Are we Tanzanians moving forwards or backwards? Or has our train halted before we reach our promised land of prosperity?
Such questions fill the minds of my compatriots as our nation is about to ring in New Year 2019. It’s not unusual that around this time expectations, combined with anxiety, fear and frustration, grip some people’s minds, while others refine their plans for the future based on their experiences during the year now ending.
You may hear people say: “This year has passed very fast.” But all years have the same number of days, and the extra day in a leap year makes no difference in the usage of time. Every person must use time wisely to avoid regret as the world reaches another New Year because once the time is lost, it is gone forever.
Tanzanians are aware of development plans set by the government to move the nation forward, but few citizens have anything to show concerning their own development. Their only explanation is that they don’t usually plan what they do or are financially insecure.
Time to wake up
The government uses local resources and funds borrowed from external partners to carry out mega development projects, but many Tanzanians shirk away from credit facilities offered by local banks. They fear the obligations that accompany loans and end up either retarding their own development or complaining that the government lets them down.
The start of 2019 should be a time for Tanzanians to wake up to the realities of the modern world. The development journey is still on and there is no halt anywhere. It is necessary that they combine money and personal efforts to make sure things really happen.
The government will never have the time and resources to do everything for the people. Tanzanians must stop living on false hopes that their country will, from nowhere, suddenly look developed one day, with modern houses, roads, schools and beautiful farms mushrooming up.
As citizens of a country that has been politically independent for 57 years, we must form a passionate community, characterized by creativity, bold thinking and determination to achieve what makes any developed nation proud of itself.
Passion for development and hard work should be the two key drivers of increased productivity in every undertaking by new generations reaching adulthood.
In the past, people depended on cash crops to create their wealth and boost development. But the experience of recent years has proved that earnings from agricultural commodities, determined by global markets, are very unpredictable.
For this reason, we need to create an alternative economy in every region or district through the responsible development of local resources to benefit the local communities. Eventually, we should be able to pull the entire population out of poverty and move on to our desired goal.
Building for the future
The educated population is a source of hope for the transformation of rural communities that we call home and want to visit around this time of year. However, the appearance of many villages cries out for transformation from the appalling condition that has for decades reflected underdevelopment.
For nearly six decades of nationhood, rural development has not matched the standard of living in the fast growing Tanzanian towns and cities which are spawning a somewhat prosperous new class of people who hardly produce their own food.
High-rise buildings in many towns are a sign that the country’s wealth from the ground has not trickled down to the rural poor who toil on farmland, lakes and even in mines. Most of them live in makeshift dwellings without piped water and modern sanitation facilities.
These dwellings have not been built to last. When will the rural population stop living in wattle-and-daub shacks? The technology of using cement blocks or burnt bricks to build homes has been known for ages, but is not used to make the countryside attractive.
Though joblessness is rising in towns, Tanzania’s rush to progress has seen the backwaters emptying as the youth leave for urban centers hoping for a better life.
Our villages don’t need demolition crews to tear down soot-filled homes, but a new vision and changed mindset can lead the rural population in 2019 to build decent homes and give the world the opportunity to see Tanzania in a brighter light. We need progressive thinking to take the nation to the desired goal of prosperity.
This article was written by Anaclet Rwegayura. First Published By