It is another new year and with it comes good things and new goals which some of us work very hard to achieve. The rest, like me, decide not to make any goals and prefer to live each day at a time, like it is just another new day with which it brings new opportunity to live and enjoy the world and all it has to offer. In return, we give back to society in numerous ways. Still, I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every person, friends and enemies alike, a blessed New Year. My only wish is that each and every one of us will be good citizens of our respective countries and strive each and every day to make the world a better place.
I also I know most of you are waiting for part two of the back to my root blog, in which I promised to share my experience of going upcountry. I want to let you know I am still working on it because there are a lot of good things to say about upcountry, I am still trying to figure out how to fit it all in a single blog. So hold on to your horses! Today, I want to talk about about Maghufuli and all the work he needs to do, because he seems to be determined to bring change to the most peaceful country in Africa.
Over New Year’s Eve, I decided this time around that I would usher it in my neighbor’s backyard, which happens to be Tanzania. So, I took a trip to Arusha where I had heard it happens. On that night I found myself in Club D in Arusha where they had organized the New Year’s Eve bash. To say the least, the service at the club didn’t match its fame, and to say it was bad will be giving too much credit. Perhaps you can figure how awful the service was. On the other hand, they had a superb fireworks display. After the fireworks, we decided to go somewhere else to kill the rest of the night and we ended up at Seblem, which is owned by Mugo, who happens to be a Kenyan. The services there were okay, but the place was packed as they had lined a bunch of entertainment gigs.
The following day being a Friday, I decided to take a trip to Moshi, which is not far from Arusha. It is about 80km, which in essence should not take you more than 1.5hrs, but it ended up taking over 3hours because there were traffic officers almost each kilometer and it took the hand of God for me not to be stopped because I was driving a car with Kenyan registration numbers. I am told they have this myth that we Kenyans have a lot of money and we don’t care dishing it out at every moment we get a chance to do so. One thing is for sure: those Tanzanian traffic officers are good at finding the smallest problem because to them, it’s a chance to ask for a bribe or to fine you, and the fine has to be paid on the spot. So the 160km journey to and from took me around 5 hours total, and I ended up spending so much money paying fines and bribes that it would have been cheaper for me to board a plane or even worse, hire a chopper.
Now, apart from the thuggery on roads by traffic officers, I learned very quickly that they are not the only ones who take advantage of foreigners. I went to a certain shop and I wanted to buy some sandals and when I asked the customer assistant how much they were, he quoted me a price of 80000 Tanzanian shillings. Then, when I went to check out, the cashier tried charging me 120000 Tanzania shillings, but when I protested, he went ahead and charged me the correct amount. As I was leaving the shop, I could hear the cashier cursing at the attendant in their mother tongue for not marking up the price.
But with all said and done, Tanzania is a beautiful country with a lot of potential and resources. If only they can figure out how to utilize their fertile land and resources, then Tanzania will be on whole different level. Now they have Maghufuli who has become a symbol of enforcing accountability and responsibility in the public sector; he is loved within and outside their borders, and hopefully he will keep up with the same momentum and maybe by chance other African presidents will be inspired by him to follow his footsteps.
My only wish is that one-day, the Tanzanian people will have the freedom to criticize their government and not fear it, and that someone will instill some sense into the police force to treat foreigners equally as their own citizens.