Tanzanian, or Houston Sorcery?

Tanzanian, or Houston Sorcery?

Activist Member of Parliament in Tanzania decries sorcery being used against her in the current election. This is tongue-in-cheek, but not even google knows this.

A report in one of Dar-es-Salaam’s major newspapers this morning was picked up by literally thousands if not hundreds of thousands of other media, probably for what was presumed as comic relief. Even google.news had it on its front page.

But everybody’s missed the point! It’s a perfect example of how the electronic world can actually invert news completely… or maybe, how savvy techies can manipulate truth in evil ways. Here’s the story.

Ms Beatrice Shelukindo is one of the most outspoken and progressive members of Parliament in Tanzania’s current government. She’s a tireless fighter for reform and brazen whistle blower. She’s been in trouble not a few times with the powers that be.

She and a few other noble souls were responsible for the resignation of Tanzania’s attorney general about a year ago, after uncovering a scheme where Andrew Chenge enriched himself by around a $1 million in kickbacks from the purchase he orchestrated as the country’s chief legal counsel of a radar system the country didn’t need.

She and a few other noble souls helped get the resignation of the country’s PRIME MINISTER for yet to be fully revealed corruption in the country’s electricity companies. And she’s currently embroiled in a controversy with the Richmond Development Company of Houston, Texas, which is supplying gas power to Tanzania. (That is an entire story in itself, by the way. If Shelukindo’s accusations are true, Richmond Development is in violation of American federal law.)

Also recently, she wondered aloud in Parliament if all the nominated district officers around the country were qualified, or just idiot relatives of those in power.

Tanzanian politicians in power don’t like Beatrice.

After Obama’s election, she issued the following statement:
“We pay homage to Democrats for the win but above all I pay tribute to his wife who was around with him throughout the campaigns. We all know that behind every successful man, there is a woman advisor. I also pay homage to Hillary Clinton who, despite the fact that she lost has shown solidarity,“ said Shelukindo. `Tanzania values humanity and democracy, let us emulate the good deeds by Americans,“ Shelukindo concluded.

Why wouldn’t Tanzanians in power like this? Because I and many others believe Tanzanian power centers were ruefully corrupted by the Bush initiative made just before he left office, which was basically Tanzanian accolades for the Bush administration as a quid pro quo for unusual aid.

At the time you may remember it was hard for Bush to find anybody in the world who liked him, so he made a quick trip to Tanzania where he was praised after promising $350 million in new aid. The Obama administration seems to have no compulsion to make good on this.

Beatrice is from a rural area of Tanzania, Kilindi. Here is the entire report from Tanzania’s Citizen newspaper today, filed by journalist Hussein Semdoe:

Kilindi MP Beatrice Shelukindo has expressed fear that some people in her constituency could be playing some witchcraft antics against her.

The outspoken MP, who has declared that she would defend her seat in October election, complained that she encounters bizarre incidents whenever she visits the area. The CCM MP believes the antics are part of dirty tricks employed her potential opponents to defeat her.

She said her car tends to breakdown without any mechanical problem or in case the car is able to move it ends up getting involved in accidents. She made the allegations while addressing voters in different villages in the district.

Speaking at Saunyi and Mswaki villages late last week, Mrs Shelukindo appealed to the witch doctors to endorse her as she had done a lot to bring development in the area.

“I am amazed by what is happening to me these days… whenever I plan a tour of the constituency, my car breaks down. For instance, I was rushing to a meeting in Songe recently when my car broke down,” she said.

“I boarded a passenger bus which also broke down. The second bus I boarded met similar fate and I was late for the important meeting,” she added.

“Witchcraft has no advantage. We should change our mindset and concentrate on development and education,” she lamented.

And so the whole world picked this up to laugh at a developing country and point fun at one of the few, aggressive, valuable MPs in the Tanzanian Parliament.

The truth is not as funny. I really doubt that Beatrice was speaking seriously; much more likely she’s speaking tongue-in-cheek to her own constituents the same way any politician might make fun of themselves. And in any case, why is google.news reporting this when they didn’t report her outing of Houston’s Richmond Development Company?

They’re trying to get rid of Beatrice. And the electronic media’s desperation for news is helping them in spades.