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!


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