50 Years Angrier: On Celebrations, Riots & Revolution

Look at our country.

kenya at 50 celebrations

All 50 years of its freedom have amounted to everything you see around you today. All the freedoms that we enjoy, all the development that we witness and all the suffering that remains.

Last week, the the Creative Director at my place of work drafted a fairly sober email for one of our clients to send out on independence day. It talked of the “battles we won and the blood we’ve shed”. I had to tell him to rewrite it as it was too dark. Because if truth be told, we have tons of reasons to celebrate.

But while we’re being honest, it’s hard to remember those reasons when everyday, we are blinded by archaic injustices.

Yesterday, I happened to be a stonesthrow away from where the University riots began when they began. I read online about how the students were infuriated because one of their own supposedly committed suicide while in police custody for cheating on an exam. Students I spoke to seem to think “suicide” is a cover up. It’s not clear and I’m not here to take sides.

What is clear is that students rioted last night. And in response to the riots, police escalated from teargas and crowd control to live rounds and murder. Continue reading

East Africa Rising: Tanzania at 50

“We, the people of Tanganyika, would like to light a candle and put it on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro which would shine beyond our borders giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where there was before only humiliation.” – Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, 22 October 1959 (before independence), addressing the Tanganyika Legislative Assembly.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was just 39 years old when he led Tanganyika to independence on 9 December 1961. Today, Tanzania celebrates 50 years of independence! East Africa’s gentle giant, whose size covers the same area as Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy combined, with 123 ethnic groups, continues to be a shinning example of the African spirit of communalism and a beacon of hope for the process of nation-building and economic awakening in the region.

Focussed leadership in maximising Tanzania’s immense, untapped potential is what many argue, will be the difference in realising the country’s Vision 2025 and if the present GDP growth remains the same, the land of Kilimanjaro could well over take Kenya as the region’s largest economy by 2030. For Tanzania to do so, it is argued that the government must focus on three main sectors: agriculture, mining and energy.

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