In 2005, I was assigned by my editors at The EastAfrican to follow up with government officials what they made of an Egyptian threat to declare war on Kenya or any other Nile Basin country that unilaterally violated a archaic 1929 British Treaty giving the Arab nation the right to utilize most of Nile river waters.
I called the then Livestock, Water and Fisheries Development Edward Lowassa and demand the government’s position on the controversy but he said that Tanzania is not yet decided to go to war with the bullying Arab nation.
I perfectly understood him and did not consider his modest response which stressed on dialogue as a symbol of weakness but rather a better way to address the problem created by a former colonial master.
While my Nairobi based editors were less happy because their government had taken a tough stance on the subject with one cabinet minister threatening that the east African nation will go it alone and start using Lake Victoria waters for development work, Dar es Salaam chose the less confrontation path of dialogue.
Over a fortnight ago, four Nile Basin countries including Tanzania signed a new agreement which demands that the archaic 1929 Treaty be scrapped to allow them use waters of Lake Victoria which is the source of White Nile, for development work such as irrigation.
As usual Egypt resorted to threats and verbal military oriented messages warning the Nile Basin countries of the danger of violating the 1929 agreement.
Press reports quoted two senior government officials, in fact cabinet ministers telling their parliament that Cairo will do everything to safeguard its right to unilaterally use the maximum of Nile waters as per 1929 treaty.
Moufid Shehab who is Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs told parliament that the four Nile Basin countries that signed the Nile River Co-operative Framework Agreement a fortnight ago, took a wrong step.
Mr. Shehab argued that his government will stand firm and affirm it’s inalienable and historical rights over Nile River waters.
Shehab’s peer, Mohammed Allam who is Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation added his voice to the controversy by stressing that Egypt reserves the right to take whatever course it sees suitable to safeguard its share.
Back at home, Minister for Water and Irrigation, Professor Mark Mwandosya as usual, was less aggressive but stressed that several, if not all Nile Basin countries want a renegotiated Nile Treaty and that the 1929 Treaty does not hold any water.
Mwandosya’s soft tone does not mean that we as Tanzanians are cowards, no, no, not at all but prefer to exhaust the path of peaceful negotiations first. People with short memories such as the aggressive war mongering Egyptians may as well go back to search engines are learn something about Tanzania’s ability to fight.
The Ugandans and Libyans have a better understanding of our prowess to strike if our tolerance has been overstretched and definitely the Egyptians may have one of the most modern and advanced military arsenal but certainly will not cow all of us as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi recently said.
Nile Basin countries including Tanzania need to start making authorities in Cairo understand that time for tough talking military threats is over and that they are entitled to start using similar tough language to make the Egyptians understand.
Continuing handling of this spiraling crisis with kids gloves should end now and Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda should adopt a tough stance against the bullying Arab nation and send a clear message that this will not business as usual.
Although Lake Victoria only accounts for less than 16 percent of Nile River through While Nile compared to Blue Nile which rises from Ethiopian Highlands, the importance of securing a sustainable agreement to tap this commodity in future, is vital.
Obtaining such an agreement with a war mongering and tough talking administration of Hosni Mubarak, we need to boost our war arsenal and work closely with similarly tough talking Nile Basin partners such as Kenya and Ethiopia.
The danger of going to war against Egypt is real and rather than thinking that it’s still far off, Nile Basin governments need to start serious preparations for the war. Although Uganda which hosts the source of White Nile has in recent days retained a soft stance stressing dialogue as a way out of the crisis, arms analysts show that Kampala is boosting its military budget.
In a 2008 report, Swedish International Peace Research Institute revealed that Kenya is ranked fourth out of 23 eastern and southern African countries in military expenditure. Nairobi’s budget defence expenditure rose from US $222 million in 1999 to US $260 million in 2008.
The report also noted that Kenya recently purchased armoured personnel carriers and Y-12 military utility planes from China. But Uganda is also not basking in peace but certainly preparing for a war. The Pearl of Africa’s military expenditure rose from US $173 million to US $237 million between 2003 and 2008.
This is what we need to be doing to change the Egyptians war mentality back to the negotiating table where surely key concessions to address the archaic 1929 British made treaty which is basically denying our countries a fair share of the basic resource.
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Kwanini ni vigumu kuomba msaada?
Ni matarajio au matamanio ya kila mtu kusaidiwa kukamilisha jambo fulani. Iwe kazini au kwenye shughuli yoyote ya kijamii, utahitaji watu wenye ujuzi na maarifa tofauti tofauti kufanikisha malengo yako. Mfano, wachezaji wakiwa uwanjani wanacheza kwa kusaidiana kila mmoja katika nafasi yake ili kuifunga timu pinzani na kuibuka na ushindi.
Hakuna jambo lolote linaloweza kukamilika bila ya kuwa na usaidizi wa namna fulani. Lakini umewahi kujiuliza kwanini ni vigumu kwa watu kuomba msaada?
Jibu linatolewa na Mwanasaikolojia ya Jamii, Heidi Grant anaeleza kuwa, kilichopo nyuma ya kuomba msaada ni hofu ya kukataliwa ambayo imekita mizizi katika saikolojia ya uumbaji wa mwanadamu.
Katika kitabu chake kiitwacho, Reinforcements anaandika kuwa kuomba msaada ni jambo lisilopendeza linalomfanya mtu ajisikie mgonjwa.
Hilo linathibitishwa na Mtaalamu wa Saikolojia mwingine nchini Marekani, Stanley Milgram ambaye alifanya jaribio la utii na mamlaka ambapo aliwaelekeza wanafunzi wake ambao walikuwa wamesimama ndani ya treni kuomba nafasi ya kukaa kwenye viti. Anasema majibu aliyopata ni kwamba wengi wao waliogopa kuomba msaada huo. “Niliogopa ningesingeweza,” alisema mmoja wa wanafunzi.
Lakini Milgram aliamua kuomba siti na akakubaliwa , “ Kichwa changu kilizama katikati ya miguu yangu na nilihisi nimepigwa na butwaa,” anaandika. “Sikufanya wajibu wangu. Nilikuwa najisikia kama naenda kupotea.”
Muitiko huo ambao Grant ameuelezea unahusiana na tabia za kijamii ambazo zimeunganishwa kwenye ubongo wa mwanadamu tangu karne nyingi za uumbaji. Kama wanyama wengine, binadamu wameumbwa kupata msaada kutoka kwa familia na jamii zao ili waweze kuishi. Lakini inafika wakati tunaogopa kuomba msaada hata kama tuna shida.
Kwanini watu wanaogopa kuomba msaada?
Zipo sababu mbalimbali ambazo zinasababisha watu kuogopa kuomba msaada ni kupoteza hadhi na heshima katika jamii. Wapo baadhi ya watu wana hadhi fulani ambayo anahisi akiomba msaada kwa watu atadharaulika. Pia kukataliwa, siyo kila ombi linakubaliwa, mengine yanakatiliwa; hofu hiyo huwazuia watu kuomba msaada. Wakati mwingine ukiomba msaada inakuwa ni njia ya watu kufahamu matatizo yako na kuwaambia wengine; jambo linaloweza kutengeneza huzuni katika maisha.
Grant anaeleza kuwa kuomba msaada kunakuweka wazi zaidi na hatari za kijamii ambazo zinaweza kudhihirisha unyonge na kukaribisha maumivu.
Anaeleza zaidi kuwa inatengeneza huzuni, na kukaribisha uwezekano wa kukataliwa. “Hajalishi, ndiyo maana tunaogopa kuomba msaada kama tunavyogoopa maradhi,” ameandika. “Maradhi yanaweza kuwa na hatari ndogo kwetu ukilinganisha na kuomba msaada.”
Hata hivyo, ni mara chache sana matokeo hasi tuliyoyaona hapo juu kutokea mara tunapoomba msaada. Katika utafiti mwingine, Mwanasaikolojia Vanessa Bohns alichunguza sampuli ya watu 14,000 ambao walitakiwa kuomba msaada. Na alibaini kuwa idadi kubwa ya walioomba msaada walikuwa na uwezekano mkubwa wa kupata kuliko ambavyo walikuwa wanaamini awali.
Katika semina mbalimbali, Mhamasishaji, Antony Luvanda amekuwa akisisitiza kuwa kuomba msaada siyo ishara ya unyonge bali ni ishara kuwa umeimarika kimaisha.
Kwa maneno mengine, inaweza kuwa rahisi kupata msaada kuliko kuomba.
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