Monday, 24 October 2011


Just contemplating on the above subject is enough to give one jitters.
Without self analysis and critical examination, one cannot be honest. Honesty is a very expensive piece of information.

Like some proof?
Ask any wealthy person to give you the price for honesty…tell them you want truth at any cost. Watch their faces; listen to the tone of their voices. You will observe a certain degree of discomfort in their reaction.
Truth is annoying and that is why we had the hacking scandal via News of The World earlier this year. The owners of News of The World kept denying. Denial is the best weapon for avoiding the truth.
London’s News of The World knew this. That’s why they interfered with the private numbers of celebrities. That is why internet hacking is the most intensive and corrosive.
Bearing in mind that dishonesty can make you lots of cash. Lots.  Equally bearing in mind that honesty makes everyone uncomfortable; including famous millionaires, ready to gag and silence those bent on revealing their truths.
Let us carry on.
I have just been back for a week.
I love my country and I adore my African continent. I have travelled and lived in many countries; and can thus compare and contrast realities.
Oh yes.
I have just been back to Tanzania. I am at a small restaurant around the city centre in Dar es Salaam.
I am with a group of foreign friends from London who say they want to eat Tanzanian food. We have visited a couple of places and noticed how our national dishes are slowly vanishing on the menu. Chips has slowly taking over while traditional meals i.e. ugali, ndizi, ubwabwa are no longer the pride and soul of popular Tanzanian food culture.
Someone I bump into along
Samora Machel Avenue
recommends this reasonably priced restaurant. You shall love their Biriani ...even their fish and chips is not so bad.”
Finally we are in; seated and comfortable.
As we happily settle down, checking and perusing the menu; the usual questions.
“Where are toilets, please?”
Few minutes later, the guys return grimacing and making faces. The females are worse off.  Not only are the toilets reeking with urine they are not flushing properly.  Whereas men may get away with the discomfort by standing up while peeing (and looking away) for women it is a loveless punishment. Women have to sit or squat. Such a beautiful restaurant, good service, wonderful food yet dirty, smelly toilets!
I approach the hotel clerk.
Luckily, she is both welcoming and accepting responsibility.
“You are right. We have told the boss; these toilets are bad …but he does not care.”
“Can’t he see he will loose business?” I say.
She shrugs.
“He does not see it that way. We have customers all the time.”
I understand. I can see why this particular restaurant owner is spoilt. His is the most common feeding place in the area; the most strategically situated hotel in this very central part of town. Not far are well loved hallmarks of Dares Salaam. The Askari Monument, Kivukoni Front Church, the harbour of peace, iconic, historic, all rolled into one. Any tourist or foreigner venturing in this area and searching for typical Tanzanian food will surely pop in. It is the most obvious location.
He could have made this place more appealing; unique, special. But question is does he care?  
He reminds me of a West African friend in Paris.
 On returning home a couple of years ago she said that she had several wealthy friends who had treated her homecoming with a  big party.
She said: “They were wonderful, hospitable and wonderful hosts. But what put me off were their toilets.”
“How do you mean?”  
“They were terrible. Great houses. Beautiful mansions, you name it. But if you want to use the toilets it puts you off.”
“Sure. I don’t understand how someone can have beautiful expensive suits, fantastic dresses, luxurious big cars, deluxe houses, huge TV sets, guard dogs, lots of money in the bank...yet have very bad dirty toilets. I cannot understand that.”
Like everyone else I wanted to know why we Africans are like that. Are we by nature dirty?   
My West African friend had a strange suggestion:
“Perhaps it is not a long time since we stopped relieving ourselves
in the bushes or having toilets outside our homes. Having toilets indoors is still a new concept and experience.”


  1. True, very true that, it is more important even to build a garage for your 4X4 but have no functioning toilet!

  2. Latrine construction and usage has been facing lots of challenges in the country it should be remembered in 70s mwalimu introduced "Mtu ni afya" campaign were we all today celebrate good coverage without consider quality, the famous choo cha bwana afya come to being thats why even today regardless to the sanitation intervention the feacal oral diseases remain prevalent. Lets have slogan Uzuri wa Nyumba choo