The other day, I was on a social media platform with my colleagues and someone posted something which raised a very hot topic. He posted a report on HIV adult prevalence rate by the CIA World Factbook. The report compared countries with high numbers of people aged 15-49 living with HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, Tanzania happened to be on the top 20. The guy who posted the report had captioned it with a question in Kiswahili which translates literally to “why African countries have high rate of HIV infections?”

That’s when the surprise came. Instead of having an insightful discussion about the rate of HIV/AIDS infections in Africa, people went direct to attacking the report itself —questioning its validity, that it may have been somehow cooked to put African countries in a bad spotlight. I am not saying the report was perfect nor can I say it was cooked. My concern is how Tanzanians think they can talk out of everything. People immediately turned into being research specialists giving irrational critic to the report —most of them didn’t even go through the whole report.

One member even asked a very silly question, that “why America is not on the list?” and I was like really? Are we having this conversation on this too? Do we really think this is about spreading western mentality? Can’t we just look around the community and see that HIV/AIDS is here? For how long are we going to use the neo-colonialism excuse to turn a blind eye on problems that need our undivided attention? Any way, I might be the one who is not getting this whole thing right, but the act of an arts teacher questioning the research methodologies of a report conducted by a reputable international firm is totally absurd.

Being a patriot to your country doesn’t mean you turn into a thoughtless deluded asshole who refutes everything said by the Americans because they are after our resources. This is living in denial and lying to ourselves.
So, that is the thing with many of us Tanzanians —we have answers for everything. We talk and talk and talk. And that’s exactly the problem we need to get rid of. Tanzanians are remarkably resistant to the facts that they do not like to hear —they can argue endlessly and there’s no way you are going to beat them, not even when you bring the facts on the table.

Therefore, to get rid of this problem, we need to be honesty and always look at the bright side. Instead of wasting good time beating around the bush, we need to be honest and deal with our problems head on. We need to stop sitting around waiting to attack every report just because it says something we do not like. I am looking forward to see my country with people who don’t dwell on mere talks but work to find solutions to problems without waiting for a government to act or a research to be done to alert them there’s a problem.