindwa sasa."
Hafiz Juma of the TEDxDar team- and Chairman of the Dar es Salaam Beard Afficionado Club- responds to M.G. Vassanji's recent article on what's going on with Tanzania. Just to give you a little taster, because there's a lot more where this comes from and you might need the dictionary in your Dashboard:
"There is a glossing over of historical context to the point of obtuse condescension as well as a misleading representation of everyday realities and governance processes demonstrated through confounding contradictions that periodically appear in the prose. This is not intended to be an admonition but rather a critical examination (albeit a meek one) of what I feel to be a skewed perspective."

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