Dar es Salaam. CHADEMA national chairperson Freeman Mbowe on Friday failed to hide his disappointment with the youth of Tanzania whom he criticized for failing to effectively use their majority to foster positive transformations in the East African nation.
Mr Mbowe, 60, was speaking in the northern region of Shinyanga during a conference CHADEMA organised to commemorate International Youth Day. Marked every year on August 12, this year’s International Youth Day took place under the theme Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.
“We have a very weird country,” Mr Mbowe, who was the guest of honour at the conference, said in his impassioned speech. “A country where its people never get angry. This is a very strange country.”
Mr Mbowe took issue with what he considered the passivity of Tanzanian youth, especially when it comes to issues of standing up to authorities when they implement policies that end up hurting ordinary Tanzanians.
“We want people who can question through actions,” Mr Mbowe remarked. “You keep on saying that the majority of this country are the youth. So what? Majority in doing what exactly? This issue should not make you laugh. It should anger you instead.”
He blamed the phenomenon of passivity on the type of education that most Tanzanian youth receives, criticising it as a type of education that lowers people’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Mr Mbowe said the type of education provided to Tanzanians today is worse than what colonialists used to offer their Tanganyikan subjects, underscoring the need for much-vaunted education reforms that would deliver the country to the future.
“Education itself is being provided discriminately,” Mr Mbowe said during the conference. “People who formulate education policies that end up hurting our people their children do not study at the same schools our children do. This is not acceptable.”
He said that Tanzania was in huge demand now for “the transformation of the mindset” of its people. He said that the youth should be leading the struggle to demand this transformation from the frontline.
“The youths of this nation are supposed to take efforts to demand changes in this country,” Mr Mbowe told his fellow CHADEMA cadres during the conference. “Each generation must fight for changes necessary to take place during that time.”
Mr Mbowe also expressed disappointment over the level of disparity in terms of development among those living in urban areas and their rural counterparts.
He blamed this on the “discriminative distribution of the country’s resources,” saying if this issue is not resolved amicably would lead to “a disaster in a very near future.”
“When people see no improvement is happening in their lot, they lose hope,” Mr Mbowe warned. “Because of people who lose hope. That is the recipe for civil strifes.”
Mr Mbowe also touched on the ongoing “reconciliation” process between CHADEMA, the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and the government, pleading for patience among CHADEMA members.
“We should be calm and resolute,” Mr Mbowe pleaded. “The process is progressing and it will be finalised. It is not easy to reconcile with people who were accustomed to oppressing their opponents. The process might be progressing slowly but it is progress nevertheless.”