We Didn’t Need Food… But Can Beggars be Choosers?

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Uncle Sam has jotted down in his official American Embassy X account that he would like to end hunger in our schools by providing food aid with supplements and furnishing schools with gardening and water harvesting skills. Superficially, it looks like USAID has targeted short-, medium- and long-term efforts to arrest hunger in our schools until you read a much bigger picture. This discourse peruses the debate for and against freebies in our schools and offers my views.

Providing food to our public schools is solely government responsibility, albeit even during Nyerere’s rosy years, some foodstuffs hailed from the US. We still reminisce with “buruga” and wonder whether it was raw roasted wheat mixed with powdered milk and sugar. Some thought it was not wheat but roasted barley, powdered milk, and sugar!

Whatever it was, it nourished our bodies, and we were healthy. Then, it abruptly stopped. Nobody had the decency to explain why the good old days were over!

After the “buruga” was taken away from our menu, we resorted to local foodstuffs, which were bland and inflicted malnutrition on us because they were not what was a balanced diet. The local food had too much starch, little proteins, and almost no vitamins and minerals. Some suffered bile, which was misdiagnosed as malaria, and they were jabbed regularly for a disease they never had. I happened to be one of them. We all needed a balanced diet, a luxury we can afford to overlook!

Read related: Tanzania’s Food Systems Stance: Addressing Data Gaps for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security.

A careful reading in the Netizen, one can see the public attitude has changed towards food aid, in particular when that food comes from countries that glorify “sodomy” as a human right! One commenter rushed to judgment when he linked food aid with a long-term strategy to convert our children into “sexual trans“. He went on to say without providing an iota of evidence that the supplements added in the food aid earmarked for our children were laced with female hormones that our boys may begin to feel the urge to alter their gender!

Others drilled the food aid on spiritual grounds, wondering aloud whether the food additives were “halal”. The huge component of this school of thought anchored their ammunition upon pork could be part of the food supplements. Those doubters were in one accord that they did not have qualms with the quality of food but were suspicious their faith was on the line of fire.

Another very political group had issues with the sustainability of food aid, reminding us that we used to receive similar avuncular help from Uncle Sam. Still, it went away without any warning or explanation. This school of thought questioned the legitimacy of accepting food aid 62 years after independence.

The overall thinking of this group was that we should stop begging or accepting food for our schools. The freebies posed a major national security. The US, through the UN, has been strategizing on how to depopulate Africa, and food aid could turn out to be the weapon to secure those wicked goals; the scoffers rested their case.

Our Minister for Agriculture, Hussein. M. Bashe has joined the discussion, raising issues that have opened a Pandora Box. Bashe recorded on a video that he opposed the food handouts and wanted the money to be used to buy the food aid given to Tanzanian farmers. My question is, was Bashe not involved in the decision-making or bypassed? Where was he when food aid was outsourced, cleared from paying taxes, and found a way to our schools?

Why would US farmers donate foodstuffs to our schools? It is part of the tax reliefs the US taxman has placed in his tax codes for exemptions. If a taxpayer is generous, then he deserves tax credit. So, this food aid has no money changing hands in the first place. So, for Bashe, clamouring for hard cash is a failure to grasp US taxation matters.

On a similar breath, who is providing the foodstuffs? Is it the American farmers or the US government? From what was written in the official US Embassy X account, it was the farmers donating food, so the issue of money being paid to our farmers is highly misconceived.


One school in Iringa reported that 17 pupils had been hospitalized for consuming this food aid, and one fatality has been recorded so far. Before we jump to wild conclusions, we must carefully consider the matter. Until toxicological reports are available, we cannot associate this food with sudden ailments that may occur to our beloved children.

Many variables can quickly be injected into the equation. For example, lacking gastric familiarity with gunky food may lead to food poisoning. For instance, if you have not been eating lots of fats the day you ingest them, diarrhoea may plague you.

I still remember powdered milk once mixed with water. Many swirled during our days at the University of Dar es Salaam, left us having the runs and incoherent butterflies, and some opined that keep drinking the scrumptious milk over time, the intestines will learn how to subdue coagulation, which was blamed for the trots.

So, we should be very careful to avoid blaming food as a source of strange illnesses leading to death and hospitalizations. There could be other explanations behind the anomalies.

Another angle worth consideration is immune compromised syndrome. The health of our children goes unnoticed, but many are grappling with underlying health issues, so if they have gobbled unfamiliar foodstuffs, it may trigger bacterial and viral warfare that may leave the hapless students unhealthy.

Also, read Transforming Agriculture: Strategies for Addressing Food Production Crisis in East Africa.

On the issue of hormonal corruption of the food aid, we can confidently assure all and sundries that nobody in his right mind will risk the gender orientation of our children or impose family planning on them. Those are illegal acts under American law, and most of these farmers tend to be very conservative Christians who are anti-vaxxers and naturalists.

They are supposed to be the last line of defence against mixing seeds, as some would want us to believe them. The farmers believe and obey the commandments of God that say mix not of seeds, albeit when it comes to cropping, there is convenient amnesia.

What is vital for Tanzania is to stop taking food aid for students as a matter of national security. Let us end trusting aliens to breastfeed our next generation of leaders. Part of the problem is a leader who spends too much time breastfeeding herself; no wonder she conveniently forgets about her beleaguered kids.

We love raising politicians’ salaries and providing for spouses of national leaders with wherewithal, while we spurious claim we have no money to cater for the weak members of society! When providing pensions to senior citizens over 65, our regime says there is no money.

When it comes to free health care, they say there is no money. Now, even when it comes to feeding the backbone of this country’s future, our leaders quickly offload this onus to strangers. Once you allow them to feed your children, please accept when your children acquire foreign values.

Stop saying “hizi siyo mila na desturi zetu” while apportioning a disproportionate component of the national cake to yourself without thinking about the rest of us. Too much selfishness is the bane of Tanzania, and a caring government will never allow us to have this debate today because we will be feeding ourselves and foreigners, too.

The author is a Development Administration specialist in Tanzania with over 30 years of practical experience, and has been penning down a number of articles in local printing and digital newspapers for some time now.

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Emmanuel Chacha
Emmanuel Chacha
2 months ago

Can choosers afford to be beggars

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