Have you ever demonstrated? Why did you demonstrate or riot or went on strike? Was it because of your friend, mob psychology? Did you really have reason to demonstrate? Did you own the course and cause of demonstration?
These are questions one should ask before joining any chanting group in the street if you are to be one of the true demonstrators not one swept by bandwagon psychology.
In 2009, the Univerity of Dar es Salaam main campus alias Nyerere Main campus, witnessed demonstration which resulted to closure of the university programmes for three good months.
What was surprising and it was sad enough to learn that so many didn’t understand why they joined the demos! Such people doesn’t own their will, they don’t have choice but to join the demos to be seen as good one- fear of segregation, discrimination as fisadi and hypocrisy on the driver’s seat of ones consciousness. This came into my knowledge when one of the demonstrators was approached by a journalist and asked to say why they-students were demonstrating. Unashamed of his moves he said, ‘even me I don’t know why people are demonstrating.’ Later that evening it came into light that many could not even say directly why they were demonstrating but say they could only say, ‘mafisadi hawataki tusome, wanakula pesa zetu maskini,’ but wait, was that the question, was that the reason for demonstrating?
In the recent riots in two or three main cities in the country; Arusha, Mbeya and Mwanza, it sent out straight message to the government and policy makers that demos are not usually the first resort to our problems but it is usually the last especially when poor citizens feel nobody understand them better by using conventional-passive methods.
Street justice has become a common place and household terminology. Demonstrations as an expression of happiness and support for the state sponsored cause has not been banned nor faulted by the state authorities.
Demonstrations has always been bad omen to governments all over the world and especially if participants express their sentiments against the state actions.
Tanzania Police force has banned all sorts of demonstrations countrywide, it was evident on 15th November 2011 when Caravan of Hope organized by Forum for Climate Change, which was marked silently in Dar es Salaam’s Mlimani Hall.
Tanzania Constitution Forum made public announcement to hold demonstration on Saturday 26th November to press President Kikwete not to sign into law the Constitutional Review Bill passed by the parliament on 18th November 2011. The peaceful demonstration is organized to show dissatisfaction of the public with some clauses of the bill.
The question is do we really own our actions, do we really understand, can each of us stand and advocate on the rationale of the things happening around us or do we believe some people because they own big houses, have big education, high profile government officials or because they have mvi-grey hair or because they are high ranking political party officials or because one is a President so he is always Mr. Right?
Here comes the demonstration about the MUSWADA but it is beyond what we can see as KATIBA thing. If the demonstrations are so staged they will really tell the lifestyle and leadership crisis we are facing, economic hardship we are facing, low confidence people have on the government and moreover the need for new constitution at the centre stage.
Demonstrations are shadows of what the government don’t want to do for its citizens. Katiba is not a major problem here, it is about rising living standards, falling shilling, hiking gasoline pipe price especially kerosine, land problems, poor health and sanitation services, education crisis and corruption taking the driver’s seat at the expense of people’s development.