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.     

advertisement

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: yves@fahamu.org     

advertisement

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Will independent-minded persons last within CCM?



Mtama MP Nape Nnauye

Mtama MP Nape Nnauye 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3 jnamkwahe@tz.nationmedia.com

        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.     

advertisement

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

TPA, TRA, Police and co’s scandal bigwigs must go



NKWAZI MHANGO

NKWAZI MHANGO 

By Nkwazi Mhango

       Once again, President John Magufuli has proven to be as tough as old boots as far as grand corruption is concerned. He stormed the Dar es Salaam port recently in an impromptu visit that unearthed a shocking network of corruption.

It came to light that some criminals imported 50 vehicles under the name of the Office of the President which the president was not aware of, not to mention his officials who openly seemed to be sleeping on the wheel. The Head of State could not hide his frustration and anguish over the matter.

Another daunting scandal involves vehicles the Police Force imported. This scandal cuts across the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Tanzania Police Force, the ministry of Transport, the ministry of Home Affairs, the ministry of Finance, the ministry of Industry and Trade, the Office of the President and the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) among others.

Those Magufuli wrongly thought were comrades-in-arms were caught pants down. Arguably, they are but his Achilles heel that left him alone in the war against graft. When the President asked for answers and explanations about the vehicles, almost all offered gobbledygook which made the Head of State visibly perturbed; mainly after finding that he still has weak-kneed big guns in his government. What a shocker! Magufuli couldn’t understand; why some big cheeses allow conmen and criminals to steal poor taxpayers’ money i.e., supplying used vehicles but being paid for brand new ones.

First of all, I congratulate the President and the media on airing this stinking scandal not to mention putting some bigwigs on notice. Again, is it enough? This is a million-dollar question many are now asking, especially when they vividly remember what once transpired the time Dr Magufuli came across mess in the prison department.

After unearthing such rot, President Magufuli showed the then Prisons Department Commissioner General John Casmir Minja was shown the door. Others who were shown the door were two DEDs Deo Mfugale and Mwantum Dau after failing to answer President’s question which is a typical replica of what happened in Dar port. This being the case, it is obvious that the days of such big guns are numbered shall the President stick to his governance style.

Secondly, how many scandals are still concealed? As it seems, much remains to be seen as far as bringing such rot to the fore is concerned. This shows how hard some of our officials are when it comes to old ways. Are such acts ongoing because of laziness or chronic rent-seeking mentality? We need to get straight answers and these people need to be shown the door whenever their dirty deeds become known.

Thirdly, it seems. Since JPM embarked on deconstructing and overhauling the rotten system, there are hard-headed delinquents who still do business as usual with regards to graft. To get rid of such loss makers Mr President needs to be much harder on them.

Thirdly, it seems. Weeding out corruption still has a long and jarring road ahead provided that it is endemic and systemic so to speak. Now, I understand why Tanzanians need to pray for Magufuli. Although I’m not a believer in prayers, I may say that the task Mr President faces is very dangerously traumatising. Instead of praying, Tanzanians should play a pivotal role in unearthing such graft. Magufuli has all reasons to fear for his life. For, some of those he’s fighting are in his own house. Mr President suspected foul play in police vehicle deal.

When he asked the IGP and the TPA boss if the vehicles imported were new or used, they were unable to tell, which is dauntingly and hauntingly scandalous and woozy. Again, will immediate big enchiladas be shown the door forthwith as it was in Minja’s case or spared as it was in the case of Dar es Salaam’s Regional Commission Paul Makonda after being implicated in forgery scam? Tanzanians are anxiously waiting to see how Magufuli will avert this trap that he warned the IGP to avert. Who will fall in another’s trap here? Will president egg them on or chicken out? Those who truly know Dr Magufuli the answer is obvious; some biggies will pay dearly for this mess.

In sum, will those officials wait for being shown the door or just hit the road after noticing that what they committed is nothing but a crime against their boss and the country in general?     

advertisement

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Behind mass defections in TZ politics

CCM’s Secretary for Publicity and Ideology

CCM’s Secretary for Publicity and Ideology Humphrey Polepole distributes party regalia to new members who include former Cabinet minister Lawrence Masha (left). PHOTO IFILE 

By Political Platform Reporter @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

        Dar es Salaam. The wave of politicians jumping ship continued over the weekend with the ruling party, CCM, being the largest beneficiary.

On Saturday MP for Kinondoni (CUF) Maulid Mtulia announced that he was joining CCM saying he arrived at his decision out of his support for President John Magufuli’s efforts.

“My decision to resign (from CUF’s membership and MP position) and join the ruling party is a result of my desire to work for the people and I can only do that through CCM, which has shown the willingness to bring development to the people through its 2015 Manifesto,” Mtulia said in his resignation letter. His departure from CUF means that the Kinondoni constituency is vacant.

Mtulia announced his decision to join CCM a day after a popular socialite and movie star, Wema Sepetu, did the same through her Instagram account. Ms Sepetu, the daughter of a former cabinet minister, Isaack Sepetu, decamped to the main opposition party, Chadema, in February this year after she was accused by authorities of using drugs.

She was later charged at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court where the case is going on.

Ms Sepetu, who is credited with leading her fellow female artists to swing the women vote to CCM in the 2015 General Election, cited the reasons for decamping to Chadema as being “thrown under the bus by CCM in her hour of need.”

But on Friday Ms Sepetu, who won the Miss Tanzania contest in 2006, wrote on her Instagram account; ‘I can’t continue living in a house that deprives me of peace. Peace of mind is everything for me. I announce to leave Chadema and return home.”

While CCM officials said they had not received any official communication of Ms Wema’s return, Chadema official said she had not yet been granted party membership.

The weekend migration to CCM was the latest of high profile exodus of politicians from the main opposition party, Chadema, to CCM. At the CCM’s National Executive Committee meeting at the State House in Dar es Salaam on November 21 more than five politicians, including a ex-Home Affairs minister Lawrence Masha, were welcomed to CCM.

Other included Patrobas Katambi who had been Chadema’s National Youth League leader, Samson Mwigamba who had been Secretary General of ACT and Prof Kitila Mkumbo.

In earnest hundreds of opposition supporters have decamped to CCM in the last few months. In the same day that Mr Masha and others were received in CCM, Humphrey Polepole, the party secretary for Ideology and Publicist, announced that about 200 opposition politicians had asked to join the ruling party.

The exodus has, understandably, left the opposition in disarray. It comes hot on the heels of both the ban on political rallies and the wave of arrests of hundreds of opposition politicians for either holding public rally “without permission” or for “insulting the President or the government.”

And so the exodus from the opposition to the ruling party has served to confirm the impression that the current CCM’s leadership is hell bent to “destroy” the opposition.

Though there unconfirmed rumours that the ruling party intimidate some high profile opposition figures into joining the party experts are all the same flabbergasted that the mass migration of politicians from one party to another should happen this early.

The occurrence is usually most common during the election year. And it is usually either way.

In 2015 the ruling party, CCM, was the largest victim of the exodus. Politicians who lost in the primaries, led by the powerful presidential ticket contender Edward Lowassa, decamped to the opposition a few months before the General Election. Mr Lowassa went ahead to become the presidential flagbearer of Chadema and was supported by the coalition of opposition parties, Ukawa. Mr Masha had then been on the bandwagon to Chadema.     

advertisement

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Will Arusha resolve Burundi’s deadly crisis?

 

        Arusha. On Monday, the fourth round of Arusha talks aimed at finding a way out of the Burundian crisis started off, with some of the protagonists expressing hope that a lasting will be found.

The meeting has brought together President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and opposition representatives in Arusha from November 27 to December 8.

East African leaders will then meet in January to assess the outcome of the talks in Arusha. At least 120 people – parties and political actors, civil societies and religious denominations – have been invited to the talks.

The dialogue had broken down. But diplomatic sources already speak of the “last session planned in Arusha” also bringing together former presidents and vice presidents, women and the youth.

Burundian actors are hopeful that this time round, things would work out. “There would be fruitful interactions among all stakeholders and we would therefore reach a political consensus that could allow us to move forward,” Evariste Ngayimpenda, a political opponent and participant in the 4th round of peace talks, told Iwacu News.

“I think this session is inclusive despite the grievances and criticisms over the invitations. The best way is to participate and express them in the presence of others as the facilitator in the Inter-Burundian dialogue has previously met the stakeholders separately.” Early this month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened a full probe into alleged crimes committed during the crisis.

Between 500 and 2,000 people have been killed, according to different sources, and more than 400,000 people displaced from their homes.

Here is a summary of key developments in the crisis in the central African country.

Demonstrations start

April 25, 2015: Nkurunziza is declared candidate for a third term by the ruling CNDD-FDD party. The following day thousands of protesters demonstrate in the capital, the start of six weeks of almost daily rallies that meet a fierce response from police. The opposition maintains Nkurunziza’s move is unconstitutional and violates a peace deal that ended a 1993-2006 civil war.

Failed coup

May 13, 2015: A top Burundian general, Godefroid Niyombare, announces the overthrow of Nkurunziza, hours after the president flies to neighbouring Tanzania for talks with regional leaders on ending the crisis. The coup leaders surrender two days later and Nkurunziza returns.

Defections

June 28, 2015: Parliament head Pie Ntavyohanyuma says he has fled to Belgium, denouncing the president’s “illegal” third term bid. He joins a long list of opposition leaders, journalists, members of civil society, and even disillusioned members of the ruling party who have chosen exile.

Nkurunziza re-elected

July 21, 2015: Nkurunziza is re-elected as expected in a vote boycotted by the opposition.

August 2, 2015: General Adolphe Nshimirimana, widely seen as the nation’s de-facto internal security chief and considered the regime’s number two, is killed in a rocket attack.

August 3: Human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, who had publicly opposed Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, is wounded by gunfire.

August 15: Colonel Jean Bikomagu, the former head of Burundi’s army during a 13-year civil war, is assassinated.

December 11: At least 87 people are killed in coordinated attacks by unidentified gunmen on three military sites that trigger a fierce riposte from the security forces.

‘Risk of genocide’

July 29, 2016: UN Security Council agrees to deploy up to 228 UN police in Burundi, but in early August the government in capital Bujumbura rejects the resolution.

September 20: UN investigators say Burundi’s government is behind systematic human rights violations, warning of the looming risk of “genocide”.

October 27: Burundi says it is leaving the ICC.

In April, The Hague-based body had opened a preliminary examination into allegations including murder and torture.

December 30: Nkurunziza hints he might seek a fourth term in office in 2020 “if the people request it”.

‘Rape calls’

January 19, 2017: Human Rights Watch says young men belonging to Burundi’s ruling party are waging brutal attacks on perceived opponents.

April 18: UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says the youth wing is repeatedly calling for the rape and murder of opposition supporters.

Towards a probe

September 4, 2017: UN calls for the opening of an ICC probe into crimes against humanity in Burundi.

September 29: UN decides to extend the mission of an international probe into atrocities there, overriding strong opposition from the government.

October 26: Government approves changes to the constitution that could pave the way to a potential 14-year extension in Nkurunziza’s stay in office.

October 27: Burundi’s threat to leave the ICC takes effect. November 9: ICC reveals that it decided on October 25 to launch a probe into crimes committed from April 26 2015 to October 26 2017. The court “retains jurisdiction” in this area, regardless of Burundi’s withdrawal. (Political Platform reporter and AFP)     

advertisement

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The way out for AU parliament

 

        The Pan-African Parliament was established by the African Union in 2004. Since then it has not passed a single law. That’s because it’s based on a Protocol that gives it only an advisory role. The parliament can gather information and discuss it, but can’t make binding regulations to change anything.

Its limited “consultative and advisory powers” hamper the African Union’s ability to achieve a prosperous and peaceful Africa as envisioned in its Agenda 2063.

Is there any point, then, in having this parliament?

The 2001 Protocol envisaged that a conference would be organised to “review the operation and effectiveness” of the protocol five years after the establishment of the Parliament, which was 2009. This provision gave rise to the view that such a conference would explore the possibility of granting the Parliament meaningful legislative powers. But no such review has been carried out so far.

Nothing much changed

Instead, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government replaced the old Protocol with the new 2014 PAP Protocol. Nothing much changed. The new Protocol gave the Pan African Parliament powers to submit “draft model laws to the Assembly … for its consideration and approval”.

This still falls way short of meaningful lawmaking powers. By letting things remain as they were, African leaders are showing that the Parliament will remain a nominal platform. It is unlikely to become an effective organ with the mandate to pass the kind of laws that will advance African integration and development.

Denying the continental Parliament reasonable legislative powers undermines its legitimacy and raises concerns about its relevance.

New thinking needed

Yet there is important work that it could be doing. The Pan African Parliament could be advancing Agenda 2063 programmes. The agenda outlines seven goals, to be achieved over the next 50 years, that are central to achieving political and economic development in Africa. These include promoting peace and security, good governance, youth development and gender equity.

A Pan African Parliament with real legislative powers could lead the harmonisation of standards and policies across the continent. It could oversee African Union organs such as the Commission, and national parliaments.

This would require a new way of thinking. Some member states or regional parliaments may want to work directly with the Pan African Parliament to draft continental legislation. Indeed, the 2014 Protocol recognises this kind of arrangement. The challenge would be to make it work in practice.

First of all, the political will would be required to make the Pan African Parliament a true legislative assembly. The AU member states are unlikely to transfer power to it all at the same time.

The vast majority of member states have a lukewarm disposition towards African integration and are not likely to support a stronger continental parliament. These include Egypt, Angola and Botswana. Even among the more democratic member states, such as Botswana, South Africa and Ghana, national interests may come first.

Taking action

Practically speaking, the AU will need to explore the possibility of a flexible or differentiated approach to transferring powers to the Pan African Parliament. This rests on the willingness of member states to deepen African integration at a quicker pace. Others may choose to join later. This would be a pragmatic way to strengthen the Parliament’s powers.

The AU will have to identify member states and regional parliaments that are prepared to work directly with the Pan African Parliament and then map out the areas in which legislative powers could be shared.

Continental objectives

The Parliament would then develop model bills to guide willing national or regional parliaments so that every bill proposed would align with continental objectives. In the EU, on which the African Union is modelled, for example, national parliaments have the powers to review proposed legislation and comment on policies to be adopted by the European Parliament.

The final step would be to encourage direct elections to the Pan African Parliament. These could be carried out at the same time as general elections in the member states.

In the EU, members of the European Parliament are directly elected. Similarly in South America, the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) regional body allows for direct election of parliamentary representatives.

Similar to the situation in Mercosur, the AU could at the initial phase allow countries to synchronise the election of Pan-African Parliament members with national or local elections and later provide a uniform timetable for all participating member states.

Participating states would need to provide the AU with electoral schedules, and then allow it to work with their respective electoral management bodies to facilitate the regional poll. Direct elections organised in this manner would enhance awareness of the Pan African Parliament and its activities.

The way forward

The rhetoric on the need to have a stronger continental Parliament has to be matched with actions. While some member states may be willing and ready to transfer legislative powers to the continental body, others may not.

Its legitimacy ultimately depends on its ability to make laws. The AU will have to invest more time and resources in bringing willing member states to the table. Otherwise the union might as well disband the Parliament and spend its budget elsewhere.

The writer is associate professor of International Law, University of South Africa     

advertisement

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How the Americans aided Mugabe’s ascent to power

 

        Washington. In late 1975, the Cold War had arrived in southern Africa. By early 1976 - while Ronald Reagan and US President Gerald Ford were battling for the Republican nomination and Jimmy Carter was still a long shot for the Democrats - 36,000 Cuban troops had landed in Angola.

Ford, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a whole host of Americans were convinced that these Cuban troops were Soviet proxies. This set into motion decisions that would draw the US into the politics of southern Africa and contribute to Mugabe’s rise.

By the mid-1970s, there was rising concern about the easing of hostility, particularly among the group that would become known as neo-conservatives. In his campaign against Ford, Reagan railed against the weakness of detente, and urged the United States to take a stronger position against Soviet adventurism.

One of Reagan’s main targets was Kissinger. Just a few months earlier, South Vietnam had fallen. The detente that Kissinger had spearheaded looked like a failure. Kissinger, who had been depicted as “Super K!” on the cover of Newsweek in 1974, now faced calls for his firing from conservatives, led by Reagan. He was seen as too moderate, too soft, too associated with the Nelson Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party.

Kissinger needed a win. And he thought he could ring up a cheap one in Angola where three independence movements were vying for power in the wake of Portugal’s decision to decolonise. Kissinger masterminded a covert operation, including a South African invasion, to bring the most pro-American faction to power.

As Piero Gleijeses shows in his masterful “Conflicting Missions,” Kissinger’s scheme would have worked - if Fidel Castro had not decided to counter with 36,000 soldiers. This changed, or at least appeared to change, the balance of power: From Washington’s point of view, the Cuban troops meant the Soviets now had a means to project power well beyond their borders.

Thus the Cold War came to southern Africa. Castro’s troops repelled the South Africans. Kissinger’s plan was in shambles, and a pro-Cuban, leftist regime took power in Luanda.

Enter Zimbabwe

The Ford administration was convinced that Cuban troops would next move to Zimbabwe (then known as Rhodesia), where several independence movements were battling the illegal, racist regime of Ian Smith.

Ford, Kissinger and many others in Washington feared that the independence movements might ask the Cubans for help. This would put the administration in a terrible bind: In Cold War terms, Washington would have to counter another Cuban intervention in Africa, but that would mean publicly supporting Smith’s regime. Both options were untenable. Therefore, Kissinger rushed to cut the Cubans off at the pass. In April 1976, Kissinger travelled to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. In Lusaka, Zambia, he declared that the United States supported black majority rule in Rhodesia.

Extraordinary moment

It was an extraordinary moment. The Nixon team had expected the white minority regimes of the Portuguese colonies, Rhodesia and South Africa to survive for a long time, and they were happy about that. For Kissinger to appear in Zambia and declare support for majority rule in Rhodesia was revolutionary.

And it was a direct response to the Cuban victory in Angola.

For the remainder of 1976, Kissinger spent the bulk of his energy trying to resolve the war in Rhodesia. He used similar techniques to those he had employed in the Middle East and Vietnam: secrecy and urgency.

He rode roughshod over the British and left much of the State Department in the dark. He declared to a friend that his strategy was “to keep it confused until somebody’s nerves go.”

By the end of the year he had strong-armed the British into convening a conference in Geneva to force negotiations between Ian Smith and the guerrilla leaders. It was in the crucible of the need to present a united front at the conference that Robert Mugabe emerged as the leader of one of the two main independence movements, Zanu.

This was the situation that Jimmy Carter inherited: Cuban troops in Angola, Soviet-backed independence movements fighting an illegal, racist regime in Rhodesia and intense American involvement in the crisis.

On the day Secretary of State Cyrus Vance moved into his office in Foggy Bottom, Smith announced that negotiations were over, and the Geneva conference collapsed.

Kissinger’s policy had failed. A prolonged guerrilla struggle in Rhodesia, with Soviets and Cubans intervening to help the insurgents and South Africans intervening to aid Smith, seemed likely. This would not only destabilise all of southern Africa, but also further undermine detente.

The Carter administration, therefore, could not avoid Rhodesia. But there were also other reasons to pay attention. Carter had pledged during the campaign to restore American values, post-Watergate, to US foreign policy. Carter, a man from the Deep South, was particularly attuned to the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and ‘60s

During the presidential campaign, he had declared, “I think the greatest thing that ever happened to the South was the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the opening up of opportunities to black people ... It not only liberated black people, but it also liberated whites.” Carter and his point man on Africa, UN Ambassador Andrew Young, saw a parallel between the struggle in Rhodesia against Ian Smith and the US civil rights movement.

Moreover, Carter’s victory over Ford had been a squeaker, and the black vote had made the crucial difference. As Young declared, “The hands that picked the cotton have elected a president.”

Resolve Rhodesia war

Finally, Africa was not only the locus of the Cold War in the 1970s, it was also seen as the land of opportunity: with oil-rich Nigeria as an engine, the continent seemed poised for an economic take off.

For all these reasons - Cold War security concerns, racial justice and economics - Carter wanted to resolve the Rhodesian war.

In terms of the Cold War, Carter continued Kissinger’s policy, but with a very different approach. Whereas Kissinger had relied on secrecy and speed, the Carter administration methodically sought buy-in from all parties - including, crucially, the top three Rhodesian independence movement leaders, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe was in many ways the dark horse of the three. Muzorewa, a Methodist bishop, had studied in the United States and was lionised by conservatives like Senator Jesse Helms, R-N.C. Nkomo was a bon vivant who travelled the world seeking funds, networking and living the good life.

The British foreign office favoured him. Mugabe, on the other hand, was an ascetic intellectual who eschewed the backslapping that fostered friendships in the West.

While Kissinger had forbidden his small team working on Rhodesia to circulate their cables, Vance encouraged all US ambassadors in Africa and the Africa desk at the State Department to always copy to each other, creating an early listserv. Everyone was in the loop, and they all contributed to the policy.

Additionally, a joint team of British and US diplomats, headed on the American side by Andrew Young, repeatedly toured southern Africa to mediate among the guerrilla factions and the Smith government. Secretary of State Vance and British foreign secretary David Owen also toured Africa and hosted the parties in London and Washington, in search of a solution.

This was the US government’s first exposure to Mugabe. Kissinger admitted, after his Africa tour, that he did not even know who Mugabe was. The Carter team, on the other hand, opened direct negotiations with him, as with the other guerrilla leaders.

In the history of US foreign policy, this was extraordinary. What other Cold War president had directly negotiated with Communist-backed guerrillas? But Rhodesia was different. Why?

In part because Carter framed the war there in terms of the US civil rights struggle. The analogy was inaccurate, but useful. It allowed Carter to see the Rhodesian guerrillas as freedom fighters against injustice rather than communist proxies. It also gave him courage when the negotiations stalled, which they did frequently. Carter was steadfast in his belief that change - racial justice - would transform Rhodesia just as it had the US South, and that it would benefit blacks and whites alike.

Framing the war as a liberation struggle allowed Carter to pursue an unusual course in US diplomacy. Rather than chase an elusive “moderate centre,” the Carter administration sought peace in Rhodesia through truly free, democratic elections. Peace would close the door on the opportunity for the Soviets and Cubans to intervene, and peace could only be achieved, Washington believed, through elections that were transparently fair.

This was the goal of Carter’s diplomacy in Zimbabwe. “I spent more effort and worry on Rhodesia than I did on the Middle East,” Carter said. It bore fruit: It laid the groundwork for the Lancaster House conference in 1979, when the parties finally agreed to a peace settlement and free elections. When those elections were held, Mugabe won in a landslide. (Washington Post)     

advertisement

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How Europe still conquers in Africa race

 

        Abidjan. Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa’s main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward.

Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent’s top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations.

But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc.

“Europe is in front, given the shared history,” said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan.

“Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor,” a European diplomat in Brussels added, speaking ahead of a summit between the EU and African Union in Abidjan on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the Chinese ministry of commerce, trade between China and Africa was worth $149.2 billion last year -- $92.3 billion in exports from China, against $56.9 billion of imports.

That made China, for the eighth year, Africa’s foremost individual trade partner -- well ahead of France and Germany.

However, trade between the EU and Africa totalled 286 billion euros in 2015 ($341 billion at current rates) with a 22-billion-euro surplus in Europe’s favour.

Europe also contributed some 21 billion euros in foreign aid -- more than the United States and China combined.

“When people say Europe has let China overtake it you have to keep things in perspective,” said an EU diplomat in Abidjan.

Factors such as language, cultural cooperation, university exchanges, a military presence and aid all help to ensure “Europe remains the point of reference” for Africa, the source said.

‘Aggressive policy’

Even so, Chinese competition is hotting up.

Beijing’s big policy is to mix aid and loans at ultra-low interest rates to muscle in on numerous large-scale projects.

“They have a very aggressive policy, in the good sense of the term, on loans and this seduces states,” said one financial observer in the region.

According to China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, quoting Fitch Ratings, loans from China to Africa over the past decade amounted to $67.2 billion -- a whole $12.5 billion more than those made by the World Bank.

“The aspects which attract Chinese enterprises to Africa are the development potential, resources and the market,” said Xu Tiebing, professor of international relations at the Communication University of China.

“The Chinese government has a South ‘complex’. They think that when the South becomes powerful the world will be more balanced,” added Xu.

Natural destination

“China thinks perhaps that as two of the world’s poles of development (Europe and North America) are already in decline, Africa, Latin America and Asia are becoming the natural destination for Chinese investment.

“In the past, China was more concerned by the political angle, but now ascribes greater importance to common development and to mutual advantage,” he said.

A European diplomat commented: “China’s presence and engagement in Africa attracts a lot of attention.

How did China get involved in developing an African metropolis that westerners tend to associate with famine and death? And this is just one project among many across the continent.

Since the turn of the century, Chinese firms have built stadiums, highways, airports, schools, hospitals and, in Angola, an entire city that still stands empty.

China has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into African governments and infrastructure. In return, it has reaped hundreds of billions in commodities. In 2015, it promised an impressive $60 billion in assistance and loans to boost development of the continent as it emerged Africa’s largest trade partner, and.

New colonialism

Few in Africa are certain that there is fair quid pro quo at play here. Is this the dawn of a new colonialism, they wonder, a new scramble for Africa in which the continent is once again left in tatters? Or is it the beginning of an era during which Africans shake off old colonial masters and look elsewhere for direct investment and aid?

“But China is not the only one massively gearing up its interests in Africa. Look at Japan, India and the Gulf States. There is a multitude of players.”

The so-called BRIC states -- Brazil, India, China and Russia -- have all gained a foothold on the continent.

Bolstered by its African roots and after first concentrating on fellow Portuguese-speaking countries, Brazil has been extending its influence, although its internal political problems have hampered the process.

Brazil-African trade was worth $12.433 billion ($7.830 billion of that made up of Brazilian exports) in 2016 -- but that was well down on the 2013 figure of $28.5 billion.

“With Lula (former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in power 2003-2010), Brazilian-African relations went through a very intensive phase,” explained Pio Penna Filho, a professor of international relations at the University of Brasilia.

After Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016) succeeded Lula, Brazil “did not put an end to its African policy but there was a lessening of this intensity,” owing to a political crisis sweeping the Latin American giant, he said.

Africa’s allure for investors is multifaceted. One attraction is the notion that, in many countries, a middle class is rising, providing a potent market for housing, transport, clothing, education and consumer products.

Coupled with that is demography -- the continent’s population is expected to roughly double to 2.5 billion by 2050, according to a UN estimate.

But, as Dagbo notes, there is also an age-old view of Africa as a “raw materials zone”, a treasure trove of natural resources that are extracted but not transformed.

As a result, the continent misses out on the added-value part of the processing chain -- the extra margin that boosts prosperity and employment.

“An example: Ivory Coast produces two million tons of cocoa yet processes just 20 percent. This is the kind of thing that has to change,” said Dagbo. (AFP)     

advertisement

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

No president can be good leader forever, says Mogae

President Festus G. Mogae led the Republic of

President Festus G. Mogae led the Republic of Botswana from 1998 to 2008.  

By Syriacus Buguzi @buguzi sbuguzi@thecitizen.co.tz

On Monday, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation unveiled the 2017 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), showing the performance of various African states in the four categories of governance: safety and rule of law; participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development.

From Tanzania and Kenya in the East, Zimbabwe and South Africa in the south, to Togo and Liberia in the West, the unveiling comes at a time of heightened political activity and drastic socio-economic activitiy.

Political Platform grabbed the opportunity to seek an analysis of the current political events in Africa, through an interview with former Botswana President Festus Mogae, who himself is one of the recipients of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Excerpts:

I am told the newly-launched index seeks to enable governments, citizens and other stakeholders use its findings as a tool to assess the delivery of public services and drive conversation about governance in Africa. How good a benchmark is this tool?

I think it’s a genuine effort to enable us African leaders to improve on the ways we deliver to the people…it’s a serious attempt to measure our performance in the rule of law, human rights, gender and good governance. In a country where there is rule of law, then, there is development, health and accountability…we don’t have to agree with everything said in the index but I would argue that things such as rule of law and good governance are quite relevant…

Let me take you away from the index to the wider picture of African governance. Looking at the state of democracy in Africa? Is the continent progressing or regressing?

That question is answered by the index itself. It…tells you what countries have achieved and in what, [it shows] which countries have deteriorated or improved. It shows which country was where, in the last ten years. However, my own opinion is that in terms of democracy, Africa is improving because there are countries which held elections. There are still others lagging behind but in terms of elections, we are improving. We now have an objective measure of the performance of individual countries, and that’s the index.

There are important events happening right now in Africa, such as the latest Zimbabwe power takeover and the highly-contested election in Kenya. What do these events mean in Africa’s governance? Are there lessons African leaders have to pick from what has happened?

One of the things I would talk about is term-limits. There seems to be a belief that term-limits is a western thing. I don’t agree. Whether term-limits or no term limits, we have to agree that no one can be good for ever. Even football players reach their prime, then, they begin to go down. In leadership also.

There are good leaders, they lead well. Taking an example of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe was a very able man. But, he is old now. If he had left office after ruling for 25 years, he would still be a hero. That’s what Mwalimu Julius Nyerere[of Tanzania] saw.

We saw change of leadership take place in Kenya recently. In that case, is Kenya setting a good example?

I think we have to first look at [the new Mo Ibrahim Index] and what it says about that country…outside that, it’s my personal opinion. However, I get the impression that despite all the challenges that we have heard, there is a gradual improvement in the way elections are held in Kenya. The last time I went on a Commonwealth Observatory Mission in Kenya, it was a time when seizing power was through tribal means.

But I think now I heard the opposition has formed something like a political federation or coalition, I think that’s a desirable thing. Kenyans have learnt from their mistakes. That’s my personal opinion, I would be interested to hear your personal opinion too… [Followed by a little laughter…]

I hope you are also watching the developments in Tanzania. In the last two years, we have a President who has declared war on corruption and is highly praised in Africa for fighting laxity in public service. That’s President John Magufuli. What’s your take on his leadership style?

Well, I have heard about the same things about him—fighting corruption and improving public service. I have also heard that he uses an unconventional style. I don’t really know much about him. By the end of five years, I would wish to look at the Mo Ibrahim Index and see how he will have performed in fighting corruption. Whether he has succeeded or not, I will measure him by the Index. Since older times, your country [Tanzania] is associated well with good governance. Things like corruption happen everywhere, so we have to also measure him [President Magufuli] on good governance.

While on a tour of Uganda recently, President Magufuli of Tanzania and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni spoke in one voice against the International Criminal Court (ICC), that it was meddling in East Africa’s internal politics by interfering with the on-going negotiations in Burundi. How correct is their stance, to you as an African leader?

Well, that’s what they are saying. It’s their personal opinion. We, Africans are the ones who gave way to the International Criminal Court. Now, when it comes to disciplining those in power, we say it’s bad. It’s a bad importation. I think that’s unfair. There have been several cases from Africa which have so far been taken there. I agree that the ICC tends to target African countries, and not others. But, look, there is a problem. We have to think, as African leaders, that there are cases of alleged killings, whether it’s in Central African Republic or it’s DRC, or anywhere in Africa. We are the ones who opted to have this ICC. The problem is that when it comes to challenging those still in power, we tend to say no no no no! We don’t want that.

I am interested to hear how you spent your $5m Mo Ibrahim prize money that you won in 2008?

[Laughter…] I give scholarships to students. I believe in education, so I have spent it on education, mainly for the deaf and blind children.

You are credited for having consolidated the leadership in Botswana when the country was facing an HIV/Aids pandemic. Looking at the HIV/Aids challenge continentally, is Africa winning the battle against it?

Well, I can see there is complacency. We feel that HIV/Aids is no longer an issue. We are no longer dealing with it just as we did in the past. As result, as a result, new infections on the continent, including in Botswana, are going up. That’s why I have formed an alliance [with other African leaders] we call ourselves Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa, to keep reminding leaders that this enemy has not gone away. That we should continue preaching about prevention such as advocating condom use.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Uhuru basks in court ruling, as Raila digs in

President Kenyatta will be sworn in on Tuesday

President Kenyatta will be sworn in on Tuesday November 28 by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi in the presence of Chief Justice David Maraga who on Monday led a six-judge Supreme Court bench to unanimously uphold his election victory on October 26. photo | FILE 

Nairobi. Opposition leader Raila Odinga on Monday claimed the Supreme Court upheld President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election victory under duress even as plans to swear in the Jubilee leader next Tuesday started in earnest.

Mr Odinga, who was reportedly in Tanzania at the time of the Supreme Court ruling, said the Jubilee government was illegitimate and that the opposition’s next course of action will be announced this week.

The court met under severely constrained circumstances, having failed to raise a quorum over serious security concerns following the shooting and wounding of the Deputy Chief Justice’s driver before a crucial pre-October 26 election hearing, his adviser Salim Lone, said in a statement.

“We in Nasa had repeatedly declared before this Supreme Court ruling that we consider this government to be illegitimate and do not recognise it.

“This position has not been changed by the court ruling, which did not come as a surprise.

“It was a decision taken under duress. We do not condemn the court, we sympathise with it,” he said.

Swearing-in

As Mr Odinga vowed to push on with his crusade to restore electoral justice, preparations for the swearing-in of President Kenyatta for the second term resumed at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani.

A team of top security officials from various departments, including the military held a meeting inside the stadium.

Military rehearsals were expected to start yesterday, according to Mr Joseph Irungu, who is chairing the Assumption of Office sub-committee on Security, Logistics and Protocol.

“The committee is picking from where it left before the nullification of the first election.

“We expect about 100,000 visitors and invitations to heads of state have already been sent out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” he said.

Budget

A full transition schedule will be released at the end of this week as well as the day’s programme.

“We have less than a week to the ceremony and all the committees will work to ensure that it is held successfully.

“We are also working on a modest budget to finance it. The main dais will seat about 1,600 VVIPs.

“I can assure that we will have no challenges in handling security. Meetings will continue today,” Mr Irungu said.

Committee

The committee involves officials from the ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Finance, and Also involved in the planning are director-general of the National Intelligence Service, the Inspector General of Police, chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, chief registrar of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice and the secretary to the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat.

At 10.30am, the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice David Maraga dismissed the two petitions challenging Mr Kenyatta’s October 26 victory, saying they lacked merit.

The petitions were filed by former assistant minister and Kilome MP Harun Mwau, lawyer Njonjo Mue and activist Khelef Khalifa.

“As a consequence, the presidential election of October 26, 2017 is hereby upheld, as is the election of the third respondent (President Kenyatta),” the judges said in a unanimous decision read by Justice Maraga.

Petitions

Mr Mwau accused the commission of failing to adhere to the orders of the court. The former Kilome MP maintained that the election failed to meet the constitutional threshold. Because of time constraints, the two petitions were consolidated and heard together. (NMG)

advertisement

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Govt excuse on new Katiba dismissed

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa responds to

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa responds to questions from MPs at the Parliament in Dodoma. PHOTO| FILE 

By John Namkwahe @johnteck3 jnamkwahe@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Constitutional experts and lobbyists have dismissed the government’s excuse for shelving the writing of the new Constitution accusing the fifth phase administration of turning a deaf ear to the voice of the majority.

The contentious matter came back to the fore last week after Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa ruled out the possibility of continuing with the new constitution- writing process in the near future.

Dampening any hope that might have been still there that the government could reconsider its position, the Prime Minister reiterated that the main focus for now was the provision of social services, creation of jobs and revamping the country’s economy through industrialisation.

Mr Majaliwa also noted that the process to have a new constitution in Tanzania was too costly, and the government would rather divert those funds to more pressing development issues.

But in several telephone interviews with Political Platform, following the PM’s remarks, those who have been at the forefront in lobbying for the new constitution warned the government that it was instead making a costly mistake in pushing out the agenda that the majority Tanzanians agreed on.

Mr Onesmo Olengurumwa, national coordinator of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC, said: “It is a first degree mistake to have leaders who always think about today and forget about tomorrow.”

Example of good leadership

“Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the father of the nation, is a good example of good leadership, he was always thinking about the future.”

Describing the constitution as “not just a paper”, Mr Olenguruma urged the government to reconsider its position and embrace the new constitution-writing process to ensure that the next generation also benefitted.

He said non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations and ordinary citizens should continue advising the government on the importance of having the new Constitution.

In Parliament last week, opposition legislator Abdallah Mtolea (CUF-Temeke) asked the Prime Minister to explain why the government was “dilly-dallying” on the resumption of the process that has divided the nation with one side arguing that the process is irreversible, while the pro-government side insists that pushing the agenda is an unnecessary distraction from more pressing demands the fifth phase administration is seeking to address.

“It doesn’t mean that we don’t understand the importance of having a good constitution, but our priority is to improve the welfare of Tanzanians through the provision of quality social services, including health, education and water, just to mention a few,”the PM told Parliament.

Mr Majaliwa said the government would only resume the process once it was sure that the people, especially in rural areas, are fully engaged in income-generating activities and are contributing more to the building of the national economy.

“After satisfying ourselves that the economy has stabilised and the provision of social services reached ideal standards, especially in the rural areas, only then can we resume the new constitution-writing process.”

The PM argued that the current constitution is good enough to run the country.

Tanzania Constitution Forum executive director Hebron Mwakagenda says demands for a new constitution are coming from the majority of the people, but suggested that little should be expected from those who stand to benefit more from the existing constitution.

He said the ruling party CCM manifesto promises to revive the new constitution-writing process: “My question is, why can’t they fulfil their promise in accordance with the party’s manifesto?”

Mr Mwakagenda questions the logic of not completing the process for which billions of shillings have been spent.

“What should be done is to minimise the cost. It is less expensive to have the new constitution than not to have one,” he said.

Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC) secretary general Doyo Hassan says the government’s dismissal of the new constitution-writing process is an “unlawful”act.

He accuses the fifth phase government of failing to implement projects, which were started by its predecessors.

“Finances are a non-issue here; the government recently bought aircraft, where did it get the money from?” he said.

A survey by non-governmental organisation Twaweza last month, titled: Unfinished Business: Tanzanians views on the stalled constitutional review process, revealed that two out of three Tanzanians think that it is important for the country to get a new constitution.

The findings were based on data collected from 1, 745 respondents across Tanzania Mainland held in June-July, 2017.

Just over half of the citizens (56 per cent) think that the final draft constitution should be voted in a public referendum, according to the Twaweza research.

However, the survey further showed that half of citizens (48 percent) believe that the process to write a new mother law will not happen within the next three years.

Yet, citizens expressed support towards having a constitution that emphasizes accountability.

Eight out of ten want ministerial appointments to be confirmed by Parliament (79 per cent), and six out of ten want to be able to remove MPs between elections (64 per cent).

Twaweza’s executive director Aidan Eyakuze said citizens want a new constitution.

“Many want to start with a new commission and a clean sheet of paper. But others are willing to go forward with the draft from the last commission,” he said.

“They also support the accountability orientation of the original draft constitution and they are clear that they want a new, more inclusive process to move forward with,” he observed.

Debating the findings, CCM’s Ideology and Publicity secretary Humphrey Polepole said CCM’s priority was to instil the concept of constitutionalism in the minds of Tanzanians.

“Constitutionalism should sink deep in the minds of the people, especially political leaders in order to smoothen its implementation; this is why CCM is reforming its institutions in order to achieve the goal,” he argued.

According to him reviving the Katiba re-writing process without the aforementioned reforms would have no benefit to the people and the country.

However, Mr Deogratius Bwire, from the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC), disagreed with Mr Polepole. According to him President John Magufuli needs a legal framework in which he can undertake the reforms.

“We are all impressed by reforms undertaken by the president, especially in fighting corruption and protecting natural resources but he needs a proper legal framework to guide him,” said Mr Bwire.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Big title, but no clear office for these MPs

Members of Parliament during a session in the

Members of Parliament during a session in the National Assembly, Dodoma. The shadow cabinet concept in Tanzania exists just as a mere symbol, analysts have said – and that it will take some time for it to take solid shape and function in consonance with its ideal responsibilities. PHOTO I FILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. Given the pivotal role of the political opposition in any parliament as the ‘watchdog of the watchdogs’, shadow ministers and analysts in Tanzania are agreed that it is important for the country’s development partners and the government to consider rendering some support, specifically earmarked for the shadow cabinet to make sure it carries out its functions smoothly – and make an impact.

“If there’s a real commitment to having a robust and effective shadow cabinet, which can be expected to give a workable feedback, then enough resources would have been allocation to enable it to function in consonance with its responsibilities,” the Malindi MP (CUF) and shadow minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office (Union Affairs and Environment), Mr Ally Saleh.

A shadow cabinet is a team of senior spokespeople chosen by the Leader of the Opposition to mirror the cabinet in Government. As an important feature of the Westminster system of government – which the Tanzanian parliament follows – the shadow cabinet’s key responsibility is to criticise the policies and actions of the government of the day, as well to offer an alternative governance program. Each member of a shadow cabinet is appointed to lead in a specific policy area for the opposition party, and to question and challenge their counterparts in the cabinet. In this way, the official opposition seeks to present itself as an ‘alternative government-in-waiting.’

Section 15 (2) of the Standing Orders of the Union National Assembly is where the shadow cabinet draws its mandate. The section outlines in so many words that the leader of the opposition in the parliament will appoint members from his/her party, or from the official opposition camp in the House who will be chief spokespersons of the opposition camp regarding the relevant government ministries.

Yet, despite this recognition, the Standing Orders do not assign any privileges to shadow ministers; nor do they state specifically what will be the roles of the shadows ministers so appointed.

It’s this incoherence, and others like that – which experts in the ‘Bunge’ business have identified to be worked on so that the current state of affairs (whereby we have a shadow cabinet whose contribution is very minimal and less impactful) – that needs to change.

Bunda-Urban MP Esther Bulaya is the shadow minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliament, Work, Youth, Employment and Disabled). Speaking during an interview with the Political Platform, Bulaya said that – despite the existing challenges – they always strive to look for a space to fit in while crying of being deprived of sufficient funding.

“I’m talking about subsidies like allowances that would enable us to carry out even simple researches in keeping with our roles as ‘watchdogs’ of the government,” she elaborated.

She lamented that the low status to which they have been assigned in the National Assembly, as well as being ignored, do not constitute the excuses of abating their designated roles – and stop serving the best interests of the country!

“As my title requires, I always make sure that the Standing Orders – and other policy issues related to the ministry that I monitor – are adhered to and properly implemented… I well understand that this comes with consequences including being expulsed from the august House proceedings,” she said.

She says it’s not true that shadow ministers derail the government’s development drive – as the government seems to perceive them. Shadow ministers just do what is expected of them: to critique government policies and present alternatives.

If this sounds unacceptable, she argues, then the government should not have adopted the Westminster model of Parliament in the first place.

Ms Bulaya seems irritated by the Parliament editing their speeches intended for the National Assembly. This denies the public the opportunity to hear both sides of an argument.

Malindi MP Ally Saleh has identified the structural weaknesses where shadow cabinet appointments sometimes clash with the Steering Committees memberships. This is among the several factors that impede diligent performance of the roles of shadow ministers.

Working space is another issue. Drawing examples from other Commonwealth parliaments – for example, the UK parliament – where, apart from having the office of the Leader of Opposition, members of the shadow cabinet are accommodated, being provided with working space of their own. This enables them to function smoothly.

“On the list is also the apparent lack of an express will of the government to work in close co-operation with the shadow cabinet,” Ally Saleh says.

“I personally don’t feel specially privileged to be a shadow minister. Having that title doesn’t make any difference to me – and you know how psychological impediments affect the roles that I ideally am supposed to perform,” he states.

He thinks that the concept of shadow cabinet functions cannot materially pay in a country like Tanzania – largely because not only is the government unable, unwilling or unready to fund shadow cabinet activities… It also fails to take for implementation even a one per cent of the recommendations put forward by the Opposition.

“In reality, the shadow cabinet system just exists in theory, not in practice on the ground,” the opposition MP from Zanzibar philosophizes.

Perhaps most surprising is that these complaints by some shadow ministers are not known to the Bunge administration, as not a single shadow minister has filed even a single complaint with the Bunge administrative offices!

Commenting on the matter, the recently-installed Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Stephen Kigaigai, said “we are certain that they (shadow ministers) are satisfied with the way they run their business – as I have never heard of such complaints; neither as an individual, nor as the office holder!”

Explaining that the shadow cabinet system is in place in terms of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, with the object of giving space to the political opposition in parliamentary democracy, the clerk to the National Assembly nonetheless stated that “the truth is that the National Assembly cannot intervene in its day-to-day activities – and, for it to function properly, it all depends on the co-ordination of the political opposition themselves.

“In reality, there’s not a fund that is especially designated by the National Assembly or the government to finance shadow cabinet activities. What we have is facilitation by the Parliament Secretariat across a number of activities like report-writing and compilation, stationaries and researches,” Mr Kigaigai stated – adding that the financing is done within the budget of the National Assembly, but not as a specific budget for the political opposition as such.

A 2010 report by the Norway-based Christian Michelsen (Research) Institute (CMI) titled ‘Support for Parliaments: Tanzania and Beyond’ identified that “the best way that the (political) opposition can be helped is by rendering support – financial and/or technical support – to the Leader of the Opposition, and to the Shadow Government.”

Based on a study commissioned by the Embassy of Sweden in Tanzania, and carried out by Inge Amundsen, the reported further stated that the foregoing “can be done by, for instance, the same mechanism as in Uganda – a Shadow Cabinet Research Fund – or as direct support to the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and the shadow government… Although it will have to be formally approved by the Speaker’s Office; but it should be possible.”

While the CMI report calls for support of such political opposition activities, it also identifies two challenges that it considers particularly important when considering support for the Union Parliament.

One is the increasing dominance of the ruling party (CCM). This definitively calls for support for the political opposition in Tanzania.

The second is that Tanzania may become an oil exporter soon – and that corruption pressures will intensify. This calls for specific measures to prevent the ‘oil (resource) curse’ in particular, as well as good parliamentary budget processes, and strong oversight and control mechanisms.

Despite being convinced by the works done by the shadow cabinet in Tanzania, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Mr Richard Mbunda, says there is a tendency of ignoring the contributions and opinions from their government counterparts – something that he wishes to see it stopped.

Protesting that “views from the shadow cabinet are in most cases assigned low weight – and are not taken seriously – Mr Mbunda warned that “this does not augur well for ordinary citizens. If a shadow minister makes a suggestion on the best approach that could help peasant farmers in the village, and their government counterpart ignores it, the effects flow down to the same village peasants – and the their problems are exacerbated.”

According to him, the shadow cabinet concept in Tanzania exists just as a mere symbol – and that it will take some time for it to take solid shape and function in consonance with its ideal responsibilities.

For that to happen, Mr Mbunda offers a simple suggestion.

“There should be dedicated and continuous efforts designed to correct the current legal and procedural weaknesses that seriously impede a strong functioning Shadow Cabinet in the country, period!”

advertisement

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Africa’s disunity vs Canada’s sagacious expenditure

AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PHOTOS | FILE 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The unification of Africa has always been an uphill task. Today, I’ll show how Africa in general loses a lot due to its colonial and post-colonial divisions and poor vision.

Organically, Africa was a single country that didn’t depend on donors for many centuries before its division. Again, after being divided; and later became politically independent, due to colonial carryovers, and partly, greenhorn founders and their myopic successors thereafter, Africa’s remains divided for its detriment. Aren’t African countries still blindly and crassly serving and servicing their colonial monsters’ ploy of weakening them by dividing them into minuscule; and rickety states? Is there any ever-dependent African country that’s truly independent?

In their division, African countries are on the line while in their unity they are supposed to be stronger. Why can’t they see that their perceived insecurity resulting from warmongering and fear mongering between; and among them result from the very tactic colonisers engineered and foresaw for perpetual exploitation?

The fear of the unknown, and of each other among African countries helps arms-producing countries to sell even more arms to Africans so that they either butcher one another or waste a lot of time and money on feeding such pseudo fears. If Africa were a single country as it used to be, the money currently spent on arms could boost its economy a great deal more than the aid it receives from its former colonial monsters. How many gunky armies does Africa have that have never fought anywhere; and if they did, they just did so against their neighbours; or were abusively used to intimidate citizens in such countries? How much money do African countries spend on arms geared by the mere fear of their neighbouring Africans?

Further, how much do African countries spend on maintaining embassies in other African states they’re not supposed to have any? All this money’s burnt because of disunity. Africa needs to blaze its trail by facing reality, the reunification.

Consider this then decide how much Africa loses to its division. To put it in the context, country X has 98 embassies abroad, including in African countries. In 2015, country X bought a $50 million apartment in New York to house its embassy to the UN. Suppose country X decides to build its own offices to house all embassies wherever it’s represented; which’s cheaper than renting. How much country X will burn pointlessly? This is a typical replica of many African countries. Multiply $50 million with all 50-odd African countries times over 50 years of independence times at least 20 embassies per country which is less than what it actually is. This means: many African countries burn money on the same to end up becoming poorer and poorer.

How many embassies do African countries have abroad and within Africa that’d be reduced through reunification? I can say: the amount the reunification of Africa can save’s anecdotally zillions of dollars. Add the money lost due to the lack of free movement in Africa.

Cogently, Canada avoided economic quandary and megalomania through uniting its provinces and territories to form one country. Compare Canada’s 2015/16 C$ 1.3tn. Take education for example. According to the Globe and Mail (January, 23, 2014), Canada spends C$ 9,000 a child. This is why providing a computers to all students isn’t a hoax just as it the case in Kenya when Jubilee promised a computer a child to end up offering hoo-has instead. Again, how much do EAC countries spend on education? Sub-Saharan Africa spends 5% of its GDP on education (politicafact.com, 7 Aug., 2014).

Further, according to the Forbes Magazine (October, 1, 2014) Kenya’s GDP was $1,246. This means: Kenya, hypothetically, spent approx., $62.3 a child. According to the countryeconomy.com (2015), Tanzania’s GDP was $931 or $46.55 a child and Uganda’s $676 or 33.8 a child in the same year. Compare the stats with Canada’s.

Again, how Canada’s been able to raise and spend such humongous amount of money with such a relatively small population of 36,741,055 as of 2017? It vigorously collects revenues, uses its resources wisely; and above all, Canadians work hard to develop their country not to mention taking on mega corruption pragmatically as opposed to the real situation in Africa.

The writer is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada

advertisement

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Can regional groupings help change Africa?

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, currently

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, currently the East African Community (EAC) chairman, and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame at the end of trilateral meeting on regional infrastructure, trade and political integration- Entebbe, 25 June 2013. PHOTO I FILE 

By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3 news@tz.nationmedia.com

Arusha. Yosuba Jobe is not somebody, who wants to talk much. But he certainly wants his point heard loud and clear. As the deputy clerk of the Pan African Parliament, he has to maintain rapport with all member states of the African Union (AU) and their leaders.

Yet, one of his greatest concerns in recent times is the scale of corruption in the continent endowed with abundant resources he says can substantially alleviate poverty in a big way.

“There is a high proportion of poor people in Africa. Corruption is on high scale,” he said here recently during a symposium on the quality of public institutions in Africa.

To fight poverty and underdevelopment, he argues, Africa must make full use of the resources it is endowed with, and the abundant knowledge it has to develop the continent.

Development goals

But he insists that neither the AU nor the Pan African Parliament alone can drive the development goals of the continent alone.

“Coordination and cooperation as well as integration are very important. AU has a big task and has to move faster to pull the entire continent together,” he points out.

Mr Jobe turns to regional economic communities (RECs), which, he insists, should harmonise their activities and speak together.

“There are too many fragmented decisions, no coordination, duplication and wastage of money,” he said during the symposium hosted by the Pan African Centre for Policy Studies (PACPS), a policy think tank working closely with AU.

The centre was established as an independent institution, not-for-profit centre for research, capacity building, training and documentation for a modern African democratic governance.

Incidentally, the symposium held in Arusha a fortnight ago discussed the role of RECs often considered as ‘building blocks” or stepping stones in the process of continental integration.

RECs are not entirely new in the continent although their relevance or role has come to spotlight much more in recent years.

In fact, one of the objectives of the AU as reflected in the Constitutive Act is to coordinate and harmonise the policies between the existing and future RECs.

Currently, there are eight RECs recognised by the AU, one of them being the East African Community (EAC), which could be the oldest among them.

Those not much known in the EA region include the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (SEN-SAD) and the Arab Maghreb Union (Uma).

Others not very much familiar with Tanzanians are the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) for the Horn of Africa states.

The rest are the Economic Community of the West African States (Ecowas), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).

There had been discussions on how the continent - or rather the AU- should organise and render RECs more coherent and efficient to constitute the “building blocks” of the greater AU.

Creation of synergies

PACPS chairperson Ms Judica Amri Lawson called for the creation of synergies between different regional economic communities (RECs), saying they were important “building blocks” for Africa’s integration.

She intimated there was nothing wrong for AU member countries to belong to different RECs and according to her,only eleven of the AU’s 55 member states belong to one economic bloc.

Within the EAC bloc, only South Sudan is a member to one economic bloc (EAC).Tanzania is a member of EAC and the Southern Africa Economic Community (Sadc).

Burundi, Kenya and Uganda belong to three RECs each while Rwanda is a member of only two; EAC and Comesa.

At the continental level only 11 out of the 55 AU member countries are members of only one REC. These are Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

All the other countries are members of more than one REC or have registered their intention to become members of another one.

Overtime some policy analysts have cautioned on the challenges of overlapping activities of many RECs on the continent.

Ms Karin Pluberg, a representative the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) said AU should brace up for complete reforms under Agenda 2063 if it wanted to discharge its duties well. She, however, cautioned on the challenges of overlapping activities of many RECs in the continent, suggesting it should be avoided for the sake of efficiency.

The President of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) Dr Emmanuel Ugirashebuja said lack of information channels among the African states may have led to dismal performance of the RECs.

“National institutions may not be fully informed about the nexus between the regional framework and national framework,” he pointed out.

He called on the Arusha-based Centre to take stock on the performance and effectiveness of RECs in order to stimulate the integration of the continent, adding;

“Diverse legal systems, priorities, lack of information channels and political prejudice may pose challenges to the alignment of regional framework to national legislation,” he said.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Polarised politics poses fresh democracy threat

Crying foul: Opposition leaders, from right

Crying foul: Opposition leaders, from right Prof Ibrahim Lipumba (CUF), former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa (Chadema), Freeman Mbowe (Chadema) and James Mbatia (NCCR-Mageuzi). Analysts have warned against the prevailing political divisions in the country pitting government against the main opposition.  PHOTO I FILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. Analysts have warned that the current polarised political environment in Tanzania portends ill for the future of democracy, and may reverse the gains of multipartyism if no effort is made to reverse the trend.

They were speaking in several interviews this week with Political Platform.

There seems to be unanimous agreement among the analysts that the widening divisions between the two major political players -- pitting the ruling CCM government one one hand against the opposition on the other -- is a recipe for disaster.

“We should be worried about where we are going as a nation because these current divisions are not good at all,” says Dr Frank Tily of the University of Dar es Salaam.

Tension between the government and opposition has increased over the past two years as the two sides take their differences to unprecedented levels since the gradual adoption of multipartyism in the early 1990s.

While the source of conflict between the government and opposition may be as old as multipartyism, many trace the current stalemate to two years ago when the fifth phase administration launched what critics say is a deliberate and systematic crackdown against dissenting voices.

The government banned political rallies last year a few months after President John Magufuli assumed power, saying cheap politicking would distract the new CCM administration from delivering on its election pledges.

This decision sparked a backlash from the opposition coalition led by Chadema, and it was the begnning of a series of events that widened the cracks in the political arena.

Softent its stance

Despite the government’s decision to soften its stance on the ban by allowing rallies to be held only in areas where one is a representative did not help much. The opposition wants the ban completely lifted.

The subsequent arrests and attacks of opposition leaders, accusations of what the opposition says is ‘state capture’ of the National Assembly and the alleged bias of law enforcement agencies have all worked to further divide the country’s major political actors. The refusal by the fifth phase administration to complete the new constitution process has not made the situation any better.

Positive changes

On the other hand, despite the positive changes that the current government has effected in its first two years, the opposition has seemingly decided to pour cold water on the momentum, condemning the administration for allegedly blowing its reforms agenda out of proportion for political gain.

In marking President Magufuli’s first two years in power on Sunday, the Director of Information Services and Government Chief Spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbas, said the fifth phase administration had scored 10 major goals in the past 24 months.

He listed the restoration of public service discipline, fiscal discipline, the anti-corruption drive, mining reforms and financial discipline as some of the achievements attained so far. The government spokesperson also noted the shifting of the government to Dodoma, scaling down on donor dependency, the rolling out of the Standard Gauge Railway project, breathing of new life into national carrier Air Tanzania and the ambitious industrialisation drive.

Granted, the majority of these achievements have earned the government praise beyond the borders in the East African Community (EAC) and the African continent in general.

Many across the continent have described President Magufuli as a visionary leader -- a view that back at home the opposition that accuses him of heavy-handedness has decided not to share.

Dr Hamad Salim, a political scientist from the Open University of Tanzania, says the current polarisation is a result of the country’s borrowed concept of democracy, which “was not born from within”.

It’s more of an imposition from abroad,” he says. “So we opened up without being fully prepared.”

Divergent views

A UDSM political science and public administration assistant lecturer, Mr Elijah Kondi, has a more positive outlook of what he says are “divergent political views” in the country.

“Opposing views are a basic tenet of any democracy. They are the founding principle of a multiparty system,” he tells Political Platform.

He is, nevertheless, quick to point out that what is key is to keep opposition views within the confines of the country’s legal framework.

“Problem come when something is constitutionally guaranteed, but the people are denied the opportunity to enjoy it. That, cultivates hatred, whose result is what we are experiencing now.”

Prof George Shumbusho from Mzumbe University says the current situation poses a genuine threat to unity among the people; more so, it may derail the government’s own development agenda if it is allowed to persist.

“Dialogue is important,” he says. “People should sit together and talk. This eases tension and friction.”

Prof Shumbusho points out that the current situation affects President Magufuli more, for this reason, he believes that the head of state should take the initiative to bring the country together and let everyone play their part in nation building.

“There are people the President has a lot of respect for. He can undoubtedly listen to them. They can fill the current gap. This can go a long way in calming the situation and saving the nation from the imminent danger.”

Dr Tily suggests that the building of a consensual, bipartisan solution is key. He reiterates that the opposition will be key player in nation building, and they should be given space to raise their issues.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

BOTTOM LINE : Will Zitto rise again? That’s a million-dollar question

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

When Prof Kitilya Mkumbo, then-chief adviser to Alliance for Change and Accountability (ACT)-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe, was appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the party’s leadership was tightlipped.

But ever since, many have tried to decipher and understand the acts, the wheeling and dealing between the ACT and Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

When critics raised the red flag, they were viewed as witchhunters and mudslingers. And when the party’s chair, Ms Anna Mghwira, was fished out and appointed Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Chadema’s chief legal adviser Tundu Lissu said, “we look back to 2006 when ACT was established and it went to war with Chadema…unfortunately they have failed to accomplish their mission, that’s why they are all going back to CCM one by one.”

Tensed up and chunked, upon hearing such accusations, Mr Kabwe hit back noting that “… the accusations that ACT is the extension of CCM are just the silly view of some politically-bankrupted people” [Sic]. Does Kabwe still have the guts to repeat the same as things take a turn to the worse?

Now, the writings are on the wall. Is the ACT methodically proving the likes of Lissu right? The recent decamping by its secretary general Samson Mwigamba speaks volumes. The ACT is in a political gunk. Those in the know know that when ACT’s creator, Kabwe was expelled from the Chadema assumptions were that there was some bigger powers behind his expulsion.

If you live by sword you will die by sword. Kabwe’s move that led to his expulsion was aimed at weaknening the Chadema. And indeed, it did, however, not as palpable as was envisaged.

Now that Kabwe is facing the same, will he survive or succumb to the forces alleged to have cloned and used him? Will Kabwe become another Maalim Seif or Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, if not Augustine Mrema or John Cheyo not to mention Fahmi Dovotwa?

Go back to Chadema

Will Kabwe bite the bullet and follow his runaway officials to CCM, fulfilling accusations that he was a mole in the opposition? Will he solo the party and soldier on or contemplate going back to Chadema so that he can be brought back into the fold?

Looking at the quandary Kabwe’s into curently and the way he’s been struggling to eat humble pie after losing the wand he once had, is it possible for Chadema to forgive and forget, or stick to their guns? Will Kabwe lick the wounds and soldier on however battered he is likely to be? I remember. Close to his expulsion, he said he would not leave Chadema because he joined it when he was 16, and spent much of his energy and time on building it. However, before long, he bowed out. This shows how Kabwe, as a politician, still has many loopholes through which to save his face if not to jump a smoking gun.

Shall Kabwe move on and join CCM? Will he really still be the Holy Grail he used to be? Will CCM stab him in the back, let him become a political liability or rearm him to go on his political fishing expedition as it has been if indeed he is a mole in the opposition?

Now that ACT’s loose ends are obvious, what should the nation expect or wait for from Kabwe as a man and a politician who seems to have weathered many storms. Will he survive or fall into a swoon? Let him stand up and be counted.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What are TZ’s options for private detectives?

Home Affairs minister Mwigulu Nchemba (in

Home Affairs minister Mwigulu Nchemba (in striped T-shirt)  with security officers at a crime scene in Kibiti District, where there was a wave of mysterious killings of local government leaders. The government dismissed calls for independent investigators arguing that local security organs have capacity. PHOTO I FILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. Security experts and analysts say independent – and, preferably foreign – investigators are crucial in probing cases of alleged foul play involving state organs in general, and public officials in particular. This is especially the case if we are to succeed in arriving at a fair, just and correct decision in any given investigation.

Experts and analysts who spoke to The Citizen in separate interviews shared this view as pressure mounts for the government to invite foreign investigators. This is in efforts to find answers in seeking to solve some sensitive criminal incidents, which seem to trouble local/Tanzanian investigators, thereby taking unduly long to unravel and conclude.

They say the necessity for intervention by unquestionably independent forensic investigators is critical in cases where government authorities clearly lack not only impartiality, but also enough or the requisite knowledge and technological capabilities to most effectively undertake complex investigations.

But the analysts nonetheless stressed that national interests are a key factor to consider in dealing with security issues – especially when the nation considers calling in foreign investigators.

A renowned security consultant in East Africa, Dr Simiyu Werunga, said in the interview that independent investigation is strongly advised in ‘high stakes’ cases with the potential for international ramifications – and where pursuing them diligently and to their logical conclusion could have a negative impact on the country’s standing within the international comity of nations.

“Natural justice requires that, if I suspect you to be part of the problem, then I wouldn’t expect you to investigate yourself,” Dr Werunga said. This was in response to a call by the major opposition political party Chadema for ‘independent’ investigation into the criminal shooting of the party’s stalwart cadre Tundu Lissu on September 7th this year.

“The people’s representatives may, therefore, seek independent investigations on their own volition to determine the motive for the crime, and also establish who were responsible for the criminal acts,” he added.

This, Dr Werunga laid it on thick, is the route that independent, disinterested investigators would invariably take – unlike some government agencies   which would probably ‘need’ to cover up for errant colleagues here and there!

There indeed are several examples of obviously criminal incidents which occurred in the country in the recent past, and have remained unsolved and unresolved for far too long.

This most unsatisfactory situation has prompted calls for investigation by experts who are not only independent and disinterested, but must be ‘seen’ by all and sundry to be so.

Some pundits – including top-notch political party leaders – have identified the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Britain’s New Scotland Yard as possible foreign organs that would carry out the required investigations with considerable probity and diligence.

Yet-to-be-resolved criminal incidents

Among recent cases are, the shooting in the nation’s capital Dodoma of the Singida-East Constituency Member of Parliament (Chadema) Tundu Lissu by what the authorities call ‘unknown assailants;’ the raid and bombing of two law firms in Dar es Salaam, and, much earlier, the killing of more than 30 local government leaders in Kibiti, Coastal region.

In Zanzibar, unknown assailants – commonly referred to as ‘Zombies’ by Zanzibaris – have been terrorizing people, killing some every now and then.

Prof Eginald Mihanjo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Eckenforde University in Tanga, is of the view that independent investigations can be conducted “anytime” – adding that this should come “when you believe that there is generalised security failure. But, you should always take into consideration your national survival and vital interests.”

Prof Mihanjo –  who is apparently one of the country’s authoritative commentators on security issues – elaborated that ‘national interests’ is a key issue to seriously consider in dealing with security issues, especially when it comes to inviting foreign investigators to operate in the country.

Independent investigations

The FBI and the Scotland Yard are the two organs that immediately come to mind for most of the people who spoke in the random interview on foreign intervention.

Both organs have a history of intervention regarding investigations into selected criminal events, to which they were officially invited by the government.

Following the killing of Fr Evarist Mushi, a Roman Catholic priest in Zanzibar in February 2013, the-then Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Pereira Ame Silima, said that the two alien intelligence organs were to intervene by assisting local security organs to get to the bottom of the murder.

In the same year, two British volunteer teachers stationed in Zanzibar, Katie Gee and Kirstie Trupp, were attacked by two men on motorbikes who threw sulfuric acid in their faces. Working in close collaboration with the Tanzanian authorities, New Scotland Yard and Interpol finally arrested the crime suspects who were then dealt with in line with the country’s laws.

No foreign intervention

Reached for comment on whether or not Britain would allow Scotland Yard to intervene in the investigation of Mr Lissu’s attempted murder – as well as other ‘unresolved’ criminal incidents in Tanzania – a communications specialist with the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam, Cynthia Bavo, said: “As I am sure you are aware, UK law enforcement agencies operate internationally – but with the consent of host governments.”

However, Ms Bavo said that the UK government has not received any request from the Tanzania government for British support in this area.

The United States Embassy in Tanzania had not responded to our questions on the matter by the time we went to press.

The Tanzania Police Force spokesman, Mr Barnabas Mwakalukwa, declined to “speak on anything to do with Mr Lissu’s incident.”

Responding to the question whether or not there is a need for independent investigation, Mr Mwakalukwa said the country’s security is stable and that Tanzania has not experienced any shocking incident that would indicate to the police and the government that the Tanzanian public is in danger – and, as such, compel it to seek independent forensic assistance.

As a security consultant, Dr Simiyu Werunga – who is the founder and CEO of the East African Institute of Security Studies – is of the opinion that Tanzania’s long-reputed stability and  rule of law legacy has started to come under pressure.

“The unfortunate result of this incremental breakdown of law enforcement,” Dr Werunga points out, “is the current situation where the government cannot explain to its own people the current criminal activities that are manifesting themselves all over the country.

“This is usually brought about by certain factors – the most compelling being political interference in the leadership of national security organs,” he explains.

When the political leadership in a country starts interfering in the management and operational control of its national security organs, the result is a complete erosion of professionalism and operational accountability on the part of security organs to the people they serve, he waxed professional.

“This leads to the emergence of impunity by members of the security apparatus in the country – and also the political class.”

For his part, Prof Mihanjo said that Tanzania’s security situation is deteriorating to the extent that almost each week, if not each day, there is a criminal incident.

“It’s only that we don’t check, and we don’t take precautions,” he notes. “We’re struck in the past, in a history of living in a peaceful country.”

The regional situation

Although the East African region has put in place cooperation arrangements that include forums for regional police commissioners and other interactive security and intelligence institutions, the day-to-day practical aspects of cooperation are seriously lacking.

According to Dr Werunga, “this may be due to lack of harmonized legal statutes that compel, or bring into action, structured cooperation and collaboration.

“Political goodwill from regional political leaders is a prerequisite for effective collaboration – and, therefore, if there is lack of same amongst the regional leaders, it becomes untenable to work together as a region,” he concludes.

Experts on security issues have advised the Tanzania government to come up with practical, people-centered security initiatives that allow and enable the common man (and woman) to work closely with government security organs. This would go a long way in effectuating the prevention and combating of crime in communities.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

In East Africa, broken pledges still fly

A March 2013 report titled ‘Democracy at a

A March 2013 report titled ‘Democracy at a Standstill’ described the progress of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa as ‘slow and uneven’. Three of the East African countries were recognised as ‘hybrid regimes’ and two as ‘authoritarian regimes. PHOTO | FILE 

By Citizen Correspondent @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. Africa’s democracies, fragile and nascent, have had a very difficult two years. The failure to modernise and liberalise is a big curb on human and social development as repressive regimes are costly to maintain. Not all news is grim.

Angola recently replaced its long-standing president Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979. In September, Angola’s Joao Lourenco was sworn in to replace dos Santos, who ruled the oil-rich country with an iron grip for 38 years.

His party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, Portuguese Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA), annihilated  the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita) on the battlefield before executing Jonas Savimbi on the battlefield too.

Survivors of Unita are about 20 per cent strength in Parliament just like their Renamo counterparts in Mozambique.

Next door in Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, now 93, is all set for an unprecedented fourth general election in 2018. Another five-year term will put him at 99 at the end of his term in 2023.

Two vice presidents jostling for power are also competing for the eye of his wife Grace Mugabe widely rumoured to be the power behind the throne. When the West went hard on Mugabe, Zimbabwe broke into two schisms, Shona versus Ndebele a constellation that favours Mugabe who is from the Shona majority tribe.

This week, President Mugabe declared that non-governmental organisations funded by the West will not be allowed to observe next year’s harmonised elections.

Mr Mugabe, who accused NGOs of interfering in Kenya’s disputed elections, said civil society had a habit of working with the opposition to unseat incumbent presidents.

Say no to the whites

“We don’t need them. We are saying no. We are going to have elections in 2018 and we are going to say no to the whites …,” he vowed while speaking to Chinese media in Harare last week.

Up north in Zambia, President Edgar Lungu locked his opponent for engaging in defiance and threatened to expel all Opposition MPs from Parliament.

Zambia has a fairly competitive multi-party system where power has shifted from two ruling parties (UNIP) in 1992 and (MMD) in 2011 to Michael Sata. Zambia also made history when its courts sanctioned the impounding of ill-gotten wealth from former MMD leader Frederick Chiluba.

In South Africa, Jacob Zuma is serving his last term as President and will be replaced as party leader in December.

The ANC, which lost its two thirds majority in 2009, is set to shed more numbers in light of pressure from the left by its allies, the Communist Party, Trade Unions and its defiant opponents, the Economic Freedom Fighters, who have turned Parliament into a sports gym with their red attire and disruption of Parliament proceedings.

In the East African Community, democratic wings have been clipped, first in Uganda where President Museveni’s muscular flattening of Parliament like a pancake is expected to result in amendment of the Constitution to remove the remaining limit on his tenure.

Senior members of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s National Executive Council (NEC) over the weekend endorsed the Bill that seeks to scrap the presidential age limit from the Constitution.

A statement issued on Saturday by the NRM’s communications officer Rogers Mulindwa said NEC resolved to remove the presidential age limit by quashing Article 102(b) of the Constitution which caps the upper age for a prospective president at 75 years.

Museveni defends Bill

New Vision of Uganda cited sources saying the President did not respond to the money question, but defended the Bill, saying he needed time to plan for his exit.

“I am a freedom fighter who has fought many wars; I cannot leave things like that. I have to plan,” the source quoted Museveni as saying.

Museveni reportedly said he wants Uganda to set a positive example for the rest of the world. He said age should not be an issue that bothers Ugandans.

“It is not about the age, it is the service you render to people,” Museveni was quoted as saying.

Presidents Museveni, Paul Kagame and Pierre Nkurunziza have reset their horizons on State power for the foreseeable future.

In the DRC, there are no signs that President Joseph Kabila will leave power after his constitutional limit in office expired last year.

Kenya, the liberal bellwether, recently had its presidential election annulled by the Supreme Court, a development that has muddled rather than clarified the political space. One of the risks coming out of the Kenya arose from the Opposition underperforming the ruling party in the August general election. Jubilee came verily close to a two thirds majority in the National Assembly, the de-facto parliament, a development that is likely to encourage Uhuru Kenyatta, the incumbent, to compromise less.

The Supreme Court appears to have been ill-prepared for the backlash that accompanied the presidential election petition decision famously for pointing out a popular phenomenon in African elections. Writing for the majority Philomena Mwilu, the Deputy Chief Justice, a front pew Catholic, observed that IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati, read results before they had officially been received.

Tanzania does not allow for presidential election petitions at all.

President Magufuli has not given any false hopes that he will liberalise further. He has maintained a strong stand on Zanzibar and the local opposition not hesitating to lock them up.

He has also made his point clear on the proposed new constitution -- that it is not his priority.

There are a few outliers in the bigger states. Sudan’s Omar Bashir has cut a deal with the United States to buy him freedom. Sudan’s 40 million people start to make sense when counted together with Egypt’s 95 million and Ethiopia’s 104 million people 90 per cent of the population of the United States. Africans ever the charm are taking things in stride, it is very much still big man rule this corner of the world.

advertisement

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

BOTTOM LINE: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on ‘historic’ Barrick deal

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

Recently, Tanzania released the report of the outcome of its negotiations with Barrick Gold. The talks  started after the government commendably decided to look into mining businesses in the country, and made unpleasant discoveries. Acacia Mining, a Barrick Gold affiliate, faced accusations of evading tax for about 19 years, and exporting concentrates without declaring the actual amount of the minerals found in them.

So, too, it was unearthed that Acacia was operating in Tanzania ‘illegally’. Therefore, two taskforces were formed to look into the matter thereby unearthing a lot of rot, which forced the government to, temporarily, suspend Acacia’s activities in Tanzania conditionally that it should negotiate with the government, which it did through Barrick Gold.

After over three months of negotiations, President John Magufuli hailed the outcome as a historic breakthrough. However, critics are a bit wary about this elusive breakthrough. The President told the nation that Barrick Gold, not Acacia, agreed to pay $300 million as a sign of ‘goodwill’ or showing either sincerity or dependability, which is a bit convoluted. Barrick spokesperson Andy Lloyd was recently quoted by the Minning.com as saying that “that is not a concession that is complying with the law.” The promise to cough $300 million enthralled Dr Magufuli who said he wanted the money quickly so that it could be used in the provision of public services.

Despite such palms, there are some unanswered questions with regards to the Barrick deal. Critics think it is too early for Tanzania to celebrate provided that the negotiations are ongoing. The major question is: What criteria were used to reach such an amount? Can the goodwill or trustworthiness be translated into money or through admission of the offence? For conflict resolution scholars, this offer is cloudy and headachy so to speak.

Trust in negotiations can be displayed through cooperation in problem-solving approach whereby the parties in conflict agree on some issues in principal but not through inducements as it seems to be in this case. Logically, inducements may help the offender to predict the behaviour and the next move of his or her opponent.

For example, Barrick offered the money. Tanzania accepted it without qualms. This tells us something. Success in negotiations, sometimes, is about timing, scheming, trust building and whatnots. Entering negotiations doesn’t necessarily warrant trust and cooperation.

Is the offered amount aimed at inducing Tanzania? What did Tanzania offer in reciprocating to the  new-found friendship and generosity that forced Dr Magufuli to refer to Barrick as brethren and not pilfers as it once was perceived of them after unearthing the scam? Such questions are valid provided that the two taskforces, one headed by Prof  Abdulkarim Mruma and the other Prof Nehemiah Osoro, unearthed a lot of rot and wheels and deals. The findings of the taskforces – that Acacia rubbished – concluded that Tanzania lost between Sh68.59 trillion and Sh108.46 trillion from unpaid mining taxes due to under declaration of exports of metallic mineral concentrates by Acacia Mining PLC in the 19 years (The Citizen, June13, 2017). From such an amount, the government was supposed to receive at least US$ 60 billion in revenues (The East African, 12 June, 2017). When one looks at such figures and compare it with $300 million, chances are that the so-called big deal might turn out to be a bad deal or a no deal. Instead of buying goodwill, methinks the government should disclose how much money Acacia is going to pay but not to offer in goodwill or whatever.

 Again, the issue was about showing good will, trust, commitment or whatever it is called. The issue was simply about the two parties reaching an agreement on what is owed and how it is going to be paid. Posterity will judge,  but methinks it is too early to rejoice or jeer.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

advertisement

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

OPINION: Clerk of Parliament: questions linger on JPM’s pick

 

By Mwassa Jingi

President John Magufuli’s recent appointment of the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Stephen Kagaigai, once again raised the question on procedure in presidential appointments. The Head of State was quickly accused by his critics of making his pick without following due procedure, which was basically adhering to the appropriate legislation-the National Assembly (Administration) Act [Cap. 115 R.E. 2015].

Some Members of Parliament said the President specifically violated Article 87 (1) of the Constitution of 1977, which empowers the President to appoint the Clerk of the National Assembly from the list of persons holding a high office in the service of the Union Government. More so, the recently enacted National Assembly (Administration) Act (enacted in 2008),  (fully cited above), procedurally requires the President to appoint the Clerk from amongst the three names of persons recommended to him by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) established under section 12 of the Act.

While no clear statement from State House or the government spokesman was made with regards to the questions surrounding the appointment of Mr Kagaigai, specifically to explain why the President made such an appointment without first getting recommended names from the PSC as provided in section of 7 of Act, some lawyers defended the presidential appointment as above board.

They argue that it was made in accordance with Article 87 (1) of the Constitution. Nevertheless, it must be understood that the President is not only guided by what is contained in the Constitution only, but also by various legislations (statutes), sub-legislations and even rules for better execution of the Office of the President. In the words, substantive and procedural laws complement each other -- and everyone, including the President is obliged to follow both to the letter.

 Breaching the law

 The point here is that, while the Constitution is the main law of the land, providing the general principles on how the country must be run, there are also equally important statutes and rules that help to provide procedures for easier observation of the law, in this case with regards to decisions on presidential appointments. Where procedural law is made available and is pretty clear, the substantive law cannot be invoked without breaching the law in generality.

For appointments that the President is constitutionally empowered to make but no legal procedure is provided, the President is not necessitated to seek help from any authority; he may use any available vetting of his choice to get someone for appointment.

But it is different matter in cases where procedural law if available. It can be interpreted as breach of law on the part of the President to ignore procedural law. By and large, the question remains on procedure. Parliamentary laws on how to appoint the Clerk are clear. The question, therefore, is: Did the President intentionally ignore the procedural law? If he did, it is for reasons best known to him. Maybe it was an error of omission, but was it beyond correction?

Yet I personally think it wasn’t an error of omission. First, according to MP Zitto Kabwe, the same procedural law was applied in 2008 when the immediate past Clerk, Dr Thomas Kashililah, was appointed by then-President Jakaya Kikwete.

Second, the President should know better that before making such an important appointment for an executive office of a key pillar of the State, it was crucial to observe the procedural provisions.

Moreover, the language of the provision of the Act, which requires the Commission to recommend three names to the President for the appointment, is clear. It reads: ‘’Subject to Article 87 of the Constitution, the Commission shall recommend three names of persons who are suitable for appointment to be the Clerk’’.

Not only that. The statutory interpretation compels the legal fraternity to differentiate the words ‘shall’ and ‘may’ as they are used in constructing and wording of any section or statement of the Constitution or any statutory law. When the word ‘shall’ is used in wording of a sentence in a particular section of the statute, that means it is mandatory; it is a must. But when the word ‘may’ is used, such can simply means, it is not necessary; it might be done or not be done -- it is optional. This means then, that the PSC has a legal obligation to recommend to the President three names of persons from who the President must appoint one to be the Clerk. It is as simple as that. 

So, why did the President fail to comply with this legal requirement? Since the word used in section 7 (3) of the National Assembly (Administration) Act, is ‘shall’, that obviously means, it is mandatory for him to appoint the Clerk from the three names of persons recommended to him by PSC. Doing the opposite was improper and inappropriate and can easily be interpreted as contempt of one pillar of the state by the other.

advertisement

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Proposed laws blow to student activism

This undated file photo shows students at the

This undated file photo shows students at the University of Dar es Salaam demonstrating against the late disbursement of their pay-outs. Proposed changes to the Political Parties Act seek to tighten the screws on student movements. PHOTO|FILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. The proposed new laws that further tightens the screws on political activity on campus could inevitably put the final nail on the coffin of student activism in the country, analysts have said.

Political pundits who shared their views in separate interviews with Political Platform have expressed concern over the future role of youths in national politics, saying without active student activism the country is headed for a future with ‘passive’ young politicians, both within the ruling party and opposition.

Experts also noted that the prohibition of political activity on campus and an education system that seemingly promotes docility, are responsible for the current state of affairs, on-and off-campus, where the current crop of scholars have proven to be suffering from low self-confidence.

They accused academics of failing to stand up or step forward to make their voices heard – as expected of them – by questioning issues that deserve scrutiny.

It’s this circumstance that prompted Prof Penina Mlama of the University of Dar es Salaam to step forward and call for reviewing of the country’s education system and make appropriate changes that would revolutionise the current state of affairs.

Prof Mlama, who chairs the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Professorial Chair in Pan-African Studies, says in a video, which went viral on social media recently that “we have youth scholars who cannot question and scrutinise any government decision. The government’s position on a particular issue becomes whole and final.”

Ban on politics

According to Tanzania’s laws, both students and members of staff at institutions of higher learning are not allowed to practice ‘on-campus’ politics.

This has extended to almost anything that has something to do with fighting for students’ rights and the cries for improvement of students’ welfare, such as better treatment and timely disbursement of stipends, issues the government seemingly perceives as political.

Section 51(1) of the Universities Act-2005 states that “[no]…students’ organisation in an [academic] institution shall engage in any political party’s activities on campus…”

In a similar vein, section 32(1) of the newly-proposed Political Parties Act-2017 points out that “no person shall do a party activity, form, establish or allow to be established or formed…any organ of political party in…any…school or other place of learning…”

This, however, contradicts the ‘University in Africa and democratic citizenship: Hothouse or Training Ground?’ findings across the University of Nairobi, the University of Cape Town and the University of Dar es Salaam.

Published by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) in 2011, the findings reveal that encouraging and facilitating student leadership in various forms ‘off and on campus’ political activities, and in a range of student organisations, is one of the most promising ways in which African universities can act as training grounds for democratic citizenship.

Divided opinion

However, according to Mr Issa Mangunga (Mbagala MP-CCM), there’s nothing wrong with banning politics in universities – and that has nothing to do with the current lack of activism and the uncritical state of mind of former and current students.

“The laws didn’t bar a student from participating in politics – but, rather, stop politics to take place on campuses,” Mr Mangunga points out.

“I deeply believe in, and acknowledge the importance of, integrating higher learning students in national politics, for it is the only way to prepare them for the leadership positions awaiting them – and it enables them to start learning how things work,” said Mr Mangunga. “But it shouldn’t be mixed with studies on-campus.”

On the other hand, the Civic United Front (CUF) deputy secretary-general (Mainland), Mr Julius Mtatiro, says the ban on politics is interpretatively a ban aimed at muffling activism among youths.

“Universally, the issue of student activism is acceptable. Universities are places where students start experiencing a free and independent life,” he says.

“Once you lack activism and vibrant youth movements you are killing the future brain, the youths who are supposed to question issues and demand answers on various policies and decisions that affect their individual lives as well as their surrounding communities,” noted Mr Mtatiro who was once a leader of students’ movements at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Mr Alphonce Lusako is secretary-general of the Tanzania Students Networking Programme (TSNP) and author of a recently-published book titled ‘Voices of Rights Defenders in Universities.’ He says not only are the laws unconstitutional; they also contradict the very concept of university.

“These laws contravene the ‘Dar es Salaam Declaration on Academic Freedom and Social Responsibility of Academics’ which outlines the rights and freedoms of scholars in universities,” says Mr Lusako.

Among the rights and freedoms stipulated in the Declaration are the freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

Mr Lusako associates the current trend in universities where students are silent, supporting none of the social or national causes with what he describes as the tripartite alliance comprising state security apparatuses, some mainstream government institutions and university managements.

‘Unholy trinity’

He points out that ‘the unholy trinity’ is aimed at suppressing the voices of students in ’varsities, and bar them from activism.

“I’m a victim of these collusions and, hence, I speak from personal experience. I was made a specimen of how the government can strongly come after you when you are critical, and a threat to its interests!”

Mr Lusako was expelled from the University of Dar es Salaam in January this year as he was preparing for his first semester exams on what the university’s administration claimed to be ‘wrong admission.’

This was the second time he was expelled from the university where, in 2011, the 27-year old Lusako – who was in his third year at the university, pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Degree – was expelled from the university together with 50 other students, following the strike he took part in organising against the government’s decision to send back home first-year students in public universities on budget deficit grounds.

As student leader, Mr Lusako says he has witnessed repressive rules and regulations at university, all aimed at depriving people of their freedom of opinion, association and assembly.

“If institutions of higher learning remain silent and do nothing about the injustice and other unacceptable things happening in our country we have reason to worry about what will happen two to three decades from now.”

Mr Rashid Moh’d was chairman of the CCM branch at the University of Dar es Salaam in 2016-2017. He says the idea of banning political activities in universities is ‘illogical’.

“Serving in the position not only built me up in terms of leadership strategy and management; it also did so for my colleagues and subordinates in the party branch.”

advertisement

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Lissugate: Why we must call in foreign investigators

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

There are still cries for justice against the culprits in Tundu Lissu’s assassination attempt. Mr Lissu is suffering from the pains inflicted on him by these criminals, who may have been hired to finish him.

Since this sacrilegious act was committed over a month ago, he has been bedridden in Kenya. As a result, his constituency doesn’t have a representative in Parliament. His family is, as well, indescribably suffering. It is not easy to explain what Lissu and his family are going through.

Any human being created truly human will agree with me that the family does not deserve what they are going through, more so considering that their case is not being treated with the importance it deserves by those entrusted with the duty to provide security for every Tanzanian regardless of whether he is an opponent or otherwise.

As result, the hoodlums who freakishly attacked Lissu are yet to be nabbed. Why? This is the question that has led me to thinking about the need to bring in investigators from abroad.

Tanzania won’t be the first to bring in some foreign forensic experts. Kenya did the same when its former foreign minister Robert Ouko died mysteriously in 1990. However, Kenya abandoned the investigation after a British investigator John Troon neared cornering sacred cows behind Ouko’s murder.

Before the so-called ‘unknown’ outlaws attacked him, Lissu had reported his security concerns to the Police Force, which sadly did not take any substantive measures to prevent the attack. As a citizen who is constitutionally entitled to protection from the same police, Lissu didn’t only feel vulnerable but also betrayed. His trust in police has since evaporated.

This is why he’s being treated in Kenya instead of Tanzania. He no longer trusts the institutions of his own country. This is sad and surreal. Demonstrably, Lissu’s family and his party think that to do justice for Lissu and the likes, the police must concur that it is no longer credible to do the job. When it comes to who should investigate this scandal that I would like to call Lissugate, Tanzania’s Police Force has lost the believability since it failed or refused (as his family thinks) to work on the reports Lissu made before it.

I, for one, just like Lissu, his family and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema), would urge the police to do the right thing, namely to step aside and allow other international organs to conduct investigations in order to prove its innocence. First of all, why didn’t they take action after they were tipped off about the danger Lissu faced?

Why has it taken long time to, at least, nab even a single member of the gang of unknown crooks? One newspaper reported recently that even the CCTV cameras on the crime scene have been removed. Is this true? If it is, why are the police still mum knowing that tampering with evidence is in itself a crime?

The Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee also failed to table its report on the issue that was supposed to be out around mid-September.

Why? No one knows, except the committee and the authorities, which up to now have not done anything substantial as far as investigating the crime is concerned. Thanks to this laxity, some foreign countries such as the UK and the US offered to help in investigating this carnage. As it seems, the authorities are not only tightlipped but also have been dragging their feet. Why?

Due to the fact that the police have proven either they are unwilling or incompetent to look into the Lissugate, it is time for Tanzania to welcome foreign firms to help crack the puzzle behind this seeming criminality. There is no need to wait.

So, too, there is no need of keeping the cart before the horse. If police have proved they cannot nab unknown criminals that made attempt on Lissu’s life, why should the public keep on trusting them that they will apprehend the criminals while as time elapses evidence too fades away? Indeed, Lissugate needs to be looked into by a neutral and professional bodies such as FBI or Scotland Yard among others.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

advertisement

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mere rituals? Elections still hold key to change

Voters queue to cast their ballots in 2015.

Voters queue to cast their ballots in 2015. From June 2015 to August 2017 an uninterrupted series of general elections took place in East and Central Africa. Those in Burundi (2015) and the DRC (initially set for 2016) were expected to be the most problematic. PHOTOIFILE 

By André Guichaoua

Dar es Salaam. The multi-party systems established in Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia in the early 1990s have endured despite electoral violence. But democratic hopes have been dashed or perverted throughout the rest of the region.

The governments built on the ruins of the civil wars in Angola, Burundi, the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda have all relied on armed political groups to stay in power.

From June 2015 to August 2017 an uninterrupted series of general elections took place in Central and East Africa. Those in Burundi (2015)and the DRC (initially set for 2016) were expected to be the most problematic. In both the incumbent presidents were seeking to extend their mandates beyond a second term. In the Congo, Uganda and Kenya, the risk of violent clashes was palpable.

The ruling regimes were not only dated, but worse for wear. At the time of the elections, the presidents of Angola (José Eduardo Dos Santos), the Congo (Denis Sassou N’Guesso) and Uganda (Yoweri Museveni), all members of the revolutionary or progressive New Generation of African leaders, were all in their seventies and had been in power for 30 or more years. The Presidents of Rwanda (Paul Kagamé), the DRC (Joseph Kabila) and Burundi (Pierre Nkurunziza), having served terms of 21, 14 and 10 years respectively, took steps to change their countries’ constitution to seek a third term.

Despite the bleak regional outlook and contagious scepticism among voters, these pious “democratic” rituals have become critical events over the past 20 years. This is true even in the most authoritarian countries where so much is predetermined. From the parties in the running to the authorised candidates and even the results.

As artificial as they may be, these rites still represent a risk for those in power. Rulers need expert skill to ensure both maximum control over their institutions and demonstrations of love from their people. Consequently, the outcome of the race – between increasingly artful electoral manipulation and limitless possible manifestations of democratic expression – is never entirely certain.

From Kinshasa to Kampala, from Brazzaville to Luanda and Bujumbura, courageous dissenters have organised numerous protests, usually with the approval – and sometimes active support – of the general population. These protests express the frustrations and expectations of a generation fed up with regimes clinging to power and responding to growing disillusion with increasing authoritarianism.

The ruling parties have, on the whole, proved themselves highly resourceful and resilient against the desire for change. Their victory has been comprehensive. Only Kenya is the exception: a second vote is set for October 26 following the Supreme Court’s surprise decision to invalidate the election results. In the DRC, Joseph Kabila’s delaying tactics have so far allowed him to remain in power. And while Dos Santos eventually withdrew his candidature due to illness, the election of his chosen successor has ensured power in Angola remains in his faction’s hands.

In power until 2034

The string of Central and East African elections got off to a bad start. In April 2015, the president of Burundi controversially sought a third term in office. Although devastated by 10 years of internal strife, Burundi had become a symbol of peaceful transition in the region.

Three months of tactical manoeuvring and brutal repression were required to bring victory to the incumbent president. This pushed the country back to the brink of civil war and further plunged it down the ranks of the world’s poorest countries.

The resulting crisis and the violent response by this relatively inexperienced president threw discredit on other outgoing presidents in the region, all flagrant repeat offenders. They were forced to up their game.

In February 2016, Museveni took office for the fifth time in Uganda amid relative calm. In March, in a tenser national atmosphere, Congolese president Denis Sassou-Nguesso started on the first of the three extra terms allowed by the recent constitutional reform. He could still be in power in 2031, at nearly 90 years of age.

Not to be outdone, Rwandan President Paul Kagame presided over a constitutional referendum in 2015 enabling him to remain in power until 2034. The reform was approved by 98% of voters, with a voter turnout of more than 98%.

Overall, pending the outcomes in Kenya and DRC, each of the self-proclaimed candidates who won the recent bout of electoral contests can boast enviable popular mandates, and even landslide victories.

Every leader for themselves

In the eyes of these leaders their longevity, and that of their counterparts in the region, constitutes in and of itself a justification for remaining power.

Their relations, alliances and conflicts were carved out in a shared past, marked by civil wars and fiercely violent regional clashes. Widespread structural insecurity plagues the entire region as a result. The insecurity is fuelled by governments’ failure to lay down formal, mutually beneficial, political frameworks for cooperation and regional integration. Yet such frameworks would allow them to develop the human resources and agricultural and mining potential of the region in an equitable manner.

In 2013, as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, African Intervention Brigades were authorised to take offensive measures to neutralise the main militia groups in the country’s Eastern region. The Brigades’ main target was the M23, a movement supported by Rwanda and Uganda, according to intelligence later submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The return to low-scale warfare is a sign of a regulated joint governance of the instability.

Despite the presence of peacekeeping forces, numerous political and criminal armed groups still control vast, lawless zones. In their own ways, these groups secure the exploitation of natural resources. They supply a lucrative cross-border trade run at the highest levels of government. These activities bring in significant profits for the ruling classes. They also allow countries in the sub-region to export goods they do not produce themselves. And they ensure the continued viability of the various regional and international trade routes towards the Indian Ocean.

At every stage of wealth creation, profits are essentially redistributed according to private interests. It is therefore easy to understand why each head of state believes themselves best placed to serve both national and personal interests, and the interests of the political-ethnic groups they represent.

The price of longevity

When they came to power, the new generation of leaders from the Great Horn of Africa embodied the new ideal of “good governance”. They were “strong men” at the head of “strong and sustainable democracies”, ensuring the order and security necessary for development.

During the course of these elections, none of these so-called democrats, so regularly and resoundingly “elected” by their citizens, had any thoughts of retirement. Setting aside Kabila, whose fate is still undecided, at least two of them, in Burundi and Uganda, had no qualms about changing their country’s constitution to ensure their own reelection.

But in a region of considerable wealth, it’s by no means certain that government can indefinitely be determined by the life expectancy of leaders who are still incapable of developing the regional cooperative frameworks that would ensure peace, security and prosperity for their citizens. (The Conversation)

advertisement

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

We’re not here to frustrate govt: Dar mayor

Dar es Salaam City Council Lord Mayor Isaya

Dar es Salaam City Council Lord Mayor Isaya Mwita (left) gestures during an interview with The Citizen reporter Louis Kolumbia recently. 

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

Four of the five city-status metropolises in Tanzania are led by the opposition, with the biggest – Dar es Salaam – a Chadema stronghold.

In this interview, Political Platform reporter Louis Kolumbia talks to the man in charge of the Dar City Council, Mayor Isaya Mwita, to get the inside story on how the opposition is faring in managing the country’s de facto capital, largest—and, arguably, the most prominent — metropolis – during a period of widening political cracks between his party and the ruling CCM government:

QN:What challenges does the Dar es Salaam City Council (DCC) – currently led by the opposition Chadema – face in serving the country’s largest metropolis?

ANS: Although we meet with many challenges – including lack of sufficient experience and exposure – leading DCC is an opportunity for Chadema and the opposition in general. But I’ve spent enough time learning how to best serve the public – and I’m now ready to make the requisite developmental changes.

Following the government decision to shift the traditional sources of income – including property tax and service levy – from the local to the central government, the Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke municipal councils have been hit hard financially.

The decision has reduced the municipal councils’ ability to collect revenues and adequately fund their budgets. DCC is currently providing Sh1.2 billion annually to each of the Councils – the first time that financial assistance has had to be extended to Councils by the City. We expect to increase the stipend after DCC reviews the issues at the end of the year.

Our aim is to enable the councils to implement development projects, such as building school classrooms, health centres and infrastructure, as well as rehabilitation existing facilities. Some of the councils do collect an average of Sh800 million-to-1 billion annually, and the amount we at DCC provide is a good incentive.

QN: President John Magufuli ‘stopped’ the eviction of petty traders operating in urban centres, generally on street pavements and in open parks/spaces, directing councils to relocate them to areas with developed infrastructure that supports their businesses. How have the Councils responded to that directive?

ANS: I shouldn’t respond to this question, as I don’t indulge in populist politics. I still have three years remaining (in my tenure as City Mayor) – and I want to focus on preparing my legacy that my people deserve.

QN: What difficulties do you have to contend with in fulfilling your official duties – especially considering that you are from the opposition working under the ‘ruling’ CCM government?

ANS: The answer to that question is well known to you – and to the rest of Tanzanians. It’s like a hapless orphan who needs to be provided with great care somehow.

Academicians have proposed three approaches in decision-making, namely: rational, economic and political. From the beginning, I opted for the ‘incremental approach,’ which calls for putting emphasis on issues that benefit the people.

I’m not supposed to moan; I’m supposed to deliver because I’m the ‘Lord Mayor in Office’ Therefore, I’m working hard to fulfill my people’s expectations – and leave behind a memorable legacy. There still remains a lot to be done.

QN: Could you please name at least three issues which you would like to be part of your legacy when you leaving public office?

ANS: My predecessors named a number of them – but they ended up failing to turn their dreams into reality. I’d like to differ with them in this; I will name the issues after I have accomplished them.

People would like to see the impact of my leadership on the ground, not mere politics. Politicking will spoil each and everything. I don’t want to disappoint my party, which has put great trust in me.

QN: What is your take on the arrests of politicians, including mayors and lawmakers – especially from the political opposition, mainly Chadema?

ANS: I’m not in a position to comment on that issue.

QN: O.K… What’s your take regarding the ban on public rallies and demonstrations – except for/by councillors and lawmakers in their respective wards and constituencies?

ANS: The ban is unhealthy for the country’s democracy. It was through rallies and demonstrations and sensitisation of the general public from the 2010 election to the 2015 polling that Tanzanians in general, and CCM in particular, considered Dr John Magufuli the right candidate to challenge opposition candidates in the 2015 presidential race.

President Magufuli and his government should know that the opposition is not out and out to disrupt its operations… Rather, the opposition is a ‘mirror’ that reflects the government, illuminatingly exposing its shortcomings so that it can get back on the right track.

As Tanzanians, we are all obliged to jointly promote national unity. We are all ‘one:’ all indigenous to this country; all our ancestors lived here. Therefore, the government should allow people to exercise their constitutional freedoms and rights – including holding public rallies and demonstrations, doing so within the statutory rules and procedures.

QN: Do you think the government made the right decision, banning live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings in the National Assembly?

ANS: That is also unhealthy because live ‘Bunge’ (Parliament) broadcasts promote freedom of expression, and improve people’s efficiency in development activities for the country.

It was from live Bunge broadcasts that the nation learned of the various talents and leadership potentials that were inherent in people like Mr Kabwe Zitto, Mr Livingstone Lusinde, Ms Halima Mdee – and many other Tanzanians on both sides of the political aisle! Indeed, President Magufuli gained much of his current popularity during live broadcast sessions when, as a cabinet minister, he spewed out mounds of data from his memory in responding to questions in Parliament.

QN: What should opposition parties do to maintain – and even boost – their political impact in the face of the veteran ruling party CCM?

ANS: Opposition parties shouldn’t stop lamenting to God – the same way the Israelites did in Biblical times! It is through ‘continuous weeping’ that God will show us the way forward.

QN: According to President Magufuli, the new Constitution-making process is not a priority of the fifth-phase Government he leads. This is despite the immediate-past government of President Jakaya Kikwete (2005-15) having spent billions of shillings in taxpayer money on the initial processes. What’s your view on this?

ANS: President Magufuli should be in the right position to answer that question. This is because he is the one who decided to virtually abrogate the constitution review – doing so either on his own prerogative, or after taking advice from his closest aides.

In any case, my opinion is that a new Constitution is among the possible solutions that would enable the United Republic (of Tanzania) to move forward, in the right direction. You know: President Magufuli may have good intentions; but, who knows what will happen in the future? (The future is not ours to tell!)

QN: What word do you have for Dar es Salaam residents?

ANS: We are striving hard for their development in appreciation of the trust they put in us (Chadema) in the 2015 General Election. The people should maintain that confidence in their leaders – and I once again pledge that we won’t let them down.

QN: Lastly, what is your ‘life story,’ please…?

ANS: I’m from Tarime District, Mara Region, where I pursued my basic education, completed at Tarime Secondary School. Poor financial position denied me the opportunity to proceed with formal higher education – and I ended up in Dar es Salaam where I first worked as house-help, then as a peripatetic vendor selling bottled drinking water before turning to selling eggs.

However, striving hard, I just as soon joined Al Haramain Secondary School in the city where I successfully completed the Advanced Level education programme, later enrolling with the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial University – also in the city – from which I graduated, awarded with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Thereafter, I was employed by the Temeke Municipal Council as an economist. In due course, I started a printing company at Kariakoo. Meanwhile, I had developed political ambitions, which I nurtured until 2015 when I was elected councillor of the Vijibweni Ward on the Chadema party ticket.

It was the same Chadema ticket that enabled me to defeat by 84-to-67 votes the CCM candidate, Mr Yusuf Yenga – and became the country’s first Lord Mayor of Dar es Salaam City from the opposition since independence from colonial rule 56 years ago.

advertisement

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My open letter to Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

 

By Nkwazi Mhando

Dear President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Premier Raila Odinga:

First of all, I must introduce myself. I am not Kenyan. Instead, I am African, Africanist, Pan-Africanist, East African and Tanzanian. Again, as the Kiswahili sage has it that aliyeko nje ya uwanja anauona vizuri mchezo (loosely translated, spectators see the game clearer), I am in a position of seeing things Kenyans cannot easily see; and if they see they do so differently from myself due to the fact that I am not a party to the ongoing imbroglio.

I, therefore, pray for your attention, underscoring the fact that I do not have any stake in your politics, except the regional peace and prosperity. I am thus writing as a friend of Kenya, a neighbour and a member of the family of the East African Community (EAC).

Allow me to humbly address you as follows:

First, let me congratulate you on completing the August 8 elections peacefully; and following the law in settling your political differences.

Second, let me tell you this. Kenyans did their bit in the said elections by voting peacefully and massively. So, too, did the court that constitutionally entertained and looked into your grievances so as to come up with the annulment of the results of the said elections; sad, however, it may be. Now that the presidential results were annulled due to what the Supreme Court of Kenya termed as ‘illegalities and irregularities’ which sent Kenya back to the drawing board, please, as Kenyans and leaders, show exemplary leadership by seeking modus vivendi that will pull Kenya out of the impasse it is into.

I know, power is sweet and beautiful. Again, Kenya is sweeter and more important than powers individuals seek. So, please put your dynastic and political competition aside, and put and think about Kenya first. Kenyans showed commendable peacefulness during voting and exemplary patience during the time of waiting for the results, and thereafter waiting for the Supreme Court to come up with its verdict. So, too, Kenyans have showed patience in the entire ominous period of waiting for the rerun. However, by the look of things, Kenyans’ patience is wearing thin due to your political rancour and scuffles.

Demos and altercations

Recent demos and altercations are but a sign of what is in store for the country shall sanity not prevail. There’s understanding in the conflict resolution field that there is an opportunity in conflict; if patties to it decided to seek it. You, too, still have an opportunity to turn the ongoing impasse into an opportunity for Kenya and Africa. Please make Africa, Kenya and yourselves proud. Instead of baying for each other’s blood, turn your swords into ploughshares. The Kiswahili sage has it that when two people compete, there is a winner and a loser. I would love to see a winner being Kenya and a loser being nobody. Kenya will always be there.

I fully and sincerely understand; you all would like to win and become President of this beautiful country. Again, there cannot be two presidents in one country. Therefore, as statesmen, you must allow democracy to apply so that Kenya can get one president. I don’t think that Kenyans deserve evidencing two bulls fighting to end up suffering the masses. Kenyans have offered their love to their country by fulfilling their constitutional duty. Now it is your turn to reciprocate positively by averting the country from cascading into the abyss pointlessly and wantonly simply because you cannot agree to disagree and see to it that Kenya is moving forward.

At this time one thing is needed, true love to the nation but not to power. I implore you to invoke the wisdom of one of the two women who were fighting over the ownership of a baby. When the true mother was told that King Solomon the wise, decided that the baby be split down in the middle so that every woman would take her half, the true mother conceded defeat in order to let the baby survive. The baby in this regard is Kenya, and the mothers are the two of you. I do not say that you must forgo your rights. Instead, I pray that you wise up and come up with the solution to the ongoing imbroglio.

For example, stop intimidating each other i.e. cutting some services such as security. Restrict your followers. Tell them the importance of peace for Kenya and the region. Distance yourselves from trading insults and the use of denting language of calling each other names. Consider the future of Kenya in your absence not to forget your legacies as the leaders of the nation.

God bless Kenya, God bless Africa God rein and show Kenya, Kenyans and their leaders the right choice and way.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

advertisement

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Building on Mwalimu Nyerere’s strong friendship

 

By Ciarán Cannon T.D

When, on his first visit to Ireland nearly 40 years ago, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere spoke at a State dinner, he said that he was not surprised that he felt so at home. He recalled the many Irish people that had worked with Tanzanians and spoke of their strong human relationships across the barriers of race and culture.

People from our two countries, Ireland and Tanzania, began building strong personal relationships long before either of our countries gained independence. Relationships founded in a shared love of education, of the land, family, humour – and our respective journeys from colonial pasts to our sovereign presents. Our countries are bound closely together.

During my visit to Tanzania this week, I was reminded of our closeness and the strength of our bond.

I visited programmes supported by Ireland and by Irish people. I had valuable meetings with our partners in the Government of Tanzania, and also with representatives of the private sector, of civil society and of the media. Like Mwalimu, I too have felt very much at home.

What I saw and heard reminded me that notwithstanding the geographical distance between Dublin and Dar, we are interdependent in the face of global challenges, such as climate change. We are equally vulnerable to public health crises.

There are emerging external threats. And there are opportunities which working more effectively together we can ensure that the return to all our citizens is maximised. That is why close cooperation at the regional and multilateral level is the core of our relationship. Continued close cooperation remains an imperative if we are to build a more secure world.

In this context, I wish to highlight Tanzania’s valued contribution to peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region - as a mediator and peacekeeper. I saw for myself this week the welcome and generosity Tanzania extends to thousands of refugees fleeing crisis.

Works closely with Tanzania

Ireland works closely with Tanzania at the UN, arguing for UN reform, for a UN better prepared for the challenges this century brings. Ireland sees the obvious need for much stronger African representation on the UN Security Council, so that African countries have a greater say in decisions affecting the continent. Ireland is a candidate for a seat on the Security Council for the period 2021/2022. I hope together we can work to achieve the representation Africa deserves.

Tanzania has also been a valuable partner for Ireland in building a more just and fairer world. We worked together in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals. If we can deliver on these goals, I believe we will transform our world. Supporting Tanzania in meeting these goals, particularly in health, nutrition, agriculture, and social inclusion, and in strengthening its democratic institutions, will remain an important part of our relationship. It is vital that as we advance this important agenda, women and girls are not left behind. This is why we have the rights of women and girls at the centre of our programmes.

Realising the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals is our promise to the next generation. We must find ways to encourage active participation of young people in shaping solutions to the challenges ahead. I was delighted to participate this week in the launch of Africa Code Week, a practical example of an emerging partnership between Ireland and Tanzania, and also a partnership intended to unleash the creativity and innovation of youth. This partnership is built, once again, on people to people links. Throughout my visit, I have consistently heard about Tanzania’s determination to industrialise its economy and create jobs for young people. Having transitioned from an agrarian economy to one of the most open economies in the world, we can testify to the transformational power of harnessing technology for development. Initiatives such as Africa Code Week equip new generations with the digital literacy skills they need to secure jobs and contribute to the growth of their economies. Closer partnerships between Ireland and Tanzania around innovation and entrepreneurship can help increase economic opportunities and prosperity in both our countries.

At the same time we must remember that development is not all about economic growth: it is about building the kind of open and inclusive society we want our children and grandchildren to live in, with a strong inter-generational social contract. I heard the same aspirations here in Tanzania that I hear at home in Ireland, that desire for a better future, for a better society. I can think of no better shared goal as the cornerstone of our ongoing close relationship.

Ciarán Cannon T.D is Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ireland

advertisement

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Reflecting on the legacy of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

On October 14, 1999, Tanzania lost its Founding Father Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere at Guy’s and St Thomas Hospital in London. Now, it is 18 years since Mwalimu or the Teacher, as he is fondly known, sadly passed on.

In reflecting on Mwalimu’s legacies, as we celebrate his exemplary and unique life, it is better to wholeheartedly and thankfully bring him back to our memories and prayers. The crème de la crème per se, small man with a big heart; and, above all, unparalleled virtuous man; yet a mountain-like leader, no doubt; Nyerere contributed superbly and enormously to Tanzania and Africa in general.

Due to such unrivalled makings, sans doute, his persona and stature have glowingly been growing exponentially as the days go by so as to outpower some living leaders. His shoes, too, have grown so big that nobody can slink and fit in. This is Nyerere I commemorate. I must admit from the outset. It is not easy and possible to enumerate Nyerere’s good deeds as opposed to his shortfalls, despite their good intent.

In commemorating Mwalimu, I’d like to revisit his shining heirlooms, though in a nutshell. Who’s Mwalimu Nyerere? He’s Tanzania’s first honest and selfless president who truthfully and practically said what he did and did what he said. Despite ruling Tanzania for 24 years, Nyerere left no hanging cloud over his people. He died a pauper by today’s standards when presidency is a lucrative money-spinning business that makes freebooters, their families, friends and hangers-on filthy rich.

For Mwalimu, nothing was more important than seeing Africa liberated from the fangs and pangs of colonialism, injustice and all criminality that made it stroppy in all spheres of life. Practically, Mwalimu fought for the dream of an independent Africa. His vision was to see Africa freed from disease, ignorance, injustice and poverty, which he vehemently fought.

Secondly, Nyerere wanted a united Africa. He tirelessly tried to actualise and realise this dream to no avail thanks to his bit-by-bit approach as opposed to his counterpart Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s founder who desired and worked for a single-stroke one.

However, despite his fiasco in actualising his dream for Africa, he left us with a token in the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar that gave birth to the current United Republic of Tanzania the only existing and exemplary union in Africa.

Thirdly, Mwalimu fought and established an egalitarian society that did not have evils such as tribalism, greed, and holier-than-thou. He established Ujamaa na Kujitegemea or African Socialism and Self-reliance. Under his rule, Tanzania was a shining star, thanks to his probity, intellect and insight.

As a leader, Nyerere introduced free social services to his citizen in order to make sure that they all moved equally and together, which Tanzania lost after Nyerere willingly relinquishing power in 1985 after admitting that his policies had failed. Again, did his policies fail? Not at all; they were sabotaged by internal and external capitalistic and imperialistic enemies who didn’t get an opportunity to bully and exploit Tanzania as they deemed fit back then under Nyerere’s watch. Many Tanzanians, particularly his party the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) beseeched him to soldier on, but he told them that he was not ready to turn back and become a biblical pillar of salt to which the wife of Lot, Ado or Esther, turned into after turning back contrary to God’s instructions as they escaped from a wicked Sodom.

Before retiring, Nyerere admonished Tanzanians to pull together. However, soon thereafter, things changed dramatically and negatively. Slowly, the lust for illicit wealth became a norm. The story is very long. For, three regimes that followed after Mwalimu corrupted and destroyed almost everything the man had stood and lived for. Some of his successors started to illicitly accumulate wealth so as to make the gap between the haves and the have-nots grow exponentially.

It reached a point at which many Tanzanians wished Nyerere would have soldiered on. Corruption became legalised through the back door while ethics were replaced with ineptitude, greed and venality. However, if Nyerere were to raise from the dead today, at least, he would be happy due to the arrival of the current President John Magufuli, who seems to readjust Tanzania back to the right direction, shall he stay the course.

Nyerere’s flipside

Nyerere was referred to as a benevolent dictator under whose rule democracy was stifled. So, too, Nyerere has a role in some of the noes that transpired after vacating from office. One of them is his superimposition of his handpicked candidate in the 1995 general elections who ended up betraying him and his cause. Notably, Nyerere saved the country from one evil to end up settling on another. Apart from that, Nyerere’s name will always be embossed in gold as far as the history of the liberation of Tanzania and Africa is concerned. RIP Julius Kambarage Nyerere Burito, a true son of Africa.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

advertisement

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Opposition defections: A crisis of ideology or sheer bad luck?

Jumping ship: Chadema councillors from Arusha

Jumping ship: Chadema councillors from Arusha Region line up for introductions by President John Magufuli after they defected to CCM recently.PHOTO I FILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. Political analysts have poked holes in the opposition camp, accusing parties of ideological bankruptcy after the recent wave of mass defections from their senior ranks to the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

While the opposition is crying foul saying that money has been changing hands as the ruling party continues to “bribe” their senior officials to jump ship, political pundits say that mass defections are a symptom of ideological infractions.

Interestingly, it is not the first time that the Tanzanian opposition has been accused of lacking deep ideological roots. The analysts’ observations echo a 2009 Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung State of Politics in Tanzania report that noted that the lack of party philosophy or ideology is one of the several factors frustrating the transition to multiparty democracy in the country.

According to the report, other frustrating factors include the lack of participatory internal democracy as a result of communication deficit between party leaders, followers and the population, lack of resources and the dominance of a personality cult.

Expressed frustration

In various interviews with Political Platform last week, analysts generally expressed frustration at the opposition after the defection of five councillors from the main opposition party Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) in Arusha.

Those who jumped ship said they made the decision because they were impressed by the ruling party national chairman President John Magufuli’s efforts to transform the country. However, Chadema has dismissed the excuses saying it has evidence that its leaders were bribed.

Speaking to reporters recently, Arumeru East Member of Parliament Joshua Nassari (Chadema), who was in the company of his Arusha Urban counterpart, Mr Godbless Lema, showed journalists video clips he claimed proved the councillors were compromised.

In the video clips, some district and municipals leaders, purportedly from CCM, are seen convincing the councillors to defect from Chadema with promises of allowances for their remaining meetings until 2020.

They were also promised that the projects they had initiated as councillors in their wards would be completed. There is also promises of money and employment.

But the councillors who quit the opposition have adamantly refuted claims that they were bribed. They maintain that their decision to ditch the opposition was influenced by the performance of President Magufuli.

Video clips

Chadema lawmakers said they had already handed over a flash disc containing the video clips, as evidence of the alleged bribery, to the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) director general Valentino Mlowola for nvestigation. Yet for political analysts, the defections are a telltale sign of ideological weaknesses in the opposition, the question of bribes, notwithstanding.

Selfish interests

According to Prof Bakari Mohammed of the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), for a person who truly stand on what he believes in, it’s impossible to be so ready to defect from his party and betray those who voted for him.

“There’s a great deal of political leaders in both the opposition and the ruling parties who are there merely for selfish interests,” says Prof Mohammed. But he quickly points out that the problem is the fact that people join parties yet they do not understand what the organisations really stand for.

Party cross-overs, he explains, isn’t a bad thing when it happens once a person sees that the basic foundations of the party that he joined are violated. But it isn’t the case with the most defections and cross-overs in Tanzania.

He notes: “There’s a huge ideological deficit within all the political parties in the country, and most of their members and leaders don’t actually know what the parties’ stand for.”

Prof Mohammed adds that what is happening should not come as a big surprise considering that politicial parties have stopped embarking on large-scale grassroots mobilisation with the aim of teaching doctrine.

Ideology is a ‘minor’ issue

However, some the party officals responsible for ideology and publicity downplayed the question of ideology saying it is not the main factor to explain the mass defections.

Chadema spokesman Tumaini Makene said the defections had nothing to do with ideology, but corruption that is being perpetrated by the government in its plot to silence the opposition.

“Our main concern is why the people who have been implicated in this bribery scandal are still walking free; no action has been taken against them,” said Mr Makene.

He told Political Platform that party ideology was a “minor issue”, and that the public’s concern is corruption not ideological weakness of Chadema. Asked how possible it was for a senior member, a councillor with deep roots in party doctrine, to be easily swayed into defecting over a Sh2 million bribe, Mr Makene said:

“No matter what the amount was, the issue here is bribery, I cannot totally use ideological bankruptcy as a pretext for defection.”

Excessive ambition

CUF acting deputy director for information, publicity and public relations, Mr Mbarala Maharagande, corroborates his Chadema colleague’s stance. According to him, ideology doesn’t prevent party members from treachery because people who are deeply-rooted in party doctrine can still find reason to defect.

With regards to the Chadema case, Mr Maharagande said what is at play is the pursuit of individual interests and excessive ambition. Still, he said what happened should serve as a “wake-up” call for the opposition.

“This doesn’t mean that we should ignore the issue of ideology,” he said. “I think it’s a wakeup call for all of us to be extra cautious in our appointments of candidates to make sure that we present to electorates those who are well-fed with ideology, and committed cadres.”

Mr Maharagande thinks the opposition faces a challenge to do more and stop the defections from recurring. He explains that many Tanzanians joined the opposition out of frustration with the CCM government’s poor performance, not necessarily because they agreed with party ideologies.

Mr Elijah Kondi, a political scientist at the University of Dar es salaam elaborates that it is actually “weak ideologies” that have left the opposition exposed in the sense that it is reactionary.

He explains: “The profound effect of a weak ideology is that the (opposition) party becomes more responsive to the weakness of the government of the day as its only agenda, instead of having a clear and more elaborate plan to solve the existing challenges facing the surrounding community and nation at large.”

Mr Kindo is quick to point out that the ideological deficit affecting even the ruling CCM has disastrous effects on the country’s democratic welfare. “You’ll have political parties whose growth is stagnant and dubious; more so, a strong opposition will be a pipedream.”

Turning to CCM, he said there are tell-tale signs that the ruling party is not spared the curse of ideological bankruptcy.

“Why, for example, do we have the government’s foreign policy responding to what is happening outside instead of being shaped by the internal environment and circumstance? “Mr Kindo asks.

“This is shows that the party in government doesn’t have philosophical orientation and forces them to be event-oriented; there are no long-term plans.”

‘No one like us’

However, CCM secretary of ideology and publicity Humphrey Polepole refutes claims that his party is ideologically bankrupt. He says the party’s success is a result of their ideology.

“CCM believes that socialism and self-reliance are what can guarantee justice and the freedom of our people,” said Mr Polepole, who strongly dismissed accusations that the party has lost the ideology laid down by the founding father and the first chairman of the party Mwalimu Julius Nyerere. He argues that the current leadership is guided by the same socialism principles that Mwalimu advocated.

“In this country, there isn’t a single political party whose ideology is as clearly written and properly comprehended as that of CCM,” he said. “That is what keeps us apart from the rest.”

Across East Africa, opposition parties have for long been crying foul over manipulation of processes, a tilted playing field, incumbents access and abuse of resources and outright rigging. However, their own lack of organisation, inability to guard their votes and inadequate resources have played a role in their losses.

advertisement

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Can these task forces add real value?

Then-President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar

Then-President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar President Ali Mohammed Shein display copies of a draft of the proposed new constitution. President Kikwete set up the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in 2013, which was chaired by retired Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba, to come up with the draft document. PHOTO | FILE 

By Mwassa Jingi @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. Social change is inevitable and indispensable for Tanzania, just like it is for any other society out there. This is why since independence we have had countless policy changes, most of which were preceded by the formation of presidential commissions or committees to first identify societal or economic problems that needed formal solutions.

In fact, for Tanzania, the formation of presidential commissions or committees has been a habit of each phase of government. The first phase under Mwalimu Julius Nyerere did form a few commissions to tackle various issues when need arose.

The Nyerere and Mwinyi commissions

Mwalimu Nyerere formed commissions to inquire among other things, the one party system and constitutional issues. President Mwinyi too, formed several presidential commissions during his ten years (1985 -1995). In 1991, he formed two powered presidential commissions to inquire on the one party system and land issues. The first commission was led by then-Chief Justice, the late Francis Nyalali (Nyalali Commission). The commission was tasked to find out the people’s views on the one party system, whether or not to dump it for multiparty democracy. The commission collected people’s views and recommended several radical changes, including adopting multiparty democracy, the writing of a new constitution, civic education over three years prior to a general election in 1996, and reviewing of 40 legislations to align them with multiparty democracy.

Unfortunately, much of what the Nyalali Commission recommended was largely ignored, except recommendation number one to adopt multiparty democracy. The Mwinyi administration went on to amend or repeal some legislations that were irrelevant for a multiparty democracy, but still rejected crucial recommendations, including the writing of a new constitution, an issue that has remained unresolved issue to date. It’s almost 30 years later, Tanzanians are still yearning for a new constitution.

Another presidential commission by Mwinyi’s government was the one chaired by Prof Issa Shivji in 1991. The commission was tasked to inquire on problems pertaining to land issues in the country. Through the Shivji Land Commission, the government formulated the Land Policy of 1995, and two Land Acts of 1999. But just like in the Nyalali Commission case, the government implemented just a small part of the recommendations forwarded to it by the Shivji Commission.

The Mkapa and Kikwete commissions

President Benjamin Mkapa began his first term with the formation of a commission to inquire on corruption in the country. The Warioba Commission’s recommendations were used by both the third and fourth phase governments of Mkapa and Jakaya Kikwete to formulate new policies and enact many new legislations as a means to prevent and combat corruption and improve good governance.

The implementation of recommendations in the report on corruption helped to reform the governance system in many areas, for example, restructuring of the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) and Legal Sector Reform. There were also noticeable civil service reforms in general.

The Mkapa administration also formed the Constitutional Review Committee, which was chaired by Judge Robert Kisanga (Kisanga committee). The Committee went around the country using White Paper as a guide to collect people’s view on constitutional amendments. However, the Kisanga committee was a waste of public funds considering that it had an almost similar mission as that of the Nyalali Commission, which had already recommended the writing of a new constitution.

Apparently, President Mkapa was annoyed by the Kisanga committee’s recommendations, in particular, for a three-tier government system. Sincerely, the Mkapa government was supposed to go ahead with delivering on the new constitution as was recommended by the Nyalali Commission, not just to amend the Constitution of 1977, which was already considered past its prime.

His successor, President Jakaya Kikwete set up the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in 2013, which was chaired by retired Judge Joseph Sinde Warioba. However, the CRC work only ended with a draft of a proposed Constitution. But President Kikwete also formed many other ‘teams’ to inquire into different important issues, which at one time or another ‘troubled’ the nation. One of those was the Judge Musa Kipenka Committee, which inquired into the death of mining dealers who were allegedly murdered by some policemen in Dar es Salaam.

Some of the commissions, admittedly, did help in solving some controversial matters. However, the findings of many of the commissions never led to or resulted in the anticipated solutions or benefits. This was usually either because their recommendations were never implemented by the government, or the establishment of the commissions was motivated by political interests or some such narrower selfish interests in the first place.

President Magufuli’s mining concerns

Among controversial issues that have been behind the formation of Special Commissions are in Tanzania’s mining sector. Since enactment of major mining legislation in 1979, several Commissions have been formed – especially beginning in the late 1990s – to look into problematic issues engulfing the nation’s mining industry.

However, not much in the way of workable or lasting solutions have been found, despite – or, perhaps, because of – the 1997 Mining Policy and 1998 Mining Legislation, both of which were indecently lopsided in favour of major mining conglomerates, usually foreign-based!

From 2005 until 2010, several Commissions were formed to look into the mining sector. So, it was from Commissions such as those of Laurence Masha, Judge Mark Bomani, etc, that Tanzania ended up getting a new Mining Policy in 2009 – and a new Mining Act in 2010!

Like his predecessors at State House, President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli (in Office since November 5, 2015—) has not lagged behind at all in forming Special Commissions to undertake different probes! Within the nearly two years he has been in power, Dr Magufuli has already formed two highly-powered Commissions led by veteran academic Professors to inquire into perceived abuse involving Tanzania’s potential mineral wealth allegedly being committed by some foreign investors in the industry!

Unlike most of the commissions whose recommendations didn’t impress past Presidents, President Magufuli has approved all the recommendations made by ‘his’ Commissioners on the spot as they were formally presented to him!

Again unlike his predecessors, Dr Magufuli allowed the reports of two of ‘his’ Commissions to go public through the electronic mass media – stressing that implementation of all the recommendations begins immediately!

Precious minerals are one of the natural resources with which Tanzania is phenomenally endowed. As such, the country should be benefiting from that enormously. Alas, that has not been the case to-date – largely as a result of poor governance, a major problem that has been bedeviling ordinary Tanzanians for far too long!

The two ‘Magufuli Committees’ were formed after the President embargoed the exportation of mineral tailings/gold concentrates which had for many years been exported by mining companies reportedly for further state-of-the-art refining abroad!

The reports of findings by both Presidential committees shocked the nation and the world at large. No wonder, then, that all the people who are implicated in the reports as having been involved in one way or another to the detriment of the country were required to resign from their work stations, while investigations are ongoing.

Some of the relevant mining laws have already been amended or replaced on the back of the Committees’ recommendations!

Thus far, it is still unknown whether the ‘Magufuli Committees’ reports will benefit the country or not. As it is, high-powered teams from the government and the miners involved – in particular the London-based Acacia Mining and its parent firm, the Canada-based Barrick Gold Corporation, are locked in negotiations in Dar es Salaam as they seek a way out of the mess!

House Speaker Ndugai and his committees

Interestingly, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai seems to have personally decided to form similar Committees to look into the tanzanite and diamonds business in Tanzania. Such a measure – establishing a ‘Parliamentary Select Committee’ – is decided by the National Assembly as a whole, and not by the Speaker alone!

Apparently, Speaker Ndugai was so impressed by the President Magufuli’s Committees earlier on that he formed ‘his’ two Committees to work parallel with those of the President, looking into how the diamond and tanzanite Mining sub-sectors were faring. The overall objective was to establish whether or not Tanzanians have been benefiting from the diamond-and-tanzanite business!

Perhaps not unexpected, the two ‘Ndugai Committees’ came up with findings that were more or less in resonance with those of the Magufuli Committees: rampant theft and other fraudulent skullduggery in the mining business! [See ‘Parliament Committee discover massive stealing in gemstones business’ by Deogratius Kamagi: The Citizen: September 6, 2017].

House Speaker Ndugai formally handed the Reports of the two Committees – which mentioned several Ministers and other Senior Government Officials as being implicated in malfeasance and misfeasance within the mining sector – to Prime Minister Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa who, in his turn, passed them on to President Magufuli! Perhaps not unexpected, the ‘Hapa Kazi TU’ President immediately directed follow-up action in implementing the Committees’ recommendations. From the foregoing, it becomes clear that not all Reports of Findings and Recommendations by/of Special Commissions, Committees and other Task Forces that were formed by successor Governments down the years were implemented in full or at all!

In a sense, it can safely be said that putting such mechanisms in place did not always (if at all) benefit the country and its people – especially when the Commissions, etc, were set up on the back of narrower, selfish reasons, usually intended to take political advantage now and then , here and there!

Indeed, there generally was laxity in implementing some or all of the recommendations by/of Commissions for different reasons in the past… Until President John Pombe Magufuli descended upon the scene nearly two short years ago!

Magufuli already making a difference

Today, President Magufuli acts differently, forcefully overseeing implementation of the recommendations – and more, in some cases – contained in Reports of Findings by the Commissions that he appoints.

Needless to say, special task forces that are set up by the relevant authorities do indeed consume time, money and other precious resources. So, when their findings and recommendations are swept under the carpet or tossed into the trash bin, the country and the people at large gain nothing from what ends up as an exercise in futility.

In that regard, it is everyone’s hope that the President Magufuli administration will continue to make tangible difference in the probe commissions stakes well into the future. Tanzanians’ fervent wish and call is for their leaders to always be serious in facing and addressing the challenges that arise – doing so immediately and efficaciously before they cause untold damage to the country and its people.

Mwassa Jingi is a journalist and lawyer based in Dar es Salaam

advertisement

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The highest and lowest paid African presidents



President John Magufuli. PHOTO | FILE

President John Magufuli. PHOTO | FILE 

By Political Platform Reporter

Dar es Salaam. The revelation by President John Magufuli that he earns only Sh9 million a month has cast into the spotlight the salaries of heads of state across Africa and the eastern African region in particular.

In Africa, Mr Magufuli’s pay is less than a tenth of that of his Cameroonian counterpart and just about a quarter that of Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.Mr Kenyatta earns Sh1.4 million while his deputy William Ruto is entitled to between Sh1 million and Sh1.4 million per month.

It means that even Kenya’s deputy president is better paid than most African presidents who do not receive even a million shillings monthly.

Cameroonian president Paul Biya tops the list of the highest paid heads of state in Africa with a monthly salary of Sh111.3 million. Mr Biya has been in office for three and a half decades. Mr Biya’s salary is close to that of top corporate executives in Kenya such as the Kenya Commercial Bank Group’s CEO Joshua Oigara who revealed two years ago that he earns Sh102.9 million monthly in salary and allowances.

Mr Biya is followed by Morocco’s King Mohammed and South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, the only other African heads of state who get a monthly pay in excess of Sh42 million.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni is the highest earning East African head of state with a monthly salary of Sh31.5 million, followed closely by Mr Kenyatta with a monthly pay of Sh29.4 million.

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame comes a distant third, earning half of what his Kenyan counterpart gets.Only nine earn above Sh21 million.

Research by the Business Daily has revealed that only nine African heads of state earn more than Sh21 million a month.

Bottom of the list is Sierra Leone’s Ernest Koroma who pockets an equivalent of Sh2.1 million a month.

According to the office of the president of Sierra Leone, Mr Koroma took a voluntary 50 per cent pay cut in 2015 to help fund the fight against Ebola in the country.

Other African states whose presidents earn less than Sh4.2 million a month include Guinea, Cape Verde, Tunisia and Senegal.

Mr Zuma, who earns 22 times what an average South African gets, had his annual salary pushed up by 130,000 South African rands in 2015, an equivalent of Sh18.9 million, is a trend that is common among African leaders including Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who saw his pay in 2010 jump four-fold.

However, other African leaders such as Hage Geingob of Namibia, Mr Buhari of Nigeria, Abdel Fattah of Egypt have all taken pay cuts of up to 50 per cent and directed the money be used to fund other needy sectors of their economies.

In Kenya, Mr Kenyatta promised a 20 per cent pay reduction for him and 10 per cent for his Cabinet in a bid to lower the country’s “unsustainable wage bill”.

However, it still remains unclear if the pay reduction were effected.According to Forbes magazine, Mr Lee Hsien Loong the Singaporean prime minister is the highest paid head of state in the world pocketing an equivalent of Sh306.6 million monthly. He is followed by CY Leung of Hong Kong, with an equivalent of Sh96.6 million per month while the American President is entitled to an equivalent of Sh71.4 million a month, making him third on the global list.

advertisement

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Is citizenship now used to ‘fix’ critics?

Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition

Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) national coordinator, Onesmo Olengurumwa speaks about evictions in Loliondo at a press conference in Dar es Salaam earlier this year. Left is Loliondo Ward Women Representative, Pirias Maingo. The Immigration Department has interrogated Mr Olengurumwa over his citizenship. PHOTOIFILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. The issue of citizenship has resurfaced again this time the victim being human rights activist, Mr Onesmo Olengurumwa. He has been questioned by the Immigration Department over the status of his citizenship. Mr Olengurumwa has described the questioning as a “smear campaign to silence me” while the Immigration Department says they were just doing their job.

“It’s not true that the interrogation was motivated by his activism,” the Immigration Department spokesman, Ally Mtanda told the Political Platform.

This is despite the fact that he was unaware if there was really interrogation to the activist and asked for more time to follow the issue up to understand which office did the interrogation and confirm if it took place.

Mr Olengurumwa, who is the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) national coordinator, was first interrogated over his nationality on July 24 by Immigration officers from Kinondoni District who made an impromptu visit to his office and grilled him for an hour.

“They did not enlighten me on the reasons behind the interrogation,” Mr Olengurumwa told Political Platform after the interrogation, “instead they just said it was an order from the top.” He was once again questioned by the same officials on September 20 at his offices at Kijitonyama in Kinondoni District.

Nationality as silencing mechanism

Mr Olengurumwa claims his interrogation has a direct link with his activism, especially as far as Maasai’s land rights in Loliondo, Arusha are concerned. Reports indicate that more than 100 Maasai huts have been burned down, allegedly, by game reserve authorities near the Serengeti National Park.

The government had plans to establish a 1,500sq km wildlife corridor around the national park for a Dubai-based company which offers hunting packages for wealthy tourists from the United Arabs Emirates (UAE). The plan would have displaced about 30,000 people, and caused ecological problems for the Maasai community, which depends on the seasonal grasses there to rear livestock.

When immigration officers first went to interrogate Mr Olengurumwa, the THRDC, the coalition he heads, had just released the statement condemning what it described as “injustice to the Maasai community perpetrated by the government.”

In an interview with a local TV Station, the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Professor Jumanne Maghembe said the Loliondo conflict is exacerbated by over 38 Non-Governmental Organizations operating in the district and accused the leaders of these NGO’s of ambiguous nationality.

Mr Olengurumwa is one of those leaders who heads one of the NGO’s.

“Their aim is to disrupt this fighting for these helpless villagers by declaring all those speaking for the Maasai as Kenyans,” said Mr Olengurumwa adding that the issue of Loliondo is just a tip of the iceberg. He claims that there is a bigger plot to silence his fight for a just society which respects human rights.

Both Olengurumwa and other right bodies who have condemned the interrogation has categorically termed it as a “harassment” and urged the government to “stop it immediately.”

When an act becomes harassment

Jebra Kambole is an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and a human rights activist who said that when they, lawyers, define something as harassment, they basically look at the amount and the frequency upon which the particular incident is undertaken.

“We hope that once a person has been interrogated he would’ve been immediately provided with the feedback of the interrogation,” said Mr Kambole. “This helps to prevent him from mental distress of not knowing what comes after the interrogation.”

He said that it doesn’t mean that the Immigration officers shouldn’t do their job upon a suspicious person. “But under what circumstance? How many times and for how long?” he queried.

“As we speak, Olengurumwa has not been provided with any feedback from the interrogation and he doesn’t know whether the officers will come back or not something which leaves him puzzled,” Mr Kombole further notes.

The circumstance of questiong Mr Olengurumwa’s citizenship has gave room to suspicions that it was meant to silence government critics. It seems it is also meant to send a threatening message to others so that they should keep quiet and let anything goes unquestioned.

“Something which is very dangerous if it succeeds,” he points out.

Anyone’s nationality can be questioned

Mr Mtanda argues that the Immigration activities’ are not politically motivated as it has been claimed by some who have commented on the issue.

“When suspicions over a person’s citizenship arise we just do our job so that we can ascertain ourselves and clear the doubts,” he says.

Mr Mtanda refused to comment on why it is mostly people who are perceived as critical to the government who are targeted for interrogation.

Why questioning Olengurumwa’s citizenship today and not last year?

Mr Mtanda responds; “We do interrogation based on the information we have and based on the time we get them, which, in most cases, comes from the public (raia wema). If we get information which make your citizenship suspicious (refering to the reporter), you will be interrogated.”

Not a new phenomenon

But the issue of questioning citizenship to individuals who are critical of the government is not new in the country.

On February 12, 2002 the government denied citizenship Jenerali Ulimwengu, an advocate of High Court and Chairman of the Board of weekly Raia Mwema.

Earlier in February 2001 Ulimwengu was declared by the government to be stateless. This came as a big shock and surprise to many in the country and outside as Mr Ulimwengu had been a prominent member of the civil society and had served the country in various government positions, including being a member of parliament.

He was not given reasons for the denial of citizenship nor has he been furnished with the content of the objections said to have been raised against his application.

When sought for opinion on what he thinks about the trend, Mr Ulimwengu was unable to comment saying that he was “frustrated by the government’s decision to ban his newspaper for three months” over the story it published in its latest edition and that he couldn’t divide his mind and “comment on the issue.”

The government last week declared a three-month ban of Raia Mwema, whose board of directors Mr Ulimwengu chairs.

However, in his interview with a foreign news organisation in 2010, he said that in most cases the issue of citizenship was brought up by people with no good intentions.

He said that “it doesn’t make any sense to threaten to revoke one’s citizenship merely because you don’t agree with them on certain things.”

“In my case it was very clear,” said Ulimwengu, “that rulers wanted me to behave myself and once they thought I did, the president told his people to grant me the citizenship.”

In 2010 towards the General Election, the ruling CCM’s Central Committee (CC) removed the now Nzega MP Hussein Bashe from the race over ambiguity on his citizenship.

Mr Bashe had contested in the primaries in the constituency and defeated Mr Lucas Selelii who was trying to retain the constituency. The government later declared Mr Bashe a legal citizen and in 2015 elections became Nzega Urban MP.

In 2014, the advocate of High Court of Tanzania, advocate Albert Msando was interrogated by the Immigration officers from Kilimanjaro over his nationality.

Msando was interrogated while he was defending the Kigoma Urban Member of Parliament Mr Zitto Kabwe in court in a case against Chama Cha Demokrasia Na Maendeleo (Chadema).

Show me my nation

Mr Olengurumwa appeals to the government to show him his nationality if they think he’s not Tanzanian.

“I am a Tanzanian. I was born in Tanzania. My parents, too, were born in Tanzania. They served in the government after they had fought for the independence of this nation,” he points out.

advertisement

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lasting solution needed to get EAC out of quagmire

 

The East African region increasingly finds itself at the centre of international focus because of unfolding political instability.

All the five East African Community member states — Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi — and the latest entrant, South Sudan, are going through tumultuous political moments.

But it is Kenya’s instability that’s even more worrying, considering its position as the region’s economic powerhouse. Kenya is trapped in an intractable political contest that has raised temperatures, paralysed business and put the country on the precipice.

Kenya

The main political contestants, President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party and National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga, are engaged in a high-voltage campaign characterised by insults, provocative statements, lies and cheap propaganda.

The country is divided down the middle and tension is rising by the day, casting dark shadows over the repeat presidential election scheduled for October 26.

Uganda

In Uganda, demonstrations rocked the capital Kampala in the past week over a scheme by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to change the Constitution.

Parliament was turned into a battlefield as security teams fought opposition and NRM politicians opposed to the amendment to expunge the presidential age limit, which stands at 75.

Curiously, this came 12 years after the NRM succeeded in eliminating the presidential term limit. The objective of the new change is to allow President Yoweri Museveni, 73, in power since 1986, to vie for power again in 2021, at 77.

Tanzania

In Tanzania, all is not well. There is pent-up anger bubbling underneath. Having started on a reform platform that earned him plaudits all round, President John Magufuli has turned to running roughshod over institutions.

Closing of newspapers and banning of political rallies for non-elected politicians has led to rising tensions.

There is still talk from some corners of removing presidential term limits. But the President has said he will not be seeking an extension of tenure.

Rwanda

Independent and critical voices, including civil society and the media, are muzzled. Rwanda had an election in August, more or less at the same time as Kenya but under a negatively tilted platform.

Opposition candidates were reportedly harassed and tortured and the outcome of the polls was boringly predictable.

President Paul Kagame, in power since 2000, was elected with a landslide for a seven-year term. Given that the country voted two years ago to remove presidential term limits, he is assured of staying on for pretty long.

Burundi

Across the border in Burundi, which is still smarting from chaos that attended to the re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza in 2015, democracy is an untenable tenet.

The country is ruled with an iron fist with the opposition, civil society organisations and the media kept on a tight leash.

South Sudan

South Sudan, which has been pushing to join the EAC, continues to hurtle from one crisis to another.

Broadly, the picture that is emerging is of a region sliding quickly to the era of authoritarianism and ‘Big Man’ syndrome, a reversal of gains made in the past three or so decades.

Wind of change

The wind of change that swept across the continent in the late 1980s and early ’90s ushered in an era of competitive politics, where leaders rule for a specific period and exit the stage.

But what we are witnessing is a complete negation of that.

A way must be found out of this quagmire. The more advanced countries in the region, Kenya, Tanzania must show the way in entrenching democracy.

Kenya’s forthcoming election offers a good opportunity to do so.

The political players must end the belligerence that has implanted fear and anguish among citizens and neighbours alike while the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must provide an even playing field and deliver a free, fair and credible poll.

Tanzanian authorities also need to speak out clearly against the talk that has started on removing talk limits for President Magufuli.

advertisement

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Is Magufuli’s presidency as bad as his critics claim?

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

There are cries from some quarters that President John Magufuli’s presidency is wanting. Those buying into such charges quote Dr Magufuli, on different occasions, as saying that he wasn’t prepared to become president. This being the argument, let’s see if it is logical or just politicking.

I have a few reasons that rebut assertions that Magufuli is a president who is poised to nose-dive.

First, presidency is not a professional job; it is an institution that is not run by an individual person namely the president. Presidency has many advisors that are specialised in many fields. Therefore, there is no way Magufuli can be treated as a wanting president.

Secondly, if you look at those making such allegations, some have their personal vendetta because Magufuli’s regime has come up with a unique style of not budging when it comes to taking on the status quo. One of those who alleged that Magufuli is not very effective as a president is former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye.

We all know Magufuli’s regime recently expropriated Sumaye’s farms. Such a person can’t see any good quality in Magufuli.

Thirdly, to know if Magufuli is fit or unfit for the presidency, one must also look at his track record as a minister; and thereafter, as president. Apart from the father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, no president has ever attracted attention like Magufuli has recently.

Refer to how many leaders the world over admire his brand of leadership. Indeed, nemo propheta in patria sua as the Latin sage has it that no one is considered a prophet in his or her homeland. Hate or love somebody. Again, give the devil his due. Looking at Tanzania today under Magufuli vis-à-vis fighting graft and managing public resources, I see a very shining star. Maybe, due to the fact that I’m not a politician, my lenses may be faulted.

Fourth, if one looks at how Magufuli is managing public funds and resources, he or she’ll be convinced that all noises about Magufuli’s unfitness for presidency become illogical and misguided so to speak.

Methinks the problem is the lack of room for detractors to vent and politick, as it used to be under former regimes that used to underperform; and let tongues wag without necessarily reprimanding them. This is why many detractors are now eulogising such regimes while they hated them previously.

Fifth, to know if Magufuli fits the bill, look at service delivery in the country. Go to public hospitals, public offices and schools among others. People are now enjoying services they used to pine for previously. Pupils have desks to sit on; and, at least, some hospitals have beds for patients to sleep on. What’s wrong with such achievements?

Sixth, I couldn’t agree more with Magufuli when he says he avers he isn’t a politician. Truly, he is not the type Tanzania was used to. He isn’t an artiste who tells lies in order to get away with murder. He says everything point black. For example, when he told the victims of famine that his government didn’t have food to dish out simply because it is unable, it was misconstrued as telling them to go to hell. Nay, did they want him to assure such victims that he’d solve the problem to end up not making good on it as they were used to?

Magufuli is not an angel. He is human. He therefore has some minor flaws to tweak i.e. denying political parties to do politics as they used to. So, too, Magufuli needs to listen to his advisors instead of courtiers and all those who want to take him for a ride by pretending they love and respect him while they actually are using him. One of those is one of his appointees accused of forging academic certificates. Such elements are dangerous to Magufuli’s presidency simply because they don’t tell him the truth. Instead, they dent his reputation in their attempts to please and thereby use him.

Another thing that Magufuli needs to tweak is his stance on the Draft Constitution. It is the right time for Tanzania to have a new constitution. For, it is not only needed but also it’ll help him to take graft on.

In sum, those avowing that Magufuli isn’t fit for presidency are not doing him and Tanzania justice. They must wait and see how he’ll perform in the next elections after lapsing his five years in office. Keep it up Magufuli. Keep on as you rectify some shortfalls.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

advertisement

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why is fighting in parliament so common?



Ugandan MPs in fist fights last week.PHOTO|FILE

Ugandan MPs in fist fights last week.PHOTO|FILE 

By Stephen Kafeer @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam .The caning of Charles Sumner or what is known as the Brooks–Sumner Affair is one of the oldest recorded parliamentary brawls in history.

The incident occurred on May 22, 1856, in the US Senate when Representative Preston Brooks attacked Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist, with a walking cane in retaliation for a speech given by Sumner two days earlier in which he fiercely criticised slaveholders including a relative of Brooks.

The beating nearly killed Sumner and it drew a sharply polarised response from the American public on the subject of the expansion of slavery in the US. It has since been considered symbolic of the “breakdown of reasoned discourse that eventually led to the American Civil War of April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865.

By the time he was done, the cane Brooks used for the attack had shattered. He nevertheless pocketed its gold handle as he made his way only to write later bragging that: “Every lick went where I intended… for about the first five of six licks he [Sumner] offered to make flight but I plied him so rapidly that he did not touch me. Towards the last he bellowed like a calf,” he wrote.

Parliamentary fights, like the incidents of Tuesday and Wednesday in Parliament of Uganda, have become so common that someone saw it fit to open up a whole website (parliamentfights.wordpress.com) dedicated to documenting legislators going bare knuckles across the world.

On social media and other online platforms, videos are manipulated to suit certain tastes, while other people concentrate on analysing the incidents and offering opinions. It is also big business for entrepreneurs.

The UK Guardian newspaper’s Jonathan Jones termed parliamentary fighting as “one of the world’s strangest bloodsports” but why are physical fights common in parliaments around the world? Why are legislators no longer content with verbal fights?

If the 1856, if the US experience is to go by, then one can easily deduce the fights by “Honourables” as a sign of what is yet to come.

It is a view shared by Masaka Municipality MP, Mathias Mpuuga, one of the Opposition MPs suspended by House Speaker Rebecca Kadaga on September 27 shortly before the most violent brawl in Uganda’s parliamentary history ensued.

The fights, he says, are a defence against greed for power by the incumbent against commands of the constitution and wishes of people.

He says Mr Museveni “exploited the likes of Igara West County MP Raphael Magyezi, and the timidity of the speaker and the [NRM] caucus”.

“I have traversed this country from Zombo to Kisoro but I am afraid the desperation is reaching fever peak. I cannot say I know what Ugandans will do next but the fact that our DNA has a history of violence and rebellion, the violence about change has been started in Parliament. Don’t be shocked if it refines through because that is our history and essentially like all fools, our leaders don’t learn from our history,” he says.

Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa tags the fights to frustration by Opposition Mps in the face of an overwhelming majority by the ruling NRM. With no chance of winning anything that can be put to vote in the House and the 2021 elections in sight, she says the MPs involved in the fights are playing to the gallery.

“When they saw us really determined, we were attending, and not retaliating, I think that disorganised them and the other thing I think some constituencies enjoy fighting and people are now talking about 2021 so some of them wanted cameras to capture them because they are saying they are fighting for democracy...” she says. By fighting, she argues, some MPs are a mirror image of the people they represent that she says are defiant to authority.

“A certain population has deteriorated to believing in defiance. We are seeing MPs behaving the way a certain population does in observing the rule of law. I mean people don’t respect the police. What we have been seeing outside is what has been carried inside by a few members of parliament. They think they can become popular by doing that.”

An analysis of countries where the fights have occurred also shows a distinctive similarity. Whether developed or not, the fights have occurred in parliaments with a controversial legislation but no dialogue in sight or where there is a contestation of a country’s top leadership or ruling class.

Whether in Ukraine, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Turkey, Bolivia Somalia, Kenya the differences that push legislators to fight are about the personal decisions taken on national matters or political differences that are seemingly irreconcilable. In countries like Ukraine, legislators beating up each no longer headlines.

Developing some form of consensus where the minority’s views in the House will be heard and everyone’s contribution valued, seems the foreseeable way to avoid confrontations in Uganda’s parliament but with an overwhelming majority and a haste to legislate their agenda, the ruling party is likely not to take that route. The option is to coerce the Opposition into some form of order by use of police, the military and other militias as happened last week.

Elsewhere

Disagreements. In countries where the fights have happened there are distinctive similarity. Whether developed or not, the fights have occurred in parliaments with a controversial legislation but with no dialogue in sight. Whether in Ukraine, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Turkey, Bolivia, Somalia or Kenya the differences that push legislators to fight are about personal decisions taken on national matters or political differences. In Ukraine, legislators beating up each no longer makes news.

Way forward. Developing some form of consensus where the minority’s views are be heard and everyone’s contribution valued, seems the foreseeable way to avoid confrontations in Uganda’s parliament but with an overwhelming majority and a haste to legislate their agenda, the ruling party is likely not to take that route. The option is to coerce the Opposition into some form of order by use of police, the military and other militias as happened last week.

advertisement

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Re-imagining democracy and life

Jay Naidoo is the former Minister in the

Jay Naidoo is the former Minister in the Mandela Cabinet, Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Trustee of the EarthRise Trust 

By Jay Naidoo @Jay_Naidoo

The democratic governance system that dominated politics for the past seven decades is in a deep-seated crisis. The global experience now is of a broken political and economic system driven by insatiable self-indulgence and individualism. It has created an unprecedented ecological crisis – one that threatens not only the human race, but all life on the planet. The economic model of neoliberalism has captured our political system, consolidating power in the hands of a tiny nebulous minority.

A new form of apartheid has taken root in the world. It is systematically stripping the democratic gains won by our continuous struggle, while demonising the demand for justice, equality and human rights. These trends are leaving behind a disillusioned people who deeply distrust political authority and the elites.

An increasingly connected generation of young people around the world are questioning how much energy is spent on internal bureaucracy and its unresponsiveness to a legitimate and growing anger at the failure of governments to implement promises, policy and plans. I have listened to people living on the margins of opportunity, the planet’s growing underclass, and seen a system upheld by politicians that may be seen to be extending lives but is merely perpetuating injustice and corruption. Many young people ask themselves, ‘What is the point of living longer if I have no hope, no job and no future?’

What is to be Done?

Many of our current ideas on development are archaic. Ideology and dogma has lost its shine, our institutions are bureaucratised and many not fit for purpose. We need safe spaces for a genuine intergenerational conversation on solutions to the challenges that face us, at a local and global level simultaneously. We have to redefine collective responsibility and historic debt that the developed world owes humanity. Climate change, global corruption, hunger, human trafficking, tax evasion, human rights abuses and demands for quality education and health are our future agenda.

The technological revolution of the past two decades has fundamentally redefined the way we live, organise, communicate, access services, and the nature of work. While the digital revolution has transformed our lives, and must be welcomed, its ownership in private hands has widened the gap between the haves and have-nots. Technology should be a public good and part of the global commons.

I believe the critical challenge facing our planet begs us to pose the question – what does it mean to be human? Surely, we need to put humanity and our environment into the centre of politics, our economy and our lives, not just our greed and profit.

We must move forward from the premise of ecority, recognising that all living species, including our Mother Earth are sacred. That sovereign democratic power rests with our people. That governments derive their legitimacy from the will of the people. And the voices of our youth cry out for us to reimagine democracy, economic growth and even governance itself. Life.

To achieve this means we have to question everyone and everything. We need to rethink citizen participation. The existing civil society is fragmented, depoliticized and weakened by its dependency on donor aid from philanthropic organisations that have driven it into silo-based activities. Often its accountability and effectiveness speaks to narrow technical agenda rather than the politics that underpin underdevelopment. We must learn from the major campaigns against slavery, colonisation and apartheid that were based on building people-to-people solidarity to drive the change we want to see in the world.

Since the start of the new millennium, new grassroots movements are rising. The veil of secrecy that shrouds many government decisions is disappearing under the tsunami of digital innovation. It must be harnessed and deepened to drive a greater transparency of leadership and governance.

As the potential for robotics progresses inexorably, surely we need to debate the rise of a new entrepreneurship and creative sector, such as arts, music, literature, culture and dance, which will bring a better understanding of our rich diversity, greater tolerance of our differences and a more profound appreciation of our shared humanity.

We need to rethink the skills, education and governance systems required to redesign the world we live in to include the right to a universal basic income that guarantees access to food, shelter, water, electricity and human wellbeing.

Hopefully, we can learn the lessons from our journey of life so far. That our lives are not about hyper competition, a perverse sense of individualism or divergent interests. It is about the common good, the celebration of what the iconic moral leader of the 20th century, Nelson Mandela, wisely left us with, that: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”.

Jay Naidoo is the former Minister in the Mandela Cabinet, Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Trustee of the EarthRise Trust

advertisement

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Media: A (mis)trusted interlocutor

Mwananchi Communications Ltd journalists at

Mwananchi Communications Ltd journalists at work in the media house’s newsroom in Dar es Salaam. In Africa, traditional media— newspapers, television, radio — religious leaders and civil society are often more trusted than politicians and even government institutions. But this might soon change as news consumption moves from traditional outlet, to new digital forms. PHOTO I FILE 

By Catherine Gicheru @cgicheru1 news@thecitizen.co.tz

Addressing the Ghanaian Parliament on July 11, 2009, US President Barack Obama asserted that “Africa doesn’t need strongmen; it needs strong institutions.”

The media is one of those essential institutions. Well-functioning media institutions can play a key role in supporting government and private sector efforts on corruption, accountability, transparency, quality of life, infrastructure and education - all of which determine the trust and confidence that citizens have in state and non-state institutions.

Citizens need good information to be able to stand up and demand better governance through transparent resource allocation and provision of services. This lead to accountability and engenders trust in state institutions.

Unfortunately, public confidence in the media has been eroding gradually as technological advances have wreaked havoc on the media ecosystem. The rise of the internet and the social web has, on one hand, made it much easier for citizens to be informed about the world. It has also democratised the media since now anyone can publish, broadcast or disseminate “news”.

But this has also presented a dilemma: which news sources do we trust? Do we look beyond those that tell us what we want to hear or believe? In their desire for page views and online engagements, many online as well as traditional media outlets engage in the ‘click’ economy where they disseminate questionable information in an attempt to boost their audience numbers and attract new advertisers.

The mainstream media also has to contend with the phenomena of “thought bubbles”, where readers pick and choose content online that bolsters their beliefs, for example ignoring anything that does not fit their preconceived ideas about government without fear of being confronted with an alternative view.

Trust in media is also eroded when the public perceives the media to be partisan - stridently critical of government or shamelessly sychophantic.

An independent and free media interpretes government’s actions and words in an impartial and objective manner, and is a key interlocutor between the public and the government.

However, when the media allows partisan cynicism or sycophancy to overshadow its healthy skepticism and criticism of government and its policies, the media loses any trust that the public may have in it a, and by extension in government. For example, exaggerated reporting by the mainstream media during and after the Trump election and the Brexit referendum raise questions as to whether or not media is serving the public interest.

In Africa, traditional media— newspapers, television, radio— religious leaders and civil society are often more trusted than politicians and even government institutions. But this might soon change as news consumption moves from traditional outlet, to new digital forms. Technological advances have ensured that the media no longer holds a monopoly on information. It has empowered the individual and democratised power across and beyond countries. This new equilibrium requires a new approach.

So, what can we do to retain and build up any remaining trust in the media?

Transparency: Journalists and the media need to be transparent in how they do their work. Let readers in on how stories come together, the rigor with which reporters approach a story, the verification and the gatekeeping that the editors do. And when something does go wrong as it will inevitably happen, be open and transparent about correcting errors.

Listen and Engage: By engaging with audiences and thinking about how to best meet the public’s information needs.

Getting Facts right: News media have to keep upgrading their skills, tools and processes in order to adapt their fact-checking practices and journalism standards to the new digital environment. Collaboration between tech companies, newsrooms and fact checking networks through collaborative platforms can help media outlets avoid recirculating unverified and erroneous content.

Educate: Media houses can teach their audiences how to navigate their way in the rapidly changing media eco-system so that they are able to differentiate between sponsored content, opinion and fact-based news.

Return to basics: In this era of information overload and fake news, it is imperative that news organisations go back to digging beyond the surface of a story in order to explain why something happened, what the consequences are and who is affected. Journalism must go back to its roots of not only being a source of news, but also a window of informed discussion and education for citizens.

Innovate: Media should harness the advances of digital technologies in order to better connect with their audiences and sponsors by presenting information in ways that meet changing demands. They must also increase opportunities for audience engagement in order to build new relationships of trust.

Citizens trust in government institutions and the media will only be retained if their expectations and hopes are met. Citizens’ trust in media ceases if they perceive government interference in content or a deliberate skewing of news to favour corporate advertisers and pandering to sensational content whose objective is to drive up the number of clicks.

These perceptions, real or imagined, can only erode public confidence in the media and by extension, their confidence in government institutions. It is, therefore, paramount that media demonstrates and fully exerts its role as a watchdog and endeavours to provide citizens with information that can help them participate knowledgeably in their own governance and development.

Catherine Gicheru, Country Lead, Code for Kenya, International Center for Journalists Knight Fellow

advertisement

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

People are distrusting of their governments

Winnie Byanyima is an Open Government

Winnie Byanyima is an Open Government Ambassador and Executive Director, Oxfam International 

By Winnie Byanyima @Winnie_Byanyima

Key measures of trust are at historic lows. We are used to seeing cyclical trends in trust, pegged to highs and lows in political and economic performance. As societies progress people become increasingly knowledgeable about government activities, leading to higher expectations of government to perform. Trust levels follow these patterns in ups and downs.

But this time things are different. Low levels of trust reflect a sustained backlash against the political and economic order in different parts of the world. Hard-fought advances in human rights and the fight against poverty, as well as the fabric of democratic institutions, are under duress.

In this publication, we invited some of the world’s leading doers and thinkers to provide insights to people negotiating these challenges around the world. In these pages, politicians, civic activists, business leaders and journalists help us to understand why trust in institutions has been declining, and how to get it back.

Declining trust, as the essays show, is caused by many factors - from corruption and elite capture to eroding social values. Globalization has been a double-edged sword. The world is richer because of it, but it has advanced an economic order that has resulted in growing inequality and conspicuous polarization between the haves and have-nots. It leaves hundreds of millions behind, not least when inequality perpetuates the power of elites whilst hollowing out the hopes of many people for their children’s futures.

People have solutions – but too often they are not being heard. The dearth of informed public debate and collective action to solve challenges has perpetuated the sense of disenfranchisement. People’s space to respectfully debate and disagree is constrained by a lack of opportunity and meaningful arenas in which to do so. In many cases, dissenting voices are met with heightened crackdowns – at worst, violently.

The problem is not new. Declining trust has deep roots. But it has been steadily deteriorating in recent decades before reaching this all-time low. The response must be bold and radical. The common sentiment weaving through all the essays in this publication is that solutions and processes to regain trust must embed the values of truth, openness, fairness, inclusion and participation. These values work together and need to be applied intelligently and comprehensively by governments willing to actively respond to the crisis in trust.

Process and values matter in policy-making. Giving citizens the opportunity to influence the substance of public policy can lead to better decisions, improved satisfaction and ultimately trust in government. We are witnessing examples of governments both at the national and subnational level modelling change from the inside out to build trust with citizens.

Public servants are being challenged out of their comfort zones. They are changing the way they interact with the public, seeking ideas from civil society and the private sector, and having honest exchanges about their capacity to deliver.

This is clear in many countries that have joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP). We know more is possible. The OGP aims at setting and sharing international norms and ensuring the values of truth, openness, fairness, inclusion and participation are central to rebuilding trust with citizens. Initiatives like Georgia’s Public Service Halls, Canada’s Open Dialogues, Buenos Aires Elige, and Ukraine’s ProZorro are illustrative of trust-building projects. This is just a beginning.

Platforms like OGP can contribute to reverse distrust in governments, and build momentum. As this publication shows, challenges faced by governments will become insurmountable without close collaboration with the private sector, civil society and the media. They must all play a role as partners, with the wider public in deliberation, decision making and action on public policy challenges. They all play a role in holding governments to account on their promises.

It is particularly crucial that governments address the expectations of their youth populations by introducing new participatory approaches to decisionmaking, for example. Women and marginalized communities must become equal partners in shaping our future.

An effective agenda to build trust must engage key demographics by design, and consciously bring their voices to the table. The complex challenges our world faces call upon formidable leadership from governments. But governments alone cannot solve them all. They need the ideas, wisdom and commitment of people.

Winnie Byanyima is an Open Government Ambassador and Executive Director, Oxfam International

advertisement

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alarm as multiple woes, politics dog Africa

Supporters of Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila

Supporters of Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila Odinga celebrate as he leaves the Supreme Court in Nairobi on September 1, 2017. Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election win last month and called for new elections within 60 days. PHOTO I FILE 

By Ciugu Mwagiru @TheCitizenTz ciugumwagiru@yahoo.co.uk

Dar es Salaam. As the fourth and last quarter of the year approaches, Africa continues to be engrossed in titillating political drama amid seemingly endless political squabbles that seem to have become the order of the day.

Uncertain situations in countries like Kenya, South Africa and Togo continue to dominate media headlines, with base politicking seemingly relegating development agenda to the backburner.

As Kenya remains uncertain in view of the presidential election slated for October 17, in Togo there is mounting turmoil following recent protests, amid calls for fresh ones.

South Africa is also in the limelight as the country’s Supreme Court prepares to hear an appeal relating to 800 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma that were dropped earlier.

The development comes even as Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s former wife and chairperson of the African Union Commission, is reportedly poised for a Cabinet appointment.

Major elections are looming in the country, including the one for the leadership of the ruling ANC party slated for December.

The looming appointment is therefore widely viewed as a ruse to perpetuate the Zuma dynasty amid a fluid situation in neighbouring Angola following recent elections.

In the latter country, the opposition Unita party has been mulling a boycott of parliament, as if taking the cue from its Nasa coalition counterpart in Kenya.

In the meantime, and sadly for the ordinary people of the continent, the erstwhile dream of Africa’s heralded economic renaissance seems to have practically dissipated.

Paradoxically, the continent’s political class – mainly made up of the economic elite – seems to be interested in little else but the relentless struggles for power and political dominance.

The result is that for the time being the imperative of true leadership seems to be lacking even as politicians determined to attain power at all costs go for each other’s throats.

Unfortunately, the African continent is currently convulsed in sporadic woes that seem to be endless, as even a cursory glance at media headlines reveals.

Among recent concerns are such disasters as last month’s landslide and flooding that hit parts of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital.

According to a preliminary World Bank report, the disaster inflicted an estimated $30 million worth of damage on the economy of the country.

Apart from the loss of human lives, there was massive damage to health and education facilities, industry, transport and housing, with the latter sector particularly hard-hit.

Just last week the World Bank said it was providing a $82 million recovery package to be expended on short, medium and long-term projects in a bid to revitalize the economy.

Ironically, these amounts look like loose change when compared to the mind-boggling expenditures involving African elections, during which all stops are pulled in a spending frenzy.

The bungled General Election held in Kenya on August 8, for instance, was widely billed as possibly the second most expensive election in the world.

In a continent notorious for its mendicant tendencies and general dependency on donor funding, the costs of the Kenyan poll shot to well above a massive figure of 500 million US dollars.

Other African countries are equally extravagant during electoral periods, with little thought given to serious economic crises and the general welfare of seriously impoverished populations.

Back to natural disasters, the situation has been alarming in the tiny island nation of Cape Verde, which was recently hit by the worst malaria outbreak in decades.

According to media reports, during this year the country recorded the worst malaria outbreak in over two decades, with a total of 184 cases of infections recorded since January.

The figure was the highest figure since 1991, with the capital Praia alone having recorded 170 cases during the current crisis.

Elsewhere on the continent Madagascar, yet another island nation, has been reeling from the effects of an outbreak of pneumonic plague.

In a country that has witnessed an outbreak nearly every year since 1980, the current one has resulted in some fatalities, according to the health ministry.

At the same time, some 349 people were treated for the plague, outbreaks of which have been blamed on factors such as rats fleeing forest fires, poor hygiene and inadequate healthcare. That aside, a major meeting slated for September 20 is expected to assess the current situation in war-torn South Sudan, which is still in the stranglehold of a massive humanitarian crisis. According to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, the number of people displaced in the country rose to nearly four million during the first half of this year.

While there are 1.9 million internally displaced people, two million others who have fled to neighbouring countries, with million of them are based in Uganda alone.

advertisement

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Open Government is a catalyst for trust

 

By Bob Collymore @bobcollymore

Despite being billed as a “commercial disaster” when it launched, the Co