Wednesday, 15 April 2015


As Easter 2015 arrive, two episodes to reflect. Fast moving Europe.
Quarter of the year gone.   One person’s dustbin is another’s treasure. I am not sure if this old English idiom fits what I am about to present here but... let us not compare tragedies. We may discuss their implications. Tears are a reflection of pain; sorrow knows no definition.
Last week a terrible aeroplane accident was reported on the Alps in France...150 travellers, including school children and babies perished.
They were so mashed up that their families were asked to provide DNA for recognition. That is super bad. Swallow. Pause for a minute. Someone may say ah, a terrible bus accident occurred in Iringa, last month.
 50 dead. Few days later another one in Dodoma. Over 40 dead. All within the second week of March.  People die, distressfully, every day in Africa. It is like do we put it? Africa is a very tragic place.  Starvation. Motor accidents. Terrorism.  As wretched as the tropical heat. Kalahari. So what? Sahara. Hold on. These margins are incomparable.

The Alps plane disaster, we are told, was deliberately caused by a young pilot. News analysis has been looking at the life of Andreas Lubitz. That he was being treated for depression. That an ex girlfriend is alleged to have claimed that the 27 year old had said “he will do something memorable one day.” Mmmh. Let us look at depression. A word with no familiar meaning in Africa. With so much suffering, folks just plead for the Grace of God.
 In the developed world a person can have a comfortable house, car, money, education, job; everything, and still be depressed. I recall a woman I used to see here in London many years ago. Her boyfriend had left her. The heartache developed into depression and in her last years she was hobbling around with a stick. She died.
Such stories are common.
The UK national health site, lists over twenty psychological, physical and social symptoms of clinical depression. They include being tearful, unexplained aches and pains, disturbed sleep, constipation, having no motivation or interest in others, not getting any enjoyment in life, suicidal or thoughts of harming others, avoiding contact with friends, not doing well at work, etc. The Lufthansa tragedy has caused endless discussion on depression.
Wazungu society has many things that those in Africa might find hard to relate to. The way of life makes people suffer “alone” because the culture is based on individualism, privacy and the private economy. This creates feelings of loneliness in such a manner that many citizens own pets (dogs and cats) to substitute humans. Might sound strange but it is what makes mother earth round and different.
Then there are the 2015 political elections.
 Several nations e.g.  Nigeria, Belarus, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Poland, Burundi and Tanzania shall elect new national leaders. Next month, the UK, will have to choose between Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, who formed a Coalition government in 2010. Lib Dems under deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and Tories led by Prime Minister, David Cameron, face determined foes, the new political star, Nigel Farage of the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) and seasoned Labour chief, Ed Miliband. Ed Miliband is a brother of David Miliband who was in the New Labour, Tony Blair government from 1997 to 2010.
There is a group of citizens so fed up with false promises, they are not voting....However, to push gears, last Thursday, Sky TV, broadcasted an open debate between Mr David Cameron and Mr Ed Miliband. Each faced an audience of mixed gender, skills and race then was interviewed by veteran journalist, Jeremy Praxman. As I watched Praxman drilling both men I wondered whether our African leaders would ever “allow” that type of critical honesty.  
Ed Miliband for example, Oxford and London School of Economics graduate, who lectured at legendary Harvard College, was really bashed. Towards the end, journalist Praxman asked him if he felt irritated that people do not take him seriously.
“You are the leader of the opposition. You know what people say about you. It is hurtful. A bloke said to me the other day, Ed Miliband goes into a room with Vladimir Putin. The door is closed. Two minutes later, Vladimir Putin is standing there smiling and Ed Miliband is all over the floor in pieces.”
Can we dare challenge our African bosses as such? The only African leader who could be daringly personal was Idi Amin. Prior to the 1979 war, Amin provoked then President Julius Nyerere saying he could out punch him with one arm tied up. A light heavyweight boxing champion in 1951 to 1962, Idi Amin was politically, considered a clown. He butchered a quarter of million Ugandans.  The pugilist comedian was eventually, toppled by Ugandan people assisted by the Tanzanian army, under Mwalimu Nyerere.  

 Also Published in Citizen Tanzania, Easter 2015

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