All pics by F. Macha
Charismatic, High Commissioner Dr Migiro greets folks after her major address.
Squabbling is our theme word, today.
Squabble is a brawl. Scuffle. Argument. Fret.
In Swahili – mzozo, bishana, gombana, pupurana.
Squabbling can also be explained poetically.
We artists love exaggeration and flamboyance. Like the peacock. To squabble is to waste Gods precious moonlight. How about that?
Just like it happened – in May 2016. Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa was chatting to Tanzanians at the London High Commission. With him were (then) Deputy High Commissioner, Hon Msafiri Marwa and current Foreign Minister, Mr Augustine Mahiga.
High level government elites and esteemed leaders. We sat for many, many hours, and well, somewhere along the line- someone stood up and....
...we all shut up. Listened. Soon after pandemonium broke. Someone else challenged this character and as stated above we were witnessing a case of squabbling. That word. That phrase. Nightmare scenario.
Symbolic cake of unity, after a few cuts by guest of honour
Shameful and this is what being London Tanzanians meant...
An impression given to the second most powerful chief of the nation. Squabbling, overseas citizens. This was as common as drinking tea for breakfast. Watanzania London- hukinzana. Disunity reigns. Prime Minister Majaliwa intervened and appealed for us Diasporans to “stop fussing and fighting” (I am paraphrasing a Bob Marley tune here).
Thus we stayed.
Mheshimiwa Majaliwa gone...
God’s holy moonlight -time passed.
Dr Migiro flanked by left WASATU chair, Neema Kitilya and Joe Warioba of ATUK, and right, Head of Chancery Rose Kitandula
Another year. And next event was during Ramadan. Holy month.
Summer 2017. New High Commissioner, Dr Asha Rose Migiro invited wananchis – and ended with food to break the fast. Meeting was held in church.
There was abit of squabbling about that. Another long story.
Some did not quite fancy having Futari in a church.
UK churches have multiple purposes. First and foremost- to worship. Or help and assist. Homeless people may sometimes sleep in churches. Lonely people may go to churches to meditate; be silent in reflection. And of course churches may be hired for meetings and all sorts of get together- not alcohol based though. Formal serious encounters...like this one where we heard Dr Migiro pledging unity. And she kept on pushing, pressing buttons, a catalyst for change.
Come October 2017, a man called Joseph Warioba, brought together a group of forty individuals. They spoke, analysed, researched. For months.
Why are UK Tanzanians so disunited? Why are London Tanzanian leaders and groups, especially, so fond of squabbling? Within the next eight months – all sorts of discussions and trials were set in motion...
Tanzanian children sing at the ceremony. Pic by Simon Mzuwanda of ATUK
By Saturday 23 June 2018, ATUK, the Association of Tanzanians UK, finally saw over 300 folks sitting together in the small town of Reading (pronounced “redding”)...
Intellectuals, doctors, social issues campaigners like Devota Haule who fights FGM the scourge of women and girl’s suffering. Yes Female Genital Mutilation is one of the harshest problems in the world right now. Early this year, UNICEF confirmed at least 200 million sufferers from 30 countries. In FGM pain, yes. Ms Haule was here - part of this unity and meeting.
So were many others.
Like the self built trader- Hamida Mbaga – from All Things African- she says her motto is selling and exhibiting products, crafts and clothes created by Tanzanians. Or the WASATU artists - Saidi Kanda and Fab Moses – who sing traditional Tanzanian music. Mr Kanda, who we have featured here on various occasions, is a gem of Tanzanian talent. Considered one of the best percussionists in the world- Kanda is so modest – that he remains, unknown....
Several members of the High Commission led by Mama Migiro herself launched ATUK- and chopped that symbolic, special cake. Inauguration.
She danced and brushed shoulders with any who was keen. Took selfies, posed with men, women, young and old.
Networking time. Unity is the word. Dr Migiro praised the Reading youths for pushing this historic conference. Historic, indeed.
I eavesdropped and heard a cynic or two- challenging quietly that we have heard this before. We have to believe, I suggested. Being so used to failure we cannot think positively.
Positively like Simon Mzuwanda, the new Media Officer for ATUK, who insisted we have nailed it. “There are very good people in ATUK...” Mzuwanda insisted. For example the ATUK WhatsApp group was challenging how GMO is pushed into the throats of Africans. “Luckily we have people in ATUK who know what GMO is...hopefully our government officials back home won’t buy into GMO...”
As the long meet rolled on - I pulled Joseph Warioba outside.
Success, he beamed.
Failure in the past was due to selfish politics and ambitious egocentric individuals, Warioba : “We have managed to have so many people tonight thanks to having none of selfish characters...our aim is unity.... and unity means doing things that shall bring us progress, here and back home.”
Published in Citizen Tanzania - 29 June 2018