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Christmas last year was well lived for me, and I thank God for it. The economic hard times we are going through (both in United State where I am at the moment, and elsewhere you may be) may have impeded many of us to celebrate lavishly, as was the case in old good days, but it seems there was an attempt and determination to make the best out of the challenging situation.

In Tanzania and perhaps true in other parts of the world, Christmas is magical, for Christians, Muslims, and non-believers a like. Churches usually overflow.

We do not have snow in Tanzania (but for the top of the elegant Kilimanjaro), and neither do we send our gift wishes to a man with a large belly called Santa. However, for goats, cows, and chicken, these are the worst days to be around any household.

New Years is never any less. For 2013 for instance, much was done in different parts of the world. From London, to Luanda, Lagos, to Vancouver, be it with fireworks or Vuvuzelas, everybody did something.

During New Years in Tanzania, much is usually said about the degeneration of morals among the youths, as reflected in the way they behave, dress, speak, and their general carefree attitude to life. Moral degeneration in our society is today demonstrated in some unbelievable incidents, like when motor vehicle accident victims are robbed of whatever property and money they have, and even stripped naked to ensure their dresses are not spared. Rape incidents and mob justice cases are on the rise as well.  The   participation of youths in such criminal activities is pronounced, but this does not mean they are the only culprits. And not every youth does such horrendous acts. In fact, some have devoted their lives to ensuring a better, and safer lives for all.

Looking at the problem closely, we realize that the young men and women are a product of society and, in the final analysis, the buck stops at the door of adults, some steeped in unethical practices and can’t be considered exemplary role models.

Look at what is happening in the area of governance as a whole. Malpractices like public officials involving themselves in stealing public funds through all sorts of dirty tricks, colluding with foreigners to squander national resources through fishy deals, and other corruption related practices, are anything but a reflection of immorality in society. Both short and long term effects of such immoral indulgence to the present and future generations are alarming. The issue here is that it is not youths who can be blamed for this kind of corruption.

There is political corruption as well, reflected in unethical practices like vote rigging and engaging in dirty as well as defamatory propaganda. The problem here is not necessarily political immaturity, but poor moral men and women by proxy to do the dirty work.

Examples of unethical practices and tendencies in our society are too many to be discussed in a brief commentary. The question in this case is: what should be done to stem the immorality tide? Some of my fellow Tanzanians have suggested that well thought out national ethics should be included in the new law. Well, there are many ways to Rome. Let’s think about the issue as we end the celebration the festive period. Let us also hope that this year is different and that Africa will continue inspiring each other in sports, comedy, innovation, education and other. Let us join in prayers against incidence such as Sandy Hook that claimed dozens of lives of young children and for peace for families of those that lost their loved ones and survivals as well.

May this year bring joy to your and your loved ones, and we hope you will join us in telling inspiring stories of Africa and Africans all over the world.

We wish you a Happy New Year 2013.

Nkosi Sikelel Africa!

The African Economist

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