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Should We Amalgamate Parliament With the State House? 

We cannot and should not go on feeding all these institutional babies.

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Well, I guess it was about time. In Tanzania, we are well known for our high fertility rate, and I guess it also refers to the birth of ministries, departments, agencies, and organisations, including non-governmental ones. 

And not forgetting the need to feed all such organisations with luxury cars and massive so-called subsistence allowances of every kind. No wonder our institutions are suffering from severe obesity while the non-institutional borns suffer from stunting.

So yes, definitely, we cannot and should not go on feeding all these institutional babies. And I hope this is just a start, not just amalgamating but reducing their obscene obesity. 

So, in celebration, I took myself to my favourite sitting room to amalgamate Konyagi and tonic water into one satisfying drink, accompanied by another traditional Tanzanian amalgamation of egg and chips, otherwise known as zege

If only all amalgamations were as fast and effective as these two, our development trajectory would undoubtedly be much changed. What other amalgamations, I asked myself.

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One that particularly concerns me since I have done a lot of work in rural districts is when we will be able to amalgamate the two offices of District Commissioner and District Executive Director. 

In the not-so-distant past, the situation was quite simple. If you went to work in a rural district, you presented yourself to the District Executive Director, who oversaw the validity and utility of the work you wanted to do and provided ongoing permissions to work with relevant district and sub-district officials and communities. 


This was a relatively simple, cost-effective and rapid way to get to work. If you leave aside the poverty-stricken social welfare department, the relevant officials were present and ready to work with you.

However, under the previous administration, apart from the ever-increasing paranoia about anyone visiting the communities and seeing something that might bring a bad light on the local or national administration, a parallel structure was developed in the office of the District Commissioner.

This has undoubtedly been an excellent opportunity for employing the previously unemployed, but it has led to a huge amount of duplication and unnecessary expense. The same is true at the regional level as well.

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No doubt someone will tell me they all have plenty of work to do, but surely that is the first law of bureaucracy: create a job, and the person employed in that job will certainly create a lot of work – usually at the expense of the poor people who have to confront it – to justify their existence. 

More papers, more regulations, more reports, less actual work.

Then, while meditating over my amalgamations, I realised there was a lot of noise coming from the other side of the sitting room. I was surprised as no green or red matches were on television that day. 

But when I looked, I realised it was the meeting of my old friend Mr Makengeza – the guy with the squint for those who can’t keep up with the national language – and his group, who were holding their own meeting to discuss the same amalgamations. 

I had to ask one of the servers what was going on. She informed me that, as usual, the group was being led by the Supu-eaker or, as she called him, the Supu-eater. It seems that, as usual, to keep his MSRs (Members of the Sitting Room) happy, he had amalgamated their soup with some stronger drink. 

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As a result, they were becoming decidedly unruly, even in their recommendations. I decided to listen to their meeting.

Full-scale amalgamation

“Honourable Supu-eaker, we need a full-scale amalgamation programme. First of all, we should amalgamate cars.”

“What do you mean amalgamate cars? Do you want to mate a V8 with an IST?”

“No, no, no. Why does every officer have to travel in his or her own car? Total waste of money.”

“For security reasons. What happens if all the signatories to an account, God forbid, have an accident? Who will pay us, whoops, I mean the community, then?”

“But how often does that happen? In the meantime, how long can you pay us, whoops, I mean the community, when so much money is wasted on unnecessary cars and trips? No wonder everyone is building petrol stations everywhere, even next to our sitting room here.”

Another MSR intervened. “You are right. It is just another excuse for spending money on these guys. Before you know it, they will all demand their private chopper not to waste time on the way.”

“Sshhh, don’t give them ideas. They’re already using our planes for their trips. Choppers are next.”

Then came the craziest idea of all. True, the amalgamation of supu and vodka was something else. One guy stood up on wobbling legs.

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“You know it’s time to amalgamate Parliament with State House or with PO-RALG.”

Even his fellow MSRs were shocked.

“What are you talking about? These are two different pillars of government.”

“But what happens when one pillar collapses? Or when one pillar is just there as decoration? Just amalgamate them and think how much money you will save. All those Mavi 8s, posho ya mipasho, night allowances, day allowances, other meeting allowances, the list is endless.”

His fellow MSRs shouted him down. 

“No way, no way. We have an independent parliament of independently elected members without being removed from the ballot like those other scoundrels. They are all independent thinkers, paragons of diversity – look at the list of universities which gave them degrees. It is unlike the Brits, where half the members come from one school. Long live our MPs.”

Another MSR stood up and swayed in the wind like a tottering pillar.

“You mean Mama Praisers? I have a different idea. Let’s abolish parliament altogether. After all, most of our budget is not even accountable to them. Or maybe we should have a lower house, the HIMs (House of Internal Members). 

“They can be elected or even appointed – why waste money on an election that everyone knows who will win – how can we forget the maxim ushindi ni lazima, by hook or by crook, more hook than crook? 

“And be there for five years, producing hot air from their Mavis and speeches. But the most important is the HERs, House of External Representatives. We should elect our donors … 

At this point, the meeting descended into chaos as the MSRs started banging on their tables with their soup bowls.

Richard Mabala is an educator, poet, and author. He is available at or on X (Twitter) as @MabalaMakengeza. These are the writer’s own opinions, and they do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of The Chanzo. Do you want to publish in this space? Contact our editors at for further inquiries.

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One Response

  1. Thank you Bwana Mabala! This is a hat trick: superbly sobering satire that is timely, thoughtful and terse although it might inspire incandescent indignation among the egregiously entitled elites.

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