Yes. The big news was success of self made billionaire Mr Donald Trump. But for overseas Tanzanians concerns over their future overshadowed the US Presidential bomb. A conference has been called in Coventry a city in the middle of Britain; emails and WhatsUp messages frantically exchanged. Desperate phone calls keep buzzing as you read this. A plan to send a special delegation to our High Commissioner in London hatched. Next week Her Excellency,
Dr Asha RoseMigiro is expected to address the British Tanzania Society on “Current Developments in Tanzania” ...and I am certain she will be queried on this week’s horror. The issue of land for foreign based nationals.
Tanzanians have a reputation for not wanting street interviews so I have chosen ongoing comments on Jamii Forums as one way of measuring the nonstop sizzling fire.
First is the announcement by Ismani MP and Minister, Mr William Vangimembe Lukuvi that the government will take away land owned by those who have renounced citizenship. The June 2017 deadline states 400,000 certificates to be issued for livestock breeding.
Strands of reactions vary in approach, beginning with clarifications.
Listen to Nguruvi3:
“Acquiring foreign citizenship is to make life easier and not to break the law as most seem to think. Taking another nationality enables someone to get education, employment, help his family and his people...”
Second point is of national interest.
Immigrants from all over the world help their local economies by sending money home. Some individuals use their wages to run social, educational projects which would have been impossible without living in Majuu the Swahili slang for the Northern Hemisphere, or Uzunguni.
Same commentator Nguruvi3: “India and China developed using their Diaspora communities. When China was shut off from the world, she did not have the same progress as seen right now.”
What about Western Union, Money Gram, Tanzanite and hardworking overseas elites sending money back?
Nguruvi3: “Hey, it does not mean that when one acquires foreign citizenship they have no feeling for where they were born. Statistics prove that billions of shillings sent back home are equivalent to a Ministry’s or any big institution’s budget...Diasporans should be used to (develop the country) not discouraged.”
The same page of complaints discusses definition and terminology.
Zenjibaria clarifies nativity and citizenship. “You can be a citizen for several countries but you are a native of only one. Original Tanzanians are natives. To deny them the right to acquire property and land back home where they have families is against their humanity.”
Maua Kilasa adds: “I love the way Lukuvi works but on this Diaspora issue he has messed up. ....You can never sell your birth right even if you become a citizen of another country.”
But not all views are critical. Utotole, for instance, re-explains the policy. Since we do not have dual citizenship yet, the said land matter will only affect individuals who denounce their citizenship.
Anonymous asks: “You are ready to deny land to a UK based Tanzanian but a South African investor comes and is given a whole mineral mine..?.”
Plus political thoughts.
Again Nguruvi3, “I do not blame JK or Magufuli. For certain it is CCM exploiting the problems of citizens and their problems to boost power. They try avoiding important issues by one minister coming up with certain ideas that offer unnecessary stress.”
The problem is chaotic politics.
“Today we hear of institutions announcing lands, houses, and banks doing promotions etc. Who can invest in such a problematic scenario?”
Conclusion? A call on the President, “to let Diasporans know whether they are needed or not.”
I am not fond of doing lengthy quotations from one source, but I found it necessary to gauge and exemplify a generalised sketch of this very unpopular idea, i.e. through Jamii Forums. Generally, the forum tends to be fearless, sporadic and frank.
Over the years the issue of dual citizenship has hanged in the air. I have never understood why other countries, e.g. India, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria have been straightforward with such extremely useful procedure while we have dawdled, idled, lingered and wasted time. Why is this simple mechanism so difficult for our esteemed politicians to understand? The advantages of foreign based Tanzanians having a smooth position whereby they can help their roots overshadow disadvantages. Foreign living nationals tend to be patriotic and disciplined, especially those working and living legally, indeed, the majority. Their potential contribution to the economy and upkeep both intellectually and materially is of immense importance. Only a tiny fraction has any vested political or maybe, conspiratorial ambitions. Most are too busy working and rushing. Life in capitalist societies means time is money. I implore MPs, Ministers and the President to re think, re consider and embrace the bigger picture of very committed citizens.
-Published in Citizen Tanzania