Friday 24 January 2020

Hut tax

• Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore was pictured on a trip to Tanzania, in East Africa, wearing Maasai tartan and holding a spear.

Mr Gilmore, I suspect, was unaware that tribal chiefs in East Africa were a colonial invention.

Their function was to collect taxes from African peasants, for which they were handsomely rewarded. Taxes were calculated on the number of huts in a given place. The money raised was used to pay for the colonial administration.

Recently, in a brief interview on television, Mr Gilmore repeated three times that the household tax would be paid; there was to be no question about it.

It appears that the natives here have refused to pay their hut tax, while Mr Gilmore continues to splutter like an affronted colonial appointee. If he wants to know what fate has in store for him, he might do worse than consult what happened to the colonial chiefs in Tanzania.

Eoin Dillon

Mount Brown, Dublin 8

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