Friday, 30 October 2015


Living overseas and switching on mainstream TVs –early this week- the headlines were not Tanzania’s elections but the meat issue. As for international politics of governance, – Sunday October 25th appeared to incorporate  elections in over five nations, Ivory Coast, Poland, Argentina, Congo Brazzaville and Tanzania...  Speaking of Tanzania, London’s BBC and other major channels hardly mentioned her on Sunday.
It was Al Jazeera.

 Reviewing the approximate length of the report by Catherine Wambua-Soi (the Nairobi based correspondent) from Dar es Salaam, it was barely longer than 2 minutes. Argentina held the reins (five -7minutes, approx), Ivory Coast (3 minutes), Congo Brazzaville (3 minutes), Poland (3-5mins), etc.  Made you wonder why Tanzania’s image of peace never creates world media interest. It is as though without mischief and wickedness there is no NEWS...

 During elections, footage of various political leaders posing as they cast votes is the usual norm. However, there was none of that except residents queuing in Dar es Salaam, while the narration alleged 3,000 people could not vote in a suburb.
“But generally there were very few irregularities...” the Al Jazeera journalist concluded positively.
As noted, Argentina had the longest report.
 Congo Brazzaville, too.  President Denis Sassou Nguesso (in power since 1979) is going for a third term. The unfairness (similar to that of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza) was countered by an old lady interviewed in a busy, sunny Congo street. It is better President Nguesso continues as this will ensure peace, she said, while protesting youths were filmed shouting angrily amidst several deaths.
Reminded us of Middle East’s ticking bomb.
 2016 US election Republican Party candidate, billionaire Donald Trump, told CNN on Sunday “...Look at what happened. Libya is a catastrophe. Libya is a disaster. Syria is a disaster. The whole Middle East ...Iraq is the Harvard of terrorism and a training ground for terrorists. If you look at Iraq from years ago, I am not saying Saddam was a nice guy. He was a horrible guy but it was better than it is now.”
No conflict, no excitement.
One of Mwalimu Nyerere's major legacy is a peaceful Tanzania...we take that for granted. Pic from Umoja wa Wapanda Baiskeli (Uwaba) Blog

To get any news from Tanzania you had to rely on social networking sites, blogs and the odd mobile/ cell phone, chat. Going through blogs. Michuzi had mostly CCM leaders from different areas of the country. A photo of “civilian looking” modest outgoing President Kikwete was impressive. By Sunday evening, these scanty, laboured sources relayed an opposition landslide.  Come Tuesday, I read CCM January Makamba’s circulating email-advising Tanzanians not to trust social networking sites and wait for “real” results. Figures of CCM’s 176 win against 264 seats began emerging.
By Wednesday morning I received a text, “Magufuli leading; CHADEMA losing; the opposition concentrated too much on Lowassa and forgot the MPs...”
Are you sailing with the thread here?
It is not easy for the average overseas citizen to follow crucial news back home...
Not until Thursday the 29th.  Officially.
Then we knew...
And so...?
The major headline was meat.
We love meat.
In recent years, nevertheless, meat has become a problem; what with the habit of storing and preserving it in ingredients that make it...oops... poisonous. On Monday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a statement warning processed meat is “carcinogenic” and based on hundreds of studies, linked to various bowel cancers. . By processed this signifies: salted, cured or having chemicals added to enhance flavour.   Such cancers include “colon, colorectal” and are as “dangerous” as asbestos and cigarette smoking- the big cancer killers.
The news was rejoiced by vegetarians.
I listened to various Radio debates and, it was argued that vegetables as well, are shipped from far off lands and stored for weeks in plastic bags and freezers to be sold in supermarkets. “Is it not a similar problem?” Was the continuous question.
What does this imply?
There is a growing trend to question how and what we eat.  A return to nature. Eating naturally, staying close to organic ingredients; watching our earth; consciousness and awareness. Early this month it was the issue of plastics and now meat.  
Therein lays Friday’s song.
 Africa is one of the places where natural stuff is still abundant.
However, the rise of urban culture (as opposed to rural innocence), commercialisation of food and a need to modernise, we are picking up where Wazungus stumbled. While developed societies have discovered the power and beauty of natural products from Africa e.g. Aloe Vera, Coconuts and Baobabs; we seem behind that.  Like this column suggested last week:  we need to exercise and do things like Yoga. Yoga for elites and leaders.
What WHO is warning is not to stop eating meat.  Consume less meat, especially when it is not free range, natural or treated with dangerous chemicals.  Everything in moderation. 

 Published in Citizen Tanzania, Friday 30th October, 2015


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