Retirement Benefits for VIP Spouses? What a Wonderful Bill..!

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At the conception idea for this article, I intended to advise the government to let reason be in reasoning before they proceed with the particular supplement bill, the written laws (Miscellaneous Amendment No. 4) Bill, 2023, on amendment of political Service Retirement Act, Cap, 225, printed on Government gazette No. 32 volume 104 dated August 16, 2023.

The proposed bill strives to entitle spouses of the President, Vice President, and Prime Minister with gratuity. It suggests that “Where a leader who held the office of President ceases to hold office, his spouse shall be granted a gratuity of the sum equal to twenty-five percent of the total sum received by him as salaries when he was in office,” the same applies to spouses of Vice President and Prime Minister, all to get twenty-five percent of the salaries received by their spouses while in office.

My primordial way of thinking led me to believe that this bill is provocative; the best it can achieve for the public is to deliberately make people angry, given the hardship they go through in their day-to-day endeavor to bring bread to their family’s table, I never ceased to wonder if this is not sedition.

The more I tried not to trust my old-fashioned instincts,  the more the obvious kept unfolding before my conscience, and I was like, isn’t the government seeing the possibility that the proposed bill might incite people to dissent against the government itself? Isn’t the government scheming aggression against the government?

I was about to be carried away by my old-school approach to perceiving things when my subconscious mind clicked and brought me to the reality of modern-day Tanzania.

Yes, the people of Tanzania, regardless of their life stature, love and cherish their leaders and wish them well to the extent that they are prepared to give their all for their leaders to lead a comfortable life.

Tanzanians’ love and charity to their leaders are second to none. It resembles the divine love Apostle Paul preached to Corinthians, the kind of love which “suffereth long, and is kind, envieth not, …doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” to the extent that it doesn’t matter how hard a retired teacher at Udinde village, Chunya, is struggling to get his pension which he accumulated for more than 30 years of services to this nation in vain, no matter how he is not able pay his bills because of the pension funds bureaucracy system he isn’t able to keep pace with, he will be over the moon on hearing this bill.

A retired nurse who, under circumstances not even known to her, after she was last time transferred to Nyabichune village in Tarime district, misplaced the appointment letter and other necessary documents needed for pension processing will no longer bother why she is being asked for these documents 38 years down the lane as if the government doesn’t keep a record, she will leap like a hart on learning about this bill.

The Reality Behind Poverty Statistics

According to the National Bureau of Statistics Tanzania Mainland Poverty Assessment report, Poverty was not reduced as much as the population grew, increasing the absolute number of poor people.

In 2018, about 14 million people lived below the national poverty line, shilling 49,320 per adult equivalent per month, and about 26 million (about 49 percent of the population) lived below the $1.90 per person per day as per the international poverty line. (Couldn’t get data beyond 2018), this may have changed since then; however, one thing remains certain: millions of Tanzanians live below both national and international poverty lines.

These won’t give a damn why they are wallowing in Poverty amidst plenty. For the love of their chosen ones, the moment this bill meets their eardrums and the brain performs its translation function well, they will rejoice like the shepherd abiding in the fields of Bethlehem after they were informed of the birth of the savior.

These wonderful people from Nyerere’s land possess candles and love, lighting others while tearing down themselves. And the highest honorable leaders know this very well. Yes, otherwise, how could they even dare think of the bill if they were not aware of the endless love their people grant them?

In a matter of Spouses, this relationship between Tanzanians and their most loved leaders reminds me of the former Zaire President, another very much loved leader, Mobutu Sese Seko, who, because of the love he has for his people who in return loved him unconditionally, on May 20, 1976, he showed his people how he hates corruption, said; “If you want to steal, steal a little cleverly, in a nice way. You will be caught only if you steal so much as to become rich overnight.”

A slight in-depth analysis of this bill shows how our beloved leaders have been smart enough to borrow a leaf from this May 1976 advice to do things “a little cleverly in a nice way.” This bill was crafted skillfully.

Who in his right mind wouldn’t applaud the efforts? They deserve a standing ovation, aren’t they?!

Find more insightful articles by Deus Bugaywa heye.

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