Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Guninita leaves legacy of political defections

 

By Ludger Kasumuni @TheCitizenTZ lkasumuni@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The late veteran politician John John Guninita, who passed away last Thursday can provide a lesson to many Tanzanians that under multiparty democracy, which is very young the tendency to defect from the ruling party to the opposition is not a sin but an important political attitude in the matrix of power struggles.

The outspoken veteran politician who survived turbulent politics within CCM and Chadema after he had recently rejoined the ruling party from the opposition after three defections. The younger brother of the late Guninita, Gerald Guninita, told The Citizen last Thursday that his brother started politics at a tender age and managed to climb to national leadership positions under CCM as the National CCM-Youth Wing chairman, District Commissioner for Kigoma and Rufijji, Member of executive committee of CCM, and member of central committee of CCM before defections to the opposition.

It is important to note that power struggles and the thirst for power and authority started from his childhood as he was leading a community of Young Pioneers.

“My brother started political activities with the then Tanganyika National Union when he was a Tanu Young Pioneer during Primary School days in the 1970s,” says Gerald.

When he lost top leadership (Chairman of CCM Youth Wing) during the second phase government, he still struggled to fill the power vacuum in him. The late father of the nation was against the youth wing on the grounds that it supported one presidential candidate, Jakaya Kikwete.

Kikwete who contested the presidency in 1995 lost in the influential power politics against Mwalimu Nyerere during the dawn of multiparty politics after the introduction of political party Act of 1992.

Although Kikwete won in the first round of contest under CCM nomination polls, beating Ben Mkapa and Cleopa Msuya, Nyerere stood up and announced a rerun of the intraparty polls on the grounds that there was no majority winner and it was against party tradition.

The council of youth wing was dissolved in 1994. The three defections by the politician signify that the level playing field in the country’s political system is yet to be nurtured. In other words there is no institutionalised multiparty politics in the country.

Some political scientists, notably Prof Max Mmuya in his book titled: Tanzania Political Reforms in Eclipse; Crises and Cleavages, says there is a long journey for the country to build multiparty politics, which is undergoing a parabolic path. He uses mathematical language to describe Tanzania’s political behaviour and a road to democracy.

The mathematic concept of Parabola means the journey starts with much vigour and jubilations, but after a certain period there is a low political tide for the newly formed parties. It took two centuries for industrial nations such as the United States, UK, Germany, France and others to nurture multiparty politics.

Sometimes crossovers alone could not survive. They ended up in civil disobedience, political upheavals and bloodshed when industrial nations were in the process of building the current state of democracy.

This implies that banning defections is not an answer, but undergoing the process of building national consensus or well defined national interests with agreed political norms of the country is the practical answer.

It is also important to note that Guninita was not alone to engage in crossovers; other political figures like Augustine Lyatonga Mrema, Mr Makongoro Nyerere, the late Gibbons Mwaikambo, Dr Makongoro Mahanga, the late Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru and several others also did so.

When crossovers are legislated, their costs are not easily met.

The last defection from Chadema by Guninita was similar to several others that were aimed at restoring their lost political status. In his 60 years of political life, the late Guninita spent at least 50 years in covert and active politicking.

Born in 1958 at Impanko in Mahenge town, Gininita went to Kichangani Primary School in Kilosa District and completed primary education in the 1970s before joining the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) in the same period, according to his brother.

“Apart from military training he acquired secondary education and political training at the Artillery Military Training College in Arusha between 1976 and 1978,” says his brother.

According him, the late Guninita also participated in the famous war against Ugandan dictator Iddi Amin between 1978 and 1979 before rejoining TPDF as a political education officer. He was also a family man who loved his children and those of his relatives, according to his close associates.

Experience also showed that through his life the late Guninita loved to work with a vibrant media, including Mwananchi, The Citizen and others.

He has left a widow, Mary, two daughters and three sons; Kelvin, Kennedy, Josephine, Lightness and Thomson.

Gerald also said former President Jakaya Kikwete had only sent a message of condolence, as he was still busy with his recent United States tour. The body of the late veteran politician John Guninita was moved from the Munimbili National Hospital (MNH) to Ifakara where the burial ceremony will take place.

On Friday, the younger brother of the deceased, Mr Gerald Guninita, revealed that they had decided to transport the body of his late brother to Ifakara for burial today.

Former President Kikwete, who was on an official tour of the US, had sent his message of condolences to Guninita’s family, according to Gerald.

While he was at MNH a number of retired politicians, including from the rulling party CCM visited the late Guninita. Former President Jakaya Kikwete who was very close to the deceased also visited him at MNH, according the younger brother of the deceased who was also a CCM cadre and district commissioner.

The late veteran politician who died in the morning of Thursday was hospitalised at the MNH for more than a month. He said that the late Guninita was admitted to the MNH on August 10 this year suffering from a long illness. He was operated by the MNH surgeons on 28th of last month, according to Gerald.

“We as relatives were struggling to rescue his life from ailing health but ended up in vain. We wanted to mobilise funds for more curative services in India but unfortunately he passed away after undergoing operations,” said the young brother of the deceased.

One of the younger relatives of the late Guninita from his wife’s side, Ms Neema Molel, said that she would not forget the late Guninita due his charming behavior, kindness and friendly manner in all his family activities.

Interestingly the late Guninita who at one time was a strong CCM cadre later on in 2015 General Election waged strong campaigns against the same ruling party in all constituencies of Kilombero District in Morogoro Region.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Will the US succeed to kill or suffocate the ICC?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

Recent outbursts by US president’s National Security Advisor, Michael Bolton against the International Criminal Court (ICC) are but attempts and tell porkies to distract Americans’ attention. Will Trump get away with murder or just recoil and swallow his pride?

Bolton said “We will not co-operate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

As if it was not enough, Bolton referred to the ICC as an illegitimate court. The US was irked when the ICC indicated that it could investigate American troops in Afghanistan for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

To show how murky and spooky the situation is, Bolton added; “We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States.

We will sanction their funds in the US financial system, and we will prosecute them in the US criminal system.” If the US goes on making good on its promises, it will be patronising itself and toppling itself from its self-proclaimed role of the leader of the free. For, freedom, among others, gyrates around the rule of law and respect of law.

And the US, as a sole hegemony currently needs to lead by example. It needs to preach water and drink water but not wine.

What looks like apologia pro vita sua, the ICC categorically said it is unfazed by threats from the US.

The ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that “the ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law.” Further, Bensouda said that there is a reasonable basis to believe war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan; thus, that all sides in the conflict would be examined, including members of the US armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

By all standards, US’s move is not only a violation of international law and shame but also abhorrent, duplicitous and malodorous. Ironically, when Kenyan authorities refused to cooperate with the ICC when their president and his deputy were indicted, the US condemned the same cheekiness of law it is now barefacedly replicating.

Shall the ICC make good on its promises, it means, it will be on the collision course with the current only hegemony.

Will the US kick-back and look while its citizens and allies are crucified? Will it too make good on its promises of going after the ICC? What precedent does the US set, especially at this time some African countries have already agitated and registered discomfort that they’d pull out of the ICC?

Under injudicious and megalomaniac holier than thou predisposition, the US is once again shooting itself in the foot. What a blow that’s unleashed by President Donald Trump’s administration thanks to his ignorance of law, international law and diplomacy. Shall Trump survive his self-inflicted wounds resulting from his collusion with Russia among many bloopers; and left in office, the US will suffer even more embarrassment and losses than the already incurred by this apathetic administration.

Losing international clout

Will the US support and use African countries that have already shown the intention to withdraw their membership from the ICC? What ramifications will this have on conflict, democracy, human rights and the general global geopolitics and realpolitik? Looking at how peace prevailed in Kenya in the elections that followed after the ICC indicted some big cheeses, shall the ICC be butchered, smothered or sabotaged, many conflicts–many countries avoided for the fear of indictments–will surge and wreak havoc to the already fragile situations in countries such as Burundi, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Gabon, South Sudan, Sudan and Togo wherein some monocratic rulers use violence to cling to power either by tinkering with the constitutions or unleashing terror to their opponents.

The fear–the ICC instilled globally on the to be criminals and human right abusers–still is a deterrence without which many innocent people are likely to suffer viz. being killed, displaced and silenced.

Even if the US doesn’t kill the ICC, boycotting and disparaging it not to mention referring to it as illegitimate court doesn’t do the US and the world good, particularly at this time when conflict revolving around struggle for power and resource control seems to have increased.

An ideal example can be drawn from Burundi which saw some violations of human rights after president Pierre Nkurunziza enacted his illegal manoeuvres to tinker with the constitution in order to cling to power.

I’d argue that the number of deaths was largely avoided or reduced by the fear of indictment by the ICC.

So, too, the ongoing morass in Togo fundamentally became less brutal for fear of the ICC; otherwise the authorities wouldn’t have failed to unleash brutal forces to subdue opponents.

Creating dramas and theatrics

Additionally, facing a mega scandal resulting from the Russian collusion, Trump’s administration will stop at nothing to see to it that goes away or fades from the minds of Americans.

Due to the vulnerability of his presidency, Trump would create any dramas and theatrics in order get a reprieve even temporarily as it is in this gambit.

Therefore, by taking on the ICC, Trump is purposely seeking to addle Americans from his scandals, especially at this time when his party is facing midterm elections. If anything, this is a ruse Trump has always employed when faced with dangers.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Egypt’s Nasser and the vision of a united Africa

 

This last part of the story of one of the giants of pan-Africanism Gamal Abdiel Nasser; we look at his activities in his last years as a Leader of the Arab world as well as a pan-African leader.

In 1964 while Nasser was busy helping the Liberation Movements in Africa South of the Sahara; the Arab-Israel conflict continued to deepen and Nasser had to call for an Arab League Summit in Cairo to establish a unified Arab response against Israel.

Nasser then developed amiable relations with Jordan; Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Movement and was set to counter Israel.

In June 1967 once again Israel invaded Egypt for the third time and occupied Sinai and the Gaza Strip of Egypt, the West Bank of Jordan, and the Golan Heights of Syria. In 1968, Nasser then launched the retaliation war against Israel to regain the lost territories; the war that took three years until 1970 when it ended after the ceasefire was reached.

Although the ceasefire was in place the war frontiers remained the same and Nasser had to call once again for the Arab League of Nations Summit on the 27th September 1970 to seek for a united position against Zionist Israel. At the conclusion of the Arab League Summit, on the 28th September 1970 Nasser suffered a heart attack and died. He was buried in Cairo on the 1st October 1970 and his funeral procession attended by over five million mourners.

After the death of Gamal Abdiel Nasser his legacy continued to resounds in many occasions as a great pan-African and the guardian of the pan-African movement as on the 28th September 1970, Sam Nujoma the First President of Namibia and former freedom fighter in tribute to Nasser, whom he called “a brother in the struggle”, he said: “…Nasser was a dedicated supporter of African liberation, no wonder that when Nasser passed away on 28th September 1970, many Africans felt the loss… The world has lost a great man and all those who fight for freedom and human dignity have lost a brother in the struggle…”

The former Namibian President, Sam Nujoma in his autobiography “Where Others Wavered” continued to recall about the pan-African Nasser when he said: “…When in 1963, the first group of Namibian freedom fighters went for military training in Cairo, this was possible because President Gamal Abd el-Nasser of Egypt had offered me training and tickets... Nasser was a dedicated supporter of African liberation…”

On the 30th June 2013, when Egypt came together to remember 43 years after Gamal Abdiel Nasser; Margaret Litivin a writer described him as follows: “...Ruling Egypt from 1954 until his death in 1970, Nasser remains a symbol of dignity, pan-Arabism, pan-Africanism and above all social justice for many… Nasser taught us what it meant to belong to our land; he taught us about belonging and Unity...”

As we conclude the chronicles of Gamal Abdiel Nasser we must acknowledge that although Nasser is no more his influence he left in Egypt continues to influence Egypt’s foreign policy choices and actions.

Even though the militant involvement in African affairs that were vivid under Nasser’s rule has dwindled but Egypt continued to play an important role in the pan-African activities including its financial contribution to the African Union.

For Nasser and his fellow African leaders like Nyerere, Nkrumah, Senghor, Touré, Lumumba, Ben Bella, Kenyatta, Haile Selassie and the likes; African liberation and unity of the African Continent was a moral duty.

They lived and died for the cause of national liberation. It was this dedication to the cause of African liberation and unity makes Nasser join the ranks of the Forefathers and Founders of pan-Africanism.

The African unification noble course is not yet finished, Nasser will always remain our beacon of light towards the unification of Africa.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Will Sino-Africa ‘marriage’ help Africa out of penury?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

Currently, Africa’s like a very beautiful girl that attracts all sorts of suitors thanks to its abundant and untapped resources. The just concluded conference between Africa and China aka Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC 2018) speaks volume on this newly-found love.

Despite this love, African countries, as victims of colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, need to examine and interrogate it carefully and collectively shall they want not to repeat the same mistakes they’ve been making for over five decades.

There’s a misconception that all flows of Chinese funds into Africa are aid. However, what difference’s there between the colonial eras whereby colonial agents offered African beads in exchange with gold and current China’s neocolonialism? Isn’t China offering Africa a chicken to end up making away with an elephant? There are assumptions that what’s seen as aid’s nothing but a bait for securing businesses for Chinese companies that are scattered all over Africa making a killing.

The situation’s worse provided that whatever tenders awarded to Chinese construction companies are supervised by corrupt black colonisers, though not all, who care about their interests but not those of their people.

Soon you’ll hear the India-African Forum. Africa now’s losing big time in terms of resources to China and India due to imbalanced trade.

A major question, among others, we need to ask is: Will the coming of China make Africa’s situation better or just exacerbate it.

The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) CEO, Ray Washburne, warns that Africa’s pointlessly cascading into a debt trap as Reuters (July 16, 2018) quotes him as saying “we try to have countries realise that they’re indebting themselves to the Chinese.”

Again, do the US and the West in general have any moral high ground to counsel Africa about what to do if, at all, for over five decades, have been doing what China’s now replicating? On their side, according to the survey by Ipsos Synovate cited by the Daily Nation (5 September, 2018), a total of 38 per cent of Kenyans think that the continued relationship between Kenya and China will lead to job losses.

This is only 11 per cent in the relationship between Kenya and USA.

The survey also looked into the issue of cheap and substandard goods and came up with the stunning findings wherein 25% of Kenyans think that China will flood the Kenyan market with cheap goods compared to 18% perception of the US.

Further, the Guardian (5 February, 2007) quotes former Zambia president Guy Scott as saying that “we’ve had bad people before.

The whites were bad, the Indians were worse but the Chinese are worst of all.” Moreover, the Business Insider (July 9, 2015) quotes an Angolan cook Marisa who concurs with Scott as saying that “the agreements with China are a benefit for them and the president and not for us.”

Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce (2009) notes that Chinese contractors signed construction contracts in Africa worth $40 billion.

What does this say? China gave Africa just US$5.7 billion and got away with the tender of US$40 billion which can rake in more money in terms of profit than the one offered apart from creating job for Chinese workers and market for Chinese goods like steel and other garbage China is currently dumping in other countries.

Swahili business philosophy has it that you know me and you are my friend but my business doesn’t know you.

You can see this on how China and India are exporting their jobless people to Africa to take up jobs from Africans not to mention indulge themselves in illicit activities due to not benefiting from the job markets at home.

When Shinn and Eisenman (2012) in their book, Africa and China-A Century of Engagement, they conducted interviews about the relationship between Africa and China, and were shocked to find Chinese ditch diggers in Sudan.

While China and India are exporting their unskilled workers to Africa to take up even menial jobs, Europe’s been doing things differently.

It’s always sent technocrats and diplomats who use Africans to do their works. Instead of sending such unskilled troupes, Europe’s been attracting Africa’s experts under the so-called brain drain.

As we will see, drain brain is costing and hurting Africa heavily. Arguably, it’s important to note that such lossmaking settings don’t only end in brain drain but also in other aspects such as trade, technical assistance and the horse-jockey relationship.

When it comes to the coming of China and India, I admonish Africa to clutch and latch on this opportunity; and secure a good deal provided that Africa must be reunited: and thereby act as one country instead of acting severally as it currently is.

Another conduit of robbing; and thereby burdening Africa’s nothing but forcing any country receiving aid, specifically technical aid, to make sure that the said country uses the companies, experts and sometimes, materials from the donor countries.

When will Africa use its resources and workforce? Is there any exchange of skills in the business between China and Africa or just creating more dependency for Africa’s peril?

These and others are the questions African rulers need to ask themselves before getting to bed with China or India simply because their aid has fewer strings attached to it than the West though the effects are likely to be the same even gross than the former.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

BOTTOM LINE: The cause of the death of opposition

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

Present defections massacre or the suicide for the opposition?

Alarmingly speedy defections to the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) the opposition is facing make the heads shake.

Thanks to this, Pius Msekwa, columnist and one of the stalwarts of our politics, queries “current defections by opposition MPs and Councillors to the ruling party: is this a strategy to ‘kill’ opposition in parliament?”(Daily News, Aug., 9, 2018).

Though Msekwa, carefully and skilfully used the word ‘kill’ to allow everybody to make a judgement and sense of it, what’s apparent about such concerns is opposition’s bereavement.

After reading his piece, my crystal ball told me to pen this piece about this strange but expected phenomenon. I therefore, I’ll dwell on the bottom-line of this trend. In doing my autopsy, I can confirm: there’s no any convolution or dearth of the clues of the causes of opposition’s death that’s certain save that what’ll cause it is an issue.

To know what’ll kill the opposition, we need to conduct an investigation to ascertain whether this death is homicide, natural or suicide.

The following are my findings:

Lowassa vs Slaa effects

Let’s face it. After former PM, Edward Lowassa invaded, coaxed the UKAWA and got what he wanted; the opposition started a suicide that hastened its journey to the political boneyard.

Just imagine, if they got 39.97 per cent with Lowassa, what’d have been the situation had they stuck with Dr Wilbrod Slaa? If anything, Lowassa’s became an albatross around CHADEMA’s and UKAWA’s necks. Or put it, he’s a big stone that sank the opposition as it faces a raging sea. His arrival to the opposition didn’t add up save causing melee that saw juggernauts like Slaa packing and vacating the opposition.

This sent signals to the voters on how desperate, double-faced, ill-informed, indifferent and fly-by-night the opposition was. I know those of us who used to support them felt when the man the opposition demonised and whose blood they’re baying for became a diamond in the rough just overnight. There’s no way such strange bedfellows could make it in this fatal embrace.

On his side, Lowassa didn’t bother about losing the presidency. Arguably, he wanted to meet three goals therefrom he came out as a champ.

First, he fulfilled his ambition of taking a shot at presidency after the CCM refused to endorse him.

Secondly, Lowassa, easily punished the opposition that didn’t only tarnish his image in the CCM but also blew his cover after coming with the list of shame wherein Lowassa featured high. Thirdly, Lowassa knew too well: the opposition’s among the causes-cum-obstacles that authored his fall from grace after unearthing Richmond scam.

With such a great role in pulling Lowassa down, there’s no way he’d forgive or forget. He thus, knowingly decided to crucify from within.

Mtulia’s effects

After Kinondoni MP (CCM formerly CUF), Maulid Mtulia started a high-level defection, won the trust of his new party and the voters; and regained his job, he set the precedent for others to follow. This opened floodgates for the defections we now evidence. Whatever the cause[s] of this defection, the opposition need to rejig its ranks.

Magufulification’s effects

After hitting the ground running, soon after winning the presidency, Dr John Magufuli started delivering on his promises. Refer to the SGR, the ATC, services such as free education, stable health services and whatnots that can’t be gainsaid.

On this, I hear some disparagers saying that they don’t know where Magufuli got the money to purchase planes or finance the SGR they say will incur more debts. Well, I don’t know if this bothers voters in rural areas or a common mwananchi.

This reminds me how Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, replied when one, Dr Bony Khalwale confronted him asking why he didn’t tell the NASA coalition he’d negotiate with his nemesis-turned-ally, president Uhuru Kenyatta and iron out their differences so as to come up with what’s now famously known as handshake.

Odinga asked Khalwale what’s logical for both between telling them he’s going hunting or the meat he brought with him after the handshake.

For the common mwananchi in Ushetu, Nakapanya, Ngara and elsewhere, what matters is nothing but services. He or she wants to see clinics, flyovers, hospitals, schools, railway, roads and whatnots but not knowing if the money financing or purchasing such things came from the parliament or the statehouse.

This is why, when detractors are complaining, Magufuli is busy making good on his promises.

UKAWA’s feebleness and fickleness

UKAWA’s establishment was fickle and feeble from the outset. It’s built on a shaky footing. Refer to how they’re now faring after losing Buyungu, Kinondoni, and Siha just recently.

Methinks the straw that broke camel’s back for the UKAWA is the type of politics they embarked on plus the above effects that sealed their fate.

They’re more in urban areas but absent in rural areas where many voters live. This lack of national-wide network and base had its negative effects on them.

What should they do?

Go back to the drawing board and accept to change according to the politics of the day. The current manner and style in which the UKAWA is operating is hugely counterproductive.

Attack Magufuli’s performance based on facts and reality. For example, if the UKAWA thinks there’s corruption anywhere, they’d bring this to the fore.

Look at issues to prioritise and tackle. Instead of complaining, make sure you reach the people you didn’t reach.

Re-evaluate, rejig and rejigger your strategies based on the realities of today as far as Magufuli’s style is concerned. People need services more than anything in the first place.

Commute parties from being private to public parties. Currently, almost all political parties minus the CCM gyrate around personalities but not issues, which is a setback.

Expand your national network by adding up rural Tanzania to the already established urban network.

Lastly though not least, unite pragmatically but not seasonally under marriage of convenience as it is in the case of the slack UKAWA. Equally, stop witch-hunting. The enemy’s within.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Modibo Keïta and the vision of a united Africa

 

Modibo Keïta is a pan-African; a founding father of the Mali Nation and the first President of the independent Mali.

He ruled Mali from 1960 to 1968 endeavouring to harbour and nurse the pan-African Movement that was designed at first; to unite the West African countries and then to unite the African Continent as a whole.

First Modibo Keïta and Leopold Senghor of Senegal created the Mali Federation that was a union between French Sudan (present day Mali) and Senegal on the 4th April 1959. After the collapsed of the Mali Federation on the 22nd September 1960, Keïta’s desire for unity of the West African States did not wane; again Modibo Keïta together with Sékou Touré of Guinea, and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, formed the Union of the States of Western Africa which was also unsuccessiful.

Modibo Keïta also played an important role in drafting the Charter for the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and became the Founding Member of the OAU in 1963. Modibo Keïta’s energies and exertions that he put into the pan-African movement brands him as one of the giants of pan-African Movement.

Modibo Keïta is among the first generation of pan-African Leaders in Africa who dreamed and envisioned for the unification of the African Continent.

Although these pan-African efforts failed, but Modibo Keïta and his colleagues showed the desire for the unity of the African continent.

In a series of articles we therefore narrate the story of one of the forefathers of the pan-African movement who wanted the formation of a great nation – the United States of Africa.

Modibo Keïta was born on the 4th June 1915 in Bamako-Coura, a neighbourhood of Bamako City the capital city of French Sudan (present day Mali).

He was born in Malian Muslim family who claimed to be the direct descent from the founders of the Mali Empire.

Keïta obtained his primary education from 1924 in Bamako and later went to the École Normale William-Ponty in Dakar, Senegal for his tertiary education and became a teacher in 1935. In the beginning of the year 1936, he worked as a teacher in Bamako, Sikasso and Tombouctou cities in Mali.

From 1937 Keïta as a teacher was involved in various associations and helped in the creation of the Union of French West African Teachers Association. He also joined the Communist Study Groups Cell (GEC) in Bamako city.

As activist teacher in 1943, he founded the L’oeil de Kénédougou, a magazine critical of colonial rule.

Later in 1946 Keïta joined politics by becoming a member of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain (RDA) – the African Democratic Rally a political movement across French West Africa and the Secretary General of the RDA in French Sudan.

France opposed the RDA because of its close association with the French Communist party and its call for full equality.

Keïta was considered a dangerous anticolonial person and was imprisoned briefly and released in 1947.

In 1948 he was a candidate for the Constituent Assembly of the French Fourth Republic, supported by the Union Soudanaise Party the French Sudan section of the RDA known as (US-RDA) and was elected general Councillor of French Sudan.

Between 1950 and 1956, Keïta took many positions in politics including becoming Mayor of Bamako and the member of the National Assembly of France. He twice served as Secretary of State in the colonial French Sudan self-governments.

He was also elected Constituent Assembly President of the Mali Federation on July 20, 1960, that consisted of French Sudan and Senegal.

After the collapse of the Mali Federation French Sudan proclaimed its independence on the 23rd September1960 and Modibo Keïta became the First President of the newly declared independent nation of the Republic of Mali.

Keïta also banned all political parties and proclaimed Mali as a One-Party State with US-RDA the only political party.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Egypt’s Nasser: The failed vision of united Africa- P.1

Dr Kafumu is a geologist and former

Dr Kafumu is a geologist and former Commissioner for Minerals. He is currently a member of parliament 

By Peter Kafumu

Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was an Egyptian revolutionary, statesman and pan-African activist who served as the second President of Egypt from 1956 until 1970 when he died. Alongside Kwame Nkrumah and other forefathers of the pan-African movement, he helped pursue the independence cause of African countries.

As one of the first leaders of A the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), he also pushed for the unification of the continent.

Nasser placed Egyptian culture and civilisation within an African framework. To him, the Arab-African ties were key to rooting out colonialism in Africa. The story of Gamal Abdel Nasser is the story of an Arab leader who always lend a supporting hand to those Africans who were determined to throw off colonial oppression.

His story is that of solidarity between Arab and non-Arab Africans. Nasser and his African colleagues had in common a radical agenda of social change in the unity of Africa; a task they knew would not be easy, a mission that remains, to this day, unaccomplished. In a series of articles we tell the story of Gamal Abdel Nasser, one of the greatest pan-African.

Gamal Abdel Nasser was born on the 15th of January 1918 in Bakos, Alexandria. He obtained his primary education at Khatatba and Nahhasin primary schools in Alexandria from 1924 to 1932 and then completed his secondary education at the Al-Nahda al-Masria Secondary School in Cairo, earning a certificate in theatre arts in 1936. While at school, he read and wrote articles on freedom in the School Paper. He was also involved in political activism leading several student demonstration against British rule.

In late 1937, Nasser was enrolled in the Military Academy for military training after terminating his studies at the King Fuad University in Cairo where he was studying Law. In July 1938, he graduated from the academy and was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the Infantry Regiment at Mankabad Millitary Base. At the Base Nasser met his closest friends, Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat and Abdel Hakim Amer.

In 1949, Nasser and his revolutionary army friends, Anwar el-Sadat and Abdel Hakim Amer were convinced that Egypt needed liberation from the monarchic anarchy, and formed the Association of Free Officers (AFO). In 1952 the AFO overthrew the ruling party and Egypt became a Republic on the 18th June 1953 after abolishing the monarchy.

The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) was then formed led by General Naguib as Chairman and First President of Egypt. Nasser was Vice-Chairman of the RCC and however, on the 25th February 1954, Naguib resigned and Nasser became the Chairman of the RCC and the Second President of Egypt. Nasser’s rule banned all political parties, creating a one-party system under the Liberation Rally.

As resentment grew against Nasser’s rule; on the 26th October 1954, an attempt to assassinate Nasser in Alexandria failed cementing his nationalistic belief as a liberator of Egypt and he addressed the people with great emotion saying: “…My countrymen, my blood spills for you and for Egypt. I will live for your sake and die for the sake of your freedom and honour. Let them kill me; it does not concern me so long as I have instilled pride, honor, and freedom in you. If Gamal Abdel Nasser should die, each of you shall be Gamal Abdel Nasser ... Gamal Abdel Nasser is of you and from you and he is willing to sacrifice his life for the nation…”

In 1956, Gamal Nasser now the strong leader of Egypt decided to return Egypt into civilian rule; he drafted a new Constitution to establish a single-party system under the National Union (NU) Movement envisaging to secure a socio-economic and political revolution in Egypt. Elections were held in July 1957 and a National Assembly was established. The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) was then dissolved and he established a transitional Civilian Government under him as President.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Is it time to write the political burial hymn for Trump?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

When US President Donald Trump’s unfolding fall from grace started, it was wrongly perceived as a storm in a teacup. However, it seems the game is up; and the jig is up.

Following the recent conviction and guilty plea by Trump’s consigliore Paul Manafort, (one of Trump’s kingmakers) and his lawyer a.k.a fixer Michael Cohen (if not the second black box after Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner), who once swaggered he would take a bullet for Trump, is it time to write Trump’s political dirge? Currently, Trump is heavily grappling with the burden of his undoing resulting from the manner and style by which he came to power aka Russian collusion.

His spin-doctors and lynch-pins are likely to be in disarray after the conviction and the guilty plea that have taken two sharks down in Trump’s pond he promised to drain to end up imbuing it with even more deadly and dangerous sharks and whales.

Since coming to power controversially, Trump’s administration has always had a cloud hanging over it.

Now, the noose is slowly tightening on Trump. Some thought that this was a passing cloud. However, the cloud seems to have refused to go so as to become an albatross around Trump’s neck. As it vividly seems, Trump either is on his way out of the White House or is praying for the miracles to save his ever controversial presidency.

Will he survive? Will the Americans bite the bullet and swallow their pride as they keep their greatly tainted president or boot him out?

It started to rain on Trump when the bombshell or allegations of collusion with Russia; aimed at helping Trump win the White House, surfaced; and kept on looming as the days went by. To make matters worse, the Chairman of his campaign, Manafort was charged by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team of conjuring up “a sinister plot” early in July (Washington Post, July 8, 2018). To no avail, Trump tried to rubbish and trample on Mueller’s team to end up likely being trumped by it. Up until 22nd August, the hammer came down as the die was cast after Manafort “was convicted of five counts of tax fraud, one count of failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts and two counts of bank fraud.” It is not easy to tell if Trump, the man who came to power promising to make America great again to end up making it apolitical grit among mountains, has already smelled the coffee as he sees it coming. Has Trump been able to Make America Great Again (MAGA) by presiding over the regime that saw America’s greatness, quickly dwindles and fizzles out thanks to being a terrible newbie in the White House?

When contacted to air his views on the goings-on, casting aspersions on the development to the actions he has always referred as witch hunt, Trump’s quoted as saying that this act is nothing but an attack on his country. Sadly though, Trump didn’t elaborate. Did he mean he’s the country and the country’s him? This isn’t the language one’d expect from the leader of the self-appointed leader of the free world that’s refused to be free from controversies under Trump.

To make matters worse, according to the Guardian (August 22, 2018), Cohen was accused of “a pattern of lies and dishonesty over a significant period of time” which he pleaded guilty to. One of the lies is Cohen’s denial that he wasn’t instructed by Trump to pay and gag two porn stars Trump had affairs with before running for president. Sensing the dangers such perjury would cause to him, Cohen, to save his neck, decided to spill the beans putting Trump in a hot soup. The man who was famously known as Trump’s fixer ended up fixing him. The man known to have what it takes to solve Trump’s problems resulting from his sexual misconducts ended up becoming Trump’s big problem. For, he promised to cooperate with Mueller’s team which means he might have more beans to spill.

The conviction of Manafort and the guilty plea by Cohen seem to have drably kicked off the journey of unearthing Trump’s nether world of lies and manipulations that’d see him being booted out after being impeached for obstructing justice, perjury and collusion to sabotage US’s democracy. Verily, this is a very hardest and ultimate test to US’s democracy and pride. Further, unearthing Trump’s nether world means nothing but pulling him out of power unceremoniously as it was for Richard Nixon who’s forced to bolt out after watertight evidence tied him to wrongdoings while in the White House. After a long time since Nixon’s Watergate surfaced, are we evidencing a Trumpgate or Russianngate if not sexgate? For, shall Mueller’s nets net Trump and his posse, the US will need to prove what it preaches, wine or water.

Now that the genie is out of the bottle, will Trump survive the blitzkrieg he’s facing or will he just go under? Will he bow out shamefully or arrogantly soldier on and face more onslaughts or hunker for a while as his world crash on him as Mueller’s team zeroes in?

In sum, when Trump astonishingly defeated Hillary Clinton, many were shocked praying that somebody save the US from self-inflicted wounds. Are Trump’s tribulations the means of saving the US from its political bog resulting from Trump’s blunders? No way can one tell. However, by the look of things, the jig is up and the game is likely to be up too for Trump after digging his own pigpen. This is obviously the matter of time to accurately chronicle; and thereby tell.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Why Bobi Wine is causing discomfort in Uganda

 

By Charles M. Mpagi The Citizen Correspondent

As musician-turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine lies at the Makindye military prison near Kampala, where he has been detained, talk has shifted to the impact the 35-year-old is having on Uganda’s politics, having burst onto the scene only a year ago after winning the Kyadondo East by-election last June.

Mr Kyagulanyi stands in the middle of archrivals Yoweri Museveni, 73, and longtime challenger Dr Kizza Besigye, 62, causing significant discomfort to both.

How the MP has succeeded in inserting himself into the centre of Uganda’s politics has taken many by surprise.

His music background and images of a younger Bobi, a cloud of smoke drifting past his blazing red eyes below a dreadlocked head in the Kamwokya ghetto to which he assigned himself as president to today’s red beret, red overalled political warrior, has left many in awe and rattled the political cage.

Mr Kyagulanyi arrived on the political scene by sweeping to an easy victory a year ago in a by-election for Kyadondo East constituency in Wakiso near Kampala in a result that was seen as a defeat for both Besigye and Museveni’s National Resistance Movement.

He followed these with victories in Bugiri and Arua municipalities, where candidates he supported trounced those backed by the two rivals, stirring a national debate on whether he was beginning to re-order the political landscape in the country.

While NRM supporters used Bugiri to mock the Forum for Democratic Change and Besigye, it is Wednesday’s Arua Municipality by-election to replace slain MP Ibrahim Abiriga that cemented Mr Kyagulanyi’s arrival as a defining factor in Uganda’s politics. The response from President Museveni has been to subject him to a military trial when he is a civilian.

Special Forces Command

Dr Besigye has not fared too well either, seeing Kyagulanyi run away with the torch of the opposition leader.

In an interview with a local TV station before the MP’s arrest, Dr Besigye said that the young politician cannot electorally defeat Museveni under current circumstances, suggesting that Dr Besigye did not want to lose the main opposition politician tag to the young Turk.

Mr Kyagulanyi was three years old when Museveni and Dr Besigye arrived in Kampala from the Luwero bush after a five-year guerrilla war; he was 18 in 2000 when Besigye broke ranks with his comrade-in-arms and patient, Yoweri Museveni, to become the new face of the opposition.

In Arua on Monday, soldiers of the Special Forces Command were apparently angered after meeting the MP leading a crowd of Kassiano Wadri’s supporters chanting “Bobi Wine is our president” as President Museveni’s convoy snaked its way through the crowd. A stone was lobbed at one of the cars in the motorcade, shattering its rear window.

When the car in which Museveni was travelling arrived, eye witnesses say the president waved his driver through and was safely delivered to his waiting helicopter, but his security, smarting from embarrassment at the incident, returned later to unleash violence, beating up supporters who had retreated to the hotel being used as a tactical headquarters for Mr Wadri’s campaign.

A soldier reportedly walked up to Mr Kyagulanyi’s pick-up truck and shot the MP’s driver Yasin Kawuma as other soldiers proceeded to search the hotel.

Mr Kyagulanyi was later cornered, reportedly hiding in a ceiling.

He was beaten then whisked away to an army barracks where the beating continued.

On Thursday, Mr Kyagulanyi appeared before a military court in Gulu, where he was charged with offences related to gun possession, the army confirmed in a statement.

The court martial remanded him until August 23. He was transferred in the night to Makindye in Kampala.

The military’s presence has been Museveni’s strongest indicator of how seriously he rates his opponents.

When he fell out with Besigye in 1999 and early 2000 he considered a military trial for his former doctor who was only saved by a delegation from his native Rukungiri that pleaded for him not to be tried.

Besigye had just retired from the army but in 2005 when he returned from exile in South Africa, Besigye was subjected to a parallel trial at the High Court and the courts martial.

That Mr Kyagulanyi is following the same route despite not being a soldier means Museveni takes him as a serious challenger.

Upsetting opposition cart

Mr Kyagulanyi’s disruption could even be bigger for the opposition.

In Arua, he attracted a wide array of disaffected opposition figures especially from the main opposition FDC whose official candidate Bruce Musema came a distant fourth while the candidate supported by Bobi Wine, Kassiano Wadri, coasted to an easy victory even when he and many of his key supporters were in custody at the time of voting.

That former army commander and FDC president Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, a number of MPs and other supporters rallied behind the amateur politician has raised talk of the emergence of a Third Force to challenge the dominance of both Museveni and Besigye. Makerere University law don, Robert Kirunda, however, cautions that the celebration of that so-called Third Force may be coming too early.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Yoweri Museveni and the return of ‘Bandaism’

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

I recently was shocked to hear that the court in Uganda paved the way for Yoweri Museveni to run for president for the sixth time; and keep his grips on power after amending the constitution that put a ceiling on a person who is above 75 years to run for the office. Remember where you were on 29th January, 1986. How old were you? For the unborn generations, imagine having a single president throughout their lives as if their countries were barren of competent people to serve as president. This is what the story of Ugandan President Museveni–one of the longest serving presidents in the world–who recently was cleared by the court to run for sixth time–ferrets. The 29th January, 1986 is the day Museveni’s sworn-in as Uganda’s president soon after defeating General Tito Okello’s friable regime.

Museveni came to power when former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi’s just three months in power. Ever since, Tanzania’s had three presidents who served two-five year terms in office; plus the current one who’s been in power for two years. Despite being in power for decades, Museveni’s still hell-bent to keep on lord it over Ugandans. This is what this column calls Bandaism.

For those not au fait with Bandaism, it’s the system wherein former Malawi’s dictator, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, barefacedly declared himself president for life; and turned the country into his private estate to mismanage and misuse as he deemed fit.

To his credit, though he’s a stinking potentate, Banda’s straightforward. He didn’t fritter away public money, resources and time to convene charades known as or call his thinly-veiled waffle elections. Neither did Banda hide behind fake and helter-skelter democracy defined by bedlam, coercion and deceit. His was a stinking autocratic and kleptocratic rule; he and his victims knew. However, Banda participated in elections twice, in 1961 wherein he won; and in 1993 he lost.

Experientially, Egyptians, Libyans and Zimbabweans know too well the tedium of having a demigod in power for many years. He becomes so recycled and tired that he doesn’t remember even his past self. Such a ruler becomes cast-off and worn-out. He fails to differentiate between himself and the country. This is why one can say that, for Museveni and the likes, Uganda is Museveni and Museveni is Uganda.

This is why Museveni says that “some people think that being in government for a long time is a bad thing. But the more you stay, the more you learn. I am now an expert in governance.” Museveni sadly failed to underscore the fact that bad boys such as Banda, Blaise Compaore (Burkina Faso), Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), Joseph Mobutu (DRC), Muamar Gadaffi (Libya), Yahya Jammeh and others who–out of their ignorance, myopia and selfishness–were either booted out from power like rabid dogs or overthrown and killed, stayed some longer than he’s done yet ended up proving they knew nothing about governance.

Who’d think that Mugabe wouldn’t know the jigs were up so as to self-dress as he did recently by abandoning his party and voting for the opposition he used to demonise in the just ended general elections? What a contradiction-cum-shame? What lesson did the likes of Museveni get from Mugabe’s desperation and shame?

Love or loathe me; Museveni needs a help urgently for not learning from the fallen dictators who, like him, wrongly thought they’re bigger than their countries. Geopolitically, Museveni needs somebody to tell him that what he’s been doing’s undemocratic, wrong, and illegal. It doesn’t do Uganda any good. Again, where’ll he get such a person if at all in East Africa and Africa in general tinkering with the constitutions to hang around in power’s become an in-thing? Burundi, Rwanda and, now Uganda, in the EAC, have already degraded their constitutions so as to act as diapers any power or self-seeker can use? Cameroon, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea not to mention countries such as, Lesotho, Sudan, Swaziland, and others whose rulers are more of military or traditional monarchs. Museveni’s move’s given EA a worse tag than other regions in violating the constitutions. Equally, the African Union (AU)–that’s supposed to take on this crime, circumstantially is in on it; on its last legs many years ago after becoming a palaver for African potentates to congregate and blather.

There are many unanswered questions regarding Museveni’s monotonous hooey mission-cum-hoo-ha for Uganda. Why does he waste a lot of public money, resources and time convening shenanigans he called elections instead of just being straightforward declaring he’s president for life like Banda did? What can he do that he failed to do in his over thirty years in power, especially at this eleventh hour? Museveni has already exhausted everything. He’s already appointed his wife a minister not to mention his son and friends. Like any senior and long-time public worker, when’ll Museveni retire; and play with his grandchildren? What precedent is Museveni setting in his paradigmatic political behaviour gyrating around tampering with the sacred document of the land, the constitution? Why’s he afraid of retiring?

In sum, when’ll Museveni respect and stop tampering with the constitution to stay in power illicitly? If there’s anybody who loves and respects Museveni, must pliably tell him to abandon his useless projects of becoming Uganda’s life president. As a senior public servant, it’s time for Museveni to call it quits and allow new blood and crop to catapult Uganda to the future. Look at how Tanzania’s soaring while Uganda’s swarming. All this is because of the new crop of leaders such as John Pombe Magufuli who’s in high school when Museveni took power not to mention Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed who’s just 10 years old.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Party hopping and the threat of voter apathy

Jumping on the bandwagon: Julius Mtatiro

Jumping on the bandwagon: Julius Mtatiro stepped down from the opposition CUF as chairman of its Leadership Committee on August 11 -- saying that he now supports President John Magufuli in his developmental activities. PHOTO I FILE 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. What will happen if voters in Tanzania become disenchanted with the country’s political processes – with more and more staying away from polling stations, no longer believing in the value of democratic elections?

Waves of opposition politicians are abandoning ‘their’ parties ostensibly to start a new political life in the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), giving reasons that are as flimsy as they’re unconvincing.

One of the latest prominent defectors is Civic United Front (C UF) leader Julius Mtatiro who jumped ship to the ruling party at the weekend, citing his admiration of President John Magufuli’s leadership.

ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe, Member of Parliament for the Kigoma-Urban constituency says while he respects the party hoppers’ constitutional right to switch allegiances, he nonetheless warns that ‘the migration’ may endanger national security.

‘It (disenchants) citizens, making the citizenry dislike politics,” Mr Kabwe posted on Twitter recently.

Voter abstention – which means not voting, and being really smug about it – is already discernible in recent by-elections, a phenomenon which some analysts attribute to opposition politicians decamping to the ruling party. Then, almost automatically, CCM sponsors them in the resulting by-elections.

But, there are fears that the veteran ruling party may be shooting itself in the ‘political’ foot, pray – making matters worse for itself in the imminent general ellection.

The great trek

To-date, almost 70 opposition cadres, including councillors and MPs, have defected to CCM – with the main political opposition party Chadema the hardest hit, losing some 50 stalwart members to CCM.

MPs who have defected to CCM are Julius Kalanga (Monduli constituency), Mwita Waitara (Ukonga), Godwin Mollel (Siha) and Maulid Mtulia (Kinondoni) all from Chadema and CUF.

Liwale constituency MP Zubery Kachauka (CUF) followed in Mtatiro’s political footsteps three days later.

On the other hand, CCM lost just Lazaro Nyalandu (Singida North) who decamped to Chadema.

Three reasons are given for defecting. There are those – like Mtulia and Mollel, among many – who claimed utter satisfaction with President John Magufuli’s performance.

Others, like Waitara, claimed to have been blamed within their (former) parties for collaborating with the government in development activities in their constituencies.

The third group is that of the likes of Nyalandu who claimed to have joined Chadema to be part of the movement that seeks rewriting of the Union constitution.

Accusations have been made that defectors to CCM are ‘bought.’ Surprisingly enough, these have not been investigated.

Many see the reason given by Nyalandu to be substantial considering the government’s inflexible stand that a New Constitution is not its priority.

Writing is on the wall

However, signs of the voter apathy are already appearing.

For example, voter apathy was evident in the Singida-North, Songea-Urban and Longido constituency by-elections on January 13, 2018 which recorded pathetically-low voter turnout.

Only 110,883 out of the 278,167 total registered voters voted in the three constituencies, while 167,284 didn’t vote: 60.14 per cent of the registered total!

The February 27, 2018 Siha constituency by-election was also not spared, as only 32,277 voters (58.35 per cent) cast their ballots out of the 55,313 registered voters.

Voter apathy in the Kinondoni constituency by-election the same day broke records of sorts, as only 45,454 voters (17.2 per cent) of the total registered voters turned up to vote.

Legitimacy in crisis

People have different views on this trend, with some blaming lack of credibility in the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for it.

A seasoned columnist, Prof Zulfiqarali Premji, for example, attributes the trend to disillusionment, indifference, a sense of futility on the part of the electorate. This includes the perception – right or wrong – that one’s vote won’t make any difference to the outcome.

However, the professor warns against the trend, arguing that democracy is an opportunity, and a ‘lost’ electoral vote is ‘a terrible thing.’

“Indeed,” he writes “government legitimacy is called into question if less than a majority of the eligible voters cast their votes.”

Democratic governance provides what he calls “the best practical check on domination by the elite few…”

A University of Dar es Salaam (UDsm) political scientist, Dr Richard Mbunda, agrees with Prof Premji.

“Self-disfranchisement is disastrous for both the electorate and the government. The latter will have no legitimacy, while the former will be governed by policies they haven’t consented to.

“While the people may have lost the opportunity to hold officials accountable, the consequences that [may face] the illegitimate regime may be far worse than those [faced by] the people,” argues Mbunda.

Anger as a punishing tool

Mbunda’s views are nevertheless contrary to those held by another political scientist from the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), Dr Salim Hamad, who argues that voters may be angered by the defections. But, “I don’t think it can affect the coming General Elections.”

Hamad explains that people abstaining from voting is a normal thing worldwide – although “it is unhealthy.”

This is because an election is an opportunity for citizens to determine their country’s destiny by either agreeing or disagreeing with certain policies. If their destiny is shaped by a few voters, then they get a failed state!

On legitimacy, Hamad agrees that an election whereby few voters participate may politically be illegitimate. But, “over time, legitimacy can be restored, depending on how the leadership connects with the people.”

However, Prof Mbunda argues that, once legitimacy is lost, it’s lost forever – and civil disobedience, havoc, sabotage, etc., will be the result of being ruled by an illegitimate government.

He emphasizes the need to take deliberate steps to avoid doing things that would estrange voters, make them shun polling stations. Failure to instill a sense of ownership of the government in the electorate may breed rebellion, he says.

“Disharmony in communities may complicate the task of maintaining law and order. “An illegitimate regime can make the people ungovernable, thus protracting the government’s efforts to bring development to an uncooperative citizenry,” Mbunda concludes.

Reforming electoral laws

One way that can help placate angry voters could arguably be that offered recently under the umbrella of the Tanzania Constitution Forum which proposes changes in some regulatory frameworks ahead of local government elections next year, and the general elections in 2010.

The Forum’s chairman, Mr Hebron Mwakagenda, was recently quoted as saying that “the Forum [stresses] the need for political leaders to be allowed to ‘cross the floor’ from one party to another without losing their (electoral) posts.”

On the other hand, Prof Premji urges Tanzanians not to abstain from voting no matter what the reason.

After all, it is only through voting that citizens can draw upon their collective strength and force their elite competitors to agree to some sort of cooperative relationship, the good professor explains.

Clearly, he believes that this can never happen if deliberate efforts to coordinate the citizens’ actions are not seriously taken care of by strengthening democratic institutions.

“Democratic institutions – such as elections, the law and a truly free press, along with their ideals of political equality and individual freedom – should be organized in such a way that they facilitate the people’s collective strength. This would help them to make informed decisions on matters that affect their lives as a people,” Prof. Premji says.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Buying favours: Why MPs want longer terms



President Yoweri Museveni. PHOTO | FILE

President Yoweri Museveni. PHOTO | FILE 

By Gabrielle Lynch and Justin Willis

Kampala. Uganda’s Constitutional Court has removed the constitutional age-limit for presidential candidacy. It was previously 75. As a result, President Yoweri Museveni – who has been in office since 1986 and is 73 years old – can now vie for another term. The judges’ argument, in a majority ruling, was that the electorate could still decide whether or not to vote for Museveni. Because they had a choice, the judges argued, their fundamental rights were not infringed by the change.

Museveni’s response to this apparent victory might seem a little ungracious for a man who had apparently just been handed a significant victory: in a speech shortly after the ruling, he complained that “our judges in Uganda spend more time on form and not on substance.”

Museveni’s annoyance arose from a second element to the judges’ ruling. The age-limit act had been amended as it passed through parliament to extend both the presidential term, and the life of parliament, from five to seven years. The judges struck this change down. This means that Uganda’s next elections will be held in 2021, rather than in 2023 as Museveni had hoped.

Why did Museveni object? Because, he said, such a “short” period in office means that a lot of time is spent on electioneering and less time on development.

What he did not say is that elections cost a great deal of money – a concern for him and, even more so, for the members of parliament (MPs) of his National Resistance Movement who were behind the attempt to extend the period between elections.

Museveni has managed to remain in office through elections that have been widely condemned as unfair by international and domestic observers. His long grip on power has rested partly on the memory, and the practice of violence. The security forces have repeatedly used extreme force and intimidation, most notably against his most dogged opponent Kizza Besigye, in a series of elections since 2001.

Elections have provided Museveni with an opportunity to remind Ugandans of the threat of instability, and to show the state’s capacity for violence. But at the same time they have provided an arena for an expensive politics of reward and promise.

Together, these strategies have ensured that the playing field has been heavily skewed in his favour. This itself may not be seen as a problem by the president. He has long viewed multiparty elections as divisive and as a potential source of “poor leadership”. But the cost of the campaigns may seem more of a problem to him - and the MPs of the ruling party. Which is why they would like an extension to their term in office.

Money and elections

The cost of running elections isn’t solely in terms of the cost to the treasury of the organisation of the actual voting – though that is significant. What matters more to the MPs is the cost of campaigning, with money being spent on everything from posters to t-shirts and radio adverts.

There is also an expectation that those who run for office will engage in almost ceaseless displays of generosity.

A candidate, or someone who is thinking of being a candidate, will receive constant invitations to attend fundraising events, or meet with local self-help groups. At every such event they must give a token, often in cash form, and promise more rewards in the future. They will be on the guest list for every local funeral; they will be asked for help by constituents whose relatives are ill or who are unable to pay school fees.

National Resistance Movement candidates often receive help from their party or president for these campaigns and the incumbent’s access to state resources is one of the many ways in which Ugandan elections are skewed against the opposition. But it seems that parliamentary candidates for the NRM also have to rely heavily on their own resources.

We shouldn’t feel too sorry for them; they willingly play this game, though they complain of the cost.

In turn, the demands of voters arise from bitter experience. Development is the key word in African politics: all politicians claim that they will bring it. But most voters feel that they and their neighbours remain poor and that those whom they elect never deliver the prosperity or services that they hope for. The election campaign is the chance to demand instant rewards and to test candidates’ generosity: just for a little while voters have the politicians at their mercy.

The cost of campaigns means that most members of parliament come into office already heavily in debt. That was why Uganda’s members of parliament were so keen to extend their term: they want time to recoup their losses and to build up resources for the next campaign.

In neighbouring Kenya, too, candidates for election are expected to display their generosity: giving cash or other gifts can be seen as a way of signalling virtue, of showing commitment to the community. As a result, politics in Kenya sometimes seems like a never-ending campaign season of fundraisers and funeral donations.

Even Ghana – where largely peaceful elections lead to changes in government on a regular basis – running for elected office can be an expensive business for individuals. But in Uganda this sort of electoral clientelism – as some call it – has become part of the president’s repertoire of techniques for staying in power.

Extending presidential and parliamentary terms was a way to reduce the cost of this technique; for now, the judges have thwarted that plan, at least. But this may not be over: Museveni has suggested that the constitution may yet be changed, “judges or no judges”.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

No easy road for liberation parties

President John Magufuli delivers a speech at

President John Magufuli delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting Africa Thematic Event, in Dar es Salaam, on July 17, 2018. PHOTO | Xinhua 

By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax ksaid@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Major hurdles may frustrate a four-point roadmap that 40 African revolutionary parties -- including Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) -- have agreed to pursue with the Communist Party of China (CPC) in seeking to remain relevant, political pundits say.

At the end of a high-level two-day dialogue in Dar es Salaam last week, the CPC and African parties agreed on four resolutions aimed at realigning themselves with people-centered development.

This was after a rather unsettling revelation that for the past five decades, liberation parties had not been doing enough to serve and improve the lot of their people, as one of their fundamental purposes.

The meeting in Dar es Salaam followed the Beijing CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties held last year, when more than 300 leaders of political parties and organisations from around the world gathered to deliberate on the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and a better world.

Among the issues the Dar es Salaam meeting agreed is the need for political parties to put more effort into pursuing people-centred development paths in line with the specific national conditions.

Secondly, the parties resolved to play their roles as the leading forces of national development.

Thirdly, they agreed to be shining examples of a new type of party-to-party relations based on mutual learning and benefits. And the fourth resolution is taking new strides to boost the China-Africa cooperation for a shared future.

In his remarks at the meeting, Dr Bashiru Ally, the new CCM secretary general, criticised the revolutionary parties for failing to serve as treasuries of knowledge and foundations of revolutionary thinking.

The former political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam and socio-political commentator noted that for a long time, political parties had been operating like mere “vote-catching machines”, at the expense of the masses.

His comments echoed sentiments by other academicians and seasoned politicians at the meeting, who couldn’t resist the urge to call a spade a spade in expressing their disappointment with the failures of Africa’s liberation movements.

Back home, analysts are of the opinion that the ruling party, a leading force in African liberation movement, needs to do some serious soul-searching if it is to successfully realign with the resolution to adhere to people-centered development, and serve the people as its fundamental purpose, adamant at deepening reform and opening-up in all respects.

Professor Gaudence Mpangala, a lecturer at Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu), says the Achilles heel is the different political and economic path that the political party has chosen to pursue.

While China didn’t abandon its socialist principles, instead choosing to improve them to suit contemporary needs, Tanzania “completely abandoned its socialism and self-reliance ideology and in a manner joined the neo-liberalisation hysteria”, he says.

Neo-liberal policies adopted in the country during the 1980s brought with them competition both in the political and economic spheres. “It abandoned consultative politics of mono-partysm and introduced Tanzania to cutthroat competitive politics.

“For any reforms to be successfully carried out, they should first and foremost be based on the principles of consultation and consensus among political parties and civil organisations; this is currently not the case.

“In our case, [I think] consensus is of paramount importance alongside the creation of a strong national vision which any political party that forms the government can follow,” says Prof Mpangala.

He quickly refers to the Arusha Declaration, describing it as ‘diluted’, and the birth of the Zanzibar Resolution, which he says left the country “moving aimlessly with no definable national vision”.

“Now I don’t suggest that we [should] go [back to] mono-party system,” he explains.

“But we can alternatively use the [existing] multiparty system [by ensuring that it is] built on the foundation of justice, equal chance, tolerance and respect among the political parties in the country.”

Dr Richard Mbunda, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, also agrees that pursuing such reforms as the CPC-Africa meeting agreed on would not be a walk through the park in the absence of sincerity with regards to openness and multupartyism.

He says it will be difficult to bring about people-centred development in the country if the party forming the government fails to appreciate the contribution of the opposition and other independent voices.

“CCM has failed to appreciate the contribution of their opposition counterparts,” he says, adding that under the current administration, the opposition is seen as unpatriotic, and thus has no say in the running of the country’s affairs.

Dr Hamad Salim of the Open University of Tanzania says if CCM, Africa’s oldest liberation party, is sincere about reforms, it will have to go back to the drawing board.

“It must wage a relentless war against petty bourgeoisies who are using the party to further their own interests,” he says. “There is also the need to take back the party to its rightful owners, the people.”

Dr Hamad, however, commended the reforms that President John Magufuli is currently pursuing to reform the party.

He says the failure by African liberation parties is the price they are paying for going against the fundamental visions of their establishment.

“They moved from being the parties of the people to elitist clubs. It is foolhardy to think that pro-people reforms can take place [in the country] under the current situation where the task of carrying them out is vested in personalities rather than institutions.”

Dr Bashiru noted that CCM is implementing reforms to liberate the poor. He argued that the struggle against colonialism was not done yet because the task ahead is fighting exploitation.

Political analysts agree that any bid at reforming Africa’s revolutionary parties will fail unless it addresses the sensational issue of democracy.

Yet across the continent, there is widespread apprehension over the pace at which the march of democracy is being pursued.

While some places like South Africa, and Nigeris (where a corrupt and incompetent ruling party was voted out for the first time since the end of military rule in 1999), are making progress, there are still many discouraging cases.

“Instead of governing well, politicians are keener to steal money so as to bribe and rig their way back to power,” noted the Economist in a 2016 article on African democracy, “The march of democracy slows”.

Most recently, former US President Barack Obama had similar concerns. “Democracy means being in touch and in tune with life as it’s lived in our communities, and that’s what we should expect from our leaders,” he said in his speech to mark Nelson Mandela’s centenary in South Africa last week

“...and it depends upon cultivating leaders at the grassroots who can help bring about change and implement it on the ground and can tell leaders in fancy buildings, this isn’t working down here.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Hate or love him, Magufuli is the poor man’s president



NKWAZI MHANGO

NKWAZI MHANGO 

By Nkwazi Mhango

I must state it from the outset that this piece seeks to make peace between the powers that be and Twaweza. Clearly, speaking to power is an arduous and perilous business. Whoever speaks to power must get ready to face the ramifications or rewards of doing so. I am coming from the perspective, a constitutional one, that we, the citizenry, have the right to expression within certain parameters stipulated by the constitution. So, too, everybody’s the right to defending him/herself. Therefore, what I am to write here aims at nobody or any group. I read somewhere one person complaining that president John Magufuli cannot be the president of poor or rais wa wanyonge while his popularity is cascading. Has Magufuli’s popularity practically cascaded or snowballed?

Without mincing words, I must categorically state. Whether the popularity of Magufuli is cascading or swelling is subject to dialogue. Let’s ponder on Twaweza’s poll that’s evoked hullabaloos.

Twaweza, just like any citizenry, have the right to express their views without contravening the law of the land. Further, mark my words. Twaweza, just like any pollster, must have their reasons to come up with what they came up with.

Either way, they may be genuine or otherwise depending on the motifs and motives behind the said poll. All depends on how one looks at the issue in point. Again, who’s, and how can we get the big, true picture of the real situation?

In the book How to Lie with Statistics, King (1986) notes that “they [statistical situations] do not measure what they appear to; they substitute statistical jargon for political meaning; they can be highly misleading; and in nearly all situations….” Furthermore, Rex Stout, in Death of a Doxy notes that “there are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.”

I am trying to offer reliable academic sources to substantiate my point. Before passing the judgement on Twaweza, we need to ask some important questions. First, what modality was used in conducting the poll? Secondly, how was the sampling done? Thirdly, what ethics was abode by or breached? What methodology was employed? What were the presaged results? Was there any or proofs of impartiality? Who funded the survey, what for and why now not then? Did the pollsters use focus groups or its antithesis? Were the questions asked seeking multiple choices to get the answers or otherwise? What’s the rationale and relevance of the study?

This is because, as per Joey Reiman, a founding partner of the Bright House Institute, “the sad fact is, people tell you what you want to hear, not what they really think.” What makes me twitchy and even cagey is the fact that the said poll was released at the time Magufuli captivated Tanzanians by unveiling the newest plane, the Boeing 787-8 Dream liner Jet.

What Twaweza did is like accusing a kind person of spitefulness at the time s/he’s offering his or her wealth like crazy. Let’s be a tad fair. Did Twaweza go to rural areas where the media, mainly government media, have much follow? What’s the composition of the participants?

I understand. Magufuli isn’t an angel. But looking at how he pulled Tanzania out of hopelessness, it doesn’t hold water to currently argue that his popularity is waning while his crusade against graft seems to bear more fruits in a very short time than Tanzanians expected.

For example, his cherry-picking and firing style of his appointees have convinced, not all, but many Tanzanians that he’s the president they needed and voted for.

Off-the-cuffs: It is sad that CCM’s and government’s personnel paid for defending it aren’t doing their homework adeptly and by the book. When Twaweza came up with its findings, what’s supposed to be done isn’t going after its neck but finding another competent and independent pollster to replicate the exercise. For, vexing Twaweza is as good as exonerating it. First of all, Twaweza is not alpha and omega with regards to surveys in Tanzania. Keeping on pursuing it is as good as using a bomb to kill a fly. For whatever reasons that geared Twaweza to come up with its findings, there are many options and reasons to convincingly interrogate and watering down its findings.

In sum, does Magufuli really need Twaweza to impart him on Tanzanians who are already in love with him, thanks to his performance? I don’t personally know Magufuli. Neither am I paid for to do Magufuli’s PR job.

Let’s interrogate Twaweza’s findings, modality, rationale and inputs to the building of our country without fear or favour based on the premises that we all have the rights to expression and defense of selves. Give Magufuli a break so that he can get time to fulfill what made Tanzanians vote him as their president.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Haile Selassie and the failed vision of a united Africa

 

By Peter Kafumu

Haile Selassie, the King of Ethiopia, ruled for eight years from 1928 until 1936, when Italy conquered Ethiopia and Selassie was forced to flee abroad. On the 30th of June 1936, while in exile, Selassie spoke to the League of Nations expressing the reasons of his leaving his country to live in exile, and his great hope of the empire’s survival under occupation. He said: “…We have decided to bring to an end the most unequal, most unjust, most barbarous war of our age, and have chosen the road to exile in order that our people will not be exterminated and in order to consecrate ourselves wholly and in peace to the preservation of our empire’s independence…”

When the British and its allies triumphed in World War II, Selassie returned to Ethiopia in 1941 and in January 1942 he was reinstated to power by the British government. As the Emperor of Ethiopia, his foreign policy became strongly hinged on the pan-African movement to unite Africa.

Slumbering giant

As a leader of one of the free nations in Africa he directed his colleagues that “…African leaders should “arouse the slumbering giant of Africa, not to the nationalism of Europe in the nineteenth century, not to regional consciousness, but to the vision of a single African brotherhood…”

On the 25th of May 1963, believing in the unity of Africa, Emperor Selassie in collaboration with other leaders of free African nations e partook in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Selassie became the first president of the organisation. For a decade until 1974, Haile Selassie led the pursuit for African unity through the OAU.

Unfortunately, on the 12th of September1974, before his dream of One Africa was realised he was overthrown by a military coup, marking the end of the Solomonic dynasty in Ethiopia. Ethiopia was now governed by a military junta under the leadership of Dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. Emperor Haile Selassie died on the 26th of August 1975, although many Rastafarians who regard him as the symbol for God-incarnate in Africa, claim that he is still alive.

Though Haile Selassie did not last in the struggle for the unification of Africa, his pan-African beliefs were extraordinary, and today Africa lives to remember this great king. The acceptance speech as the first president of the OAU that Selassie delivered at the 1st OAU Summit in Addis Ababa became the cornerstone and a living hope for the dream of a United Africa. The speech characterised him as a steadfast pan-African leader to be cherished forever.

Based on the forementioned iconic speech, we recount his hopes of journeying to the Promised Land (United States of Africa). Delighted on the day the OAU was formed he stated: “…This is indeed a momentous and historic day for Africa and for all Africans…. Africa is today at midcourse, in transition from the Africa of Yesterday to the Africa of Tomorrow…”

Although Selassie rejoiced in the coming of a new Africa, he knew the OAU was only a beginning that needed to be nurtured to maturity by first liberating all nations that were still under colonial rule. He said: “…Africa’s victory, although proclaimed, is not yet total, and areas of resistance still remain. Today, we name as our first great task, the final liberating of those Africans still dominated by foreign exploitation and control. With the goal in sight, and unqualified triumph within our grasp, let us not now falter or lag or relax....”

Peaceful accession

He reiterated that freedom was meaningless if all Africa was not free: “…Our liberty is meaningless unless all Africans are free. Our brothers in the Rhodesias, in Mozambique, in Angola, in South Africa, cry out in anguish for our support and assistance. We must urge on their behalf their peaceful accession to independence. We must align and identify ourselves with all aspects of their struggle. It would be betrayal were we to pay only lip service to the cause of their liberation and fail to back our words with action…”

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

As Zimbabwe votes, the bar for success is low, the stakes are high

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF hope a credible victory in the July 30 election will legitimise the power (both party and state) they gained from the “soft coup” that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe last November.

With victory, they say, the donors and dollars will flood in to the country they have resurrected from nearly two moribund decades. Zimbabwe is now “open for business” and will thrive. Zanu-PF’s resurrection will thus be complete.

But a new survey suggests Zanu-PF should stall any premature celebration plans. The latest one showed that, in the space of one month, Nelson Chamisa’s MDC-Alliance has closed the gap with Zanu-PF. The surveys are conducted by Afrobarometer, an independent research network that conducts public attitude surveys across Africa and its Zimbabwean partner, Mass Public Opinion Institute, a non-profit, non-governmental research organisation.

If the respondents were to cast their ballot now Mnangagwa would take 40 per cent of the votes and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa would take 37 per cent. The still undecided or not-saying potential voters are at 20 per cent. Split that and you get a 50/47 race.

The numbers are very close indeed. If not a victory for the MDC-Alliance, this looks like a presidential runoff. The MDC-Allaince has a 49 per cent to 26 per cent lead in the cities and towns and in the countryside the figures are 30 per cent for the opposition to Zanu-PF’s 48 per cent. In parliament Zanu-PF would get 41 per cent to the MDC-Alliance’s 36. This is a big change from May’s survey.

Given the MDC-Alliance momentum, the post-Mugabe Zanu-PF’s hopes of a resurrection may be dashed. A great deal hangs on both parties’ ability to manage this interregnum.

Big trade-offs will be negotiated, ranging from coalition governments, which the poll shows has the backing from 60 per cent of respondents, to amnesties for the chief crooks and killers.

Striking deals might indeed lie at the centre of whether or not the election is a success. That’s because this election is about grabbing back the core of hardwon democracy from a military dominated regime. It’s about cleansing out generations of fear.

That is a hard task at any time. It’s harder still when it took a coup to retire its prime source.

A divided Zanu-PF

Mnangagwa has been spectacularly unsuccessful at winning past elections in his own constituencies, standing for parliament three times and losing twice.

The factions in Zanu-PF that squared up against one another prior to the coup - the Generation-40 group that supported Grace Mugabe for the party and state president and Lacoste, which supported Mnangagwa – are still battling along lines more ethnically drawn than ever. Some of the losers in the Generation-40 group have left the party to form the National Patriotic Front.

Although the perpetrators have not been found, the blast at Zanu-PF’s Bulawayo rally in late June that killed two people and only narrowly missed a whole stage of luminaries, could suggest that the party’s wounds have yet to heal.

And the soldiers are not of one mind.

If the military side of the somewhat shaky post-coup pact in Zanu-PF fears losing an election, and thus access to more of the wealth more power can bring, the free and fair dimensions of the electoral contest would be drastically diminished. Would a repeat of mid-2008’s post-electoral mayhem, when at least 170 people were killed and nearly 800 beaten or raped, ensue?

To make matters more complex, there are no guarantees that hungry and angry junior army officers would follow their seniors’ attempts to alter the peoples’ will.

Mnangagwa could be at some of the soldier’s mercy. Some suggest that Constantino Chiwenga, the mercurial vice-president and – unconstitutionally – defence minister might be among them.

Others argue that the two leaders need each other if the régime is going to deliver on promises of a clean election

International re-engagement

And as George Charamba, Zimbabwe’s permanent secretary for information, put it:

This election is about restoring international re-engagement and legitimacy …. It must be flawless, it must be transparent, it must be free, it must be fair, it must meet international standards, it must be violence free and therefore it must be universally endorsed because it is an instrument of foreign policy … It’s about re-engagement and legitimacy; we are playing politics at a higher level.

This is a clarion call for a free and fair poll. If the election fails to meet these expectations and its results are tight, legitimacy could be maintained with carefully calculated deals. Perhaps the unity government widely expected during the coup could reappear.

A rising opposition

Chamisa and the MDC (the alliance is made up of seven parties, most having split from the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC), appear to be building on the momentum they seem to have gained by challenging the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s management of the contest. The alliance has challenged the commission’s neutrality and raised concerns over the accuracy of the voters’ roll.

Not all its allegations necessarily stand up to scrutiny. The 250,000 alleged ghosts may be a canard, but as Derek Matyszak, the Institute for Security Studies man in Harare, argues, the roll was not released in time for the primaries so none of the candidates are constitutionally valid.

Emboldened by the lack of police, thousands of protesters led by the MDC-Alliance marched to the commission’s headquarters on July 11, showing no fear.

If this impetus keeps building over the next week, a victory is conceivable. So is a presidential run-off. To be sure, the ruling party might win fairly, but the opposition will have to be convinced of that. The mode of politics for the next round should be peacemaking, not war.

Low bars, high stakes

The bars are low – ‘the west’, led in this case by the UK, seemed to be happy with the winners of the coup, perhaps hoping for a renewed Zanu-PF. Perfidious Albion (Treacherous England) could end its schizophrenic career in Zimbabwe with a whimper about the end of a liberal democratic dream. But the stakes are high for Zimbabweans: much higher than the reputation of a minor global power past its glory.

The people of Zimbabwe face a lot more than reputational damage: maybe the former colonial power will have a Plan B that helps more than hinders.

Source: Conversation Africa

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Mandela legacy shows humanity at its best

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during

Former US President Barack Obama speaks during the 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture at the Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg on July 17, 2018. 

As the world week celebrated the memory and legacy of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela last week, one of Africa’s and the entire planet’s most illustrious leaders, former US President Barack Obama and other notables gathered in Johannesburg to mark the centenary anniversary of this global icon of liberation and freedom.

Speaking to an enthusiastic audience in Johannesburg’s famous Wanderers sports stadium in icy winter conditions, Obama referenced his own African roots and said that the world needed leaders who were listening to what was happening “down at the grassroots” level.

It did not need more “strongmen” or a return to an older, “more brutal” style of doing business.

Obama was using the occasion to reference the advances of the last 100 years that seemed to reflect the inevitable march of history towards to the supreme victory of modernity and human rights over traditional forms of oppression, inequality and colonial-style domination.

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison some 28 years ago, and shortly after the fall of the iron curtain in Europe with the collapse of the Soviet Union, it seemed that with every step he took as he walked out of Victor Verster prison near Cape Town, Mandela was marking out a new landscape wherein people as individuals were becoming the centre of political action, said Obama.

“Governments are meant to serve the people, not the other way around,” said the former US President to an audience of some 15,000 cheering fans.

With every seat taken, international stars such as South African-born Charlize Theron were among many other luminaries, including former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who had gathered to hear the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lecture delivered by Obama.

South Africans from across the racial, political and social spectrum braved the cold – amusingly referenced by Obama, who said he’d “got my geography wrong, and had had to get longjohn underpants prior to the event to help deal with the unexpected iciness of the southern African winter – to hear him and other notables speak about Mandela, affectionately referred to by almost all as Madiba, and his legacy in the 100th year since his birth.

Drawing comparisons between his own relatively obscure birth to a Kenyan father and that of Mandela in a tiny, rural backwater in a remote corner of South Africa, and the subsequent “unlikely” rise of both to leadership heights in their own countries and of the world, Obama said there had been no good reason to believe that either of them would have amounted to anything at all in life.

This showed that there was always hope, despite the recent rise of the right wing across Europe and in America, along with thinly-disguised race-based nationalisms, giving the appearance that the world today was far more unstable and filled with political tensions than in 1990 after the Berlin Wall fell and Mandela was released from 27 years behind bars.

In a rousing speech, reminiscent to observers of the relaxed, conversational but precisely articulate Obama of his early years in the White House, the former US President called on young people to stand on the shoulders of giants like Mandela and move his human-centred agenda forward.

The example of Mandela was proof that anyone could rise to become a powerful force for positive change, locally and even globally.

Instead of being oppressed by the seeming backward slide of the world into ever-narrower race-based notions of “like me” and “not like me”, young people should realise that this was merely a counter-point to the movement towards more equal societies.

While there had been a huge increase in inequality, especially since the major economic downturn of the 2007/8 period, with the richer becoming vastly richer yet, and the poorer much poorer still, this did not mean that all was lost.

Inequality had to be fought, starting at the “grassroots level”, where things may not be working as they should, and all had to become activists in improving the lot of the sidelined, the poor and disempowered.

This was the legacy of Mandela – and other great leaders of which Africa as a whole had a rich history.

His lecture was serious but at the same time sprinkled with numerous asides and jokes, including referencing the fact that “all politicians lie” but some (without mentioning his successor’s name) seemed no longer to be embarrassed when caught out lying, but instead simply “doubled-down” and just “made stuff up”.

His comments seemed particularly well-received by current SA President Cyril Ramaphosa and the notables on the stage, including Mandela’s wife at the time of his death, Graca Machel.

Fully living up to his reputation of being a great orator, Obama fired up the crowd with a rousing call to all to live up to the soaring heights of the legacy of Mandela.

To do this, five things were needed.

Firstly, there was the necessary realisation that economics lay at the root of politics and had to be addressed so that real democracy – not the pretence at such, as was the case in some countries – could help redress the historical inequalities which still pertained.

Secondly, it had to be accepted that everyone enjoyed an inherent dignity and worth, just as the founding fathers of America had said in their declaration of independence.

This was something intrinsic to being human and was not something governments had the right to give or take away – they were universal rights and had to be established as such. Thirdly, democracy was about much more than just elections. It was about giving force and effect to the fact that governments were in place to serve their people, not the reverse.

Fourth, said the former US President, facts mattered.

In an obvious reference to the “fake news” and “alternate facts” era of the Trump administration, Obama said one could talk to adversaries and even enemies, but only on the basis of given facts.

There was no discussion to be had with people who just “made stuff up” or who thought that climate change, for instance, was some form of “elaborate hoax” – another reference without name to Trump and his disbelief in global warming and accompanying climate change.

The fifth fundamental point was that people, the young in particular, must “not give in to cynicism”.

“People are talking about the triumph of tribalism and the ‘strongman’. But we must not give into that. Ultimately, right makes might, not the other way around.”

Obama received not merely a standing ovation, but several rounds of rousing cheers from an audience which clearly took his words to heart as one of the leading spokesmen for the spirit of Madiba.

Analysts assessing the address said Obama had hit all the right notes and that the timing of his lecture could hardly come at a more auspicious time, especially for the new Ramaphosa administration which was “rolling up its sleeves”, as Obama had put it, to deal with some of the negative developments of recent years, a reference to the economic and social damage done under the two terms in office of former SA President Jacob Zuma.

Obama had been chosen (actually, he said, “gentled ordered” by Graca Machel) to give this important lecture because he represented a great deal of what Mandela stood for, said leading local analysts.

He had provided hope and inspiration for a better world during his tenure as president – and he had done so again at the Mandela lecture. It was generally agreed that Obama had presented a forceful reminder of how far humanity has come over the past century – as well putting the world’s current tensions and uncertainties into proper perspective.

It was also a reminder of how we need to keep the hope and spirit alive of a world in which social justice and democracy could prevail because “we have a better story to tell” than those who would revert to more retrograde forms of governance and human interaction.

Obama had spoken to the ideal of a world in which tolerance, inclusivity and the pursuit of a common good could be and should be the norm.

Considered among his key points was that Obama underlined that the world was at a crossroads where the democratic and social justice gains of the last century were being contested by those who espouse the politics of fear and resentment, fuelled by the contradictions of globalisation, failures of governance and of political and economic elites that had assumed a monopoly of power and wealth.

The latter was driven home by the fact, offered by Obama, that “just a few dozen people control as much wealth as the poorest half of all humanity”.

This rising of the new far right in politics globally was manifested in xenophobia, terrorism, chauvinism, narrow nationalisms, gender inequality, economic greed and authoritarianism.

But Obama had shown how these developments were in direct opposition to the values, ideals and principles embodied by Madiba and the many who had fought for democracy and freedom, not just in South Africa, but elsewhere in Africa and around the world.

Obama had pointed out that, as yet, it was uncertain which of these two contending visions would win. However, he had driven home the point that there was a need by all who believed in equality, justice and true democratic values to resist cynicism, divisions, hatred and corruption and instead be guided by universal principles, including love and servant collective leadership.

Obama will spend the next several days in South Africa working with his foundation in focusing on encouraging young people to “step up to the plate” and contribute “in the spirit of Madiba” to the ongoing development of South Africa, Africa and the world towards a more equal, more humane, more just and more compassionate tomorrow.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Reality bites South Africa’s Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. He

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. He remains bullish about his ability to unify the 106-year-old party, which has governed South Africa since white-minority rule ended. PHOTO|FILE 

By Sam Mkokeli

Pretoria. Economic and political problems are piling up for Cyril Ramaphosa, dampening the euphoria that accompanied his ascension to the South African presidency.

A labour union boss-turned-business tycoon, Ramaphosa took office in February after the ruling African National Congress forced Jacob Zuma to resign following a scandal-tainted tenure that lasted almost nine years.

While Ramaphosa initially won plaudits from investors and the public for instigating a crackdown on graft, sentiment has soured as record-high fuel prices, inflation-busting pay increases for government workers and demands for bailouts by broke state companies stymie his efforts to turn around the flagging economy.

The rand, which surged more than 10 per cent against the dollar between the time that Ramaphosa secured control of the ANC in December and his election as president, has surrendered almost all its gains, while foreigners have ditched a net 35.3 billion rand’s ($2.7 billion) worth of the nation’s bonds this year. The threat of a global trade war and a shift in sentiment against emerging markets has added to the gloom, and business confidence slumped for five straight months after reaching a two-year high in January.

“’Ramaphoria’ was not there in the first place - it was just a media and business construct,” said Xolani Dube, an analyst at the Xubera Institute for Research and Development in the eastern city of Durban. “We are still grappling with serious economic issues in South Africa that Ramaphosa cannot solve on his own.”

The difficulty of the president’s task has been compounded by internal battles in the ANC, which remains deeply divided after a bruising leadership fight that he won by the narrowest of margins.

That’s forced him to tip-toe around party barons who opposed his candidacy and his bid to restore the image of the party that Nelson Mandela led to power in 1994. It’s also limited his ability to bring about policy changes needed to meet his goal of attracting $100 billion in new investment over the next five years.

There has been some good news. Consumers remain upbeat, with First National Bank Ltd. and the Bureau for Economic Research’s confidence index holding close to a record high in the second quarter.

Ramaphosa’s investment drive has also met with some success - he secured a commitment from Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates companies to put as much as $20 billion into projects in South Africa during an official visit to the region this month. Mercedes-Benz AG announced last month it will invest 600 million euros ($700 million) in expanding its plant in the coastal city of East London.

“This hardship will not last forever and growth is going to happen,” Ramaphosa said in an interview broadcast on July 16 on Johannesburg-based eNCA. “It is around the corner and soon we’ll be able to alleviate the difficult burden that our people are bearing.”

The president also remains bullish about his ability to unify the 106-year-old party, which has governed South Africa since white-minority rule ended. While it secured 62 per cent support in the last national election four years ago, that slumped to 54.5 per cent in a municipal vote two years ago.

“Our mission is to have a united ANC,” he said in the interview. “I am confident - confident underlined - that the ANC is going to forge unity and we’ll go into the elections as a united force.”

Mmusi Maimane, who leads the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, said Ramaphosa had missed an opportunity to assert greater control over the ANC and convince it to adopt more investor-friendly policies.

“This economy is not going to do with tinkering; it needs fundamental reform,” Maimane said by phone.

Ramaphosa’s grip on power will depend on him improving living standards and the public education system, addressing rampant crime and creating jobs for the 27 per cent of the workforce that is unemployed, said Ralph Mathekga, an independent political analyst and author of a new book: Ramaphosa’s Turn, Can Cyril Save South Africa?

“It is bread-and-butter issues that often start revolutions,” he said. “If the government cannot respond to the pressing economic issues, and deal with safety concerns, then Ramaphosa is risking a revolution.” (Washington Post)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

DRC: the dangers behind Bemba’s possible candidacy

Jean-Pierre Bemba. With just over five months

Jean-Pierre Bemba. With just over five months before a critical election, his possible return of has shocked many in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. PHOTO|FILE 

Kinshasa. The possible return of Jean-Pierre Bemba has shocked many in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With just over five months before the presidential and gubernatorial elections, he has reemerged to challenge President Joseph Kabila’s political order. And despite his chequered past, Bemba has a popular following.

More than two years ago Bemba was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and was sentenced to 18 years in jail. But in June this year his appeal against most of his convictions was successful. He may therefore be out of jail sooner than originally thought.

Bemba’s schedule, including his return to the DRC, has not been confirmed. But many suspect he will head back to his home country. His party, the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), has nominated him as their presidential candidate only weeks after his conviction was quashed. He has been in touch with his supporters whom he spoke to on telephone recently to thank them. He promised that he would return soon.

His possible entry into the fray has thrown an already uncertain situation into further disarray. For one, it’s unclear who he would run against. If Kabila insists on standing again – which constitutionally he’s not allowed to do – the DRC faces another period of increasing uncertainty, and almost inevitably more violence. Bemba and Kabila fought a bitter campaign against one another. Bemba’s slogan, “100 per cent Congolese,” was widely interpreted to be a slight on his opponent’s heritage because, although Kabila was born in the Congo, rumours abounded that he was in fact from Tanzania.

A Bemba presidency

Having been exonerated from most of his convictions, Bemba now joins only a handful of candidates who have declared their intention to stand. The deadline for candidates to declare their intention to stand for President is 8 August.

It remains to be seen whether Bemba will face off against his old nemesis, Kabila. Given Kabila’s potential candidacy, and Bemba’s entrance onto the Congolese political scene, election related violence could further intensify in the DRC. (Conversation Africa)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Americans have been duped by their own president



Peter Nyanje

Peter Nyanje 

By Peter Nyanje @pnyanje pnyanje@tz.nationmedia.com

In one of his many speeches, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is on record warning Zanzibar separatists that their hunger to have an autonomous Zanzibar anchors on the fact that the archipelago was still part of the United Republic of Tanzania. He warned that it would be a serious mistake to alienate themselves from the Union.

A similar scenario helped US President Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections. Trump managed to make Americans loathe Hillary by depicting her as a person who was not fit for the White House. In his opinion, Rick Newman notes that Hillary Clinton’s six-figure Wall Street speechmaking, her shifty explanations for violating government policy by using a private email server and the money flowing into the Clinton Foundation from shady dealmakers undoubtedly hoping for favours once Hillary ascended to the White House, were some of strong points which Trump used to warn Americans about his foe in the presidential run.

But the recent meeting in Helsinki between Trump and long-time US foe, Russian President Vladimir Putin, has exposed Trump. If many other issued bedeviling his presidency failed to make Americans understand what sort of a person they have elected to be their top leader, the meeting in Helsinki helped them to realise that.

What transpired during the talks has, to a great extent, unveiled the real Donald Trump to Americans. Republicans and Democrats alike lashed out at Trump, depicting him as the most selfish president that US has ever had.

In his article, Newman notes also that Trump’s knifing of American law-enforcement agencies, while on a podium at the Helsinki summit with American enemy Vladimir Putin, visibly raised the possibility that Trump might sell out his own country to appease a ruthless dictator who at this moment is working to manipulate the upcoming US elections.

Commenting through a statement issued shortly after the Helsinki meeting, Senator John McCain said: “Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory… The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”

Trump came into power with a promise to change the way US practice its politics. He posed himself as a person who will tremendously revolutionaries politics and end a system which gave politicians a up hand in running the country affairs. But it was just a matter of time before he started to show his true colours and that what he intended to do was not different from what he rebuked during the campaigns. In the place of politicians, he bloated his government with fellow millionaires and it was just a matter of time before scandals started to haunt them. As we speak, several of them have already resigned.

This should have served as indication that Trump does not intend to defend US interests but self interests.

In the beginning, Trump’s jibe against journalists and the media, that they are bent on discrediting him through fake news because they were fond of the status quo, might have been trusted. But, after his continued undermining of US intelligence organs, climaxed by his much-criticised remarks at the Helsinki press conference, Americans should now start to seriously question what Trump is up to, especially after his close friends and people who are supposed to back him, have also started to distance themselves from him.

Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 in part because he depicted his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as a dishonest, self-dealing phony. But judging from what he has accomplished, people have started to see the true Trump. In fact, his comments before Putin has made people believe that Hillary would make a better head of state compared with Trump.

And his intelligence people, including FBI director Christopher Wray have continued to also discredit him. The intelligence chief has remained firm on the US election meddling scam: “Russia attempted to interfere in the last election.”

More so, speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum recently, Wray made comments to certify that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian efforts to meddle into US election, and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, is not a “witch hunt,” as Trump has called it so many times.

Contradicting his boss, Wray commented: “I can tell you what my view is. The intelligence assessment has not changed, my view has not changed, which is that Russia attempted to interfere in the last election, and that it continues to engage in malign [activity].”

Wray warned that Trump’s remarks gives Russia the opportunity to identify divisive issues inside America and then use fake news and propaganda to “spin people up on both sides of the issue and then watch us go at each other.”

Trade war

Earlier this year, Trump raised the stakes in a trade war with some US allies when he announced new tariffs on some imports. He justified his decision on grounds that he needed to rectify the prevailing trade imbalance tilted against US. Apparently, this was part of his ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign’.

Several weeks ago, the US government started to implement these tariffs, amid widespreads concerns by his own people.

The tariffs decision is counterproductive, an analysis done by the White House Council of Economic Advisors shows. And according to US media, the findings of the analysis contradict Trump administration officials who claim that the president’s approach to trade would be massively good for the US economy.

While trade tariffs are generally meant to protect local manufacturers and markets, in the case of the tariffs which President Trump has imposed on several countries, experts warn, its a different story. In the long run, they might end up lowering GDP, wages and force many people out of employment. The tariffs will also make the US tax code less progressive because the increased tax burden would fall hardest on lower- and middle-income households.

China decided to retaliate on this move by imposing tariffs on US products. This would make US products costly in China, a market which US depends on very much for its manufactured goods.

The worst thing about this is the motive behind the tariffs. Instead of negotiating with his trade partners to arrive at amicable agreements, Trump has acted like a bully who looks at other countries as underdogs. This kind of behaviour does not serve US very well. Worse still, it is not only on the trade front where Trump has disparaged US long time allies.

Nato financing

Several US trade partners have responded with their own tariffs, including close allies such as Canada and Mexico. The European Union is also preparing retaliatory measures.

But while other countries are pondering on what to do with the tariffs, Trump pulled another gig this time targeting Nato members.

In his recent tour of Europe, Trump launched fresh attacks on Nato’s failure to raise defense spending to match what the US spends.

Trump them went to UK where his remarks over Brexit also created a turbulence, leaving relations between the two countries a bit strained. From the UK, he went to Helsinki where he met Putin and issued comments which shocked many Americans.

Trump is devoid of diplomatic etiquette. He abuses the US supremacy, and doesn’t seem to understand that as far as diplomacy is concerned, each country has rights which do not supersede rights of another country, its economic might notwithstanding.

Peter Nyanje is a senior editor with Mwananchi Communications Limited

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tanzania is a people’s government, not otherwise

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

When President John Magufuli invited retired leaders to an open meeting, many issues came to the fore. Among them is the satisfaction by the former leaders with Dr Magufuli’s performance. Yet of all, one thing seemed to not augur well with some quarters pertaining to the identity of the government. This is because there have been some misattributions of the government wherein the exaggeratedly used narrative is that the current government is Magufuli’s but neither is it CCM’s nor Tanzania’s.

Legally and procedurally, after the affirmation of the winner in presidential elections, be it a party or a person, the government ceases to be the property of the winner. In lieu, it becomes the property of the people who voted it. The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, Cap. 2 Article 6, the Interpretation Act No.15 of 1984, clearly stipulates that “…the Government includes the Government of the United Republic, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar, local government authorities and any person who exercises power or authority on behalf of either ‘Government’”

There is no single mention of the government of either the CCM or the government of Magufuli. There’s no any ambiguity here. Constitutionally and legally, this is how the government is known; is and must be referred to for the matters of documents, functions and identification.

This provision is clear and simple. Thus, misattributing, parodying or politicising the government is not only illegal but unusual so to speak. Thanks to such a provision and others, President Magufuli has oft-drummed the message of equality and unity clearly stating that he’s the president of all Tanzanians notwithstanding their divergent ideologies and all that jazz.

This may be construed as Magufuli’s repugnance of charlatans, hangers-on and wire-pullers in or outside of his government who dubiously and purposely, for the quest of securing some favours, misattribute the government of the URT to him instead of the people. Sadly, many self-appointed praise singers and self-seekers deliberately attributing the government to Magufuli think they are doing him good and justice.

Arguably, for such whiz kids and ort hunters, doing what they do aims at pleasing Magufuli though he’s philosophically negated such ballyhoos, hoo-has and soft-soaping.

Refer to how Magufuli decline the offer to name the Kigamboni Bridge after him. Instead, he named the Bridge after Mwalimu Nyerere. Further, Magufuli recently disclosed that the government intends to name the Tazara flyover after Eng. Mfugale. If he were a self-seeker and a cut-rate populist as his detractors paint and portray him, he’d have induced his officers to name the flyover after himself. Further, refer to how Magufuli mortified the Frankenstein who wanted to lull him into tampering with the constitution in order to cling unto power illegally.

Therefore, those misattributing the Government of the URT are doing so either out of arrogance, ignorance or whatever reason(s). Thus, this column differs from former President Benjamin Mkapa who said that he’d like to hear people referring to the current government as the government of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). This shows how Mkapa has never detached himself from his past when he was president. He’d like his style to be replicated. The World Statesman, the encyclopedia.com quotes Mkapa as saying “my government is a CCM government.” Far from it.

True, Mkapa’s and his predecessors’ and successors’ governments were formed by the CCM. Nonetheless, this doesn’t give the CCM an exclusive right of monopolising or politicising the said government. Doing so is nothing but deliberate robbing the government from its owners, the people of Tanzania. This is illegal and abhorrent by all standards.

All told, now, we need to ask ourselves. Whose Tanzania’s government is? As noted above, the constitution rightly answers this question. The government of the United Republic of Tanzania belongs to the people of Tanzania simply because the government as well as its creator, the constitution draw their powers from the people (Art. 8: 1 (a)). This is why Tanzania spends billions of dollars every five year on election as the way of seeking the consent from the people of Tanzania.

Therefore, any attribution or whatever to the contrary of what is stipulated in the constitution is not only illegal but also the violation and trampling of the said constitution of the land.

Provided the constitution is clear about to whom the government of the URT belongs, we need to address other important issues as we advise thersites, who with evil motives, either seeks to paint Magufuli as a dictator or self-seeker, to stop misleading our people and wasting time.

Now that we know the truth, let’s stop misleading ourselves and others by misattributing our government to an individual party or person. The government of Tanzania is the government of Tanzanians namely the government of the United Republic of Tanzania.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

King Haile Selassie: The failed vision of a united Africa

 

By Peter Kafumu

King Haile Selassie, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, is another giant of pan-Africanism who was instrumental in the formation of the Organisation of the African Unity (OAU). This pan-African organisation was seen by Selassie as a rebirth of Africa and in his inaugural address of the OAU in 1963, he said: “…Today, Africa has emerged from this dark passage. Our Armageddon is past. Africa has been reborn as a free continent and Africans have been reborn as free men. The blood that was shed and the sufferings that were endured are today Africa’s advocates for freedom and unity...”

In a series of three articles, we will feature the life of Haile Selassie as the Father of pan-Africanism who wanted a United States of Africa. Haile Selassie was born on the 23rd of July 1892 in the village of Ejersa Goro in the Harar Province of Ethiopia. He belonged to the long Ethiopian Dynasty of Solomonic Monarch beginning with King Menilek I of Ethiopia who was a descendant of the Biblical King Solomon of Israel, the Son of King David of the ancient Kingdom of Israel called Judea. The ‘Lion of Judah’, the title of King David is also given to his heir, including Haile Selassie, who was also recognised as the Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

The story goes that the Ethiopian Dynasty of which Haile Selassie belongs, are the royal descendants of King Solomon and Makeda the Queen of Sheba (Ethiopia). The queen visited Israel after her merchant Tamrin told her of the wonderful Solomon’s wisdom and generosity he had seen in his business trip to Jerusalem. The Queen then went to Jerusalem to witness the Wisdom of Solomon. King Solomon warmly welcomed the queen and he gave her great gifts in her stay in Jerusalem. Solomon and the Queen of Sheba spoke with great wisdom, and the queen was converted to Judaism.

Before she left, there was a great feast in the king’s palace. Makeda the Queen of Sheba stayed in the palace overnight and apparently they had adult contact with the king and she became pregnant. King Solomon gave Queen Makeda a ring as a token of love, and then she left to return to Ethiopia. As the journey to Ethiopia would take over a year on her way home, she gave birth to a son, whom she named Baina-leḥkem (Menilek).

After the boy had grown up in Ethiopia, he went to Jerusalem to meet his father carrying his mother’s ring, and was received with great honours. The king and the people tried in vain to persuade Menilek to stay but he refused and went` back to his royalty in Sheba.

In the kingdom of Ethiopia (Sheba); Menilek was anointed king Menilek I of Ethiopia.

King Haile Selassie I is, therefore, a descendent of Menelik I of Ethiopia and before becoming King was known as Ras Tafari. Ras Tafari was named king in 1928, and was crowned as “…Haile Selassie I, King of Kings of Ethiopia, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God…” on the 2nd of November 1930 on his coronation day he was given widespread publicity throughout the world.

This publicity created interest on the Caribbean island of Jamaica that was inhabited by black people from Africa who had been slaves in the Americas and had come to settle in the Island after the abolishment of the slave trade.

Amid this publicity the Jamaicans; remembering their ancestral African roots; saw Emperor Haile Selassie as a symbol of pan-Africanism and of black liberation.

Because of his kingly titles given to him at the coronation day that he was “the King of Kings, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God”; a belief in his divinity also arose among the Jamaican to form the Rastafari Movement of which King Haile Selassie I was now regarded as the religious symbol for God-incarnate among members of the Rastafari movement.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Read access to public information still an illusion – P3

Journalists at work. Use of modern

Journalists at work. Use of modern communication technologies by the government in sharing information is something that cannot be neglected at this point in time. PHOTO|FILE 

By Peter Nyanje @pnyanje pnyanje@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. In the preceding two articles, we saw that an Access to Information (ATI) Act is not a guarantee that people will seamlessly enjoy this right. This is because there are people – notably in public offices – who were still operating under the old days’ notion that giving out information was a privilege.

But, we all are agreed that free and easier access to government-held information is one of the key pillars of economic and democracy development of any society. Free to access information is indeed an important aspect in promoting transparency and accountability.

For instance, people in rural areas need quality and timely information in facilitating informed dialogue when planning, monitoring and evaluating development issues at the local level – and to also enhance governance and accountability for improved delivery of service and implementation of projects.

Because the Access to Information Act-2016 (Act No. 6 of 2016) is already in place in Tanzania – and it guarantees Tanzanians access to information – then there is a need to sensitise the people to the law, especially among public servants. This is because most of the information which the public needs is in the hands of public servants. It is important that public servants know what the law entails.

Specialised training

There is also a need to conduct specialised training sessions for public officials on the salient features of another law, the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, and the importance attached to the public’s right to know.

Public servants should be made to understand that those who drafted this law had in mind the fact that it was a vehicle to drive the country’s socio-economic development.

Public officers should also introduce information desks or offices, and provide them with the appropriate resources, which include facilities and competent personnel to man them.

Doing this could play a big role in boosting sustainable flow of information.

If such offices operate efficiently, dissemination of information to the general public would be very smooth and considerable.

There are many times when someone doesn’t have to ask for information as, for example, fliers and posters would give people the information they need without the need for them to see anyone face to face.

In order to ensure that the new offices and personnel operate efficiently, there is a need to develop monitoring and evaluation tools for access to information by the general public in public offices.

But, on some occasions, private offices also deny people crucial information. In that regard, this monitoring aspect should be extended to the private sector as well, notably to firms which generate and hold information that is needed in the development processes.

In today’s globalised world, use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) cannot be overemphasised.

We in Tanzania already have an e-government policy in place. But, it is amazing that implementation of the policy is not so strong. The e-government policy needs to be enforced now.

Use of modern communication technologies by the government in sharing information is something that cannot be neglected at this point in time.

It is a shame, for an example, when an institution has email addresses, but when you send an email to it, it bounces as if the email address does not exist, or no-one at the address bothers to respond.

From experience, this is usually the case with a number of RC and Municipal offices (as noted in the second part of this article).

Email communication should ease information flow. Sometimes, one doesn’t need to pay a physical visit to get information, as time is precious, and many people can’t afford spending time on such missions nowadays.

There are some public offices that are doing well in the ICTs stakes. But most of them are still ‘Old School.’

In this day and age, the use of computers can’t be avoided.

It was very strange when our researcher went to the Dar es Salaam City Council on a follow-up mission, and she was told by the Council Registry attendants that they couldn’t respond to her email since they had no computer, no internet services!

There is a need to move on to modern filing systems. It is so embarrassing when you receive someone’s letter and, after a week or so, it can’t be traced anywhere in the place.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Opinion polls: Beyond Twaweza, Costech row

 

Dar es Salaam. Opinion polls could be the new battlefront as the country heads to the 2020 General Election -- if the brief storm the recent Twaweza survey sparked is anything to go by.

Dust is yet to settle over the latest opinion that showed a sharp decline in President John Magufuli’s popularity.

Last week, the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) came with guns blazing, determined to put the researchers to task for allegedly not following procedure in conducting the survey .

In a letter that went viral, further ruffling feathers, Costech demanded an explanation from Twaweza as to why action should not be taken against it for it “unsanctioned” poll.

Confusion reigned supreme, nevertheless, after senior Costech official failed to explain at a press conference in Dar es Salaam, under what section of the law it sought to punish Twaweza for conducting and releasing results of the opinion poll.

While Costech acting director general Amos Nungu admitted that they had indeed sent a letter to Twaweza, he shocked journalists after he refused to shed more light on the commission’s decision to confront Twaweza after the publication of study called Speaking Truth to Power? Citizen’s Views on Politics in Tanzania.

The ensuing confusion, flip-flopping and failure to come clean on the legal basis of Costech’s move has since led to widespread speculation. Some pundits have warned of brewing tension over opinion polls, which interestingly, until now have not had such a strong reaction from the authorities.

Politically-motivated

Maria Sarungi-Tsehai, the Change Tanzania director, says the Costech/Twaweza saga is politically-motivated and that it is a sign opinion polls are set to be a contentious issue going forward.

“Twaweza has continued to issue a number of opinion polls on different topics. In fact last year, a very similar poll on people’s views of politics and approval ratings of leaders including the President were published and announced, yet we saw no query from Costech,” she says.

She describes the commission’s move as a “clear pattern of reprimand” by government agencies aimed at putting pressure on private actors when there is an impression they are not acting as expected by the authorities.

“In my opinion, this is not only unfortunate, but also a threat to national development and security.”

Nick Kasera Oyoo, a research and communications consultant with Midas Touché East Africa, says pollsters are development stakeholders, and that polling isn’t done with “findings in the pockets.”

“We don’t do it for the purpose of demolishing, but rather building,” he says. “But if they (Costech) want (to have us ask for permits from them) they have to go through a legal procedure to make the matter stipulated in the law.”

Oyoo says that after the Twaweza issue, Costech needs to clarify its decision because the issue of opinion polling has not been clearly stipulated in the (Costech) law.

Ironically, the Costech acting director general, Dr Nungu, also told reporters last week that the commission does not have the mandate to oversee the conducting of opinion polling, and that one doesn’t have to seek a permit from them for such an exercise.

It’s not the first time that Twaweza has conducted an opinion poll. Ahead of the 2015 General Election, the organisation released results of a survey that put then-presidential candidate John Magufuli ahead of his main challenger Edward Lowassa.

The organisation also released several publications under the fifth phase administration -- none has sparked the kind of reaction as last week’s.

Fatma Karume, president of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), says Twaweza violated no rules or standards in its recent and previous opinion polling.

She dismissed claims by some who attribute the current confusion to different legal interpretations saying that the law is very clear and offers no differing interpretations.

Fatma says that opinion polls and scientific researches are two different things and that Costech, being the experts in the area, should have known better.

“I think it’s very important for those chosen to head various government agencies to be well-versed in the laws establishing them, otherwise they would be abusing their power,” says the firebrand lawyer.

Semkae Kilonzo, coordinator at Policy Forum Tanzania, says any attempt at stifling opinion polls is an infringement on the rights of people. “Opinion polls are crucial for a vibrant democracy as they give people the opportunity to air their views and express an opinion about how they are governed,” he says.

Commenting on Costech’s move, he adds that: “...it also risks hampering the freedom of inquiry, which is important for curious policymakers and decision-makers as they seek innovative and relevant solutions to many of society’s problems.”

Samuel Muthuka, Ipsos-synovate country manager, says it is advisable for government agencies to align their responsibilities to avoid confusion. “This will be for the betterment of both the citizens and other development stakeholders of this country.”

His organisation, he adds, has always been liaising with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as clearly stipulated in the law.

Apparently, Costech applied a blanket rule that gives them the power to document and register all research activities in the country and ensure they met and observed “national rules and regulations.”

Section 5 (1) of the Act of Parliament No. 7 of 1986 that established Costech says the commission is the principal advisory organ of the government on all matters relating to scientific research and technology development in the country.

And Costech research guidelines define research as “any type of systematic investigation, testing or evaluation designed to develop or contribute to a body of knowledge.” Studies here are those that usually lead to new designs, products, or processes for the overall improvement of human conditions.

Experts say that Twaweza opinion polls are public perceptions on knowledge, attitude and experience. But due to their statistical nature, Twaweza has been liaising with NBS, which, according to the law, is responsible for regulating and overseeing all statistical information collection and dissemination.

Some members of the public, seemingly taken aback by the manner in which the commission acted on the Twaweza matter, accused Costech managers of jumping the gun. They referred to the way the Registrar of NGOs acted a few months ago when she wrote a scathing letter to clerics. She was suspended after the government distanced itself from her letter.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Remembering Matiba from Tanzania

The late Kenyan businessman and respected

The late Kenyan businessman and respected politician Kenneth Matiba. In Tanzania and the rest of East Africa, Matiba was an extremely fascinating figure. PHOTO|FILE 

Following the passing on of businessman and political figure Kenneth Matiba this April in Kenya, a Nation Media columnist, Charles Onyango-Obbo, couldn’t have captured it better: “Perhaps unknown to him, across the border - and probably further away in the rest of the world - he was an extremely fascinating figure.”

Indeed, it wasn’t lost on me that one of the mourners from the UK at the funeral service for Mr Matiba, the lawyer Laurie Watt, mentioned Mr Matiba as his hero after Nelson Mandela. On a personal level, save for Mandela, a few other leaders that stand out are Julius Nyerere, Barack Obama and Martin Luther King Jr.

And speaking of legends, to my mind, Mwalimu Nyerere has a very interesting connection to Mr Matiba that may come as a surprise to many. It is one primarily may I dare say of ideology.

In his autobiography titled Aiming High, that was in itself one of the very first memoirs to be published by a prominent Kenyan, Mr Matiba, dares to go where very a few public figure would by saying the following in the fourth chapter: “I believed that to be a good socialist you had to be a good and caring capitalist. You had to have resources to enable you to give or offer something to others. At the same time I strongly asserted even among my socialist friends in countries where capitalism was somewhat despised that I was at heart a socialist because what I had could be, and was, shared with others. In other words, I was a better socialist than most socialists who had nothing else to offer other than ideology.”

It is instructive indeed what Nyerere said on Socialism in the early 1960s: “In the individual, as in the society, it is an attitude of mind which distinguishes the socialist from the non-socialist. ...Destitute people can be potential capitalists - exploiters of their fellow human beings. A millionaire can equally be a socialist; he may value his wealth only because it can be used in the service of his fellow men. But the man who uses his wealth for the purpose of dominating any of his fellows is a capitalist. So is the man who would if he could!

“I have said that a millionaire can be a good socialist. But a socialist millionaire is a rare phenomenon. Indeed he is almost a contradiction in terms...While therefore a millionaire could be a good socialist, he could hardly be the product of a socialist society.”

I really wonder just what Nyerere would have made of the self-confessed “socialist at heart”, since as it were, both of them also happened to come from the faculty of Arts and went on to become dedicated teachers albeit briefly.

A critical look at Mr Matiba’s active political life that is the focal point of many reminds me of the adage that “great minds think alike”. In this particular case, I have in mind Mr Matiba and a much respected former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, Micheal Heseltine, who like Mr Matiba resigned from the cabinet on a point of principle.

In Heseltine’s autobiography published ironically about the same time as Mr Matiba’s and titled ‘Life in the Jungle’ - no doubt more suitable to describe Mr Matiba’s political odyssey, he posits in the preface: “But if there is one lesson I learnt even from those early rugged years, it was the advantage to any politician of not being simply a hothouse Westminster plant. When I arrived in the Commons in 1966, I may have been a political ingenu but I had already had experience of the world outside politics and I knew how tough it could be. In later years I sometimes found myself wishing those who were the most dogmatic and doctrinaire - had faced the same sort of challenges as I had. If they had known more about the world as it is and not how theory says it ought to be, they might have been able to make more temperate and rational contributions to the great economic debate of the 1980s.”

This can be seen very much in Mr Matiba’s situation except that it goes further than Heseltine as Mr Matiba’s entry into the world of politics was as late as 1979.

In my considered opinion, much as Mr Matiba’s role in the second liberation of Kenya is widely documented, an even more important element missing in force is his resignation from the Moi cabinet. To borrow from Heseltine’s words following his resignation as Secretary of State for Defence from Mrs Thatcher’s cabinet in 1986 over the Westland affair: “Of course, all resignations are controversial and usually traumatic, unless they are seen as the gentle ending to a distinguished career by mutual agreement. Otherwise the analysts invariably look for the hidden motive, for the well-judged timing providing the launch-pad for future advance...”

With the above comments coming from a politician in a mature polity, one cannot begin to imagine the trials and tribulations that Mr Matiba had to go through following his resignation in 1988. It was earth-shattering indeed. The effect was seen with his subsequent expulsion from Kanu within a week and harassment of sorts after. But in vintage Matiba style, he drew parallels with ‘coming down a mountain that is the best part of the exercise.’

In summing up, the story of Kenneth Matiba is too extensive and way beyond the ordinary. It is as if he been inspired from his university days by Socrates’ belief that “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

It is incumbent upon the rest of us in East Africa to do whatever we can to keep the flame burning through such measures as reviving the Outward Bound Movement of which he was once chairman and helped mould the youth of the region. Let us also say no to what Mr Matiba had warned about in 1990 of a “material worshipping society” in Kenya that is a feature elsewhere as well.

Andrew Bomani is the Acting Publicity Secretary of the United Democratic Party in Tanzania a_bomani@yahoo.com

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tornado Trump rips diplomatic swathe in Europe

US President Donald Trump, left, listens as

US President Donald Trump, left, listens as Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, speaks during a news conference in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | washington post 

By Ishaan Tharoor

The American reaction to President Donald Trump’s Monday press conference in Helsinki was unusual in its unanimity. Trump’s appearance alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital was “disgraceful” - as CNN’s Anderson Cooper put it - “disgusting” - as Neil Cavuto of right-wing Fox News argued - and “nothing short of treasonous” - as former CIA director John Brennn declared.

“Trump’s warm embrace of Putin throughout a lengthy news conference was an extraordinary capstone to their first formal summit here Monday, where the two presidents spent two hours speaking alone, joined only by their interpreters,” my colleagues reported from Helsinki. The details of that two-hour discussion have yet to fully emerge, but the presser itself will go down in the annals of American diplomatic history.

Trump appeared to side with the Kremlin over his own nation’s intelligence community, accepting Putin’s “extremely strong and powerful” denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election campaign. He also branded the special counsel’s investigation “ridiculous” and “a disaster for our country” just days after it produced an indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officials. Those officials were charged with hacking and stealing emails belonging to the Democratic National Committee as part of a wider operation that, as my colleagues reported, U.S. officials believe was ordered directly by Putin to help Trump win office.

Trump tweeted “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

MFA Russia tweeted “We agree”

Trump, of course, resents any suggestion that his 2016 victory was tarnished by outside efforts. In Helsinki, even as Putin admitted he had wanted Trump to win the election, Trump parroted right-wing conspiracy theories about Democrats perpetrating the hacks. But Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, issued a blunt statement that seemed to refute Trump’s equivocating. “We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy,” it read.

Far more scathing

Other US politicians were far more scathing. “Today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an inveterate Putin critic who described the summit as a mistake. “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”

It seemed an almost fitting end to Trump’s tumultuous tour through Europe. The president had made acrimonious stops in Brussels and Britain, where he renewed his attacks on various pillars of the transatlantic alliance and undermined the British prime minister in a pair of controversial interviews with right-wing London tabloids. Sizing up the chaos left in Trump’s wake, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday that Europe “can no longer completely rely on the White House,” and had to resolve its own divisions - divisions that Trump, a champion of far-right populists, has stoked.

Just last week, Trump branded the European Union a “foe” - a stark contrast to his comment in Helsinki that Putin is a “good competitor,” a remark he made sure to point out was “a compliment.”

Such a cuddly stance, combined with Trump’s refusal to publicly back his own government’s consensus on Russian interference, constituted a “betrayal,” argued The Washington Post’s editorial board. “In refusing to acknowledge the plain facts about Russia’s behavior, while trashing his own country’s justice system, Mr. Trump in fact was openly colluding with the criminal leader of a hostile power,” The Post’s editorial concluded.

“It is hard to compare anything to a US president doubting the word of his own intelligence agencies while standing next to the leader of America’s main geopolitical adversary,” wrote Edward Luce of the Financial Times.

“The future of the western alliance is now in severe doubt. Trump has made sure of that.”

Bernie Sanders tweeted “Today is a good day for Putin and the oligarchs in Russia. It is a bad day for people in the United States and all over the world who believe in democracy and who are trying to understand what world our idiot president lives in.”

Putin, meanwhile, probably got exactly what he wanted. Officials in Moscow welcome Trump’s supposedly “pragmatic” approach, shorn of posturing over universal values or pestering about human rights or the rule of law.

“To Putin and other Russians who have long rejected talk of democratic values and human rights as a façade for furthering American power, Trump’s disinterest for such talk has appeared refreshing - and advantageous,” wrote my colleague Anton Troianovski. “Putin allies have touted Trump’s ‘pragmatism’ compared to predecessors such as President Barack Obama, who often spoke of the need for countries such as Ukraine to evolve as democratic societies.”

According to the Associated Press, the Komsomolskaya Pravda congratulated the American leader for engaging Putin, no matter the “opposition from his own elite and the hysterics of the media.” In contrast to the outrage roiling U.S. news channels, the Russian media reaction to the summit was more calm and cautious.

The moment marks only the beginning of a potential thaw in a relationship that has been in deep freeze. And while Trump may be well disposed to Putin, there’s a belief that his administration still hews to a broadly hawkish line on Russia.

Source: Washington Post

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mandela’s complex legacy cherished by some, challenged by others

July 2018 marks Nelson Mandela’s centenary

July 2018 marks Nelson Mandela’s centenary year. Why is he still so revered across the world? The answer simply is that he is widely regarded as the personification of social justice, democracy, and freedom. PHOTO | FILE 

A black and white photo of Nelson Mandela in boxing attire greets visitors to the gym where the liberation hero trained in the 1950s before delivering the knock-out blow to apartheid decades later.

“He used to train here, I feel strong... Physically and mentally I get some strength,” said gym-goer Kgotso Phali, 18.

The red and white walls of the gym, located in South Africa’s Soweto township, smell of fresh paint.

The Donaldson Orlando Community Centre (DOCC) has been restored to its former glory to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Mandela’s birth.

Mandela, South Africa’s first black president known locally by his clan name “Madiba”, died in 2013.

“People had to carry passes -- all these things are gone now. We are free,” thanks to him, said Andy Zameko, who said he was proud to work out in the same gym as Mandela.

Mandela would visit the gym several times a week to train and forget the ordeal that was the fight against the white supremacist regime.

“The walls of... the DOCC are drenched with sweet memories that will delight me for years,” Mandela wrote to his daughter Zindzi from his cell on Robben Island where he was imprisoned for 18 years.

A copy of the letter, dated December 9, 1979, is displayed on a wall in the gym.

Nearby, young musicians seek to catch the attention of passing tourists in front of Mandela’s former home which has been transformed into a museum.

“(He) makes us united. Now we are all united. (Blacks) can perform in theatres like the Joburg Theatre now -- it was not the case before,” said guitarist Vincent Ncabashe, 49.

- ‘Not living his dream’ -

Others recognise the achievement but are disappointed in the post-apartheid reality.

“Madiba is so inspiring for me,” said hip-hop singer Thobane Mkhize who sported a striking bouffant haircut.

“But we are not living his dream,” said the 24-year-old musician.

“The parliament is like a (sitcom), it is no longer a parliament because politicians are busy with corruption. Instead of being united, we are busy looking at the colours of the skin,” he added.

“There was need for a figure to reconcile black and whites,” said Genevieve Assamoi, a 45-year-old from Ivory Coast. “He was crucial in ensuring that blacks did not take revenge on whites and to allow the whites to feel safe.”

“Without him, we would still be stuck in the same place,” said policeman and father-of-three Mpho Ngobeni.

‘He did his best’

At a nearby petrol station in Soweto, two white men in khaki outfits completed the purchase of a car from two young black men -- an unusual scene in the sprawling black-majority township.

“The white people also got a chance (to stay in South Africa),” said Kaelen Viljoen as he struggled to hide the handgun clipped to his belt. The 22-year-old had also brought along a baseball bat, perched on the front seat of his 4X4.

“I always have a weapon with me and I would not have left it at home when I came here,” said Viljoen, visiting Soweto for the first time in his life. “We called a lot of guys and we were very worried to come here, because he said there are a lot of black people here, and white people driving around here, is going to be a big problem. “(But) after we met the guys we bought the car from, we actually love it, they are very friendly.”

Maxwell Huis, 44, a homeless father-of-two said the reality delivered by Mandela was starkly different to that which he had promised.

“He sold the black people to the whites. There should have been a civil war -- it would have changed things,” he added as he foraged for wood to burn.

Mtate Phakela, 19, sees Mandela’s legacy very differently. “He gave us a revolution without a war. He gave us the idea of freedom through peace,” said the teenager. (AFP)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The online battle for the truth

A collection of well-known social media brands.

A collection of well-known social media brands. Numerous studies have shown that fake news -- often more sensational than genuine information -- spreads faster online because of how social media has prioritised ‘virality.’ PHOTO|FILE 

Paris. False information is saturating political debate worldwide and undermining an already weak level of trust in the media and institutions, spreading further than ever on powerful social networks.

US President Donald Trump has popularised the term “fake news”, using it mainly as an accusation levelled at the media, and it is increasingly used by politicians from Spain to China, Myanmar or Russia.

“Fake news” has been generalised to mean anything from a mistake to a parody or a deliberate misinterpretation of facts.

At the same time, the proliferation of false online information is increasingly visible in attempts to manipulate elections, notoriously surrounding Trump’s 2016 victory.

Misinformation

Nearly two years after Trump’s shock win, debate is still raging on the impact of “fake news” on the presidential campaign.

The build-up saw numerous examples of hoaxes and false news stories -- one about Hillary Clinton’s alleged links to a child sex ring, another about the Pope purportedly endorsing Trump -- which were shared massively and some believe could have swung votes to tip Trump to victory.

Misinformation had “a significant impact” on voting decisions, according to Ohio State University researchers, who questioned voters about whether they believed certain false stories.

The researchers said it was impossible to prove that false information had changed the course of the election but noted it would have required a change in just 0.6 percent of voters, or 77,744 people, in three key states, to alter the electoral college outcome.

Since the election, Trump has denounced as “fake news” any information that displeases him while his aides have offered a mixture of truth and distortions, sometimes described as “alternative facts.”

This has hurt the credibility of the US news media and led some to describe the current period as a “post-truth era” -- an age without a shared reality.

“The truth is no longer seen as important,” said John Huxford of Illinois State University, whose research focuses on false information, adding that “lies and fabrication even seem to bolster one’s reputation and political prowess among their core supporters.”

Some studies suggest that more people are willing to believe falsehoods as partisanship has risen. A 2017 survey, for example, showed that 51 percent of Republicans believed that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, despite the hoax being debunked dozens of times.

Many people reject accurate information which is “discomforting to their self-concept or worldview,” noted a study by Professor Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College in the United States and Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter in the UK.

“Some misinformed individuals may already be at least tacitly aware of the correct information but (are) uncomfortable acknowledging it.”

Eroding trust

In 2018, the average level of trust in the news, across 37 countries, remained relatively stable at 44 percent, according to a poll by YouGov for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

But Reuters Institute research associate Nic Newman warned in text accompanying the report: “Our data show that consumer trust in news remains worryingly low in most countries, often linked to high levels of media polarisation, and the perception of undue political influence.”

This is exacerbated by the spread of false information by authority figures. In some countries this can go far. For example in Ukraine, where authorities staged the death of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko at the end of May.

Kiev said the move was justified to foil a real plot to assassinate Babchenko.

The staging, broadcast in good faith by media worldwide, “is a godsend for paranoid people and conspiracy theorists. At a time when confidence in news is so low, a state playing with the truth in this way makes things even more complicated,” said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of journalism watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Political agendas also affect the credibility of the media. Recently, the French media regulator CSA issued a warning to RT’s (formerly Russia Today) French office, accusing it of misrepresenting facts in a news bulletin about Syria.

The following day, Russia’s communications watchdog said it might strip the France 24 TV channel of its Russian operating license, accusing it of violating a Russian media law introduced in 2015 which restricts foreign ownership of media companies in Russia to 20 per cent or less. (AFP)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What it will take for lasting peace in South Sudan

A political disagreement between President

A political disagreement between President Salva Kiir (top right) and his former vice president Riek Machar (left), who is set to be reinstated under the terms of the peace deal - exploded into a military confrontation.  

Juba. As warring sides battle it out on the ground, the leaders in South Sudan seem to have come to a peace deal after almost five years of fighting.

South Sudan was plunged into war in December 2013, barely two years after it achieved independence from Sudan. A political disagreement between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president Riek Machar, who is set to be reinstated under the terms of the peace deal - exploded into a military confrontation.

The conflict soon expanded to include other armed groups while the president’s policy of creating new states – first 28 then 32 – led to fighting amongst the different armed groups and more violence against civilians. This in turn led to further outbursts of local level violence in the then Upper Nile, Bentiu, Equatoria and Bahr El Ghazal.

After averting famine last year, the food insecurity outlook in South Sudan has never been so dire. This is partly because the situation in the South is still extremely fragile. The mass displacement of people continues, forcing farmers from their fields during key times in the planting season.

About 7.1 million people – that’s more than half of the population – is estimated to be facing severe food insecurity. This means that their access to food is severely limited. One million people are facing emergency acute food insecurity, meaning that they experience extreme food consumption gaps, resulting in very high levels of acute malnutrition, and even death.

The Khartoum Declaration which was signed in June was a promising start but those who know South Sudan well, will know that its unlikely to last.

South Sudan’s leaders, regional partners, the international community, and the Troika (Norway, the UK, and the US), need to shift from a short-term approach to a more sustainable one. This should take several things into consideration including South Sudan’s lack of political capacity, the country’s political and ethnic grievances, its lack of institutions, and the general failure of long term conflict mitigation efforts.

Deteriorating situation

While the total number of deaths has almost flat lined since 2014, the delivery of humanitarian assistance has become increasingly difficult. Armed groups have obstructed the delivery of aid. This has led to the humanitarian situation deteriorating rapidly. The situation could be made worse by a reduction in donor funding from countries like the US, which is currently one of South Sudan’s biggest financial benefactors.

Adding to this problem is the fact that over the past two months, 26 aid workers have been abducted by armed groups. According to the UN at least 100 aid workers have been killed in the last five years.

In addition to the humanitarian crisis South Sudanese have also battled a high incidence of sexual and gender-based violence. The exact number of victims might never be known because of the stigma attached to reporting these horrific crimes. But available reports present a major concern. A Unicef-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism recorded 285 incidents of sexual violence against children since December 2013, and estimated hundreds of other incidents of rape and sexual assault against children since the beginning of the conflict.

A report released by the Secretary General on Conflict Related Sexual Violence, through the United Nations Mission in Sudan documented 577 cases of sexual violence in 2016. A February 2018 UN Human Rights Commission report collected evidence against more than 40 officials whom they believe are accountable for war crimes (including sex crimes). Since the release of the report no one has been held accountable.

Gender-based violence in South Sudan is frequently met with exemption because of social gender norms which place women under men’s control and stigmatise victims of sexual violence. The peace deal should ensure that every kind of violence is recognised and dealt with to the full extent of the law.

What’s needed for peace

The Khartoum Declaration promised a permanent ceasefire, reforms in the security sector, rehabilitation of oil wells, and the improvement of the South Sudan infrastructure.

But unless sustainable plans are put in place to guide the world’s newest failed state, South Sudan will continue to sign agreements with no real outcomes. For peace to hold, international mediators and South Sudanese leaders must openly discuss the root causes of the conflict.

And the peace process will have to be fully embraced and owned by South Sudan’s leaders and the South Sudanese people. Moves like the South Sudan government’s proposed bill to extend President Salva Kiir’s term for three years will only undermine peace talks and agreements with opposition forces. This, in turn, will heighten the potential for renewed fighting. The new approach also requires leaders to be made accountable not just to one another but to the South Sudanese people.

The UN deputy’s chief has said that the body ‘will not give up on looking for peace for South Sudan’. These comments are welcomed. But peace cannot be achieved unless violations against civilians are met with a willingness to prosecute those found guilty of crimes against humanity.

It requires willingness to reform the security sector, to devolve power to states and to build and strengthen institutions where none have existed. Finally, it will require an inclusive approach to peace for all. This will require localised support for local peace building efforts, capacity building and long term investment in local economies to put the country back to work.

Above all it will require that the South Sudanese people reconcile their differences, forgive each other, and heal together. Without these key ingredients it is highly unlikely that peace will hold.

Source: Conversation Africa

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What Lugola has up his sleeves for tricky docket



Home Affairs minister, Mr Kangi Logola

Home Affairs minister, Mr Kangi Logola 

By Louis Kolumbia @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. He takes charge of a docket that many have come to describe as a political hot seat. Mr Kangi Logola replaces Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, who was sacked last week as Home Affairs minister. He becomes the third minister in a space of two and half years in President John Magufuli’s administration.

The President’s first choice – Charles Kitwanga – was kicked out after he was accused of drunkenness in Parliament. His successor – Dr Mwigulu – had an array of reasons laid out for him as he was shown the door. Dr Magufuli said he was not impressed by the performance of the ministry – citing inaction by the minister in dealing with unending road accidents and rampant corruption.

Granted, the new minister cannot have illusions about what needs to be done. The fact is, he has his duty well laid out for him. In show of readiness to take on the Herculean task, he hit the ground running – travelling upcountry to be at accident scenes a few days after he was sworn in at State House in Dar es Salaam.

Yet, the question remains. Will he be able to please the President? Posterity will judge.

But in an exclusive interview, our reporter, Louis Kolumbia, had a chat with an upbeat Mr Lugola, who talks about his mammoth task, priorities and strategies:

QN: How did you receive the news of your appointment?

ANS: I was in my constituency – Mwibara – in Mara Region, when the news broke. I was happy because promotion is evidence that the Head of State trusts your capabilities as an individual. But, the happiness has its limit because I am supposed to think about how best to execute my duties to meet the President’s expectations.

The Home Affairs ministry is considered tough. What are your plans?

The ministry is very sensitive because of its role in the maintenance of peace and security in the country. It has under it, the Police, the Prisons, Fire and Rescue, Immigration and the National Identification Authority (Nida). It is this ministry that is supposed to provide security to the President and the Presidency.

The ministry is also charged with ensuring that members of the public engage in income-generating activities in a peaceful and secure environment. We currently face the threat of Tanzanians destabilising that peace by uttering seditious statements, and creating panic by issuing falsified economic statistics all in a bid to conflict with government. There are others who are accusing the Police of abductions and killings. These people intend to create the impression that the government is doing nothing, for example, to find the missing people.

I will not allow this to continue.

You received a widespread public backlash last week after the statement you made on the mysterious disappearance of MCL reporter Azory Gwanda, Ben Saanane and Kakonko District Council chairman Simon Kangoye. How do you react to that?

There are people who are misleading the public that the missing people were kidnapped and killed. These are preposterous suggestions because the Police are still investigating the cases. Law enforcement agents cannot conclude that someone is dead without thorough the completion of the investigation progress. What if you pronounce someone dead, and two days later they resurface? There are cases of people who disappear without informing their families – and look for work in mines. In my previous role in the Vice President’s Office (Environment and Union Affairs), I met a person whose family thought he was dead, but he was working on a mine. There are many men abandoning their families.

My ministry is still investigating the cases involving Gwanda (Azory), Saanane and Kangoye. Members of the public should be patient.

What do you say about the so-called ‘unknown people’?

There are conspiracies linking the security organs with these people who are branded “unknown people”, who have allegedly been engaging in various criminal activities across the country. But it stems from the fact that members of the public are not aware of the culprits perpetuating crime. However, linking the security organs with the so-called “unknown people” is an act of sedition. That should immediately end. Police officers are ordered to arrest anyone linking security organs with criminals (unknown people).

These accusations are aimed at creating conflict between members of the public and the government. That will not happen under my leadership. We cannot allow people to go to the extent of branding their government a government of killers.

Therefore, those who spread these lies will be hunted down and arrested everywhere, including bars. And the cybercrime department should do the same for social media.

How many cases of sedition has the government won history?

This is a statistical question that requires thorough preparation, but regardless of the number of cases won by the government, suspected criminals are arrested for questioning.

What do you have to say about allegations that there are rogue elements within the Police who cook up cases against innocent citizens, and drag their feet when it comes to investigations?

It is true. There are a few police officers who are implicated. I have directed the ministry’s Permanent Secretary to prepare a document for the Police Force to report daily incidents. The will enable the headquarters to know, timely, what is happening especially at police stations on the outskirts. This will help us to take appropriate measures on time.

However, members of the public should also learn to lodge their complaints with the complaints desks available at all police stations across the country. In addition, they should follow procedure by reporting to the Officer-In-Charge of the station, Officer Commanding Districts (OCDs), Regional Police Commanders (RPCs) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) – in that order – if no measures are being taken.

Then regarding delayed investigations, many factors should be taken into consideration. In some cases, it could be the need to travel abroad that delays the process. More so, investigations may require the involvement of other government institutions, such as the Office of the Chief Government Chemist.

However, that is not to say we don’t have cases of police officers deliberately delaying investigations. We are hoping that the document that is being prepared will provide the lasting solution to these problems. For you own information, in this new plan, all departments will be required to have top officers at the headquarters to link the ministry with the grassroots level.

You disbanded the National Roads Safety Council soon after assuming office, as a measure against inaction against the unending road accidents. But, what exactly should be done to permanently address the problem?

The council had failed to fulfil its responsibilities. In any case, its term in office had expired after serving for 10 year, instead of three years. We want the council reformed.

Vehicle inspections will be strengthened through increasing the number of stations and inspectors, as well as the participation of the private sector in the process. More so, the government is also going to launch a countrywide verification exercise of all vehicle inspectors. We will remove and deal with dubious characters from the list of inspectors.

Drivers will be tested for alcohol levels at every weighbridge. There will be logbooks where the names of the driver and traffic officers are recorded – and this will be verified at the end of their journey.

We will also take stern measures against traffic officers trying to protect drivers with bad speed records.

In addition, I have since asked the Permanent Secretary to take stern measures against District Traffic Officers (DTOs) or Regional Traffic Officers (RTOs) from the top 10 accident-prone regions.

These areas include Ilala, Kinondoni, Temeke, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Dodoma, Manyara, Dodoma, Tabora and Tarime-Rorya. Some of the measures are demotion, salary deductions, public parading and where necessary termination of employment.

Do you stand by your decision to order the Prisons Commissioner General, Mr Juma Malewa, out of a meeting room after he came in late? There are some people who feel that wasn’t proper.

Official in departments that are under the Home Affairs ministry need to have the highest degree of discipline. Members of the public shouldn’t look at the position of the person who was kicked out of the meeting; rather, they should consider the importance of discipline.

I cannot, for example, arrive late for a meeting with the President. Therefore, it was the right decision. Otherwise, I wouldn’t deserve to be the Home Affairs minister. My role is to safeguard the status and reputation of the Home Affairs minister.

What are your top five priorities?

My first one is implementing the directives given by President John Magufuli during my swearing in. I will also fight crime, instill discipline and professionalism among the security officers, and ensure peace maintained in the country.

Do you plan to contest for the presidency at some point?

President John Magufuli’s shoes are oversize to me. Therefore, I haven’t thought about it.

Why do you always walk with the CCM manifesto?

President Magufuli gave the document to me in 2015 during the General Election campaigns. I have been using it ever since, as a source of reference, as a reminder of what CCM has directed the Head of State to do. This enables me to properly assist him.

I would like to be buried with the CCM manifesto when I die. This is regardless of whether or not the current manifesto will be the one being used at that time. There is no any other political party with a similar manifesto.

Who is Kangi Lugola outside politics?

Kangi Lugola is a sportsman leading the Kangi Bomba Cup in his constituency.

The Cup pools soccer, netball and choir loving people together. He is a long-time and successful athlete, and footballer who registered an outstanding record in 1982, after finishing first in a 400-metre race. That impressed his coach – Clever Kamanya – who awarded me with a pair of shoes.

Kangi also played for the Nyundo Football Club, in Sengerema. But he is neither a fan of Simba nor Yanga – he kind of supports both teams.

Outside Tanzania, he is a fan of Barcelona and Argentina, which sadly suffered an early exit from the World Cup in Russia.

Who do you think will be crowned champions of the Fifa World Cup 2018?

Croatia will emerge champions. My prediction is that Belgium will defeat France, while Croatia beats England in the semifinals. The finals will pit Croatia against Belgium, and Croatia will surprise the world.

Interesting. And on Bongo Flava – are you for AliKiba or Diamond Platinumz?

None of the above. I am, instead, inspired by Asley and Baker. However, AliKiba is more disciplined than Diamond, who has been accused of arriving late for some shows.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Access to public information still a mirage - Part 2

Journalists are the hardest-hit by the lack of

Journalists are the hardest-hit by the lack of urgency among those who man information desks in the offices of Regional Commissioners and municipal councils.PHOTO|FILE 

By Peter Nyanje @pnyanje pnyanje@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Though the Access to Information Act and its accompanying regulations have provided for seamless flow of information, the situation has not improved, according to a research commissioned by the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT). Results of a study involving the offices of regional commissioners and councils in seven regions established that the presence of the law, notwithstanding, officials were still reluctant to release information as asked.

To complement the MCT work, MISATAN also commissioned another study in the seven regions of Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Mwanza, Kigoma, Arusha, Dodoma and Mtwara. The study involved journalists who sent questions to respective offices and responses were as follows:

Dodoma

According to the researcher, accessing information at the Regional Commissioner’s Office was a challenge. The researcher says efforts by journalists to unearth various developmental challenges that face this region fail because of lack of cooperation by information holders as exemplified in the Regional Commissioner’s office.

“It is very hard to get a response from this office. A good example is the letter I hand-delivered on April 27, this year, and had a copy signed. But until May 15, I hadn’t received even a call from them,” says a researcher from Dodoma.

On the contrary, the Municipal Council in Dodoma seems to be open and cooperative. Officials give information regardless of who wants it and without questioning why that information is needed.

“I tendered my request letter on April 27 requesting an interview with the director; I got the response on May 12.”

Mbeya

A research assistant was instructed to prepare a request letter with questions and hand-delivered it to the office of the Mbeya City Council Director. It was well-received and after one day she received a call from an information officer who told her that he had received her letter and was working on it.

“After two days, I got another call asking me to go get my answers because they were ready,” she says.

But the situation is a bit challenging at the Regional Commissioner’s Office. Despite the fact that the RC had scheduled meetings with members of the public twice a month (every first and last Thursday) to listen to their concerns. “I submitted my request letter to the RC’s office on the 27th of April and it was received by the registry. But no one even acknowledged receiving it until the 21-day period expired on the 16th of May,” the researcher notes.

Mtwara

A research assistant in Mtwara also hand-delivered a letter to the RC’s office and also sent a copy via the Regional Administrative Secretary’s email: ras@mtwara.go.tz.

“I never received an acknowledgement. I had to make a phone call and was promised that they will get back to me, but all to no avail,” she said adding:

“I used similar ways to submit my request letter to the Director of the Municipal Council, by hand and via email, mtwaradc@mtwara.go.tz. There was no formal acknowledgement. I met the public relations officer at a public function and he promised to work on the request. He never did, even after calling him on different occasions.”

At the Municipal Director’s office, officers at the registry did not cooperate, but were busy hawking.

Kigoma

It was a different story in Kigoma where the Regional Commissioner’s office received the research assistant well. “The office cooperated, and as a journalist I can attest to the fact that they are accountable and transparent,” she said.

According to the Kigoma researcher, the office of the Municipal Council on the other hand cordially receives visitors as well, but doesn’t act on request letters in time.

“It was very disappointing that when I followed it up they (the Registry) told me that my letter was nowhere to be seen… they lost it,” said the researcher.

Arusha

A research assistant in Arusha reported that she managed to get the information requested within 21 days after the letter was submitted. However, the main challenge in this office is getting information via the email address given.

Even though the world is fast-changing, especially in communications, and despite the emphasis on e-government as well as the use of technology, many public officials are not catching up as fast as they are supposed to.

The researcher noted: “I have always believed that email is the fastest way to get information across and it was my hope that they will respond but all to no avail. I had to make a physical visit to get the information I needed.”

Mwanza

A researcher assistant arrived at the RC’s office on April 25 to submit the information request letter. It was received and a copy signed with the Registry attendant.

There was a challenge in getting the contacts of the person who received the letter for follow up, but later she reluctantly gave the number.

A follow up after 14 days did not yield anything. The researcher had to make a physical follow-up on May 9, but the letter could not be found.

The officials claimed the reply was sent, but noone could trace it. “My assumption is that no one worked on that letter. Even after I tried to follow it up , it yielded nothing.”

On the same day that a letter was delivered at RC’s office, a similar request was delivered at the Mwanza City Council offices. Despite the fact that the receiver asked the assistant researcher to go back after three days for follow up, she never wanted to share any contacts that would help him during follow ups.

Some 10 days later, there was no formal reply from the person in charge. Physical visits to the office did not bear any fruits.

The registry officer took the researcher to the public relations office where she was told that the land officers (to whom most of the questions were directed) were still working on the information requested.

“I decided to look for the director himself. I bumped into him on his way to the conference hall in the same compound and reminded him of the letter I submitted, but without stopping he said he was busy and wasn’t ready for any interview.”

Dar es Salaam

A research assistant in Dar es Salaam recommended that the Regional Commissioner’s office improve their customer service. This includes communication skills and attitude when it comes to dealing with clients.

The researcher described the services at the RC’s office as not impressive, especially from those who man the registry department.

But on the other hand, the Dar es Salaam City Council is described as the best example of how a public service should be in terms of customer handling. They receive every visitor with respect and listen to them. They would assist you in any way.

To be continued….

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

How young activists are keeping Mandela’s legacy alive in Africa

 

By Alan Hirsch

Last month, at a conference on African Inequalities co-organised by our school and the London School of Economics, the first audience question came from a young woman. Why, she asked, was the graduate school relaunching as the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance when Mandela’s legacy of appeasement entrenched much of apartheid’s economic structures?

Her question, despite its narrow context, echoes the broader concerns of many students and young people struggling to reconcile the present need for meaningful transformation with Mandela’s first steps towards its possibility.

This demand for a more critical view of his legacy troubles some who are intent on preserving the Madiba mythology or those who are focused only on his remarkable personal and moral qualities. Young people are too radical, too eager to break instead of consolidate, the arguments go.

But I believe there’s a healthy debate to be had about his legacy. And only by looking back at it through fresh eyes will it be possible to extract what’s valuable. And for young people to build on the best of what he achieved.

Mandela’s greatest legacy is much broader than the merits – or otherwise – of his policy decisions which were constrained by the circumstances of his times.

His central legacy was the example he set of bold, self-sacrificing yet ethical and accountable leadership. Mandela’s leadership is a beacon for our times, all over Africa.

Increasingly, young people across the continent are taking up Mandela’s challenge. Some are already leading powerful civic and political organisations and campaigns. For example, Sampson Itodo has successfully spearheaded a campaign to benefit young Nigerians seeking political office. He is one among many innovative and effective young Africans.

Youth activism is critical in this challenging era when Africa is both the youngest continent and the poorest.

Reasons for optimism

Itodo is executive director of YIAGA, an advocacy group that promotes young people getting involved in governance. He also convened the Not Too Young To Run movement, which spent years petitioning the Nigerian government to change constitutional constraints on the age limits of those running for office.

I first met Sampson in 2016 when he was a participant in our school’s Emerging African Leaders Programme – one of many offered for emerging African leaders from mid-career civil servants to high level experts.

Known as the Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice, our work has always been inspired by the urgent call Mandela made at the University of Cape Town in 1990 to [transform] centres of learning into institutions that have relevance to the future of the country and the continent.

Sampson was one of 30 participants on the programme that year, drawn from ten African countries. Among them was a Ugandan transitional justice coordinator, a South African human rights lawyer, a Kenyan food security activist and a Zimbabwean public health programme director focusing on eliminating malaria. Despite their geographical and occupational differences, they were all passionate about creating and sustaining meaningful change – in their countries and across the continent.

Investing in young leaders creates the kind of legacy I believe Mandela himself would have been delighted by: a living memorial, carried out by young, politically-engaged people pushing the imagination of what our continent can and should look like.

Actions speak louder than words

Mandela knew that actions spoke louder than words. This is evident from the fact that he was remarkably disinterested in preserving the heroic cult built around him. He left explicit instructions, routinely ignored, that he should not be treated as a demi god and that no statues or monolithic structures should be erected in his memory.

On May 31 this year, Sampson’s bill was passed overwhelmingly in the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives. President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law. Any Nigerian from the age of 35 years can now run for President, and from 25 years for the House or State Assembly.

Although he drove the process, Sampson did not achieve this remarkable feat alone. He did it through two years of concerted, strategic mobilisation of young people who cared about representation and wanted a voice in a political system they felt had failed them.

For Sampson, as for so many young people on the continent, Mandela’s legacy of belief in the power of youth action is alive and well.

The author is Professor and Director of The Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Uganda’s social media tax: Here is the humbling bit

Uganda recently introduced a social media tax.

Uganda recently introduced a social media tax. PHOTO|FILE 

By Nicholas Sengoba

Since July 1, accessing social media in Uganda will set you back by a ‘mere’ USh200 as an entrance fee into the party. Now many of those who enjoy WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many others are not ordinary hard up citizens scratching for a living. But they are up in arms.

They say by levying the tax, the government is trying to muzzle them. That it is their right and freedom to communicate via social media.

Others like Timothy Kalyegira are very gleeful and wish that the tax would go up to about USh500 because most of the people accessing social media (probably the ones he interacts with) are not exactly a serious lot.

That they hardly reason or think correctly as they rush to make arguments. That they are prone to making typos, don’t appreciate good photography and generally are wasting this opportunity of tapping into the vast potential that is social media to bring about political, social and economic change.

Government on the other hand, says this ‘luxury’ called social media that prompts many to gossip, spread false news and incite the public, must be taxed to contribute revenue for national development.

Suffice to say that there is almost nothing this USh200 can buy in the Uganda of today, not even a sweet. So, you can’t rule out that most people are digging in as a form of protest. They just don’t want to finance the government mostly for political reasons.

The enduring argument being that ‘their money’ will just go into the pockets of the fat cats and their cronies. All that will become clear in the days, weeks and months to come. For me, the most humbling aspect of the brouhaha this matter of social media taxes has caused is the one about the opportunism of African countries, how they have been spoilt into waiting for outsiders to think for them and what impact this has had on their productivity, imagination and ability to invent or create things.

To speak very plainly, both the government, which intends to fork in billions of shillings by taxing social media and those beating their chests claiming access to social media as their right have contributed nothing to its making. They are just taking a piggy ride.

Yet when you think of it, social media is not exactly about building using motar and stone. You don’t have to possess big muscles to be part of the Internet and communication revolution. The whole thing is virtual and provides equal opportunities for those with access to the Internet.

An American executive on Wall Street and the barefooted shamba boy in Mutukula have equal opportunities on the Internet. The difference is what they do with this access to the World Wide Web. Their cerebral limits, interests and attitude determine which direction they take on the Internet and how it benefits them.

You see, one may choose to share jokes and the ‘latest nudes’ the whole day on social media and this one is the wont for many.

Then there are those who get the most out of this business by creating apps that they sell and get billions of dollars. They are the brainy warriors who have put their creative spirit to test. Many of the inventors or investors of Facebook and Twitter plus a whole load of others are now billionaires. We are talking about the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, Evan Williams, Bill Gates and all the people in Silicon Valley and other Tech Hubs.

These ones burn the midnight candle and to make happen, what many of us who come in to simply use and (abuse if you asked some) and are now calling ‘our right.’

Just imagine if we woke up one day and the maverick President of the US, Donald John Trump, restricted the use of social media in countries like Uganda for preposterous reasons that it is encouraging ‘terrorism!’ What will become of this ‘right’ of ours?

Mr Sengoba is a political analyst

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The bigger story in the sacking of Mwigulu Nchemba

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The sacking of Dr Mwigulu Nchemba as Home Affairs minister was something any analyst could see coming. It started a long time ago after and when his ministry became non-functioning. There are some hunches one would employ to easily presage what was in the offing for Mwigulu. His sacking tells a very bigger story than any person can expect.

No untouchables

First of all, it is fact that nobody in President John Magufuli’s government is untouchable. Everybody is vulnerable, especially if and when his or her performance is sluggish or does not meet Magufuli’s expectations. Mwigulu’s dismissal should act as a reminder to other ministers and public officers who seem to be more of liability than asset or those who think they are sacred cows under Magufuli. Guys, Magufuli has clearly and openly shown that what he needs is delivering but not anything else.

For example, the minister under whose watch many blasts occurred before the current one came to power must keep an eye on his performance.

Other ministers are known; and some have already been warned like it was for the one whose ministry failed to address issues that have to do with minerals.

Mysterious killings

Secondly, Mwigulu lost it when he failed to curb the Kibiti mysterious killings that saw many innocent people killed for unknown reasons. So, too, Mwigulu failed to articulate his strategies in curbing the anathema.

Essentially, when the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ernest Mangu, was shown the door, time was up for Mwigulu. Sadly, Mwigulu didn’t read the writing on the wall and the signs of time.

For example, Arusha Town MP Jonathan Lema warned that after failing to address many shortfalls, Mwigulu would be cannibalised by the same power that appointed him. Instead, he kept on doing just the same by maintaining his inertness and sleaziness as he slept at the wheel.

There is a famous adage that humans don’t learn from history; and if they do, they do it in a wrong way. As the Minister of Home Affairs, Mwigulu would have revisited the history of the former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi who decided to resign after some innocent people were killed under his watch when he was Minister for Home Affairs.

When Mwigulu was generously advised to call it quits, he sealed his ears hoping things would calm down; and thus survive. On this, had it not been President John Magufuli’s forbearance, Mwigulu would have been history a long time ago.

Besides, Mwigulu lost it all when many accusations on illegally issuing working and residence permits surfaced without him reining in. Further, up until now, Tanzania’s passports and other documents such as IDs are not protected as they are supposed to be. Such documents used to be sold like peanuts to criminals and international criminal gangs.

Corrupt ministry

Thirdly, Mwigulu presided over a very corrupt ministry that was oft-accused of wrongdoings. For example, the police are ranked higher when it comes to corruption allegations. Refer to the simmering mortification involving the procurement of old and dubious police vehicles that recently forced president Magufuli to vent his anger on the matter. Further, refer to the Lugumi scam about which Magufuli, too, complained and ordered the incoming minister to look into, not to mention Nida scam.

Sluggish police performance

Fourth, Mwigulu’s general sluggish nature of police performance sufficed to force Magufuli to boot him out. Apart from this, police are renowned for their heavy handedness when it comes to dealing with dissent voices in the country. Under Mwigulu’s watch, many accusations of the lack of peace in the country grew day by day; and as the person in charge did nothing to address them as if it wasn’t his business.

‘A sitting duck’

Fifth, Mwigulu will be remembered as the Minister of Home Affairs who was like a sitting duck thanks to his indolence and let-down in addressing critical subjects under his docket. This is why Magufuli wondered how people he entrusted with public offices would only appear at unimportant occasions but not on the scenes that needed them most.

In sum, thanks to his sluggishness, Mwigulu’s sacking was long overdue. It is sad that he didn’t see it coming, up until, he’s caught off guard. How many’ll blindly replicate the same and suffer the same fate? Time will accurately and timely tell.

Off the cuffs, I applaud Mwigulu for being ahead of others when it comes to donning on national flag. Again, donning on a flag without delivering is as good as nothing.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Obama set to deliver Mandela event speech



Former US President Barack Obama. PHOTO | FILE

Former US President Barack Obama. PHOTO | FILE 

By Political Platform Reporter

Pretoria. Former US President Barack Obama is set to deliver a high-profile address on July 17, marking the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth.

The speech will be paired with a five-day gathering of young African leaders that will include workshops and training, as well as a town hall with Obama. The Obama Foundation said it had received 10,000 applications for the 200 available slots in the programme.

Mr Obama, whose father was from Kenya, visited Africa several times as President, though he never met Mandela on those trips as the anti-apartheid leader was ailing. They had met once earlier, in 2005, when Mandela was visiting the United States.

Obama has spoken and written extensively on Mandela’s influence in his life, including inspiring his early political activism. Obama flew to South Africa in 2013 to speak at Mandela’s funeral.

It makes for a continuation of efforts Obama began while in office to cultivate young leaders through leadership training programmes and town halls.

During his last trip to Africa as President, Obama convened a meeting with young people in Nairobi to discuss social issues and leadership strategies. He held similar events in South America and Asia.

To honour the centennial of Madiba’s birth, the lecture’s theme will be ‘Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World’.

“The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture will focus on creating conditions for bridging divides, working across ideological lines, and resisting oppression and inequality,” noted the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The lecture will take place on Tuesday next week, a day before Nelson Mandela International Day, and will be held at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. About 9,000 people are expected to attend.

For most of his life, Nelson Mandela fought for democracy and equality. His presidency was defined by his efforts to solidify the fragile democracy of South Africa, and by his lessons on the politics of bridge-building over the politics of division.

The Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture is a unique platform to drive debate on critical social issues in South Africa and around the world.

Meanwhile, Beyonce and Jay-Z will lead an A-list lineup to mark 100 years since Nelson Mandela’s birth in a Johannesburg festival by the Global Citizen movement to eradicate poverty.

The December 2 event will draw a number of leaders in an attempt to throw a spotlight on fledging efforts to eradicate poverty.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Press freedom and journalist safety in Africa

Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) managing

Mwananchi Communications Limited (MCL) managing director Francis Nanai addressing journalists on the disappearance of MCL reporter Azory Gwanda last year. At a recent meeting, members of the International Press Institute (IPI) asked the Tanzanian government to expedite an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing since October 2017.PHOTO|FILE 

By Special Correspondent

Abuja. The members of the International Press Institute (IPI), meeting at their 67th Annual General Assembly during the IPI World Congress on June 23, 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria, adopted by unanimous vote a resolution calling on African governments to protect the safety of journalists and to repeal laws that are being exploited to prosecute them.

IPI members expressed concern that that space for press freedom is fast shrinking on the continent, with governments and politicians using archaic laws and as well as new measures to silence critical voices and independent media. The emerging threat to press freedom in Africa and other parts of the world includes attempts by governments and politicians to harass journalists by smearing critical coverage as “fake news”. Of particular concern are new laws related to digital communication, which will effectively silence government critics.

IPI members noted that Ghys Fortuné Dombé Bemb editor of an independent paper in the Republic of Congo, has been in prison since January 2017. Similarly, journalist Mohamed Adnan Diri was sentenced by a court in Somaliland to 18 months in prison on charges of criminal defamation and publishing false news.

In Angola, journalist and 2018 IPI World Press Freedom Hero Rafael Marques de Morais faced up to four years in prison on charges of insult to a public authority over a 2016 article scrutinising a real-estate transaction involving Angola’s then attorney-general. He was acquitted on July 6. Marques has faced decades of harassment and prosecution at the behest of the government for exposing corruption and human rights abuses. Additionally, several Angolan journalists have fled the country to protect the lives of their families and are living as asylum seekers in neighbouring countries.

IPI members also expressed concern over the lack of progress on media freedom in Zimbabwe following the departure of former President Robert Mugabe, whose rule saw Zimbabwe become one of the world’s most heavily censored countries. The biggest continuing threat to media freedom in Zimbabwe is the country’s oppressive media legislation, which President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not indicated a clear willingness to reform.

IPI members also recalled with concern the decision by Kenya’s Communications Authority to force a group of private broadcasters off air over their coverage of an opposition leader’s symbolic presidential “inauguration” following a tightly contested presidential vote in autumn 2017.

IPI members also expressed concern over the methodical and worrying suppressing of press freedom in Tanzania, including the closure of five publications and two radio stations, as well as the passing of laws that pose a threat to media freedom. IPI members also asked the Tanzanian government to expedite an investigation into the disappearance of journalist Azory Gwanda, who has been missing since October 2017.

Several journalists in Africa have been killed in apparent retaliation for their work in recent years. IPI members urged African governments to ensure that those who commit crimes against journalists do not enjoy impunity and ensure that courts and law enforcement authorities are capable of ensuring justice.

In Nigeria, three journalists were killed in 2017. Those cases are still under investigation. IPI members urged the government of Nigeria to expedite the investigations and bring to justice those responsible.

IPI members also urged governments in Africa as well as the African Union to take robust action to ensure the protection of journalists in conflict zones. Five journalists have been killed in Somalia since 2016 owing to the ongoing conflict there, according to IPI’s Death Watch. Working with media organizations in Africa, African governments and the African Union should support safety training of journalists and in collaboration with insurance companies, offer health and life insurance to journalists at a discounted premium.

IPI members summarised their concerns by calling on all African governments to:

• Release all journalists imprisoned for exercising their right to freedom of expression and drop all charges against them;

• End impunity for crimes committed against journalists;

• Promote freedom of the press, independent journalism and respect for the rule of law;

• Provide safety training to journalists; and

• Arrange for health and life insurance to journalists at discounted rates

(Issued by the IPI Secretariat)

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A glimmer of hope for press freedom across the globe

 

By The Post Editorial

When journalists face blatantly political trials under authoritarian regimes, very often the judge becomes a tool of the authorities. But last week that changed in Angola. Judge Josina Mussua Ferreira Falcão acquitted a prominent journalist and activist, Rafael Marques de Morais, of bogus charges of insulting the government.

Marques and an editor, Mariano Brás, in 2016 published an exposé of dubious land transactions by then-Attorney General João Maria de Sousa. The judge threw out the criminal charges against them.

“This court believes that we would be doing very bad as a society that wants to progress, if we punished the messengers of bad news,” she said. The judge added that the land sales were “tainted with irregularities” and the article fulfilled the journalists’ duty to inform the public. The victory was particularly important as a reaffirmation of the significance of independent Angolan journalism; Marques has spent nearly two decades uncovering corruption and malfeasance.

Sadly, Angola is an exception to global trends. The same day Marques was acquitted, six columnists for the once-popular, now-shuttered Turkish newspaper Zaman received sentences of up to 10½ years for “membership in a terrorist organization.” That’s how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodogan has labeled the movement of his onetime ally, exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he accuses of sponsoring a failed 2016 coup.

Turkey, which once enjoyed a vibrant and robust free press, has become a gulag for reporters under Erdogan. More than 150 journalists are in prison, and nearly 180 outlets have been closed. Three more newspapers and a television station were darkened on Monday.

Zaman columnist and novelist Ahmet Turan Alkan questioned the integrity of the justice system during a June hearing in Istanbul. “I suppose I must have irked and infuriated the government,” he said. “But do not expect me to apologize.” He added that he would not seek mercy from his oppressors: “I would not lick the knife that is cutting my throat.”

His defiance was echoed by two Reuters journalists in Myanmar, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who exposed the military’s massacre of Rohingya Muslims in a village and now face the government’s wrath. On Monday, a court lodged formal charges of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act against both journalists.

After the ruling, Wa Lone, in handcuffs as he was ushered into a police truck, protested that they had committed no crime. “We will not retreat, give up or be shaken by this,” he vowed. This noble steadfastness is just what Aung Sang Suu Kyi once showed the world in the face of a military dictatorship. Now that she is Myanmar’s de facto leader, she should free these gutsy and determined journalists.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The truck loader eyeing South Sudan presidency

Richmond. Just minutes into the night shift at Lowe’s, beads of sweat sparkle on Bol Gai Deng’s forehead. He’s at the back of the suburban Richmond, Virginia, store, unloading a 54-foot truck crammed with leaf blowers and barbecue grills, Drano and pitchforks - tough work that drives off most in a matter of weeks or months. Deng has stuck with it for six years because he likes having his days free for his other gig: running for president of South Sudan.

Virginia prides itself on being the “mother” of presidents. Eight US heads of state were born there, more than in any other state. That’s not counting Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the Petersburg barber who became the first elected president of Liberia in 1847. With Deng - an adopted son of Virginia who arrived as a Sudanese refugee two decades ago, just ahead of a wave known as the “Lost Boys” of Sudan - the commonwealth might someday claim one more.

“Africa does not want rulers. It wants leaders,” said Deng, a US citizen in his late 30s who does not know his precise age. “I’m a leader because I trained in America.”

Deng pursues the presidency of the world’s newest and perhaps most desperate country with infectious passion and an unlikely band of volunteers. A former Richmond TV anchor who has never been to Africa acts as an adviser. A grass-roots Republican activist, more practiced in Virginia legislative races than international affairs, serves as political strategist and occasional stylist, picking up a woolen Costco overcoat for Deng ahead of a meeting at the United Nations in December.

A month before that, Deng pressed State Department officials to call for elections in his war-ravaged homeland - something the cowboy-hatted President Salva Kiir has refused to do.

A fellow refugee who advises Deng on security deemed a campaign trip to their homeland too risky. So in May, Deng traveled instead to Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia, where he promised crowds of displaced South Sudanese that he would usher in an era of democracy and honesty.

For the most part, Deng makes his bid from Virginia, where he still lives with the family who took him in. His $15 hourly wage is enough to pay his bills and bankroll a shoestring campaign that relies largely on social media and free help from Andrea McDaniel, a longtime NBC12 anchor who met Deng at a charity event, and Don Blake, president of the Virginia Christian Alliance, who encountered Deng through church.

Beyond the Lowe’s loading dock, where co-workers have taken to calling him “Mr. President,” Deng has his share of believers. They span the U.S. political spectrum despite the country’s deeply polarized immigration politics.

Those on the right tout Deng - a Christian kidnapped as a young boy by the mujahideen and forced into slavery - as validation of President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” and other hard-line stances on immigration. To the left, he’s proof that refugees can flourish and offer hope to their homelands if only America would welcome them.

Deng’s campaign operates out of Blake’s offices at the Virginia Christian Alliance, which leads battles against abortion and gay rights in the state Capitol. Hundreds of African American Baptists, gathered at a Richmond convention in June, gave Deng a standing ovation, comparing him sympathetically to children fleeing Central America today.

“If it was US politics, he would win every debate because he would simply tell his story,” said Shawn Utsey, a Virginia Commonwealth University psychology professor and interim chairman of the school’s department of African American studies.

Deng earned a bachelor’s degree from VCU and was the first student to sign up for the homeland security major the school created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He had hoped to get a job with the FBI or Department of Homeland Security, but his command of written English was too limited.

On a campus with eight or nine Sudanese refugees, Deng stood out because he was always organising something, Utsey said. Deng put together a program to help local African immigrants improve their English, led efforts to build a school and deliver medicine to South Sudan, and staged a two-day conference on Sudan that drew diplomats and scholars from Washington and elsewhere.

“Of all the Lost Boys, I’ve not heard any of them saying, ‘I’m going back to make a difference,’ “ Utsey said. “He came here, achieved some success, and the whole time he did that, he was worried about his people in South Sudan and how he would improve their lives.”

While Deng is well known among Richmond’s South Sudanese community, it’s not clear that he has a broad following across the diaspora. His campaign Facebook page has 3,600 likes.

His name did not ring a bell with a few prominent South Sudanese expats reached outside the United States, including Peter Biar Ajak, a Lost Boy who is now a World Bank economist working toward his doctorate in Cambridge, England, and Brian Adeba in Canada.

“I bet as soon as a peace deal is finalised, people will come out of the woodwork [to run],” said Adeba, a deputy director at the Enough Project, which seeks to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

Whatever his political prospects, Deng has been given time and attention from government experts in the United States. He has met several times with William Leighty, former chief of staff to Democratic Virginia governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, who has trained government leaders in countries as different as Scotland and Nigeria.

Some of Leighty’s advice to Deng was universal, such as the need to build a cabinet that “reflects all people, not just the people who support you,” Leighty said. And some of it was specific to Deng’s country - spun off from Sudan proper in 2011 and soon mired in a civil war that has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people - which lacks the most basic infrastructure for governing or modern life, such as a functioning financial system.

The east-central African nation, which started out with a population of 12 million, has 2.5 million citizens living in camps in neighboring countries, 2 million internally displaced and 7 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to State Department figures.

Deng was about 7 years old when raiders from Sudan’s Muslim north swept into his Dinka village in the south, killing men, raping women and kidnapping him and hundreds of other boys and girls.

Enslaved for years, he managed to escape while tending cattle by hopping on a passing train. He made his way to refugee camps in Khartoum and Cairo. In 1999, when he was about 17, he reached suburban Richmond, where a church had offered to resettle him and three fellow Sudanese teens.

It’s hard to square that horrific past with the sunny, 6-foot-4 string bean who strides through Lowe’s like a small-town mayor in a Fourth of July parade. He has friends all over the store, from fellow unloaders in back to customer service reps out front.

Members of the unloading crew take turns going inside the truck, rolling the contents down a conveyor belt for the others to sort and move to store shelves. It gets terribly hot in the truck in summer.

When Deng’s not inside, he’s always checking on the guy who is, said Kim Gray, 27, one of three men helping Deng empty a truck one weeknight last month.

“He cares for people a lot,” Gray said. “He has a kind heart, very kind heart.” (Washington Post)

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