By Bernard Kihiyo
Tanzania is only country out of 53 African nations to host Olympic torch relay for year 2008; Dar es Salaam City had been selected by the Olympic committee to be the only African city amongst twenty two world cities to be visited by the Olympic torch out of China land.
Tanzania had never hosted an Olympic torch relay before; it was quit mix-feelings experience for Dar es Salaam dwellers. The 5-km relay in the city of Dar es Salaam was accompanied by heavy police security; living aside non official torch bearers several meters away from the torch.
Some people perceived may be it was a military event and not an event whose intention is to seek for world ownership of Olympic Games, which aim at sharing the passion, glory, dreams and joys of the coming games.
Based on the fact that; the latest events of attacks including interruption of the relay and attempts to snatch the Olympic torch; by human rights activists who are angry over China's human rights record; Our police force in Tanzania was over protective to the extent of distorting the essence of the torch.
Tanzania Consumers were stationary/immobile on the road side near the gate of new national stadium where the main relay last event was conducted; taking full advantage of local and international spotlight to get our messages through; however we had been illegally stopped by the police (Tibaigana) who ordered for confiscation of our nine placards which had the following messages;-
1. We support Olympic Games in China; but not counterfeit products.
2. Olympic Games are the best way of bringing the world together; is the world happy with fake products?
3. Tanzania Consumers don’t want counterfeit products in our market.
4. Substandard goods are causing a lot of sufferings to poor Tanzania consumers; can China government help in this war?
5. Can China be part of the solution to stop counterfeiting in Tanzania?
6. The right of expression is our constitutional right; we are here to practise our right.
7. ‘’Tanzania Consumer Advocacy Society’’ is the only Independent and active consumer organization in Tanzania.
8. The world is one through Olympic Games in China; can the world join together to fight the war against counterfeit products?
9. We are happy to have this Olympic torch in Tanzania; please take these consumers’ messages for us.
(Pictures of Tanzania Consumers with their placards bearing the message elaborated above)
The police move; was illegal and completely against the constitution of United Republic of Tanzania; part iii –Article 20 sub-article; (1) which stipulates; ‘’Every person is entitled to freedom, subject to the laws of the land, to freely and peaceably assemble, associate and cooperate with other persons, express views publicly, and more specially to form or join associations or organisations formed for the purposes of preserving or furthering his beliefs or interests or any other interests’’.
(Picture of Tanzania Consumers with their placards had called to the attention of local and international media.)
Moreover Article 21 sub-article (2) gives; every citizen has the right and the freedom to participate fully in the process leading to the decision on matters affecting him, his well-being or the nation.
In this regard; we (Tanzania consumers) have experienced severe violation of our constitutional rights and worst still the problem of counterfeit products is still affecting Tanzania; Africa and the whole of the world consumers’ lives; some of these counterfeit products are originating from China.
With counterfeit products in the market, consumers are locked out of economic opportunities and remain poor, swimming in the cycle of poverty as they don’t get actual return for their money spent on substandard goods and the like.
Based on the world economic situation through globalization, the world has become a small village; good citizens of the world will never keep quite while something bad is happening to any part of the world.
Heavy weight politicians such as Gordon Brown, Bernard Kouchner, Angela Merkel to heavy weight activists such as Steven Spielberg, Prof Wangari Maathai and simple people like us will always air our voices to be heard whenever we get an opportunity for a good cause.
Chinese government should listen from people of the world and act upon these challenges; it will be unwise to take this as a personal attack. The same could happen to France, UK, Greece, Germany, India, Tanzania and the like based on their situation/s if they could hold this same chance.
Follow these links for other messages on the same
Web site: http://http://www.tcas.or.tz/