Who’s who?

Labour laws must clearly indicate the vocations reserved for natives and those which could be done by expatriates.

That quote does not, unfortunately, come from some British colonial era District Officer’s report. Rather, it is part of NGO  input to the Mkukuta (or Poverty Reduction Strategy) review process. Check out the full version on the Policy Forum website.

Surely the representatives of the 55 NGOs who signed this statement are aware of how loaded is the term ‘native’  or ‘mzawa’ in Tanzania? Inherited from the British,  it is laden down with a history of mistrust, misunderstanding and long silences.

I can accept a migration policy that privileges citizens and identifies areas in which skills from overseas may be required. But do our presumably progressive NGOs need to tackle such issues using this  type of language?

I’d link to a Swahili version of the statement, but oddly, the Swahili version of the PF website doesn’t appear to have been updated since the middle of last year. It’s English all the way now, by the looks of things.


5 responses to “Who’s who?

  1. Yup, dangerous waters these are. Appropriating colonial cultural weapons is hardly smart.

    But since you have broached the subject: differences in pay-scales for ‘local’ staff vs. expatriate ‘experts’ as part of TZ donor culture: worth discussing? How? When? Where? In which language?

  2. totally worth discussing, The differences are crazy. I have worked on ‘local’ salary here and elsewhere. And I’ve enjoyed the full ‘expatriate package’ too. And if somebody offered it to me again I’d take it. Why? Because it would allow me to live life to a level that my peers in my home country could only dream of. Which, of course, is wrong.

    though the implications of the term ‘native’ tend to touch other relations, and is usually used in juxtaposition to other Tanzanians – but those of Asian origin.

  3. One real reason why expat salaries get so inflated is because of the standard set by the donors themselves, who see nothing wrong with wazungu getting such cushy packages, because they are on them too; and then some, what with their international school fees, businesss class travel, import favours, and all the rest.

  4. NGOs that engage in any form of ‘poverty alleviation’ work should be subject to scrutiny on pay differentials within the organization. It is perverse that in TZ parts of the private sector are more egalitarian than the donor world.
    But, you know, self-interest. It is what it is…

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