IT began with Congolese music in the early 1960s when the Tanzanian music scene could have been heard anywhere in the streets of Kinshasa and Lubumbashi because our ‘jazz’ bands– without jazz music –were playing tunes lifted slap-bang into Dar es Salaam entertainment houses from the Congo.
From movement, composition and lyrics: the only difference was, instead of Lingala, the music was immediately dressed up Kiswahili.
Apparently, nobody seemed to care, even when this mimicry was sometimes used to sing accolades in praise of national leaders. Copying without acknowledgment or shame comes from minds devoid of creativity and individuals deprived of self-worth; it’s much the same sickness afflicting those who will boast in public, “Mi Mzungu, bwana!”
Oh, really, since when could someone from Kinankumbi on the slopes of the treacherous Sekenke range of hills or Muhoro on the shifting lowlands of the Rufiji Delta possibly claim to be a cousin of Prince Harry or a nephew to Charles?
Without respect to oneself, a drift into lesser sins would seem almost inevitable, from forged driving licenses to forged birth and marriage certificates; and from made-up employment recommendation to false pretenses in everything else that requires credibility and honesty in doing business.
We were once dubbed ‘Bongo-land’ ostensibly on account of our ingenuity to weather adverse economic straits and live very ‘comfortable’ lives at a time of biting commodity shortages; this was also a time when we lived on ‘rations’ of petroleum products.
But, alas, did we also weather all that on account of artful cheating? We shudder to think, let alone suggest! But, again, President John Magufuli has just sacked nearly 10,000 civil servants for having fake education certificates– in a clear response to the release of a government report into fraudulent qualifications in the public sector.
According to Prof Joyce Ndalichako, the Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, some of us had been earning our living on account of certificates rightfully earned by our relatives, even while we never appeared anywhere on official records at all.
Yes, that’s ‘Bongo-land’ indeed. Yet, there’s perhaps a way we could win some reprieve: Let’s give President Magufuli, who has given those on the list until 15 May to resign or face legal action, all the support he will need in his efforts to put this house in order –on our behalf our ‘cheating’ selves.
Yes, we need to look back and ask ourselves, “… why did we allow these people to occupy … very senior … government positions without the requisite qualifications ...?”