Mr & Mrs Nyalandu Interview on Bang! Magazine
1. What bonded you two initially when you met and what is still binding you as man and wife?
Fa: I felt a deep sense of trust and love when I first met him, it easily flows from within him and I am so grateful for the man that he is. It is so easy to love him, we have grown so much and so much in love. We give each other love, contentment and that solid assurance that is so calming. Our faith in God is a cornerstone to who we are as individuals and who we are together. We make each other better, we are our own worst critics and best cheerleaders.
LN: My reaction to that awesome moment when I saw Faraja for the first time was ‘Wow…and Yes! She is the kind of girl I could ask to marry me, and yet I was in the city of Dar where hearts easily melt and seldom get to realize that burning desire from within. As our mutual friend made an introduction, I gazed into her eyes much closer and as I stretched my right hand for that momentous handshake, I felt right there that there was something sort of.. like a spiritual encounter with a heavy dose of physical attraction that touched my heart. I knew right then that I had met the love of my life… that the future had come home into my life from that moment forward…and the rest is history.
2. How would you describe your relationship?
Fa: He is my best friend, like all best friends, we have our ups and downs but at the end of the day we will still pray, laugh and not sweat about the small stuff. Our love is the icing on the cake!
LN: She makes me feel my very best. In my everyday life, nothing gives me more pleasure than coming home to meet a happy wife. There is a spirit that dwells within, and there is an abiding faith and love that never fails even when the going gets tough and when we encounter some turbulent skies on our journey. I am blessed because of this gift of love and friendship I share with my wife.
3. You two seem so in sync and in love, how do you ensure that your romance still sparkles?
Fa: We have date nights and they are not really typical dates, we never really plan ahead (with his schedule I shield myself from disappointments by not planning ahead). This week it might be a candlelit dinner, the next one could be ‘mihogo’ from the beach, or just driving around. He has taught me to shut out the world when we are at home, that’s when we connect and be us. I think we have mastered spontaneity…by default though lol!
LN: I am bad with planned dates chiefly because of the demands of my work. I sleep late most of the nights and she is an early bird going into bed, I usually tease her that it must be a Coastal girl thing. Nevertheless, we go for movies, car rides, coffee, friends visits, and most importantly, we talk a lot. We believe in the power of communication, and of sharing our every walk of life.
4. What is family to you? What are the values that drive your family?
Fa: We continue to build our family on our relationship with God and love. We also go out of our way to be there for each other. That’s the mantra for our kids when they fight (which is quite often really), be there! My family is everything to me! I am so grateful for my husband and our children Sarah and Christopher. They totally complete me!
LN: Family is that epicenter where all our passions and aspirations evolve. It’s a place of love, and a source of strength. We share our love, our fears and our hopes. We are inspired by each other, and we are touched by the blessings of our two children, Sarah and Christopher. We believe God has a special purpose for our lives, and we live happily one day at a time, we extend our hands to touch others, and we keep hopeful and have faith!
5. You both are exemplary leaders in your different capacities, how does the other factor in your different leadership roles?
LN: We are interdependent. You may have seen this hashtag #TeamEachOther often used by my wife but it is what we believe in. We see each other’s strength as complementary to whatever weakness the other might have. We encourage and support each other, and above all, we believe leadership is about serving humanity and making a difference with love.
Fa: #TeamEachOther inspire each other everyday and go out to the world and inspire others. You cannot give what you don’t have. We also believe in leading by example, you cannot expect from others what you cannot do.
6. Please describe some of your personal tools as a couple for dealing with adversity?
Fa: We just talk things out. A lot. Honest conversations are everything.
LN: We talk and pray. I pray for my wife and I know she prays for me.
7. What are the key values that you believe to be important for Tanzanians to progress?
LN: Tanzanians need to believe that they are able to progress and must have the courage to seek that progress. The self-belief is what drives Ashura or Betty the mama ntilie to start preparing breakfast before dawn for her customers not knowing how many will turn up, or Jumanne the farmer to tend to his farm in the early hours of the morning hoping for the best season ever. Belief in what the nation is capable of achieving is very important. We must start turning our challenges into opportunities. The enduring spirit of enterprise should make each one of us share our Tanzanian journey. With courage and determination, we should overcome barriers and keep moving forward. There must be a yearning desire from each one of our people to want to progress, it is important that you desperately want to break the ground as hard you can, with all your mighty!
That for me, was when I sat for my class seven exams, from an extremely poor village in Singida, I desperately wanted to break the ground. I did succeed to join what was known as a special talents secondary school where my determination, belief and courage has never ceased ever since. Bottom line is, even at that young age, I knew it was up to me to progress. Every Tanzanian must know this.
8. Having recently announced your aspiration to run for president; what is your vision for Tanzania, and what are the keys to translating your vision for Tanzania’s future into action?
LN: Tanzania was founded as a great nation, to become an even greater nation. A nation that inspired Africa and led our continent through years of struggle for independence. Having come this far, I believe Tanzania needs to rise again to her true identity, that of leadership, by making economic revolution which will not only lift all her people into greater heights and prosperity but also those of Africa! Having been endowed with God given natural resources, including an unleashed strong youthful human resource base, it is time that we reclaim our glory as a nation ready to plough hard enough for its people and be great enough for others. As citizens, we are duty bound to renew our vows, and be true to our real self, and we must believe in our country again. We ought to reignite the spirit of enterprise and re-dedicate this nation to self-reliance, empowerment and integrity. The new leadership is duty bound to inspire, and restore the dashed of hopes and shattered dreams of our people. In the end we must understand that we have everything that we need to prosper, and it is therefore upon each and everyone of us to take that big stride and walk towards a brighter future while believing in our own God given capacity to endure and to win.
9. How will you inspire Tanzanian’s from all walks of life to provide the highest level of service to their country for the benefit of our future?
LN: I believe that for Tanzania to succeed, we all must put our country first. We must be nation driven, we must strive to change what is holding us back and rise to the occasion, go over and above the call of duty by addressing the state of the economy, national security, better health systems, relevant and qualified education and aggressive modernization of agriculture as an industry. We must think beyond our individual selves, we must act for our nation as a whole, we must deliver for our Tanzanian children and we must plan for our great great grandchildren! If every Tanzanian, at their different capacities serves this country with this in mind, we will have a prosperous future!
10. Young people make a big percent of our population. How will you keep them engaged, motivated and raise their confidence?
LN: Think of supply and demand. Young people must be positioned to fill the existing demands in different sectors. What is currently happening is either there is a big number of under-qualified youth or overqualified who feel to qualified to do certain jobs. One of my personal disappointments as a leader is encouraging the multiplication of ward Secondary Schools while compromising the quality of education the students receive therefore turning a blind eye to the relevance of the knowledge they receive from these schools. We have let down our young people but we can rectify the situation. I believe we must focus on educating our youth both through a traditional form of education from primary through universities, and also, we must address the skills gap in our country by institutionalizing vocational training in mainstream education. The combination of this approach will help in the job market. We also should focus on creating a conducive environment to foster entrepreneurship thus enabling young people to employ themselves and employ others. Issues like access to capital or affirmative actions in recruitment and business opportunities are important. I believe in our young people, they struggle, but they still have their spirits high, they are still very hopeful.. they are indeed our untapped human resources. Our country needs them for its prosperity. Young people have to understand the gravity of the situation and be willing to contribute
11. What is your definition of leadership? What is your overarching purpose as a leader?
LN: I believe leadership is not about self. For me it’s a call to be of service to my country and its people. There are many gaps to be filled; I want to inspire leadership in our people because I believe it will take the nation to lead this country successfully! Leadership is about the willingness and ability to lead the way. It is also about God, serving His people, where a leader is merely a vessel that God has chosen to use. To be a leader is to be a servant. And these are the kind of leaders that our country needs, servant leaders.
12. In what ways will you help Tanzanian’s realize the challenges we face and do the hard work of overcoming them together?
LN: Most challenges we face as a nation will require bold decisions to change the way our country operates. In some incidences we willneed to change systems, in others we will need to improve them. We need to ensure that frameworks, policies and laws translate to development on the ground. That they are working for people and not merely good on paper. We have to strengthen institutions to optimize service delivery to the population, while on some situations; we shall be required to enforce the existing laws. We also have to change mindsets; we need to think about our nation first and foremost! If we all act firmly and deliver in favor of the nation we will be solving a lot of the existing problems.
13. Can you give us two or three concrete examples from your past as to how you have helped influence change?
LN: In my current job as Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, I am leading a fight against poaching. We first decided to deal with institutional weakness in the areas of wildlife protection in wildlife reserves management and at the ministry. In doing that, I also established the Tanzania Wildlife Authority, TWA. This establishment order, which I signed into law, has allowed game rangers to work in cooperation and coordination with other law enforcement officials in advancing conservation efforts in Tanzania. Sustainable conservation needs a holistic approach and it is a security matter as much as it is a conservation matter. Ongoing, I have been engaging different stakeholders because we need the entire community to be part of sustainable conservation. It can be noted in its entirety some of my goals as a leader is building capacities and creating opportunities for growth. During one of my previous positions as a Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, I visited the Kariakoo market, a symbolic place for local enterprises and ordered the removal of all illegal immigrants in the country (not just in Kariakoo), by giving each one of them up to 30 days to comply with our laws or be removed by force. The objective was to secure our borders, protect our labor markets and jobs for our young people against unfair competition, and national security concerns.
I am also a firm believer of research-based decisions and working towards measured deliverables. I introduced Key –Perfomance Indicators for every department within the Ministry but also sought to conduct a nationwide elephant census for all wildlife eco-systems. I wanted the census to be effective and as transparent as possible. It had multi-lateral observers and qualified data analysts for quality assurance. From the census, we can establish our status but also efficiently direct our next efforts. The truth, however ugly or great, forms a strong foundation for anti-poaching and wildlife management.
It is imperative that given the current challenges, we prepare to lead this country with courage, wisdom, and a strong vision if we are to achieve our potentials as a nation.
14. What experiences have you had that have helped you deeply understand the mindset and values of Tanzanians?
LN: Being a Tanzanian, born and raised, is the best experience I can share. I represent many Tanzanians who started out in life with nothing. I had very humble beginnings and had to work very hard to get to where I am today. I understand what it is like to be poor, to live in a one bedroomed mud hut in a rural village, to have no school fees and to tend to a farm the whole farming season only for the rains not to come. I know what it is like to struggle, to feel option less but yet you fight not to have your spirit broken, to be determined, to believe, to give your best and to be there for others.
As a three term Member of Parliament for Singida North, I work with my constituency, I serve them because I understand their struggles and aspirations. People everywhere in the country desire to see a better day and make the most of their own lives. Government must bridge that gap and provide for ways in which people can fulfill their dreams.
As a sitting Minister in the current government, I have seen first hand how justice raises a nation, and that we must do more to address injustice, inequality, and create opportunity for every citizen in Tanzania. These are not privileges for the few, every Tanzanian has a right to a better life. We must do away with the belief that some Tanzanians deserve more than others. The Government is here to serve all.
15. What is your concern when it comes to Tanzanian leadership?
LN: Corruption. It is what I have seen defeating great values in people who would otherwise be great leaders. It defeats national interests. It defeats our nation’s development. There is no other way to fight corruption than being brutal with strong law enforcement and creating transparent systems. We have to take the power off the few and give it to many.