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Embracing the Orchestra of Voices: Ensuring Inclusive Dialogue on Tanzania’s DP World Deal

When we silence voices, we risk losing the harmony that our unity in diversity provides.

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As our beloved country stands at the precipice of a transformative economic venture – the DP World deal – ensuring that the national discourse is not a solo performance but an orchestra of diverse voices is crucial. Any attempts to drown out dissenting voices in this significant dialogue is a profound disservice to the democratic ethos we, as a nation, cherish.

Let me draw your attention to an unsettling event that unfolded recently. A notable former spokesperson for a famous Tanzanian football team sought to repress voices by recalling historical land transactions during the colonial era. The Port of Dar es Salaam, the nerve centre of the DP World deal, is located on this said land.

His contention was straightforward but disconcertingly misleading – because the port was located on land once sold to the Arab community, only voices from certain regions, specifically Dar es Salaam, had the legitimacy to participate in discussions about the port’s future. This misguided attempt to muffle a national dialogue is alarming and ill-suited to the democratic principles we hold dear.

Let’s consider the wise words of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the father of our nation. He fervently advocated for unity, arguing that discrimination, tribalism, and regionalism serve only to undermine the strength of our nation. 

READ MORE: How the Port Deal Discussion Is Testing Samia’s Resolve to Protect Civic Space

He often spoke of Tanzania not as a mosaic of tribes or regions but as a unified nation bound by a shared destiny and common aspirations. He would undoubtedly rebuke this attempt at regional exclusion if he were alive today.

Indeed, Mwalimu Nyerere would likely pose a pointed question to the former football spokesman, “Is the future of Tanzania to be dictated by the past, or should it be a reflection of the shared hopes and aspirations of all Tanzanians, regardless of their geographical location?” It is a question that we should all ponder as we navigate the complexities of the DP World deal.

Our Tanzanian democracy thrives on the rich diversity of its people – it’s a melody composed of varied notes. When we silence voices, we risk losing the harmony that our unity in diversity provides. The robustness of our democracy is echoed in our willingness to listen, comprehend, and consider differing perspectives, even when they question popular narratives or decisions.

READ MORE: Debate Around Tanzania-Dubai Deal Gets Ugly As Critics Claim To Receive Threats

In the case of the DP World deal, this approach is even more crucial. This venture is not merely a regional endeavour. It is a national undertaking, its ripples destined to be felt across the length and breadth of our beloved nation. It promises prosperity and the potential for unprecedented change – a prospect that necessitates widespread dialogue.

From the highlands of Kilimanjaro to the islands of Zanzibar, every Tanzanian, regardless of their geographical location, deserves to voice their concerns, hopes, and ideas concerning the DP World deal. Our national dialogue should be a confluence of these varied narratives – a testament to our vibrant democracy.

It’s essential to remember that decisions made today will shape the trajectory of our nation for generations to come. As such, these decisions cannot be the preserve of a select few, influenced by narrow perspectives or historical biases. We are charting the future of Tanzania – a task that requires collective wisdom.

READ MORE: Will DP World Issue Influence Tanzania’s 2025 Electoral Politics?

The DP World deal has far-reaching implications. It can potentially affect employment, influence environmental sustainability, and reconfigure geopolitical dynamics. As such, it requires carefully considering all Tanzanians, not just a select few.

In the spirit of Mwalimu Nyerere, let’s forge ahead, pledging to champion every voice, rebuke any attempts at silencing dissent, and uphold the democratic principles we hold dear. 

Let’s ensure that our journey towards progress is not a lonely march but a collective stride that echoes the spirit of unity and inclusive dialogue that Tanzania embodies.

Paul Mdumi is the Executive Director of the Zanzibar Interfaith Centre, which promotes peace through interfaith and intercultural dialogue. He is available at or on Twitter as @Rev_MdumiJR. These are the writer’s own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of The Chanzo. Do you want to publish in this space? Contact our editors at for further inquiries.

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