This article was written and shared by Deogratias Rweyongeza (PhD) to a specific online community known as Friends of Bukoba (FoB) of which he is a co-founder. It underscores the negative impact of the community’s complacency and lack of self-actualisation that has reproduced a kind of docility and self-induced weakness, which has eventually impaired the community and paved the way for an oppressive regime to flourish in the face of a seemingly educated population. The core of the discussion and the cogence of his argument obviously go beyond Bukoba. SAUTI KUBWA republishes this work verbatim in appreciation of the author’s effort in awakening his complacent home community, his country and the world. Read on.
SOME of you will remember that when Geita Region published their plan to create a larger Chato Region by taking out Biharamulo, Ngara Districts and part of Muleba District, I wrote a long comment about this. Bishop Benson Bagonza and Prof. Anna Tibaijuka also commented about the ill intentions of that plan, and they were quoted in Tanzania newspapers and on the Internet.
This was good and I personally thank them for making their opposition known and at least putting Kagera’s voice on the record that Kagera was opposed to the Chato plan that would lead to destruction of Kagera Region.
Kagera Region should have made a much stronger public opposition to the Chato Region plan. Chato is free to create a new region provided that region does not involve any area of the current Kagera Region. In the defense world, there is something called PROVOCATIVE WEAKNESS, which you can also rephrase and call it WEAKNESS IS PROVOCATIVE.
This concept is well-established among conservatives who tend to be stronger in issues of national defense than the liberal minded individuals. The fact is that, when you display weakness in such a way that others believe that you will not take action when offended, or you are unable to act or strike back, you will always be a target for aggression. This is true both in the military and in life in the community.
For many years, the late John Pombe Magufuli (JPM) was one of the MPs for Kagera Region. JPM understood the strengths and weaknesses of Kagera Region and especially Bukoba and the Haya people.
This is why the creation of Chato Region by dividing Kagera Region started over 10 years ago by taking Chato District out of Kagera to create Geita Region as a transitional stage that would see him dividing Geita Region in 10 years to merge it with about another half of Kagera Region to create a much larger Chato Region.
As president of Tanzania, JPM would drive public investments in Chato and change the political dynamics of West Lake forcing the remaining part of Kagera Region (Bukoba and Karagwe) to submit to the powers in Chato. Why did JPM and his Chato people do this? It is because JPM was aware that Bukoba and Haya people have this PROVOCATIVE WEAKNESS.
For sure, the JPM understood that, people in the rest of Kagera Region would be offended by dividing Kagera Region along ethnic (tribal ) lines and reducing the region into a small insignificant area in the country by taking out its land and reducing its population and political voting powers. On the other hand, JPM understood from experience that the people in Bukoba and Karagwe would not speak up to oppose what was happening.
They would simply complain among each other and move on as they have always done for other things. In the end, JPM and Chato get what they want and the remaining Kagera get to learn how to live in an insignificant region in the country. I am not speaking of this as an offence to the people of Bukoba.
For many years now even when I was still leaving in Morogoro, I was aware from what I saw in other regions of the country, listened in Tanzania parliamentary debates, and looking at the evolving landscape of the country that people in Bukoba are:
(a) Not courageous enough to ask for what they want and think they deserve. This is why it has taken so long to get transportation infrastructures the region greatly needed to remain connected to the rest of the country until JPM came to rescue them.
(b) Afraid of making their opinions known even when they believe they have been wronged.
(c) Complacent about what is happening around them (if something does not affect me and my family personally, why should I care; move on with your life).
(d) Late to enter into a game even when the direction of change is very clear. A good example is being late to get into a public university in Bukoba. Our religious dioceses were also late to grab a piece of Tumaini and SAUT universities to establish JOKUCO and CARUMUCO. If JOKUCO and CARUMUCO had been established early enough and left to grow, JPM rules that came after 2016 would not have killed them.
JPM rules came into effect when these institutions were still too young to survive the changes. Other university colleges connected to Tumaini (e.g. University of Iringa, etc.) and SAUT (Ruaha Catholic University in Iringa, etc.) have survived JPM rules because they had been there for a while and grown to offer acceptable academic standards and staffing requirements the government imposed.
Yesterday when speaking to the bishops at TEC, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said that colleges such as I have mentioned here were affected because they could not meet standards and staffing rules. These colleges may be revived but, it is fair to admit that being late to get into games has consequences. The consequence of this is that “Kakiweyo Achumita omukila“. If you wait too long and get in the game late, you will either get leftovers or nothing.
I can say more about these issues but for now it is enough.
Moving forward, Bukoba must learn to protect what it already has while aggressively pursuing additional opportunities as they come. It is not a sin to advocate for your interest and protect yourself from harm if you see one.
If you do not do that, others will do and leave you behind only remembering how great Bukoba used to be. The young generation can change that, but they have to learn from us.
PLEASE SIGN YOUR NAME
For now, to help oppose the division of Kagera Region for the creation of Chato Region, I have created a spreadsheet in our FOB Gmail account. It is available on the link below. Fill in the required information; it just takes two minutes to do that.
Another smart way for Kagera Region to defeat the division of the region is to ask a question in the Parliament Question Period session. In the parliament, the Question Period session is where you can ask anything you want and demand answers from the minister and government. Kagera MPs should use this opportunity to oppose dividing Kagera and also put Chato MP and his brothers and sisters on the defense of their plans. A question go like this.
“Mheshimiwa Spika. Halmashauri ya mkoa wa Geita imetangaza mpango wake wa kutengeneza Mkoa wa Chato. Mpango huo unajumuisha wilaya za Biharamulo, Ngara na baadhi ya kata za wilaya ya Muleba kutoka mkoa wa Kagera. Wananchi wa mkoa wa Kagera tumesikitishwa na kukasilishwa sana na mpango huu kwa vile umelenga kudhoofisha mkoa wa Kagera kiuchumi, kisiasa na kiutamaduni.
Aidha, wilaya na sehemu zilizopangwa kuondolewa mkoani Kagera ni zile ambazo wakazi wake wanaongea lugha tofauti na sehemu iliyobaki ambazo ni wilaya ya Bukoba, Muleba, Missenyi, Karagwe na Kyerwa. Mpango wa kuugawanya mkoa wa Kagera kwa misingi ya kikabila kunapaswa kuwakasilisha Watanzania wote kwa vile nchi yetu inajivunia sana umoja wa kitaifa usio jali kabila, dini na ta tofauti nyingine za asilia tulizo nazo nchini. Je:
(a) Waziri wa TAMISEMI atawahakikishia wananchi wa mkoa wa Kagera kwamba hakuma hata futi moja ya ardhi ya mkoa wa Kagera itahamishiwa mkoani Chato?
(b) Waziri wa TAMISEMI atakubaliana na mimi kwamba kuudhoofisha mkoa wa Kagera siyo njia mwafaka ya kuenzi kumbukumbu ya Raisi Magufuli kwa vile kama mbunge wa zamani wa mkoa wa Kagera, isinge kuwa na tija kwa Rais Magufuli kuudohosifa mkoa wa Kagera baada ya Wilaya ya Chato kuhamishiwa mkoa wa Geita?
(c) Waziri wa TAMISEMI atakubaliana na mini kwamba mikoa ya Kanda ya Ziwa tayari ni midogo sana kulinganisha na mikoa mingi ya Tanzania, na kwa hiyo hakuna faida yoyote kwa Watanzania zaidi ya kuongeza gharama za kuendesha serikali kuongeza mikoa mingine kaskazini magharibi mwa Tanzania?
(d) Tunaomba ndugu zetu wa wilaya ya Chato wanajue kwamba wananchi wa mkoa wa Kagera wanatambua wazi kwamba Chato ni sehemu ya jadi ya Biharamulo na mkoa wa Kagera. Hivyo, kama wilaya ya Chato inataka kujiondoa mkoani Geita, inakaribishwa tena kurudi mkoani Kagera kama mwana mpotevu anayerudi kwa baba na mama yake bila sharti lolote.
The problem is that the obvious favoritism JPM was doing to Chato disregarding complaints and ridicule that were widespread in the Internet and gossips, made people of Chato gain a great sense of entitlement and see themselves as a form of ruling class.
We must defeat this. If we do not speak out, they will pursue it to a point where Kagera will no longer be able to resist being divided.
The author, Deogratias Rweyongeza, (PhD, P.Biol.) lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.