Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ukawa: Can the centre hold as house shakes?

Disgruntled senior members of the main

Disgruntled senior members of the main opposition Chadema led by the party’s national chairman Freeman Mbowe (left) seeking audience with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) leadership in Dar es Salaam last week. PHOTO I FILE  

By Mosenda Jacob @The Citizen Tz

Dar es Salaam. Following the ruling party CCM’s victory in the Kinondoni and Siha parliamentary by-elections at the weekend, the country’s opposition has once again found itself facing unchartered waters that could further extend its period of uncertainty.

The main opposition Chadema has refused to acknowledge the result and accuses the ruling party of abusing state machinery to grab the two seats, accusations that CCM has dismissed.

Touted by some as the best hope for the opposition to regain its glory, but by others as a big gamble, last weekend’s by-elections have left the opposition at yet another crossroads.

Political analysts have said the opposition faces a Herculean task taking on the more resilient, increasingly powerful CCM, which made a shock comeback in the 2015 General Election at the very moment many had thought it was over.

And as things continue falling apart for the opposition at a time the ruling party is riding on cloud nine, talk has once again shifted to the critical question: what next?

Granted, the challenges ahead are still wide and varied.

1. Coalition headache

A broader alliance for the opposition could be one of the few viable options that remain, but will the parties ever agree on anything fruitful? Posterity will tell.

The lack of a common ground, apparently, is just one of the plethora of hurdles the opposition faces going forward.

Getting all the players to agree on one thing proved a hard nut to crack ahead of the 2015 elections. At the end, it was the tale of a troubled house with some major players quitting the alliance.

But after the weekend loss, revisiting the idea remains a practical option, analysts have said.

Dr Richard Mbunda, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), says: “They have to go the same way as 2015, unless they move with the same spirit, select a young politician with wider, nothing is going to change.”

2. Disillusioned voters

Analysts say the poor voter turnout that was witnessed in what is generally perceived as an opposition stronghold is a telltale sign of bigger issues to come. It leaves the opposition with the Herculean task of mobilising disillusioned urban voters.

Out of 264,055 registered voters in Kinondoni constituency, only 45,454 turned up to cast their ballot. The CCM candidate, Maulid Mtulia garnered 30,241 votes while the main opposition challenger Salum Mwalimu (Chadema) went home with 12,353.

Dr Hamad Salim, a political analyst at the University of Dar es Salaam, says there are various factors that might have contributed to the low voter turnout.

“Low voter turnout could have been triggered by defecting leaders joining the ruling party. They feel betrayed,” he says.

“But there is also the security issue that may have forced many to stay indoors, especially after the shooting of the student.”

3. Electoral reforms

The opposition had initially decided to boycott the election before making a controversial U-turn. The main reason for not wanting to participate was its unmet demands for electoral reforms – especially calls for the independence of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

That challenge remains. To continue or not continue under the circumstances – that is the tricky question the opposition now faces.

Dr Salim says: “Their decision to participate before the reforms were made indicates how unstable the opposition seems to be.”

4. Defections

There is also a general feeling that after CCM made good on what is widely believed to be its golden pledge to return the seats to the two high-profile defectors, this could just be the beginning of opposition defections.

Dr Mbunda believes more trouble looms for the opposition.

“The opposition has a huge mountain to climb here; this trend of defections does not portend any good for them, but it will continue favouring the flourishing ruling party,” he says. “So, unless there is a proper strategy on the way forward, this will go on and on as more opposition leaders convince themselves that it’s the way to go.”

5. Housekeeping issues

There is also consensus among political analysts that any strategy the opposition comes up with, as a broader alliance, should begin with addressing the curse of personal interests.

“If they want to challenge the ruling party in the 2020 General Election, they must address personal interests within the coalition and agree on one strong political party, and one candidate backed by all,” Dr Mbunda notes.

He suggests that challenging a rejuvenated CCM will not be a walk through the park, noting the opposition may have to “rebuild Ukawa”.

Abeid Juma, a political science lecturer at Mzumbe University, says the issue of nominating candidates needs to be addressed too.

“In Kinondoni, the opposition nominated a candidate who was not a resident, and some of their followers were talking about it. Salum registered himself as a voter in Zanzibar,” he says.

Going forward, “the opposition must plan to make things right before it is too late,” he reiterates.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The failed vision of a United Africa - Part VII


By Dr Peter Kafumu

The army mutiny that began was forcing the Republic of Congo into a deep crisis, and President Kasa-Vubu and Prime Minister Lumumba tried to stop the mutiny by taking strategic actions. The actions included Africanising the army by appointing Congolese soldiers in high army positions.

Despite these actions, the mutiny continued to spread throughout the country. Lumumba then appealed to the United States and the United Nations for assistance to stop the mutiny. Both parties refused, so Lumumba turned to the Soviet Union (USSR) for support.

When Lumumba sought the assistance of the USSR, President Kasa-Vubu as well as the US, the UK and Belgium accused Lumumba of being a Marxist-communist and sought to eliminate him.

On the 14th of September, 1960, Colonel Joseph-Désiré Mobutu staged a coup d’état that deposed Lumumba as Prime Minister and was placed him under house arrest. He escaped to Stanleyville, but on the 1st of December 1960, he was captured by Mobutu’s troops in Lodi. Patrice Lumumba and his two political associates Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito were imprisoned and on the 3rd of December 1960 were sent to a military prison in Thysville Barracks, 150 km from Léopoldville.

Even in prison, Lumumba’s desire to see a free Congo did not wane. He wrote to his wife the following words: “My dear wife, I am writing these words to you, not knowing whether they will ever reach you, or whether I shall be alive when you read them. Throughout my struggle for the independence of our country I have never doubted the victory of our sacred cause, to which I and my comrades have dedicated all our lives. But the only thing, which we wanted for our country is the right to a worthy life, to dignity without pretence, to independence without restrictions”

Lumumba continued to write to his wife: “…To my sons, whom I am leaving and whom, perhaps, I shall not see again, I want to say that the future of the Congo is splendid and that I expect from them, as from every Congolese, the fulfilment of the sacred task of restoring our independence and our sovereignty. Without dignity there is no freedom, without justice there is no dignity and without independence there are no free men…”

Lumumba concluded the letter to his wife by seeing a free Africa when he said: “…The day will come when history will speak. But it will not be the history, which will be taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations. AFRICA will write its own history and in both north and south it will be a history of glory and dignity”. Do not weep for me. I know that my tormented country will be able to defend its freedom and its independence. Long live the Congo! Long live AFRICA!”

Lumumba and his two political associates were later send to Katanga and executed by a firing squad on the 17th January 1961, under the command of Katanga local authorities and the supervision of the Belgian Government. Their bodies were dismembered and dissolved it in sulfuric acid and the bones grounded and scattered.

Lumumba’s demise shook the world of justice and peace because after the announcement of his death, street protests broke up in several European countries including Yugoslavia; the UK and in the USA at the UN Security Council and in New York streets.

The death of Patrice Lumumba was also the beginning of even a greater turmoil in the Congo when President Kasa-Vubu witnessed a wave of army rebellions. As a result Moïse Tshombé separated the Katanga Region and he served as the president of the Secessionist Katanga State from 1960 to 1963 when it was suppressed by UN forces in 1963.

Tshombé was exile in Northern Rhodesia (present day Zambia), later to Spain but in July 1964 he returned to the Congo and later served as Prime Minister in in 1965; in a new coalition government when the Congolese army, assisted by Belgium managed to reconquer the entire Congo territory.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BOTTOM LINE : Authorities should stop purveyors of lies, obscenities

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Those who grew up in the 70s remember the Mahoka programme the one Radio Tanzania used to air. This programme was a comedy showing how madness can turn the impossible possible, hypothetically.

Like it or not, this programme, despite being a sort of practical hocus-pocus, was hilarious without necessarily damaging our national code and culture.

Mahoka died many years ago though the Mahoka national lives on. Currently, Tanzania is facing the threat of becoming a cultural litterbin wherein any cultural debris can be dumped in the name of entertainment. President John Magufuli has already been alarmed. He recently told artistes to put their house in order after noting that some are blindly wandering off from national culture in the name of entertainment.

Thanks to Magufuli drive, many stakeholders were put on notice. Nonetheless, the speed in which cultural decay is dealt with is not satisfactory compared to what must have been done a long time ago.

Thanks to carelessness and myopia devoid of ethos and cultural consciousness, some of our media are needless feeding us garbage in the name of making a quick buck. We now have the so-called ‘udaku’ or tabloids whose propensity is to feed garbage to our people.

There are many more tabloids in Tanzania than any country in the region. I am lucky to have visited all neighbouring countries, minus Mozambique. These countries have a few, and others completely don’t have such obnoxious and poisonous media. Are we a mahoka country that can invest in culturally poisonous and pornographic stuff at its own peril?

It is no longer disconcerting to see X-rated photos in our newsstands for everybody to see including our innocent and uncontaminated children. Ironically, while the authorities have turned a blind eye to this cultural suicide, much of the government’s attention has been directed to purging and shunning serious media simply because they don’t share the bed with it. This is wrong; and the civilised world is laughing at us for this self-inflicted collective and cultural suicide.

Another area that needs government scrutiny is religious chicanery wherein many conmen and women, quacks and money makers are making a killing by duping our ignorant and unsuspecting people that they can perform miracles to the effect of changing; and thereby solve their problems so as to improve their lives. We recently evidenced one impostor known as Apostle Tito confidently and openly preaching all absurdities without any fear.

Thank the lord; the authorities nipped him in the bud before his poison spreading so as to motivate other gunk imitators. We’ve reached a point at which anybody can go to bed a sinner and wake up a religious leader.

As if this isn’t enough, under this collective imbecilisation if I may borrow from the late professor Seth Chachage, nobody is perturbed as this sacrilege morphs itself even bigger. We now have stinking rich cons whose wealth was only made by plundering our people in the name of God.

Further, we now have druids of all sorts advertising their criminality in putrid media. They assert that they can, as it is for bogus religious charlatans, Judases and Iscariots, cure any and every disease and expel spell. They enlarge sex organs, expel spells, and create wealth and do other impossible things such as helping somebody to perform well in examination, win a court case and voila the host of innumerable nonsensical stuff. Again, what motivates such legalised criminalities? There are a couple of reasons including:

Firstly, the failure by our authorities to regulate and scrutinise them is to blame.

Secondly, another reason is the fact that in our country, currently anybody can go to bed a pauper and wake up miraculously a tycoon without necessarily showing how one made this hush-hush dosh. So, too, this systemic slackness has motivated thievery and thuggery in our country so as to evidence the surge of crime rates. As a country, we now are infamously known for killing innocent people with albinism not to mention elderly people, especially females; which speak to gender violence.

Thirdly, the fact that our people are good buffs of such garbage adds up to the surge of such harmful media.

Now we know what and where the problem is. Then what should be done? The authorities should invest in and resuscitate our lost cultural sensitivities and values.

A nation without culture is nothing but a collection of freaks whose country can be easily corrupted and destroyed by cultural imperialism, hooliganism and lunacy and the like simply because it has allowed itself to be taken for a ride either because of its myopia or greed among others.

Time for the government to pounce on udaku media has arrived. It is upon the government to wake up from the slumber it has been in since Mwalimu Nyerere left office.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The question about judges’ freedom of movement


By Fatma Karume

I am old enough to remember the time when Law Day belonged to the Chief Justice of the United Republic of Tanzania. It was a day when he articulated his vision, his hopes, aims for the coming year, and his achievements for the previous year. It was the one day of the year when the Chief Justice talked to the general public about the judiciary and in turn the President of the Law Society addressed our visions and hopes as officers of the Court. The last such Law Day was under Barnabas Samatta, CJ.

Since the very first invitation of a President (I am old enough to recall this too) to the annual opening of the court year, known as Law Day, the sobriety which used to accompany this event has ceased. The cacophony of voices in the new politicised version of Law Day has buried once and for all whatever message the Chief Justice has to give. There is so much noise now that only those who like to clap; those who are obliged; and the truly brave attend. The rest of us wait to hear what the media, both official and social has identified as the “theme” for Law Day.

The Law Day 2018 “Theme” was judicial travel during hard-earned vacations. Apparently, as with members of the civil service, judges are also expected to seek permission from the President to travel outside the country even when travelling during their vacations and on their expense. To add injury to the insult, those judges who have acquiesced and dutifully sought permission to travel were cross-examined publicly on their means.

Apparently, based on their salaries, they ought not to have the means to travel abroad. At this conclusion, there was a large cheer from the clapping crowd and lots of appreciative chuckles from those who begrudge the judiciary their Constitutional and personal independence.

I am not one of those who chuckled. Judges in this country have a right to 28 days leave in every year of service. Judges and their spouses have a right by law to a diplomatic passport and not a civil service passport. When they travel on leave, if they are travelling by air, judges have a right by law to a business class ticket with their spouses and children. So that we are clear, the law does not limit this right to travel within the country.

The government is bound by law to pay for a judge’s ticket during vacation, even if he wishes to travel to the North Pole and if he wishes to take his spouse and children to cooler climes, then that is by law the judge’s prerogative and the government has a duty to pay for business class tickets. That is what the Judges (Remuneration and Terminal Benefits) Act No. 16 of 2007 proclaims until such time as it is amended.

I want to know why a judge of the High Court going on vacation abroad had to pay for his ticket and his wife’s ticket and his children’s tickets out of his own pockets. The law of this country requires the government to pay for these tickets. I have one simple question, which no doubt will be met with silence: Why did the government not abide by the law?

If as erroneously intimated, judges who travel abroad cannot afford to do so on their salaries, and are accordingly corrupt then government should pay for their tickets as required by law. At least that would close one door to corruption. There was a lot said in the judges’ defence and the purpose of this article is not to repeat it all but to add an argument that with some concern, I have not read anywhere else.

I was personally perturbed to learn that members of the Judiciary have been reduced to seeking permission from the Executive to travel outside the country during their vacations even when paying their own way. When you seek permission from another person to travel, it necessarily means that the person from whom you are seeking permission has the right to grant or refuse you the permission.

When did the Judiciary become so beholden to the Executive that the manner in which an individual judge chooses to spend his free time must first be approved or denied by the Executive? This state of affairs is worrisome.

When the guardians of our Bill of Rights, believe that they have to seek permission from the Executive to exercise their right to freedom of movement, we are truly sailing in troubled waters indeed. I do not even want to imagine a judge of the High Court sitting down and penning a letter to seek permission to exercise his legal and constitutional right to travel during a vacation paid for by himself. The thought alone sends me into a tailspin.

For those of us who have forgotten, be it conveniently or otherwise, article 17(1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania guarantees our right to freedom of movement inside and outside Tanzania, save in limited circumstances. The said article provides:

(1) “Every citizen of the United Republic has the right to freedom of movement in the United Republic and the right to live in any part of the United Republic, to leave and enter the country and the right not to be forced to leave or be expelled from the United Republic.

I have no doubt that my article will prompt some people, who shall remain nameless, to use their expertise to interpret article 17 in all manner of interesting ways, so as to justify presidential powers over an individual judge’s right to freely leave and enter the country when on vacation.

My argument is a simple one with neither genius nor disingenuousness. Article 17(2) of the Constitution sets out the exception to our inalienable right to freedom of movement and that exception must be made under a law or a lawful act. A lawful act, means an act that is premised on a law.

To those geniuses amongst us, if the President’s requirement that judges seek his leave before travelling abroad is a lawful act, I ask only that you name the law that empowers him because I will challenge it as unconstitutional and then we shall see the interpretation of article 17 of the Constitution, which the judiciary will favour, mine or yours. I am waiting patiently. If such a law does not exist, then there is only one thing to do. For the sake of our civil liberties, it is high time that we all start distinguishing between our rights and obligations under the law and our rights and obligations under the will of an individual. In my view, in the latter case, we have no obligations, but only our rights to protect.

I hope when my grandchildren read this article they will be confident of their rights and they will appreciate that their civil liberties were not gifted but were hard fought.

Ms Karume was called to the Bar in the Middle Temple and is an advocate of the High Courts of Tanzania and Zanzibar. She is presently Senior Litigation Partner with IMMMA Advocates in Dar es Salaam.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BOTTOM LINE : Can AU tackle corruption without decolonising Africa?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

African heads of state recently congregated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and made noises about strategising how to tackle corruption in Africa. Those who know how and why corruption is blessedly endemic in Africa, the agenda raised eye brawls after hearing such a pipedream dreamt by the very culprits. In looking into how fighting corruption in Africa can be actualised or not, I’ll look into the following to see what is into them:

First, are African rulers really serious about this grand standing? If they’re, what have they individually already done to address the problem in their countries? Ironically, the president who is renowned for practically fighting corruption, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli didn’t attend. He instead, sent his PM. Why? Maybe, he doesn’t see any sincerity and seriousness in this or doesn’t want to waste money on palaver. The same applies to Davos annual congregation his predecessors liked to waste money on.

Secondly, is there anyway one can fight corruption in Africa without firstly fighting and stamping out internal colonisation presided over by black colonisers who are legally above the law as a motivation for becoming corrupt knowingly that they’ll never been brought to book? I don’t know; if the presidents who tampered with the constitutions of their countries have any moral authority left for them to fight corruption.

What corruption are they fighting without defining it? As I know, there are many types of corruption from mega, petty, institutional and systemic revolving around the mother of corruption namely political corruption in which clientelism and other menaces such as the politics of ‘it is our time to eat’ thrive.

It is under this system notably, wherein politicians took over and become the masters of everybody including other bands of elites. It is this juncture at which serious opposition; political parties and politicians are eliminated or corrupted so as to join a gravy train. Indeed, it is at this juncture corruption was legalised by the backdoor while accountability divorced.

Thanks to political corruption resulting from internal colonisation, African rulers or black colonisers have never injected any accountability to their people. They’re only accountable to their masters who seldom change guards when need be. Thanks to the demands from their masters, corruption and rent-seeking have become rampant so as to allow rulers and a few “untouchable” elites to hold their countries to ransom pointlessly.

To survive, many black colonisers purposely decide to deprive their people of services. For, once people are deprived of services, apart from facing hardships, miseries and poverty, they spend much time struggling to just survive; and thereby, black colonisers thrive in power.

Internal colonisation

Further, due to political corruption and internalised internal colonisation, officials elected in public offices after bribing voters, normally use their position to recoup the money they spent on their election.

As well, such officials are easily bribed by big corporate which use them to pass the laws that favour their businesses. To cap it all, electoral malpractices involving individuals and their political parties mainly the ruling ones seem to be systemically accepted. When Al Jazeera Television aired its program Witness depicting how political corruption has become cancer by covering the presidential election at Majaoni Secondary school in Kilifi where students were spending money and meat to bribe other students to vote for them, Van Velzen made this conclusion “it was an eye opener for me. In Kenya, corruption appears to be a survival mechanism, the only real way to get anything done. As if there is no other way. And because this is so interwoven throughout the society as a whole, children are picking up on it from a young age; be it consciously or subconsciously. They don’t know any better and copy their parents’ behavior.” Does this need AU or Kenya to address?

What should Africa do to root out endemic and systemic corruption? Africans need to rebel against the current institutions and systems governing Africa as ex-colonising powers passed it down; and was accepted, applied and replicated by post-colonial rulers.

They are purely colonial by acts and nature. Further, Africans must have institutional and systemic powers of auditing and controlling their governments to see to it that their expenditures and general practices are compatible with fiscal discipline and laws. For example, apart from stealing and wasting public funds, African governments have another carte blanche.

They are at liberty to borrow and spend money as they wish without necessarily involving those who pay the debts resulting from their borrowing and abusive expenditures.

Failure to decolonise Africa, whoever comes with proposals of tackling corruption without touching on the root causes is wasting our time not to mention making a noise.

I would conclude asking African rulers to go to Dar es Salaam and meet with Magufuli instead of going to Addis Ababa to burn their poor taxpayers’ money on empty talk needlessly.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

African oppositionists defy the stormy waters

A woman holds a flyer as she takes part in a

A woman holds a flyer as she takes part in a protest calling call for President of South Africa Jacob Zuma to step down outside the Johannesburg City Hall on April 1, 2017. PHOTO I FILE  

By Ciugu Mwagiru @TheCitizenTz

Nairobi. In the wake of the recent media shutdown and a dramatic clampdown on the opposition in Kenya, opposition parties in other African countries have been flexing their muscles against all odds.

In South Africa, for instance, top opposition leaders are at the forefront in calling for the speedy departure of embattled President Jacob Zuma, who is facing yet another motion of no-confidence.

Among Zuma’s detractors are oppositionists Bantu Holomisa of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the fiery Julius Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party.

They have reportedly won the support of Mmusi Maimane of the Democratic Alliance, with the latest vote of no confidence against Zuma scheduled for budget day.

According to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Baleka Mbete, the budget will be read on February 22, days after the President’s State of the Nation Address.

Assuming that he will already have taken over the top job from his beleaguered boss, supporters of vice-president Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the ANC president, have reportedly demanded that he and not Zuma should make the crucial address.

The latest deadline for Zuma’s exit from the presidency is February 21, and opposition street protests have been planned for what some have termed “the final push”.

In the meantime, on Wednesday this week the government of Chad suspended the activities of 10 opposition parties for two months.

The parties were accused of “disturbing public order” and “inciting violence”, and the move followed a march on Tuesday called by the country’s unions but forcefully dispersed by police, reportedly leaving some people injured.

The suspension, announced by security minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, followed a decision by the parties to back trade union calls for a mass protest over austerity measures.

Also banned was a major march scheduled for Thursday, and which was expected to bring together civil groups, trade unions and opposition politicians opposed to recent cuts in public spending.

Although described by the Finance ministry as vital for staving off bankruptcy in the country, the cuts have increased social tension and anger at President Idriss Déby, who has been in power since 1990.

Instructively Chad, where almost half the population of 14 million lives below the poverty line, has endured two years of severe recession worsened by a slump in oil prices.

As the country’s oppositionists took to the streets, their counterparts in Sierra Leone were challenging a proposal by the police to ban vehicular movement during election day on March 7.

The police proposal was contained in an MoU it presented to the parties last month, and was purportedly informed by the rising tension in the run-up to polling day.

Described as a security measure, it would see only government vehicles and those with a special pass allowed on the roads.

Opposition leaders however protested that they were not consulted when the MoU was prepared, and were only presented with it for signing.

Even as the police vowed to implement the MoU, they declined to sign it and described the move as suspicious, saying it would effectively lock down the country.

According to media reports, ten of the 17 registered political parties were opposed to it, claiming that the planned restriction was bound to bring to question the integrity of the electoral process.

Given that many polling centres are long distances apart Dr Denise Bright, the chairman of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), said the police proposal infringed on citizen’s rights of movement and assembly.

Following claims that the aged and people with disabilities would particularly be affected, in a joint statement issued on Wednesday the parties called on the Inspector General of Police to scrap the plan.

Also raised were other concerns they wanted addressed ahead of the March 7 polls, particularly relating to the general conduct of the police force.

Claiming that its members had previously been used to rig elections in favour of the incumbent, the oppositionists demanded several reforms on their deployment.

Pointing out that the police would be on duty on voting day and would be free to vote wherever they find themselves, the opposition leaders alleged that in the past rogue police officers had taken advantage of that arrangement.

While claiming that in the past police officers had voted multiple times, to the advantage of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party, the leaders also alleged that that thugs have been given police uniforms.

That would enable them to intimidate other parties’ agents and facilitate vote rigging, said the leaders, threatening to go to court if their demands were not met.

The leaders of 10 opposition parties were scheduled to meet Friday to deliberate further on plans for the looming election.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

E-passports and the critical cybersecurity question

President John Magufuli officially launching

President John Magufuli officially launching the e-passport at the Immigration Headquarters in Dar es Salaam recently. Looking on is Zanzibar President, Ali Mohamed Shein. PHOTO | STATE HOUSE 

By Neemayani Sanare Kaduma

E-passports are a recent example of a planned initiative for government to go more digital. The issuance of such passports is expected to lead to faster, more secure and efficient processing of travellers at border control points. Similarly, the issuance, renewal and replacement of passports will be more efficient thus saving costs to the government.

The efficiency in these processes will benefit us as citizens as a lot of time will be saved, which can be productively spent elsewhere. Some of you may have noted how quickly your fellow passengers get cleared when you arrive at certain airports (in countries such as the UK which have already adopted e-passports) through the “automatic border-control gates” while you are stuck in a long-winding queue.

Aside time and cost savings, the e-passports will also enhance controls against illegal immigration and national security in general. These benefits are in line with the government’s technology transformation projects which aim for efficiency and greater customer satisfaction, but also introduce new challenges.

Key challenge

One key challenge is how the Immigration Department is going to secure our data to ensure confidentiality, integrity and availability. Data that identifies you as a citizen will be stored in a system, and this includes biometric data (such as fingerprints, iris scans) and other forms of data deemed useful.

At the time of travel, the information on your e-passport chip will be validated against a central database that has all your information in order to authenticate your identity.

So, have adequate measures been thought of to safeguard this sensitive data? What if your data gets manipulated, and your fingerprints end up being stored on someone else’s e-passport?

Given the sophistication needed from the system to securely process travelers at our borders and curb illegal immigration, you can imagine the value attached to the authenticity of your personal data. What if your data falls in the wrong hands? What controls will be in place to prevent this from happening?

Incidentally, this is not the first project that the Government has embarked on where citizen’s data is being collected and stored. We first had the National ID project, where we had to provide personal details and biometric information (fingerprints). Then came the electoral database where we provided pretty much the same information.

Where is all this data being stored? How is it protected? And more importantly, can this information be centrally managed and shared such that we do not have to supply the same details over and over again? But this latter point is for another conversation, for now let me focus on the data security risks.

Even where the process is automated, human intervention will still play a part leading to some of the risks mentioned above.

Human intervention is required at the point of capture or update of details in the system, as well as maintenance of the system. It is this human element that is prone to making errors and can be compromised sometimes (with or without their knowledge).

In addition, the system in itself is made up of various components such as the application, the database and the network. If any of these is not well secured, it can provide a loophole for data or the system to be manipulated.

A good analogy will be having an expensive car (the system) that is full of gold (citizen’s data) and having it parked outside a house that has no fence or security guard.

Cybersecurity ecosystem

The in-built security of the car in itself does not prevent thieves from getting to the gold. It is the entire ecosystem that needs to be secured to ensure the gold is well protected. The same applies to cybersecurity ecosystem required to address the challenges above.

I know the word puts off some people as they think cybersecurity is the job of the IT department. But it’s not only IT that should be involved. We all have a part to play. For e-passports, this includes the applicant, the junior immigration officers, right through to the top most ranking people who own this project.

With more than 100 countries already using e-passports, the technology itself is likely to be robust. However, when we look at the “ecosystem” and given that Tanzania does not yet have a national framework for cyber security risk management, are we ready to tackle and address the threats and vulnerabilities that come with such initiatives?

So, whilst we embrace these great initiatives which will take our country forward and bring about much needed efficiency, we should also address the risks involved and in particular cybersecurity which is a new norm, and which will increase in sophistication as we innovate and integrate more systems.

How should we ensure the integrity, confidentiality and availability of all our data?

Firstly, everyone has a part to play when it comes to cybersecurity. Gone are the days when this was an “IT” problem only! Provided that you interact with a system or the internet through any device (smartphone, laptop, tablet etc.) you should take good measures to keep your information secure.

We do not sleep with the front door of the house open just because there is a security guard outside. The same principle applies in cybersecurity. Every user has a role to play. As such, all the people involved in the process of filling in, processing and maintaining data required for the e-passports need to be educated on how to be secure in cyberspace.

Clicking unknown links

This starts from the basics of having strong password controls to not clicking unknown links (as such links can be malicious and infect the user’s machine or give access to hackers). This education needs to be given continuously and it has to stay current and relevant as technology keeps evolving.

Secondly, the system that will be processing and storing data for e-passports must have robust features that will ensure data integrity is maintained. This is where IT and the user departments come and work together.

As the system will be hosted in a network connecting it with various border points, this network must be designed with security in mind. The main objective being to protect the system from external and internal attacks.

Secure protocols and encryption needs to be in place when data is being transmitted between two points to prevent it from being intercepted. In addition, there need to be detection mechanisms that will alert Immigration on a timely basis when an attempt is made to attack or access the system without proper authentication.

Well-designed processes

The above concepts cover “people” and the “systems”. The third component that is key in addressing cybersecurity is “processes”. There needs to be well designed processes and controls in each activity that involves e-passports, be it creation, updates, renewals etc. Such processes if not well designed, can also provide a loophole for exploitation of the security threats and vulnerabilities mentioned earlier. In addition, the Immigration Department must also have a process of responding to “electronic-related” incidents.

Then there is an aspect of good work ethics which seem to be disappearing these days when it comes to maintaining confidentiality. This you can tell by the number of instances sensitive corporate information has made the rounds in social media (thanks to smartphones).

So in educating people, staff should also be sensitised (particularly the ‘young smartphone-savvy’ users) not to snap sensitive data and share this through social media.

This then brings me to the last point regarding the skillset required to address cybersecurity issues. There is a significant shortage of experienced or qualified cybersecurity professionals in this field both locally and globally (as noted by various reports by PwC, ISACA, Protiviti, etc). Tanzania currently has about 250 such professionals (based on Serianu 2016 report on Cybersecurity).

This number is clearly inadequate given the extent of automation and integrated systems in the public sector alone – and this is before considering the demands of the private sector, which includes some heavily automated industries such as telcos and banks.

So, both public and private sectors have a common interest to invest in the skills-set of those people needed to implement the control measures mentioned above to minimise cybersecurity risks.

So, whilst we embrace these great initiatives which will take our country forward and bring about the much needed efficiency, we should also address the risks involved and particularly cybersecurity which is a new norm and will only increase in sophistication as we innovate and integrate more systems.

Sanare Kaduma is an associate director with PwC and the ISACA Tanzania Chapter President


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Eala seeking autonomy, ever an elusive dream?

One of Tanzania’s representatives to the East

One of Tanzania’s representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala), Dr Ngwaru Maghembe, takes the oath of allegiance during a recent session at the Eala headquarter in Arusha. PHOTO I FILE  

By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3

Arusha. After a delay of about six months due to the long election period in Kenya, the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) is back to business and has been holding a plenary session, which ends this week in Kampala.

The legislative organ of the East African Community (EAC) is now using the resumption of business to once again press hard for full autonomy in discharging its duties.

Still, it remains an ambitious target for the regional legislative organisation.

“Autonomy for Eala is vital and the Parliament of Uganda is so keen to see it operationalised,” says the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Ms Rebecca Kadago, as the fourth Assembly convened there two weeks ago.

The members - nine each from the six EAC partner states - were sworn in in Arusha in December last year. A Rwandan legislator, Mr Martin Ngoga ,was elected the Speaker.

Repeated calls for full financial and administrative autonomy for Eala and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) have been made for years, albeit without much success.

It is said that most of the the powers, including the recruitment of staff, procurement matters and budget administration are still under the firm control of the Secretariat, the executive arm of the Community.

Repeated calls for autonomy for Eala, in particular, gained much currency during the fourth Eala session whose five year tenure (2012-2017) ended in June last year.

The MPs insisted numerous times that full autonomy of the legislative body, especially on financial matters, would ensure that it discharges its activities more effectively and efficiently.

Eala, though, has legislative functions as well as oversight of all the EAC matters.

The enactment of the legislation of the Community is effected by means of bills passed by the Assembly and assented to by the Heads of State.

In 2016, a resolution was passed, which called for the granting of full financial and administrative autonomy to Eala and EACJ as part of the proposed reforms within the regional organisation.

Similar calls were made during an induction workshop for the new legislators, which preceded the plenary sessions in the Ugandan capital.

Mr Abdirahin Haithar Abdi, the former Speaker of the second Assembly challenged the regional Parliament to push for its autonomy “if it is to effectively undertake its mandate”.

He was categorical that administrative and financial autonomy will give the regional Assembly the much needed impetus and space to drive the integration process.

The former Speaker from Kenya added that the decisions of the Assembly were determined by majority vote “and thus Eala should not be bogged down by the principle of consensus”.

He further stressed that not only to prioritise key activities in their undertakings but allocate the resources in the same direction. He served as Speaker from 2007 to 2012.

And the immediate former Speaker from Uganda Daniel Kidega called on the new members to spend more time on research “in order to effectively contribute to the debates from the standpoint of information.”

He maintained that as a regional legislature, it was necessary for members to avoid taking country positions in the debates but rather embrace the regional standpoint.

“The idea of integrating EAC and the region must always be the bigger picture”, he said, further urging the new Eala members to embrace financial discipline and decorum.

The former EAC secretary general Amanya Mushega warned the current leaders that they have to show committment to the regional integration because memories of the collapsed former Community are still there.

“The former EAC took off on a sure footing but ideological differences among the partner states led to its collapse”, he said, adding;

“The current EAC remained on track. However, the question of timing and speed was of the essence”. Mr Mushega was the EAC boss from 2001 to 2006.

On the other hand, Ms Kadaga emphasised the principle of rotation (among the partner states) in the appointment of key officials of the EAC and hosting of major events of the regional body.

“As legislators, we must direct our efforts towards a unified and empowered EAC,” she said, adding that the MPs should look beyond nationalism to a regional mindset.

Eala Speaker Martin Ngoga said the assembly was keen to take the mantle to the next level. “This is what it means with continuity and facilitating growth”.

In 2015, addressing an Eala session in Nairobi, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged to support the push for the regional body’s self-governance. He told the MPs that self-rule would be important for the community to deliver on its mandate. “This proposal has my full support and I will consult with brothers to see it introduced quickly.”


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

BOTTOM LINE : JPM’s bid to restore our culture must be supported

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

After taking over from Jakaya Kikwete, who was criticised by some for his “auto-pilot” leadership approach, President John Magufuli changed Tanzania by piloting the plane himself. His advent has recast Tanzania, sending it back to the international limelight in what can be termed as the result of Magufulication.

Practically, Dr Magufuli has stridden where his predecessors feared to, principally on endemic and systemic corruption and disarming party networks within his ruling party. Whether Magufuli has transformed Tanzania or not, all depends on where one is located. For example, when Dr Magufuli decided to take on systemic rot such as chronic and endemic corruption and lack of ethos, the world became aware of how rotten the country was.

A man of his own, he decided to zero in wherever he thought had some problems. Remember academic cheaters and ghost workers? Remember those who were used to mission to town?

Recently, Magufuli took on the monkey-see-monkey-do creatures whose minds cheat them that without adopting foreign nonsense one is not modernised. Such deficiency-cum-dependency seems to have turned Tanzania into a cultural garbage bin wherein any dirty culture would get a fertile soil.

As a result, Tanzania lost its culture and dignity in the name of art. It reached the point at which self-respecting people wouldn’t listen to some FM radios or watch TVs in the presence of their children or relatives. Now that Magufuli has decided to restore national culture, he must be supported.

Thanks to Magufuli’s actions and spirit, I equate him with a true African parent. Every parent would like his or her children to follow his or her teachings wholesale, mainly if and when such teachings are acceptable according the mores and norms of the society. Every parent would like his or her children be good and successful.

A good African parent jealously defends and teaches kids to follow instructions and intuitions so that they succeed. Do they follow and understand? Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. Children’s behaviours and responses beg for parent’s efforts and wisdom. Sometimes, a parent needs to be strict; and sometimes, not. All depends on the issue at hand.

As for Magufuli, he has real and unique love for his kids, Tanzanians. Do they understand his love missions and visions? The answer is yes and no. Does he know how they arrogantly and ignorantly evaluate his mission and vision for them? A parent is like a dumpster. He or she must accept whatever comes from kids; and must accept their behaviours however bad or good they might be. A family is like a country under polypartism. There are rebels, sycophants, patriots and letdowns. If you tell them to change for those with unbecoming behaviours. Usage is a chronic disease for both. A change is difficult to accommodate.

Criminals hate the judge and the law but not their delinquency. This is natural; not new or old. To succeed in bringing up children uprightly needs maturity, patience and wisdom. It is like fishing. You don’t know if you’ll catch a fish or a gator. They all are yours.

When it comes to Magufuli and Tanzania as to whether his move is constructive or destructive, it depends on a person to assess. Currently, common wananchi are happy, especially after reclaiming Tanzania’s lost glory which took a hit soon after Mwl Julius Nyerere retired. Nyerere’s exit ushered in lack of ethics, mega corruption, and above all, negligence and nihilism nationally.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The failed vision of a united Africa - Part V

Patrice Lumumba speaks at a press conference on

Patrice Lumumba speaks at a press conference on 8th September 1960. photo |file 

By Dr Peter Kafumu

Patrice Lumumba’s leadership life was too short, but in this narrative we continue celebrating his legacy and remember the words he left us in his quest to see the liberation of Congo and development of the African Unity.

In late October 1959, Lumumba was arrested for stirring an anti-colonial riot in Stanleyville. He was sued and sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Congolese Roundtable Conference to prepare the country for its independence was to begin on the 18th of January 1960 in Brussels, Belgium.

At the same time, the MNC won a majority in the December local elections. This election victory encouraged Congolese delegates to the Roundtable Conference in Brussels to pressurise for the release of Lumumba to attend the conference.

He was released and allowed to attend the conference in January 1960.

The conference declared that the Congo was to gain its independence on the 30th of June 1960, and that elections would take place between the 11th and 25th of May, 1960.

The Alliance des Bakongo (ABAKO) party of Joseph Kasa-Vubu won a significant number of votes in Parliament, but not an outright win; and therefore, a political compromise was agreed between ABAKO and the MNC.

On the 23rd of June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became first Prime Minister and Kasa-Vubu the President of the Republic of the Congo.

On Independence Day (30th of June 1960), King Baudouin of Belgium, in his speech, promised continued support to the Republic by saying: “Don’t replace the structures that Belgium hands over to you, until you are sure you can do better. Don’t be afraid to come to us. We will remain by your side, to give you advice.”

Thrilling Pan-Africanist speech

On the contrary, Lumumba, who was not scheduled to speak on this occasion, gave a thrilling pan-Africanist speech that negated the “friendliness” speech of King Baudouin and shocked every dignitary, and the Western media.

Lumumba’s speech commenced by telling the Congolese people that the independence of the Congo was not a generosity concession that given by the Belgian King, but the freedom was conquered in a struggle by the nationalist movement of the people.

He said: “For this independence of the Congo, although being proclaimed today by agreement with Belgium, an amicable country, with which we are on equal terms, no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that it was by fighting that it has been won”

The speech outlined the personal suffering of the people during the independence struggle, by speaking the following words: “A day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood.

We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and just struggle, and indispensable to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force.”

Towards the end of his speech Lumumba clearly showed his pan-African dream of a united Africa in the future to come when he spoke the following words: “The Congo’s independence is a decisive step towards the liberation of the whole African continent.”

And at the end of the speech, he concluded by glorifying the freedom fighters and wishing a long life of the sovereign independence of the Congo and the unity of African continent by saying: “Glory to the fighters of national liberation! Long live independence and AFRICAN UNITY! Long live the independent and Sovereign Congo.”

This Lumumba’s dramatic speech was termed as a ‘venomous attack’ to the ideals of the West.

It was also interpreted as a personal attack to King Baudouin of Belgium. The speech caused a diplomatic friction that opened the Belgian-Congolese crisis, plunging the former Belgian Congo colony into anarchy.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A new push to keep conflicts at bay as TZ seeks oil, gas benefits

An oil pipeline. There has been a push for a

An oil pipeline. There has been a push for a comprehensive overhaul of laws governing natural resources in Tanzania, and East Africa as a whole. It has gathered momentum after recent discoveries of more oil and gas in the member states 

By Zephania Ubwania @ubwanizg3

Arusha. With the recent discoveries of huge natural gas reserves, Tanzanians have joined the league of an estimated 3.5 billion people in the world who live in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals. But how will the East African giant evade the global resource curse almost synonymous with this kind of wealth?

This is one of the fundamental issues that a new project is seeking to address through pushing for more legal reforms in the extractive sector.

Launched recently in Arusha, the Canadian-supported Supporting Inclusive Resource Development in East Africa (SIRD) is aimed at pushing for law reforms in the oil and gas sectors to make them beneficial to the local people -- an apparent bid at stemming conflict sparked by inequatable distribution of benefits.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Florence Ochago, the principal legal officer with the East African Community (EAC), reiterated that the country needs to tread careful as it seeks to utilise the natural resource.

“There has not been prudent planning and management of most natural resources, especially oil, leading to massive exploitation of communities and little improvement of the poverty in the resource-rich areas,” she said at the two-day forum.

She noted that in many countries it “skewed” distribution of benefits from the extractive industry that are exacerbated by bad policy and legal frameworks, sparking conflict.

The two-day forum, which brought together representatives from the women’s groups, government, private sector, academics and NGOs, was also aimed at analysing the governance structures of the extractive industry in the region.

It was also intended to identify key challenges and opportunities that will maximise and benefits and reduce harms, in particular to women and girls, affected by the mega oil, gas and minerals projects.

Matters pertaining to the extractive industries have been rather controversial for years even as many African countries discover more oil, gas and mineral resources.

At one time, the Tanzania government admitted that it was having difficulties to negotiate and manage large-scale investment contracts because of anomalies over taxation. One of the reasons was that many taxation experts and lawyers lacked necessary skills in making tax assessments especially for the extractive industry.

“We in the midst of extracting huge deposits of gas in our country. We need to enhance the capacity of the government to negotiate and manage large-scale investment contracts,” a senior government official said here during one of the capacity building workshops for tax experts and lawyers.

Some five years ago, experts from the EAC member countries met in Bujumbura, Burundi to fine tune what they said were final draft frameworks to guide the development and promotion of extractive industries and value-addition in the region.

They also examined and identified the mineral resource potential and opportunities for value-addition within the region with specific focus on the existing legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks in the extractive and mineral processing industries.

Generally, Africa’s experience with oil and minerals has not been rosy. In the majority of resource-rich countries, exploitation of natural resources is invariably linked to corruption, economic stagnation, conflict, social inequality and widespread poverty.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

You can’t block an idea whose time has come

Supporters react as they are addressed by the

Supporters react as they are addressed by the unseen Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) coalition during a rally at Kamukunji ground in Nairobi on october 18, 2017. PHOTO | FILE 

By Rasna Warah

In this era of fake news, where “optics” (perceptions) matter more than reality, it is not surprising that the Jubilee government panicked when it saw thousands of people gather at Uhuru Park, Nairobi, to “swear-in” the ‘People’ President’, Raila Odinga, on January 30.

As the Nation reported, the event was “the greatest sign of political defiance ever seen in modern Kenya”.

An insecure government whose power rests on shaky ground cannot tolerate such acts of mass rebellion, and so, three major news channels – NTV, Citizen and KTN – were shut down, apparently because they defied an order from the President not to air the ceremony live.

Media shutdown

Instead of condemning this action as unconstitutional and against the freedoms enshrined in the United Nations Charter, the international community – notably the UN and the Western governments – remained rather mute.

For them, a people-driven democracy is probably more threatening than one that is the result of a disputed election.

Jubilee supporters such as the inimitable Mutahi Ngunyi, were ecstatic about the media shutdown.

“We have 43 TV stations or so in Kenya,” he tweeted.

“If you shutdown three stations, how is that a media clampdown? Government should shut them down forever. Kenya is happier without their acidic pessimism.”

Nyayo era

It is hard to believe that we are now in the same place we were three decades ago, when Daniel arap Moi and his henchmen muzzled the media through the threat of imprisonment or torture, and when journalists such as Wahome Mutahi were picked up on trumped-up charges and jailed.

Now, NTV’s Linus Kaikai, Larry Madowo and Ken Mijungu and many others could face the same fate.

While Western countries hesitated to condemn this blatant violation of press freedom, their media and human rights organisations were quick to criticise the government’s action.

“Kenya should be a beacon on the continent for media freedom and the public’s right to access information, yet government censorship continues to erode Kenya’s status as a leader on African press freedom,” Committee to Protect Journalists’ Africa coordinator Angela Quintal said.

NRM banned

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i banned the Raila Odinga-led Nasa’s National Resistance Movement, which he described as “an organised criminal group”, placing it in the same category as Al-Shabaab and other proscribed organisations.

Spokesperson Mwenda Njoka stated that this designation was “based on evidence that the government had seen but did not plan to share” that linked the group to armed activity. (Lest we forget, the Mau Mau remained proscribed throughout the Kenyatta I and Moi regimes. The ban on the liberation movement was only lifted in 2003, after President Mwai Kibaki took office.)

Thankfully, no one died or was injured last Tuesday, largely because the security forces were ordered to keep off the venue, which goes to show that when people are allowed to do their thing, protests can be peaceful.

Political defiance

The January 30 event demonstrated that there is a large section of the population that is willing to defy the government to make a point.

Whichever way you look at it, the so-called “swearing-in” was more of a symbolic rather than literal act.

As “The People’s President”, Raila has neither the military nor the administrative authority to carry out any functions.

Like the jailed Nelson Mandela was to the people in apartheid South Africa, Raila remains a symbol of what his supporters aspire for – a country free of dictatorship, where everyone, regardless of social class, ethnic background, gender or race, has an equal chance in life, and where the ideals spelt out in the Constitution are respected.

The people at Uhuru Park, and the thousands who stayed home to watch the proceedings on TV, are not traitors out to overthrow a legitimately elected government.


They are ordinary people disappointed with the way the economy is being mismanaged and who are horrified at the casual manner with which the government is undermining rights they fought so hard for.

They believe in and want the country to be the best that it can be. This does not make them criminals.

As anti-corruption crusader John Githongo noted in a tweet shortly after the ceremony at Uhuru Park, you can arrest thousands of people, but “you can’t arrest an idea” whose time has come. (NMG)


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

By-election: an unusual gamble for rival parties

Man candidates for the Kinondoni constituency 

Man candidates for the Kinondoni constituency  by -election, opposition Chadema's Salum Mwalimu (left) and the rulling party CCM's Maulid Mtulia.The two face off in what is fast turning into a hotly-contested vote in the city.PHOTO|FILE 

By Mosenda Jacob @TheCitizenTz

        Dar es Salaam. The ruling party CCM and main opposition Chadema kicked off campaigns for the Kinondoni by-election at the weekend in their latest major tussle for votes – a showdown that analysts have hinted could prove to be too close to call.

Events that led to the colourful by-election campaign launch on Saturday, have raised more questions than answers for both the ruling party and its challengers.

With the shock surprise by the opposition to participate in the February vote, just a few weeks after its boycott threat, and the ruling CCM deciding to field a candidate who just defected from the Civic United Front (CUF), the by-election has left the country’s main political parties facing off in a gambling contest.

Tipping no party for a clean sweep, political pundits suggested in interviews with Political Platform this week that both players in one way or the other have had their hands tied, forcing them to make risky circumstantial decisions in a desperation to maximise on the by-election.

Mr Elijah Kondi, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), said that CCM and Chadema inevitably found themselves in a situation where they had to gamble.

“By fielding a defector as a candidate, CCM is taking chances but at the same time leaving no stone unturned in a situation where they can enjoy a certain advantage. Their candidate obviously can be useful amid the perception of a weakening opposition,” he said.

As for the opposition, the UDSM lecturer suggests that Chadema’s somersault on participation was a case of a hand being forced by a do-or-die scenario.

He said: “Circumstances force them. Chadema wants the seat back to the opposition. But the rules of the game may still not be fair as far as they are concerned.”

Demands for the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to make radical changes that could level the playing field in the aftermath of the controversial civic polls in 43 wards last year have not been heeded.

A socio-political analyst, Erick Mwakibete, also wrote on his Sunday column in The Citizen that Chadema’s U-turn was a gamble.

“For this political gamble to be meaningful, Chadema has to win at least one of the two constituencies. Anything less will spell serious trouble for it regardless of what the leaders say,” he opined.

There danger that opposition supporters may be disillusioned by an apparent lack of principle and inconsistence in the higher echelons of power remains stuck. It could lead to a protest vote, or voter apathy – something that will give CCM victory on a silver platter.

Hard-pressed to justify their somersault, opposition leaders gave less than convincing reasons, with Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe saying they never said they would boycott forever.

The unanswered question remain as to why this time when their concerns have not yet been addressed.

Mr Said Kubenea, Chadema legislator (Ubungo) and chief strategist in the Kinondoni by-election campaign, was also at pains during the weekend to explain the change of mind.

“We had decided not to engage in this election but after realising that CCM nominated Maulid Mtulia (who defected from CUF), we agreed to participate so that we can protect our people from fake leaders who are bribed to defect midway before accomplishing their missions,” he said.

Perceived opportunity

But there is a general feeling among observers that Chadema decided to jump onto a perceived opportunity that presented itself in the ruling party’s controversial pick for candidate.

“Chadema is banking on the goodwill of die-hard opposition supporters in this constituency – who are obviously going to punish the runaway MP for defecting,” said an impeccable source, a party insider who preferred anonymity because he is not the official spokesperson. “There is a conviction that Kinondoni is an opposition stronghold, they don’t want to let that go. But it’s a plunge into the dark.”

Another senior Chadema member, former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye said the decision was aimed at showing that “democracy is essential in the country”.

Mr Richard Lyimo, deputy secretary-general Tanzania Labour Party (TLP), warned that the opposition risked a loss due to a divided vote.

“It’s a sign of disunity that will divide voters and enable CCM to win,” he said.

Yet Dr Richard Mbunda, a political science lecturer at UDSM, said it would have been reckless for the opposition to boycott the by-elections. “The decision to participate is an opportunity to retain the seat, instead of letting it go; this is bearing into mind that they have been silenced for two years now,” he said.

With regards to CCM, Dr Mbunda said the ruling party’s decision to field Mtulia was possibly part of the deal for his defection.

“I don’t think Mtulia just defected with no cause, there must be some agreement reached between him and CCM. He possibly was assured of his choice, to retain his seat through the ruling party.”

He, however, was quick to note that CCM, while possibly keeping its promise to Mtulia, could have made a risky gamble in a constituency with educated and “well-informed” voters.

Dr Jonathan Buberwa, a political analyst at Kampala University, concurred. He warned that CCM’s bid to weaken the opposition could have led it to the decision to nominate a defector.

MP Mwigulu Nchemba (CCM- Iramba West) justified the ruling party’s decision saying the party could not deny a chance to whoever wanted “to bring light to his people”.     


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Path to take for regional integration

Dk Suzan  Kolimba

Dk Suzan  Kolimba 

By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3

        Arusha. With a multiplicity of new programmes, activities and projects rolled out each other day, the East African Community (EAC) could surely be heading to the desired integration.

But analysts have for long emphasised all the activities at hand can be fully or effectively implemented if there was harmony and peaceful co-existence among the six partner states and other players.

Dr Suzan Kolimba, the deputy minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, is one of the regional officials who believes harmonised policies and laws can lead to full functioning of the EAC pillars.

In essence, these are the Customs Union and Common Market Protocol, already enforced since 2005 and 2010 respectively and the Monetary Union which has not taken off despite ratifiction of its protocol by all states.

Dr Kolimba said good governance was essential for the smooth implementation of the EAC Common Market protocol in particular. Why? It has four segments; movement of capital, goods, people and right of establishment.

“Good governance will mitigate possibility of instability in our region in implementation of these and ensure peace and security,” she said here during the recently held EAC 6th Annual Conference on Good Governance, adding:

“It is my humble belief that you will agree with me attaining standard threshold of good governance is the process and not an event. Its attainment is through adjustment of which is through learning the best practice from others.”

Dr Kolimba, nevertheless, said the EAC partner states are determined to enhance good governance, democracy and respect of human rights and to promote peace and security “in line with our history, culture and environment”.

However, she sees some challenges that is likely to remain a challenge that could delay the realisation of a more vibrant and robust economic and politically united community.

“It is a fallacy for one to simply wish regional integration into existence. The need to address governance challenges is at the core of whatever efforts are deployed to promote regional integration,” she pointed out.

The challenge facing the East Africans, she stressed, was how best can the region collectively address governance challenges “that confront our region in a manner that responds to the opportunities that surround us”.

She implored on the EAC partner states to collectively “iron out contentious issues” and finalise sooner or later the Protocol on Good Governance, as a framework on good governance. The document has been on cards for years.

Mr Charles Njoroge, the EAC deputy secretary general (Political Federation) echoed the remarks, saying good governance was not something entirely knew because it is well articulated in the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

Article 6 (e), for instance, provides for good governance,, including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice, equal opportunities and equality.

He said democracy must be strengthened for sustainable integration, citing a number of violent conflicts in Africa and political instability which he believes are associated with undemocratic practices and governance deficits.

“The resultant challenges thus have had negative implications to achieving human security, reducing poverty and realizing other general human development,” he told the conference held recently at the EAC headquarters.

He emphasized good governance was a vital ingredient in the integration process, saying alongside with democracy, good governance was cross cutting in all four stages of integration; Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.

The former Speaker with the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) Daniel Kidega from Uganda once said there was a linkage between poverty and bad governance.

“If we don’t bring in laws which will enhance conducive laws for good governance, poor governance will accelerate poverty and will simply inflict more misery to mankind,”he said during a conference attended by parliamentarians in Nairobi.

He added: “In essence, therefore, unemployment is a key factor often leading to increased crime, radicalisation and terrorism. Insecurity further compounds the misery of inequalities.”

However, he admitted the web between bad governance, poverty and corruption was intricate such that fighting each of them was difficult due to the role normally played by the corruption vice which, according to him, has sunk deep in the society’s social fabric.     


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

An open letter to Ugandan president Museveni

President Yoweri  Museveni

President Yoweri  Museveni 

By Nkwazi Mhango

        Your Excellency president for life Hastings Kamuzu Banda, sorry, democratically elected president Yoweri K. Museveni,

First of all, forgive me for a mix-up. I happen to have roots from a country whose criminal president once declared; he was president for life as if the country were his private estate. This was long before multiparty democracy kicked in and kicked him out. This was none other than Ngwazi Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi.

I write this letter to invoke your experience and wisdom about good governance and the sacrosanctity of the constitution of the land. I must clearly state in the outset that the story I am going to delve on is about somebody else but not you, Your Excellency.

Your Excellency, I was shocked when I heard and latter read that you allowed the tinkering with the constitution in order to rule by overruling it. First of all, I could not believe. However, I had to after reminding myself how you’re able to maintain power for over 30 years equivalent to six five-year terms. What prevented me from accepting to believe that this time the fact that same old tricks would be replicated to overrule the constitution contrary to the word of another Yoweri Museveni, who, none the less, is different from you I am writing.

In 1986, at a time, he’s revolutionary and refreshing, Museveni, with razzmatazz, said that “the problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power”.

Joshing aside, as refreshing as Ugandan politicians can be, in 2015, former vice president, Prof Gilbert Bukenya said that “president Museveni has been in power for over 29 years but our hospitals are in a terrible state. He has failed to even repair the hospitals Dr. Milton Obote built. Whereas he calls him swine, Obote did better than Museveni in this area” (Daily Monitor 25 October 9, 2015).

Your Excellency, now, you can see the difference between the two Musevenis I’m talking about. I know as you know. You know what I mean. Allow me to ask you a few questions. Does a person who tinker with the constitution really believe in the sacrosanctity of the constitution of his country?

If he does, does he know that tinkering with it isn’t only treasonous but also a sacrilege? Why does such a criminal raise the Bible during being sworn in promising that you would protect, respect and uphold the constitution while in actuality you just underhold and abhor it? Do you believe in God? Do you remember the entire oath you’ve already recited five times since you came to power; and underscore its meaning, intentions , sacrosanctity and significance for you and the nation in general?

Your Excellency, may I remind you of the very oath which I’m sure you know and remember? It says: “I swear in the name of the Almighty God/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Uganda and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. (So help me God). How faithful have you been to yourself forget about Uganda, especially when you remember the words you uttered when you were ascending to power? Does a person have any allegiance to the republic of Uganda whose constitution he can tinker with not once or twice but many times? Personally, have you preserved, protected and defended the constitution of Uganda while it can be tampered with under your watch?

The other day, I heard you saying that you tinker with the constitution in order to get more time to finish off the job you started. Is Uganda a private estate any power-hungry person can use and overspend as he deems fit? What lesson does such criminality teach others, especially those under one’s watch and age?

Your Excellency, do life presidents believe in mortality or infallibility and immortality? Why am I asking such an obvious question? It is because as the bible says “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2). Why’d a mortal who came from the womb of a woman deceive him/herself with mundane things as if he/she will live forever? How do you call this in your philosophy your Excellency? If all of us would like to die in power, who will die out of it? How many years will it take for each and every one of us to do so?

Your Excellency, the other day, I heard you lambasting foreign powers for wanting to intervene in your internal affairs by branding them colonisers. You said “Buli omu afuge enyumba ye,” meaning let everyone govern his/her own house (Observer, May 13, 2016).

What happened when General Idi Amin said the same? Do you know that since Africa gained its independence, it has been under black colonisers after they unseated the white ones and siezed power from the hoi polloi? Do you know that the same black colonisers tamper with the constitutions of their countries; and are also maintained by white or external colonisers?

Time is up; maybe, next time.     

        Nkwazi Mhango

Tanzanian writer based in Canada     


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The failed vision of a united Africa- Part IV


By Dr Peter Kafumu

        Thise series of articles continue cherishing our forefathers of African pan-Africanism who died for the freedom and unity of Africa. We discuss the pan-African movement that was dedicated to establishing independence for African nations and cultivating unity among nations and peoples of Africa.

After concluding the story of Kwame Nkrumah, we begin considering the story of Patrice Éméry Lumumba of the Republic of Congo (present day Democratic Republic of Congo - DRC). Lumumba wanted an African identity but his life was cut short; his critical pan-Africanist outlook was the greatest reason of his demise. The political career of Patrice Lumumba was brief; terminated by the colonial masters, but his contribution to the pan-African movement was enormous.

Patrice Lumumba, a Pan-Africanist and iconic revolutionary, founding leader of the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) party and the Republic of the Congo. The first democratically elected leader of the country who led the Congo to independence. Lumumba played a critical role in Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium and the liberation and unification of Africa.

Lumumba was born on the 2nd July 1925 in Onalua area in the Katakokombe region of the Kasai Province in the Belgian Congo now the DRC. He accomplished his basic education in Christian schools and then attended one year course at a Government Post Office Training School and was employed as a Postal Clerk.

After studying the Enlightenment epitomes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire; and the philosophies of Molière and Victor Hugo; he was a moulded pan-Africanist and started writing poetry on anti-imperialist themes; that occasionally brought him into conflict with the colonial authorities.

He worked in Léopoldville (present day Kinshasa) and Stanleyville (present day Kisangani) as a postal clerk and while in Stanleyville he joined the Liberal Party of Belgium (LPB), where he worked on editing and as a LPB party literature distributer.

On the 5th October 1958, he participated in the formation of the Mouvement National Congolais Party (MNC) and became its leader. The MNC, was a party that did not promote ethnicity but promoted unity in attaining independence of the Congo.

In December 1958, Lumumba represented the MNC at the All-African Peoples’ Conference in Accra; a conference organized by Ghanaian President Nkrumah. In this first pan-African conference of its kind; Patrice Lumumba was a key speaker.

Lumumba in his speech at this conference; desired to decolonize the Congo by saying: “We wish to see a modern democratic state established in our country, which will grant its citizens freedom, justice, social peace, tolerance, well-being, and equality, with no discrimination whatsoever. The Congolese National Movement, which we represent at this great conference, is a political movement, founded on October 5, 1958. This date marks a decisive step for the Congolese people as they move toward emancipation”

He exposed the objectives of the Congolese National Movement and hoped to accomplish its objective of liberating the Congo; he said: “The fundamental aim of our movement is to free the Congolese people from the colonialist regime and earn them their independence. We base our action on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man — rights guaranteed to each and every citizen of humanity by the United Nations Charter — and we are of the opinion that the Congo, as a human society, has the right to join the ranks of free peoples”

Lumumba also restated his pan-African position when he said: “We are particularly happy to see that this conference has set as its objective, the struggle against all the internal and external factors standing in the way of the emancipation of our respective countries and the Unification of Africa. This is why we passionately cry out with all the delegates: Down with colonialism and imperialism!! Down with racism and tribalism!!

And long live the Congolese nation, long live Independent Africa!!...”

Dr Peter Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igumga Constituency     


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Is Dar’s image as haven of peace under threat?

Members of Parliament protest in the National

Members of Parliament protest in the National Assembly during a past session. There are growing concerns over the lack of consensus among the country’s politicians, with some analysts fearing it could damage Tanzania’s reputation. PHOTO I FILE  

By Mosenda Jacob @The Citizen Tz

        Dar es Salaam. The political hyperactivity of the recent past has seen divisions widening in the country, with some analysts blaming it on what they say is the government’s intolerance for the opposition, while others accuse the latter of fomenting unnecessary anti-establishment drama in a bid to frustrate the fifth phase administration’s positive-yielding reform drive.

While there are mixed feelings from various quarters on the extent of the impact of the prevailing divisive politics, some analysts are of the opinion that Tanzania’s image as the region’s beacon of peace is facing a testing period.

Since it gained independence in 1961, Tanzania has been playing a critical role in efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region, something which has over the years earned the East African giant a reputation as a model and source of inspiration for her neighbours that are troubled by incessant fighting.

Among other things, the country has also successfully participated in efforts to usher in peace in various countries across Africa – by supporting a good number of the continent’s liberation movements and taking the centre stage in bringing fighting forces to the negotiating table.

The founding father, Julius Nyerere, was also involved in peace negotiations in Burundi until his death, and up to now, the country continues to enjoy good relations with its troubled neighbours.

In recent years, amid persistent civil war in Burundi, Tanzania has continued being the place to rush to, not only for the civilians victimised by years of bloodshed, but also for the squabbling politicians, whose trust in the country’s ability to help secure a peaceful resolution has been more than apparent.

Retired President Benjamin Mkapa is currently the chief mediator in the Burundi crisis. His high-profile picking to resolve the tricky crisis came after then-President Jakaya Kikwete pulled a shocker in Kenya when he brought together then-President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga into a government of national unity following a bloody post-election violence.

Granted, it has taken years to build the image of peace and peacemakers in Tanzania – the only East African Community (EAC) member state to have not suffered the kind of political upheaval unfolding in countries like Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Yet there are growing concerns that Tanzania faces a testing time to keep that record.

Many are pointing an accusing finger at divisive politics.

At a press conference in Nairobi a fortnight ago, outspoken opposition Chief Whip Tundu Lissu sought to lobby the international community against the fifth phase government citing the attempt on his life last year as symptomatic of how bad the situation had become.

The lawyer, who blamed his shooting on political intolerance, appealed to the international community to pile pressure on the government he accused of trampling on human rights.

In an interview with Political Platform, Dr Moses Shirima of Kampala University noted that despite the heightened political drama, Tanzania still enjoyed its reputation as a haven of peace. But he was quick to point out that the country is going through a testing period as far as the safeguarding of that image is concerned.

He also said that the “worsening political climate should not be ignored or underestimated” but be addressed to preserve the climate of peace the country has enjoyed over the years.

Prof Josiah Mwakipesi, a political science and administration lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) concurs.

He says: “As the recent political trend shows, our country’s good image is at stake; we must try to understand what has caused unsettled disputes in neighbouring countries.”

Prof Mwakipesi cited the lack of consensus by political parties, crackdown on the opposition and climate of fear among the citizens who can no longer freely express their views as some of the negative factors that are not good for the country’s public relations.

Mr Lucas Gamanywa, a political commentator in Dar es Salaam, says events of the recent past have ushered in a new era of undesirable politics.

“The country’s image is at stake. It is as if we are returning to being a one-party state. No freedom of speech, this is not the Tanzania that I grew up knowing,” he notes.

However, Dr Benson Bana from the University of Dar es Salaam suggests fears that Tanzania faces a serious public relations crisis are exaggerated.

“Isolated incidents”

He said the country’s image is not yet under any threat because “isolated incidents” cannot be used to define the country’s peace status.

“Even though the government is obliged to protect its people, criminal and isolated incidents should not be used to undermine the government’s reform drive,” Dr Bana said.

“The opposition has mischief within itself and it cannot keep on blaming the government.”

Dr Bana opinionated that Tanzania will continue to enjoy its place as a beacon of peace in the region.

Mr Leopold Katubayemwo, an assistant lecturer at St Augustine University of Tanzania (Saut), agrees.

Peace as a culture

He is also of the opinion that the country’s image is not yet under any threat because the developments witnessed in the recent past are at the political level. According to him, the majority Tanzanians still embrace peace as a culture.

“It is thus the responsibility of all Tanzanians to refuse being driven by politicians who plant seeds of divisions, which at the end lead to polarisation,” he says.

Mr Katubayemwo, nevertheless, quickly warns that some events taking place in the country could send “a wrong signal to the international community and that may affect our position on the peace index”.

“All the same, I am still optimistic that our neighbouring countries and the rest of the world still see us as an oasis of hope in the Great Lakes region and the whole of Africa.”

And Husein Juma, also a political commentator, shares the same optimism.

“The fifth government is committed to transforming this nation, we will remain a beacon of peace in the region.”     


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

NEC faces voter apathy dilemma

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999

        Dar es Salaam. As campaigning for next month’s by-elections in Kinondoni and Siha slowly begins, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) faces a major hurdle resolving the voter apathy dilemma that haunted the January 13 polls.

Low voter turnout marred by-elections in Singida North, Songea Urban and Longido constituencies a week ago. The ruling CCM claimed a landslide victory in all the three constituencies. But the opposition under the coalition Ukawa umbrella boycotted the polls.

This was in protest against what it said was the decision by the authorities to turn a deaf ear to its demands for free and fair elections, following the controversial November 26, 2017 by-elections in 43 wards across the country.

The opposition cited a plethora of flaws during the by-elections, including alleged interference by state security agencies, ostensibly to influence the vote in favour of the ruling party.

The effect of that boycott was apparent in the poor turnout a fortnight ago when only 110,883 of the 278,167 registered voters took part in the three constituencies, according reports by returning officers.

Credibility question

Analysts are of the opinion that there is a credibility question when 167,284 registered voters, equivalent to 60.14 per cent, fail to cast their ballot. They are now urging the government to find a lasting solution to the threat of voter apathy in future elections.

Prof Gaudence Mpangala of Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu) says if the negative trend is not addressed, there is a possibility that it may put a damper on the 2020 general election.

“The country may be subjected to a tense political situation if a solution is not sought,” he told Political Platform in a telephone interview. ”

Though they may be varying factors behind poor voter turnout, analysts generally agree that the opposition coalition’s boycott decision is playing a significant role. Parties forming the coalition are Chadema, NCCR-Mageuzi, Civic United Front, National League for Democracy and Chama cha Ukombozi wa Umma.

The Zitto Kabwe-led ACT-Wazalendo is not part of the coalition but it has also vowed not to take part in next month’s by-elections unless opposition demands are met. “We will try talking to other opposition parties that have not announced their participation in the by-elections, and try to influence them against taking part in the Kinondoni and Siha constituency by-elections,” the party’s deputy secretary-general Msafiri Mtemelwa said at the weekend.

He accused NEC of failing to address what he described as “burning issues” that have left the country’s democracy at a “crossroads”.

On December 11, last year, Chadema national chairman Freeman Mbowe announced that all political parties forming Ukawa would boycott by-elections if the government fails to convene a stakeholders’ meeting to address electoral irregularities.

There is also a feeling that restrictions imposed by the government in 2016 against political rallies and demonstrations could yet be another reason for low voter turnout, apparently due to the lack of that voter excitement associated with campaigning and lobbying.

Dr Charles Kitima, former St Augustine University of Tanzania (Saut) vice chancellor, says it will be difficult to predict what impact voter apathy will have on 2020 because of the changing dynamics of politics in the country.

However, he urged consensus on the burning issues. He also said there is need to respect the country’s laws and wishes of the people.

University of Dar es Salaam political science lecturer Elijah Kondi concurs. He says it’s too early to talk about the possibility of voter apathy haunting 2020.

But he is also quick to point out that the contentious issues need to be addressed.

What should be done?

The solution, Prof Mpangala notes, lies in the strengthening of cooperation and solidarity between opposition parties. He is also of the opinion that the restoration of the new Katiba writing process could play a catalytic role in addressing the prevailing challenges. “Civil Society Organisations, academicians, the media and all the other democracy stakeholders should support political parties in this movement,” he said in a telephone interview.

Mr Kondi concurred. He expressed optimism that the new constitution had the potential to correct the weaknesses recorded during the recent by-elections.

“Why did people demand the document? It is because they saw weaknesses needed to be corrected in the process to democratise the country,” he said.

“However, since stakeholders are discouraged on how process can be revived, only political will remains the hope for the process to continue.”     


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The failed vision of a united Africa- Part III


By Dr Peter Kafumu

        This week we examine the work and role of Kwame Nkrumah in the establishment of Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The OAU was considered by many leaders of independent states in Africa as a springboard into the birth of the one federal United States of Africa.

Nkrumah was very instrumental in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963 at an African Summit conference in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Thirty-two African states met and established the organisation.

The founding members of the OAU that met in Addis Ababa included are Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire), Benin (Dahomey), and Egypt.

Other founding countries who attended were Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco (later withdrew), Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanganyika (now part of Tanzania), Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) and Zanzibar (now part of Tanzania).

On the day of the formation of Organisation of the African Unity in Addis Ababa, Nkrumah once again exhibited openly his pan-Africanist desire for Africa to be One Nation; when addressing the conference he said: “this is a decade of Africa’s independence; we are independent now and tomorrow we are a United States of Africa”

Socialist and nationalist

Nkrumah’s political administration in Ghana was both socialist and nationalist; and these political ideologies brought him in constant conflict with the Western capitalists governments, including the United Kingdom its former colonial master and United States of America.

To develop Ghana, he funded massive national industrial and energy projects, developing a strong education system, and promoted a pan-African culture in his country.

Decolonisation of Africa

During this time, the decolonisation of Africa also continued and Ghana played a leading role in this process. Kwame Nkrumah, with his strong desire to develop Ghana as well as propagate pan-Africanism in the hope of seeing one united Africa in the near future, for ten years he laboured hard until 1966.

Unfortunately the malignancy of betrayal germinated and grew in Ghana. Nkrumah after surviving four coup d’états his regime tragically ended by being ousted by a self-proclaimed National Liberation Council of Ghana in 1966 and he was exiled to Guinea.

Nkrumah lived the rest of his life in Guinea, where he was named the honorary co-president by his great pan-Africanist friend Sékou Touré, the president of Guinea.

The great pan-Africanist died of cancer in a hospital in Budapest in Hungary, and his dream of one Africa shattered.

After Nkrumah, Ghana witnessed the coming to life of a new world economic order that desired Africa economically dependent and fragmented.

Under the supervision of the National Liberation Council, and funded by international financial institutions, Ghanaian parastatals and corporations were privatised and mainly taken by foreign private investors.

The investment laws and rules that were put in place did not favour the public sector or local private sector which had neither capital nor the technology to be able to invest in the exploitation of natural resources and earn a profit that would benefits the country and its citizenry.

From that day, former colonial masters sought and engineered to economically control Ghana and the African countries and keep them poor.

Ghana as a Free State could no longer control its economy and was under siege, under economic dependence from its colonial master. Under such circumstances the dream of Nkrumah’s one Africa was shattered.     


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thank you president Donald Trump: an open letter


By Nkwazi Mhango

        Dear Donald John Trump, POTUS:

I hope you are fine. Congrats for discovering that your upstairs is normal.

Mr President, I am writing this letter to thank you for telling the truth, however bitter and ugly it was. Remember a few weeks? Do you remember how the world caught fire when you told it as it is? Let me remind you.

After being frustrated by immigration policies, you decided to call a spade a spade so as to make the whole world accuse, curse, huff and puff as if it doesn’t know who you actually are. I remember reading the Washington Post that broke the news quoting you as saying “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” First of all, those condemning you seem to have forgotten your campaign promises that your presidency will be about making America great again even if doing so means to make America a threat.

Secondly, those blaming you forget that you have proved to be the true president of the US but not the world. This is different from your predecessors who used to act as if they are the presidents of the world simply because they were presidents of the US.

Thirdly, I am wondering why people are attacking you for defending your country. Some people say that your words were abhorrently provocative and racist. Did they think that racism has been rooted out from the world?

What is the problem, to show the truth, especially how your country, and the West in general perceive others? I praise you for unearthing the true face of how the US and the West perceive others, especially those they once colonised and kept on exploiting up until now.

Those who truly know you and those who voted for you Mr. President were not shocked or annoyed provided that you represent your voters and country altogether. Mr President, hate or love what you said, I don’t hate you. I like you for being open and trustworthy. First, you are not a hypocrite. Nor are you a politician. You say what you want to say without seeking to be politically correct. And you say it the way you want to say it but not the way listeners would want you to say it.

Take on Africa and blacks

Mr President, those who do not know you and your take of Africa and black people must start researching about you. Do you remember in 1973, when you and your dad were accused of denying black people the right to rent your apartments?

As if this wasn’t enough, do you remember how in 2013, when Obama promised to assist Africa, you warned him noting that “every penny of the $7 billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen-corruption is rampant!” As if this wasn’t enough, you added that Africans “are people who import everything including matchsticks.

In my opinion, most of these African countries ought to be recolonized again for another 100 years, because they know nothing about leadership and self-governance.” Mr President, didn’t you know that African countries have never been independent like the US and the West are? How could they be independent and still begging shamelessly not to mention their elections being funded by independent countries? What is wrong with you telling them the truth?

Now, let us face it. Aren’t many African countries corrupt? Aren’t they importing matchsticks despite priding themselves that they have been independent for over six decades? Aren’t some of African rulers addicted to begging; and proud of doing so? Do those who rob their countries respect them or treat them just like shithole? Who respects shithole on earth? Don’t those tinkering with the constitutions of their countries to cling to power treat them like shithole?

Mr President, what is wrong with you telling them to put their houses in order instead of languishing in believing that the president of the US is the president of the world? What is wrong with you reminding such countries to stop clinging to colonial hangovers of thinking that they must be told lies as it has been since they gained their chimeric independence? What is wrong with you abandoning shithole policies that your country used to use by sending the CIA to topple non-complying government as it happened in Chile, the DRC and Guatemala where their leaders, Salvador Allende Castro, Patrice Emile Lumumba and Jocobo Arbenz Guzman were toppled and killed respectively simply because they were not ready to be in bed with imperialism and shithole and thuggish policies?

In sum, keep on educating the world about things by doing what many love to hate and fear to touch. Congrats for making good your campaign promises that attracted American voters to elect you.     


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Raila Odinga’s swearing in is act of desperation

        Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga

        Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga (L) of the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, speaks at a press conference ahead of a political rally in Machakos. PHOTO | FILE      

By Peter Muthamia

        “There comes a time when national interests come above individual interests”. Those were the words of the late Kenyan Professor George Saitoti after falling off with his boss, the former president of Kenya Daniel Arap Moi.

Being the vice president at the time, he thought that he was the natural Kanu party flag-bearer and subsequently, the next president. Much to Saioti’s chagrin, and to the surprise of many, Moi fronted the incumbent President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta instead of him, drawing bad blood between the two. Prof Saitoti later died in a chopper crash suspected to have been an assassination.

The words ring true, years after his untimely death. Even after the annulled August 2017 and subsequent elections held on October 26, which the opposition boycotted, there have been rumbles of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) misguided urge to go into a chest-thumbing spree and cheap posturing. They have peddled the notion to all and sundry that the Jubilee administration is illegitimate even after being sworn in as per the dictates of the constitution.

Hungry hawks

At the helm of the opposition pecking order, like a hungry hawk lurks the indefatigable oppositionist Raila Amolo Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka and a battery of other opposition leaders. He has vowed that he will be sworn in as the “the people’s president” (whatever that means). He has gone ahead to say that he will be the president even if it means doing it from the exile.

On the flipside, the ruling Jubilee Party is a tad-panicky with the Attorney-General, Prof Githu Muigai breathing fire, threatening the opposition with treason suit. This has divided the country right in the middle with half of Kenyans feeling that Kenyatta won squarely while the other half has been whipped to believe that they were cheated of the elections, they are entranced by the lies that opposition propaganda machinery has over decades filled their minds – that Raila is a freedom fighter, some sort of “messiah” to send to the proverbial Canaan.

Infantile intelligence, self-seeking ploys and fuelling of tribal sentiments

Politicians are either naive or too smart. Even a visible crackpot can sway the intelligentsia with vitendawili (riddles in Kiswahili). Adolf Hitler rode on the wave of change. According to Joachim Fest, a historian-turned-journalist in his book Hitler, the forces that catapulted a deluded man to the helm of the Nazi was the leadership vacuum that existed at the time. The same parallel can be said to apply to Kenyan politics. Now, the question is whether Kenya’s opposition is genuine or it is that its leaders are wallowing ego-driven ambition and not nationhood. The latter is true.

The appetite for self-aggrandisement has been the driving force in Kenya’s politics – a kind of adolescent intelligence that seeks to satiate only the egos of opposition without consideration for the republic. It is a deep-sited notion the opposition principles are indispensable and the urge to remain relevant.

What has been running deep is desperate ignorance and bitter hopelessness of dispossession and hatred fuelled by impotent revolution that has been neither here nor there.

What can be said of Kenya’s opposition is that their brand of politics (and that of the ruling party) are mere theatrics – the have been reading from comic scripts. The annulment of the August elections by the Supreme Court proved two things. Even listening at senior counsels arguing out for the opposition it was clear from the onset that the elections were illegal and irregular. The legal system in Kenya has weaned itself from the influence of the executive.

Nasa hopes to ride over the Constitution to create a constitutional crises. Jubilee will this time not be caught napping like it happened last year. Its best brains are working day and night to counter any eventuality after “swearing in”.

Will this “searing in” hocus-pocus bear the fruit? It is very unlikely the stunt will be no more than a street magician’s roadshow. Odinga with his many hat tricks seems to have taken the confrontational route. It will be interesting to see the outcome. As of now, Kenyans are too bored with electioneering and all that goes with it.

Manipulate the poor, render incumbent ungovernable

None of the Jubilee or Nasa politicians will ever admit openly that they are tribal. To a keen observer, the Kenya’s poor have been polarised along tribal lines since independence. Personality cults around Raila have always peddled disguised and sometimes open tribalism innuendoes.

Simple people in the grips of pipe dreams fuelled by politicians, people that cannot articulate or rationally defend the personalities for whom the so zealously are willing to sacrifice friends, family, business and the goodwill of the neighbours and even their own sanity and their children’s sanity.

What stinks to the high heavens about the opposition in Kenya is that there is a notion that distracting the incumbent from achieving the national goals makes them heroes. Heckling, picketing, rowdiness and demonstration of cheap high school demeanors earn nothing for the opposition except loath.

As Kenyans wait for the so-called “swearing in” of the “people’s president,” the nation is hankering on the unstable illusion of stability. This final card is bound to fail very miserably.

Peter Muthamia is a journalist and social and political commentator based in Dar es salaam     


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lowassa now hits out at speculation on his future

Mr Lowassa early this year paid a visit to

Mr Lowassa early this year paid a visit to President Magufuli at the State House 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3

Dar es Salaam. The adage that states that “Everything that has a beginning, has an ending” was demonstrated on Monday, January 15 after a former Prime Minister Mr Edward Lowassa ironed out speculations circulated on social media networks suggesting that the veteran politician was in plans of rejoining the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) which he served for many years.

Mr Lowassa who is also currently serving as a member of the opposition party Chadema’s Central Committee, recently faced a number of condemnations from the opposition Chadema leaders and other political stakeholders following his decision to visit and hold talks with President John Magufuli at the State House without holding consultations with Chadema’s national chairman Mr Freeman Mbowe. While at the State House, Mr Lowassa also made praiseful comments on President Magufuli something which created speculations that he was considering to rejoin the ruling party CCM.

“During a meeting with the President, we discussed about so many issues such as a cry for a new constitution, the ongoing violation of human rights, strengthening of democracy and rule of law, “ Mr Lowassa made the clarifications when he addressed journalists on January 15, 2018.

He added “We also discussed about the ongoing physical attacks against the opposition leaders, disappearance of innocent people and the current economic hardship facing the majority of Tanzanians and so forth. Therefore, it is my expectation that the President will take the matters into consideration for the betterment of the nation,”

Mr Lowassa on January 8 this year paid a visit to President Magufuli at the State House.

Addressing journalists on same day, Mr Lowassa heaped praise on the fifth phase government under President Magufuli for its efforts to implement various development projects including a 300km Standard Gauge Railway project from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.

Mr Lowassa said he was optimistic that the move would lead to creation of job opportunities for Tanzanians.

“I am impressed with the way he implements various development projects for the betterment of the nation. Frankly he needs to be supported so that he can accomplish even more,” said Lowassa.

For his part, President Magufuli also heaped praise on Mr Lowassa and described him as “true and complete politician”.

“I faced a number of insults from other opposition candidates during the 2015 presidential general election campaigns, but Mr Lowassa did not engage in a verbal fight with any of the candidates including me,” said the President when he spoke to journalists on Monday, January 8 at the State House.

He added “I also acknowledge that those who insulted me during the campaigns, were not sent by him to do so, they did it on their own,”

Speaking to the Political Platform in different exclusive interviews over telephone, some political stakeholders have expressed their opinions over the recent speculations targeting the former Prime Minister.

“To me, he is not a quitter. Despite the fact that he has gone through various obstacles but he didn’t step down from politics,” lecturer in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr Benson Ban made this observation when interviewed by the Political Platform reporter, describing Mr Lowassa as a ‘fighter’ not a “quitter”.

He added “To begin with, Mr Lowassa has gone into record as Prime Minister who willingly resigned after being implicated in the Richmond scandal in the history of Tanzania. Adding, as a result, majority of the people had expected him to give up and disappear from politics, but he didn’t quit,”

Commenting on Mr Lowassa’s decision to pay a visit to President Magufuli at the State House, Dr Bana stated “I don’t think if there is a section in the Chadema Constitution that prohibits it’s members from visiting and holding talks with the President at the State House. Again, the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania doesn’t prohibit opposition leaders from paying a visit at the State House.

Therefore, as a politician, Mr Lowassa has a constitutional right to do so.”

He further described the ongoing criticisms by the Chadema leaders as “disrespectful” to the former Prime Minister, citing that the veteran politician had more political experience than any of the opposition leaders.

“I have read newspapers, people described his decision to commend President Magufuli as “unacceptable “, “disrespectful “. But I can assure you that there is no opposition leader who has a better political experience than him, “ he said.

However, a senior lecturer at the Ruaha University College, Prof Gaudence Mpangala described the former Prime Minister as “an opportunist” rather a “committed” politician.

He further clarified that Mr Lowassa’s decision to leave the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) for opposition Chadema was just to accomplish his desire to win the presidency during the 2015 presidential general election.

“After the ruling CCM failed to select him as its candidate for the October 2015 presidential election, he left the party and stood as an opposition candidate,” he said.

He further clarified that “His decision to visit the State House and commend the President, is unacceptable. As an opposition leader, he has somehow destroyed his reputation. It clearly shows that he is not well committed to serve the opposition.”

The 2015 presidential general election

Mr Lowassa was among the five CCM presidential candidates to contest for presidency during the 2015 presidential general election.

Other candidates included Asha-Rose Migiro, the former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2007 to 2012, Mr January Makamba who is currently serving as the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment and Dr John Magufuli, a former Minister of Works.

However, Mr Lowassa could not make to top three after his name was cancelled by the CCM central committee led by the former president of fourth phase of government Dr Jakaya Kikwete.

Upon his departure, the leaders of CCM had been worried in the face of what many expected to be a greatly strengthened opposition. Regarding the fact there was the possibility that it could face defeat on election day – October 25.

However, he lost the election in which CCM candidate Dr Magufuli won the election in which in November 5th, 2015 he was announced as Tanzania’s fifth president to succeed the outgoing Mr Kikwete whose final term came to an end.

Upon losing the election, Mr Lowassa remained as the member of Chadema central committee, the position that he is currently holding.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

GUEST COLUMN: The failed vision of a united Africa - part II

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 Dr Peter Kafumu

As we have already discussed Nkrumah was a pan-Africanist from his college days. He was part of the Pan-African conference held in New York in 1944, which urged the US administration of the time to take leading role in helping African countries become free.

In the UK, Nkrumah was also one of the organizers, of the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester that was held between 15th and 19th October 1945. The Congress elaborated a strategy for ousting colonialism in African. They agreed to work towards the decolonization of Africa; towards a free Africa and form a federal United States of Africa.

Among those who attended the congress and who later led their nations to independence were: Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; Dr. Hastings Banda of Nyasaland (present day Malawi); and Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria.

Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast after twelve years overseas pursuing higher education. He was well formed in his political philosophy of pan-Africanism, to begin his political career to leader the Gold Coast into its independence and thereafter unite the African continent.

Nkrumah through his party the Convention People’s Party (CPP), he became Prime Minister of the colonial Gold Coast in 1952. He served as Prime Minister for 5 years until 1957 when Gold Coast became independent and was renamed Ghana. In 1960 Nkrumah became President of Ghana when a new Constitution of Ghana was written.

His speech at the Independence Day of Ghana in 1957 elaborated his ambitions when he said “this is the beginning of the struggle to emancipate all the countries in Africa. Our independency is meaningless unless it is linked to the freedom of the African Continent.”

With Ghana’s independence, Nkrumah then began the activities of uniting the Independent Africa. Nkrumah embodied a political activist approach to pan-Africanism as he championed the “quest for regional integration of the whole of the African continent”.

In April 1958, Nkrumah hosted the first All-African People’s Conference (AAPC) in Accra, Ghana. The Conference was attended by all Independent States of the Continent; including Liberia, Libya, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan. This conference encouraged the commitment of direct involvement in the emancipation of the Continent from colonial political bondage.

Again in 1959, Nkrumah, in collaboration with President Sékou Touré of Guinea and President William Tubman of Liberia met in the city of Sanniquellie in Liberia wrote and signed a Declaration outlining the principles for the achievement of the unity of Independent African States while such countries maintaining a national identity and autonomous constitutional structures. The document was also a treatise to better understanding of pan-Africanism and the quest for achieving united Independent African States.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOTTOM LINE: Are African constitutions still sacrosanct?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The constitution of any country is a crucial part of it; it is the one that creates and guides the country in whatever it does. Recently, modern-day uber-greeds proved to be on top of the game vis-a-vis cling to, grabbing, and usurping power.

They committed treason of tinkering with the constitution. Ironically, while individuals entrusted to protect, respect and uphold the very constitution tamper with and defecate on it, they call their insults against their people democracy and the will of the people! Which people are these? Criminals in cohort with their parties or movements, for many years, have used the term ‘people’ to legalise their delinquency.

Such criminality has held Africa to ransom. For Africa to move forward, the majority citizens need to rebel against whomever tampers with their constitution.

Citizens need to stand up and speak out that nobody’s above the law. For, this is a loophole many stinking tin-pot dictators–who tinker with the constitutions of their countries under many ruses such as finishing off the job as if their countries are their private estates–use. They swear to uphold the constitution to end up underholding it; to do justice to end up doing injustices and to respect the constitution to end up disrespecting it by tinkering with and trampling on it. They swear by their foreign gods–as they ignore African ones–to end up selling their countries to foreigners.

American former president Abraham Lincoln warns us saying that “don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution.

That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” This proves: the constitution isn’t only sacrosanct but also paramount. Again, do citizens know this centrality of their constitutions a few misguided and narrow-minded bêtes noires can tamper with and get away with murder for the peril of the masses?

As Albert Einstein puts it, “the strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure.” This is different from what transpired recently in many countries that allowed their potentates to tinker with their constitutions in order to illegally remain in power, plunder and lord it over the citizens as they wish. If anything, this is counter developmental by nature.

I wonder if the things people say make sense to themselves let alone to others.

For example, apart from the constitution, one of the symbols of the nation is its national anthem. Uganda’s has some lines “united, free, for liberty; together we’ll always stand.” Do the majority of Ugandans who sing this song on many occasions know really what they mean; and what their national anthem stand for? How, if, for many times, have they allowed themselves to be taken for the ride as they evidence their strongman defecates on their sacrosanct document? Does Uganda constitution and those of the countries whose dictators tinkered with have any sacrosanctity left in them? Who is to blame?

The same applies to Burundi whose national anthem has a stanza that reads

Our Burundi, sacred heritage from our forefathers,

Recognized as worthy of self-government,

With your courage you also have a sense of honor.

Sing the glory of liberty conquered again.

Where’s self-government if the constitution is abused? Is there any glory of liberty amidst constitutional abuses? Do Burundians know what they sing and hold dear as a nation that says “acceding to independence with honorable intentions” Do such honourable intentions still exist whereas a single power-hunger individual can take the entire country for a ride and get away with it?

The other day, I heard some mentally-sick boobs espousing the same treason we’ve evidenced been committed in Uganda and other countries. They want our constitution defecated on in order to usher in cult and skinny politics revolving around individuals.

To hell with them; may they perish! Any leader or ruler who’s a man or woman enough must protect, respect and uphold the constitution by putting it above power hunger and whatever nonsenses constitution abusers and supplanters use to dupe their unsuspecting people. Jacob F. Roecker once warned that “the greatest threat to our Constitution is our own ignorance of it.” Aren’t those whose constitutions are tampered with ignorant of their constitutions and the danger to themselves? Who’ll save them from themselves? Whoever call themselves leaders or whatever who don’t respect the constitution are criminals who have no right to be in office. Such criminals need to be behind bars irrespective of the power they wield.

How many criminals do we’ve in our offices; and for how long will Africa go on making do with such criminality; and collectively and massively become accomplices?


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Can opposition parties change into ruling bloc?


By Khalifa Said @RealKhalifax

Dar es Salaam. Unless fundamental changes in the country’s laws and constitution are carried out to ensure uncompromising relations between the government and the people areharmonized , experts in the field of public administration and political science have warned that even what today seems to be revolutionary can tomorrow turn into reactionary.

“The current system cannot support good governance no matter which political party rules” said Prof Bakar Mohammed of the University of Dar es Salaam. The country’s ‘revolutionary’ opposition has been relentlessly waging war against corruption, respect for human rights, inclusive governance and respect of democratic principles.

In overall, their efforts seems good things to citizens and some of them have finally agrred to the crackdown on corruption that has gained support from the government where President John Magufuli has singled out corruption as one of his priorities.

This has led to the belief that once opposition takes over and consequently has an opportunity to form a government it will be easy to implement all what they are currently advocating for including what they term as police brutality against their leaders and members.

However, political experts who on different occasions spoke to the Political Platform pointed out that the “dream” will only be guaranteed if deliberate efforts are taken to ensure that the underlying governing system of the country supports these principles instead of counting on party’s grace to offer them.

Prof Mohammed says that there should be no guarantee of positive changes of any kind in the change of a ruling party no matter how ideologically and philosophically different it is with the successor.

Considering the fact that both the formers and current rulers are the same Tanzanians who grew up within the same system, he explicitly discourages the tendencies of members of opposition thinking that the country will turn to be a heaven for them to practice their rights and freedoms.

Aware of the likely possible scenario of power to corrupt he who holds it, he notes the only thing that the public should count on is institutions and mechanisms in place that will draw the lines between them and the government so that the latter cannot infringe the rights and freedoms of the former.

Giving an example of what happened during the reintroduction of the multiparty democracy in the country, Prof Mohammed says: “A foundation that would support the system would have been laid first before even practicing it.”

The change in the constitution and other legal frameworks which would reflect multiparty democratic principles and good governance would be key changes to me made to make the multiparty democracy compatible with the existing laws, he suggests. Because that was, and has never been, the case, Prof Mohammed says it suffice to explain the source of current ongoing clashes within the ruling party and the opposition in the country.

“No efforts were taken to make the level playing field,” he says.

Mr Hamad Salim, a political science lecturer at the Open University of Tanzania said that all political parties have something very common.

This ranges from the ways they ran their activities as parties to how they address social issues. He says not only that a political party strives to take over the state but also to maintain it by any means possible.

Several mechanisms should be put in play but the commonest of all include the restriction of freedom of expression, the repression of political space and excessive control of the press.

“Unless a system to protect the rights and freedoms of the citizenry is in place nothing should be expected from any political party which will have an accessibility to form a government,” he identified.

What worries Mr Salim and makes him reaches to such conclusion is what is going on within the political parties themselves highlighting dictatorial tendencies of some parties’ leaders who are more powerful than their parties and constitutions.

Other concerns stems from the absence of well-defined ideologies and the absence of communities’ engagement where political parties engage with people in grassroots helping them solve their problems.

Mr Salim is skeptic that if party leaders don’t respect their own respective party’s constitutions how can they be counted on that they will respect the constitution of the united republic of Tanzania which guarantees citizens’ rights and freedom.

These are institutional issues which every single party which competes to form a government must deal and clear themselves with, he opines.

Without redefining their ideologies and philosophies, it will be unlikely for the opposition parties to convince people that they can practically stand for what they currently fight for once they are in the government.

But Prof Mohammed says that in multiparty politics, the opposition serves various other significant roles if backed up institutionally.

He points out for the government f day to be accountable to the people there is a need for government in waiting to be formed by a strong opposition party or an amalgamation of various opposition political parties.

Considering the legal and other bureaucratic frameworks in the country the formation of a strong government in waiting is obstructed by the fusion of the ruling party and the state. He says it’s hard to differentiate the state’s and the ruling party’s apparatuses like police force, the national electoral commission and the office of the Registrar of Political Parties which have been several times of favoring the ruling party CCM and oppressing the opposition.

“This is the strongest weakness on the way we practice our democracy,” he says. Prof Mohammed passionately points out that for the country’s democracy to function well a need to prepare an environment where there’s always the government in waiting is indispensable.

This, he thinks, can come by integrating within the legal and constitutional system laws and principles that would ultimately do away with the oppression of the opposition which is currently witnessed.

When asked if they would abandon some of the principles they are currently championing CUF Acting Deputy Director for Information, Publicity and Public Relation, Mbarala Maharagande dismissed the claims on “baseless” grounds.

He said that its not true that they will turn enemies of their sentiments pointing out that the local governments they head can provide a good model of the national government they will form once the people consent them.

“Determination and commitment are our shields,” said Maharagande adding that “you cannot be afraid to fire an unfaithful employee just by thinking that all employees are unfaithful.”

“The power belongs to the people,” he said.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

GUEST COLUMN: The failed vision of a united Africa-Part I

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 Dr. Peter Kafumu

The history of the African Continent is a political story that is marked by a generation of founding Leaders who thought, envisioned and acted in unison to unite Africa in one nation. The continent conceived and begot the first generation of leaders who all had a common vision of “pan-Africanism”; and wanted a one Africa; a United States of Africa.

To date individual African States are politically free; the African Continent is still a fragmented continent and under economic dominion. The continent is not yet united as most leaders who dreamed for a pan-African united Africa; were eliminated by either an assassination or a coup d’état.

Leaders who survived assassination or a coup d’état met with a new world economic order that was designed to introduce a new kind of colonial bondage based on economic dependency. With this new order these leaders were forced to step aside from leadership to allow the wind of change introduced by the new order to consume Africa.

In a series of articles we will map the labour of the founding leaders and see great strides, endeavours and discourse to achieve the vision of one Africa. We look at the genesis, metamorphosis and the demise of pan-Africanism.

Some of the founding leaders of which their leadership discourse and actions to promote pan-Africanism that will be charted out includes: Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana; Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria; Sékou Touré of Guinea; Léopold Senghor of Senegal; William Tubman of Liberia; and Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria;

Others are Gamal Nasser of Egypt; Nelson Mandela of South Africa; Julius Nyerere of Tanzania; Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso; Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; Samora Marcel of Mozambique; Muamar Gaddafi of Libya; Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; and the Emperor Haile Selassie, who was part of a long time Ethiopian Imperial Monarchy.

We begin by looking at the work and leadership of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who is considered the father of pan-Africanism. Nkrumah was born on the 21st September 1909 at Nkroful in the Gold Coast the present day Ghana.

While studying in the United States of America and later at the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom (UK); he came to be influenced by pan-Africanism that was playing out among the Afro-American personalities in the US and Anglo-African elites in the UK.

With this pan-Africanism influence while studying abroad; Nkrumah beheld himself as a Moses of Africa sent to a distant land to learn the skills of liberation; ordained to liberate the African continent from colonial bondage.

As is written in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, Moses was sent by God to the land of Midian to learn the skills of being a liberator and came back to Egypt to liberate his people the Israelite from bondage in Egypt. So as was Moses, Nkrumah strongly felt that he was sent abroad to prepare for the liberation of the African continent.

Regarding this messianic personal view; Nkrumah wrote in his Autobiography in 1957: “ Just as in the days of the Egyptians, so today God had ordained that certain among the African race should journey westwards to equip themselves with knowledge and experience for the day when they would be called upon to return to their motherland and to use the learning they had acquired to help improve the lot of their brethren. I had not realized at the time that I would contribute so much towards the fulfillment of this prophecy.”

As a result of this belief, Nkrumah became an activist student in the USA; who organized students from Africa to form the African Students Association of America and Canada. The group, among other things was to inspire each colonized African country to struggle and gain independence.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

War on graft: Look neither ape nor chimp in the face

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

After evidencing some mega-con artists being hauled before the court and being in the doghouse, Tanzanians were in the Va-va-voom like mood waiting to see more following suit. The other day when I was swallowing offal and kanywaji, I heard some boozers–of course, after being turbocharged with kanywaji–saying that what they’re evidencing is but the beginning of the end of impunity. Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. After hollering at the top of their lungs about Escrew to no avail, boozers were enchanted to see, at last, justice creeping and closing in to those bêtes noirs.

We humanbeings are complicated creatures, especially boozers. Guess what. While some were having a good time, others were scorning them saying that what’s going on is firefighting-like exercise if not nguvu ya soda. They said that they’ll endorse the whole exercise shall they see criminals behind EPA, Dowans, Symbionsis, Kagoda, UDA, SUKITA, Richmonduli and other mega scams are mercilessly dealt with. The other one that we call an opponent said that what boozers call justice isn’t but selective one. The other one added that selective justice isn’t justice but another form of injustice and travesty of justice. We need to learn from past experience from some gawks that allowed their countries to be abused by any quack. Tanzania was once like that. Any quack or gawk would make a killing without necessarily facing the wrath of the law while our people were just gawking instead of agitating.

My ignorance informed that those fearless boozers would end up the above mentioned scams. What a goof! I didn’t know that they’d touch on the untouchable scapegraces the powers that be said: must be left to retire and eat our dosh peacefully even if some don’t deserve it due to the disservice they did. I goofed thinking that such boozers would fear that talking about such archangels would guarantee some years behind bars. I cautioned them not to touch the untouchables. As fate would have it, the opponent told me to my face saying “sir, if you’ve been compromised by receiving sum hush-hush baksheesh forget.” He staggeredly stood up and came to my table and said “don’t think you can intimidate us like the news people whose outfits were banned. Nobody can ban me. Am I registered anywhere in this unforgiving land?” Before he finished, another one chipped in “go tell Dr. Mwakirazor; he can ban those but not the son of gun.” He sneezed and went on “do you think we’re afraid of naming names? Do you think we’ve forgotten Annie and Bennie or ANBEN, Forster and Nick or Fosnik, Deep Green Finance, Kiwila, TICKS aka TICTS and other scams those ogres engineered?”

As I was prepared myself to run away after noticing that these fyatus could attract cops to come and descend on us, another one added “guys, what’s going on is laughable. How do you arrest monkeys and spare chimps or kill lizards and spare gators? Total malarkey!” Before winding up, I chipped in “what unthankful creatures that you are! Can’t you appreciate this move as you wait to see yet more to come as far as cleansing the house is concerned? Who bewitched you?”

He mordantly replied “who’s bewitched between bootlickers, courtiers, major domos and me? FYI: This piece of land’s equally ours. Therefore, whoever wants to make sense must make sure that justice’s done; and be seen done but not selective justice.”

In a nutshell, though boozers have no open or registered media–that is good to target for those prone of burning the media–to disseminate their grievance, they’d, indeed, want to see more being done. They think; what’s going on is more or less of the firefighting but not a surgical move to root out corruption in their land. To convince and entice them, one needs to use a carpet-bombing modus operandi by making sure that the nets are cast far and wide but neither discriminative nor selective as it seems currently. Swahili sage’s it when you want to kill a monkey, never look it in its face. Just unselectively hammer it to death be it big or little; just crucify it.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

BOTTOM LINE: Politics and religion are malleable with strict limits

Nkwazi Mhango

Nkwazi Mhango 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The past Christmas saw some clergy complain about intimidation when they touch on political issues. Some men (not women) of cloth alluded on this in their X-mas orations. They’re flummoxed after feeling boxed in. Unfortunately, the speakers didn’t particularly name their bullies. Three days after the clergy spoke up, authorities came out warning about taking stern measures against whoever uses pulpits politically. This shows: there’s a problem. Is this the answer? If it is, is it the right one?

Ontologically, politics and religion are the sides of the same coin. In Egypt, Pharaohs were gods and rulers as well. In Europe, the Roman Catholic Church used to be both a religious and political power. It shows: the duo’s same foundation and intesectionality. Though, the former overtook the latter during the enlightenment. Before, the Roman Catholic Church’s powers were incontestably over and above everything. It could condemn whomever it wanted. Thanks to its brutality and misuses of power, some smart guys decided to stop it. Thence, politics took over; and replicated the same up until now.

Essentially, Africa needs to embark on its own enlightenment in order to do away with the internalised internal colonisation perpetrated by the duo that attracts devourers and tricksters easily.This is why there are fake leaders in both.

Refer to self-appointed fakers we now see everywhere robbing and pauperising our unsuspecting people who still believe in miracles under the ruse of performing miracles.

Secondly, the duo shares one characteristic. There are some rogue elements who reap where they didn’t sow. They collect money in the names of sadaaq, taxes, tithes and zakat; and spend it without involving their taxpayers. This is why we’ve many rich religious leaders hollering at the top of their lungs preaching the gospel of Jesus, who himself was humble.

Like politicians who preach better life for all to end up exploiting their constituency, fake clerics preach heaven for the poor while living in stinking opulence. The difference is, however, political leaders are elected while the clergy are either appointed or self-appointed.

Thirdly, while some clergy condemn the internalised internal colonisation of politics in Africa, they forget their religions are responsible for paving the way for the colonisation and the enslavement of Africa. Ironically, the clergy aren’t democrats like those they accuse. Let’s a tad bit fair. Do they seek views from their constituency?

Fourthly, clergy are like any other citizens. They shan’t expect any preferential treatments whatsoever. If they feel like offended, they know what to do. Go to the court.

Just like any citizen, clerics can air their grievances provided doing so is within the confines of the law. Their advices can be worked on or otherwise depending on to whom or what’s addressed.

There’s nothing special here. The government may accommodate the views of its people or not depending on how it views them. Again, instead of taking on the govt, we need to deal with the system that allows such penchants.

Fifthly, there’s been a tradition of wrongly believing that clerics have an upper hand in public matters. There are some discernible boundaries between politics and religion, especially in a secular country contrary to a theocracy in which clergy are above everything.

Further, the clergy need to be firm vis-à-vis their position. When they take on ills, they must clearly indicate it by deeds and words. For example, recently, one self-appointed one told President John Magufuli to repent and take advice. This same man once showered former President Jakaya Kikwete saying he’s humble and too generous. Again, when his church was told to demolish its extension built illegally, he started attacking the same man he showered with praises. This way, it can’t work.

Tanzania’s a tradition of separating politics from religion in order to avoid offering some quacks a loophole to use their position to benefit both politically and religiously. Again, our government needs to be firm as well. Evidentially, some pro-government clergy are allowed to mix the two provided when they toe the line. One of them is Gertrude Rwakatare who’s an MP for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). When Rwakatare was appointed or allowed by the CCM to partake of politics, both sides kept mum; and saw it as a normal and right thing to do though it is wrong!

In sum, if clergy have anything importantly tetchy to say, they must say it just like any citizen but not like clergy. There must be a border between the two as it is for other citizens or institutions.


Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The curtain goes down on 2017 political drama

The year-2017 also saw the ruling Chama cha

The year-2017 also saw the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) holding its intraparty elections which culminated in PresidentJohn Magufuli being elected the new chairman of the party. Dr Magufuli garnered all the 1,821 valid votes cast. PHOTO | FILE 

By Khalifa Said @TheCitizenTz

Dar es Salaam. In what has turned out to be a politically-charged year, perhaps the scariest development was the suspected attempted assassination of an outspoken MP. But the package for 2017 also includes mass defections of opposition cadres to the ruling party; the crippling squabbling in the troubled Civic United Front (a spillover from 2016), and the costly, but hotly disputed council by-elections across the country.

However, the year seems to finally be coming to an end on a lower note in the political arena.

This is especially considering that ‘2017’ opened with heightened activity as the political opposition kept struggling to stay relevant – and the comeback ruling ‘party of the revolution’ (Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM) continued to tighten its grip on power.

Granted, it’s been a hectic 12 months for the country’s major political players.

And, in this issue, we take a look at some of the key events and major decisions taken, as well as the political movers and shakers of a dramatic 2017…

Lissu’s attempted assassination

Among the issues which shocked the public this year was the attempted assassination of the Singida-East constituency MP Tundu Lissu on September 7 when ‘unknown persons sprayed the MP’s car with at least 38 bullets, 16 of which hit him.

Mr Lissu was seriously injured and was flown to Nairobi Hospital in Kenya where he is still recuperating.

Several former and current governmental officials and parliamentarians have visited the firebrand lawyer who is also the president of the Tanzania Law Society.

These include Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan and Ali Hassan Mwinyi, a former state president (1985-95).

Nape Nnauye is fired

The former publicity secretary for the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), credited with helping the party romp to victory in the 2015 elections, was sacked on March 23 over what is seen as his stand on Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda.

On the day he was sacked, Mr Nnauye called a press conference, but armed police violently scuttled it as soon as he arrived at the venue. A man believed to be a plainclothes policeman ordered him at gunpoint to board his car and leave, but he defied the order and addressed journalists from his car.

He said he had no grudge against President Magufuli for sacking him, but criticised the police for “thinking they have a right to determine the fate of the youth of Tanzania.”


There’s no doubt that the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) – out of the country’s 20-plus political parties – will be the most cheerful this year on account of defections by several political opposition cadres who then joined CCM.

One of the things that Tanzanians will be trying to fathom as they enter 2018 could be: who will be the next politicians to defect from their party – and for what reason?

The year-2017 witnessed mass defections commonly known as ‘the Great Migration’ where several politicians have announced their defection from one party to another. In the event, the political opposition suffered a big blow whereby its members, including leaders at different party levels, jumped ship to join the ruling CCM.

Almost invariably, the defectors have given the same reason for crossing the political divide: they admire President John Magufuli’s exemplary performance in running the country, and feel compelled to join his bandwagon!

By-election woes…

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has announced January 13, 2018 as the by-elections date for three parliamentary constituencies and six local government council wards across the country.

However, the opposition coalition ‘Ukawa’ say its members won’t take part in the polling. In that regard, Ukawa has highlighted several ‘discrepancies’ in the processes which, the coalition demands, must be addressed to make the by-elections free and fair.

Apparently, this impasse is partly contributed to by the November 26, 2017) by-elections for councillors which resulted in CCM winning 42 of the 43 seats that were ‘contested,’ with opposition parties claiming rough play, numerous ‘fouls,’ violence and questionable involvement of security and other state organs.

Magufuli voted new CCM chairman

The year-2017 also saw the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) holding its intraparty elections which culminated in Dr John Magufuli being elected the new chairman of the party. Dr Magufuli garnered all the 1,821 valid votes cast, and took the chairman’s Baton from his predecessor, immediate past President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.

Wrangling continues within CUF

The seemingly-endless internal conflict within the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) is likely to continue stifling the party. This is especially taking into account the latest High Court ruling on the new CUF Board of Trustees…

The court verdict also overturned the sacking of party members who include the CUF deputy secretary genera (mainland); the Kaliua constituency MP, Magdalena Sakaya, and Mtwara-Urban constituency MP, Maftaha Nachuma.

The party has been undergoing internal wrangling for almost two years now. It all started with the decision by Prof Lipumba to reinstate himself as CUF chairman after he had voluntarily resigned that position in 2015.

Opposition members detained

Thirty-eight Chadema members, including two lawmakers, were detained following local elections. MPs Susan Kiwanga and Peter Lijualikali, as well as 36 other members of the party, were arrested on November 29 in Morogoro. They were charged with illegal assembly and damaging property, while the two MPs also face an extra charge of incitement to violence.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Year of hope and threats for the UN

United Nations headquarters in New York.

United Nations headquarters in New York. Although the unilateralism thoughts displayed by the United States are worrisome to some extent, observers say, solidarity and unity of the UN are gaining momentum. PHOTO | file 

United Nations. Looking back at 2017, the United Nations, while trying hard to uphold international peace and security and committed to global governance, has withstood strains of severe traditional and non-traditional challenges and threats.

In the face of multiple unprecedented challenges and threats as well as snowballing difficulties of global governance, the vast majority of the UN member states are rallying around the lofty ideal: making the world a better and safer place to live.

Top concern: Korean Peninsula

In addition to augmenting traditional challenges and threats, non-traditional ones functioning as terrorism and extremism, nuclear crisis, trans-boundary crimes, refugee crisis, drug trafficking, climate change, cyber security and other global problems are running rampant, posing severe threats and challenges to the world. Among them, the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula has been recognised as the top security concern of the year, disturbing the relations among major powers.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have reached an unprecedented level in 2017 due to a nuclear test and multiple missile launches by the DPRK and constant US-South Korea joint military drills.

The crisis has also been worsened by the exchange of personal insults and confrontational rhetoric raising the specter of war between the United States and the DPRK.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on December 15 that he was deeply concerned over the risk of military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula.

Describing the situation on the Korean Peninsula as “the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today,” he warned: “Any military action would have devastating and unpredictable consequences.”

The Security Council on December 22 unanimously approved new sanctions targeting DPRK’s economy following the launch of a ballistic missile on November 29 that the DPRK said it could target the entire continental US.

Manifold other challenges, threats

UN statistics show that an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

There are also 10 million stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights

The world’s fastest growing refugee crisis evolved in Myanmar. Driven by violence and human rights abuse, more than 600,000 stateless Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, where the fragile infrastructure is overwhelmed. Four famines, in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria, are the result of unresolved conflicts exacerbated by droughts and missed harvests.

Peacekeepers attacked

In the deadliest attack on a UN peacekeeping mission in decades, 14 Tanzanian peacekeepers lost their lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It is another indication of the enormous sacrifices made by troop contributing countries in the service of global peace,” said the UN chief.

In Syria, six years of conflict have left 250,000 people dead and 5 million displaced. Temporary ceasefires were brokered and the UN’s special envoy for Syria has been working tirelessly to bring the parties to the negotiating table and for an end to the war.

Almost 100,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea in 2017, and more than 3,000 have drowned. Most are fleeing poverty and conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa.

More than a million people were waiting for a passage in Libya, caught in an endless cycle of abuse, exploitation and even slavery.

Around the world, 130 million girls are still not going to school, which is unacceptable, said UN Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai.

“If we want to go forward, we have to give education to girls and once you educate girls, you change the whole community; you change the whole society,” said the 19-year-old Malala.

Shortly after the UN first Ocean Conference, a series of mega hurricanes cut a trail of destruction through the Caribbean. On some islands like Dominica, hardly a tree or house was left standing.

Scientists have already seen strong evidence that climate change magnified the strength of the storms and other natural disasters. Therefore, the UN called on countries to speed up the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.

At the end of the year, global anti-terrorist pressure has not been alleviated by the disintegration of the Islamic State, UN said. Terrorism in new forms is emerging in the “Post-Islamic Era,” and global counter-terrorism faces new problems. (From suicide bomb attacks to storming of cities, from random attacks to the use the Internet, terrorist groups are developing themselves by making use of the divergence of the interests among countries, posing cutting challenges to the anti-terrorist abilities of all countries.

Embracing the future

Since taking office on Jan. 3, Guterres has been busy shuttling between countries, practising “good offices” among conflicting parties, attending international meetings now and then, and once and again urging countries to join efforts to realize the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the year, he has been making tireless efforts to make sweeping changes to the UN in hope of forging a “more effective, flexible and responsible” world body to manage the crisis of the 21st century.

However, because of the contrasting interests of different countries and the diverse cultures, religions and ideologies, UN reform cannot be achieved overnight, observers say.

The United Nations, the 72-year-old world body, is bidding farewell to another extraordinary year. Observers have happily found that while facing common challenges and threats, the vast majority of UN member states have shown unprecedented consensus at such world concerns as nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, climate change, fighting terrorism and extremism and other major threats and challenges.

Although the unilateralism thoughts displayed by the United States are worrisome to some extent, observers say, solidarity and unity of the UN are gaining momentum. This undoubtedly is bringing new hopes to the United Nations, which still has a long way to go. (Xinhua)


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Tanzania, Russia mark ‘milestone’ in diplomacy


 In 1961, two days after Tanganyika gained independence from Britain on December 9, the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations with the newly-independent nation. It is a relationship that has stood the test of time, and last week saw the two countries celebrate 56 years of their diplomatic relations.

Political Platform speaks to the Russian Ambassador to Tanzania, Yuri Popov, in his first exclusive interview since he was appointed to Tanzania more than two years ago.

He is a career diplomat who has had extensive service experience in Africa. Before his present appointment he worked in Nigeria, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, and later in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. His profession as a diplomat has also taken him to a number of African countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia and some others over the years.

As a seasoned diplomat, how different is your experience in Tanzania?

Chronologically, I have been posted in Nigeria, Lesotho and Zimbabwe but then I had to shift my work interests to Central Asia and was dealing with that region for nearly 20 years. I am happy to be back in Africa and especially Tanzania.

I have a feeling that it is my well-deserved good luck because Tanzania is in fact the essence of Africa as it has almost everything that this continent can offer: the Great Lakes, Mt Kilimanjaro, the Indian Ocean beaches, Zanzibar and other beautiful islands, world famous national parks.

Once you have seen Tanzania then you can as well say you have seen a good deal of Africa because there is hardly another African country as diverse and gorgeous as this one.

My coming back means I have grown roots going deep in this continent’s soil. I started my career in Africa and hope to finish it accordingly.

On trade and investment, countries like India and China are known to have contributed a lot to the Tanzanian economy. Is Russia bringing anything new to the table?

In the process of restoring Russia’s status as one of Tanzania’s leading partners, in April 2016 we held a bilateral forum under the motto “Russia and Tanzania: Advancing Towards Each Other”. That event brought a number of representatives of Russian big companies to Tanzania. The delegation was headed by Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov.

They had a few days of close discussions with their Tanzanian counterparts. This has led to enhancing mutual understanding. A number of bilateral contracts are under negotiation and close to conclusion, and increased contacts between Russian and Tanzanian counterparts are now being developed.

We are at an advanced stage of talks on the draft inter-governmental agreement on establishing a Joint Economic Commission. Once set, this body will be quite instrumental in bringing the two countries closer since it will provide a solid platform for regular contacts between our business people.

I must emphasise that no matter how fluctuating our economic relations used to be, Moscow and Dar es Salaam have enjoyed very close political understanding and cooperation, including that in dealing with international issues.

Soviet universities used to educate many Tanzanians. For instance, Deputy Foreign Minister Suzan Kolimba holds a degree from the RUDN (formerly Patrice Lumumba University) in Russia. What is the situation like today?

We still receive Tanzanian students, probably in lesser numbers than in the past, but certainly we are still on that track. Not only Deputy Minister Suzan Kolimba, but a number of other prominent Tanzanians, statesmen and women included, graduated from Soviet and Russian universities. For example, Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein, President of Zanzibar, received his degree in the Soviet Union.

I am personally happy that a number of Russian-educated Tanzanians hold high-profile positions, making this country strong and prosperous. We continue to provide educational opportunities to Tanzanian students, with 12 getting budget state scholarships this year to study in Russian universities.

There are also Russian students and teachers coming to Tanzania in numbers, especially those who learn Kiswahili. This trend is likely to continue.

You worked in Zimbabwe before, what is your take on the recent events? Could you have expected this to happen at any one time?

I worked in Zimbabwe in the first half of the 1990s when the country was in her prime, enjoying social peace and economic prosperity, and I left the country in 1996 not long before the economic crisis erupted.

Speaking about the recent events, President Mugabe will forever be remembered as the founding father of Zimbabwe, and this man repeatedly displayed his friendly attitude to my country. Moscow always enjoyed cordial relations with Harare.

However, any responsible leader must realise age and health limits, even if he is de jure or de facto president for life. As a leader becomes frail to govern his country, he has to step down and relinquish his power. This is what Boris Yeltsin, the first President of the Russian Federation, did at the turn of the century by handing his authority over to the then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Tanzania has discovered huge amounts of gas reserves, what lessons can she learn from Russia in the exploitation of this vital resource?

Being a major gas producer and supplier, Russia can render all sorts of support in terms of know-how and engineering to Tanzania as a future gas producer. So far we have not received any invitation from the Tanzanian government to invest in the gas sector or to provide assistance. I believe that should we get such request, it will be considered. And definitely Russia can be of considerable help in this field.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kenyatta, thanks no thanks for your gift to East Africans

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta 

By Nkwazi Mhango

President Uhuru Kenyatta attempted the impossible by invited people from the East African Community to live in Kenya and enjoy the same rights Kenyans enjoy, such as work, business and land ownership among others. If it were workable and realistic, this is revolutionary. But again, is it workable?

Is most of the fertile land in Kenya not owned by the Kenyattas, Mois and their cronies? The Ndungu Commission, established to look into land grabbing in Kenya discovered that Kenyatta’s family sits on 15,000 km2 of land, which is bigger than Jamaica or the Gambia. Is Kenyatta ready to relinquish this land?

As for jobs, is there any job in a country grappling with high unemployment, not to mention tribalism? Will countries like Tanzania take a leaf from Kenyatta? Who is the loser and who is the gainer?

If Kenyatta is sincere and serious, he must first convince his counterparts to demolish the borders, relinquish their presidency and form one country known as the East African Country?

I know as they know. The people of this region and Africa at large have always been ready to reunify Africa to the tune it was before the Berlin Conference of 1884 that divided and partitioned Africa to end up forming feeble states we boast of having today. Demolish the borders.

We know as they know. The obstacle for the reunification of Africa is nothing but presidency, narrow interests, greed, individualism and colonial carryover among others.

Essentially, Kenyatta’s dream can be actualised and realised through decolonising their countries by demolishing the borders and relinquishing their presidency; otherwise Kenyatta’s is but a pipedream.

Feasibility of assertion

Let’s look at the feasibility of Kenyatta’s assertion. Organically, before the criminal Berlin Conference 1884, Kenya, Tanzania and were united just like other African countries. People along modern borders used to operate freely without any disturbances, mistrust and infringement on their natural freedom of movement. This is why Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania still regard themselves as one country of Maasailand, not to mention the Kiswahili on Lunga lunga-Horohoro border and others.

Nonetheless, after Africa was divided and partitioned, there was born the modern weak states as colonial tools intended to divide, exploit and weaken Africans, perpetually.

Fortunately, in the 60s, African countries became independent. Sadly, these states have done nothing but furthering, internalising and reinforcing colonialism by maintaining colonial divisions under the Peace of Westphalia 1648, which created modern-time colonial sovereignty. However, some efforts were made to reunite Africa as championed by the likes of Julius Nyerere (Tanzania), Kwame Nkrumah and many more whose dream was felled by their successors due to myopia and individuality.

Colonial carryovers

East Africa embarked on the unification of the region, giving birth to the East African Community (EAC I 1967-1977). Thanks to colonial carryovers, the intended goal remained out of reach under the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and later the African Unity (AU). Therefore, the move that EAC took was an antithesis and a challenge to the rest of Africa that refused to be reunited.

However, there were other unions of federations such as Senegal-Gambia or Senegambia (1982-1989) and the Economic Commission of West African States (1975 to present) among notable ones. Again, are free movement, property ownership, and residence Kenyatta is espousing possible without addressing some hurdles and the very reasons why the EAC and Africa is divided? I think, the East Africa and African in general must shake off colonial hangovers; and thereby embark on true reunification of the region and the continent. Let us look at how the above proposed rights can be actualised.

First, reunifying the region means returning back to its natural formula which gave it the edge and clout of living without necessarily depending on handouts from rich country as it currently is after being colonised in the 18th Century; thereby ushering in dependency, exploitation, miseries and imperialism that saw Africa become the backyard of the world.

Secondly, practical reunification of region will create many economic, political and social opportunities such as interdependence, interconnectedness and unity as the tools of strength and respectability internationally. Africans inevitably and out of necessity need each other even if they do not like each other.

Increasing security

Thirdly, the reunification of the region will enable it to assert its power globally not to mention increasing security and good use of resources. Reunited EAC and Africa will not have the many do-nothing and despotic presidents who, in the sense, are but black colonisers or the agents of colonialism that are responsible for exploiting Africa.

Fourth, thanks to neocoloniality, many African countries are at home with doing business with foreigner as they shy away from their neighbours. Again, Swahili sage has it that you can choose a friend[s] but not a neighbour[s]. This means that our interconnectedness is organic and inevitable; whether we like it or not.

Reunification of the region

Fifth, the reunification of the region will increase production as a motivation by which Africa will grow economically due to the fact that, instead of importing goods from afar, Africa will have an internal supply of some goods it imports from abroad.

So, too, it’ll cut the cost of running business and production and avert environmental degradation from the machinery used to transport goods so as to enhance good prices for the products produced and traded within the EAC. Currently, some countries import onions from the EU.

In January and February 2011, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Mauritania ‘purchased more Dutch onions than 2010. This is shameful and surreal for Africa in general. Why import food as if Africa is a barren?

In a nutshell, the major question Africa needs to ask and rightly answer is: Why has African become a food importer while it used to feed itself before colonialism was introduced to Africa?

There are those who dubiously say that the population of Africa has grown exponentially due to improved health services colonialism started.     


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How can Africans keep the Pan African spirit alive?

Father of the Nation Julius Nyerere and one of

Father of the Nation Julius Nyerere and one of Ghana’s founding fathers Kwame Nkrumah advocated Pan-Africanism, a worldwide intellectual movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all people of African descen. PHOTO | FILE 

By Yves Niyiragira

After the achievement of some, albeit, significant rights by Africans in Europe, the Caribbean islands and the Americas as well as the end of the colonial rule in Africa, and the apartheid regime in South Africa, many Africans wonder if the ideology of Pan-Africanism is still relevant in the 21st century.

One might argue that most of these doubts in Pan-Africanism have valid reasons because those who claim to be Pan-Africanists do not seem to inspire anymore.

Indeed, there are many individuals, leaders, organisations and countries among other actors in African affairs that claim to be Pan-Africanists. However, I am not convinced that all those individuals and actors understand what they mean by claiming to be Pan-Africanists. Some leaders say, “As a Pan-Africanist, I do not take orders from the West” when the same leader is oppressing his or her own people. Another leader would say, “In the spirit of Pan-Africanism, we will allow all Africans to enter our country without visas” whereas some of his or her own citizens do not feel safe or cannot move from one corner of the country to another one.

Most of the leaders we see in Africa who claim to be Pan-Africanists, usually do so when they want to find an excuse to run away from internal problems in their respective countries. They start reminding people of their roles in independence struggles of their countries, their anti-imperialism and anti capitalism credentials in order to ascertain their regimes.

However, does all these rhetoric matter to ordinary African citizens, especially young people in this 21st century? To many African youth, grand pronouncements on pan-Africanism mean nothing if they are not accompanied by real actions that add value to people’s lives.

Of course young Africans are very grateful to those who fought for independence to bring about political self-determination of Africans, but they are disappointed because political independence did not come with the dignity of African people that was expected. The type of dignity that African young people across Africa are calling for is to live like other human beings. They are calling for access to healthy food, clean drinking water, clothes, shelter, and proper education and working health facilities.

Most of these young people across Africa might not care about who is in power, their political backgrounds or who wins this year’s or next year’s elections. They might not care about the tribal or ethnic background of those who are in power, their regions or what political ideology they stand for or represent as long as those leaders are able to provide basic services that they dearly desire and need.

There is no true pan-Africanist with a leadership position, whether in politics, media, private sector, academia, or civil society who would close their ears to those growing demands from the majority of African people, especially young people. As such, in my view, the only way of keeping the ideology of Pan-Africanism alive is to go back to its original meaning: seeking for unity and dignity of people of African origin wherever they are in the world.

I would thus argue that if you are an African leader and you are busy silencing, jailing, oppressing and killing your people because they do not support you, you are far from being a pan-Africanist even if you loudly and constantly claim to be one. If you are a leader in any field and you are busy dividing Africans based on any criterion, you are clearly not a pan-Africanist. Pan-Africanism means dignity and unity; not hatred and petty politics.

I believe that in order to keep the Pan-African ideology alive in the 21st century we have to listen to what African people are saying. Luckily, what they say is very clear. They say no to sham elections that divide Africans instead of uniting them towards building their countries, but yes to dialogue, consensus building and nation building. Africans say no to big armies, but yes too many quality schools and improved agricultural sectors to feed them. They say no to mega infrastructural projects that do not benefit them, but yes to modern health facilities to save their lives.

To keep Pan-Africanism alive is to create avenues, platforms and opportunities for the most vulnerable and marginalized Africans so that they can have their opinions and views heard and addressed. To some extent, this is what Fahamu; a Pan-African organisation with offices in Kenya and Senegal has been doing since it was established in 1997. As Fahamu celebrates its 20th anniversary, it is calling all Africans and reminding those in positions of leadership or representation the importance of listening to voices of those they represent or claim to represent for that matter.

If we want to continue claiming that we are Pan-Africanists, we have to listen to the voices of Africans and their demands. If we do not do that, African people will do what they know to do best: taking things in their own hands; however when this time comes our Pan-African rhetoric will not help to stop their popular revolutions.

Yves Niyiragira is Executive Director of Fahamu. The views in this article are his and do not necessarily represent the position of Fahamu on this subject. E-mail:     


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A foolproof method for preventing ‘terrorism’ in DRC

Thousands of Congolese people flee the village

Thousands of Congolese people flee the village of Sake towards Goma as intense fighting takes place between the Congolese Army, the FDRC, and soldiers loyal to the rebel Tutsi leader, Nkunda, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, December 11, 2007. It is the high collective stress levels in DRC that ultimately fuel terrorism and conflict. PHOTO | FILE 

By David Leffler

At least 14 Tanzanian UN peacekeepers were killed in the deadly attack in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Despite Tanzania’s noble efforts to maintain peace and stability, the DRC is experiencing a grave humanitarian emergency, with economic deterioration and increasing political instability.

Here is a foolproof, simple, and most expedient method for preventing terrorism and increasing stability in DRC. During these dangerous times, terrorism could quickly end if DRC’s military were trained to form what is known in Latin American military circles as a Prevention Wing of the Military. This military unit would be comprised of ‘Invincible Defense Technology (IDT)’ experts. The purpose of this IDT group would be to practice the non-religious Transcendental Meditation and the advanced TM-Sidhi programme in a group twice a day.

TM comes from the ancient Vedic tradition of India. The late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought out the TM technique in 1956. Maharishi predicted that if 1 per cent of a population practiced the TM programme, peace and harmony would increase throughout society. Additionally, he anticipated the same result if the square root of 1 per cent of a population practiced the advanced TM-Sidhi programme in groups twice daily.

Scientists call the increased societal coherence that results from practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programme “the Maharishi Effect.” These predicted results, summarized below, have been seen repeatedly in published, reputable refereed journals such as The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Indicators Research, Journal of Crime and Justice, Journal of Mind and Behavior and International Journal of Neuroscience. Much of this research is reviewed in a paper written by the author, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Management & Social Science (JMSS) (Fall 2009, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 153-162), called “A New Role for the Military: Preventing Enemies from Arising -- Reviving an Ancient Approach to Peace.” (Available online at:

The extensive peer-reviewed research and military field-tests worldwide show that proper application of these specific programs bring about measurable decreases in crime, terrorism and war, and improvements in quality of life, which are thought to be tangible signs of the reduction of societal stress.

These changes are measurable from such statistics as reduced terrorism and conflict, crime rates, accidents, hospital admissions and infant mortality.

In highly stressed areas of the globe, establishment of large groups of IDT experts have also increased economic incentives and growth of prosperity.

Entrepreneurship and creativity increase as well. Also, on a global scale when large groups of civilian experts gathered from 1983 to 1985, terrorism-related casualties decreased 72 per cent and international conflict decreased 32 per cent. Moreover, such positive changes in social trends take place within a few days or weeks after IDT is introduced.

The IDT approach has been used during wartime, resulting in reduction of fighting, reduced war deaths and casualties, and improved progress toward resolving the conflict through peaceful means. IDT is totally unlike any other defense technology in that it does not use violence in an attempt to quell violence.

It is the high collective stress levels in DRC that ultimately fuel terrorism and conflict. If dangerous levels of collective stress and frustration are reduced by applying IDT, then DRC’s governmental leaders and citizens will be more capable of finding constructive and orderly solutions to the unresolved issues plaguing the nation.

With greater civic calm, citizens’ aspirations will rise and a more productive and balanced society will emerge. Then violence as a means for change and/or as an expression of discontent will naturally subside.

The powerful brain-based, human-resource Invincible Defense Technology is aptly named. The word invincible means incapable of being defeated, unconquerable. Defense means to defend and to protect.

Technology is applied scientific knowledge. The goal of IDT is to prevent enemies from arising. The military that properly applies it can ultimately obtain victory before war. Once this goal is achieved, the military becomes invincible because there are no enemies to fight. No enemies means no war or terrorism and full security, as well as a happy, productive and normal life for everyone.

For these reasons, the IDT approach is advocated by the Global Union of Scientists for Peace (GUSP). This non-profit organization hosted an international conference in Kiev, Ukraine (see:

Renowned Ukrainian leaders Lt. General (Ret.) Vasyl Krutov, former chief of the Ukraine Anti-Terrorism Center, as well as Academician Dr Sergiy Maksymenko, a distinguished Ukrainian research scientist, are among the impressive list of participants who spoke at or voiced their support for the conference. Others included President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, who applied innovative IDT programs to end that nation’s civil war; retired Ecuadorian Lt. General José Villamil, who also applied IDT to end war between Ecuador and Peru; and Dr Rajendra Pachauri, former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

IDT is a way for the military of DRC to prevent conflict and terrorism by deploying a proven, simple, human resource-based approach, with minimal training and costs needed to implement it. The primary costs would be for training personnel in the IDT techniques. The entire training and implementation would cost about as much as one modern fighter jet.

Recent events show that IDT is desperately needed. There is truly no other solution. DRC leaders would be wise to read the proceedings of the GUSP conference and learn how best to rapidly establish perpetual peace. For more on IDT see

Dr David Leffler has a Ph D in Consciousness-Based Military Defense and served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Centre for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at the Centre for Advanced Military Science ( and lectures and writes worldwide about IDT     


Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Will independent-minded persons last within CCM?

Mtama MP Nape Nnauye

Mtama MP Nape Nnauye 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3

        Dar es Salaam. Will the enormous “courage” shown recently by some outspoken ruling party lawmakers, namely, Mtama MP Nape Nnauye, Nzega MP Hussein Bashe and Kigoma rural MP Peter Serukamba, by openly challenging the government in the last Parliamentary session, at a time when even the opposition thinks twice before criticizing the government, last?

That is the question that political stakeholders and observers of Tanzanian ruling party politics pose.

The three youthful MPs are clearly emerging as mavericks within the party. In the last parliamentary session they so passionately and “constructively” criticized the economic plan and budget framework for 2018/19 that had been tabled by the minister for Finance Dr Philip Mpango for its inadequacy to raise to the task at hand, industrialisation, that Speaker Job Ndugai, was obliged to encourage them to speak freely.

“I want you to speak freely so that we help our government to plan better. I will protect you!” Mr Ndugai, said during the session.

But the three CCM MPs “franc-parler” attitude elicited President John Magufuli’s reaction.

President Magufuli, who made his views known through Dr Mpango, seemed to have been strongly touched by Nnauye and Bashe’s suggestions that the government erred by using the meagre budgetary financial resources to undertake the mega-infrastructure projects such as the Stiegler’s Gorge hydropower project and the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR). The two MPs had suggested that instead of spending public resources on the projects the government should have joined forces with the private sector through various available modalities such as PPP and the build-operate-transfer.

But President Magufuli urged the MPs to show him private sector players who are ready to invest in the huge projects.

Dr Mpango told the Parliament that President Magufuli telephoned him and instructed him to urge Mr Nnauye and Mr Bashe to take the private sector players to him immediately. “I will immediately give those investors sections of the SGR to invest in…,” President Magufuli, reportedly, told Dr Mpango.

Prof Gaudens Mpangala, a political scientist from the Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu) said the franc-parler attitude of the three MPs is the way to go for all MPs.

“That’s how all MPs should behave, if they are to oversee the executive. The three main pillars of the government; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary should be independent,” he said. A political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Prof Bakari Mohamed said ruling party MPs who speak freely should not be misunderstood.

“When MPs raise their concerns on various issues in the parliamentary floor, they are simply doing their job. This should not be taken as criticizing the government for the sake of it,” Prof Mohammed said.

However Mr Ally called upon the MPs to raise realistic concerns, citing that some of statements uttered by the MPs were not realistic.