To All People of Good Will: Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year of the Dragon 2012

IN FOCUS, 6 Feb 2012

Charles A. Sanga – TRANSCEND Media Service

On the 23rd January 2012 the Chinese people celebrated the fifth cycle calendar year of the Dragon out of the twelve cycles contained in the calendar. The Dragon is a manifestation of   being energetic, fearless, warm-hearted and charismatic. I wish all CHINESE FRIENDS HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR. You are indeed our friends and we are your friends.

Coincidentally, on 23rd June 1965, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere made the following statement: “.. …..I am provoked into saying these things because of the overseas reaction there has been to certain decisions made by the independent Government of my country. Towards the end of last year independent Tanzania invited seven Chinese technicians to train our reorganized army in the use of the weapons we were getting from that country. There has been exchange of state visits between my country and the People’s Republic of China; I addressed a mass rally in Peking, and Premier Chou En Lai addressed a public meeting in Dar Es Salaam…

….Ever since these events began to take place large sections of the Western press, and  some Western politicians, have been examining us through microscopes to see whether we have been –as they would put it – ‘contaminated’ by these contacts, I gather that even the suits I wear have been adduced as evidence of pernicious Chinese influence!”

Almost forty seven years later today since the above statement was made, similar sentiments are expressed about the relations between China and Africa, Tanzania included. Today Western press and prominent Institutions, Agencies, Foundations, as well as some politicians are echoing similar outlook about the presence of the Chinese in Africa. They all cry foul play and exploitation. They invest a lot of funds for research. A large number of PhD candidates are funded to find out the activities being undertaken by China and the Chinese people in Africa. Forums are conducted and seminars held to analyze China’s intentions and what the Chinese people and the Chinese investors are putting up in Africa or in Tanzania for that matter.

What is so funny and quite irritating is the misapprehension they create about the activities of these Chinese in Africa or in Tanzania.  There is a misapprehension and this misapprehension is a very sound misapprehension. It is indeed a very odd misapprehension. It is odd because it comes from the part of the world that has done so much damage to Africa, Tanzania no exception. Today the same West wants to hoodwink Africa that it is faultless and the East, in particular, China and the Chinese people are flawed to be avoided like the HIV/AIDS pandemic disease. How can one explain the logic behind the highly thriving relations between China and the countries in the West? Someone should come out in the open to justify this obvious contradictory outlook of the situation.

Most of African countries are about fifty years and above or about to reach this golden age of fifty. At such an age how can the West expect to make a fool out of anybody? One does not have to be super intelligent to discern the sinister motive behind these naïve actions.

This naïve behavior displays jealousy and is also a reflection that as former colonial masters of most African countries their minds are still impregnated with the illusion of continued, in one way or another, of the mastery of these countries. Africa belongs to the Africans. Equally true that Tanzania belongs to the people of Tanzania. The development of Africa is the responsibility of the people of Africa. In the same notion the development of Tanzania is the responsibility of the people of Tanzania. In carrying out this noble mission, Africa or Tanzania has the freedom to choose a partner with whom to cooperate. It is ludicrous for the West to point fingers and make misinformed judgments at such cooperation. May be it should be said that it is farcical for them to make deliberate efforts to dent the cooperation existing between China and Africa.

The history of relations between China and Africa is not as long as the one that exists between Africa and the West. The relations between Africa and the West was dominated by the philosophy that “What belonged to the West was for the people of the West. But what belonged to Africa was for the people of the West.” This is a fulfillment of some script in the Holy Books: “Those who have, more  will be given to them and those who have almost nothing, even the little they have will be taken and be given to those who have.” This unfortunate philosophy is still relished by some people in the West.

On the contrary the relations, short as it may be, between China and Africa is dominated by the philosophy of sharing the little that is available. It is cooperation for mutual benefit. Many people scorn this philosophy as being used by China to delude the people of Africa and so allow the Chinese people to exploit Africa’s resources indiscriminately. This kind of thinking is the lowest kind of derision about the intellectual capacity and ability of the people of Africa in dealing with foreigners including the Chinese. Now this is indeed pernicious Western influence! It is often said that one can be fooled for sometime but not all the time. The West has fooled Africa for sometime it cannot continue fooling it all the time.

Africa has the capacity to choose between good and bad; between friends and enemies; between hypocrisy and genuine. The West is free to say anything in its mind, true or false, good or bad, hypocritical or genuine; it is for Africa to make the final decision based on its own valuation of the situation and make good judgment on merit and not on influence or emotion. The countries in the West, more than any other part of the world, are better equipped to understand how fast the world is changing. These changes are real and if they want to cope up with them they have to change their attitude of pushing around their fast diminishing weight of power so that the West can live harmoniously with the rest of the world. Today hegemony cannot survive. But our children and the children of our children, to their resounding shock, will surf it in the records, electronic or otherwise.

The reality is simple: the past glory of the West is but history. China is an emerging powerhouse, nobody can stop it. The power of the mass media in the West is nothing but a façade. In spite of the show of its power to discredit China, it is very frightened of it and its gallant people. “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the land.” Meekness is not weakness, rather realization of one’s shortcomings. The West has a multitude of shortcomings. Let the West employ the truth so that it can be set free from its shortcomings. Free from pride of nothingness and bonds of guilt consciousness.

As an emerging power China has a huge burden on its shoulder. The burden is that of being a responsible powerful country devoid of all temptations of a powerful country. As an emerging country China should expect a lot of criticism from a number of those who never dreamt that a day will ever come for them to reach the apex and start the natural trend of descent.

The West has reached that summit and is struggling to cling to remain there. It is against the law of nature. The law of nature demands that it must go down. The rescinding must be a decent one for indecency will make others to be contemptuous. While China is almost reaching the apex, India is not far behind. The countries in Southern America are following up fast and so are the countries in Africa. There is no other way except to move downwards and downwards is the only way for the West. Let the mass media of the West have the luxury of carrying a lot of misleading information with them on what these countries are doing. The truth is that the West is being pushed aside to make space for the upcoming countries up. Empires have fallen down; powerless countries have become powerless and rich countries are getting poor. It is a natural process that must be accepted with grace.

A responsible country China, as it is well known to be, should not occupy itself of such petty allegations about its activities anywhere it has been invited to have its presence. Its presence in Africa is a result of mutual agreement between the two sides. However, China or Africa should not turn a deaf ear to some of the allegations being leveled on both sides. It is good for them to make careful analysis of the allegations so that prompt and appropriate corrective measures are taken.

In the case of China it is also well known for its virtue of humility. China should therefore be humble enough to digest some of the allegations leveled against it and if proven true to take necessary measures for correction. Africa should do the same. Correcting oneself is not a sign of weakness rather of maturity of accepting responsibility for one’s wrong actions.  Only in this way will the cooperation between China and Africa be respected by the whole world including the hardcore critics in the West and elsewhere in the world.

As the Chinese New Year is being celebrated each side should resolve to think outside the box and clear the imbued mindset that sets in misapprehensions. By being energetic, fearless, and warm-hearted as the dragon, a charismatic China will win over those who demonize it and support Africa’s struggle of achieving what it rightly-Freedom-Economic freedom in the way Africa was supported during the struggle for political freedom. Nothing but total freedom is what Africa or Tanzania as a country aims at achieving, whatever it takes!



 Charles A. Sanga is a former ambassador of Tanzania to the People’s Republic of China. This Article appeared in the “Sunday Guardian” of Tanzania on 22nd January 2012.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 6 Feb 2012.

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