Reflections and some lessons of life in Tanzania
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Tony Zakaria
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I WAS recently watching a series of teachings by a certain famous buf departed clergyman. He talked about what men and women need as opposed to what they want.

The gender difference of needs and wants is a battle I am reserving for another day. But even societies have needs and wants. In 2016 some vocal politicians some of whom are yet to be elected into any office made the world to believe Tanzanians needed live broadcasts of parliament sessions. Am not sure about you but I need live news like is shown by the big global networks.

A coup d’etat somewhere, people fleeing from a natural or man-made disaster, a fire outbreak in a protected forest, a soccer match between my national team and another nation, or a live event when a high ranking official makes earthshattering announcement. That is about it.

I don’t care what arguments the government of the day uses to convince opposition politicians to vote for the passage of their national budget. Just report the outcome of deliberations. It has been more than a year now, Bongoland has not had gavel-togavel TV stream of Bunge.

Did any persons suffer serious bodily harm from getting Bunge news only at night? We miss the drama and the verbal fights in the august house yes, but we get enough drama from TV soaps and series. We do not need TV per se. We can live without TV.

Bunge live TV is dead and buried. Those wishing for it to be resurrected must find their own messiah to perform the miracle. Ordinary citizens have bread and butter issues no ordinary TV broadcast can cure. It has been decades since Tanzania and neighbouring Kenya realised that the number of livestock far outstrips the availability of grazing lands and fodder. And yet for decades politics and indecisiveness has hampered real progress in tackling the environmental hazards of overgrazing.

Now we have perpetual fighting between pastoralists and agriculturalists, often with fatal results in lives and properties destroyed. Meanwhile desertification keeps engulfing provinces inhabited by cattle keepers. The real issue her is, there are too many cattle. We must make tough decisions now, not later. We must cull animals and in large numbers

. We must eat and sell the cattle now or else nature will take its course. How? I am betting that in the next five years we will have serious drought in Tanzania and Kenya. Many cattle, lamb, donkeys and even wildlife will die from it. It is frustrating to hear national or provincial leaders talking about setting aside land for pastoral activities separate from farming.

The problem is not land demarcation. There is no grazing land that will satisfy the needs of 17 million domestic animals, three million wild animals and 50 million humans in Tanzania. And the situation is worse in Kenya as much of their land is arid.

I can bet hundreds of Maasai from Kenya have moved to Tanzania in recent years to save their cattle. Just my theory.Are we waiting to see dead livestock like in Somalia and Ethiopia in recent memory? We have a young population, all of whom were born after independence of Tanganyika in December 1961 or that of Zanzibar in December 1963 and the subsequent revolution in 1964 January. These young ones have little sense of where we are coming from.

They know where they want to go, their own land of milk and honey. They want the best that technology can offer, music and dancing, having a good time, working the minimum and outrageous fashion trends of their time with lots of flesh on display. How do they want to get there?

They want quick money with minimum effort. They are not into farming. That is for old folks. They want to do small scale mining, most want to sell goods made in China or other countries at double profit, and maybe some are into small and big time crime as con artists, robbers and forgers.

Judging by the number arrested and incarcerated outside Tanzania, young people see the drug trade as a lucrative path into lifetime wealth. How misguided. All the top millionaires of the world have gotten there through hard work and perseverance.

No country has gotten rich by doing deals. These misguided young and restless are doing deals with the devil. I hesitate to imagine what girls are willing to do to get what they think they need. WhatsApp may help them locate boyfriend number X but education is the key to opening doors to their economic and social future. Civic and religious leaders must preach and educate the public on the importance of education for life.

There is so far no substitute for knowledge and hard work. Success comes to those who are patient and diligent. No genius without hard work (Albert Einstein).

On the health front, Tanzania made a lot of progress in reducing deaths in children though immunisation and good nutrition, raising national life expectancy and tackling infectious diseases like malaria and measles. Perhaps Tanzania grew complacent. Now the nation faces a new menace of diseases of too much eating.

Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are occuring in mostly overweight persons both young and old. Kudos to top leaders for taking the initiative to promote physical exercises for all. This must go hand in hand with drastic changes in eating habits. For the overweight I have Uncle Tony’s formula.

Do not skip meals, eat three times a day. However, cut you portion to half of what you normally serve yourself. No seconds and no snacks.

Keep away from alcohol until your weight is back to normal. Eating as your usual and then doing vigorous exercise is like swallowing pebbles then rushing to the hospital for treatment. Taking a loan to pay a debt does not work.

Do not exercise in order to stuff yourself with your favorite food and beer. Reflect on your lifestyle and make changes.

tonynal eo@twi t ter: cell:+255-713246136

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