Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Nyerere and the vision of a United States of Africa

 

By Dr Peter Kafumu

Julius Kambarage Nyerere is one of Africa’s leading pan-African heroes of the 21st Century. He was a passionate African statesman who believed that pan-African freedom was the only legitimate political action to emancipate Africa from economic bondage.

To him, pan-Africanism meant a united and self-determined African continent in pursuit of economic, political, social, ideological and cultural freedom. He portrayed this uncompromising pan-African stance when he said: “…African nationalism is meaningless, dangerous, and anachronistic, if it is not, at the same time, pan-Africanism...”

A pan-African in soul and spirit, Nyerere was also a philosopher, a sociologist and a teacher who is today referred to by his people as ‘Mwalimu’ meaning teacher.

Nyerere was a dedicated Catholic, with exemplary and original life in leadership that exhibited extraordinary cardinal Christian virtues like fortitude, temperance, prudence and justice. Nyerere’s display of cardinal virtues persuaded the Catholic Church that he was a great leader of cherubic proportions; and in 2006 the Tanzania bishops with a consent from the Vatican initiated a beatification process and eventual canonisation in the future.

Leadership treasures

Here in a series of articles that will explore and map his pan-African leadership treasures within Tanzania and abroad, we will reveal his greatness as one of the greatest pan-African founding leaders. We invite you to voyage together in this narrative of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere one of Africa’s great statesmen of our time.

Julius Kambarage Nyerere was born on the 13th April 1922 in Mwitongo area in Butiama town Mara Region. He was one of the sons of Chief Nyerere Burito of the Zanaki chiefdom. His father Nyerere Burito was born in 1860 and was appointed chief in 1915 during the German colonial administration of the then German East Africa.

At birth, Nyerere was given the name of ‘Mugendi’ meaning walker in Zanaki language, but then his name was changed to “Kambarage”, the name referring to a female rain spirit. Nyerere grew up in a polytheistic belief system of the Zanaki tribe assisting in the farming of the millet, maize and cassava as well as herding family cattle and goats.

As a son of a chief he was exposed to African administration, power and authority. Living in the communal royal compound gave him an appreciation for the collective living; that would later influence his political ideals and beliefs to coin his African Socialism ideology.

In February 1934 Nyerere began his primary education at the Native Administration School in Mwisenge, Musoma. He excelled in school and after six months his excellent examination results allowed him to skip a grade. In 1936 he completed his primary education and his final exam results were the highest in the Lake Province and Western Province regions.

Due to his excellent performance, Nyerere then earned a Government Scholarship to attend his secondary education at an elite prestigious Tabora Government Secondary School in Tabora Town that he began his secondary schooling in 1937. In October 1942, Nyerere completed his secondary education and was enrolled at the Makerere University College at Kampala in Uganda to attend a teacher training course.

His academic ability would allow him to enroll at Makerere College in Uganda East Africa and Edinburgh in the UK.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Zimbabwe election; will Jongwe punish Croc or square it?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Former Zimbabwe strongman, Robert Mugabe a.k.a Jongwe or rooster, may be history vis-à-vis power. However, his influence on Zimbabwe is still immense. Zimbabwe will go to general elections this year in which Mugabe will throw his weight behind the New Patriotic Front (NFP) party (VOA, March 5, 2018). Incumbent president Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa a.k.a Ngwena, will fly Zanu-PF’s flag. Will Zimbabweans have a sound choice between two protagonists behind the mess the country is in currently? Is the new party really new? The coming elections, essentially will act as a Jongwe-Ngwena duel.

Apart from Jongwe and Ngwena, there is the Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) which, essentially ousted Mugabe. We know that he who pays the piper calls the tune. We saw top military brass being appointed ministers, which is tad confusing. Are they military or politicians? Zimbabweans need to know. Will this marriage of convenience last? Who’s using who; and what does Zimbabwe have to gain or lose from such cobbled marriage? Arguably, it isn’t easy to tell the type of rule Zimbabwe is under now. I would like to carry it hermaphrodite if not an oxymoronic to mean; it is neither purely military nor political. It is polimilitary if not a milipolitical regime.

Many questions unanswered

The coup that’s called an ‘internal correction’ left many questions than answers as far as the future of Zimbabwe is concerned. As one Zimbabwean Lance Guma once put it, was the problem Mugabe or his outfit the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, which he equates with the snake in that Mugabe was a skin whose overthrow means just shedding the skin as it remains as poisonous as it has been for three decades. Now, let’s dissever Jongwe-Ngwena.

First, Mnangagwa was part and parcel of the same system renowned for his ruthlessness and cunningness in dealing with dissent voices. Refer to the Matabele massacres he supervised not to mention controversial road accidents that claimed the lives of many Zimbabweans who showed to be competent and amiable to the hoi polloi.

Secondly, Mugabe presides over a corrupt and ruthless government under Zanu-PF that propped him; and fully supported what he’s accused of. Has Zimbabwe pulled down the Capon and ushered in a Crocodile? Is Zimbabwe now at Oginga Odinga’s Not Yet Uhuru time or Chinua Achebe’s No Longer at Easy if not Ngugi wa Thiong’o The River Between?

Again, the Capon’s domination tendency while the Croc has ruthlessness. Will Zimbabweans judge Mugabe harshly as they myopically and softly spare Mnangagwa and the Zanu-PF for their peril; or take the bull by the horns.

Logically, the Zanu-PF is the only vehicle Mugabe and his cronies used to lord it over Zimbabwe for over three decades. Therefore, there’s no way one can emancipate Zimbabwe without deconstructing the Zanu-PF among others.

Will Zimbabweans and their new leaders who practically are nothing but the extension of Mugabeism, smell the coffee; and do things based on the history of their suffering namely deconstruct and overhaul the whole system? Will they force the Croc to turn itself into a fish or all it go on devouring them? Will the Croc cling to its nature?

Due to the newness of the situation, nobody’s any inkling of what’ll follow except the Zimbabweans themselves. Importantly, they must avoid fearing the lizard to end up embracing the Croc despite all looking alike.

The Lizard’s no teeth while the Croc’s high-pitched ones. Will the words of Gibson Lovemore, a street vendor that Zimbabwe has got rid of a snake and replaced it with a snake come true?

Further, even the army that started the ouster of Mugabe is the one and only that kept Mugabe in power for over period of 37 years. Has the ZDF become the born again for the love of the people or their man? Apart from being the part and parcel of the mess that saw Zimbabwe being misruled for many years, is the ZDF piloting in the era where the gun is becoming mightier than the vote? Are we seeing the military democracy or a coup ala Zimbabwe coup? Who’s using whom between the army and Mnangagwa? Who’s in charge between the duo?

Sanction the army

Will Zimbabweans sanction the army and its man to get away with murder? Will they revisit the history of Mugabe’s jumble so as to weed out all who partook in its making? Will they be blinded by euphoria and sanguinity or being guided by logicality?

Many’d like to know how Zimbabwe will look after the coming elections, especially without Mugabe on the helms. For, like any despot, Mugabe turned himself into Zimbabwe. He’s Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe’s him. It is upon voters to decide how their country will look like. However, the choice is very hard.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Merkel seeks united front with China amid Trump trade fears

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) gestures

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) gestures alongside Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn (L) and FAW Group CEO Xu Jianyi (R) during her visit to the FAW-Volkswagen plant in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province on July 6, 2014. PHOTO|FILE 

Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel visits China on Thursday, seeking to close ranks with the world’s biggest exporting nation as US President Donald Trump shakes up explosive issues from trade to Iran’s nuclear deal.

Finding a common strategy to ward off a trade war and keep markets open will be Merkel’s priority when she meets with President Xi Jinping, as Washington brandishes the threat of imposing punitive tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.

“Both countries are in agreement that open markets and rules-based world trade are necessary. That’s the main focus of this trip,” Merkel’s spokeswoman Martina Fietz said in Berlin on Friday.

But closing ranks with Beijing against Washington risks being complicated by Saturday’s deal between China and the US to hold off tit-for-tat trade measures.

China’s economic health can only benefit Germany as the Asian giant is a big buyer of Made in Germany. But a deal between the US and China effectively leaves Berlin as the main target of Trump’s campaign against foreign imports that he claims harm US national security.

The US leader had already singled Germany out for criticism, saying it had “taken advantage” of the US by spending less than Washington on NATO.

Underlining what is at stake, French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire warned the US-China deal may come “at the expense of Europe if Europe is not capable of showing a firm hand”.

- 11 visits in 12 years -

Nevertheless, Merkel can look to her carefully nurtured relationship with China over her 12 years as chancellor.

No Western leader has visited Beijing as often as Merkel, who will be undertaking her eleventh trip to the country.

In China, she is viewed not only as the main point of contact for Europe, but, crucially, also as a reliable interlocutor -- an antithesis of the mercurial Trump.

Devoting her weekly podcast to her visit, Merkel stressed that Beijing and Berlin “are

Devoting her weekly podcast to her visit, Merkel stressed that Beijing and Berlin “are both committed to the rules of the WTO” (World Trade Organization) and want to “strengthen multilateralism”.

But she also underlined that she will press home Germany’s longstanding quest for reciprocity in market access as well as the respect of intellectual property.

Ahead of her visit, Beijing fired off a rare salvo of criticism.

China’s envoy to Germany, Shi Mingde, pointed to a “protectionist trend in Germany”, as he complained about toughened rules protecting German companies from foreign takeovers.

Only 0.3 per cent of foreign investors in Germany stem from China while German firms have put in 80 billion euros in the Asian giant over the last three decades, he told Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

“Economic exchange cannot work as a one-way street,” he warned.

Meanwhile, looming over the battle on the trade front is another equally thorny issue -- the historic Iran nuclear deal, which risks falling apart after Trump pulled the US out.

Tehran has demanded that Europe keeps the deal going by continuing economic cooperation, but the US has warned European firms of sanctions if they fail to pull out of Iran.

Merkel “hopes that China can help save the atomic deal that the US has unilaterally ditched,” said Die Welt daily.

“Because only the giant emerging economy can buy enough raw materials from Iran to give the Mullah regime an incentive to at least officially continue to not build a nuclear weapon.”

- ‘Bring Liu Xia to Germany’ -

With Merkel needing China’s cooperation, activists are hoping that human rights issues won’t fall by the wayside.

They have voiced hopes in particular that Merkel would raise the fate of Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, who is kept under de facto house arrest by China.

“Here’s hoping Merkel brings #LiuXia to Germany with her--#China would be smart to release the latter now,” wrote Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch on Twitter.

Late April, German ambassador to China Michael Clauss told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that Liu would be welcomed in his country.

Asked if Merkel would meet with activists, her spokeswoman Fietz was non-committal, but said “as a general rule, the government and the chancellor campaign constantly for the question of human rights.” (AFP)

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Confusion, squabbling undermine Trump’s steps forward on the world stage

President Trump, joined by Secretary of State

President Trump, joined by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks with three freed American prisoners after their arrival from North Korea at Joint Base Andrews on May 10. PHOTO | THE POST 

Washington. On North Korea, the government of dictator Kim Jong Un threatened to walk away from a planned summit after bellicose words from national security adviser John Bolton - who was then publicly overruled by President Donald Trump.

On China, trade negotiations have been undermined by fierce infighting among Trump’s own advisers - including a profane shouting match in Beijing between two members of the economic team.

And the pattern is evident on domestic policies as well. Trump has undercut his own aides and Republican congressional leaders with sudden threats to shut down the government over his promised wall at the border with Mexico.

As an emboldened Trump reaches for historic triumphs in hopes of bolstering his party’s prospects in November’s midterm elections, he finds himself repeatedly stymied by his old patterns of chaos and contradiction.

Trump’s agenda has been undermined by mixed messages and internal squabbles from within his administration - all compounded by the president’s own lack of discipline and his inconsistent ideology.

“It’s very, very volatile,” said Thomas Wright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “Normally, there are different factions, and they both fight within the bureaucratic process for their viewpoints . . . but this is much more freewheeling, and the most volatile person is the president.”

“It creates confusion and uncertainty and undermines their initiatives,” he added.

Amy Zegart, co-director of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said “the one consistent policy that Trump seems to have is that America is getting a raw deal in the world, but how to address that raw deal varies day to day and hour to hour. It is enormously important to have message discipline, and this administration is fundamentally unable to have it.”

That lack of discipline has been on vivid display over North Korea. Bolton complicated the delicate preparations for a historic summit between Trump and Kim, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, by saying the United States planned to ask North Korea to emulate the “Libya model” from a 2003 nuclear deal - to which the North Koreans attribute Moammar Gaddafi’s eventual downfall and death eight years later.

But after Pyongyang cited those remarks in threatening to cancel the summit, Trump promised Thursday that his administration would demand no such thing and that under a nuclear agreement, Kim would have protections and be “very, very happy.”

“He’d be in his country,” Trump said. “He’d be running his country. His country would be very rich.”

Still, there remains uncertainty about whether the summit will take place, even as White House officials are busy scouting locations and finalizing itineraries. And Trump has seemed to enjoy taking part in chatter that his work toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula could earn him the Nobel Peace Prize, an honour that was bestowed upon former president Barack Obama in only his 11th month in office.

With China, meanwhile, Trump is progressing in negotiations to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, which would fulfill a major campaign promise.

The White House on Saturday released a joint statement from both countries announcing an agreement for China to buy more goods and services from the United States, including agriculture and energy exports, with the stated goal of “substantially” reducing the U.S. trade deficit in goods.

But disputes within the Trump administration have burst into public view, projecting disarray when the team has sought to present a united front.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, a hard-line nationalist who penned the book “Death by China,” got into an expletive-laced shouting match with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during their recent trip to Beijing, where Trump had sent them to negotiate trade policy with the Chinese government.

And back in Washington, Trump abruptly ordered his own Commerce Department to scale back the severe penalties it had recently imposed on telecommunications giant ZTE.

Trump’s directive, which he later said was his answer to a personal plea from Chinese President Xi Jinping, came in a tweet that caught most of his top aides by surprise.

The Trump administration is hardly the first to have vigorous policy disagreements, but in past administrations, those debates largely played out in private, with the staff endeavoring to support the official White House policy in public.

But Trump enjoys, and even encourages, infighting, which often leads to those feuds spilling into the public arena.

“I like conflict,” Trump said in March. “I like having two people with different points of view. And I certainly have that. And then I make a decision. But I like watching it. I like seeing it. I think it’s the best way to go.”

White House officials reject the premise that Trump’s policy moves are sometimes overshadowed by episodes of conflict. They blame journalists for focusing on staff squabbles and scold them for not paying more attention to the president’s achievements.

Trump’s aides say that unwanted headlines - such as White House communications staffer Kelly Sadler joking about the irrelevance of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., because, as she put it, “he’s dying anyway” - do not impair meaningful progress on issues. One White House official cited Friday’s summit on prison reform as an example of the quiet work that proceeds behind the scenes.

Peppered with questions earlier this month about a number of administration controversies, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “If you look at what he’s doing every single day, he’s showing up to work, he’s working hard to make this country better, whether it’s through building our economy, creating jobs, defeating ISIS, fixing our judiciary system, helping with the legal immigration problems that we have.”

Most of Trump’s advisers have emerged as fully formed public characters in their own right, complete with differing ideologies, backstories and personal agency. As the president has chosen aides who looked as if they were out of “central casting” and elevated them to players in his daily West Wing dramas, so, too, has the media covered them as such - chronicling the petty feuds and internal squabbles in the president’s royal court.

“It’s almost like an absolute monarch where the various feudal lords are coming to try to figure out whether they can get something in or something out of whatever decision he’s making,” Zegart said. “It’s astonishing.”

Trump, who governs largely by impulse and instinct, lacks a clear traditional governing ideology on a range of topics, heightening divergent viewpoints.

“The president didn’t have a very deeply held philosophical view of foreign policy and national security,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican communications consultant.

“But the policy hands around him have been working on and caring about these issues and have deeply held beliefs developed over the past 25 years.”

In this particular era of social media and increased scrutiny on the White House, Madden added, “so much of this just ends up being litigated publicly.” (Washington Post)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Mixed reactions on TZ’s new embassy in Israel

 

By Louis Kolumbia and Jacob Mosenda @TheCItizenTZ news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. International relations differed with political scientists over whether the opening of the Tanzanian embassy in Israel was in line with the foreign policy.

While international relations experts support the government’s decision triggered by drastic shift in the country’s foreign policy from principled engagement to economic diplomacy political scientists, on the other hand, criticized the move, noting that the decision betrays long tradition of Tanzania’s support to the Palestinian cause. Political commentators believe that Tanzania was supposed to continue sympathizing with the oppressed and that strengthening diplomatic relations with Israel on the pretext of benefiting economically does not hold water since many other countries can offer the help that the Jewish state would give to Tanzania.

Dr Ahmad Mtengwa who heads the Economic Diplomacy department at the Tanzania and Mozambique Centre for Foreign Relations (TMCFR) is confident that closer relations with Israel will transform the Tanzania’s economy while, at the same time, leaving solidarity with Palestine undeterred.

“Our relations with Palestine don’t prevent the country from cooperating with other countries. Closer relations with Israel could, even, help Tanzania engage more productively with Israel as part of efforts to trying to resolve the historic Middle East dispute,” he said.

Mr Innocent Shoo, also from TMCFR echoed Dr Mtengwa’s comments. He listed a number of benefits Tanzania could register through the new relations with Israel in the areas of agriculture, security, pharmaceuticals and access to new markets for the country’s products.

“Israel has a very well developed agricultural technology which if transferred to the country will be critical in the industrialization drive,” he said. He said Tanzania will also benefit from Israel’s security and defense advancements which could be transferred to the country, noting that Israel is the only country that has, satisfactorily made every citizen, a reserve soldier.

The Middle East country has also made progress in pharmaceuticals. This is a good opportunity for Tanzania as it seeks to build a sizeable pharmaceutical base to bridge the import-export gap of medicines and medical equipment. Mr Shoo further said that Israel can also provide Tanzania with a market for textiles, flowers and leather goods which is key for Tanzania’s industrialization strategy. Diplomatic relations between Tanzania and Israel broke up in 1972 because of Israel’s support to apartheid regime in South Africa and oppression of Palestine.

“The apartheid regime no longer exists in South Africa. But, though the Palestine question is not yet resolved, the shift in Tanzania’s foreign policy allows the country to re-establish closer ties with Israel for economic reasons,” he said. But, a political science lecturer at the Kampala International University (KIU), Prof Abdallah Kizauli said getting closer to Israel betrays Mwalimu Nyerere policy towards the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“A foreign policy shift towards economic diplomacy is not an issue here. The issue is how we can continue to have solidary with the oppressed while cozying up to the oppressor! It’s not like the world has run out of partners that Tanzania can use to benefit, economically,” he said. The University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) lecturer in Political Science, Prof Bakari Mohamed, also said he strongly opposes the government’s move.

“I totally disagree with the decision to open an embassy in Israel because I believe on the need for country like Tanzania to uphold principles of human dignity and self-determination. I don’t see any reason to support diplomatic relations with a country violating the two,” he told Political Platform in an interview. He said he was disappointed with the country’s decision to re-establish diplomatic relationship with Israel because the country’s behaviour has changed since the last time Tanzania broke the relations in 1972.

A Political science lecturer from Ruaha Catholic University (Rucu), Prof Gaudens Mpangala concurred with his KIU and UDSM counterparts, suggesting that Tanzania should continue upholding foreign policy sympathizing with the weak and the oppressed.

He said Tanzania, under the first president Mwalimu Julius Nyerere was right to break relations with Israel because of its treatment of Palestinians. “It is difficult to see why the government should make a U-turn and reestablish relations not only with Israel but also with Morocco before the issues that led to the break up in relations were addressed,” he said.

“The government should state openly that it no longer supports the Palestinian and Western Saharan causes, the shift in foreign policy towards economic diplomacy notwithstanding,” Prof Mpangala added. The government has said its solidarity with Palestine will not be affected by the closer ties with Israel. President John Magufuli has said, in several instances, that Tanzania did a good job in supporting liberation movements in Africa and elsewhere and that it was time to focus on the country’s economic development.

“We spent a lot of time and financial resources to help other in the 1960s and 1970s. We needed those resources ourselves but we had the moral duty to help those who were still under occupation. Now is the time to build our country,” President Magufuli would say. Dr Mahiga on his part detailed, to the Political Platform, a number of benefits that Tanzania has got and is about to get from improved relations with Israel.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Dr Augustine Mahiga said there were a number issues submitted to the Israel government that have been accepted, though he declined to make them public as he was in a hurry of catching his plane.

“They include a number of proposed Israel investments to Tanzania in support of the government’s economic transformation,” he told Political Platform in a telephone interview last week from Israel. Observers say Tanzania’s closer ties with Israel put the country in a fix as occasions will arise where it would have to choose between the two sides. And this will prove to be a litmus test in the UN votes where the Israel-Palestine conflict often plays out. Already in October 2016 Tanzania was forced to choose sides, kind of, between the two.

A motion, supported by Palestine and many other Arab countries, had come up at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s World Heritage committee, trying to “ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.” Motion was going to have a majority for the resolution. But Tanzania, along with Croatia, forced a secret ballot that is credited with denying a majority for the motion. Dr Mahiga told Israel journalists that Tanzania took some heat from some Middle East countries for its role in the Temple Mount motion.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

CAG: Parties still can’t keep proper accounts

Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Professor

Controller and Auditor General (CAG), Professor Mussa Assad speaking at a press conference in Dodoma. PHOTO | FILE 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. The Controller and Auditor General (CAG) reports in the last three years have revealed that a lot has to be done by the opposition parties in terms of improving financial management.

The 2014/15; 2015/16 and 2016/17 audit reports have exposed various financial irregularities which should immediately and seriously be addressed if they are to replace the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) in the near future.

Observers say the failure by the opposition to manage the meager financial resources cast doubt on the parties’ capacity to oversee government’s financial resources, huge by any comparison, when entrusted they take over the country.

According to the audit reports, Chadema has been found with irregularities in the areas of procurement of goods and services, unaccounted collections of funds, unconfirmed loans, unaccounted payments and inadequately supported payments.

The CAG report says Chadema procured goods and services worth over Sh24.216 billion contrary to party’s financial management manual requiring that all procurements should be competitive and quotations from different suppliers should be acquired. The reports reveals that the main opposition party failed to deposit its substantial revenue amounted to Sh2.302 billion in the bank account managed by trustees during the 2014/2015 and 2015/16 financial years.

“My review on revenue collected by Chadema noted that Sh4.42 million was collected in 2014/15 and that Sh2.298 billion was collected in the 2015/16 financial year. However, the funds were not deposited in the bank account and party’s expenditure details were not provided,” CAG says, adding; “Non-banking of revenue collected implies ineffective controls over revenue collections which exposes the main opposition political party to risks of misappropriation of funds collected. Also, failure to obtain alternative quotations exposed the party to the risk of uneconomic use of party resources.”

Furthermore, the CAG audit report suggests that Chadema signed a contract on April, 2015 to secure Sh2 billion loan for political activities, noting that however, evidence failed to confirm receipt of the funds due to lack of documents.

The CAG report suggests that tax invoice no.201508226 dated August 26, 2016 valued at Sh866.600 million was settled by one of the party members on behalf of the party in respect of boards supplied and installed by the M/S Milestone International Co. Ltd.

“Out of the said amount Sh715 million was paid back over various periods to one of the party members, being refund of the secured loan without support of contractual obligations as a result of non-established loan policy,” reads part of the report.

Furthermore, the audit report establishes that Chadema issued advance payment to its staffs in form of imprests amounting to Sh400 million. The amount was used to carry party activities, but they remained unaccounted as to time of audit.

Report also shows that Sh20.9 million and Sh379.14 million were issued in the form of imprests during the 2014/15 and 2015/2016 respectively.

“The amount was neither retired nor reported as part of account receivables in the statement of financial position for the year contrary to Section 9.3. 1 to 9.3.6 of the party’s financial management manual of April25, 2012,” the CAG says.

Other opposition political parties were outlined to have failed to submit to the CAG financial statements which was contrary to Section 14 of the Political Parties Act of 1992 (R.E 2015) which requires all permanently registered political parties to maintain proper accounts of the funds and properties for the purpose of audit.

These parties include ACT Wazalendo, United Democratic Party (UDP), Tanzania Democratic Alliance (Tadea), Civic United Front (CUF) and the African Progressive Party of Tanzania, NCCR-Mageuzi, the National Reconstruction Party (NRA), United People’s Democratic Party (UPDP) and Party for People’s Redemption (CHAUMMA).

According to the CAG report, the law requires political parties with permanent registration to submit to the Registrar of Political Parties an annual statement of the audited accounts and annual declaration of properties owned by a respective political party.

Apart from financial statements, the audit report says some political parties had failed to perform bank reconciliation, noting that the move denied respective parties with internal control of funds.

Report says reconciliation of cash book balances and bank balances was important move for respective parties to identify inconsistencies and take immediate corrective measures.

Respective political parties included the Alliance for Tanzania Democratic Change (ADC), Demokrasia Makini, Chama cha Sauti ya Umma (SAU), and National League for Democracy (NLD).

The CAG recommended that Chadema management should strictly comply with its financial management manual in order to promote competitiveness and transparency in procurement processes and obtain the value for money for the goods and services purchased.

“I urge party’s management to account for Sh2.302 billion by providing proper documentation and ensure that in future all collections made are immediately deposited into bank account,” reads the CAG report.

The audit report also recommended that Chadema should continue to monitor and enforce compliance with its financial memorandum on early retirement of outstanding imprests after completion of the intended job.

“Political parties should ensure that bank reconciliation mechanisms are in place and that relevant officials properly check and review bank and cash book transactions in order to correct errors at an early stage,” reads the audit report.

“I still insist political parties to strictly comply with Section 14 (1) (i) of Political Parties Act Number 5 of 1992 (R.E 2015),”

He CAG added.

According to the CAG, the Registrar of Political Parties is advised to hold awareness programme and capacity building to political parties on the importance of preparation and presentation of financial statements.

The CAG reiterate that the Registrar should also hold accountable party leaders who fail to submit their financial statements for the audit purposes.

“The Registrar of Political Parties also is recommended to have capacity building programmes which will enhance political parties to be more compliant with the requirements of the Political Parties Act of 2009 (R.E 2015) together with its underlying Regulations and IPSAS requirements,” reads the CAG report.

Commenting on the report, Chadema director of Protocol, Communications and Foreign Affairs, Mr John Mrema said Chadema spent Sh14 billion during the period under audit, noting that the Sh24 billion stated in the report was recorded by mistake.

“We clarified the issue to the CAG and he has admitted that it was a mistake. We have also notified the Registrar of Political Parties in writing and that currently, we are waiting for the CAG to correct the mistake in his new report,” he said in an interview.

Speaking on the Sh2 billion loan secured by Chadema for political activities, Mr Mrema said Chadema clarified to the CAG that they secured loan in order to meet the deadline for purchasing equipment for the 2015 General Election.

“We told him, that Mlimani City Hall and the helicopter hiring processes lacked competitors during the procurement process. Also, money collected during the M4C fundraising in Mwanza, Mbeya, Arusha and Dar es Salaam remained in respective zones hence lacked financial justifications to be included in the national party account,” he said.

For his part, ACT-Wazalendo secretary for Ideology, Publicity and Public Communications, Mr Ado Shaibu, said his party was responsible for not being inspected, noting that CAG concerns outlined in the 2015/16 audit report remained in 2016/17.

“The problem facing many political parties including ACT is our failure to institutionalize our activities, resulting into lack of consistency and proper flow of information,” he said.

“We received financial management trainings from the CAG’s office after receiving unsatisfactory certificate on the 2015/16 audit. Failure to be audited in the 2016/17 have denied us with opportunity to show our progress,” he added.

Responding to critics who claim that opposition parties’ failure to manage their finances means they are not well prepared to lead the country Mr Shaibu said people should differentiate between being engaged in fraud or embezzlement- which was not the case in the CAG reports of opposition parties- and improper financial recording.

He said ACT-Wazalendo has embarked on a programme to train its staff on financial management.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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

Dr Kafumu is a geologist and former

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

By Peter Kafumu

This is the final part of the story of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta the founding Father of the Kenyan nation and staunch pan-Africanist.

We complete the story by looking into his legacy he left behind.

By mid-1960s as years pass by, Kenyatta continued to age away; and his people increasingly called him Mzee Jomo Kenyatta; “Mzee” a Swahili term meaning “old and wise man”.

As an old and wise President of Kenya, he continued to remind his people the trickery of imperialism when he said: “When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible. Our children may learn about the heroes of the past. Our task is to make ourselves the architects of the future”

He also frequently reminded his folks that independence was not the guarantee of improved livelihood and good life; but hard work was one; he said: “Many people may think that, now there is Uhuru, now I can see the sun of freedom shining, richness will pour down like manna from Heaven. We must all work hard, with our hands, to save ourselves from poverty, ignorance and disease”

Although his determination to instruct and lead his people to voyage to an economically prosperous nation did not diminish; but his health began ailing and he suffered two mild strokes in 1966 and 1968 and died peacefully while asleep on the 22nd of August 1978, at the State House in Mombasa.

He was then buried six days after his death.

Kenneth Nyangena an expert of development studies also described Kenyatta as “one of the greatest men of the twentieth century, having been a beacon, a rallying point for suffering Kenyans to fight for their rights, justice and freedom, whose brilliance gave strength and aspiration to people beyond the boundaries of Kenya”.

His message of reconciliation; that called people to “forgive and forget” was perhaps his greatest moral contribution to his country and to the history of humankind.

He always reminded his subjects to look ahead and forgive and forget the past and build the nation’s economy.

He said: “Where there have been racial hearted, it must be ended. Where there has been tribal animosity, it will be finished. Let us not dwell upon the bitterness of the past. I would rather look to the future, to the good new Kenya, not to bad old days. If we can create this sense of national direction and identity, we will have gone a long way to solving our economic problems”

Jomo Kenyatta is today regarded in Kenya and across the African continent as the “Founding Father of the Kenyan Nation”; he is a popular symbol of the Kenyan nation; the claim that is justified by the similarities between his name “Kenya-tta” and the name of the country “Kenya”.

Many other scholars claim that the life story of Kenyatta as a pan-African had great similarities to the life story of Kwame Nkrumah the founding father of Ghana. Like Kwame Nkrumah; Jomo Kenyatta is also remembered for “initiating the discourse and process that plotted the narrative of African freedom” Kenyatta and Nkrumah are also remembered for both making the dream of African independence in their respective countries a reality as well as pushing for liberation of other African countries through the OAU.

Jomo Kenyatta was an extraordinary pan-African leader; like his peer who dreamed of a free united Africa.

Kenyatta will remain as one of the forefathers of pan-Africanism and an inspiration for a united Africa. As was Kwame Nkrumah, and was Jomo Kenyatta; until his death the vision for a united Africa was not realized in his time and to date.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

BOTTOM LINE: Magufulification, Magufuli arrived at the right time

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Love or hate him. President John Pombe Magufuli is a wonk who though unexpectedly arrived at the rightest place and time in the history of our country. Those who still remember how the tussle for presidency was in 2015, still remember how Magufuli wasn’t among 800-pound gorillas in the race for the highest office in the land. Instead, two luminaries, Bernard Membe and Edward Lowassa, who ended up finishing off each other, were the toasts of the town.

Looking at how Tanzania was then, I must admit; arrival of Magufuli wasn’t an accident; and, if it were, it is a good one. The country was in shambles next to going to the dogs. Therefore, the country badly and deservedly needed a person like Magufuli. Corruption, embezzlement of public funds, systemic indiscipline, rent-seeking culture and other vices were rife. Who has now simply forgotten how drugs were tainting our image internationally? Who has now forgotten maltreatment in public offices, hospitals and everywhere else? Who’s easily forgotten tax evasion and low tax collection not to mention lack of leadership conviction, good intention and vision?

Now that Tanzania is on the right track, some detractors still wag their tongues accusing and discouraging Magufuli simply because his regime has denied them what to do or say. Indeed, Tanzania needed; and verily, still needs Magufuli and his so-called Magufulification. Under Magufulification, as a country, we’re able to embark on the industrialisation of our country; expanding infrastructure not to mention improving services in various sectors.

What else do we want? Those who think that commending Magufuli is kowtowing before him must look at the numbers of his achievements and the quality of services Tanzanians are now enjoying. Those who doubt Magufuli’s vision should go to rural areas and ask farmers whose produces were not marketable, but now are; though not all.

They’d go and see the roads, bridges, schools and hospitals among others Magufuli has improved.

Of all, Magufuli proved to be the man of another world after practically embarking on moving the capital city to Dodoma. If anything, moving to Dodoma is but the bone that hyenas failed to consume; if I may borrow Swahili proverb. Further, Magufuli wholeheartedly decided to take on mega corruption.

How many cases involving mega corruption are before the courts as culprits wait to hear their verdicts? How many sacred cows are now waiting for their fates to be known after cooling their heels in the dungeon that formerly was for wezi wa kuku? Who’d think that scams such as IPTL, Escrow and others would be dealt with mercilessly but legally?

I know as everybody knows; Magufuli still has a lot on his plate vis-à-vis other scams such as Mwananchi Gold, Lugumi, TICTS, UDA and others. Let’s give him a break; as we remind him that we’ve not forgotten such scams. Who thought academic corruption involving forgery and faking qualification not to mention ghost workers would become history?

Go ask students in our schools whose school fees are catered for by the government. Why don’t go interview the parents whose kids are getting free education. Go ask patients in various dispensaries and hospitals about the quality of services they receive compared to the time before the introduction of Magufulification. Why can’t we clap Magufuli and his Magufulification instead of crapping him up?

There are allegations that Magufuli stifled democracy. Well, it depends on what one looks into. Again, if we consider how democracy has never brought food to the table, we need to address and tote such assumptions carefully considering the real situation our country was in.

We need democracy. So, too, we need development. To address the issue of democracy, I posit that our people should be asked to decide what they’d like first between irresponsible democracy and controlled one that aims at creating space for the government to fulfill its promises. Here, there’s one thing we need to underscore. Magufuli isn’t implementing his personal policies. Instead, he is implementing the policies based on the promises he made during the presidential campaigns so as to secure the mandate he is now using to do whatever he is doing.

Hate the devil but give it its due. Those who doubt Magufuli’s move should go and ask expecting moms, particularly in rural areas. Further, they should ask the paupers who were ripped off by government officials who used to overtax them.

They should ask the paupers who are now using electricity over 50 years since the country acquired its independence. They should ask the people in flung regions such as Lake Region who used to travel to Dar Es Salaam via Kenya and Uganda.

In sum, those who abhor Magufulification should evaluate him internationally. Tanzania is the talk of the world today simply because of Magufulification. Foreigners coined even the term Magufulification. I, firstly, heard of the term in Zimbabwe; thereafter, in Kenya. Indeed, this shows how no prophet accepted in his town.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reunion isn’t enough to fix Kenya’s deep divisions

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition opposition leader, Raila Odinga. PHOTO | FILE 

Nairobi. In his latest state of the nation address Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta called for opening a new chapter of national unity and reconciliation.

This was Kenyatta’s first state of the nation address after last year’s disputed national elections which went into a re-run. Kenyatta reemerged victorious. But it was a pyrrhic victory as his main challenger Raila Odinga had boycotted the rerun.

With both men at the head of their ethnically aligned coalitions, Jubilee and National Super Alliance, the 2017 electoral season was highly charged and polarising. Odinga refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of Kenyatta’s victory and threatened disruption. One of his actions was being sworn in as the people’s president. The mock swearing-in ceremony escalated tensions, culminating in threats of arrests, arraignment and deportation of opposition leaders. The press and civil society were also targeted.

Kenya’s politics has broadly been dominated by two families, the Kenyattas from the Kikuyu and the Odingas from the Luo ethic groups. Uhuru, son of the founding president Jomo Kenyatta, has gone head to head with Raila for the presidential vote twice – in 2013 and 2017. Both elections were marked by ethnic coalition building in which Kenyatta led the most demographically dominant coalition, Jubilee.

On both occasions, the outcome was a kind of ethnic census because Kenyan politics is highly charged along ethnic lines.

Since last year’s tensions, there’s been a visible rapprochement between the two men. Does this signal a broader bottom-up reconciliation process?

Perhaps the reality is that the momentum has started from the top but will take time to get to the bottom. Kenyan politics is notoriously tribal, in part because the system is built for zero sum gains in that it creates winners and losers. As long as this remains the case, Kenya will always remain susceptible to ethnic entrepreneurs as politicians seek to play the ethnic tramp card.

The rapprochement

The first sign of rapprochement between the two men took the country by some surprise. A staged handshake in March 2018 signalled a dramatic change of tone and de-escalation of tensions.

Government immediately mellowed its tone towards the opposition, signalling a willingness to engage in constructive dialogue. Within days, Odinga was serving as official government emissary to South Africa to attend Winnie Mandela’s funeral. And a joint team to oversee dialogue was announced.

But what does all this rapprochement mean? The joint statement following the first meeting sought to strike a new political tone. On the surface, it signalled the willingness of both men to draw a line under the acrimony that had emerged from the electoral crisis. This perhaps points to Kenya’s politics as not only complex but also unpredictable.

The country has been here before – after the 2008 elections of Mwai Kibaki thousands died in inter communal post electoral violence. Undertakings were given and efforts were made to build national unity. Yet a decade later, Kenyans are witness to more of the same, albeit on a lesser scale.

Questions are therefore being asked if there is any depth to the Kenyatta-Raila “handshake” beyond portraying both leaders as magnanimous and willing to compromise for the national interests. Their joint statement sought to heal divisions and open a new chapter of inclusiveness and security for all.

For now it is too early to deduce tangible evidence of political inclusivity though tensions have been greatly dialled down. Kenyatta’s public apology to those he “offended” was meant to portray him as a conciliatory statesman.

On the other hand Odinga had more political capital to gain by seeking compromise as a way out of the impasse. His defiance campaign was always deemed more disruptive and a political nuisance than strategically meaningful as the Supreme Court had validated the elections.

Much more is needed

What Kenya needs is transformative change, including constitutional reforms. This should include strengthening structures in which everyone feels represented. And the country needs to design a formula to provide a competitive but an embracing political framework that can deliver enduring peace and prosperity for all Kenyans.

Many lives were lost in the post electoral violence. The two leaders bear special responsibility and should therefore lead efforts to help heal and bridge communal divisions. The recent warming of relations between the two protagonists point to this effort. But they are not the only players. Others that would be equally important in bringing their communities on board in the broader effort of reconciliation. they include:

William Ruto, current deputy president and an ethnic Kalenjin,

Kalonzo Musyoka, former vice president, wider democratic movement leader, co-principle of NASA and an ethnic kamba, and Musalia Mudavadi a co-principal of NASA, former vice president and deputy prime minister, leader of Amani National congress and an ethnic Luhya would The role of civil society and religious leaders is also indispensable as partners in reconciliation and rebuilding inter-communal and institutional trust.

In the short and medium term, it’s overly optimistic to expect ethnic politics to dissipate in Kenya. This requires institutional change as well as a shift in attitude, values and culture like belief in collective prosperity, non-violent settlement of disputes and inter communal trust. For this Kenyan communities and their political leaders still have a great deal to do. (The Conversation)

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This is why media freedom has come a long way in Africa

 

By Tawana Kupe

Reporters Without Borders’ latest World Press Freedom Index shows two interesting things. Namibia, ranked number 17, has the most improved press freedom environment in the world. And Africa, with the exception of North Africa, came second in rankings on the most improved media environment since 2015.

Namibia’s rise in this ranking is stunning. Among the 180 nations that were ranked, it places the country close to the top-ranked Scandinavian nations, including Finland at number one, Netherlands (two), Norway (three) and Denmark (four). These countries also feature in the top five positions on the United Nations Index on Human Development.

Among African nations, Namibia ranks higher than South Africa (39), the country with the best constitutional protections for media freedom, and arguably the most extensive media infrastructure on the continent.

Indexes of the performance of nations on various indicators are growing in importance. But they should not be taken as the definitive indicator of the state of press freedom in any country or region. The situation in every newsroom – or an individual journalist’s circumstances – can be worse than the ranking of a particular nation.

Interestingly Namibia is the home of the 1991 Windhoek Declaration on a Free, Independent and Pluralistic Press. It was followed ten years later by the African Broadcasting Charter calling for a pluralistic and diverse broadcasting system in the public interest. The Windhoek Declaration is the reason why May 3 was declared World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations. But a historical perspective provides better insight on the state of media freedom and its role in Africa today than rankings or indexes.

At the time of the Windhoek Declaration in 1991 most of Africa, including South Africa, was only starting on a journey towards improved media freedom. This, after decades in which one-party states, military regimes and the then apartheid regime had committed some of the worst violations of media freedom ever to be visited on journalists and the media.

Among some of the worst violations were routine arrests, detentions, imprisonment, killings and the exiling of journalists. Along with these were the bombing of printing presses, closure of critical media houses and state control of the broadcasting system and its regulation. Draconian laws were also passed preventing the normal functions of journalists. Lighter versions of the same violations were also evident in the few African countries considered democracies because of their pluralist politics. Examples include Botswana.

In fact Africa was known in the 1970s and 1980s as the continent that jails its journalists. But it did not have a monopoly. Asia and Latin America shared the same dubious distinction. In most countries privately owned media that were editorially independent from state control were often fewer and smaller than state-run print media and news agencies.

By the time the African Charter on Broadcasting was adopted in 2001, the state of media freedom across the continent appeared to have experienced a sea change. But it is also true that some countries had experienced some deterioration.

For example, Zimbabwe had entered a period of political crisis, leading to a media management regime that included registration of journalists and media houses, arrests of journalists and the continued monopoly of the state broadcaster, as well as closure of a privately owned daily newspaper. In the 1990s, as pluralist politics characterised by multi-party elections took root across the continent, a trend developed to license privately owned FM radio stations and television channels. Privately owned newspapers and magazines emerged. Online media also sprang up as Africa was connected to the internet and there was a hype that the future lay in digital or new media that was not easy for governments to control.

The competition between state and privately controlled media expanded the space for media freedom. In this context media were better able to strive to become independent sources of information and analysis. They could broaden public debate and dialogue, engage in investigative journalism as a watchdog of the public and give a voice to a wider range of people beyond government elites. For the first time it felt as though the vision of the Windhoek Declaration and the African Charter on Broadcasting could be realised. This nascent pluralism and vibrancy in which some media exposed corruption and misgovernance gave hope that the African media would now play a vigorous watchdog role that would usher in an era of accountability necessary for democratic governance.

Push back and hostility

The 15 years since 2001 have been characterised by a growing trend towards respecting the freedom of the media and expanding spaces for freedom of expression. But the trend hides many contradictions, some of which are identified in the World Press Freedom Indexes.

There is definitely some push back by governments. Despite the end of the era of legislated one-party rule, some leaders are reluctant to leave power. In these efforts to retain power against democratic norms, journalists and the media are casualties. Burundi is a recent example that has been cited in the Word Press Freedom Index. There is also a general hostility towards media’s attempts to probe and hold public officials to account. Politicians and public officials are often uneasy with regular engagement and requests for information. A culture of secrecy is still dominant and in some cases media legislation restricting access to information is still retained in the statute books from the colonial or apartheid eras. (The Conversation)

New legislation meant to promote access is often too cumbersome to use by journalists or carries new ways to restrict access.

Even private ownership has not necessarily come with the editorial and programming independence from owners and advertisers. Commercial pressures place constraints on journalists and editors trying to serve the public interest.

Part of the problem is that the new owners are often politicians or politically linked individuals or groups wishing to promote their own interests or curry favour with governments for commercial gain. Cross ownership across many economic sectors by owners can also create taboos on what can be reported.

Economic factors

A factor that limits media freedom often not discussed much in Africa is the effect of weak economies. Weak economies undermine the viability of a media dependent on commercial advertising. They also open up the media to editorial and programming influences that undermine their independence. In such situations large companies that dominate or have a monopoly wield power that has a deleterious effect on media content.

A culture of unethical journalism including “cheque book” journalism – where journalists are bought to, for example, smear opponents or divert the public from serious issues – has also crept in. It reduces the credibility that media ought to enjoy with the public. Independent regulation of journalistic ethics is necessary to arrest this trend.

Arrests, temporary closures of media, even online media, and harassment of journalists are not yet things of the past. In some countries like Eritrea, the country at the bottom of the index at 180, being a journalist is an occupational hazard of the worst kind. Five bloggers and journalists were held in jail for a lengthy period in Ethiopia until July late last year. Licensing regimes are not yet in the hands of independent public-interest bodies as the Charter on Broadcasting recommended.

Media freedom and freedom of expression in Africa is expanding. But we have not yet reached a stage where it is irreversible. Although the role of the media in creating an informed citizenry eager to participate in decision making is increasing, the situation in Africa remains precarious. (The Conversation)

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Why the Victory Day is nostalgic to Russians

 

By Paul Owere @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. There are few days in the Russian calendar that can lay claim over ‘Victory’ as May 9 can. Today is the day when they regained their sovereignty from invading forces of Hitler.

The Soviet Red Army’s counter-offensive against Nazi Germany—which verged on catastrophic in the war’s early days—ended with a triumphant march into Berlin in 1945.

Even in modern Russia the anniversary remains not only a massive public celebration, but an intensely personal one for citizens of Russian Federation and many of the former Soviet republics, whose collective casualties during World War II exceeded 25 million.

In fact, it is believed that Soviet human loss accounted for half of the total loss of the World War II, this is despite the initial distortions that put the figure at Seven million.

President Vladimir Putin encourages greater celebration of the day during his time, and when he addressed crowds in Red Square on previous occasions he made much of the historical triumph.

“The Soviet Union faced the most powerful assaults by the Nazis, but there is no force, and there will be no force, that could conquer our people,” Putin said during the parade in Moscow. May 9 has become the day to commemorate that staggering loss of life and one of Russia’s most popular holidays. But how did the Soviet Union find itself in such a compromising situation?

Having signed a non-aggression pact with Germany in 1939, Hitler’s invasion of June 1941 caught the USSR by surprise.

By the end of the year, the Germans had seized most of the Soviet Union’s western territory and surrounded Leningrad.

Leningrad’s horrific siege was one of the most lethal in world history. It lasted for 900 days, from September 1941 to January 1944. However, against all odds the city’s civilian population of almost three million refused to surrender, even though they were completely surrounded.

By the first winter of the siege there was no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity and very little food. Despite non-stop air and artillery bombardment, the city’s greatest enemies were hunger and the bitter cold. Exhausted people collapsed and died.

The streets were littered with dead bodies. The only life-line to the mainland was the ice of Lake Ladoga – known as the “Road of Life”.

Somehow, the city survived, its heroic resistance summed up in the motto: “Troy fell, Rome fell, Leningrad did not fall”.

The blockade took lives of at least 670,000 people, although some estimates suggest that as many as 1.5 million people died.

The Soviet losses were so great that, at times, the life expectancy of a newly arrived soldier was less than a day. Battles raged for every street, house, basement and staircase.

Areas captured by the Wehrmacht troops by day, were re-taken by the Soviet army at night to the further annoyance of the Germans.

This is why they dubbed this type of war Rattenkrieg – “rat war”, bitterly joking about seizing the kitchen but still fighting for the living-room. The city became the symbol of Soviet resilience and invincibility. The siege was commemorated by the Green Belt of Glory, a unique complex of memorials along the historic frontline.

To date you can still see warnings in St. Petersburg advising which side of the street is safe from the German shelling.

The outbreak of the Second World War found the Soviet Union unprepared for the conflict ahead.

Political purges had stripped the army of many of its experienced leaders while industrial production was slow in adapting to military needs.

But even when faced with war, the Soviet troops held out against the enormous German army, decimating and wearing it out, until a relieving force encircled the city compelling the invaders to surrender.

The crushing defeat at Stalingrad was unmatched in scale, spurring the Soviet drive towards victory… In May 1945 Berlin finally fell.

New weapons

Today’s Victory Day Parade has also been used by Russian authorities to showcase new weapons at the Red Square, a moment of tremendous patriotism for Russians. Brad Lendon, a journalist with CCN writes that rehearsals for the event, which commemorates the 73rd anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender in World War II, began earlier this month, giving the world a glimpse of what’s coming.

Some of the weaponry the world is likely to see include the Sukhoi Su-57. This is Russia’s first homemade fifth-generation stealth fighter. Though the twin-engine jet first flew in 2010, it has yet to formally enter the Russian Air Force fleet.

The CNN quotes Russia’s defense minister as saying that two Su-57s were deployed to Syria in February for what he termed a “combat trial,” according to the state-run TASS news agency.

When it does officially become operational, the Su-57 will join the US-designed F-22s and F-35s and China’s J-20 as the world’s only in-service fifth-generation fighter jets. Russia’s new hypersonic missile, dubbed the Kinzhal, was carried by two MiG-31K jets during a rehearsal last week.

In unveiling the weapon on March 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to the CNN, that it is capable of traveling 10 times the speed of sound and maneuvering around anti-ballistic missile defenses, according to TASS. “It is a cutting-edge weapon, namely a hypersonic long-range missile capable of overcoming air and missile defenses. It is invincible, having serious combat might and potential,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in a TASS report recently. The YARS ballistic missile, also know as the SS-27, is a mobile-capable missile that can carry 10 nuclear warheads over a range of up to 12,000 kilometers, according to the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA).

Russia has 73 of the missiles in its inventory, with 63 of those being on mobile platforms and 10 being based in silos, the MDAA says.

“The missile has the capability to maneuver during flight and deploy both active and passive decoys which gives Yars the advantage against modern missile defense systems,” the MDAA says, according to the CNN. Russia first showed off its Armata T-14 main battle tanks in the 2015 Victory Day parade. Initial testing of the tanks is expected to conclude this year, followed by operational tests, according to a TASS report in February. Russia expects to have 100 Armata tanks delivered to its forces by 2020, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said in a 2017 TASS report.

The Armata “is a cutting-edge vehicle with an unmanned turret armed with a brand new 125 mm smoothbore cannon, which is the most powerful gun of its kind to date in terms of muzzle energy,” Russian media reported in 2015.The S-400 system has been compared to the US’ Patriot missile defense system and it can engage targets including manned and unmanned aircraft, cruise missile and ballistic missile, according to the Missile Defense Project (MDP) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

With a range of 400 kilometers, the mobile S-400 launchers have been deployed to protect Russian military units in Syria and the Crimea, the MDP reports. The S-400 is a big export priority for Russia, with sales to China and India, according to the MDP.

Russian media has also reported deals with to traditional US arms customers Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the past year. The Buk-M2 is a self-propelled, medium range missile system designed for air defense.

Russian media reports the system can track up to 24 airborne targets at one time and fire on four of those at ranges up to 25 kilometers in height and 45 kilometers in ground distance.

The Buk-M2 can also be used against targets on the ground and at sea.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Korea’s daring democratic journey

 

By Damas Kanyabwoya @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. The year 1988 and 2008 have a significant parallel in South Korea.

The Korean democratic journey started in earnest in 1988, one year after a new constitution was adopted. The Mother Law re-introduced presidential elections through a universal, equal, direct, and secret ballot. The president, to be elected, would only enjoy one five year single term. Re-election of the president was impossible, according to the 1987 constitution. The people had vehemently supported the single term presidential term because previous multiple terms had been abused by presidents who ended up changing the constitution and staying longer.

The constitution, which was inaugurated in October 1987 and eventual presidential election in December 16 1987, which in earnest kicked off the democratic processes in the south east Asian country in 1988, did not come cheap. They were a result of uprisings by the people, demanding democracy in the country. The most famous ones were the nationwide June 1987 uprisings that put an end to the tyrannical rule of the then ruler Chun Du-hwan’s regime.

“The beginning and the consolidation of democracy in South Korea must be credited with the June 1987 uprisings that culminated into actual democratic developments in 1988,” said Prof Shin Hyung-sik, of the Korea Democracy Foundation in a recent interview in Seoul.

But 1988, according to Prof Shin, also saw other significant developments; South Korea, the USSR and China started diplomatic overtures after decades of the cold war.

But it was in 1988 that Seoul hosted the Olympics Games. Some scholars have argued that the games could have been one of the factors that pressurized authorities to accord to protesters and opposition’s demands because had the demonstrations continued or led to a civil war, it could have severely dented Korean image abroad.

Prof Shin, however, argues that the 1987 protests and the resultant democratic victories were a culmination of democratic struggles that had started for decades in Korea.

“The democratic movements of the late 1980s in Korea were also in tandem to the wind of change sweeping across the world, and which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 of the USSR and Germany re-unification of 1989,” Prof Shin noted.

The parallel

Fast forward 30 years later and amazing, coincidental events have played itself in South Korea that have had an impact in Korean democracy. If in 1988 Korean democracy was born, then in 2018 the same Korean democracy was rejuvenated. A number of scholars have questioned in so many academic papers and books whether South Korea’s democracy was deep enough since it started in earnest in 1988.

But according to Prof Shin, those who questioned whether Korean democracy was deep enough have had their answer in 2018.

In April 2018 former President Park Geun-hyew as sentenced to 24 years in prison for corruption and abuse of office.

The constitutional court also fined Park 18 billion won ($16.9 million) after finding her guilty of charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion.

“The defendant abused her presidential power entrusted by the people, and as a result, brought massive chaos to the order of state affairs and led to the impeachment of the president, which was unprecedented,” Judge Kim Se-yoon said as he handed down the sentence.

The significance of the fact that Park, the daughter of a former military dictator, became South Korea’s first democratically elected leader to be forced from office was not lost on both Koreans and observers. And, like the 1988 democratic gains, it had not come cheap. It was proceeded by a wave of protests in 2017, including “candle light vigils” pressurizing the ousting and prosecution of Park for corruption and abuse of office.

In a true democratic tradition the day of sentencing of Park up to 1,000 of her supporters gathered outside the court, holding national flags and signs calling for an end to “political revenge” against her.

“The candle light vigils of last year which led to change of regime this year bear similar resemblances with the June 1987 uprisings that led to adoption of democracy in Korea in 1988,” Prof Shin says. Even as the dawn of democracy in 1988 in Korea was accompanied with the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korean capital, the “deepening” of democracy that was headlined by the ouster of a sitting president in 2018 was accompanied by the Winter Olympics PyeongChang, North East of Korea.

“What is also surprising is that both the Seoul Summer Olympics and PyeongChang Winter Olympics were considered as the largest games than the games that preceded them,” Prof Shin noted.

Way forward

Prof Shin says, however that a long way is still ahead to guard Korean democratic gains. “The focus of our Foundation is to always find ways of safeguarding Korean democratic gains,” Prof Shin added.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

If capitalism is bad which system should replace it?

 

By oseph Blasi and Douglas L. Kruse

Today’s youth are increasingly unhappy with the way their elders are running the world.

Their ire was most recently expressed when thousands of teenagers and others across the country marched on March 24 demanding more gun control, a little over a month after more than a dozen of their peers were shot and killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

But there’s growing evidence that today’s young adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29 or so, are strongly dissatisfied with other fundamental aspects of our political and economic system. Specifically, growing numbers are rejecting capitalism.

This led us – a sociologist and an economist – to wonder how young people would redesign the economic system if they could. The answer, based on recent surveys, should make any status-quo politician seriously rethink their economic policies.

Rejecting capitalism

We first wanted to better understand how young people feel about the current economic system.

So we started by examining a troubling 2016 Harvard University survey that found that 51 percent of American youth aged 18 to 29 no longer support capitalism. Only 42 percent said they back it, while just 19 percent were willing to call themselves “capitalists.”

While it may be true that young people of any generation tend to have less support for incumbent economic and political systems and tend to change their views as they age, past polls on the topic suggest this is a new phenomenon felt especially by today’s youth. A 2010 Gallop poll showed that only 38 percent of young people had a negative view of capitalism – and that was right after the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression, which hit young people especially hard

What can we make of this? Do they prefer socialism, in which the government more actively regulates and intervenes in the economy and restricts individual choice?

It’s unclear. The Harvard poll showed just 33 per cent said they favor socialism. A separate poll, however, conducted in 2015 by conservative-leaning Reason-Rupe, found that young adults aged 18 to 24 have a slightly more favorable view of socialism than capitalism.

Their views contrast markedly with their older peers, who consistently tell pollsters they prefer capitalism by wide margins – more so as their age climbs. Still, the share of the overall population that questions capitalism’s core precepts is around the highest in at least 80 years of polling on the topic.

To be sure, the questions pollsters ask Americans vary significantly from poll to poll, and sample sizes aren’t always large enough to draw firm conclusions. All the same, the data suggest that today’s young people are part of a vanguard of Americans losing faith in capitalism and ready to embrace something new.But what do they want?

So if young people are increasingly rejecting capitalism but they’re ambivalent about socialism, what do they want? To answer this, we need to explore what about capitalism they find so unsatisfying.

A follow-up focus group to the Harvard study concluded that many of these young people feel that “capitalism was unfair and left people out despite their hard work.” A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center found that 71 percent of those 18-34 years of age perceive strong conflicts between the rich and the poor in American society.

A majority of young people said they believe that those with means got there because “they know the right people or were born into wealthy families.”

These views on the inequality inherent in the American economic system command majorities of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, conservatives, moderates and liberals. To us, this suggests the critical reason young people have lost faith in capitalism is that it has lost its ability to be fair. But they don’t seem to think an alternate system such as socialism can fix the problem. (The Conversation)

Rather, we can begin to piece together what might work, in their view, by examining a 2015 survey by Public Policy Polling, which asked participants their views on employee-owned companies and government intervention to encourage them.

The poll found that 75 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds support this, far more than every other age category, while 83 percent said employee-owned companies are as American as apple pie, hot dogs and baseball.

So these polls in a way suggest young people don’t want less capitalism, they want more of it. They just want to make sure it’s shared more broadly, such as by making it easier for more of us to become capitalists and share in the wealth we collectively create.

As two professors meeting this generation daily in our classrooms, we have been surprised by the strong support for these concepts in our college courses on economics and corporate governance.

Other surveys suggest that the desire for a more inclusive form of capitalism is becoming more widely held. A 2016 Gallup State of the American Workplace survey found that 40 percent of all American workers would leave their company to work for one that had profit-sharing.

And it’s becoming increasingly easy to do that as more companies in the US embrace employee ownership in one form or another, some drawn by its ability to reduce turnover and improve economic performance. And just last year, a company started up in Silicon Valley offering certification of employee-owned businesses “to build an employee-owned economy.”

Gunning for the economy

What Americans witnessed on March 24 was an energetic, dynamic and powerful new political force in America.

Right now it’s focused on guns. But this force may well turn its attention to the structure of corporations and an economic system that has led to ever-widening levels of inequality.

Just as lawmakers may want to rethink their views on gun rights, they may also want to begin re-examining their understanding of what capitalism is supposed to look like. (The Conversation)

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Should we celebrate Karl Marx on his 200th birthday?

 

By Barbara Foley

Some would argue that Karl Marx, author of “Capital,” has been proven wrong on just about everything he wrote. The founder of scientific socialism was born 200 years ago on May 5.

These naysayers would point out that Soviet socialism imploded decades ago, and that China is heading merrily down the capitalist path. Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels wrote in “The Communist Manifesto” that the capitalist ruling class “produced its own grave-diggers” in the proletariat – that is, the working class. However, we have yet to see workers pick up the shovel and bury capitalism once and for all.

Activists seeking to combat injustice and inequality, it can be argued, have turned not to class struggle but to social movements focused on gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity and the environment.

“Intersectionality” – the notion that people are defined by multiple identities, where class is just one among many – would seem to have a lot more appeal today than the effort to end “exploitation.”

However, as a scholar of Marxist theory and practice, I find that such announcements of the death of Marxism are premature.

Marx’s message is still relevant

In the wake of World War II, various economists heralded the narrowing of the gap between the richest and the poorest as evidence of the disappearance of class antagonisms.

But the long curve of capitalist development suggests that has widened, as illustrated in economist Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

The candle of the 2012 Occupy movement may have guttered, but its mantra of the 99 percent opposing the 1 percent is now a truiusm. Everyone knows that the super-rich are richer than ever, while for most of the working-class majority – many of them caught in the uncertainty of the “gig economy” – belt-tightening has become the new normal.

Those laboring in the formal and informal economies of much of Asia, Africa and Latin America, needless to say, face conditions that are far more dire. Marx was correct, it would seem, when he wrote that capitalism keeps the working class poor.

He was also spot-on about capital’s inherent instability. There is some validity to the joke that “Marxists have predicted correctly 12 of the last three financial crises.” Marx’s reputation has made a startling comeback, however, at times in unexpected circles.

In discussing the 2008 financial meltdown, one Wall Street Journal commentator wrote: “Karl Marx got it right, at some point capitalism can destroy itself. We thought markets worked. They’re not working.”

In 2017, the National Review reported that a poll found as many as 40 percent of people in the U.S. “now prefer socialism to capitalism.”

Notably, too, the C-word – Communism – has been making a reappearance, as is indicated by recent series of titles: The Idea of Communism,“ ”The Communist Hypothesis,“ ”The Actuality of Communism,“ and ”The Communist Horizon.“ Until recently, the word was largely avoided by neo- and post-Marxist academics.

Class analysis remains alive and well. This is because capitalism is no longer as seemingly natural as the air we breathe. It is a system that came into being and can also go out of being.

Is a better world possible?

To say that there are threads connecting the present to a possible future of universal human emancipation is not to state that capitalism will collapse by itself. People have to make this happen.

Those who would like to see the world move through and past its present state face huge challenges, both theoretical and practical. Not least among these challenges is the need to parse out what succeeded and what failed in the past century’s attempts to create egalitarian societies.

But Marxism is not equivalent to everything that has been performed in its name. Marx’s work remains, to my mind, the most compelling framework for analyzing how the conflicting tendencies in present-day society contain the seeds of a more humane future. (The Conversation)

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The failed vision of a united Africa- part xviii

 

By Dr Peter Kafumu

With independence at hand Kenya began a new dawn as a free nation under the leadership of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. However, in November 1964 after negotiations with the government, KADU political party led by the Luo and other minority tribes agreed to merge with KANU a political party dominated by Kikuyu and KADU was, then, dissolved with its members joining KANU. In December 1964, Kenya was proclaimed a republic and Kenyatta became its executive President with both powers as a head of state and the head of government.

Kenyatta also sought to attain the support of Kenya’s second largest tribal group, the Luo, he thus appointed the Luo activist Jaramogi Oginga Odinga a leader of a rival leftist Kenya People’s Union (KPU) as his Vice President. Over the years Kenyatta suppressed the Kenya People’s Union political party from competing in elections and Kenya became a highly centralized and a de facto one-party state with Odinga leaving the Government.

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta became a leader who promoted reconciliation between the majority indigenous tribal groups and the minority European colonial settlers. He also pursued capitalist economic policies and the “Africanization” of the economy, with non-citizens prohibited from controlling key industries. The Africanization economic policy was a form of “black capitalism” that wanted to raise many black millionaires and billionaires in Kenya.

As Prime Minister of Kenya, Mr Kenyatta met with President Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanganyika and President Milton Obote of Uganda in Nairobi in June 1963 to discuss the possibility of merging their three nations (plus Zanzibar) into a single East African Federation. The three leaders agreed to accomplish the making of the federation by the beginning of the year 1964. Later Kenyatta backtracked on this commitment leaving Nyerere and Obote astounded.

Although Kenyatta still had a deep belief in the African identity and dignity he did not any more believe in an immediate pan-African federation of the entire Africa but a gradual step by step process of forming regional economic groupings.

He now favoured a slow process towards unification of the continent. Like Leopold Senghor of Senegal Kenyatta now believed that the African Federation must come gradually through economic cooperation across Africa. In this regard he later pushed for the formation of economic Eastern African Community (EAC) which was formed in 1967.

The Kenyan Government increasingly became anti-communist and was often criticized by communists and other leftists of being fascist. By 1967, Kenyatta broke diplomatic relations with China and he recalled his ambassador from Peking. There were also tense relations with the Soviet Union.

Although there were also occasional diplomatic quarrels between Kenya and the two neighbours Tanzania and Uganda who had close relationship with the East; this did not mar the pan-African vision of uniting Africa and thus the economic grouping the East African Community was formed in 1967.

The EAC was considered by the three leaders as a springboard to catapult these three East African nations into a political Federation. Regarding the African past, identity and virtue, Kenyatta’s desire to protect and cherish the African traditional and customary treasures did not wane.

It is also reported that in the late 1969 when Jomo Kenyatta toured the Western Province, on official duty he learnt that a prominent water fall, a touristic attraction in the area, even after Kenya became independent still had foreign name of “Broderick Falls” and he was very angry and told the people: “…I want to tell the people of Western Province that I felt ashamed trying to pronounce ….Bro…bro…bro…derrick falls. These are names reflecting servitude… Why can’t you look for better local names with local content, names we know of their origin…”

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

When “men of God” become men of doggy!



NKWAZI MHANGO

NKWAZI MHANGO 

By Nkwazi Mhango

When it comes to dealing with psychos, quacks and certified idiots who con unsuspecting dupes, India plays no joke. India recently evidenced the jailing of one Asaram Bapu, 77, “a man of God,” whose sentencing was read out inside a prison in Jodhpur, Rajasthan state. Bapu was found guilty of raping one of his followers. Further, according to the Guardian (August 28, 2018) in August, another popular Indian guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh “Bling”, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for raping two female followers.

Sexual violence in the name of God is not new to India. According to the Telegram (December 4, 2015), another ‘man of God”, Aravindan Balakrishnan, a 75-year-old Maoist, carried out a brutal campaign of violence against the women over several decades, brainwashing them into believing that he was God.

Many cons in the name of God have dubiously and easily made a killing so as to become stinking rich thanks to robbing many desperate and ignorant people, mainly women. For example, Bapu is not a pauper one would expect the man of God to be. From religious chicanery, Bapu runs more than 230 ashrams with residential schools with millions of followers in India, Canada, Kenya, the US, the UK and Uganda. Having such a wide network of businesses, I am not sure if his co-cons are not replicating Bapu’s behaviour which seems to be the order of day when it comes to self-appointed “men and women of God.” In Australia cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis’ chief financial adviser stand charged with sexual offences spanning over 40 years down the line.

In South Africa one, Bernard Pumalaka, another “man of God” confesses to have molested over 200 followers who went to him seeking his miracles. Despite such an admission, no charges were preferred against Pumalaka. This felon is lucky.

When it comes to dealing with self-appointed ramp-fed ronyons calling themselves “men or women of God, “India does not tinker around the edge. However, in Africa, particularly Tanzania, such con artists think everybody is a few short bulbs of chandelier. And, indeed, sometimes, we are. How can we fall short of being while we evidence them devour our people in the name of God? Aren’t we collectively accomplices to this crime resulting from collective imbecilisation? Who take them on? When some are squeezed tongues of human rights campaigners wag by politicising everything.

How many fake gurus do we have in Tanzania that use religious cloak or offering traditional medicines to conceal their criminality? How many girls and women have already fallen prey to this criminality in the name of miracles and solving their problems? Under religion and traditional healing, many Binadams have fallen prey to such greedy and heartless sinners who call themselves people of God while in actuality are but devils incarnate if not the people of doggy.

How many victims are suffering in silence either because of fear or just ignorance? How many should suffer for the authorities to wake up from the slumber? Why do authorities allow known con men and con women to keep on marauding on our innocent people under whatever pretext and ruse? Provided that these criminals do not only commit sexual related offence but also financial related ones, the governments needs to probe them and know how they made such quick wealth. How many vampires and vamps do you know that are now “men and women of God” that live in your country, street and neighbourhood? Didn’t Jesus presage you? He said that “by their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). Where do they get authorities to amass wealth? Jesus said that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10: 25). Again, as Jeremiah (5 :21) puts it “hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see who have ears but do not hear.” Sometimes, I wonder how people read the books of their faiths such as the Bible. What do you take away from this assertion by Jesus? He admonishes everybody to “watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7: 15).

Now that we all know that many false prophets who come in the name of God are nothing but ungodly and devilish carpetbaggers, why don’t we agitate that they be probed? For how long will our governments keep mum as if the welfare of its people is not its sacrosanct responsibility? Time for probing and stopping all self-seekers and money makers in the name of God and traditional hearing is now. So, too, our people must abandon their naivety of believing nonsense such as miracles performed by human beings. The last nugget, there is a treading photo of a hyena in sheep’s clothing praying for the underwear so that its wearer can get a baby! Go to the doctor. You’ll know your problems so as to approach them in a scientific ways instead of daydreaming and being abused and duped.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

TZ needs to be wary of Mau forest demage

 

By Peter Muthamia

Grim revelation that thousands upon thousands of hectares of Mau Forest have wantonly been destroyed should give every East African some sleepless nights – and for a good reason. The import of this destruction is strangulation of shared ecosystem between the three East African countries.

Sitting within the Rift Valley, Mau Forest system is perhaps the largest water catchment in the region, and according to African Wildlife Foundation (WWF), it is the source of many rivers draining to the Lake Victoria providing up to 60 percent of water. These rivers exist supportive of the much of western Kenya and northern Tanzania wildlife.

Now, it has been revealed in the Forest Resources Management and Logging Activities in Kenya report presented to the Kenya’s deputy president William Ruto that there has been wanton deforestation of the Mau water tower over the years despite more than 25 years of activism to the effect.

The report has been compiled by a 15-member taskforce and paints a very grim picture of the situation. This Taskforce was appointed through Gazette Notice No. 28 dated February 26, 2018 to look into the Forest Resources Management and Logging Activities in Kenya. It was launched on March 5, 2018 by the deputy president.

The importance of the environment and its role in the economy, ecosystem, climate change resilience and social significance cannot be overrated. The report points that 7.4 per cent forest cover is a far cry from the minimum 10 percent minimum.

It also notes that Kenya is losing over 5,000 hectares of forest cover annually, translating to a loss of 62 million cubic liters and $19 million.

The Kenya Forest Service (that is a government parastatal is unable to tame the runaway deforestation and some top officials have been implicated in this wantonness.

For many years, Mau complex has been the bone of contention pitting the communities living the forest and Kenyan government.

The Mau forest issue and resettlement issues have been so politicized that come general elections, they are revisited. Matters relating to land are every emotive in Kenya especially eviction of some communities.

A huge section of the forest was hewn ostensibly to settle the Ogiek community but instead, landed in the hands of the corrupt individuals and companies.

The report also notes that charcoal burning, illegal logging, overgrazing and encroachment of forest for agricultural purposes are the reasons behind the encroachment.

Currently, the indigenous forests are over-exploited by selective logging of important timber trees, which has greatly reduced the canopy cover, modified the forest composition, and undermined the regenerative capacity of the forests.

Where Tanzania comes in

To fully understand the gravity of the matter, it worth considering further the report which says that forest excisions in 2001 alone amounted to 61,587 hectares, affecting in particular Eastern Mau Forest Reserve (35,301 hectares), South Western Mau Forest Reserve (23,296 hectares), Molo Forest Reserve (901 hectares);

ii) At least 2,436 hectares was illegally allocated to public utilities, such as schools and police stations, as well as for private development like churches.

Today, as tens of thousands of hectares of the original forest have been destroyed, it is the internationally-important Ewaso Nyiro River has significantly dwindled in volume and might eventually dry out if the trend continues. This trend should cause concern in the Tanzanian government as the river partly drains into Lake Natron.

Rivers, streams are drying up such as the Sondu River, for example, has become more irregular making the Sondu-Miriu hydro power plant running at lower capacity in the dry season.

Mara River that snakes its way into Northern Tanzania and finally into Lake Victoria is very low in the dry season threatening the river dependent wildlife as well as the associated tourism in the Maasai Mara and Serengeti ecosystems. In other cases, streams have dried up during most parts of the year such as in the Njoro area, where 13 of the 32 streams have dried up.

Thousands of tourists from around the world visit the famous Masai Mara National Reserve to watch the wildebeest ‘migration’ as millions of wildebeest make their annual charge northwards in search of grazing pastures.

We should be aware that the destruction of the Mau Forest might mean the end of this natural spectacle as the Mara River that runs from the Mau Forest feeds the Masai Mara and Tanzania’s renowned Serengeti National Park while affecting livelihoods supported by Lake Victoria in the three countries that share the lake.

There is therefore the need to have a consensus on how the Mau and other water towers are manned in the spirit of East African community.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Reasons why death penalty should be put to an end

 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Abidjan. Rights groups advocating abolition of death penalty have outlined ten reasons describing why the sentence should be abolished.

The reasons were documented by the Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) which is a non-profit making non-governmental organization based in France in a document released during the third African Conference on death penalty held in Ivory Coast between April 8 and April 9, this year.

Titled: why does death penalty is not protecting you, ECPM says capital punishment violates the right to life, it was cruel, the sentence was inhuman and degrading, the punishment killed innocent people, it is discriminatory and it was used as a political repression tool.

According to ECPM, capital punishment wasn’t a warning, rather it increases the insecurity of the society, applied not only to people who have committed crimes other than violent crime and that it targeted the poor, the illiterate and people who are unable to defend themselves.

Furthermore, the NGO established that the punishment created new victims and that it denied an individual with rehabilitation ability.

According to the document, stakeholders said death penalty violated rights to life stipulated by Article three of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that, everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person and that life wasn’t something people could earn.

Furthermore, ECPM argues in the document that punishment ruling out the people’s hope was in reality torture and that those sentenced to death lived in constant fear of being killed.

The document says in a number of countries such people were isolated throughout their life and they were living in conditions of extreme deprivation and torture.

“For instance, in 2016, the execution date for, Mr Tommy Arthur, who was sentenced to death in Alabama was postponed at the last minute for the seventh time in 15 years,” reads the document in part, adding

“Therefore, Mr Arthur spent his last night on earth for seven times. He said goodbye to his family seven times and experienced terror of his imminent execution for seven times, justifying that capital punishment was an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading.”

According to the ECPM, death penalty applied differently among suspects depending on the level of corruption among law enforcement organs and the country’s judicial systems and the whims of investigations.

The document cited 156 people sentenced to death in the United States since 1976, noting that the judgement on 56 per cent people based on false statement of the witnesses, while 36 per cent others based on false eye witnesses and that the behavior of investigation was to blame at 46 per cent.

The ECPM document questioned that the number of people who were not exonerated in time, in the United States and the rest of the world remained a question to be answered by the society during its abolition movement.

The document suggested that death penalty was used against people belonging to stigmatized minority in particular immigrants, homosexuals, ethnicity, religious groups and people with mental illness, strongly proving that the judgement was always discriminatory.

The ECPM document said capital punishment was used by most countries as a political and religious repression tool that could fell on political rivals and people going against imposed restrictions such as demonstration and criticisms on the government policies.

“Mr Ahmed Haou, who spent 15 years on death row in Morocco, was sentenced for protesting against King Hassan II regime by writing a slogan in a wall. Since independence, 54 people have been executed in Morocco over political reasons,” reads the document.

Furthermore, the document says when a State rules out that life isn’t sacred, the message is spread among inhabitants and that violence leads to violence.

The ECPM says at the end countries using death penalty have been ranked higher in crime rates as compared their abolitionist counterparts, citing Texas in the US as a living example.

The Global Peace Index (GPI), according to the document shows that only two retention countries (Japan and Singapore) appeared in the list of the world’s safest countries, indicating that punishment wasn’t guaranteeing safety.

It was noted that death penalty wasn’t issued for violent crime because things considered crime in some countries were even not offenses in other countries.

The advocacy NGO referred to the 2006 death sentence issued to Iranian citizen, Sakineh Mohammedi Ashtiani over adultery, before the extensive international mobilization prompted for her release in 2014.

The document further says instead of relieving the suffering of the first crime victim, capital punishments extended the sufferings and trauma to families of the prisoners sentenced to death.

“I had to explain to my grandchildren that their mother had been sentenced to death. The oldest is 14. He is finding school difficult because his classmates have been mocking him. His work is going downhill, he is destroyed, he is suffering,” Ms Celia Veloso, mother of Marie-Jane Veloso sentenced to death in Indonesia had told the NGO.

Give a dog a bad name and hang it ECPM believes that death penalty wasn’t issued to protect the society from repeat offender monsters who raped the children.

Rather death row was mainly faced people whose lives were worthless in the eyes of the judges because of their poverty because of discrimination and political reasons.

In reality, capital punishment is a tool of coercion used by people in power who mistrust those for whom they are responsible.

Therefore, opposing death penalty means saying no to State murder, no to torture. It means retaining humanity and dignity in the face of barbarity.

Finally, it means preserving the foundation of our liberty and democracy: refusing to give States the right to kill those they were looking after.

Global trend

At least 20,000 people were languishing on death row and more than 1,600 were executed in 2015.

These figures excluded death sentences in North Korea and China where sufficient information was unavailable. However, it is estimated that 5,000 people were executed annually in the People’s Republic of China alone.

The situation in Tanzania

The Tanzania Human Rights Report of 2017 released by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) on April 25, this year dubbed; Unknown assailants, a threat to human rights, called for President John Magufuli’s abolishment of the capital sentence in the country.

LHRC says execution of death penalty was a cruel and inhuman practice that constitutes torture and violations of fundamental rights to life. “LHRC commends President Magufuli for not executing the penalty to death row inmates and to the recent granting of presidential amnesty to 61 of them,” reads parts of the report.

A media survey establishes however that the sentence was still issued in the country’s judicial system, noting that at least 15 people were handed capital punishment between May and September, 2017.

Furthermore, LHRC says by June 2017, Tanzania had 465 death row inmates; 445 male and 20 female.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Of terrorism, wars and death penalty in Africa

A demonstration against the death penalty as

A demonstration against the death penalty as part of the Los Angels Religious Education Congress in Anaheim,Carlifornia earlier last year 2017.PHOTO|FILE 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Abidjan. Terrorism and civil wars have been cited among reasons for the failure to abolish the Death Penalty (DP) in African countries, despite the fact that most of these countries have promised in their constitutions to safeguard human rights.

Speaking at the third African Congress on abolition of DP last week here said arbitrary and frequent attacks by terrorists and insurgents groups remain a major stumbling block for the abolition of the capital punishment in the region.

The congress that kicked off on Monday, April 9, 2018, brought together at least 300 participants from Africa and beyond including ministers, parliamentarians, global leaders, members of the civil society organization and other DP abolition stakeholders. A Member of the Parliament (MP) from Cameroon, Ms Birtille Dissake said terrorists, mainly the Boko Haram group is largely the main reason why capital punishment might never be abolished in Cameroon. She added that most African countries’ constitutions have been designed to recognise and respect human rights, but enacted laws contravene with principles of human rights, according Ms Dissake who doubles as the vice chairperson of the country’s human rights commission. “Terrorists kidnap young girls in the Northern part of the country and really pose a great challenge to the country’s abolition initiatives of the capital punishment. The criminal code was revised recently but death penalty was maintained as part of efforts to discourage terrorism attacks,” she said. The death penalty was introduced in Cameroon in the Penal Code of 1967 but no death penalties have been commuted since the early 1980’s. According to her, most countries legislators who advocate sensitive issues like the abolition of the death penalty have been intimidated by the ruling elites.

She concurred with her Nigerien counterpart, Ms Rabi Dan Fazi who suggested that it was difficult for the capital penalty to be lifted in countries facing arbitrary and frequent terrorism attacks including Niger, though she agreed that the DP negatively impacted the society and families of the victim.

“These impacts facing the society and the family of the victim need to be evaluated. In some instances children of the victim of the capital punishment drop out of school and become terrorists and rebels by themselves,” she said.

But, a Liberian legislator, Mr Dixon Seboe said the country had retained the capital punishment in its constitution in order to safeguard the country against treason, noting that over the past 40 years nobody has been executed.

“Liberia plunged into civil war for 14 consecutive years and some of the countries have passed into a similar experience. When discussing the abolition of the capital punishment it is better to establish what should be done to people who committed crime against humanity during the civil war,” he said.On the other hand the minister of Justice in charge of Human Rights in Chad, Mr Djimet Arabi, asked African countries to respect and uphold principles of human rights in all prosecutions including those linked to terrorism.

“People’s rights for life is irreversible. Chad is reassuring its commitment to uphold human rights in its abolition process against the capital punishment regardless of the crimes committed including terrorism,” he said. He was supported by his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart, Ms Marie Ange Mushobekwa, who said the country has been experiencing rebel attacks that have seen other crimes including assassination, kidnapping, rape and sodomy being extended against civilians. “Before replacing the death penalty with the life imprisonment, those perpetrating these incidents should be discouraged and President Joseph Kabila have been very supportive in the process,” she said.

Sharing experience on the way the Republic of Guinea lifted the capital punishment when giving his remarks during the panel discussion, Mr Cheick Sako, the country’s minister of State and Justice said his country experienced the post-independence violence for many years.

Mr Sako said having lived outside the country for many years, he advised the president to lift the death penalty upon his return something that was accepted.

“We started by removing the DP from the regulation before striking off from the laws. Currently, the country’s maximum penalty is life imprisonment and this applies to both the common laws and the military,” he said.

A delegate from Morocco who is the spokesperson of the network of parliamentarians Against the Death Penalty (RPCPM), Ms Nouzha Skali said it wasn’t an easy job for the country to scrap the DP in its constitution. She said the country’s majority including the elite supported the law noting that the major concern was that the rights to life had no compromise and that the death penalty contravened with religious beliefs. “Therefore we started lobbying lawmakers from the ruling party and the opposition. We never got discouraged by starting with 40 legislators who inked our papers in our support,” she said. “We had to be patient in engaging some MPs because these issues are difficult if not carefully taken, but at last we garnered over 350 signatures enough for what was planned.

But, Zimbabwe MP, President of the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) Zimbabwe Group, Ms Jessie Majome outlined five other barriers to the abolition of the DP as prejudice on convicted people and among the society.

Ms Majome who is also the Member of the PGA International Council named other challenges as time for legislators to act, national priority and the political interests of leaders in power. “Such obstacles will be avoided through strengthening of the African Parliaments and parliamentarians in order for them to correctly fulfil their obligations. Other institutions including the judiciary should also be reinforced,” She said.

According to the lawmaker, the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe have invested their trust to President Emmerson Mnangagwa who assumed into power in recent months following the ousting of veteran politician Robert Mugabe.

“Citizens believe President Mnangagwa will lift the death penalty because he faced similar charges in the past,” she said.

Concluding their plenary debate under the theme: The DP, a political tool? Stakeholders suggested increased advocacy in abolishing the DP noting that statistics on people convicted should be made available.

They suggested that government monitoring should be heightened, collaboration with parliaments should be increased and that abolition should be done adequately.

Principally countries may be categorised into the four categories regarding abolishing the DP; those which have retained the DP, abolitionist in practice, abolitionist except in extreme cases and real abolitionists.

Tanzania is de facto abolitionist, having carried out its last execution in 1994. However, at least 19 individuals were still sentenced to death in 2016 in the country, while nearly 500 people remained on death row.

While Tanzania has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 1976, it has yet to ratify its Second Optional Protocol aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (ICCPR-OP2).

On May 2015, Dar es Salaam hosted the PGA roundtable meeting on the abolition of the death penalty for Tanzania and Uganda, during which the MPs from all political parties and relevant actors were sensitized on the abolition of the capital punishment.

Several MPs committed to table private motions and bills on the abolition. The meetings involved other stakeholders including the Judiciary, the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and members of the diplomatic community.

President John Magufuli seems to dislike the DP having said, publicly, that he wishes he never signs a death warrant for any death row inmate. During the independence anniversary celebration in Dodoma on December 09, 1926, he pardoned several people who were on death row but who were aged beyond 80 years. It remains to be seen whether his dislike of the DP would lead to any meaningful action against the death penalty.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Why Mandela and Winnie were an odd couple

 

Washington. The death of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at 81 brings a timely if grim reminder of the human costs of white- nationalist rule and intolerance inflicted on South Africa in the 20th century - a reminder that may be particularly useful for Americans right now.

When I first arrived in South Africa in the spring of 1970, I concluded that the apartheid regime had a lot to learn from the civil rights revolution that was bringing change to the American South, where I grew up. Today, it is the United States that has lessons to learn from “the rainbow nation” and, one hopes, from its new president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa, a trade union organizer turned successful businessman, was Nelson Mandela’s first choice to succeed him and to continue his inspiring policies of racial reconciliation and business-friendly practices. Instead, the radical political forces that Winnie, Nelson’s ex-wife, did so much to foster helped bring about a decade of blatant corruption, misrule and growing racial tension that Ramaphosa must now repair.

This is not to diminish the important contributions that Winnie made to the anti-apartheid struggle. She was for the 27 long years of his imprisonment Nelson’s voice and symbol to an oppressed public. While he suffered a barren but predictable life behind bars, she was exposed to sudden, absurd arrests, torture, banishment to remote villages and other scarring humiliations. It is perhaps no surprise that she emerged more embittered than he did.

She became over time dedicated to power and radical force, while he worked for justice and reconciliation. If she was fire, he was water. Their talents mixed to serve the cause of liberation from white- nationalist rule, as uprisings in South Africa’s townships, and foreign pressure, drove the economy into a dead end and the politicians to negotiation.

These differences were not tactical. Winnie was already a determined social activist when they met in 1957. Seeing her at a bus stop, Nelson immediately proposed lunch to the beautiful Winnie - even though he was married with three children. Nelson and Winnie were married in 1958 and divorced in 1996, two years after he became South Africa’s president.

Encountering Winnie was to sit across from an open bottle of nitroglycerin, which might tip over into unexpected and even explosive statements. Her 1986 public praise for the tactic of “necklacing” - the burning of gasoline-soaked tires around the necks of suspected black informants - shocked many, as did her still murky involvement in a gang murder in Soweto.

Being in the company of her husband, an unfailingly warm, gentle and wise interlocutor, was exactly the opposite experience.

There was the time, for example, that I finished a conversation with him in New York in 1994 by insisting that he not accompany me down the long corridor of his hotel suite. He had just arrived from South Africa and seemed fatigued.

I had just entered that corridor when I heard the soft pad of his footsteps following me to the door to say a proper goodbye. The South African president was reminding me that he was also a Xhosa chief, with duties to visitors.

Under his successors, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, Mandela’s African National Congress party began to splinter into factions that fought over ideology, policy and, increasingly, the spoils of office. As a period of national mourning for Winnie is observed this week, Zuma went to court for corruption charges stemming from his ties to a wealthy family that, among other things, is accused of having secretly paid a London public relations firm more than $100,000 a month to inflame racial tensions in South Africa - to distract attention from Zuma’s problems.

That disgraceful playing of the race card did not work. The ANC expelled Zuma from office in February. The archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, on Easter Sunday gave this summary of Zuma’s efforts to restore race as South Africa’s political arbiter: “The past administration trampled our institutions and values. We now live in a South Africa that has the same inequality” of opportunity, health care, social services and education “that our grandparents suffered.”

That verdict would have broken the hearts of Nelson and Winnie Mandela. It is a clarion call to Ramaphosa, who seems to be listening. He has sought to win public trust by releasing extensive financial records, resigning from companies that would present potential conflicts of interest and quelling racial tensions instead of exacerbating them. He turns away from the politics of anger and revenge - or, as it is called by some in this country, “counterpunching.”(Washington Post)


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The failed vision of a united Africa-part xiv

This is the final leg of the story of Ahmed Sékou Touré, the founding Father of Guinea. As was recounted in the previous articles Sékou Touré was a staunch pan-Africanist who fought neo-colonialism and Western influence head-on. He wanted to mobilize the entire African continent to continue for the struggle of achieving a free united Africa.

From 1970 onwards Guinea’s relationship with the USA and France continued to darken and the CIA continued to organize revolt within Guinean and active Guinean dissidents in Senegal and Ivory Coast to oust Touré from power. Believing that the West wanted to depose him and stop his pan-African efforts of liberating the whole of Africa and the achievement of a united Africa; he directed arrests, detentions, and some executions of suspected opposition leaders in Guinea who he thought were foreign collaborators.

By 1971 political tension in Guinea grew and Touré was increasingly becoming a dictator as he believed that he was ordained to wedge a permanent struggle for economic freedom for Guinea and for the entire Africa.

To show his determination to continue fighting for the African ultimate freedom Sékou Touré was once quoted in the Black Scholar Journal in 1971 saying: “People of Africa, from now on you are reborn in history, because you mobilize yourself in the struggle and because the struggle before you restores to your own eyes and renders to you, justice in the eyes of the world.”

His rule seemed under constant barricade and in May 1976 it was alleged that a plot led by Diallo Telli, a cabinet Minister and a former first Secretary General of the OAU was underway to assassinate him. In response Telli was arrested and sent to prison and died in prison in November 1976.

However, in 1977, protests against the regime’s economic policy intensified furthermore and he was forced to take a U-turn by relaxing restrictions on trade; offering amnesty to refugees whom they returned home from exile in neighboring countries and releasing hundreds of political prisoners. Relations with the Soviet bloc then deteriorated, as Touré sought to increase Western aid and foreign private investment to revive a declining Guinea economy.

Touré was elected unopposed to a fourth seven-year term as president in 1980 and in May 1982 after several months of negotiations a new constitution that supported capitalistic policies was adopted. He then visited the United States and while in Washington, Toure urged for more American private investment in Guinea, and claimed that the country had “fabulous economic potential” for investment.

On the 26th March 1984, President Touré suddenly died of a heart attack while undergoing an emergency heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio in the USA. Prime Minister Louis Lansana Béavogui became President, pending elections that were to be held within 45 days. On the 3rd April 1984 the Political Bureau of the PDG ruling party was due to elect Touré’s successor; and under the Constitution, the PDG new leader would automatically be elected to a seven-year term as President.

Just hours before that meeting took place, the armed forces seized power in a coup d’état. They denounced the last years of Touré’s rule as a bloody dictatorship. The Military Junta suspended the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and abolished the PDG party. On the 5th April 1984, Army Coronel Lansana Conté, leader of the coup, heading the Military Committee for National Recovery (CMRN) assumed the presidency.

Irrespective of his failure Touré is remembered as a charismatic figure and although his legacy as President is often scorned in his home country, he remains an icon of pan-Africanism; a pan-Africanist and African liberation forefather in the wider African community.

His strident pan-African thoughts makes Sékou Touré widely celebrated by many across Africa as a hero of African liberation struggle and identity. Though he died without realizing his dream of a united Africa; the end of his era points once again to a “Failed Vision of a United Africa”.

Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

TZ needs new path for development

 

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

Dar es Salaam. Participants of a recent meeting organised by the German NGO, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), have said it is important for any national dialogue on development to include the four Ws &H. These are questions that are important as they help offer clarity on the debate over which development path the country should take.

Four Ws: The questions include; Why the country needs new development model; What kind of model should be taken; Which path such agreed model should take and When such model should be practiced.

Single H: The single H in this case focuses upon how the model should be designed and the ways of practising it for the benefit of majority of Tanzanians. The KAS meeting organised last month involved 12 university students. In the meeting there was a consensus that Tanzania needed the new development model that can create workable mindset among Tanzanians on how to contribute positively towards development.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, a lecturer from St Augustine University, Dr Charles Kitima said Tanzania grapples with confusing development model for almost three decades. “The country possesses a confused socio-economic model which weakens the private sector,” Dr Kitima says. Explaining on why Tanzania needs a new socio-economic model, the KAS resident director, Mr Daniel El-Noshokaty said there is a great need for Tanzania to create a powerful and nationally agreed development model like what they did in Germany after the demise of fascism under Adolf Hitler in 1940s.

Mr El-Noshokaty noted that the stance of such German NGO was not to attract Tanzanian interests to borrow the German social economic system that combines positive elements of socialism and the free market economy, but to mobilise young people for filing a vacuum of development model. “In 1939 in Germany, after the 12 years of dictatorship, we built a consensus of instituting a new economic order which is working very successfully,” said the KAS country representative.

The KAS projects manager in the country, Dr Stephanie Brinkel also told Political Platform that Tanzania needs to emulate the ways Germany and Nordic countries built national consensus through mixed socio-economic systems that incorporate positive elements of socialism and capitalism.

“We think that there is a development gap in terms of mindset which can be filled. You should design the development model which can fit the historical and cultural conditions of your country,” said Dr Brinkel.

Economists who analyse the development paths of Germany and Nordic nations (Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden), agree that the secrete behind the success of those countries was building social democratic model under the multilateral aid programme known as the Marshal Plan that took place during the period of post-World War II.

Tanzania built underdeveloped free market economy and capitalist social values during colonialism, but at post- independence. In 1967 under Arusha Declaration Tanzania adopted a version of socialism which is Ujamaa. Ujamaa which was implemented between 1967 and 1985 was neither scientific socialism nor capitalism, experts say.

Already all Tanzanian administrations have implemented the Five Year Development Plans, but the problem of poverty is still there. Even the current regime led by Dr John Magufuli is implementing the Five Year Plan that started in 2016/17, focusing upon industrialisation.

But experts say still 18 per cent of 54.2 million Tanzanians are wallowing in abject poverty. On why, what, when model and which path to take for Tanzania to fill the development vacuum, it can be summed up as follows; the country has a vacuum which has existed since 1985.

Regarding to which path to take and when to build, it is now clear that national consensus should be built on designing a path. Germany took 12 years, but Tanzania can reach consensus after few years. On how to embark on such model it is also clear that a national dialogue is called for.

From the above analysis, it can be deduced that time is ripe for the country to begin walking to talks about what Tanzania needs now.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fears mount as parties face Registrar’s wrath

 

By Elias Msuya @TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Political parties are under siege. This is what stakeholders surmise from the current happenings. And analysts are now pondering what the, seemingly well-orchestrated, attacks on political parties mean for the future of Tanzania’s democracy.

Last week a key parliamentary committee encouraged the Registrar of Political Parties to deregister political parties whose conduct “violate” laws and regulations. Reading the comments of the parliamentary committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in Parliament on the 2018/19 budget speech of the Prime Minister’s Office last Wednesday committee’s chairman Mohamed Mchengerwa said the Registrar should de-register political parties for “violating laws, regulations and procedures guiding political parties’ operations in the country.”

The deputy Speaker Tulia Ackson told the committee to send a copy of the speech as soon as possible to the Registrar for action because the suggestions contained therein were too important.

Opposition MPs, who normally constitute a minority in the parliamentary committees, opposed the move to strangle further political parties, when they debated the Prime Minister’s budget speech last week. Special Seats MP (Chadema) Cecilia Paresso was the most vocal. She challenged the government to revert to one party system if it does not want multiparty democracy to thrive in the country.

“If you do not want multiparty democracy why don’t you say so? It would be better than treating opposition politicians as enemies with endless harassment, imprisonment and all!” Ms Pareso said when she was debating the 2018/19 Prime Minister’s Office Budget speech.

The parliamentary committee’s suggestions last week served to add concerns among stakeholders that the political atmosphere is increasingly becoming unfriendly. As Mr Mchengerwa was reading the speech the top echelon of Chadema’s leadership had just been released from jail where they spent the Easter weekend in custody. They are charged in court for defamation.

But the committee’s calls for the Registrar to suspend political parties also comes hot on the heels of the proposed new political parties’ law that, if passed, will squeeze Tanzania’s political space further, critics say. The new Political Parties Bill 2017, which is meant to repeal the Political Parties Act of 1992, among other things, gives the Registrar ultimate powers to deregister a political party. When the Registrar has closed down a political entity his or her decision cannot be challenged in any court of law.

The Bill also legalizes the ban on political rallies by political parties before or after the election campaigns, except for elected politicians in their constituencies. But the Bill also maintains a controversial clause that gives powers to the Police to deny a political party the right to hold a rally or procession for security or other reasons. But what worries stakeholders the most is the powers given to the Registrar to force political entities to release any information upon demand.

Analysts are of the view that the government as the custodian of the multiparty politics in the country, through its various institutions and as stipulated by the Constitution should allow more engagement with the opposition in order to bring in more understanding and avoid unnecessary conflicts that do not augur well for the country. A university lecturer from Josiah Kibira University College (JoKUCo), Dr Azaveli Lwaitama says the onslaught on political parties will mainly affect opposition ones. “It is impossible for the government to deregister all political parties. It is mostly the major opposition parties that will be affected when and if the government starts to apply the law to deregister defaulting parties,” Dr Lwaitama noted.

An independent political analyst Dr Marcosy Albanie says the government must protect political parties if the calmness and stability is to be maintained in the country. He said the talk about deregistering political parties is not good for country. And the disaster itself will be if, actually, the major political parties are closed down.

“If you deregister parties you create the environment for undesirable, underground elements to emerge to fill that void. Now no one knows what these underground entities might portend for the country,” Dr Albanie noted. An activist Buberwa Kaiza on his party says opposition political parties should adjust according to the different times the country is passing through. “We must admit that the political parties used to operate in an environment where the laws of the land were not being properly enforced.

The law has never said, for example, that a political party can hold rallies whenever and wherever it wants. There are procedures that must be followed,” Mr Kaiza noted. It is time opposition political parties showed leadership to prove that they are a credible alternative, instead of crying foul all the time, Mr Kaiza added.

He said the duty of political parties should be, first and foremost, to follow the laws of the land. Prof Gaudens Mpangala from Ruaha University College (Ruco) said political parties should strive to be as effective as possible.

“Opposition political parties are too many. They are more than 20, I think. Why can’t they unite and form a few parties that will be forces to reckon with?” Prof Mpangala noted.

The ban that the government imposed on political rallies early 2016 was the beginning of what has been described as the deteriorating democratic space in the country. Speaking at a public rally in Singida in April 2016 President John Magufuli said political rallies and processions were distracting the people from participating fully in development projects.

“All public political activities will have to wait till 2020. All I want for now is for the people to participate in development activities,” President Magufuli noted.

After his order the Police went ahead to announce that even indoor political party meetings, except those stipulated by the parties’ constitutions, were banned.

Politicians who disobeyed the order were arrested and held in custody. It was only later that the elected politicians (MPs, Councillors etc) were allowed to hold political parties in their constituencies. The four by elections conducted late last year and early this year were also marred with violence that led to the death of a University student, Akwilina Akwiline. The opposition complained that the by-elections were not free and fair.

The Registrar of Political Parties has in three occasions in the past six months threatened to deregister the main opposition party, Chadema. In November 2017 the Registrar wrote a letter to Chadema wanting it to explain why it should not be deregistered for failing to hold intra-party elections in accordance to its constitution.

“Your constitution says the party will hold elections to elect leaders every five years. The five years expired on May 26, 2017 and you held an election in violation of your constitution… The Registrar is hereby giving you 14 days to state why your party should not be deregistered,” the Registrar said in the letter.

In February 22, 2018, again, the Registrar wrote to Chadema to demand why he should not deregister the party for conducting processions that same month (Febrary 16) that turned violent and resulted into the death of Akwilina who was killed by a stray bullet as Field Force Police confronted protesters in the procession.

In March the Registrar wrote again another letter to Chadema threatening deregistration after he was unsatisfied with its response over the February letter.

“Your constitution says the party will hold elections to elect leaders every five years. The five years expired on May 26, 2017 and you hold an election in violation of your constitution… The Registrar is hereby giving you 14 days to state why your party should not be deregistered,” the Registrar said in the letter.

In February 22, 2018, again, the Registrar wrote to Chadema to require it to state why it should not be deregistered for conducting processions that same month (Febrary 16) that turned violent and resulted into the death of Akwilina. She was killed by a stray bullet as Field Force Police confronted protesters in a procession coordinated by Chadema.

Chadema protested strongly over what they termed as orchestrated attacks and vivid attempts to deregister the party.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The unhappy life of Brazilian presidents

 

Rio de Janeiro. Suicide, coup d’etat, impeachment, scandal or prison: get elected president in Brazil and you’re almost guaranteed an unhappy ending.

The imprisonment of ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has given already chaotic Brazil another push down an ever more unpredictable future.

His arrest on Saturday took place against a backdrop of impassioned speeches, crying supporters, demonstrations and tear gas fired by riot police. It was not the picture of a country at ease with itself.

A two-term former president who left office in 2011 as one of the most popular men on the planet, Lula is the frontrunner in October presidential elections. But seen another way, Lula’s brutal political demise was practically business as usual.

Brazilian presidents get to live in an incredible Oscar Niemeyer-designed palace in Brasilia. They rule over a resource-rich country of 209 million people with the world’s biggest rainforest and possibly the best football team.

Then somehow things tend to go wrong. At least Lula finished his two terms.

His successor Dilma Rousseff, whom he propelled to victory in 2010, was stripped of office in impeachment proceedings for cooking the budget books in 2016, halfway through her second term.

Inheriting the green and yellow sash was her vice president, Michel Temer. He’s still there, but his future’s murky. Last year he was twice charged with corruption, becoming the first Brazilian president to face criminal prosecution while still in office.

For now, at least, he remains shielded by presidential immunity.

Go back a little further, to 1992, and you have president Fernando Collor de Mello. He was impeached after corruption allegations and resigned two years into his first term.

Prosecutors are after him again now and in 2015 they impounded his spectacular fleet of luxury cars. Oh and just for good measure, another of the five living ex-presidents -- Jose Sarney, who ruled from 1985-1990 -- is also facing a corruption probe. It’s worth noting that he only rose to the presidency because he was deputy to Tancredo Neves, who’d won the election, but died before taking office.

Tragedy

“Going into politics is a risky business,” columnist Angela Alonso wrote Sunday in Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. “In Brazil there’s a risk of losing an election, your freedom (prison is in vogue) and your life.” That was especially true for president Joao Goulart, known to everyone as Jango.

He became president in 1961 after the resignation of Janio Quadros, who lasted barely half a year in office. Then in 1964, Goulart was overthrown in the military coup which would install a dictatorship lasting two decades.

Escaping, he spent the rest of his life in exile, dying in Argentina in 1976 -- officially of a heart attack, though there were unproven claims that he was poisoned. Most tragic of all Brazil’s leaders was Getulio Vargas. A populist, he ruled in two periods through the 1930s-1950s, doing much to transform the country into an industrial powerhouse.

Then 24 August, 1954, he shot himself through the heart with a revolver in his presidential palace, leaving a suicide note to the Brazilian people, reading: “I gave you my life, now I give you my death.”

Question of democracy

Delving back into early Brazilian history, it doesn’t get any better. In fact, the country’s first president founded the republic with a coup d’etat in 1889, ending the Empire of Brazil.

Mauricio Santoro, at the international relations department of Rio State University, says the dismal experience of life in the presidents’ club reflects deep problems with democracy.

“Today, democracy is broader based than it used to be, but it remains marked by instability,” he said. “This makes it hard for presidents to have longterm policies.”

The good news is that the anti-corruption drive getting so many of Brazil’s leaders into trouble simultaneously reflects the country’s growing maturity.

“The difference is that here we have a judiciary enjoying quite a bit of autonomy, especially at the lower levels... with a huge investigative power,” Santoro said. “Society has changed far more quickly than the political system.”

In other words, Brazilians may one day start electing calm, stable, honest presidents. Could October 2018 be that moment?

Santoro isn’t holding his breath.

“Judging by the current presidential candidates,” he said, “I’m afraid it will take a little more time.” (AFP)


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Netanyahu’s reversal on migrant deal

 

Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to scrap a resettlement plan for 38,000 African migrants living illegally in Israel just hours after announcing it underscores his increasingly precarious position in domestic politics.

Netanyahu said he arrived at this decision after reviewing the “pros and cons” of what he had initially called an “unprecedented understanding” with the United Nations to deport half the migrants to Western countries and resettle the rest in Israel.

Analysts and media commentators said, however, that Netanyahu clearly capitulated to political and social media pressure. The reversal also serves as another strong indicator that a general election might be near.

Netanyahu has another year and a half in office, but far-reaching police investigations involving allegations of breach of trust and bribery against the long-serving Israeli leader have seriously weakened his position at the head of a six-party nationalistic coalition, further increasing the possibility of a snap election.

Last month, the government appeared close to a breakdown over a disagreement on the long-running issue of ultra-Orthodox Jews serving in the military.

That same sense of uncertainty is manifest now as Israel weighs the future of the African migrants in its midst.

“The government is moving from crisis to crisis, and it will collapse. The question is just when,” said Reuven Hazan, a professor of political science at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He suggested it could be as soon as this summer or early next year.

In the meantime, Hazan said, “everyone is looking for issues that will solidify their support base and is avoiding those that might anger their base.”

The issue of the African migrants - who entered illegally via Egypt, some more than a decade ago - is a particularly fraught one. Most come from Eritrea and Sudan. They say they are asylum seekers, escaping human rights abuses and war in their native lands. The Israeli government calls them “infiltrators,” job seekers looking for a better life.

Israel is a party to international treaties that prevent the repatriation of Eritrean and Sudanese migrants, who make up the bulk of the asylum seekers in the country.

In recent weeks, a high court ruling appeared to scuttle an Israeli government plan to deport tens of thousands to a third African country, either Rwanda or Uganda. Both countries have denied agreeing to such a plan.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Netanyahu presented the short-lived resettlement agreement with the UN refugee agency as an alternative to that plan. “I needed to get a new deal, and it’s even better,” he said.

Almost immediately, his coalition partners attacked. Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home party, tweeted that allowing 16,000 people to stay would “turn Israel into a paradise for infiltrators” and put the government’s credibility “on the line.”

Then members of Netanyahu’s own Likud party spoke out. Culture Minister Miri Regev said she was “very concerned about what appears to be a speedy concession of the fundamental principles of the government’s policy on migration,” local media reported.

Gideon Saar, a former minister and powerful rival of Netanyahu, called the deal a “mistake.”

“It was just not consistent with the immigration policy of the last three governments,” Saar said. “The natural thing was to withdraw from this agreement, and I am happy Netanyahu did because the damage would have been irreversible.”

But it was perhaps the thousands of comments and angry responses on social media that pushed the prime minister to reconsider his stance. Within hours of his Facebook post, Netanyahu scrapped the deal.

“We cannot diminish social networking,” Hazan said. “Netanyahu does not tweet as much as [President Donald] Trump, but he does put up videos on Facebook all the time, and he faced an onslaught.”

Shmuel Sandler, a lecturer of political science at Bar Illan University in Tel Aviv, said: “The question is why was Netanyahu so worried about criticism of the deal? If elections were two years from now, then he might have pushed it through. But if he is thinking of elections this summer, then he needs these people.” (Washington Post)


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Sarkozy’s quandary must open African rulers’ eyes

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

Former French president is in hot soup currently after it came to light that he received dirty dosh at the tune of €50 million from Libyan strongman, the late Muamar Gadaffi (Telegram July 2, 2014). In proving that Sarkozy actually received the monies, a lawyer for former Libyan prime minister Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi, Mehdi Bouaouaja was quoted by the Telegraph (March 21, 2018) as saying that “Sarkozy thanked Libyan authorities many times - officials of course, Gaddafi and his close entourage - for the funding.” Such admission shows how the mask has fallen from Mr. Sarkozy? Again, how many European current and former leaders received such legs up from the rulers of paupers and mercilessly got satisfied with it?

When Gadaffi dished out some moola to Sarkozy to finance his presidential campaigns, he wrongly thought he was mending fences for himself and his country. What a fatal mistake! After making away with Gadaffi’s millions of dollars, Sarkozy went ahead to become instrumental in the toppling and demise of his financier.

Another person who duped Gadaffi to end up being toppled and summarily butchered is none other than former Prime Minister Tony Blair who once cheated Gadaffi so as to cough a cool over $1.5bn to compensate the relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing in which a Pan Am flight 103 was brought down killing overall 243 passengers and 16 crew in what became known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1998.

Up till now, nobody knows exactly the truth about this tragedy. The Telegraph (Jan 24, 2015) published a letter in which it quoted Blair thanking Gadaffi noting “the excellent co-operation of your officials with their British colleagues - is a tribute to the strength of the bilateral relationship which has grown up between the United Kingdom and Libya.”

The two scenarios above nicely show how full-on hypocritical and double-faced some friends can be. Again, was Gadaffi the only African potentate to finance France elections? Former Gabonese strongman, Omar Bongo is said to have been a chief financier of many French president. The Guardian (30 December, 2010) citing the US embassy in Yaoundé in 2009, notes that “Gabonese officials used the proceeds for their own enrichment and, at Bongo’s direction, funnelled funds to French political parties, including in support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy” while his people were pauperised and dying of poverty as he served the interests of France.

Others implicated in this sabotage for Africa are former presidents Abdulaye Wade (Senegal); Blaise Compaore (Burkina Faso); Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast); and the incumbent president of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso who used to send briefcases full of money to Chirac. I wonder why Chirac hasn’t yet been brought to book or scrutiny. One may wonder why African thieves-in-chief were able to commit such sacrilegious things without being made accountable for their sins.

The simple explanation is that African presidency is the most corrupt and colonised institution that is more powerful than all institutions and systems put together. Practically, almost all African presidents are above the laws of their countries minus a few countries with progressive constitutions such as Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

Therefore, they are legally allowed to do whatever they want with the presidency and the resources of their countries.

When the late Dr. Walter Rodney wrote his masterpiece, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, such situations where the provocateurs that forced him to pen down this bigger than life corpus that seems to have been forgotten recently. However, Sarkozy betrayal of Gadaffi needs to be an eye opener for African dictators who buy their power from their former colonial masters in order to internal colonise their countries and abuse them they deem fit. African stooges may buy their time in office by obtaining support from their johns abroad; the fact of the matter is there is an end to everything under the Sun.

The way Sarkozy received the hush-hush money from Gadaffi shows how one can take your money and get rid of you in order to cover his tracks. Who wants his dirty linens on the agora for every eye to see? How many African rulers cheaply and myopically allowed the west to use them as its stooges who paid dearly?

True to form, major lessons we get in Sarkozy quandary is that corruption doesn’t pay. So, too, we learn that African rulers must invest in good governance and rule of law and on their people instead of robbing them and spend the loots in buying pseudo protection. How can such criminal protect them while they can’t protect themselves? Think twice venal African rulers.


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Natural resources are more than a curse

 

Maputo. Natural resources are often thought of as a curse in developing countries, slowing economic growth rather than driving it. But new results from our research show that discoveries themselves – before extraction happens – have their own economic consequences.

Our research shows that countries where natural resources are discovered are inundated with injections of capital, much like boomtowns during a gold rush. Giant and unexpected oil and gas discoveries act as news shocks, driving the business cycle by triggering foreign direct investment (FDI) bonanzas. Across countries, we find that FDI inflows driven by new projects in new industries increased by 58% in the two years following a giant discovery.

We illustrate how this works using Mozambique as a case study. Following a prolific gas discovery in 2009, foreign companies came pouring in and FDI ballooned off the chart. By our calculations 21,500 out of the 25,500 created by FDI in the five years following the first giant gas discovery in 2009 could be due to the discovery.

Our research upends conventional wisdom that the impact of new resource finds, such as gas, only have negative effects on the economy. Our results suggest that discoveries may lead to simultaneous foreign direct investment in many sectors, possibly diversifying economies and increasing capabilities and thus providing a window of opportunity for a growth takeoff.

This is important because it opens the door to policies being developed that exploit the early gains that can accrue from natural resource finds.

Mozambique’s offshore finds

Mozambique’s offshore natural gas discoveries in the Rovuma basin since 2009 have been nothing short of prolific. They are now valued at approximately 50 times the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

While these gas fields are still under development, data from fDiMarkets – a branch of the Financial Times Group that collects and tracks FDI projects around the world – suggest that foreign companies moved in right after the first discovery in a multitude of industries. These companies created around 10,000 jobs across the country in the following three years.

In 2014 alone, the discovery attracted $9 billion worth of FDI. FDI inflows boomed from 2010 onwards. In 2012 Mozambique received 15% of all sub-Saharan African FDI. In 2013-2015, FDI amounted to 70% of the country’s average GDP, the highest share of all African countries.

Analysis suggests that none of this would have come in without the gas discovery. And very few jobs would have been created. A comparison of the weighted average of other developing countries with no discoveries shows that if Mozambique had not discovered natural gas, the number of jobs created by non-extractive FDI would have remained flat at around 1500 per year.

One new FDI job creates an extra six

Our study also measured direct and indirect job-creation stemming from Mozambique’s investment boom. We did this by linking projects from the fDiMarkets database and data on firms from the country’s 2002 and 2014 firm censuses to employment outcomes across districts, sectors, and periods. Data from the country’s 2002-2014 Household Budget Surveys was used.

Our estimate suggests that for each new FDI job, an extra six were created in the same sector in the same district. This is because newly arrived foreign companies might demand services such as catering, driving, and cleaning services, as well as services from local law firms and consultancies experienced with the economic and legal environment. Moreover, newly created FDI jobs are likely to be associated with higher salaries. Research elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa has shown that foreign-owned firms pay higher wages to non-production and managerial workers. They also offer more secure – or less temporary – work.

Thus, these jobs are likely to increase local income, and in turn, demand for local goods and services. For example, the multinational’s employees might increase the demand for local fruit and vegetables, as well as for services such as housing, restaurants, and bars. This increase in demand is likely to be met by local businesses, creating more jobs and multiplying the initial number created directly by multinationals.

Our results also point to other interesting aspects of the extra jobs created. This includes the fact that around 55% are informal, that around 65% are taken by women, and that only workers with at least secondary education benefit.

To better grasp the magnitude of the multiplier effect of FDI, we asked: if we removed all foreign direct investment projects from Mozambique in 2014, how many jobs would disappear? This includes all the jobs directly associated with incoming investments (131,486 jobs in 2014) but also all the non-FDI jobs due to the multiplier.

We find there would be almost 1 million fewer jobs, out of a total of around 9.5 million jobs in Mozambique. The drop would be especially large in the manufacturing sector and in the capital of Maputo, where more than half would disappear.

Facing reality

Of course, economic growth and diversification do not automatically follow from a large discovery. The Mozambique foreign investment bonanza occurred while the government accumulated an unsustainable level of debt, and many of the FDI projects may only have short-run effects.

This has happened before. For example, a foreign investment boom in Tete province in northern Mozambique went from El Dorado to nightmare when a coal project failed to materialise in 2014-15. This prompted Rio Tinto to sell its $3.7 billion coal business in the country for $50 million.

Additionally, the economy is still reeling from a debt scandal that led the International Monetary Fund to cancel its funding for Mozambique in 2016.

Even so, foreign investment bonanzas stemming from natural resource discoveries do provide an important economic growth opportunity, and the FDI effect needs to be considered when analysing the effects of natural resources on economic development. (The Conversation)


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

African youth and the future of Democracy

 

By Mosenda Jacob @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es salaam. Until July, 2017, Sub-Saharan Africa had a youth population of 265 million. By 2045, the population of under the age of 25 across the African continent is expected to rise by over 40 per cent according to the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).

Africa has young men and women with huge potentials, eager to help build the continent’s future and this is being witnessed today as youths are already playing a central role in the need to protect their countries’ democracy.

The continent’s young leaders are inspiring, ambitious and passionate. However, many of them are denied any real political voice, influence or may not have the main skills to venture in the field effectively. Yet their role is essential in addressing the continent’s major problems of youth unemployment, underemployment and the lack of quality education, healthcare and basic social services. The problems of unemployment and undemocratic are mostly linked to education. Young people in the continent are receiving education in industries that have stagnated and have not kept up with global trends. Structural unemployment remains a major problem and governments need to start linking the education system to match the demands of the labour market and the society. Unless young people have a voice in the legislatures and the spheres of influence, their needs will continue to be ignored until the problem spills over into conflicts as already witnessed in countries like Gambia.

Critical to giving the youth a place at the table is the reform of political parties to become more inclusive. Parties that offer the youth really leadership opportunities will obviously have the hope for the future democracy. Yet, all is not lost in Africa. The youth of Africa has shown increased political awareness and a willingness to make their voices heard. Credit must be shown to youth of the Gambia who played a significant role in protecting the outcome of 2016 elections. And let’s not forget that in 2012 the Senegalese opposition mobilized the youth around the issue of unemployment to defeat President Abdoulaye Wade.

The future of African democracy depends on these young leaders and how they understand democracy in the first place. Since most of African country’s independence, democracy has been a song with a melody that does not attract anyone nearer.

Education on Democracy for youths in schools

Individuals have the opportunity to make their views known, and to seek out political representation to speak on their behalf. Schooling is preparation for adult life.

Therefore, students should be trained in a way that when they reach the age of eighteen, gain a vote, something that coincide with leaving school, they will have a say on the better way to democratize and eventually change the history of African unstable democracies. The future of African respect to democracy and the rule of law depends on how the upcoming generation of youth will have inherited changes.

Prof Zachariah Mwangovi from Mzumbe University insist that the future of African political situation and democracy depends on young people and that democracy which has so far been a tragedy in most of the continent’s countries should be taught direct from secondary school.

This will impart the importance of safeguarding democracy to the future leaders hence giving some hope in years to come. “Young people across our society should learn about our democracy and its value base. We need young people to reinforce and sustain a strong democracy, one resilient to extremisms of all forms. School is the best place to learn about democracy in a non-partisan, informed and balanced way,” he insisted.

He added, “Although democracy is not really emphasized in schools’ curriculum but mostly ignored, we should help our youth acquire the skills and values needed to be democratic leaders, and be resilient against extremism. This would be the best way for an African country hoping for a better future as far as democracy and respect to the rule of law is concerned.”

“Democracy thrives when citizens, regardless of age, gender, and social status, are involved in decisions that affect their lives and the society they live in. This is why young leaders if given the best background on democracy and allowed to seat in a decision making table, they can create hope of changing the existing undemocratic atmosphere for most countries in Africa,” he added.

For his side Dr James Ndibalema of Ardhi University says, “Various NGOs and activist groups in African countries should conduct mentoring sessions for promising young people in universities to increase their skills in areas such as networking, public speaking, information technology, issue advocacy and debate. As a result, several participants will be successful in attaining leadership positions within their university guilds, which bodes well for translating into political and democratic leadership in the future.”

He adds that, “This training to young people on democracy and good leadership as a curricular, will reinforce our belief that young people can change Africa for the better, and help mitigate the never ending political upheaval in most African countries brought by undemocratic leaders.”

Mr Omar Banda (PhD) University of Dar es Salaam says, “Creating political and democratic space for young people is not sufficient on its own. It is equally important to train and invest in young leaders, those of strong character and ethical backgrounds, in a bid to produce a society that generates young people who have the ability to construct and realize a vision for their communities and, collectively, their nations in the future.”

Challenges affecting youth political ambition

Political activists concur that the future democracy of the countries in Africa are at the hands of the youth but there are numerous challenges that stand as an uphill for this dream to be reached.

“As an individual who works to promote democracy in Africa, I believe that young people do have the potential to change Africa for the better, but they face significant challenges in doing so. Extreme poverty, war and internal conflict, poor governance and disease disproportionately impact youth in sub-Saharan Africa, which hosts the youngest population in the world,” Said Ahmed Hamisi, a political activist in Dar es Salaam.

The Activist adds that despite constituting the largest segment of the population, young people continue to engage in the political process at very low levels and lack sufficient formal representation in government.

“Building the capacity of young people to play a meaningful role in their communities and effectively interact with government is crucial to strengthening democratic governance in an African country.”


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The weird world of Ian Khama

 

By Robyn Dixon @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Gaborone. He is the English-born son of a king, a fighter pilot, a teetotaling bachelor – and all that made him an unorthodox African president.

But Ian Khama stands out most for his final act as president of Botswana: stepping down.

At his home village of Serowe last week, residents begged him to stay on another 50 years – usually the cue in Africa that a constitutional change is about to be muscled through Parliament so a leader can rule for life.

But Khama, 65, insisted on leaving office at the weekend. His departure, which followed a decade of stable and largely uncontroversial rule, underscored a message he has oft repeated: Africa needs democracy.

Botswana, a nation of 2.2 million people, is the longest-running multiparty democracy on a continent whose leaders often cling to power into their 80s or 90s and rarely go without a fight.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni has been in office since 1986. In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame recently won a third term, after the two-term limit was ditched. In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe hung on for nearly four decades until last year when the military forced him out. All claimed that their citizens would not let them leave office.

Khama’s exit preserves the legacy of his father, Seretse Khama, who struggled for his country’s independence from Britain and became the first president in 1966, ushering in more than 50 years of multiparty democracy.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, set up by the Sudanese British billionaire to measure and reward good governance in Africa, ranks Botswana the third most democratic country in Africa, behind Mauritius and the Seychelles.

Khama has frequently castigated his African counterparts, breaking the unspoken rule that you never publicly urge another president to quit, no matter how much violence there is or how many rigged elections.

He criticized Zimbabwe’s election in 2013 and called on Mugabe to step down in 2016 and again in November after the military took control there. He called on Joseph Kabila, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to hold elections that were due in 2016, and he slammed Burundian leader Pierre Nkurunziza, who plunged his country into turmoil in 2015 by ignoring a two-term limit and trampling the opposition on his way to his third term.

Khama has also stood up for the International Criminal Court and its efforts to prosecute other African leaders accused of crimes against humanity. Notably, he called on other African nations to enforce the court’s arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir and to stand with the Sudanese people against his oppressive rule.

He hasn’t been afraid to criticize mightier powers either, recently accusing President Donald Trump of encouraging wildlife poaching by overturning the ban on the import of hunting trophies to the US. He told the BBC he was not just concerned about wildlife, but Trump’s “attitude towards the whole planet.”

Khama seems to care more for the facts than flattery. When an online hoax news story circulated that Khama had been named “World’s Best President” in 2016, his office was quick to shoot down the story.

Not that Khama has no critics. His biggest blind spot as president was the treatment of the indigenous population, the Kalahari Bushmen, also known as the Basarwa or San people.

Forced out of their ancestral homeland in the diamond-rich Kalahari game reserve before Khama became president, the Bushmen won successive court appeals, giving them the right to return. But those who do are often arrested, beaten by police and denied hunting permits, according to Survival International, an advocacy group for indigenous people.

Khama, dismissive of the Bushmen’s semi-nomadic culture, has said the government’s job is to protect the park and preserve its wildlife. He claimed the Bushmen began using horses and guns to hunt, and in 2014 he told the Guardian newspaper that allowing them to live a “backward” way of life in the park jeopardized their children’s chances of gaining an education and joining the mainstream.

The US State Department’s human rights report on Botswana last year criticized the country for violence, particularly sexual violence against women and children; discrimination against the Basarwa people; and child labour, mainly in agriculture and herding.

But the report was equally notable for where it found nothing to criticize: Prison and detention met international standards; there were no reports of unlawful killings by security forces; the armed forces were under government control; elections were free and fair; and officials who committed offenses were prosecuted.

Botswana’s judiciary and media are independent, but detractors accuse Khama of intolerance of criticism and say his government harasses journalists. Khama accuses the media of publishing lies.

The governing Botswana Democratic Party has ruled since independence, partly because opposition parties are disunited, a problem that afflicts many countries in Africa. Even so, Khama is proud of his country’s system of government. “We have the strongest democracy in Africa and should guard it jealously,” he said in a farewell speech to Parliament.

Khama is the first-born son of his father, who was king of the Bamangwato people. Seretse Khama married an English office clerk and wartime ambulance driver named Ruth Williams in 1948 – a love story chronicled in the 2016 movie “A United Kingdom.” At the time, Botswana was one of the world’s poorest countries, but its economy boomed after diamonds were discovered in 1967.

Born in the English city of Surrey, Ian Khama inherited the title of kgosi, or king. He trained as a fighter pilot at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Britain and became head of Botswana’s armed forces before he entered politics, effectively renouncing the role of king even as some Bamangwato people still see him that way.

He served as vice president from 1998 to 2008 under Festus Mogae, who stood down at the end of his two terms. As head of the governing party, Khama succeeded Mogae and was then elected in 2009 to a full term.

As president, he piloted the state helicopter when making domestic visits and sometimes gave children airplane joyrides. In 2006, as vice president, he took over the controls of an air force plane when it developed problems and crash-landed it in Francistown, a staff member told Botswana media at the time.

An outdoors enthusiast, Khama likes riding ATVs and power-chuting, which involves a parachute and a three-wheeled go-cart. He often volunteered as a server in soup kitchens and dropped by hospitals to visit the sick. Under Khama, the government made strides in reducing poverty and providing low income housing. (Los Angeles Times)

As a bachelor, Khama is unusual in Africa, where traditional values often hold sway. Often questioned about his single status, he claimed to be too busy to find a wife and worried about not having control over his happiness in marriage, though he once said he is looking for a tall, slim beauty to marry. He is lean and fit, but apparently is a loner who retires early at night.

During a recent farewell tour of the nation, Khama was showered with gifts, including a tractor, a herd of cows, hundreds of chickens and several cars. He told people he never really wanted to be president and now had other things to do.

Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi was sworn in as president Sunday. (Los Angeles Times)


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Analysts call on Opposition to change startegy

 

By Mosenda Jacob @The Citizen Tz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dar es Salaam. Following the General election in 2015, the main opposition parties came together in a bid to form a coalition that will take them through the battle intended to remove the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

The coming together of Chadema, CUF (Civil united Front), NLD (National League for Democracy) and NCCR-Mageuzi to form ‘Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi’ (Ukawa), was taken as the best direction for the opposition to overcome the ruling party for the first time since independence.

However, Ukawa’s mission failed after a hot-contested Presidential poll, which saw President John Magufuli of CCM winning.

Since 2015, the Ukawa house has never settled. Some are said to have betrayed the union, some losing trust to their leaders and others even say that one political party is using others for its own benefit.

Currently the Civic United Front (CUF) is in an antagonism that has facilitated its division into two groups, one for Maalim Seif and the other for Prof Ibrahim Lipumba.

All this upheaval leads to a conclusion that one may say, the opposition still lacks a strategy to help them succeed in the competition they face with the ruling party. One may also say that the reasons for mass defection from the opposition are obviously known-Unsettled disputes within these parties.

Analysts are of the opinion that the opposition should rather reinvest in shaping their unity with only the political parties that strongly believe in Ukawa coalition and get a long-term strategy which will see their dream achieved as far as voters’ mobilization and win of trust is concerned.

The opposition is known as the only avenue to institutionally organize around different views of society. In modern society, it has a crucial function in the state and future governance in any particular nation. The unsettled controversy in Ukawa may be the last nail to end the opposition’s goal.

The primary function of the opposition is to offer a credible alternative to the majority in power. Moreover, by overseeing and criticizing the action of the government, it works to ensure transparency, integrity and efficiency in the conduct of public affairs and to prevent abuses by the authorities and individuals.

Wasting its potential

Today the opposition wastes its potential. For instance Prof Lipumba who initiated the Ukawa strategy, has now said the coalition-Chadema, is weakening CUF.

The latter reiterated recently to his counterpart Maalim Seif that he was cheering Ukawa which is weakening the Civic United Front party. Some ruling parties have always worked to deliver in accordance to their manifesto and the opposition everywhere in the world has to strategize in a way to win the majority’s trust.

Speaking to the political platform over the weekend Dr Philip Mshana, a political science lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam says,

“The opposition needs to analyze the previous couple of elections. Its failures and the main constraints that make them lose their followers trust. They need to stitch together a party that is beginning to fall apart at its seams. Their focus will have to be on internal reforms, to develop a co-ordinate campaign and to create a clear political strategy on where the parties are heading at this testing era.”

The lecturer adds that, “all successful parties are entrenched in a political vision- a myth of who they represent. The opposition must have environmental goals that are deeply entrenched in economic and social reforms. The ongoing battle within CUF which has divided it into two halves, one in Ukawa and another one outside the coalition, will obviously kill the opposition’s strength and at the same time the ruling party as it seems will continue shining.”

For his side Prof Ibrahim Mugambi of Kampala International University opinionates that, “People don’t just vote for a party based on who they think will be most sensible in government. It’s time that the opposition begun negotiations with each other, with small unions, with university students, with the long-term unemployed, and with the poorest in society if at all they have any chance of wanting to get into power.

It is not the time for them to be at a gamble between themselves.”

Prof Mugambi adds that, “The opposition not only in Tanzania but in all African countries must not only complain to the Electrical Commissions and ruling counterparts, what is at stake is also coming up with a transparent unity to facilitate one achievable goal altogether. Unless a clear strategy is reached, the opposition parties as it seems, will keep on competing with none other than themselves.”

David Ndiamkama a political consultant in Dar es Salaam says, “Promise to bring back political democracy, strategize on the ingredients that are severally taken for granted, such as national suffrage, the independent electoral board and make the people know the rights and functions of the opposition to the government of the day,” adding that;

“Only in this way can you protect the rights of minorities, only in this way the opposition can make sure that the force of public opinion will be brought to bear on the legislative process. Therefore, if you want to bring back democracy in the country, you must start being democratic direct from your party of coalition.

“The fact is, currently there is no way that the opposition in the country is going to get magically voted into power, unless their strategy begin to focus on increasing votes and members through mobilization and not entirely focus on winning election. The guide to gaining power is a path, not a sleep of faith and to do so you need a new set of tactics.”

Dr Moses Tumaini from DUCE says, “It generally takes longer and is a bigger challenge for a political opposition group to erode the ideological basis of one party regime.

However, a massive, determined and well-organized opposition group can overcome the ruling elites to democratization.”


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Facebook’s profiling data is supressing democracy

 

Washington. What state should you move to be based on your personality? What character on “Downton Abbey” would you be? What breed of dog is best for you? Some enormous percentage of Facebook’s 2.13 billion users must have seen Facebook friends sharing results of various online quizzes. They are sometimes annoying, senseless and a total waste of time. But they are irresistible. Besides, you’re only sharing the results with your family and friends. There’s nothing more innocent, right?

Wrong.

Facebook is in the business of exploiting your data. The company is worth billions of dollars because it harvests your data and sells it to advertisers. Users are encouraged to like, share and comment their lives away in the name of staying connected to family and friends. However, as an ethical hacker, security researcher and data analyst, I know that there is a lot more to the story. The bedrock of modern democracy is at stake.

You are being psychographically profiled

Most people have heard of demographics – the term used by advertisers to slice up a market by age, gender, ethnicity and other variables to help them understand customers. In contrast, psychographics measure people’s personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. They help advertisers understand the way you act and who you are.

Historically, psychographic data were much harder to collect and act on than demographics. Today, Facebook is the world’s largest treasure trove of this data. Every day billions of people give the company huge amounts of information about their lives and dreams. This isn’t a problem when the data are used ethically – like when a company shows you an ad for a pair of sunglasses you recently searched for.

However, it matters a lot when the data are used maliciously – segmenting society into disconnected echo chambers, and custom-crafting misleading messages to manipulate individuals’ opinions and actions. That’s exactly what Facebook allowed to happen.

Quizzes, reading your mind and predicting your politics

Recent reports have revealed how Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based company owned by an enigmatic billionaire and led at the time by candidate Donald Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon, used psychographic data from Facebook to profile American voters in the months before the 2016 presidential election. Why? To target them with personalized political messages and influence their voting behavior. A whistleblower from Cambridge Analytica, Christopher Wylie, described in detail how the company exploited Facebook users by harvesting their data and building models to “target their inner demons.”

How did Facebook let this happen?

The company does more than just sell your data. Since the early 2000s, Facebook has provided access to academic researchers seeking to study you. Many psychologists and social scientists have made their careers analyzing ways to predict your personality and ideologies by asking simple questions. These questions, like the ones used in social media quizzes, do not appear to have obvious connections to politics. Even a decision like which web browser you are using to read this article is filled with clues about your personality.

In 2015, Facebook gave permission to academic researcher Aleksandr Kogan to develop a quiz of his own. Like other quizzes, his was able to capture all of your public information, including name, profile picture, age, gender and birthday; everything you’ve ever posted on your timeline; your entire friends list; all of your photos and the photos you’re tagged in; education history; hometown and current city; everything you’ve ever liked; and information about the device you’re using including your web browser and preferred language.

Kogan shared the data he collected with Cambridge Analytica, which was against Facebook policy – but apparently the company rarely enforced its rules.

Going shopping for impressionable users

Analyzing these data, Cambridge Analytica determined topics that would intrigue users, what kind of political messaging users were susceptible to, how to frame the messages, the content and tone that would motivate users, and how to get them to share it with others. It compiled a shopping list of traits that could be predicted about voters.

Then the company was able to create websites, ads and blogs that would attract Facebook users and encourage them to spread the word. In Wylie’s words: “they see it … they click it … they go down the rabbit hole.”

This is how American voters were targeted with fake news, misleading information and contradictory messages intended to influence how they voted – or if they voted at all.

This is how Facebook users’ relationships with family and friends are being exploited for monetary profit, and for political gain.

Knowingly putting users at risk

Facebook could have done more to protect users.

The company encouraged developers to build apps for its platform. In return, the apps had access to vast amounts of user data – supposedly subject to those rules that were rarely enforced. But Facebook collected 30 percent of payments made through the apps, so its business interest made it want more apps, doing more things. People who didn’t fill out quizzes were vulnerable, too. Facebook allowed companies like Cambridge Analytica to collect personal data of friends of quiz takers, without their knowledge or consent. Tens of millions of people’s data were harvested – and many more Facebook users could have been affected by other apps.

Changing culture and politics

In a video interview with the Observer, Wylie explained that “Politics flows from culture you have to change the people in order to change culture.”

That’s exactly what Facebook enabled Cambridge Analytica to do. In 2017, the company’s CEO boasted publicly that it was “able to use data to identify very large quantities of persuadable voters that could be influenced to vote for the Trump campaign.”

To exert that influence, Cambridge Analytica – which claims to have 5,000 data points on every American – used people’s data to psychologically nudge them to alter their behaviors in predictable ways.

This included what became known as “fake news.” In an undercover investigation, Britain’s Channel 4 recorded Cambridge Analytica executives expressing their willingness to disseminate misinformation, with its CEO saying, “these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true, as long as they’re believed.” (The Conversation)

US society was unprepared: 62 percent of American adults get news on social media, and many people who see fake news stories report that they believe them. So Cambridge Analytica’s tactics worked: 115 pro-Trump fake stories were shared on Facebook a total of 30 million times. In fact, the most popular fake news stories were more widely shared on Facebook than the most popular mainstream news stories.

For this psychological warfare, the Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica millions of dollars.

A healthy dose of skepticism

US history is filled with stories of people sharing their thoughts in the public square. If interested, a passerby could come and listen, sharing in the experience of the narrative.

By combining psychographic profiling, analysis of big data and ad micro-targeting, public discourse in the US has entered a new era. What used to be a public exchange of information and democratic dialogue is now a customized whisper campaign: Groups both ethical and malicious can divide Americans, whispering into the ear of each and every user, nudging them based on their fears and encouraging them to whisper to others who share those fears.

A Cambridge Analytica executive explained: “There are two fundamental human drivers hopes and fears and many of those are unspoken and even unconscious. You didn’t know that was a fear until you saw something that evoked that reaction from you. Our job is to understand those really deep-seated underlying fears, concerns. It’s no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it’s all about emotion.”

The information that you shared on Facebook exposed your hopes and fears. That innocent-looking Facebook quiz isn’t so innocent.

The problem isn’t that this psychographic data were exploited at a massive scale. It’s that platforms like Facebook enable people’s data to be used in ways that take power away from voters and give it to data-analyzing campaigners.

In my view, this kills democracy. Even Facebook can see that, saying in January that at its worst, social media “allows people to spread misinformation and corrode democracy.”


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Kenyatta-Odinga marriage will orphan many

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The recent closing of ranks between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political arch nemesis, Raila Odinga, has deafening, different and knock-on corollaries. For, it’ll reconfigure and redefine Kenya’s political map with everlasting-domino effects. This milestone has, if anything, tremendous negative and positive effects to some wannabes, power brokers and the country in general. The Kenyatta-Odinga nuptial didn’t portend well with some players. For, it isn’t a secret; there were some intriguers who exploited Kenya’s longtime bog to create political niches for personal reasons. All who sought to use Odinga to prop and imbed themselves in Kenyan political landscape, under Kenyatta-Odinga wings, are outright losers. This is because many lack political gravitas.

Being a political juggernaut, Odinga breast-fed and sheltered many. Therefore, Odinga’s impromptu move; will orphan. They’ll become first casualties. You can hear their howling pouting with the loss almost everywhere after it bleakly dawned on them in this game that needs flexibilities and scheming.

If anything, among hard-hit are: Joshua Miguna Miguna who’d love to be a Luo kingmaker, if not the king, and possibly, a president of Kenya. Again, his strategies and style are rudimentarily combative and garish. He lacks political charisma. Miguna doesn’t impress many in anything national or political. He is but a newbie and provocateur that can’t assure the voters anything but chaos and convulution. Buccaneering and precipitateness are the suitable attributes of the man.

Furthermore, Miguna’s neither toehold nor knack in his Luo politics. Refer to how Miguna started to take on perceived foes in the NASA. His casualties who turned out to be heroes strategists David Ndii and Norman Magaya who were vindicated by Miguna’s abrasive behaviour.

Apart from being an outsider, Miguna’s a neophyte in Luo and Kenyans politics altogether. His political resume isn’t only long-winded but also scraggy and buoyant. He got his gravitas under Odinga’s wings. This is why when he deserted him; he found he’d not make it alone. Like a divorcee, he unashamedly returned himself to the hubby to face whatever infamy. Lucky him; he’s gawkily accepted.

Kalonzo Musyoka aka wiper’s been in the game for long. Conversely though, he’s no foothold on big things despite serving in big loci. Had he been a cagey schemer, he’d have used Moi to reach wherever he wanted to. Sad, so sad, he didn’t. He’s used. Shakiness and wackiness his attributes. Even his base in Ukambani, shall we rely on ethnic calculations is wacky and shaky so to speak.

Moses Wetangula is still branding himself not only in Kenya’s politics but also Luhya’s. Despite having big ambitions, he still has a very long and jagged way to go ethnically and nationally.

Another also-ran is Musalia Mudavadi. Just like Kenyatta and Odinga, he’s been in the game for long after taking the baton from his father Moses as Luhya Kingmaker. However, his chances of making it to the top office are as slim as those of his co-principals are.

Another casualty is DP William Ruto whose marriage with Kenyatta was necessitated by the International Criminal Court. Arguably, Ruto’s future success depends on Kenyatta due to the farfetched assumption that Ruto helped Kenyatta to ascend to the throne while in actuality Mwai Kibaki is the one who did the magic, rigging as per Odinga. Ruto will be making a grave mistake to believe that Kenyatta will endorse him per se. who knew that Kibaki who benefited from the phrase “Kibaki Tosha’ would stab Odinga in the back by refusing to say ‘Raila Tosha’? His was ‘Raila Toka’. Now that the ICC is no longer hovering over UhuRuto, what’s left of the marriage of convenience? Politics is a very dirty and dizzy game. He who thinks he’s standing must watch he mustn’t fall.

When it comes to winners, they are Kenyatta who seeks to leave a shining legacy and Odinga whose hope for 2022 is still raw. Some make a goof assuming Odinga is too old to run. Wrong. Ask Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Abdulaye Wade (Senegal), Ronald Reagan (US) Jose Mujica (Uruguay) Michael Sata (Zambia), Bingu wa Mutharika (Malawi), Muhammad Buhari (Nigeria-incumbent) Peter Mutharika (Malawi-incumbent), Hage Gottfried Geingob (Namibia-incumbent) and Beji Caid Essebsi (Tunisia-incumbent) among others, who became presidents in their 70s. There is no retirement in politics, especially in Africa.

In a nutshell, Kenyatta-Odinga newly-found love, if is not felled, is likely to change Kenya’s political landscape for good. In other words, this move has redefined Kenya’s politics by creating new environment for different forms of politics wherein victory for the state house does no longer depend on the UhuRuto calibration.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spy expulsions a setback for Trump-Putin courtship

 

Washington. Donald Trump has ordered an unprecedented expulsion of Russian officials and warned the Kremlin needs to change, a setback for his courtship of Vladimir Putin, but perhaps not its end.

On the face of it, the latest iteration of Washington’s endless “reset” of relations with Moscow is in serious trouble.

Having wooed Putin for the better part of two years, the 71-year-old US president on Monday expelled 60 alleged Russian spies.

True to Trump’s embrace of superlatives, that was the largest single expulsion of Russians or Soviet intelligence officers on record, according to one senior official.

Trump also ordered the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle -- within snooping distance of a US submarine base and a plant run by aircraft-maker Boeing, one of the president’s favored companies.

Trump’s aides, aware that Americans think he and Putin are too cozy, stressed the expulsions were the president’s decision.

It was “a decision that he was involved in from the beginning and that he personally made after several meetings,” said a senior administration official.

Trump “was briefed on the ongoing preparations throughout the weekend,” he added.

The expulsion announcement was accompanied by an out-of-character warning that Russia has to change if Trump’s stated aim of better ties are to come true.

Better relations “can only happen with a change in the Russian government’s behavior,” the White House said.

It seemed like, as with US presidents past, the scales may be falling from Trump’s eyes when it comes to the former KGB officer who now runs Russia.

George W. Bush declared at the beginning of his presidency that he was able to look Putin in the eye and “get a sense of his soul,” but later came to publicly acknowledge a misreading of the Russian leader.

Barack Obama’s aides admit it took him one failed “reset” and a series of confrontations, including over Russia’s annexation of Crimea, to realize that Putin’s interests and the interests of Russia were often not the same.

Those claiming a similar shift in Trump’s stance can now point to Monday’s expulsions and US sanctions earlier this month against Russians for election meddling and cyber attacks.

But for the last 14 months in office, Trump has sent one message to Russia and his administration has sent quite another.

‘Not done with sanctions’

While officials have fumed at Russia’s “malicious contempt” for others’ sovereignty, and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has toured the world reassuring jittery allies, Trump has sung from his own script.

His remarks -- both public and private -- have been markedly more conciliatory toward Putin.

The Kremlin will notice that Monday’s warning that better ties are at risk came, symbolically, from press secretary Sarah Sanders, not Trump himself.

Even before he entered the White House, Trump had aggressively defended his engagement with Russia.

Brushing aside invasions and bombings and meddling, he has argued that the route to solving issues from Ukraine to Syria to arms control to terrorism runs through Moscow.

In December, he marveled that cooperation between the CIA and Russian agencies had prevented a “major terrorist attack” in Saint Petersburg.

He went on to stun critics by suggesting a joint cybercenter with the Kremlin, despite Russians being charged by special counsel Robert Mueller over their alleged interference in the 2016 election which Trump won.

“I believe that President Putin really feels -- and he feels strongly -- that he did not meddle in our election,” Trump said during a trip to Vietnam last November.

Trump and Putin have met at least twice and the US leader’s comments towards his counterpart have been effusive, speaking of good “chemistry” and a relationship of peers.

Last week, Trump aides warned him: “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” but he did so anyway in a phone call to Putin after his re-election as Russian president. (AFP)

In response to Trump’s expulsions, Moscow has already promised tit-for-tat measures.

An escalation seems inevitable.

“Washington probably is not done with sanctions against Russia over other issues,” said Alex Brideau, a consultant with Eurasia Group, “but pressure will remain on President Donald Trump’s administration to respond further” to cyber breaches and other issues.

That will only create more domestic headwinds for Trump’s effort to improve ties.

But Trump -- never eager to admit failure -- may see this latest crisis as more evidence of the costs in butting heads with Moscow.

Who would bet that president and his administration will now get on the same page? (AFP)


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Zuma trial means his toxic legacy will haunt S. Africa

 

By James Hamill

The latest instalment in South Africa’s longest running political soap opera played out dramatically on 16 March when Shaun Abrahams, the head of South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), announced that 16 criminal charges against former president Jacob Zuma must stand and be tested in court.

The charges relate to 783 counts of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering. The charges were controversially dropped in 2009 but reinstated by the country’s High Court in 2016. The Supreme Court of Appeal went on to uphold this judgment in 2017.

This is merely one instalment in a drama that may still have some years to run. It can be traced back to the sleaze and kickbacks surrounding the arms procurement package of the late 1990s. The allegations were that Zuma was a beneficiary of largesse from certain arms companies in exchange for exerting his influence on their behalf.

The Abrahams decision – made despite opposition fears that, as a Zuma appointee, he might flinch from the challenge - is of enormous significance. A former president is now likely to find himself in the dock at a criminal trial, an unprecedented event in South African history.

A different political atmosphere

Looking beyond the groundbreaking historical nature of the decision and its implications for Zuma personally, it seems unlikely that Abrahams’ decision will generate the same passions as the issue did in the 2007-2009 period.

At that point Zuma’s standing in the ANC alliance was at an all time high and attempts to prosecute him for corruption were viewed as part of a wider ‘dirty tricks’ campaign to sabotage his rise to the presidencies of both party and state. This included the Thabo Mbeki camp inside the ANC and others outside the party.

His 2006 rape trial had been viewed in similar terms by his staunchest backers such as then ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, who subsequently, and rather shamelessly, would reinvent himself as Zuma’s chief critic.

Pro-Zuma sentiment was particularly strong on the left of the ANC-led alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party uncritically and unconditionally buying into the mythology around Zuma . They viewed his presidency as an opportunity to engineer a leftwards shift in South Africa’s general political direction after the supposed ‘neo-liberalism’ of the Mbeki years.

Now, in 2018, the left is older and wiser. In the aftermath of a scandal ridden presidency disfigured by endemic corruption and allegations of state capture by private interests close to Zuma, the trade union federation and the Communist Party are more likely to support his prosecution than contest it.

Equally, the broader politics of the issue are now less highly charged. In 2009, Zuma was the president-in-waiting. There was limited enthusiasm, even among his many critics in the movement, to see a South African president inaugurated who faced the realistic prospect of a criminal trial in the foreseeable future. It was felt this would provide a fatal distraction from the responsibilities of government.

As it turned out, he was fatally distracted from those responsibilities anyway by a succession of new scandals which arrived with alarming frequency to paralyse his presidency. These included Nkandla (2013/2014), Nenegate (December 2015), the sacking of Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan (March 2017), and the various state capture reports of 2016/17.

While prosecutors technically make their decisions on narrow legal grounds, one should not assume they are entirely insulated from broader political and societal pressures in their decision making. Now, however, Zuma is merely a former president and an ANC member. Consequently, the protective shield previously extended by the governing party will not be there. And, given the other scandals mentioned above and with a new leader in place, he may only be able to draw on very modest support from within the ANC’s ranks.

The double-edged sword

Zuma’s proposed prosecution is a welcome reaffirmation of the principle that all are equal before the law. But a trial carries with it very real dangers for the ANC.

First, it will serve to remind a wider South African audience that Zuma did not emerge in a vacuum. He is a product of the ANC. The party elected him twice as its president and, before recalling him in February 2017, rallied round him during the Nkandla saga and in numerous parliamentary votes of no-confidence. Its own National Executive Committee also rejected demands for his recall on several occasions. It will be difficult if not impossible for the ANC to avoid some collateral damage as it was unquestionably the chief facilitator and enabler of that discredited era.

Second, there is always the risk that a trial will see the movement’s dirty laundry being aired in public by Zuma. (The Conversation)

This will be particularly true if he believes his fate is sealed, taking the opportunity for a wider settling of scores with others in the ANC. The trial could then become an endurance test for the ANC and a propaganda windfall for its opponents reminding South Africans in graphic detail of the looting and embezzlement over which the movement has presided.

Ramaphosa will hope that Zuma’s lawyers revisit their earlier so-called ‘Stalingrad strategy’ of delays and prevarication so that when it finally commences it does so after – and not before – the 2019 election. On past evidence there are likely to be numerous attempts by his lawyers to actually prevent the case from ever coming to court.

For the trial to take place in the run up to, and during that election campaign, would be extremely unwelcome for the new leadership. It will blunt the Ramaphosa message that he is ‘purifying’ the movement, restoring its traditional values, and seeking closure on a discredited era.

Moreover, even in the aftermath of an election, the issue will return to the top of Ramaphosa’s agenda if Zuma is eventually found guilty. The question of granting or not granting him a pardon will then arise. This will test the credentials of a leader supposedly making a definitive break with a sordid past.

It is also possible that further charges could be brought against Zuma once the whole state capture phenomenon is laid bare by an official commission of inquiry headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. The state capture saga makes the existing charges against Zuma look insubstantial by comparison.

Zuma’s presidency may be over, but his toxic legacy seems likely to haunt the ANC – and through it South Africa - for some considerable time yet. (The Conversation)


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The failed vision of a United Africa - part xii

 

By Dr Peter Kafumu

Ahmed Sékou Touré, is another founding father of pan-Africanism who we will tell his story. Touré whom like Nkrumah, Lumumba and Senghor wanted the African countries united into a powerful one state that would liberate itself from economic bondage after the whole continent gaining political independence.

He was a pan-African activist, and Guinean nationalists involved in the independence struggle for Guinea from France. On the 2nd October 1958, became the first President of Guinea and ruled Guinea from then until his death in 1984. He was regarded by his peer as a revolutionary, Pan-Africanist and a man of the people.

Ahmed Sékou Touré was born on the 9th of January 1922, in Faranah village, located on the banks of the River Niger. He was a member of the noble Mandinka ethnic group of which his great-grandfather Samory Touré, was a Moslem Mandinka King who founded the Wassoulou Empire (1861-1890) in the territories of Guinea and Mali. Samory Mandinka Empire was ended by the French colonial rule in 1891.

Touré attended the Faranah Qur’anic School and later a French lower-primary school in Kankan. In 1936 he enrolled in the Georges Poiret Technical College in Conakry but he could not complete his studies. He then became a labor union activist, and the same time studying the works of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, among others.

In 1940, Touré worked as a clerk with a Niger private company at the same studying to complete his college education. 1941 after completing his education he joined the Post, Telegraph and Telecommunications Services (PTTS) as a Postal Clerk. While working he founded the PTTS Workers’ Union, that was the first trade union in colonial Guinea.

In 1946, he became the Secretary General of the PTTS Trade Union and by 1948, rose to become the Secretary General of the National Confederation of Trade Unions in Guinea (CGT). In 1950 he was appointed Secretary General of the Coordinating Committee of the CGT for French West Africa and French Togoland.

In 1952, still involved in the trade union activities he joined politics and became the Leader of the Guinean Democratic Party (PDG); a party that was fighting for the decolonization of Africa from colonialism. In the same year he was elected in the Guinea’s National Assembly in the French Guinea colony Government.

In 1956, Touré was elected Guinea’s Deputy Speaker to the Guinea French colony National Assembly and Mayor of Conakry; positions he used to criticize the French colonial regime. He also served as a representative of African groups in France, who were negotiating for the independence of African French colonies. In September 1958, Guinea participated in the referendum on the new French Constitution Proposal that wanted French overseas territories to choose one of the four options.

The options were either to continue their existing status as French Colonies or move towards full integration into metropolitan France or acquire an autonomous republic status in the new African quasi-federal French Community. However, if they rejected the new Constitution Proposal, they would immediately become independent, and lose all French assistance.

Touré’s PDG Democratic Party, rejected the proposal and campaigned for a “No” vote. The electorate of Guinea overwhelmingly rejected the new Constitution, and Guinea accordingly became an independent state on the 2nd October 1958, with Touré, the first President of independent Guinea.

The independence of Guinea in 1958 was a milestone into the achievement of the pan-African dream of freeing African; and in December 1958; Sékou Touré attended the first pan-African All-African Peoples’ Conference in Accra that was organized by Ghanaian President Nkrumah; where he met other veterans of pan-Africanism that included Nkrumah, Lumumba and Senghor and others. The conference put in place the process of the total liberation and unification of the African Continent.


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Why Africa’s free trade area offers so much promis

 

By Landry Signé

African leaders have just signed a framework establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, the largest free trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organisation.

The free trade area aims to create a single market for goods and services in Africa. By 2030 the market size is expected to include 1.7 billion people with over $ 6.7 trillion of cumulative consumer and business spending – that’s if all African countries have joined the free trade area by then. Ten countries, including Nigeria, have yet to sign up.

The goal is to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.

The agreement has the potential to deliver a great deal for countries on the continent. The hope is that the trade deal will trigger a virtuous cycle of more intra African trade, which in turn will drive the structural transformation of economies – the transition from low productivity and labour intensive activities to higher productivity and skills intensive industrial and service activities – which in turn will produce better paid jobs and make an impact on poverty.

But signing the agreement is only the beginning. For it to come into force, 22 countries must ratify it. Their national legislative bodies must approve and sanction the framework formally, showing full commitment to its implementation. Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou, who has been championing the process, aims to have the ratification process completed by January 2019.

Cause and effect

Some studies have shown that by creating a pan-African market, intra-Africa trade could increase by about 52% by 2022. Better market access creates economies of scale. Combined with appropriate industrial policies, this contributes to a diversified industrial sector and growth in manufacturing value added.

Manufacturing represents only about 10% of total GDP in Africa on average. This falls well below other developing regions. A successful continental free trade area could reduce this gap. And a bigger manufacturing sector will mean more well-paid jobs, especially for young people. This in turn will help poverty alleviation.

Industrial development, and with it, more jobs, is desperately needed in Africa. Industry represents one-quarter to one-third of total job creation in other regions of the world. And a young person in Africa is twice as likely to be unemployed when he or she becomes an adult. This is a particularly stressful situation given that over 70% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is below age 30.

In addition, 70% of Africa’s youth live on less than US $2 per day.

The continental free trade area is expected to offer substantial opportunities for industrialisation, diversification, and high-skilled employment in Africa.

The single continental market will offer the opportunity to accelerate the manufacture and intra-African trade of value-added products, moving from commodity based economies and exports to economic diversification and high-value exports.

But, to increase the impact of the trade deal, industrial policies must be put in place. These must focus on productivity, competition, diversification, and economic complexity.

In other words, governments must create enabling conditions to ensure that productivity is raised to international competitiveness standards. The goal must be to ensure that the products manufactured in African countries are competitively traded on the continent and abroad, and to diversify the range and sophistication of products and services.

Drivers of manufacturing

Data shows that the most economically diverse countries are also the most successful.

In fact, diversification is critical as “countries that are able to sustain a diverse range of productive know-how, including sophisticated, unique know-how, are able to produce a wide diversity of goods, including complex products that few other countries can make.

Diverse African economies such as South Africa and Egypt, are likely to be the drivers of the free trade area, and are likely to benefit from it the most. These countries will find a large continental market for their manufactured products. They will also use their know-how and dense industrial landscape to develop innovative products and respond to market demand.

But the agreement on its own won’t deliver results. Governments must put in place policies that drive industrial development, particularly manufacturing. Five key ones stand out:

Human capital: A strong manufacturing sector needs capable, healthy, and skilled workers. Policymakers should adjust curriculum to ensure that skills are adapted to the market. And there must be a special focus on young people. Curriculum must focus on skills and building capacity for entrepreneurship and self-employment. This should involve business training at an early age and skills upgrading at an advanced one. This should go hand in hand with promoting science, technology, engineering, entrepreneurship and mathematics as well as vocational and on-the-job training.

Policymakers should also favour the migration of highly skilled workers across the continent.

Cost: Policymakers must bring down the cost of doing business. The barriers include energy, access to roads and ports, security, financing, bureaucratic restrictions, corruption, dispute settlement and property rights.

Supply network: Industries are more likely to evolve if competitive networks exist. Policymakers should ease trade restrictions and integrate regional trade networks. In particular, barriers for small and medium-size businesses should be lifted.

Domestic demand: Policymakers should offer tax incentives to firms to unlock job creation, and to increase individual and household incomes. Higher purchasing power for households will increase the size of the domestic market.

Resources: Manufacturing requires heavy investment. This should be driven by the private sector. Policymakers should facilitate access to finance, especially for small and medium enterprises. And to attract foreign direct investment, policymakers should address perceptions of poor risk perception. This invariably scares off potential investors or sets excessive returns expectations.

Increased productivity

The continental free trade area facilitates industrialisation by creating a continental market, unlocking manufacturing potential and bolstering an international negotiation bloc.

Finally, the continental free trade area will also provide African leaders with a greater negotiating power to eliminate barriers to exporting. This will help prevent agreements with other countries, and trading blocs, that are likely to hurt exports and industrial development. (The Conversation)


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Puigdemont: fighting for Catalan independence

 

Barcelona. Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont, who was arrested Sunday in Germany on a European warrant, embodies for his supporters the dream of turning the region into an independent state.

Virtually unknown in Spain and even Catalonia before he became regional president in January 2016, the 55-year-old former journalist with a shaggy brown mop of hair has become an international figure for his failed attempt to break from Spain in October.

In self-exile in Belgium ever since, he had hoped he would make a comeback after leading Catalonia’s separatist bloc to a win in December polls, even if he was wanted back home for his role in the independence drive.

But after weeks of tough negotiations between his supporters and other separatist leaders who thought his reappointment was fraught with difficulty, he lost the battle and stepped aside on March 1. Speaking solemnly in front of Catalan and EU flags via a video posted on social media, he said he was not giving up and would continue to fight for independence, even from abroad. “We won’t surrender, we won’t give up,” he said.

‘Sacrificed’ by peers

For Puigdemont, independence from Spain has been a dream since childhood.

A visionary to some and an opportunistic populist to others, he speaks Spanish, Catalan, French, English and Romanian -- his wife Marcela Topor comes from Romania. A former journalist who rose to become mayor of the city of Girona and a lawmaker in the regional parliament, he was appointed Catalan president with a mandate to pursue independence in a region deeply divided on the issue.

On October 1, this came to a head when an independence referendum was held despite a court ban, sparking a violent police crackdown.

Weeks later on October 27, the Catalan parliament declared independence. The Spanish government moved in immediately, stripping Catalonia of its prized autonomy, sacking its regional government, dissolving its parliament and calling snap elections on December 21. Puigdemont left for Belgium and was charged shortly after with rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds for his role in the secession attempt.

Defying the odds, he ran from afar in December polls and led the separatist camp to victory.

But for him, that victory was short-lived. Faced with the difficulty of appointing a man in exile and wanted by Spanish authorities, the Catalan parliament’s speaker -- also a separatist -- postponed a key assembly vote to reappoint him as president in January.

Hours later, a Spanish television channel revealed a series of mobile messages Puigdemont sent to a friend. In these messages that were accidentally caught on camera, he said it was over for him and that he had been “sacrificed” by his peers.

‘A fighter’

Puigdemont was born in Amer, a small mountain village in Catalonia of 2,200 people, on December 29, 1962, the second of eight siblings.

The son and grandson of bakers, he was just nine when he was sent to boarding school and “learnt to be a fighter”, wrote his friend Carles Porta in a biography of Puigdemont.

“He has this quality (or this flaw): he’s stubborn,” Porta wrote.

Puigdemont was 13 when Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975. Hugely attached to the Catalan language and passionate about history, the teenager would forever remember Franco’s severe repression of the region.

In 1980, he joined Convergencia Democratica de Catalunya, the conservative and nationalist party which became the Catalan European Democratic Party in 2016.

Hired in 1982 by the nationalist newspaper El Punt Avui, he rose up through the ranks and became editor, combining journalism with activism. At the time, pro-independence Catalans were still a minority. In the following years, he sought to widen support for independence, always by peaceful means, inspired by India’s icon, Mahatma Gandhi. Puigdemont’s detractors accuse him of ignoring Catalans who oppose independence while Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party has in recent months portrayed him as a “political corpse”. (AFP)


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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Kenyans must seize Kenyatta-Odinga moment

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

When the Post-Electoral Conflict reappeared in Kenya, there were so many appeals for the main protagonists to talk in order to reconcile Kenya. However, these calls were not heeded in the beginning. It reached the point at which the acrimony was termed as the ‘dialogue of the deaf.’ Thank Lord; recent awake from the slumber that ushered in the gesture of reconciliation between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his arch nemeses Odinga occurred. Once again, doomsayers won’t stop letting their tongues wag.

This development is remarkably recommendable and welcome. This is because, at least, the duo has realised that Kenya is greater and more important than individuals, their ambitions, outfits and their cohorts. By coming forth to be counted, the duo has committed themselves to the noblest cause they cannot manipulate or ditch.

By coming forth to be counted, the duo didn’t only invite more scrutiny on their seriousness but also has set a new stage for the nation to move forward after being held to ransom for a long time. Despite this bold move-cum-stance, detractors are out there daggers drawn to sabotage it for their personal and infinitesimal interests. Swahili sage has it that one that hides private parts won’t get a child.

Kenyatta and Odinga aren’t neophytes in the politics of Kenya. So, too, they are not chicken hearted that can recoil or chicken out of the move they’ve willingly started towards healing Kenya.

For, whoever does so will face more of the wrath of the people than the one electoral difference and injustices have caused to Kenya and its people.

Therefore, knowing what they initiated, the duo will strongly pooh pooh whatever forces that seek to dissuade or try to force them from soldiering on.

Since the news broke that the two nemeses have decided to bury the hatchet, forces opposed to their bold stance have already surfaced from both sides of the divide. For example, the National Super Alliance co-principals have already registered their dissatisfaction which is their right. As well, some of their fanatics such as Miguna Miguna surfaced. Miguna, for one, attacked Kenyatta and Odinga after binding them together. He was quoted as saying that he will “continue the struggle for electoral justice and the culture of impunity that both Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta now represent.”

This is but too late, too little. Ironically, when Miguna abandoned Odinga in the hour of need, he was not referred to as a traitor! Swahili sage has it that the simian doesn’t see its butts.

If any move to heal Kenya is a betrayal, it is a good one compared to the politics of violence many bankrupt and skinny politicians cash in to survive.

If Miguna and the like think that Kenyatta and Odinga have betrayed the Kenyans, they should wait for 2022 when they will state their case before the Kenyan voters. Some of the prophets of doom are terming Kenyatta-Odinga awakening ‘a Kikuyu-Luo merger’.

I wonder; why did the same make do with Kikuyu-Kalenjin merger. Methinks; it is time for Kenya to bury and forgo toxic ethnic politics. This is because; for over five decades it has not worked for the majority Kenyans.

Therefore, national politics needs to kick in to see to it that Kenya is taken to the bright future revolving around national strength instead of ethnic madness.

The politics of tummy aside, what Kenyatta and Odinga did, shall they stand their ground, is nothing but the rebirth of the nation that has suffered from toxic ethnic politics since independence. Kenyans must ignore quacks, self-seekers and provocateurs so that they can reclaim their countries. So, too, Kenyans must tell them to their face–and shall they cling on their backward-looking strategies–that they are tired of divisive, ethnic and toxic politics. Importantly, Kenyans must see to it that the duo does not recoil or go off-course or recant their commitment.

I know–thanks to the politics of ‘it is our time to eat’–both camps have detractors that are likely to lose or miss out in the action come 2022. These will never tire in contemning the stance Kenyatta and Odinga have taken.

Again, the sage has it that the man is the one who stands alone. Therefore, Kenyatta and Odinga must not listen to opportunists in their camps. Instead, they must listen to the majority Kenyans who, in the main, are the major sufferers of bankrupt and divisive politics.

In sum, Kenyans–that have suffered from the impasse the rife between Kenyatta and Odinga caused–have all reasons to seize the Kenyatta–Odinga cooperation in the building of their country.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Shrinking freedom spaces in Tanzania

Mbeya residents attends a political rally

Mbeya residents attends a political rally during past election campaigns.The most conspicuous space that has been shrinking is the political.PHOTO|FILE  

By Prof Mwesiga Baregu @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

In a recent book examining the state of democracy in East Africa in 2015 it was established that the year was one of sustained democratic recession across the region. The reason for this dreadful state of affairs was found to hinge around the failure of democratic consolidation.

This, in turn, was traced, specifically, to the failure by East African countries to firmly entrench the doctrine of ‘separation of powers and checks and balances’ as fundamental norms of democratic practice in the region.

This has created continuous tension particularly between the Executive and the other two arms of government with the former progressively encroaching upon the Legislature and the Judiciary. As a result the whole multiparty political system has been rendered virtually dysfunctional with dire consequences for political, legal and socio economic rights and freedoms in these countries.

Tanzania has had a long and tortuous journey toward democracy. It has essentially navigated through, at least, four phases on this journey. The first phase (liberal) began a few years before independence in the mid 50s when the colonial government authorized the formation of political parties to participate in the struggle for independence.

By the time the country acceded to independence in 1961 there were at least four political parties namely; Tanu, UTP, AMNUT and ANC. Tanu won the contest to lead the country to independence but the other political parties continued to exist until 1964 when they were proscribed.

The second phase (single-party) began when a one party state was declared by Tanu in Tanganyika in 1964 just before the revolution in Zanzibar. In the wake of the revolution in Zanzibar, the new government also declared the Afro-Shiraz Party (ASP) the sole political party in Zanzibar. Tanu and ASP were later to merge, forming the CCM in 1977. This move heralded the consolidation of single party rule in the Union. During this phase CCM established a monopoly over political power and imposed ideological hegemony over the whole society in all spheres of socio-economic and political life.

The Third phase (liberal) began with the setting up of the Nyalali Commission in 1991. The Commission recommended, inter alia, the establishment of multi-party democracy and was quickly followed by enabling legislation in 1992 to that effect. Between that time and now the country has experienced the gradual rise and slow consolidation of an opposition composed of several political parties though most of them have been weak. This is largely because of the deliberate refusal by the government to implement the key Nyalali recommendation: that a new constitution was necessary if the new political system was to be effectively established.

The result has been that the opposition political parties have continued to function in a hostile environment under a constitution designed for one party rule. This situation continues to prevail with the CCM resisting any transformative constitutional changes. That persistent resistance is what led to the rejection of the transformative constitutional recommendations that were made by the Constitutional Review Commission under Judge (rtd) Warioba.(CRC) in 2014.

The CRC aimed at accomplishing political transformation by proposing a constitution providing for, inter alia; curtailing the powers of the president, strengthening separation of powers and checks and balances; introducing the right of recall of representatives; introducing term-limits for Members of Parliament; emphasizing ethics in society and government; entrenching national norms and values, etc. Moreover by establishing an inclusive, participatory, responsive and accountable political system, the constitution was expected to address the legitimacy crisis of the state by vesting power at the sources of organic legitimacy: the people. This, in turn, would have cons