Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Weekly Sneak: Hidden in Plain Sight

Almost a year ago exactly I asked some American citizens what they thought of Donald Trump vying for the Presidential candidacy of the Republican party. The answers ranged from dismissive amusement to...actually there was no range. Just dismissive amusement. And here we are, today. 

Reading around I found out that not only is this not Mr. Trump's first attempt at the Presidency but that a cartoonist- of course- actually envisioned his campaign 29 years ago! As much as I respect academics, they never quite seem to be able to see beyond the event horizon in quite the way that the creative class does. 

It was with this in mind that I chose to broach the idea of a President-less Tanzania for the week's column. Primarily I am just doing this to play with the idea of a state that looks different from what we have now. All things considered, Africa shouldn't be all too scared of experimenting beyond the strongman habit: what do we have to lose? And no, I don't mean the horrendous vacuums left when despots die so much as evolving the state by- you guessed it- devolving power:

"I consider public servants of all echelons analoguous to doctors. Yes, they are experts at what they do but at the end of the day you have rights. You should ask questions and always seek to understand and participate in your own care to the best of your ability. In Tanzania this is guaranteed to annoy most clinicians and all politicians. Yet they work for our benefit and we are paying them, however little, however much." 

I'm also doing this because whereas I was generally opinion-less about Magufuli in spite of his every attempt to charm by playing those drums, I no longer am. This piece by Chambi Chachage puts it well, I think. This incumbent is testing our democracy, and not in a good way.  

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