Zakaria on ATCL's newly acquired aircraft: Your enemies will hate everything you do, even good things

Tony Zakaria
Tony Zakaria
Has this ever happened you? You are attacked by some people even when you think you are doing something worthwhile? It could be a disgruntled spouse, your ex, jealous workmates, or school rivals.

You are cursed if you do and blamed if you don’t. Such is the nature of ordinary people. Maybe the only means of getting around that your family ever owned was a Flying Pigeon brand bicycle.

And now after years of saving and belt-tightening, daddy came home with a Toyota Corolla 2011 model. By city standards a Corolla is a small step, but by family standards, that is a giant leap forward.

Then the matron of the house in her typical lack of diplomacy wonders aloud why not a Mercedes like the one Massawe family owns? Here is the breaking news Mama Status Symbol. The Corolla sedan takes five passengers, same as the Mercedes S500, but uses half the fuel and its spares cost 90% less.

How many men can relate to what I am describing? A father must consider the welbeing of the family now and in future. You must have heard of some grumpy losers who are more concerned with status who just want to find fault with the new Air Tanzania plane, recently delivered from Canada. They hate the new plane when it has not even started working. Eti it is not a jet or even a jumbo.

Don’t we have enough jumbos in the Serengeti? We do not want another white elephant. Air Labda has had jet aircraft, a string of hired Boeing 737s. Where are they now? They could only land in tarred airports, and when we tried landing one in Kigoma, it skidded off the runway and damaged the undercarriage.

The twin prop craft we have just acquired can take 70 persons and land in almost every province today, not just Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Mtwara and Dar. It should land in Pemba, not just Zanzibar.

This is our Corolla. We will get the Mercedes in due course. No need to break the family budget when we are just relaunching the forever-limping national airline. Am not sure the old Air Tanzania with hundreds of staff, frequent cancellations of flights and dependency on government bail outs can deliver this time.

Let us give it the benefit of doubt. The planned but postponed nationwide strike or demos as called by Ukawa, I mean Chadema since CUF opted out, are they on or off? If I was the one to decide, I would let them go ahead.

Why? Because ultimately the wananchi will reward or punish the party (ies) taking part. That would also take away their agenda to play victims of political oppression.

I would deploy a minimum police to observe, with instructions not to interfere. It would not be right for such demos to take up too many police who have other duties to the people of Tanzania. The political leaders did say it is their right to hold peaceful demonstrations.

That right comes with the responsibility to ensure their rank and file behave and act in ways that strictly do not interfere with the peace and security of all residents of Tanzania.

After they exhaust their right to hold demos, I would send them the bill for police and firemen and women involved in observing the demonstrations. I would deduct the cost from the subsidy political parties receive from the treasury.

Let them feel the sweetness in the political pocket. They want to demonstrate? Fine. But taxpayers should not be expected to foot the bill. Let the opposition parties cover the allowances for police, fuel and communication costs for the duration and frequency of their demos. And if any citizen is injured or has a heart attack as a result, the medical bills should be sent to demonstrating parties. Let us give democracy wide space to breathe and grow.

The common man on the street understands why the president wants everyone to focus on working hard to rebuild the economy of families, communities and the nation at large, instead of ‘wasting time’ by holding demos countrywide.

As Mwalimu taught us, we have to run while others walk. We cannot run by staging nationwide strikes to mobilise the populace to sanction the government in power for perceived suppression of freedoms.

Talking of freedoms, there is a law enacted in parliament which must mean MPs from the opposition side agreed with it. At that time, Magufuli was not president but just another MP. And yet his government is receiving all the blame for the cyber crime legislation.

Why is it a crime to freely air one’s political or other views in cyberspace and okay form elected reps to call each other names in parliament in full view of the viewing world? We have freedom of expression in our constitution.

Was it really necessary to limit such freedom by enacting a specific law targeting social media and the internet? I do not personally believe any citizen expressing his frustration, disillusionment or misguided feelings should face jail time for venting his anger on cyberspace.

It makes Tanzania appear to have a backward or military type mentality where only leaders know what is good and the rest should keep quiet and follow orders. Which is not what the MPs intended.

How many times have we heard of newspapers, radio or TV stations being closed for criticisng, publishing or airing anti-establishment content in America is r Western Europe?

Or even having panelists who called the government of Bush, Obama or Tony Blair bad names? When we order closure of radio stations or newspapers, are we saying we have better or higher standards than the USA or UK?

Let the coming information act take all of these issues into consideration. Just because something is said or carried out by those from the opposite political side does not mean it should be fought tooth and nail. We can just agree to disagree.

Tony Zakaria
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