By Godwin Semunyu

Soccer goes down to the roots of Tanzania’s history. Through the soccer fields in Jangwani and Kariakoo, the late Mwalimu Nyerere and the TANU comrades converged with the locals during the freedom fighting days.

In Tanzania, whether you are a sports fan or not, you are somehow expected to support either Yanga or Simba. A friend once joked that we are first Tanzanians, then we mention our tribes, followed by our support for either of the two teams. I see no lie. Each club is estimated to enjoy a fan base of between 15-20 million followers, one of Africa’s biggest fan base.

However, with all their mighty brand prowess and lucrative fan bases, Simba and Yanga are still living in a world of financial dependency and relying heavily on funds from sponsors and donors in exchange for advertising values.

Leveraging on their brands’ equity, they are undoubtedly the “adverting heavens” to most local businessmen. Perhaps that is their blessings in disguise. As a result, the clubs have developed a tendency of over-reliance on sponsors and individual benefactors, with minimal revenue alternatives, a recipe for the rise of a solo voice, with financial muscles, to take the helm. It is not an entirely bad situation as it has worked perfectly elsewhere.

However, the downside to this situation is that it lacks a going concern and sustainability. When the dominant voice stumbles, so does the entire institution. Yanga fans learned the hard way when their previous benefactor stepped down abruptly. Within three months, they went from being the wealthiest club in East Africa to a club pleading for fans’ contributions to pay salaries.

A few months back, Simba’s main sponsor pressed the panic buttons when he tweeted a decision to quit the club, following a stint of bad results. Though the decision was reverted afterward, the fans already feared the worse.

Lack of sustainable revenue streams that act as shock absorbers leaves the clubs vulnerable in any mishaps. History has taught that over and over again.

The Government has instructed the two clubs to embark on the ownership model where shares are distributed into 51% to 49%. The ordinary fans own 59%, and a mega investor(s) holding the remaining 49%.

This opens up doors for the clubs to start trading shares at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange and generate instant capital to fund operations and growth. Apart from investing in squad and training facilities, it could also be ventured into income-generating tributaries like bonds or short-term fixed plans to guarantee working capital.

The move will also amplify the fan bases as many will jump at the opportunity to own a part of their beloved clubs. Furthermore, as a publicly listed company with mandatory transparency practices, the clubs will win many supporters’ trust to turn them into active members, hence garner annual membership fees.

Merchandise, TV rights, and Kit sponsorship are football clubs’ major cash-cows. With unbalanced books and a desperate need for funds, the clubs naturally lose ground negotiating tables with advertisers. Nevertheless, by becoming financially stable, the clubs will have the upper hand and detect terms.

For instance, the clubs could opt the modern way of kit sponsorship, where multiple advertisers are accommodated. Recently, the English club, Arsenal, signed with Rwanda a three years kit sponsorship deal worth USD39 million to have a “Visit Rwanda” Ad on the sleeves.

Mind you, Arsenal already had five years kit deal with Emirates Airline worth £200m (USD 280mmillion) for the front part of the jersey and around £300 million five years deal with Adidas for the company’s logo on the top left corner, of the same jersey.

It should be clearly stated that floating shares is one thing, but inspiring investors’ confidence is an entirely different ball game. To achieve that, the clubs will have to be appropriately structured and professionally managed.

The clubs also need to invest smartly in the playing squads to get favorable results; game results are an essential driver of the share prices.
In England, for instance, where most Premier League clubs are listed, studies have revealed that share prices reacts asymmetrically to game results. The negative effect being greater and quicker for losers than the positive impact for winners. This is because losing is a stronger predictor of future losing (and hence lower financial performance) and vice versa.

The optimal point is, if the two clubs, which commands the support of close to 30 million Tanzanians, are to make a significant leap forward, financial independence is of the essence. But since mobilizing capital the old way has proved to be a daunting task, floating shares is the only light at the end of the tunnel.

Send your comments to gsemunyu@epicpr.co.tz.

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By Godwin Semunyu

Last few weeks, Tanzania woke up to shocking news of a student in Butiama, Mara region, viciously slashing his teacher with a machete after being questioned for truancy. The attack was so fierce that the teacher narrowly dodged amputation.

Earlier last year, a teacher from Kibeta Primary school in Bukoba was sentenced to death by hanging for maliciously beating a 13-year-old pupil to death. Reports suggested that the student was severely beaten, for up to three hours, after being accused of stealing a female teacher’s handbag.

In many parts of  Tanzania, students spend more time at school than home, with an average of 30 hours a week, minimum. Students are molded by the teachers.

The wisdom and mentorship that teachers provide can be life-changing, especially for younger students. Teachers and students’ bonds are supposed to be an honest and transparent one. Never brutal.

Studies have shown that when a trusting relationship exists between students and their teachers, students are willing to engage in things that they would like them to.

Inevitably, when news of violence between the pair surfaces, it sends a shocking message that mirrors society’s moral gaps and cracks.

A student’s audacity to bring a machete to school, let alone attacking his teacher, says more of how far low we have gone, morally, as a society in raising our children. This is unacceptable and it should be condemned by all fonts.

Similarly, a teacher’s inhumaneness to beat a student to death, connotes life-size cracks in the society. He has been punished by the court of law, but as a society we need to ensure that  we do not return to such juncture, ever again.

Students’ discipline is without a doubt one of the most critical aspects of academic life’s success. But this is a collective responsibility. There will always be a student who will cross the line. Parents and teachers should  both be at task, collectively. Putting an indiscipline student back in line shouldn’t be a blood task.

In recent years, parents are increasingly shouldering the parenting roles to the teachers. But the two share a different opinion when it comes to correcting the wrongs once a child steps out of the line. One area of weakness is parents covering the wrongs.

Most teachers believe that punishment to students who violate the codes of conduct is central in instilling discipline. They think that if children are made to suffer (physically) for misbehaving, they will learn the lesson and not repeat in the future. Debatable.

But parents believe that some teachers go overboard.  Would the teachers apply the same level of discipline measures to their  own children? Doubtful. This has resulted to several court cases where parents are suing teachers for over punishing their children.

It starts feeling like the teachers are slowly taking the foot out of the gas. They seem to be at a loss about addressing the thorny issue of discipline. Resultantly, Some students go astray. Maybe they are left aloof a little too much.

As a society, we need to repair the cracks sooner than later. We need to evaluate scientifically if the old ways are still working.  But for this to work, we need to re-establish the parents-teachers collaboration and enhance teacher-student relations.

Growing up we used to have frequent parents to teachers’ meetings where several academic matters, including discipline, were transparently discussed. If canning was an option, you get your shares in front of your parents. There was no room for overdoing by the teachers of for a student to act wild. Parents and teachers were parallel when it came to discipline. Those days are unfortunately slowly fading under the excuse of busy schedules.

Teachers and parents should work closely to ensure that schools are a safe place for teaching and learning. We cannot afford anymore slip ups.

For comments: gsemunyu@epicpr.co.tz

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By Godwin Semunyu

Tanzania is entering eight weeks of intense political campaigns towards the October 28th General election. This is the time that politics become the most dominant subject. From the corporate offices to worshiping houses to the Bars, no one is spared of the political heat. Friends turn to nemesis; couples argue over a candidate. The youths lose their minds. The law-enforcers are on high time alert, the anti-Corruption fellas know no nights of sleep.

Jenerali Ulimwengu, one of my all-time favorite authors, calls this period; “Poll madness”. Indeed, it is.

With days and nights of political driven media coverage, long hours of campaign rallies, and impulsive generosity from the fellas you hardly know, brace yourself for a long bumpy ride. Get ready for “perfect strangers” who will take the Santa role offering “gifts” of t-shirts, khanga, caps, and badges. Contrary to the real Santa though, these particular gifts will be carrying one dominant message; “Vote for me”.

Some will promise you a supersonic trip to the land of milk and honey. “You deserve to live like Kings and Queens” they will tell you, “Vote for me and progress” they will swiftly remind you. No stone will be left unturned.

You have heard of these same stories before and told yourself never again you will fall into the trap. But they will come again and you will listen. With their brilliance oratory prowess, persuasion, and sudden generosity will make you doubt yourself for doubting them.

Not long ago, one popular politician promised to bring about rainmaking technology, to help out during the drought seasons. In vain. Such is life!

However, after all the dust has finally settled and the last cow is home safe, three things will abound; A cheerful winner, a sore loser, and You.

As a schoolboy in Morogoro, I had my first stint of the wrath of a political campaign gone bad. Somehow, I ended up in bandwagon of pushing around town the vehicle carrying an opposition candidate. The men in uniforms were not particularly pleased. The attempts to stop us fell into deaf ears. We were to hyped to care. Well, a lot happened that evening. Luckily, I left unscathed.

However, not many people got lucky. The panic caused by the unleashed tear- gas bombs led to a stampede, and as a result, many were injured while a handful ended up with permanent disabilities. Meanwhile, the candidate had mysteriously vanished from the scene. That’s another story altogether. Fast forward, he has since joined the same party that he “hated” so much. The party that he persuaded people to risk it all, to oust.

Africa has experienced enough Post-election mayhem; it has become a norm. While it is true that some of the confusions are sectorial. A fair share is also caused by sore losing politicians. From Zimbabwe (2008), Nigeria (2007), Lesotho (2007), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2006), Togo (2005), and Guinea Bissau (2008), It has been detailed that more than half of all elections in Africa experience some form of violence or intimidation either before or after election day.

In East Africa, neighboring country of Kenya went into turmoil in 2007 and 2017 over disputed election results. Zanzibar was into unrest after-2005 election. Earlier this year, Malawi narrowly dodged a bullet, thanks to a candid Electoral Court that was honest enough to call a spade a spade by overturning the grieved election results.

The scars that are brought by all this madness trickles-down to individuals and households. The politician you idolize, to the extent of despising your next-door neighbors, will soon be gone. But the next-door neighbor will remain your next-door neighbor. It will be the same next-door house that your kids go to play.

Let’s practice modesty. We don’t have to get physical or lose empathy just to prove a point. “Argue, don’t shout” Mwalimu Nyerere once said.

Let’s agree to disagree. As the great Chinua Achebe once said; “He who holds his brother down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.” If you believe that being an opposing follower is a sin, at least keep it to yourself. Similarly, if you think supporting the ruling party is a sin, don’t rub it on their faces.

It is important to remember that after October 28th, there will still be life to be lived. Let your vote be louder than your disruptive online comments and hate speeches. The Internet never forgets! Let your vote do the talking.

For comments: gsemunyu@epicpr.co.tz

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By Godwin Semunyu

A few days back, my colleague was blessed with a baby girl, when I called to congratulate him, he had this to say; “Man, I need to buy more dogs to protect my beautiful princess.”  Though the phrase is a common cliché, the statement says so much from a guy who also has a three-year-old son. “Protect the girls, the boys will be fine”.

The history of the world is masculine from a go, God the father, created Adam the man, then gave him an “assistant’ in Eve, straight from his (Adam’s) ribs. Then followed by all-male disciples. Male dominance is so big that big nations like the USA (Democratic they say)  has had 47 presidents, all-male. Catholic Church has had 266 Popes, Ofcourse, male.

The fact that the holy books teach that Eve came from Adam’s ribs favors the male ego, yet again. Talk about the story of hunting favoring the hunters.

Then Human rights advocates came with a plan; protect,  defend  and elevate the woman and the girl child. It has worked. Rightly, we have witnessed a rise in the number of confident all-round women coming up and taking up  leadership positions. The “traditional” careers that were male-dominated have now been embraced by women. This is commendable progress, and it deserves a standing ovation.

However, as we have progressed in addressing the fight for women’s rights, we have taken a back seat in ensuring that both genders are equally progressive. The Boy child  is now at the periphery of the development sphere. The girl child is now free, confident, independent pursuing her dreams, and is no longer the weaker gender. Evidently, the boy child is now slowly becoming  the weaker  and an endangered species.

Boys are now are becoming less competitive, demotivated, and losing a will to work hard as they are expected to. For some reasons, nowadays  most boys want it “easy”,  they seem to enjoy opting shortcuts and the easy way out. Partying, betting, drinking, over socializing, and doing drugs is the “thing”. Many will go straight into driving Tuktuk “Bajaj”, Bodaboda or street hawking and rest the case.

What has become of the Boy child?

Time has caught up with the Boy child. The society has a fair share of blames too. Boys are pampered to the extent of turning out to be irresponsible beings. Mothers worship their sons while fathers  are hardly around, when they are, they  shower them with a sense of  pride for being heirs to the thrones. The result is complacency. All this is happening while the girl child is pushed to the core.

While the girl child is pushed at home and school, the Boy child is a master at home who is exempted from almost all chores, which have been labeled “kazi za kike”. Society is teaching girls to be responsible: “Utanitia aibu ukiolewa hujui kupika” . The same society is encouraging boys to be irresponsible; “Mpe dada nguo akufulie”.

At school, the  girl child is  pushed to the limit. No wonder, in recent years, girls have visibly dominated the education performance in the country. The girls only schools like St. Francis, Feza Girls, Canossa and Anwarite  are dominating the top ten charts. In year 2019 Form Four results, seven of the top ten performers, were girls!

Girls are also well prepared to be women, more than  how the boys are prepared to be men. A girl child will go straight into house chores soon as she gets home. They are all-rounders. They  are  also exposed to avenues such as  the “Kitchen parties” that prepare them for roles as wives. I am told they get enough manuals while in there. The modern girls are indeed a complete package.

Meanwhile, boys are exempted from most, if not all, home chores  and  spends most time after school playing with friends or video games. Boys have little  clues on basic home chores such as cooking and cleaning. Boys are brought up and are prepared to be “masters” of the households, but with no proper skills. “Be a man” “man up” ‘Wewe ni mwanaume” are the phrases they get,  but with no fitting blueprints  on how to be one. Boys are not encouraged to show emotions. Boys can’t cry, it is a “sissy” thing to do.

Furthermore,  no one really feels compelled to help boys grow into men. The old fashioned “Jando’ is now too primitive to many. As a result, most boys walk into marriages unprepared whereas sexual education  is a myth that most boys  solve via porn sites (yes, I said it)—sad truth. When they finally tie the knots, boys expect their spouses to be a wife and a  mother,  they want to be pampered even though most of them  tend to evade their responsibilities as providers and bread winners. The strong and independent young lady will not be intimidated by a boy who acts like a King while ducking responsibilities. Eventually, the two will clash—another broken family.

As  the  girl child rises, the Boy child plummets. Their downward spiral  has a significant impact to the  society;  irresponsible fathers, drug and alcohol abusers, broken homes, and  outlawed crime gangs like ‘’Panya Road” and “Mbwa Mwitu.”

Why is it important to strike the balance?

As a society, we are obliged to elevate both boys and girls. There is a need to empower both men and women as the lack of focus on male empowerment leaves a gap and leads us with empowered women who do not have male counterparts who are equally as empowered.

The Boy child is most likely to take a leadership role. This  might sound a bit absurd, but looking at African politics landscape, it is a scary thought  to look at when we have leaders who are not empowered as they may look at any form of criticism as an attack.

To avoid a situation where we are left to pick up the pieces, it is important that in our efforts to empower the girl child, we ensure that the Boy child is equally empowered and, in a position, to compete on the same level. Without that, we cannot fully claim to have successfully advocated for gender equality and succeeded.

 

Striking an empowerment balance – having genders that are equally empowered speeds up the process in the fight for affirmative actions  as no gender feels threatened.

Send your comments to: gsemunyu@epicprtz.co.tz

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By Godwin Semunyu.

The world is slowly adjusting to the new normality of living with the Coronavirus. After months of lockdown, life had to go on, schools had open, and production had to restart.

Human beings are social beings. They can only be locked down for a certain amount of time. After that, all the lines will be crossed. Come what may.

While some countries went for a total lockdown to manage the spread, some countries like Tanzania and Sweden, took a different route altogether.

There is still an ongoing debate as to which of the two alternatives was more effective in managing the spreads, deaths, and protecting the economies. Developing countries suffered significant economic sways, while large economies suffered comparatively more deaths. Albeit, China, Italy, and the USA suffered a more substantial share of both.

One will link large economies’ death tolls to inactive lifestyles, obesity, and underlying diseases. These factors are not so common in underdeveloped economies where lockdown had a significant impact on national and household economies where the majority are hand to mouth workers. South African Economy paid a hefty price to three months of lockdown.

One thing remains clear; Corona Virus and its subsequent COVID-19 disease are real.

Three months after the first victim was diagnosed in Wuhan, China, the virus that surfaced from Chinese seafood and poultry market, has sickened more than eight million people, killing at least 500,000 people, worldwide—leading to the world health body (WHO), declaring the situation as Pandemic.

The WHO would later tell the world to learn to live with Coronavirus, that the virus was here to stay. The new normal includes wearing masks, frequent handwashing, social distancing, and abandoning handshakes and hugs. They said.

The world responded with strict measures, the total lockdown of cities, closed borders and airspaces, closed schools, and sports tournaments, to name the few. Images of the dead surfaced all types of media, social media in abundance.

Countries started a norm of announcing each new victim, each new death, and those who got cured (not sure that’s the right term). Tanzania came up with “Kupiga vyungu,” a local way of nasal inhalation of steam of herbal ingredients boiled to perfection. “Kupiga vyungu” gained the highest compliments; it is touted to be amongst tourists’ attractions when the dust finally settles.

The goal was to low down the curve, lowered it was. However, with the curve finally reduced, countries have also started to lower down restrictions. In many places, the much-anticipated relaxation of restrictions looked a lot like a sign of salvation; people have suddenly grown too incautious. If at all there is a second strike as the experts are saying, one is left wondered.

For instance, in Italy, authorities have warned that loosening of restrictions could be short-lived if citizens didn’t adhere to social-distancing measures. Italy has suffered more death (28,000) than China, where the virus originated, yet people have quickly forgotten. “We will intervene and close the tap,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy has said, warning Italians of the dangers of bringing up the curve of infections that the country had worked so hard to suppress.

The situation is not so different in many African countries, too; things have normalized a little too fast as if Corona is long gone. Is the second strike a myth? Responsible bodies should come out clean. US President Donald Trump, one of the world’s most informed man, has refused to wear the masks regardless of all the scrutiny he went through “it is just not for me,” he once said.

It is of our best interest to remind each other’s that the deadly various is still so much around us. We cannot afford the slip-up. Precaution is the new normal. Let’s stay vigilant and protect one another.

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