Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Sneak: Taking Peace for Granted

Wasn't the end of this last Bunge session exciting. Seriously, who was expecting that anyone would employ a Motion of No Confidence to push the government off-balance. Our brand of politics has favored more direct forms of confrontation over those offered by the tools of public administration, so this is a step in the right direction.

Of course there was no way, no matter how swiftly the political activists moved on this one, that the Prime Minister was going to go down like that. If CCM hadn't found a reasonable technical loophole to escape this attack, they would have created one. And if all else fails, the President still has overwhelming powers to create law out of thin air by making a declaration. So truly, I don't think there was any particular danger other than hurt feelings and such.

For us regular citizens, politics is interesting because we need the products of improved governance: roads, schools, etc. The tangible stuff. But in order to get that, the crucial role played by long stretches of peace through successive administrations cannot be ignored- after all it is the foundation on which we have been able to build the state in the first place. So as long as we keep substituting legal, symbolic, democratic and administrative conflict for real physical conflict and civil unrest- we're doing great.

There's been a lot of huff and puff in the media about this being Africa's Century*. The only thing that would give this ideal any real legs, to me, is if this generation achieves its mission of creating a majority of states in which residents can take peace for granted. Kind of the way we take post-colonialism for granted now. And that starts with intelligent, pacific statecraft. This is hardly a new theme with me, but some things bear repeating. Coming to an East African near you:

"So much of our public dialogue these days has become consumed with questions of leadership, fighting corruption and getting the kind of governance we think we want. Most of the time, we frame our collective dissatisfaction with calls for great change, explicit change, explosive change if necessary. I wonder if we are all just a bit tired of living in a state of extended anxiety over the financial pinch, and anticipation that things will improve because surely they can't get any worse. But who is to say change will come all at once, and from the expected corners anyways? It would be fantastic if increasingly better governance and sensible politics could sneak up on us one concession at a time."

1 comment:

  1. Hey Elsie,
    It was interesting reading your EA piece after Friday's news of Kikwete "sacking" Mkulo and Ngeleya... Do you see this as a sign that "better governance and sensible politics (are sneaking) up on us one concession at a time"? and that Kikwete pays more attention to Parliament? Because of CCM's weakness?


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