Towns near Barrick Gold mine demand US$ 28.3 million agreed share

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Barrick Gold operates a mine on the island of the Dominican Republic (borders with Haiti), called the Pueblo Viejo mine. It is one of the largest gold mines in the Dominican Republic.

In the Dominican Republic, there exists an Environment Law which requires that 5% of net profits from mining activities is delivered to the surrounding communities (towns and villages) for the purpose of investing in development projects in the region and as important, to have the funds to deal with the problems caused to the environment by the mining company’s activities.

The problems, crises and scandals of Barrick Gold in the Dominican Republic go back some six years:

2010 :
>   Barrick’s mine workers strikes caused the Labor Ministry to investigate if Barrick were respecting their workers’ rights.
>   There were THREE setbacks for Barrick in 2010, including calls to review the exploitation contract over alleged non‐binding clauses on environmental cleanup, and food poisoning which sickened hundreds of workers.
>   In addition, the Senate Environmental Commission asked the Presidency to review the gold mining contract with Barrick to obtain better advantages and compensate affected communities.
>   Reports exposed Barrick as being dishonest about poisoning more than 300 Barrick workers at the Pueblo Viejo mine.

2012 :
Activists demand to ban cyanide outside Barrick’s offices

2013 :
>   Government halts Barrick gold shipment worth millions at the airport due to Barrick not reaching an agreement with the government.
>   The Congress said it wants a “more favorable” contract with Barrick for their mine. The original contract was made in 2009 but looked upon suspiciously.
>   Residents sue Barrick’s mine for poisoning rivers, causing illnesses and the death of farm animals.
>   Government halts yet another Barrick shipment at the airport in effort for Barrick to reach an agreement with the government. Customs official inspect the shipment and find alleged irregularities resulting in Barrick being fined US$ 96 Million.

2015 :
>   Court application filed for an injunction to halt Barrick’s local mining operation
Reports of environmental damage to local residents as far as an hour away from Barrick’s mine.
>   Farmers there say that even the cattle refuse to drink the water!

2016 :
>   Barrick back in court to defend land dispute cases from local farmers. Hundreds of farmers gathered at the Land Court for the fifth hearing in their case against the Barrick.
Hundreds of people sued the mining company to demand payment for the farmers’ properties.

All in all, this mine appears to be another success story for Barrick Gold’s Balance Sheet and good profits for their shareholders, whilst for the local residents living in the towns and villages in the region of the Pueblo Viejo mine, it is nothing short of a nightmare. Another Barrick Gold nightmare.

And now, to add insult to injury, these same local residents are not receiving the 5% of net profits from the Pueblo Viejo mining activities that is laid down in the above-mentioned Environment Law.

It was reported that yesterday (Monday) that hundreds of community leaders and residents of towns and villages directly affected by Barrick Gold’s mine at Pueblo Viejo gathered in the nearby town of Cotuí, the capital of the Province to demand that Dominican President, Danilo Medina and the Congress will follow the Environment Law and release the 5% allocation of the profits which the government received from Barrick.

The communities including farmers have a group organization called “Campaign to Develop Mining Communities“. The purpose of this “Campaign” is to ensure that every peso of the 5%, that the Environment Law specifies must be paid to the communities, is used ONLY to develop projects and NOT to end up in the hands of corrupt politicians “as has been the case on previous occasions”.
This Campaign is there both to ensure the 5% is collected and also that the 5% is utilised correctly.

Sister Luisa Suarez, head of the Training Center for Women, CEFORMOMALI, who served as spokeswoman for the group, said that “It’s a shame that naturally rich communities live in poverty, and whose basic needs go unmet. Our communities are among the poorest in the northern region”.

According to figures provided by the organisers, until 2014 the government had failed to hand over more than RD$1.3 billion (US$ 28.3 million) to the mine’s surrounding towns, the amount representing the 5% of profits from all activities of mining and exporting gold and other valuable metals.

The towns and villages in the region of Barrick Gold’s Pueblo Viejo mine desperately need their 5% for the purpose of investing in development projects in the region and as important, maybe even more important, to have the finances available to deal immediately with the problems caused to the environment by Barrick’s mining operations. We all know what environment tragedies have come from Barrick’s mine and who takes responsibility?

Is Barrick responsible for this 5% not having been paid over to the towns and villages in the region? Who knows the truth?
Is Barrick part of a corruption scheme with the politicians who are NOT paying over the 5% (US$ 28.3 million) to the mine’s surrounding towns and villages? Who knows the truth?
Are the residents of the towns and villages suffering as a result of the 5% NOT being paid to them? Definitely, YES! That is the truth.

We have seen a terrible, cruel and vicious track record of ethics and compassion of Barrick Gold and their daughter company, Acacia Mining, on and off during the past 2 decades. When will Barrick learn to help and assist instead of being so focused on making that extra dollar for their shareholders?

(Our appreciation to the “Dominican Today” newspaper for some of the information that we used for this article)


Is the UN all talk or do they really care about Human Rights?

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Today is exactly one year since public reports of the UN 2015 Geneva “criticism” of Canadian Mining Companies.

On September 15, 2015, online media reports exposed the UN Human Rights Committee discussions in Geneva, Switzerland in which there was much focus on the activities of mining companies from Canada.

In the usual non-committal manner in which the UN does everything, the Human Rights Committee “addressed a series of concerns” about the problems caused by Canadian mining companies who operate mines around the world.
Was that was the best they could do?
Only to address concerns?
Women are being raped, men are being killed, village homes are being destroyed, environments are being poisoned, in certain areas in the world, these Canadian mining companies are causing devastation and misery beyond description and the most these UN officials were able to come up with, was that they “addressed a series of concerns”.

In an article published by “The Diplomat” on September 15, 2015, reported:
>  Barrick Gold, were allegedly involved in a mass rape of 137 local women aged between 14 and 80 in Papua New Guinea.
>  Acacia Mining (Barrick’s daughter mining company in Africa) were liable, “through complicity, for killing and injuring of locals at the North Mara mine by police guarding the mine,” ….
>  Violence at the North Mara project was allegedly perpetrated by mine security and local police…..
>  Likewise, allegations of extreme violence, killings, and the mass rape targeting local women in Papua New Guinea, where Barrick Gold has managed the Porgera mine…..
>  Barrick Gold’s (practices) was also called out by the local alliance Justice Foundation for Porgera for the “catastrophically changed” subsistence and livelihoods of landowners in Papua New Guinea.

It is undisputed that the Canadian Government has ignored the complaints about mining companies operating overseas. The Government is perfectly aware of the public scandals of mining companies involving illegal activities such as corruption, bribery and fraud,not to mention murder, violence, rape, environmental disasters, etc – but they take no notice.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have a special unit to investigate Canadian companies operating overseas who are reported to be involved in corruption or fraud or other illegal activities. The RCMP will bring these Canadian mining giants such as Barrick Gold to account for their corruption and fraud activities overseas.

Similarly, in the UK, the Serious Fraud Unit (SFO) have been very successful in the past year cracking down on British companies who are guilty of corruption, fraud and other such crimes in Africa.

Acacia Mining, Barrick’s daughter company, has had a shocking run over the past 14 months in Tanzania since Bloomberg first published the story of the US$ 115 million case that Acacia are facing from the local mining company, Bismark Hotels (Mining) Limited for financial damages arising from Acacia losing Bismark’s mining concession. In this case, allegedly, Acacia is also involved in a very serious case of possible corruption and fraud involving at least one or more officials in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals.
If that was not enough this year, they have also been found guilty of tax evasion to the tune of US$ 41 million. And, the headaches continued with the public lambasting of their company in the Tanzanian Parliament.
There is more (like 255 legal cases against them) but let’s not labour the point….

Needless to say, our friends in the UN Human Rights Committee have not taken any notice of the crimes and illegal activities by Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining:

In 2015:
Chile, Dominican Republic, Philippines, USA, England, Papua N Guinea, Canada, Tanzania, Argentina.

In 2016:
Dominican Republic, Tanzania; Argentina; USA, Papua N Guinea.

All around the world, these two mining companies are causing havoc, distress and misery.

Human Rights Watch published this report last year:

The report states clearly that Barrick Gold are known for problems involving human rights and hazardous substances and wastes. In addition, the report exposes “Barrick Gold had also not been transparent….. “ and “sexual violence”.

Will someone in the UN Human Rights Committee stand up, ONE YEAR later, and have the courage to say to Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining, who together making up the biggest gold miners in the world, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
In Swahili, we say TUMECHOKA!!

Are you, in the UN, all talk or do you really care ?


By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Brad Gordon the CEO of Acacia Mining, a publicly listed company on the London Stock Exchange, made a public announcement at the African Down-under Conference in Perth Australia this past week that Barrick Gold, a Canadian listed company and 64% shareholder in Acacia Mining, was exiting due to it alleging Acacia was a non-core asset.

It is undisputed that divesting from non-core assets to unlock cash to reduce debt, would be construed as a normal business practice that any corporation would engage in. However, Barrick being the largest gold mining company in the world, and Acacia who also are a gold producing entity, and whom earlier this year declared a US$400 million dividend, would never divest from an asset, after such a large dividend pay-out, unless there was an ulterior motive…. something “between the lines” that is being hidden from the public and shareholders worldwide.

We have heard feedback and opinions from some legal people in London as well as UK mining analysts, that Barrick Gold is looking to totally divorce itself from Acacia Mining, since Acacia’s track record in Tanzania is truly under heavy scrutiny and Barrick prefer to distance themselves from the problems and scandals in Tanzania.

Only recently, Acacia Mining and Barrick Gold were openly mentioned and lambasted in Parliament by a Shadow Minister of the opposition party. The media around the world covered the story in print and online.   As bad was the Tax Authority guilty verdict against Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining for tax evasion – with fines to pay in excess of US$ 40 million.
President Dr. John Magufuli later stated at a Bank of Tanzania conference, that he will not tolerate international mining companies not paying the required taxation because they claim they only lose money in Tanzania. Of course, he was also referring to Acacia Mining who declare massive dividends to its shareholders off-shore but claim losses in Tanzania.

Acacia also has a multitude of ongoing legal issues. They report in their website that they have no less than 255 active legal cases in Tanzania to the staggering amount of over US$230 million involving the Tanzanian Revenue Authorities, Local Labour Claims, local companies, the well-publicised Bismark Hotel (Mining) Limited claim for the negligent loss of a mining concession, with fraud and corruption allegations linked to the Acacia-Bismark case, and many more. No wonder that Barrick Gold wants to distance itself from 255 legal cases and other Acacia problems.

Reuters reported in a July publication that Barrick Gold were in talks with a number of potential buyers for their 64% holdings in Acacia Mining. Amongst these buyers were various South African companies all of whom are well versed in the dynamics and workings of African mining.
Harmony Gold, a world renowned South African gold producer, is/was alleged to be close to concluding a deal with Barrick Gold, but refused to comment on the multitude of pending litigation’s they may inherit when they were called by an independent correspondent.

Reports surfaced regarding members of Acacia Mining’s employees that have been “suspiciously” dismissed in Tanzania, for reasons that can’t be confirmed, including Katrina White, the most senior in-house legal officer and also company secretary, and who was reported to be a director of the North Mara Mine.

Calls to Acacia’s offices in both London and Dar es Salaam have not confirmed why these dismissal’s are happening.

Calls to a Director of Bismark Hotel (Mining), who are the largest claimant against Acacia Mining amongst the 255 legal cases, at first met with a refusal to discuss anything due to the case being in the process of Adjudication. However, the Director did confirm their matter was still pending and had not been resolved.  Furthermore, he said that if necessary, they would apply to the high court to stop the Acacia sale until a resolution to its claim had been finalised.

One has to wonder what Brad Gordon meant in Australia when he said that “Acacia was a non-core asset” to Barrick when there is so much crisis around Acacia’s operations In Tanzania.

The Height of Hypocrisy – does it get any worse than this? Barrick Gold Chairman lays it on thick.

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

John L. Thornton, Chairman of Barrick Gold, wrote this letter in the Barrick website. The link can be found below:

As we know, Barrick Gold owns about 64% of Acacia Mining, the biggest gold miner in Tanzania.

Thornton writes the most outrageous statements that can only be categorized as the Height of Hypocrisy… and the highest level of audacity.
It is clear that this letter is written in 100% misinformation and blurb exclusively for the investors and shareholders in Barrick who rely on the company website for the feedback and updates regarding their investments in Barrick shares!

That is exactly what Thornton’s letter is …. misinformation and blurb. There is no doubt that if the investors really knew how Barrick operated in and around their mines overseas, the investors would be shocked and probably disinvest without hesitation – exactly as so many institutions around the world disinvested, in petition and demonstration against Barrick’s unethical, immoral, vicious and illegal operating methods.

Let us look at Thornton’s blurb in his letter…
(His text is in capital letters and our comments follow):


Barrick’s core purpose is to create wealth ?
Yes, we know this from the many millions of dollars in dividends that Barrick pays to its shareholders – yet, we also know that only in recent months (let us not look too far back) Barrick was found guilty of tax evasion and sophisticated tax fraud in Tanzania where Barrick’s daughter company, Acacia Mining, publishes financial reports that show no profits at all, but days later, they declare dividends in England amounting to many millions of US Dollars.

Furthermore, how is Barrick so focused on creating wealth when they even stoop to deception and deliberate misinformation to their investors and shareholders ?
Yes, deception….  As we saw a few months ago in the Courts in New York…. Barrick knew they were going to lose the investor law suit and they quickly agreed to pay out around US$ 140 million in damages to the investors and shareholders that they deceived. Is that the wealth that Thornton writes about here?

Finally… the wealth that Barrick creates for the communities in the mining areas?
What wealth?
**  They pay next to nothing for the mining lands.
**  They use, abuse, manipulate, exploit and mistreat the communities.
**  Their staff and contractors rape the women and beat the men viciously, violently and without compassion or understanding.
**  Their mines poison the rivers, destroy the crops, kill the cattle….
**  Should we go on?
It’s all on the internet…. millions of search links to verify these facts.

Thornton writes further…


Are we talking the same language?
>> serve the broader societal needs of those communities ??

>> health and education of their workers’ families??
>> ensure the long-term sustainability of natural ecosystems??
>> leave behind an enduring contribution??
>> in mining there is only “us.”
Where does Thornton live?
Does he have any idea at all that NONE of what he writes actually exists?
Can it be that he, the chairman of the biggest gold mining company in the world, is totally disconnected from the reality of his company?
What is this blurb that he is writing here?

And he goes on with….


Now the truth is out in black and white, from the mouth of the Chairman of Barrick Gold:
Their focus is on ONE GOAL and one goal only …. That is to make money for their owners (investors and shareholders).

Now we understand why Barrick Gold is known as one of the most unethical, corrupt, immoral and dishonourable companies in the world.
When the push comes, the focus is on ONE GOAL only and nothing else matters –
**  NOT the broader societal needs of those communities,
**  NOT the health and education of workers’ families,
**  NOT to ensure the long-term sustainability of natural ecosystems,
**  NOT leaving behind an enduring contribution,
**  NOT there is only “us” …… because, in fact, there is NO “us”….
there is ONLY the mighty Dollar and anything that will eat away at Barrick’s ONE GOAL, the mighty Dollar, will be cast aside, thrown away, even killed!

In November 2014, Barrick Gold “gave birth” to Acacia Mining. The apple does not fall far from the tree. The Height of Hypocrisy was passed from mother to daughter.

Over the past year, Acacia Mining has been dropping lower and lower in the eyes and opinions of the Tanzanian Nation – equally so in the Parliament and up to the President. The scandals that Kelvin Dushnisky, Chairman of Acacia, and Brad Gordon, CEO of Acacia, have allowed to fester and grow, are simply beyond note and hard to comprehend.

Where will this all end?
Can they be so short-sighted as to see that their ONE GOAL, the mighty Dollar, is NOT the way forward and will NOT solve all their many problems in Tanzania and elsewhere in the world?

How obvious is it to see that Kelvin Dushnisky and Brad Gordon need to go and a new broom must be brought in to clean up the mess?

As regards Chairman Thornton and his break with reality – let’s agree that he needs a long, extended vacation!


Acacia Mining leadership crisis deepens further – “mother” Barrick Gold is no-where to be seen

By Samantha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Ms. Katrina White, the Acacia Mining “legal eagle” in London has suddenly “disappeared”.

Katrina was a very well known personality around Dar es Salaam being a very regular visitor whilst fulfilling her duties as Head of Legal Services and Compliance at Acacia Mining Plc and also the official Acacia Company Secretary.

We called the Acacia offices in London and were told that Katrina White no longer works there. We asked for Giles Blackman, media spokesman for Acacia, but he was unavailable to comment.

When we looked on the Acacia Mining website for Katrina White, at the link below, we found that she has been completely removed from the Acacia website.

Katrina White disappeared.jpg

Katrina has disappeared totally from her position as Head of Legal services and Company Secretary.

We contacted Peter Spora, Vice-President and Head of Discovery at Acacia to ask about Katrina but he also would not comment.

All very mysterious…….. the total disappearance of such a key personality at Acacia.

Katrina was also known as Director of North Mara Mine.

One must ask what the shareholders of Acacia Mining and Barrick Gold are thinking, or worrying, since there has been no public announcement at all about Katrina.

According to Acacia’s last published financial report, as at 30 June 2016, the Group was a defendant in approximately 255 lawsuits.
The total amounts claimed from lawsuits in which specific monetary damages are sought amounted to US$234.9 million. The Group’s Legal Counsel is defending the Group’s current position, and the outcome of the lawsuits cannot presently be determined.
Included in the total amounts claimed is a claim for US$115 million by Bismark Hotel Limited alleging breach of contract arising from an Optional Agreement signed in 1995.

The above represents huge financial damages – 255 law suits for about US$ 235 million and Katrina White, who was head of legal counsel, was responsible for handling all those cases.

The growing catastrophic situation of Acacia Mining in Tanzania over the past year must lend much weight to the leadership crisis that is being witnessed recently.
**  Last year, Acacia got involved in fraud and a corruption conspiracy with at least one official in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. In February this year, the conspiracy was exposed in the media;
**  The Tax Authorities found Acacia guilty of tax evasion whilst paying millions of US Dollars (or British Pounds) to their shareholders in the UK and Canada;
**   The Tanzania Parliament publicly lambasted both Barrick Gold and Acacia Mining by name for fraud and corruption and “bullying” local mining companies;
**  Acacia were exposed for a conflict of interest for their defence in the US$ 115 million case against them by Bismark Hotel;
**  The exports of Acacia’s mining sand were exposed as fraudulent and President Magufuli placed a ban on the export of mining sand;
**  The Tanzanian President, Dr. John P. Magufuli, publicly stated that mining companies not making profits here must go back home (i.e. Acacia Mining)
**  Mother company Barrick Gold really wants to sell daughter Acacia Mining as soon as possible but there are not buyers (that we know of) because of the mess of Acacia Mining in Tanzania (see here and here for full details and explanations)
**  and the list goes on and on…

With Katrina White’s unexpected disappearance from Acacia Mining, Chairman Kelvin Dushnisky and CEO Brad Gordon will surely be groping around frantically to fill the void left so suddenly and so mysteriously by Katrina White!

More problems and more worries for the Acacia Mining shareholders?
Indeed, worries for the Barrick Gold shareholders too since Barrick still owns about 64% of Acacia Mining … which they cannot sell due to the turmoil and disarray of the management under Brad Gordon’s weak leadership.

Acacia Mining criticises leadership in sports club – is the pot calling the kettle black?

By Samatha Cole of Tanzania Business Ethics

Acacia Mining pulls out from sponsor deal for Stand United due to a deepening leadership crisis in the club.
Oh? When did Acacia Mining become such Saints in leadership that they can break their obligations and commitments in a sponsorship that will probably bring about the end of the sports club?

What happened to all the righteous and saintly assurances and media promises that are to be found all over the Acacia Mining website? Here are but some of them:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility Charter
  • Community Development
  • Community investment programmes
  • Priority is given to investments that support community
  • Search for Common Ground in Tanzania
  • Advancing Sustainable Peace
  • Sustainable Business Practice
  • Search for Common Ground

With all this “fancy talk” of community and development and priority ….. where are these fantastic, powerful Acacia Mining people when it is time to help a sports club in trouble? Not just any sports club but THEIR OWN sponsored sports club.

So what if the club leadership is having trouble? So what if the club leadership have internal conflicts? So what if the club personalities are clashing internally?

Where is the Acacia Mining’s hand to “search for common ground” and for negotiations and for round table discussions of the club management and where is the social responsibility charter and all the rest of Acacia’s above-mentioned righteous assurances?Acacia Mining and their mother company Barrick Gold are having their own “leadership crisis” problems this past year or two –

  • Acacia have been exposed in fraud and a corruption conspiracy relating to their attempted manipulations within the Ministry of Energy and Minerals;
  • Acacia were found guilty of tax evasion and sophisticated methods of not paying tax here but paying millions of US Dollars (or British Pounds) to their shareholders in the UK and Canada;
  • Acacia have been lambasted inside our Parliament for illegal activities;
    Barrick Gold agreed to pay $140 million to quickly settle a U.S. lawsuit in New York instead of another guilty verdict against them for deliberately misleading investors;
  • Acacia were exposed for selecting an Adjudicator for their defence in the US$ 115 million case against them by Bismark Hotel, where Acacia fully knew there was a conflict of interest;
  • Acacia are exposed for fraudulent exports of their mining sand and false declarations of the values in that sand;
  • The Tanzanian President, Dr. John P. Magufuli, publicly stated that mining companies not making profits here must go back home (i.e. Acacia Mining)
  • Mother company Barrick Gold really wants to sell daughter Acacia Mining as soon as possible but there are not buyers (that we know of) because of the mess of Acacia Mining in Tanzania (see here and here for full details and explanations)
  • and the list goes on and on…

The point here is…. what is Acacia Mining’s real reason for pulling out of their sponsorship deal?
They could very easily send in their “Social Responsibility Charter” people and their “Search for Common Ground” experts to sit all the club leaders around a table, and find solutions.

But no, they knew that as soon as they pull out of their sponsorship commitment, the Stand United club will quickly disappear!
Is this their real agenda? Who is behind the destruction of this sports club?

Is there some or other manipulation behind the scenes that was the driving force to make Acacia Mining pull out of the sponsorship?

With Acacia Mining’s leadership in turmoil, and they pointing a finger at Stand United criticising their leadership, is there a better example of “the pot calling the kettle black”?


The Kilimanjaro Declaration – been there, done that ….

In 1967, our first President and our Father of our Nation, Hon. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, initiated the original “Arusha Declaration”.
Last week, almost 50 years later, the “Azimio la Kilimanjaro” or the Kilimanjaro Declaration, in English, was born in Arusha.

The event took place at MS Training Centre Development Cooperation (MSTCDC) and over 45 African countries were represented there by more than 250 official delegates.

This “new version” of the 1967 Arusha Declaration appears to follow the same concept that our Baba wa Taifa visualized in 1967, however, the new version focuses more on the African continent as a whole – maybe better described as macro Africa as opposed to micro Tanzania.

The “Azimio la Kilimanjaro” was one of the results that came out of the ‘African Rising’ conference in Arusha last week.

The conference cried out that Africa is a rich continent and that the wealth belongs to all the African People and not to small political and economic leaders.
How many times have we heard this statement cried out?
How many times have we been promised that the winds of change are approaching?
How many times do our politicians promise and break those promises?
How many times do our Ministers give “ultimatums” and then forget to act on them?

Who will do something for the African People ?
Around one billion souls, the vast majority don’t have clean water and constant electricity.

The Kilimanjaro Declaration is published online. The first words state:
We, the citizens and descendants of Africa, as part of the Africans Rising Movement, are outraged by the centuries of oppression; we condemn the plunder of our natural and mineral resources and the suppression of our fundamental human rights.
We are determined to foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose of the Peoples of Africa to build the Future we want – a right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity.”

We have been “determined to foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity” for decades! We have been abused and manipulated for decades. What is new? What will change? Will those in public office stop giving favors to their friends and family?  Who will monitor promises to us that are broken?

An activist from Kenya who was present at the conference was reported to have said: “We are sick of an economic system where people who are rich treat their dogs better they treat us. Where a cow in Europe has a better life than we do. We walk on gold, diamonds and oil, but we are poor.”

The cancer of our society is corruption and fraud. Our leaders breathe this disease into our younger people who will lead tomorrow. They grow up seeing and living and believing the cancer way of life. The gifts, the jewelry, the smart cars, the fancy clothes… let’s not talk about properties and secret investments.

Where is this going? Who will stop the cancer train and change most of the passengers to honest, God-fearing people who will lead the continent and change the lives of our People?

Can we learn from Dr. Mo Ibrahim, one of the most enterprising and successful businessmen in African history, who stated publicly some years ago that we do not understand our strength as the fastest-growing telecommunications market in the world. Africa has over 750-million users and we do not have a single telecommunications equipment supplier in all of Africa. Can anyone ever see this same absurd factor happening in Japan or China? There, the governments almost forced companies to open manufacturing plants for local markets and also for training technology and specialized skills to the local population.

Where are we? Where are our leaders to have such focus and vision for the benefit of our People? Are our leaders so busy building their own private wealth and nest-eggs?

Let’s take Dr. Ibrahim’s concept one step further. How would life be in Africa if close to a billion people all had stable electricity. How many people would be employed in the energy sector – whether solar, gas, hydro, wind or coal (preferably not)?
Take the same question and apply it to numerous other sectors – transport, agriculture, marine, food and beverage, forestry etc etc. One thing leads to the next IF and only IF our leadership is honest, clean, pure and sincerely God-fearing. If we could join forces between Government, industry and our academics without the focus on egos and nest-eggs, our People have a chance to raise our children in a better tomorrow.

Over 40 years ago, our Baba wa Taifa said: Independence cannot be real if a nation depends upon gifts and loans from another (nation), for its development.
According to this, Tanzania has not been independent for decades!
Will President John Magufuli really make all the difference and move us forward to “become independent”?  Is JPM able to set the example and the standard for tomorrow’s leaders to follow? Can he throw all the passengers out of the cancer train?

We want to be optimistic. We need to be optimistic. We pray for a good today, a better tomorrow and the best Tanzania ever!