Bouncing along in car the other day with my companion, a village level political activist with Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi. Coast Region.
Me: So what qualities should a village leader have?
Him: He should have love for the people
Me: And how should he show that love?
Him: Money – a little bit here, a little bit there. If people have a problem, they’ll come to you and you must have some money to give them. You can’t hide at home if you’re a leader. You have to be available and you must be able to help.
Which may explain Tanzanian MP’s supposed indebtedness. It may also explain the squabbling over allowances that has eaten up the time of MPs, the Speaker and anti-corruption agents. African culture, the Speaker says. Or just a desperate need for cash as teh 2010 general election approaches.