How to know a country is being fucked up

Tanzania’s president John Magufuli has ordered the arrest of the managers of a ferry that capsized in Lake Victoria, after the death toll climbed above 130 and rescue workers pressed on with the search for scores more still missing.

Initial estimates suggested that the MV Nyerere was carrying as many as 300 people when it capsized near the dock on the island Ukara. The precise number was unknown, however, because the ticket-seller had drowned and the machine recording sales had not been found.

During a speech on public television on Friday night, Magufuli referred to “negligence” and said he had ordered the arrest of “all those involved in the management of the ferry”.

The President gets to arrest people, does he? Rather than, say, the police, an investigating magistrate, a judge, you know, the sort of people who do this in a country not an autocracy….

23 thoughts on “How to know a country is being fucked up”

  1. The boat owner is out a boat, and a business. People are out a ride across the lake.

    Cries for government control ignore the real world requirements for overloading. The riders know it is dangerous. Government intervention will bring great harm. But it will make people in London feel good.

  2. Do you really think it plays out much differently in the UK or any other supposed democracy? The government makes it known to police that they’d like someone arrested. The police find some reason to arrest them. It’s rarely hard. You don’t need to order when they’ll do your bidding without orders.
    Nick Griffin springs immediately to mind
    The question is, how does it then play out in the courts? In the UK they’re still marginally on the side of justice. Just.

  3. Bloke no Longer in Austria


    That sounds a bit like the guy in Airplane! who says
    “They bought the tickets, they knew the risks. I say let ’em crash!’

    Just heard on the telly that the owner has indeed been arrested.

  4. I have sought information and found it here. The official passenger capacity is/was 101. The actual loading prior to this capsize was at least 300 and possibly over 400.

    My concern for this sort of problem is that overzealous application of load limits or similar can actually make things worse, by the regulation losing the respect of and sufficient support from users – to the extent that the limits are much more disregarded than might otherwise be the case.

    For example, if the load limit of 101 were observed (and all passengers were – eventually – transported), ferry fares would probably need to be between 3 and 4 times higher. If the load limit were set at 200 (leading to many less capsizing incidents), it would only be necessary to double fares for provision of a ferry service with substantially equivalent profit margin. And this doubling might be tolerable to the passenger trade – certainly more tolerable than quadrupling or tripling the fare.

    Similar concerns arise with over-zealously setting low road speed limits (consider UK motorways at 70mph and the blanket town limit of 20mph – as now in central Edinburgh). Eventually many drivers become frustrated and drive even worse than before, or all speed limits become much more disrespected, even those limits that are largely justifiable.

    Only load and other limits that are broadly respected have utility in improving safety. Over-zealous limits are the enemy of sufficiently good (more relaxed) limits.

    Best regards

  5. On the other hand, people in Tanzania probably have free speech, now lost in Britain under this Conservative government.

  6. I know colonialism is in many of your genes.


    How they operate boats 4,000 miles from you is none of your business.

    Sure, if they operated boats the way we do, this wouldn’t have been so bad. That doesn’t make it okay for us to tell them they should do it the way we do.

    It is our duty to leave indigenous people alone, for them to find their own path.

    You may feel good about insisting they change, but you are being evil. Yes, evil. Leave them alone. You have no idea what their conditions are. There are obviously reasons why the boats are grossly overloaded. You insist their operation must be maximized for safety; the marketplace favors maximum use, transporting the most people possible.

    The issue is NOT whether our way is “better.”

  7. @Nigel Sedgwick, September 22, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    …and the blanket town limit of 20mph – as now in central Edinburgh…

    No longer only central Edinburgh, extends to bypass and beyond {Colinton, Currie…) on every road not a bus-route. Even some bus-route roads now inluded.

    It’s insane.

  8. Martin, I can’t (be arsed to) duckduckgo it right now, but I think you won’t deny that thousands of people have been arrested over just the last few years for ‘offensive’ tweets. And indeed, just a few days ago the police put out a message asking to be notified of speech which even according to their own fucked-up lights couldn’t be considered criminal.

  9. DocBud

    “And indeed, just a few days ago the police put out a message asking to be notified of speech which even according to their own fucked-up lights couldn’t be considered criminal.”

    “Do you have a link, Wat?”

    This one springs to mind – South West Yorkshire – “Dr Alan Billings”, one of those elected thingamajigs, taking a very justified kicking here from Julia Hartley Brewer.

    “Non crimes”, or – as Julia calls it – the “hurty feelings” hotline…

  10. @wat
    “But don’t bother reporting it if you’ve had an actual crime committed against you, because evul Toreez have stolen all our money (except for my personal 6-figure squeeze).”

  11. @Nigel Sedgwick @Pcar

    The cooncil will no doubt have undertaken a combined risk analysis to balance the mortality reduction we are assured the speed limit will lead to, and the mortality increase due to pollution aggravated resipiratory conditions as a result of 1.5x longer journey times, and further increased fuel consumption due to using a lower gear. No doubt they arrived at a significant net reduction in premature mortality, and I intend to convey my congratulations to Andy Wightman the next time I bump into him (not with my (diesel) car, of course). Oh wait – he’s Parliament, and of course they have no influence over local decisions.

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