By Japhet Makongo –
He Shared his feeling through the Foundation for Civil Society mail page on 26th.Aug.2010
This is a very good and timely topic. Timely in the sense that we shall soon get a new government in place by the end of the year. It is my expectations that views given on this topic can be usefull for whoever comes into the decision making ring box.
I have three observations on what need to be done.
First, we know that this is global challenge and it goes beyond one country strategy. One of the reason why we all fall victims of counterfeit products is the price competitiveness. Unless we provide alternative quality products at affordable prices we shall not entangle ourselves from the web. My suggetion is for the government to become serious in implementing the East Africa Protocal on Trade and make joint efforts to produce and market similar products with quality but at cheaper prices. All what the governments need to do is to import the techonology from wherever these products are coming.... and I am sure we can provider even cheaper labour force. with the technology in our hands, we can use the qualtiy assurance and regulatory systems to improve what our consumers need. It may seem a far fetched idea, but serious governments can do it!
Second, we need some immediate actions to the matter. I do not understand why those who are involved in the game even when caught are left to enjoy their harvest with a token punishment? What does it cost the government to wipe out 100 entrusted and selfish business giants for the benefit of the populace? In China, the very country where these products are believed to come gave a death sentenced to whoever was found to sell poisoned milk for children! We may not want to kill, but we can merely ask these people to stop what they are doing by extracting their business licenses and asking them to help build the nation at segerea and elsewhere. I guess this comes down to having a committed and accountable government. I need to be advised...what is wrong with our rules and regulations? Are our institutions that have been mandated to implement these regulations toothless barking dogs or are they part of the game? HADITHI YA KARUME KENGE inanijia kila mara.
Third, it all comes to what people know about the effects of the counterfeit products. Unfortunately we have created the "I Do not Care Society" so selfish and self-centered individuals. We all want to show off to other that we are different even if it means sacrificing other people’s health. I appeal to the leading Civil Society Organisations and professional associations-engineers, doctors, accountants, environmental activities etc to give priority on educating the people about these products. In my opinion, professionals have not done enough to inform the public about the effects of having tons of counterfeit products on our soil. Take the example of low quality of the dry battery cells. You need to buys several pieces to finish shaving your beard and some do not even kick start the shaving machine.
We do not have proper disposal facilities and knowledge and as result they are thrown every where. We all know what it means when they are buried in the soil or come into contact with fire....they effects are is detrimental and yet these batteries are in all retail shops ...kule ambako watu wenye kipato cha chini wanaumia.... ni hatari
We should be aware that, there is not good governance, quality education, sound environment and climate change workshops if people are eating poison and dying! My wit is that lets all go Civic Education and Awareness on morals, ethics and making the people to take responsibility start seeing "us as well as seeing me"
One last comment........ I was optimistic with Jakaya Mrisho's call some months ago to help the political parties to distinguish "politics and business", but as long as these tycoons are still in the political arena we have slim chances of getting through-they are the ones behind counterfeit products including kuchakachua mafuta!
God protect Tanzania