….goes jingle jangle.
Some neighbours had arranged a meeting with our local leaders – police, administration and political representatives. They listened to our concerns and responded in a way that I thought was not especially helpful but my neighbours seemed happy enough with. The issue itself need not trouble us here.
Our leaders, as they are styled in Tanzania, sat together in a row and spoke with one voice. This echoed the layout of the complex of buildings where we met. Shaded by quiet trees our Ward office, Police Post and CCM office form a neat triangle with no visible boundaries between them.
With two months of huffing and puffing towards October’s election ahead of us, it was a timely reminder that on one level, things work much as they always have – the state and the party are not easily demarcated.
But the absence of the key players in our local drama – private sector types with, I’d guess, good connections – illustrated the fragility of the current state of affairs. The triangle may appear to be firm, but we cannot be sure what forces are acting upon it.
As petitioners we were an educated, resourceful and indeed wired bunch. We may even have been mistaken for an emerging middle class. In the face of the resilient institutions of the state and party, and a private sector with responsibilities to only itself and others whom we can only guess, we didn’t seem so clever.