The African Dependency Syndrome Has Become Permanent

by Kilasa Mtambalike

The three member states of the East African Community not so many days ago tabled their budget proposals in their respective Parliaments for approval. Despite differences in the budget proposals, one common feature always manages to find its way in the budgets. And that is donor support from development partners.

Here in Tanzania not so many people have been amused. The budget proposal seems to have had one too many increments of taxes and levies.

In Kenya general elections are on the horizon. Pundits have already started hinting that this year’s budget would be geared towards pleasing the electorate. So far so true!

Reports from Uganda say that the government has cut the trade, tourism and industry sector budget by 18 per cent. The cut has been attributed to donor support decline in the sector by about 18.6 per cent. And there you have it, the pang of over-dependency.

I don’t see our beloved MPs objecting when it would come to voting time. A fierce debate is almost guaranteed but an outright rejection is almost out of the question.

After a long day beseeching, you wouldn’t expect a famished person to snub a meal that may well serve as offering a lifeline, be it leftovers. Famished persons are smart enough to know that such a course of action may be detrimental. The needy have little or no choices at all, but they still have brains!

The point is you wouldn’t expect to see a budget that has been supported by donors by over 40 per cent to be rejected by the supposed benefactors. Even the donors would be shocked! And what if they choose to withdraw their support?

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And so here we are. The budget proposal has already been tabled and the stage is set for approval. Even the most critical voices would approve and we will all go to bed happy, yet still suffering from the same illness.

The illness has become permanent. In fact, in its own dysfunctional way somehow reaffirms the relationship between the North and South. It is called the dependency syndrome!

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