The Chanzo is hosting Digital Freedom and Innovation Day on April 20, 2024. Register Here

Close this search box.

Surely Tanzanians Do Not Want to See Their Beloved Leaders Being Humiliated on Their Behalf, Do They?

No, we don’t, which is why we want to see them living as we do and ensuring that we fund our development and social services.

subscribe to our newsletter!

Now that the original fuss has died down over whether or not a cabinet minister should know what is happening in their ministry, I would like to comment a bit further. 

Of course, the first issue is that food purchased by donors, whether it be for refugees, school feeding, or even for dealing with the obesity of the ruling class, should be purchased here in Tanzania. 

With all due respect to the people of this country or those who I very much doubt have no idea, the people of our country, especially the farmers, would appreciate their own crops being bought, not only because they have a market but also because it ensures that their marketability is not destroyed by the influx of food from outside. 

Of course, if no food exists, that is a different case. And it can be done. For example, the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2022 purchased over 12,000 metric tonnes of locally produced fortified maize meal to be included in the food basket that supports refugees living in Tanzania’s two refugee camps.

“Purchasing maize, pulses, and vegetable oil locally in Tanzania, or providing cash transfers with which refugees can purchase food from markets near the camps, supports the economy and local Tanzanian farmers,” the United Nations organisation said.

READ MORE: Can We Please Concentrate on Developing Our Own Spirituality Instead of Imposing It on Others?

By the way, I hope to see someone, our ministering mini-stars or emergency committees, buying locally produced food for our compatriots in Rufiji. What kind of Eid they are enjoying, God only knows!


However, I would like to consider a more fundamental issue. Let me start with an example which I have used before. In one of my work assignments, I looked at child protection mechanisms in the community in different nationwide districts. 

I went to one district with a marvellous system, a one-stop shop which involved bringing all actors together –community development, judge, social welfare, etc.– in one place instead of everyone doing their own thing; trained and effective community committees, accountability, etc. It was impressive, so I had to ask the district officials:

“So, how did you manage this? What is the budget?”

“120 million U.S. dollars.”

“Wow, how can you pay all that?”

“Oh no, we don’t. A donor paid 116 million U.S. dollars, and our council paid four million U.S. dollars.”

“So, that means that if the donor pulls out, that is the end of the programme?”

He laughed and almost put a fatherly arm around my shoulder.

“Come on, Mabala, you know how things work. They will never pull out; we are their justification for existing and being paid their beautiful salaries. So what’s the problem?”

“You mean …”

“Yes. You know it’s so great. We rely on donors for nearly all our social services, whether wafadhili, mafedhuli, or wafa na dili. We know they will pay. So in our budgets, we only have to allocate a little to the social services, lip service, you know, and then we can concentrate on other, more important issues.”

READ MORE: Are Suits Suitable? A Meditation on Clothing

I didn’t dare ask what other important issues were as I looked out the window at the 4x4s congregating in the car park. But it set me thinking. How come our rulers lead such extravagant lives with Maviii8s and their massive poshos and national celebrations left, right, and centre when such poverty still exists in our society? 

And the answer came easily. Of course, they can because the money that should have been allocated to our ruzuku in schools, medicines in hospitals, or even digging latrines in every school depends on the donors, not on our own wealth creation through taxation, etc. 

If they don’t give it, we can continue pestering this or that one, whether they be wafadhili, mafedhuli, or wafa na dili, until we can trumpet to the world that three and a half schools now have latrines thanks to the donors. 

And when election years come around, and a lot of money is wasted again on unnecessary expenses, we can trumpet: Elect me, choose us; we are the ones. Look at all those lovely latrines we have dug, our wonderful child protection system, free medicines, and food for our schools. Elect us, choose us, and put us in power so we can serve you more and more.

Even though we only contributed minimally to all these benefits! So I suggest that, especially in election years, donors stand up and say: “The time has come to finance your own social services. If you want to be elected, put your money where your mouths are instead of using our money to gain your legitimacy and electability.”

READ MORE: Are Tanzanian Leaders Living In the Country They Purport to Lead?

I am 100 per cent certain that if that were to happen, what would you think would happen? Of course, I hear you say: “But donors have been exploiting us all these years; this is repayment, a little repayment for all that exploitation.”

The answer is simple. Then, you should be fighting for a fairer trading system instead of financing your luxurious lives with money that should go to the people of Tanzania. We don’t need to stress the people of this country or that. We, the people of Tanzania, should depend on our leaders and rulers to do the right thing for us.


So, let me finish with one final story. After gaining their independence, many Bangladeshis were fiercely proud of their independence as a community and nation. So, there was a self-reliance movement of 60 villages in one part of the country that refused to receive any outside aid. 

“If we want external aid, it means that our beloved leader will have to beg on our behalf from foreign countries,” the villagers argued. “We do not want our beloved leaders to be humiliated on our behalf, so we want nothing from outside.”

Wow! I am sure that here in Tanzania, we also do not want to see our beloved leaders humiliated on our behalf, which is why we would really like to see them live as we do and ensure that we fund our development and our social services. 

We can do what we can, and they should do what they can, concentrating on the community rather than themselves. Then we can all stand tall together.
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.

Digital Freedom and Innovation Day
The Chanzo is hosting Digital Freedom and Innovation Day on Saturday April 20, 2024 at Makumbusho ya Taifa.

Register to secure your spot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *