Kichango, kuchangizana.

Ouch! I really really tried to avoid worrying about this question – but!, the future german government (read: serikali ya mseto) TONIGHT decided upon the fate of this country: they want to raise the value added tax (V.A.T.) from 16 to 19% (as of January 1st, 2007).

Now, I am NOT an economist like Lady Tembomoja but I guess it doesn’t take much to understand its meaning for this country. MAYBE it was about time for a change, MAYBE Germany with its relatively low 16% was at the bottom of the european VAT scale (ranging from 15% in Cyprus to 25% in Denmark) so change was inevitable, and MAYBE its just one of those taxes that is easily raised and supposed to be fair on everyone’s pocket. On the other hand – who’s going to pay for all this? How am I, a student with no income, supposed to pay even more?

The way I’ve learnt it is that once your pockets are empty (and not just then), you start thinking: where did all my money go? and what will I do about it next time? will I be able to spend it wisely?
What I am trying to get at is: our governments (german, kenyan, any..) are always complaining about the money issue, they always require fresh pesa to come in and yet they try to safe it only at the wrong ends. Think of schools/educational-, health- and family policies, think of the things we as a society want to have and other things we don’t need so urgently and ask yourself if it’s just a question of the pocket or of your priorities.

We all have been witnessing budget speeches, we know this procedure from different institutions/organizations and we know how such things are debatted and often end up in a compromise. I just don’t get it though why they put more emphasis on obtaining even more money instead of rethinking their budget strategies and how to really spend it wisely in future. They DO have money, they’ve already taken it from the people, wasted it and now they are looking for alternative sources. Where’s the government that will really care about its people and needs? What’s on our agenda? How do we want to live as a society? What are our priorities?
And: what will we be able to do about it? How can we point out to them what we really want? Who are "we"? Can we come up with our own blueprint? We, the electorate?

This politics thing seems to be like playing soccer: there are only a few players on the field, but millions of referees. Sorry, it’s just too many whistles blowing at the same time…

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Hi, I am an engineer who freelances in water & sanitation-related IT projects at Saniblog.org. You'll also find me on Twitter @jke and Google+.

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