A STRUCTURAL engineer received a call from a real estate company informing him of a problem on one of the floors of a multi-storey building. There was an extremely huge wall-crack on the seventeenth floor of the building. The structural engineer accepted to take the task, which would start with an inspection.
On arrival at the premises, the structural engineer pressed a button for the elevator to take him down to the basement (underground floors) of the building. His hosts, who wrongly thought that the solution would be provided directly to the cracks on the floor, informed him that the crack was up on the seventeenth floor, not down the basement. He looked at them and confidently replied: “yes, your crack may be on the seventeenth floor, but your problem is down at the foundation.” They continued with the elevator down to the basement.
Sure enough, when they got down the basement, they found a good number of concrete blocks having been taken off of the foundation wall. A security guard who happened to have his own small construction project, confessed that he has, for so long, been chiselling out a block each day he came to work, hide it in a bag, and take it to his construction site afar off. The structural engineer later advised the owner of the building about the magnitude of the problem and what it would take to bring the building back to stability.
Just like the multi-storey building in this story, we have numerous cracks on different floors of our dual-storey building – TANZANIA. The cracks have been gradual and have been worsening for a long time. We have a huge crack on our education system, for instance. Many other cracks threaten our economy at different levels.
Amazingly we tend to quickly forget that most of our problems are long-lasting and happened when some of our comrades were chiselling out a block each time they were given the mandate to govern our affairs. We wrongly want somebody to go directly to the seventeenth floor and get rid of the crack that began in the foundation!
No solution is immediately available for us to fix all our national problems as quickly as most of us want to. No individual is equipped with power and intellect big enough to solve our problems at such short notice as we want. Quick fixes are not an option for a building that has been damaged for almost half a decade. We definitely need to know the magnitude of our problem and what would take us to bring this building back to stability.
The cracks are exceedingly huge and long-lasting. They need huge and sustainable plans and implementation from each citizen of this nation in their respective places of work. Thinking that politicians are super human and were given a solution manual to our problems is the wrong way of thinking. Politicians are not gods. They are not the problem solvers; we are. But our problems can’t be solved only during election years. We need to be consistent.
Having removed blocks on the foundation wall of hard work cannot end overnight. A crack of unaccountability is huge and has a negative impact to our economy. Placing a hole of corruption on our foundation wall is detrimental and needs careful and persistent efforts to overcome.
Placing holes on the foundation wall of our union is lethal to the unity we’ve bragged about and needs to be checked out quickly. The chiselling off of blocks of morals and religion can’t be fixed tomorrow. The chiselling out of blocks of cultural teachings is not something we can just repair cosmetically. It’s needful, therefore, to understand that we need to face our log-lasting problems head-on.
Elections are coming. Politicians will capitalize on our frustration to promise quick fixes and cosmetic repairs to our problems in their quest to navigate their way up to fame. Most of us will be told that all our problems will be solved by so-and-so because she has an encyclopaedia of solutions to our problems, but she has just been waiting for the right time – election time. Others will tell us that they have looked into our future and realized that they are the only messiahs of our redemption. We’ll yet be told that if we put somebody to a certain position we’ll remain with problems unless we elect this or that person or party.
Some people will use their popularity and tell us that there is completely no difference between popularity and leadership ability. Others will timely and very conveniently cross party lines to prove that they are so patriotic and they deserve each of our votes as if that is the only one thing they need for them to be great leaders. There are those who will say that they have been in the parliament for three decades and so they automatically deserve another term despite their record of performance.
However hard it may be to understand, our problems will not be solved with the petty promises during a short few months of election preparation. We need to continually engage in the affairs of our nation. Our problems are not made by one man and aren’t going to need a one-man show. We all need to take part.
The games we all play of getting promises of a few cents from vote-seekers so that we can elect them to office while they are completely incapable of yielding any sustainable solutions to our problems just takes us deeper into the pit of destruction. Sweet promises unparalleled by good implementation aren’t going to take us far. Let’s elect able leaders.