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 Instagram.

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