Tanzania: Terrorism major threat to economic prosperity

By Elias Mhegera – On Friday September 11, 2015 the world joined the United States of America, and other peace loving nations, institutions and individuals to commemorate the barbaric terrorist killings that were carried in the US, in 2001.

Victims of the Garissa University attack in Kenya consoling each other

Victims of the Garissa University attack in Kenya consoling each other

Development strategists have condemned growing religious radicalism as manifested through terrorism as another big inhibitor to prosperity. They say this is beyond religion, but a total transformation of mind of an individual in order to facilitate ill motives.

Tanzania has not been spared just like her neighbours and fellow members in the East African Community (EAC). Currently the cost of running tourist hotels have surged due to security management costs, being a matter of necessity.

Shout-africa.com visited the Police headquarters in Tanzania for an updating of information on the nature of terrorism. The official spokesperson of the Force, the spokesperson for Tanzania Police Force, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Advera Bulimba said that there have been many incidents of stealing small weapons which tells these can be used later on in criminal acts including terrorism which one of the major threats to security.

She referred to the one at the Stakishari Police Station in July 12th 2015, being one vivid example. Terrorism has been identified as one of the biggest hindrance to development and prosperity. It was one of the major topics that were discussed during the African Prosperity Summit in Dar es Salaam, in mid May this year.

Dr. Ernest Mahiga former Tanzania’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Dr. Ernest Mahiga former Tanzania’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Discussing this at length was Dr. Augustine Mahiga who was the Tanzanian Permanent Representative to the UN and also the UN Secretary General Special Envoy to Somalia. He dealt more on the ideological and phenomenological aspect of terrorism.

Another one was Steve Kirimi, Chief Executive Officer from the Peace & Development Network Trust (PeaceNet-Kenya) who elaborated how terrorism as conducted by al-shaabab has ravaged his country’s economy whereby millions of Kenyan shillings if not dollars are spent on security efforts instead of other meaningful expenditures.

“Terrorism tries to capture the attention of, and recruit a particular group in society that is susceptible to isolation and complain- , particularly the youths, religion is just attached in order to seek justification, but these waves of crimes have nothing to do with religion,” he remarked.

He was saddened that growing unemployment could as well be a catalyst to this catastrophe, reminding that one of the masterminds which led to a more than a hundred deaths in Garissa was a graduate lawyer.

This is an indication that he was not satisfied with whatever he was receiving from his employer, it is definite that he was touted to join this clandestine movement which eventually cost him his own life,” he added.

Horrifying images of the twin towers that were completely destroyed during the September 11, attack

Horrifying images of the twin towers that were completely destroyed during the September 11, attack

Adding colour to the debate was Prof. Oshita O. Oshita from Nigeria who gave the reminiscences on the formation and devastation of the Boko Haram terror group. The don is a distinguished researcher in peace studies and the incumbent Director General of the Nigeria’s Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

The trio shared an appeal that terrorism is a major obstacle to business prospects, investments and tourism. They as well concurred in one view that it is very difficult to tackle terrorism, bad as it is without knowing what are its route causes, who are the funders, and methods that are used to facilitate the same.

Dr. Mahiga who was very careful in his choice of words probably due to being a seasoned diplomat or due to religious sensitivity that is attached to such deals, said that “the conversion of religion is just an indication that there is lack of formal education, and this is what discerns the government of the day in all countries that are largely affected by this omen,” he commented.

There is a hidden agenda by the plotters of these attacks to the existing states that are targeted. “These are special attacks, focusing a special group of people, particularly the youths” he added. Extrapolating the hidden meaning of this word one can say that there is an agenda to replace the post-colonial forms of government which are based in a Judeo-Christian tradition.

Kirimi was worried that as long as there is growing poverty in Africa, certain groups of people are prone to be used by religious fanatics as a form of employment but hidden in a faith agenda. “There are no quick fixes to these mundane groups, he commented.

On the way forward these presenters said that the best way should be to start with education itself since terrorism seeks to provide alternative ideology and ideas to transform mind, education so the best way is to counter such ideas promulgated by terrorists.

Also they called for a general understating in an expertise level of how to address its organizational aspects- especially the criminal aspect, which are often the sources of funding, however they suggested that the military option should come at a later stage.

On the same line of terrorism and security there should be a consideration of understanding the repercussions of rapid urbanization in relations to security.