Gas: The clash within

The clash again! This time around is not between the opposition political parties and the police force, the hawkers (wamachinga) and the city militias, or the media and the controlling state.

This time is between the elite themselves and you don’t have to try to guess what is at the centre of the skirmish, it’s gas again!. It seems we are going to hear and see a lot before the dust disappears.

It looks like Tanzania has another seeming gravy train in the name of gas, the government is the train conductor busy selecting who should be in and who should be out.

In the past fracas between the people in Mtwara and the state apparatus on the same the conductor could easily kicked out undeserved passengers as they could be easily identified.

They were poor people with all the symptoms of heavily eaten by poverty and although their demands to benefit from the gas were justified but were simply manipulated by the state to sound as the act of secession.

Their move was not institutionalised and the force was used to crush them and we are not sure whether we have put the genie back in its bottle.

The recent commotion though was between our ‘‘suits wearing fellows’’ who in this country almost have similar interests as they form the class of ‘‘elites’’ in this country.

The hullabaloo didn’t happen in the neighbourhoods of impoverished Mtwara this time around it happened in A/C furnished building in the fancied conference and later in the media right here in Dar.

Our suit wearing colleagues in the private sector in Tanzania worry that their fellow suit wearing elites in the government have a mission of putting them out of the gravy train.

They complained that the government has not put down any framework in terms of policy and laws to allow them to have the share of the magic pie and is just busy licensing the gas blocks to foreign companies.

The suit wearing guys in the government keep on insisting that they can’t ‘‘waste time’’ working on the framework because if they don’t hurry up the foreign investors will go to our competitors in the region!

On the other hand the suit wearing guys in the private sector says no they have a right to be in the bonanza and their colleagues reply  by telling them ‘‘no the money you have is for producing juices and your tiny companies are mired by corruption!!

The penurious mass is somehow indecisive because they have been told the new constitution will take care of everything.

They are just wondering why the current constitution didn’t help in the management of other resources like minerals though!

The suit wearing people in the private sector would want the public to join their move but the public is not sure whether it carries their interests!

The private sectors friends are giving an example of Nigeria that has done well in the inclusion of Nigerians in the oil gravy train and Tanzania should follow suit are they serious? Will they be happy to have a country of say 10 billionaires and 45 million poor people?

Of course we don’t want black billionaires just for the sake of it! The public wants transformation of their lives from poverty they want better education, better health care, water, better housing etc.

I am still unsure whether this tension will be resolved in A/C’d conference centres where it started or we are going to see the demonstration in Dar streets of suit wearers with placards demanding (from their fellow suits wearers) the seats in the gravy train!

Or are we going to see the invitation from the house in white extended to furious private sector guys before their suits are sweat drenched to meet with the president to seek yet another consensus.

I hope the doors will be opened and enough juice and tea will also be there!

Another wake up call to reminds this poor country that there are still a lot of things in our table to handle.

By Ramadhani Msoma

Ramadhani Msoma is co-editor of WeWrite newspaper

One Comment

  1. Wa Mashambani says:

    The article is spot on. In many ways resources have long been no blessing in many developing country. Gas has shown that it isn’t. going to be any different. Nice article.

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