“Be careful, watch it!” – Translated excepts from speech of President Magufuli

Earlier today (March 24, 2017), President Magufuli spoke at a ceremony in to formally appoint new Ministers and Ambassadors. He referred directly to two significant events earlier this week, the visit of World Bank President Jim Kim (see also this sharp-eyed post by Aikande Kwayu) and yesterday’s events in the car park of St Peters Catholic Church in Dar es Salaam. Among other things, the President had some interesting things to say about the media in Tanzania.

I have translated some key excerpts below the video.

Some translated excerpts, with the original Swahili at the end:

“In Tanzania, there is a group of a few people for whom everyday is for complaining, rather than looking for a solution.”

“This is the state of us Tanzanians, someone said here that there are those who would like to see Tanzania destroyed, I don’t know for what interests. … We are in a transition period, moving on from one type of habits and into a new direction.”

“A good example is that the World Bank President had never before visited Tanzania. He came, and he really, really splashed money around [alimwaga pesa kweli kweli]. He handed out money worth Tshs 1.74tn/- [around US $800m], and he has more in the pipeline: 2.8tn/-. I don’t know if there is any country where they have ever done this before.”

“But you can see the contribution of our people, there was this view that it was nothing, that all this was nothing. Because you can look at the newspapers, at what was written the following day. Patriotism is being lost.”

“But this patriotism is being lost by us leaders too, because in our own interests at times we take something to the press – write this, criticise the government – even while you are in the government.”

“Lets go forward, we will get there. Fortunately, our country is moving in a good direction. If you go abroad, everyone appreciates this. Here, nobody appreciates it, nobody appreciates it.”

“I request the press to put Tanzania first. If the day comes when Tanzania is damaged, you will also be damaged, as well as those who arranged for you to write what you wrote.”

“Problems that arose in other countries, were also brought about by our pens. The Rwandan genocide, where nearly a million people died, began in this way. You can hate someone, but don’t hate Tanzania: the multiplying effect of this is big, and if a fire gets started, no one will put it out. So, this is the message to you: if you use your pen well, it will help Tanzanians.”

“You cannot even find where they are writing on development issues. If you find something a little bit inflammatory, you will find it on some TV station, all the farmers protested somewhere, or pastoralists, that’s the headline, and the story goes on a looong time. That’s their story: everything with some inflammatory intent, they make that the story.”

“Now [new Minister of Information] Mwakyembe, get to work. I want you to get to work. If those who were present before felt pain and were unable to take action, you take action. First, you are a good lawyer, a scholar, you have studied the media. Get to work.”

“The government is in place, we cannot leave the government to be destroyed because of a few people. There is no way.”

“Even just look at today’s newspapers: all the pictures, the headlines are about someone who made one mistake, as if the act has been done by the government or with government support. First page, second page, this guy did this, this guy took this out, that is the story.”

“I tell media owners: be careful, watch it! If you think you have that kind of freedom … not to that extent.”

And now the original Swahili:

Kwa nchi kama ya Tanzania ambapo kuna grupu la watu wachache, ambao wao siku zote kwao ni kulalamika, badala ya kutafuta solution.

Ndio hali zetu za Watanzania, mmoja amezungumza hapa kwamba wapo watu ambao wangependa Tanzania iangamie, sifahama kwa interest zipi. … Tupo kwenye transition period, ya kutoka mazoea ya aina fulani, kwenda kwenye mwelekeo fulani.

Mfano mzuri mnaweza mkamuona tu kwamba President wa World Bank hajawahi kuja Tanzania. Amekuja hapa, amemwaga pesa kweli kweli. Amemwaga pesa zenye thamani ya trilioni 1.74, na ametoa zingine ziko kwenye pipeline, trilioni 2.8. Sina uhakika kama kuna nchi yoyote wameshawahi kufanya hivyo.

Lakini unaweza ukaona michango ya watu wetu, kana kwamba hicho it was nothing, kwamba hicho it was nothing. Kwa sababu unaweza mkaangalia kama gazeti tu, kilichoandikwa katika siku iliyofuata. Kwa hiyo uzalendo unapotea.

Lakini uzalendo huo unapotezwa pia na sisi viongozi, kwa sababu kwa interest zetu saa nyingine ndio tumekuwa watu wakupeleka kwamba kaandike ukaitukane serikali na wewe uko serikalini.

Tuendelee kwenda pamoja tutafika. Na nchi yetu bahati nzuri inaenda kwenye direction nzuri. Ukienda kule nje, kila mtu anaappreciate. Ukija huku, hakuna appreciation, hakuna appreciation.

Niwaombe waandishi wa habari mwiitangulize Tanzania kwanza. Siku ikiharibika Tanzania, na nyinyi mtakuwa mmeharibikiwa, pamoja na wale waliowapanga kuandika mnayoyaandika.

Matatizo yaliyotokea kwenye nchi nyingine, yalichochewa pia na kalamu zetu. Genocide ya Rwanda, mpaka wakafa watu karibu milioni moja, walianza kwa mzaa-mzaa hivi. Unaweza kuwa unamchukia mtu fulani, lakini usichukie Tanzania: multiplying effect yake ni kubwa,  na moto ikishawaka, hakuna atakayeuzima. Kwa hiyo, hiyo ni message tu kwenu, kwamba kalamu zenu mkizitumia vizuri, itawasaidia Watanzania.

Huwezi ukakukuta hata mahali wanaandika mambo ya development. Ukikuta yale mambo ya uchochezi-uchochezi kidogo, unakuta kwenye TV fulani hivi, kila wanapoandamana wakulima mahali fulani, au wafugaji, ndiyo heading, na inaachiwa muda mrefu saaana. Hiyo ndiyo story kwao: kila kitu chenye nia ya uchochezi fulani-fulani, wao ndiyo story.

Sasa Mwakyembe, kafanye kazi. Nataka ukafanye kazi. Kama wapo waliokuwepo waliokuwa na chungu wanashindwa kuchukua hatua, wewe kachukue. Kwanza ni mwanasheria mzuri, msomi, umesomea mambo ya habari, kafanye kazi.

Serikali ipo, hatuwezi tukaiacha serikali ikaangamia kwa sababu ya watu wachache. Haitawezekana.

Hata kasomeni tu hayo magazeti ya leo: picha yote, heading ni picha za mtu alifanya kosa moja. Kana kwamba hicho tendo kimefanywa na serikali au kinasupportiwa na serikali. Page ya kwanza, page ya pili, huyu anatoa anafanya hivi, huyu anatoa hivi, that is the story.

Nawaambia wamiliki wa vyombo vya habari: be careful, watch it! Kama mnafikiria mna freedom ya namna hiyo … not to that extent.

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  1. Pingback: John Magufuli's Tanzania is one which hurts press freedom and journalists — Quartz

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