‘You see, we told you, they are not ready’!?

Jaffar Zein Mjasiri

SITTING in Beijing, the Capital of the People’s Republic of China, is one of the rare opportunities, leave alone given the little time here, being able to rub shoulders with Chinese politicians, publishers, bureaucrats, civil society organisations and the academicians at Peking University.

It was indeed one of my dreams that at the epic of my career, one day I should, God Willing, seat in Beijing writing some narratives about China- Africa affairs.

I am glad that Almighty God has granted me this opportunity. Recently, as many of my esteemed readers are aware, I had retired, but of course, I am not tired and that is why I can fly across all these continents; hahaha!!!

Following this, I was invited as a media consultant and scholar to attend the African Civil Society Organisations Workshop here in China. Part of my trip was to familiarise myself with Chinese Confucius studies, history and President Xi Jinping’s philosophies, which I have continued to learn from different scholars, media experts and politicians in China.

Further, it is indeed an honour and I feel so humbled to be invited by Professor Liu Haifang and Professor Li Anshan, both of Peking University where I spent two days learning from them a lot about China’s socio-economic development progress and success as well as Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority history or monument, among other things.

Therefore, as I pen down this article I have no doubt that the TRUST that existed between Chairman Mao and Mwalimu Nyerere continues to flourish even today under the able leadership of Presidents Xi Jinping and John Magufuli. Since my arrival here I have witnessed very high level of awareness on China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

The 19 plus delegates from the African Continent participating in the workshop organised by the China NGO Network for International Exchanges (CNIE) is a proof that China is committed to sustaining comprehensive cooperation and exchanges with Africa.

While rubbing shoulders with delegates and officials here, my candid talk with them is still centred on the question of sustaining this TRUST which calls for deliberate effort to make sure the Mao-Nyerere Legacy is there to stay. It is impressive to see that the Director General of African Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China was sincere that African leaders should focus on creating conducive environment for Chinese investments.

He explained to the African delegates that the Chinese investors like others were like birds flying very high in the sky, watching and assessing the fields underneath before making decision to land. Thus, the bird will only land on such terrain if it can find its needs.

In line with this analogy, Professor Shivji recently shared with me the same candid talk in his thesis of China- Africa partnership. He reminds us that Africans must know what they want and push for their agenda of socio-economic development. I think it’s time to call a spoon a spoon and a spade a spade.

It is high time that Africa should not give advantage to the Eurocentric biases. In my opinion if African countries will not grab the opportunities to improve their economies by taking full ownership of such socio-economic development projects; the criticisms from the western countries will be overwhelming.

In this regard Tazara is another litmus test for our great monument to China-Africa Friendship. We should not let critics prove to our Chinese development partners that we are not ready to embrace development, despite all the support extended to us.

The Eurocentric might even turn to the Chinese and exclaim that: “You see; we told you, they are not ready.” But I could be wrong!

Enjoy Your Weekend.

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