Speech by the Leader of Opposition in Tanzania to the Students of the University of Samford-USA.
Mr. President, the faculty, staff, students, invited guests and the public at large. Allow me to express my gratitude, for the cordial welcome at your lovely campus. It is one of a kind, and If I could, I would have stayed much longer to learn more on your success that I could take back to our young people. The environment and the surroundings are as beautiful as the people themselves. Along the way, I have met great people with great hearts, and I thank you for that.
Likewise, receive greetings from the people of Tanzania. I was quite impressed with your level of research, and the homework you have done trying to know Tanzania, I was also particularly touched by some of you in the audience that knew the geography of my country; and even trying to challenge me . Mrs. Macquire, “People of Mto wa Mbu” are definitely proud of you for being such a good Ambassador. We thank you, and Tanzania needs more of you that will help in exposing it to the people of America.
The Samford community, my journey has been long and tedious; I have travelled through hills and valleys of trials and tribulations. However, due to the need and challenges we face as a nation, physical fatigue of travel would not stop me from marching forward. I am determined to work with my countrymen to see our nation of Tanzania reach the Promised Land.
Tanzania is a great and rich country, with rich culture and rich people at heart. Her people have sent me on a study tour. They have sent me to learn the secrets of your success as a society
Tanzania is one of the most blessed countries on the face of the earth. It has abundance of natural wealth, and for those who understand the world history, know that the best game parks are in Tanzania. It is the place believed to be the cradle of mankind.
Tanzania is the home of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Serengeti national park, Ngorongoro crater, and Olduvai Gorge where the first man is believed to have lived. We have some of the world best beaches; our people are very hospitable and extremely welcoming. I welcome all of you to Tanzania
For a long time, Africa has been known as a dark continent infested with disease, poverty, starvation, illiteracy and never endings wars. This might have been created in your minds with the images in your televisions. I can’t blame you, because this is the truth you know
However, this is far from the reality. Africa and Tanzania in particular is the new frontier. Tanzania is a country rich in natural resources and only lacks human capital. It is a country with rich land and plenty of water bodies
Many African leaders are believed to come to Washington and other western capitals begging for handouts known as foreign aid. This has created a notion in the minds of many that Africans are poor and lazy.
This is not the case.
Africa is transitioning from mismanagement, dictatorship and corruption that have plagued the continent. Corruption is the main vice depriving Tanzanians and other Africans a chance to a better education, better healthcare and economic prosperity.
Well, I am not here to beg, because my country is rich. I know clearly well that, foreign aid does not come cheaply. It comes with a condition of signing up our sovereignty
I am not here for foreign aid, and CHADEMA party which I represent does not believe on foreign AID. This is my party’s philosophy, and any sane human being would not want to live off handouts, or going around begging because foreign aid is only needed as short term relief for countries coming out of calamities. Rwanda needed help to so it could emerge out of the ruins of genocide. Once it did, it became less interested on the foreign aid now a success economic story in Africa
Foreign aid is a form of slavery which creates a false sense of entitlement. It confines a beggar into a psychological and mental prison of his own creation, becoming incapable to make any meaningful decision of his own. He does not think on how to get out of his difficulties as long as he knows that, someone somewhere will help him.
CHADEMA party believes that all too often, foreign aid creates dependency by the receiving country onto the giving country and winds up in the pockets of corrupt rulers.
Foreign aid money are your taxes, your sweat which should work for your benefit not for people sitting on their wealth. More important than your dollars, are your brain trust, investments and technological advantage. This is what we need to utilize our resources and also in planning for years beyond our non-renewable resources
Our country rich in resources is being exploited by foreign entities, while our President is busy trotting the world begging for mosquito nets. With our resources, we can make our own mosquito nets without them being donated to us. Chadema party which I represent is poised to changed that, and the most important tool we need is the development of human capital
We need our resources to benefit our people. We need to create jobs for our people, we need to improve our health care, we need to improve our education, our infrastructures, communication and economy as a whole. And this is only possible if can with the wealth that we have all we need is better education for our people
We are currently having inequitable trade, where far eastern countries are exporting their poor populations to compete for jobs with our citizens. They are even exporting to us their prisoners to work on our roads yet millions of our young men have no jobs. This is not possible in any civilize society, unfortunately, because our rulers have signed contacts shrouded in secrecy whose contents are only known to them
Some of these individuals have turn to insult us as a nation. They are now interfering on our sovereignty, publicly aligning themselves with political parties. A whole ambassador standing on a political platform to address a political rally, and has ignored the public call for him to leave the country!
This is not the kind of trade we are looking for. We are looking for partners that will work with us to develop our resources in order to benefit our people; Partners that will bring to our country new skills, and also create jobs for our graduates. We need your expertise so we can turn our country into a bread basket of Africa. America is the world’s land of milk and honey where everyone wants to be, that’s the model we want to learn from
Well, we have come to realize, that if you feed us today with your milk and honey, our meals for tomorrow may not be guaranteed. We instead want to know how you made your country into a land of milk and honey so we can be able to feed ourselves for unforeseeable future and also feed the rest of the world. We have the potential but lack the expertise, and the know how is what we need
Tanzania is not an island; it is part of the global community where all humans have the liberty to visit whenever they want. Our boarders are open for all, as long as our laws and culture are respected. All we need is trade partnership that will guarantee fifty-fifty trade, in which the country benefits equally with the investor.
The younger American generation, I am inviting you to visit Tanzania; I am talking to you as the investors of tomorrow. Come and explore the endless possibilities my country has for you. We need investors that will bring into our country, a set of skills and creativity to turn our hardwood into high quality, made in Tanzania products, as opposed to bringing cheap furniture made of plywood while hauling away our valuable timber
Chadema party believes on the free market economic philosophy in which individual creativity is rewarded. We need your partnership in fostering individual innovation within our people. We don’t need your tax money; neither do we need your mosquito net donations, we need your skills.
We don’t need shoe boxes, we need to know how to make our own shoes. We need your technological know how
CHADEMA party’s priority number one is education! Priority number two is education and so is the priority number three.
We believe on education to be the only way for Tanzania to rise from the abject poverty it is in today. We have no alternative but train our young people who will in turn, employ their intellectual creativity into full practice to enable Tanzania become an economic giant in a continent long forgotten
Samford is one of the American’s finest educational institutions. It is producing some of the world finest, from school teachers to the finest lawyers. It is my hope that we see your institution open its doors to our support and in preparing Tanzania’s aspiring scientists, teachers, and accountants to become innovators.
In our effort to make our country a unique success story, I am challenging you the young people to go out to the world, and open new trails for others to follow. Tanzania has its doors open for you.
Thank you all for listening.
Dr Wilbrod Peter Slaa is the General Secretary of the Main Opposition Party in Tanzania (CHADEMA).He came second during the 2010 Presidential elections which President Kikwete won. Dr Slaa is expected to contest in the year 2015 General elections.He is the number one critique of President Kikwete’s government.
Follow me on Twitter @IamOminde