Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mere rituals? Elections still hold key to change

Voters queue to cast their ballots in 2015.

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

By André Guichaoua

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In power until 2034

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every leader for themselves

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

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

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

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

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

The price of longevity

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

We’re not here to frustrate govt: Dar mayor

Dar es Salaam City Council Lord Mayor Isaya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My open letter to Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga

 

By Nkwazi Mhando

Dear President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Premier Raila Odinga:

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

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

Allow me to humbly address you as follows:

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

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

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

Demos and altercations

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

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

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

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

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

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Building on Mwalimu Nyerere’s strong friendship

 

By Ciarán Cannon T.D

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Works closely with Tanzania

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Reflecting on the legacy of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nyerere’s flipside

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

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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

Jumping ship: Chadema councillors from Arusha

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expressed frustration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video clips

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

Selfish interests

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

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

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

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

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

Ideology is a ‘minor’ issue

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

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

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

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

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

Excessive ambition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘No one like us’

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Can these task forces add real value?

Then-President Jakaya Kikwete and Zanzibar

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

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

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

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

The Nyerere and Mwinyi commissions

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

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

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

The Mkapa and Kikwete commissions

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Magufuli’s mining concerns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

House Speaker Ndugai and his committees

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magufuli already making a difference

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The highest and lowest paid African presidents



President John Magufuli. PHOTO | FILE

President John Magufuli. PHOTO | FILE 

By Political Platform Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Is citizenship now used to ‘fix’ critics?

Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nationality as silencing mechanism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When an act becomes harassment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone’s nationality can be questioned

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

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

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

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

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

Not a new phenomenon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Show me my nation

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

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

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Lasting solution needed to get EAC out of quagmire

 

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

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

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

Kenya

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

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

Uganda

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

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

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

Tanzania

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

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

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

Rwanda

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

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

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

Burundi

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

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

South Sudan

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

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

Wind of change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

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

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Why is fighting in parliament so common?



Ugandan MPs in fist fights last week.PHOTO|FILE

Ugandan MPs in fist fights last week.PHOTO|FILE 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elsewhere

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

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

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Re-imagining democracy and life

Jay Naidoo is the former Minister in the

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

By Jay Naidoo @Jay_Naidoo

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

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

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

What is to be Done?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Media: A (mis)trusted interlocutor

Mwananchi Communications Ltd journalists at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

People are distrusting of their governments

Winnie Byanyima is an Open Government

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

By Winnie Byanyima @Winnie_Byanyima

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

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

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

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

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

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

Process and values matter in policy-making. Giving citizens the opportunity to influence the substance of public policy can lead to better decisions, improved satisfaction and ultimately trust in government. We are witnessing examples of governments both at the national and subnational level modelling change from the inside out to build trust with citizens.

Public servants are being challenged out of their comfort zones. They are changing the way they interact with the public, seeking ideas from civil society and the private sector, and having honest exchanges about their capacity to deliver.

This is clear in many countries that have joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP). We know more is possible. The OGP aims at setting and sharing international norms and ensuring the values of truth, openness, fairness, inclusion and participation are central to rebuilding trust with citizens. Initiatives like Georgia’s Public Service Halls, Canada’s Open Dialogues, Buenos Aires Elige, and Ukraine’s ProZorro are illustrative of trust-building projects. This is just a beginning.

Platforms like OGP can contribute to reverse distrust in governments, and build momentum. As this publication shows, challenges faced by governments will become insurmountable without close collaboration with the private sector, civil society and the media. They must all play a role as partners, with the wider public in deliberation, decision making and action on public policy challenges. They all play a role in holding governments to account on their promises.

It is particularly crucial that governments address the expectations of their youth populations by introducing new participatory approaches to decisionmaking, for example. Women and marginalized communities must become equal partners in shaping our future.

An effective agenda to build trust must engage key demographics by design, and consciously bring their voices to the table. The complex challenges our world faces call upon formidable leadership from governments. But governments alone cannot solve them all. They need the ideas, wisdom and commitment of people.

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

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Alarm as multiple woes, politics dog Africa

Supporters of Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila

Supporters of Kenya’s Opposition leader Raila Odinga celebrate as he leaves the Supreme Court in Nairobi on September 1, 2017. Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s election win last month and called for new elections within 60 days. PHOTO I FILE 

By Ciugu Mwagiru @TheCitizenTz ciugumwagiru@yahoo.co.uk

Dar es Salaam. As the fourth and last quarter of the year approaches, Africa continues to be engrossed in titillating political drama amid seemingly endless political squabbles that seem to have become the order of the day.

Uncertain situations in countries like Kenya, South Africa and Togo continue to dominate media headlines, with base politicking seemingly relegating development agenda to the backburner.

As Kenya remains uncertain in view of the presidential election slated for October 17, in Togo there is mounting turmoil following recent protests, amid calls for fresh ones.

South Africa is also in the limelight as the country’s Supreme Court prepares to hear an appeal relating to 800 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma that were dropped earlier.

The development comes even as Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the president’s former wife and chairperson of the African Union Commission, is reportedly poised for a Cabinet appointment.

Major elections are looming in the country, including the one for the leadership of the ruling ANC party slated for December.

The looming appointment is therefore widely viewed as a ruse to perpetuate the Zuma dynasty amid a fluid situation in neighbouring Angola following recent elections.

In the latter country, the opposition Unita party has been mulling a boycott of parliament, as if taking the cue from its Nasa coalition counterpart in Kenya.

In the meantime, and sadly for the ordinary people of the continent, the erstwhile dream of Africa’s heralded economic renaissance seems to have practically dissipated.

Paradoxically, the continent’s political class – mainly made up of the economic elite – seems to be interested in little else but the relentless struggles for power and political dominance.

The result is that for the time being the imperative of true leadership seems to be lacking even as politicians determined to attain power at all costs go for each other’s throats.

Unfortunately, the African continent is currently convulsed in sporadic woes that seem to be endless, as even a cursory glance at media headlines reveals.

Among recent concerns are such disasters as last month’s landslide and flooding that hit parts of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital.

According to a preliminary World Bank report, the disaster inflicted an estimated $30 million worth of damage on the economy of the country.

Apart from the loss of human lives, there was massive damage to health and education facilities, industry, transport and housing, with the latter sector particularly hard-hit.

Just last week the World Bank said it was providing a $82 million recovery package to be expended on short, medium and long-term projects in a bid to revitalize the economy.

Ironically, these amounts look like loose change when compared to the mind-boggling expenditures involving African elections, during which all stops are pulled in a spending frenzy.

The bungled General Election held in Kenya on August 8, for instance, was widely billed as possibly the second most expensive election in the world.

In a continent notorious for its mendicant tendencies and general dependency on donor funding, the costs of the Kenyan poll shot to well above a massive figure of 500 million US dollars.

Other African countries are equally extravagant during electoral periods, with little thought given to serious economic crises and the general welfare of seriously impoverished populations.

Back to natural disasters, the situation has been alarming in the tiny island nation of Cape Verde, which was recently hit by the worst malaria outbreak in decades.

According to media reports, during this year the country recorded the worst malaria outbreak in over two decades, with a total of 184 cases of infections recorded since January.

The figure was the highest figure since 1991, with the capital Praia alone having recorded 170 cases during the current crisis.

Elsewhere on the continent Madagascar, yet another island nation, has been reeling from the effects of an outbreak of pneumonic plague.

In a country that has witnessed an outbreak nearly every year since 1980, the current one has resulted in some fatalities, according to the health ministry.

At the same time, some 349 people were treated for the plague, outbreaks of which have been blamed on factors such as rats fleeing forest fires, poor hygiene and inadequate healthcare. That aside, a major meeting slated for September 20 is expected to assess the current situation in war-torn South Sudan, which is still in the stranglehold of a massive humanitarian crisis. According to the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, the number of people displaced in the country rose to nearly four million during the first half of this year.

While there are 1.9 million internally displaced people, two million others who have fled to neighbouring countries, with million of them are based in Uganda alone.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Open Government is a catalyst for trust

 

By Bob Collymore @bobcollymore

Despite being billed as a “commercial disaster” when it launched, the Concorde soon became the global symbol of audacity. Born in the late 1960s, it captured a universal spirit of renewed hope following several devastating world wars.

The Concorde represented the belief that there were no barriers to where mankind could go, or how fast we could get there. And yet, when the last Concorde flight landed in 2003, not only did the golden era of supersonic flight end, in many ways, so did that global feeling of optimism and hope.

Quite simply, the public lost trust in the vision that Concorde represented. They became weary of a new global paradigm that was seeing governments and companies getting bigger and more powerful, effectively leaving them behind. Positive growth seemed to only exist for a select few. Today, that crisis of faith continues to affect our most important global institutions.

Even as external factors like climate change disrupt communities and populations grapple with increased unemployment in an automated world, we are shifting our perceptions of the trustworthiness of our governments, leaders, businesses, civil society and economic systems. Already, more than half the world has lost trust in key institutions, with just 37 per cent of CEOs and 29 percent of government officials seen as credible.

Through their day-to-day (and often predatory) actions, these institutions are not inspiring trust. They have become monuments to commercial gain at the expense of social good. And yet, without trust, you can’t strive to create the institutions that have made mankind so enterprising – like the Concorde. So how can we begin to rebuild trust?

Our most urgent consideration lies in the fact that our future will be fundamentally different from our past. If we need to build more symbolic Concordes, then we will need to rethink the way our systems work. We must invest in new and inventive solutions that put the long-term interests of people, the community and the environment first. This means that we must be prepared to do the unusual.

We must think beyond the traditional lines of government and business to meet the true needs of our communities. For instance, we know that a key component of regaining trust is transparency. Using our mobile money product, M-Pesa, we have been able to digitise food delivery for more than 100,000 households in the camps of Daadab and Kakuma. Through a cross-sector partnership, we have ensured refugees living in the camps no longer have to beg for food. Today, they are able to gain access to food tokens, delivered via their mobile phones, that they can spend wherever and whenever they want.

This simple solution has brought about a massive shift from the decades-old indignity of relying on handouts from state and aid agencies. It delivers transparency. It has removed the opportunity for corruption by eliminating middle-men, and reduced the cost of distributing relief aid, while creating employment and business opportunities for people in refugee camps. By upholding openness as one of the key drivers for this solution, we have found relevance at the intersection of need and profitability.

This kind of commercial transparency catalyzes trust, and has created a more engaged community in the camps. This is mainly because technology can often extend trust in ways no other intervention can. Technology is impartial, can cut costs, and deliver solutions faster than traditional means.

We are already seeing that mobile money can limit corruption, which is a significant detractor for investors on the African continent. In Kenya for instance, M-PESA is already helping county governments streamline their revenue collection. Citizens can currently apply and pay for 41 services from various public sector departments, including immigration, civil and business registration, through the eCitizen online platform. In Rwanda, an e-government platform, Irembo, has reduced the time to complete a birth registration from more than six hours to as little as 40 minutes. In Côte d’Ivoire, a public-private collaboration between the Ministry of Education and mobile money has resulted in 99.3 per cent of secondary school fees being digitised. This has decreased the number of lost payments, fraud, and theft drastically, and enabled the Ministry of Education to better manage their annual budgets because mobile money allowed the government to collect fees earlier in the year.

These initiatives are proof that increased transparency and openness can help us to overcome uncertainty across communities, economies, and eventually, the world. New and inventive solutions using technology create the building blocks of authenticity. This helps people to trust that institutions will deliver for them and provides the basis for a global movement towards positive collective action. We will have provided a catalyst for trust.

Bob Collymore is the Chief Executive Officer of Safaricom Limited of Kenya

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Will the world sit back and allow bullying of Qatar?

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

A few days ago, Tanzania had some explanations to make vis-à-vis its ties with North Korea. I think this is because our country is not an island when it comes to how it functions in the international community.

This has forced me to look at another conflict in the Middle East between Qatar and the Quartet of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). For some past months, a wealthy country of Qatar has been involved in the tussle with its gulf neighbours. Due to this conflict, the quartet severed diplomatic ties with Qatar after accusing it of supporting terrorist groups the allegations Qatar sturdily denies.

Essentially, the ongoing Qatar-Gulf- Arab-nations conflict is not a good thing for both Qatar and its neighbouring adversaries. So, too, this conflict is likely to negatively impact on other countries in the region and in the world in general. After this conflict simmered, and came to the surface, the quartet issued some conditions to Qatar among which were the closure of an international media outlet, Al Jazeera. suspension of relationship between Qatar and some countries aggrieved countries view as the enemies of the region, and making sure that Qatar is audited by these countries vis-à-vis its compliance with their demands. Those who know and appreciate the freedom of press and the great role the Al Jazeera has played in the modern world in information dissemination, will never understand the rationale of closing it down.

First of all, the Al Jazeera has not only open Qatar for the world but also the entire region; which is good for all countries in the region.

Secondly, the Al Jazeera is an independent media group that is supposed to be left alone to do its business peacefully and professionally as it has been doing since its inception.

And thirdly, there is no way foreign powers can dictate Qatar’s political life so as to choose friends for it not to mention deciding what is wrong or not for it. This is colonialism, even if it committed by neighbouring countries. Qatar is a sovereign country whose sovereignty is sacrosanct under the international laws.

Luckily, however, Qatar decided to stand its ground and resist this bullying behaviour its neighbours are exhibiting. For, many of the conditions set do completely violate the sacrosanctity of Qatar’s sovereignty.

Apart from severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, the quartet also decided to close their borders, waters and skies for Qatar which is strange and unfeasible in dealing with the conflict positively. As the conflict drags on, it will play in the hands of the enemies of the region. What is obvious is the fact that regional, international competitors and enemies will like to take advantage of the existing impasse.

Fundamentally, there is no winner in this conflict except the enemies of the countries involved in this imbroglio. If there are winners in this conflict are none other than Iran and Turkey whose leverage in Qatar is likely to grow and glow provided that they will stand by their friend, Qatar at the hour of need, which is natural. Geostrategically, these gulf nations need to think out of the box as far as the conflict is concerned.

The nature of regional realpolitik shows that Qatar will win big provided that many countries will sympathise with it due to the size and nature of demands its adversaries want it to succumb to or comply with. In June, the quartet offered Qatar a period of ten day to meet their demands. Since then, Qatar has never bowed; and it still soldiers on three month down the line. If all parties stand their ground to see to it that their demands are met by either of the side, chances of losing it are high. Qatar will never sacrifice its sovereignty as any country could do. Arguably, the quartet has to tone down their pressure; and abandon some of its demands shall it want to resolve this conflict constructively and positively. There is no reason for neighbours to shun each other and expect to do well in all aspects of their lives.

In a nutshell, parties to this conflict need to understand that the world does not look at; and into the conflict they are into with the same lens and intentions. The US provides a very good example; it refused to side with any of the parties to conflict. This means the US as well as the international community see some elements of bullying in the conflict. Therefore, my advice to the parties to this conflict is: Sit on a roundtable and iron out your differences; otherwise, the world will never side with any bully in this conflict at hand.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Can party militia fill security loophole?

File photo of members of the Chadema militia,

File photo of members of the Chadema militia, the Red Brigade. A directive by the Registrar of Political Parties to disband the groups fell on deaf ears as all the major parties maintain their private security detail, with the opposition insisting they need the units now more than ever. PHOTO | FILE 

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

Dar es Salaam. As the climate of fear persists among politicians following the fatal shooting of Chadema lawyer Tundu Lissu early this month, the question of party militia groups has resurfaced with opposition leaders digging in, vowing not to disband, but instead strengthen their own private security.

Gunmen shot and wounded Mr Lissu outside his home in Dodoma early this month, and the outspoken government critic is still recovering in a Nairobi hospital.

His condition has been described as stable but critical after his vehicle was sprayed with 30 live bullets. Many political leaders have also suffered similar attempts on their lives in recent years, with some disappearing under strange circumstances that call the security issue into question.

Those who seem to be mostly affected are opposition politicians who are now increasingly crying foul over the long list of “unresolved cases” of attempts on their colleagues’ lives and abductions of people perceived to be anti-establishment.

In various interviews with Political Platform, opposition leaders have said they are increasingly getting worried about the current political environment, especially on matters relating their personal security.

The country’s three major opposition parties – Chadema, Civic United Front (CUF) and ACT-Wazalendo – have spoken in favour of their own security arrangements instead of relying on the police force.

“The government has to accept the fact that it has failed on its basic duty to make sure that all the people are secure and that nobody feels threatened while in the country,” Chadema spokesman Tumaini Makene says in an interview with Political Platform. All the major political parties in the country still have their own militia groups serving as private security apparatuses, despite repeated calls for their disbanding.

The militias, among other duties, are recruited to protect party bigwigs during public appearances, and act as the main security detail at meetings and functions.

However, the various interviews Political Platform recently had suggest that the feeling of insecurity is still a common denominator among senior party officials who see their militias as inadequate when it comes to providing maximum protection. Instead, many political party leaders are calling for a “non-partisan and professional” police force to fill the gap.

If recent incidents are anything to go by, there is a likelihood that political parties will seek to boost their private security details as confidence in the capacity of the police force dip.

Already, the three main political parties in the country have well-organised and trained militias protecting the bigwigs.

The ruling CCM has the Green Guard while the main opposition Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) has the Red Brigade and Civic United Front (CUF) Blue Guard.

Polarising political environment

In this increasingly polarising political environment, debate may cease to be about the essence or necessity of these private security details but how much they can provide the feeling of personal safety that the country’s public leaders from across the political divide seem to be yearning for.

The opposition feels members of the police force have let them down, hence the proliferation of party militia.

Mr Makene says the police force has failed on its constitutional responsibility to ensure security for all people in the country, creating a gap that militias are filling.

He adds that it’s the responsibility of every government around the world to protect its citizens regardless of one’s ideological affiliation.

However, the Chadema spokesperson is quick to point out that party militias alone cannot stop the rampant attacks on public leaders without the cooperation of the police force.

The absence of a proper justice delivery system has a lot to do with the persistent attacks and disappearance of political leaders, Mr Makene avers, adding that party militias can do nothing to end it.

“Once you don’t have a just system in place, things just go the way we currently see them going in our country.”

He points the finger at the “same people” who are supposed to be enforcing the law, decrying what he says is the lack of institutional accountability.

“If the government was acting responsibly, as it’s constitutionally required, we couldn’t have reached this stage where a political leader is attacked by those called unknown people,” he says.

The Chadema leader notes that the government is not taking all complaints on injustice seriously. If it was doing so, there wouldn’t be need for people to talk about the need to strengthen party militias, Mr Makene argues.

“We just need the same fair treatment from state apparatuses as our CCM counterpart are getting.”

However, the Police Force maintains that it is still conducting its role in a professional manner despite the criticism from the opposition parties.

Mr Barnabas Mwakalukwa, the Police Force spokesperson, believes the people still have faith in the law enforcement agents. “We have not received any complaint from any political party suggesting that they lost faith in us,” he says.

On party militia, the senior cop says the laws of the land are “very clear” on the issue, that it’s the Police Force, which is responsible for the security of the people and their properties.

Contacted for comment on the matter, CCM secretary for ideology and publicity Humphrey Polepole said: “I can’t talk now, will call you back soon.”

However, he never called back, and did not pick calls when contacted later.

No alternative

In the Civic United Front (CUF), the outcry is the same. The party’s deputy director of information and public communications Mbarara Maharagande suggests they have defied calls to disband their militia because they have been left with no alternative.

The opposition party’s Blue Guard is still in place.

“We cannot heed the call because first of all, we don’t have faith in them, and secondly, the militia operates in line with the party’s constitution as well,” says Mr Maharagande.

He notes that as far as they are concerned the protection of their party’s leaders is a priority.

“Currently, our main concern is the decision by the government to withdraw the security detail of our secretary general, Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad, despite the fact that he is a former First Vice President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar,” he says.

According to Mr Maharagande, this is one of the factors behind their lack of faith in the police force under the fifth phase government, which he accuses of having no tolerance for the opposition.

“The current administration is not tolerant of critics and the multiparty system in general,” says Mr Maharagande, who urges the government to ensure that peace and security are restored and maintained.

Like his opposition colleagues in Chadema, the CUF official accuses the police force of ignoring its key responsibility of protecting the citizenry, and instead allow itself to be used to hunt government critics down in a bid to please the CCM government and ruling party leaders.

He is also worried about the police force’s “inaction” with regards the persistent attacks on political leaders. “We have reported about nine incidents involving attacks on our leaders, but no one has been worked on,” says Mr Maharagande, who goes on to accuse the law enforcement agents of sitting on information that can lead to the arrest of the perpetrators of the violent attacks.

ACT-Wazalendo information officer Abdallah Hamis also corroborates what the other opposition parties have expressed concerns about – that there is a general feeling that the government has not lived up to the people’s expectations when it comes to security matters.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What TZ needs is development not new Constitution: Lubinga

Ngemela Lubinga CCM's  Secretary of Political

Ngemela Lubinga CCM's  Secretary of Political Affairs and International Relations,in an exclusive interview with MCLjournalists last week. PHOTO | SAID KHAMIS 

Colonel (rtd) Ngemela Lubinga is Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)’s Secretary of Political Affairs and International Relations. He was appointed to that position in December 13, 2016.

In this interview with Political Platform Reporter, Louis Kolumbia, he talks about various developments in the country and in the party and their impact on both the foreign and policies. As far as the new constitution is concerned he, specifically, says the development agenda is Tanzania’s number one priority.

Question: What are you proud of in CCM?

Answer: I’m proud of a strong CCM. A political party that is built on a strong foundation; a party that has come of age.

What hasn’t CCM not yet achieved?

Building CCM as a political party based on the youth. The founding members of Tanganyika Affrican National Union (TANU) and CCM are retiring politics. We need new blood. Of course we have started grooming the youth. The challenge we facing is that we can’t get the youth to attend our trainings according to our schedules because most of them are students.

What is CCM doing to ensure the plan succeeds?

We are planning to construct a political training college at Kibaha kwa Mfipa in Coast Region in collaboration with political parties in some Sadc countries are planning to construct a political training college at Kibaha kwa Mfipa in Coast Region.

We will put the foundation stone on October 12, 2017. The ceremony will be attended by secretary generals from various political parties across the region and representatives of the Communist Party of China (CPC). This project will go concurrently with the revival of another college located in Ihemi, Iringa Region.

You were a career solider. How challenging is it working in a political party?

There is a strong tradition of politics in the army. Many CCM leaders were former soldiers. Former President, Jakaya Kikwete, George Mkuchika, Ditopile Mzuzuri, Issa Kaisi, Moses Nnauye, Yusuph Makamba and Abdulrahman Kinana, to name just a few, were among cadres who served in the army before becoming full time politicians. My appointment is like moving from one camp to another, the difference is insignificant and it is mainly aimed at improving efficiency in the party.

What is your comment about President Magufuli’s habit of appointing army men to serve in government positions?

Again this goes back to CCM’s traditions. In the past membership in the Tanu Youth League (TYL), CCM and African Shiraz Party (ASP) was considered an important criteria for joining the army.

It is difficult to avoid appointing army officers in government because they are serving the same employer. What is done in the new appointment is changing positions, it is like shifting from one battalion to another.

When did you retire from the army and join become a card-carrying member of CCM?

I left the army several years ago to become the founding District Commissioner of Mlele District in Katavi Region. Then I went back to the army and was appointed the Tanzania People Defense Force spokesperson.

So when I went back to the army my card was taken away by my employer till when I retired shortly before I was appointed by President John Magufuli, who is the chairman of CCM, to shit position in December 2016.

How neutral can a solider be when he or she is a member of a political party?

II understand your question but you have to remember we are coming from a tradition where army was politicized. Yes it is difficult to guarantee total neutrality in that case. It will take time, until, perhaps when our generation has moved on.

Why do you think did CCM chairman President Magufuli appointed you in the position?

You should ask President Magufuli himself that question.

Do you think measures taken by the government to revise natural resource laws and restrict export of copper and gold concentrate have affected country’s relationship with its foreign partners?

Relationship with foreign countries has remained intact. I know people will not immediately understand the impact of reviewing bogus contracts for national development. But in future they will, surely understand and appreciate what we have done as far as securing natural resources ownership is concerned.

As a country we should be ready to pay a high cost of terminating such contracts. We shouldn’t be afraid to correct past mistakes simply because people were already used to a certain way of life. Change is inevitable though it might be uncomfortable.

Has CCM completed paying the Communist Party of China (CPC) loan used to construct the Dodoma Convention Centre and other party projects?

CCM does not owe CPC anything. We signed contracts allowing resource sharing.

What are your comments as regards the Zanzibar political impasse?

The Zanzibar political dispute is being blown out of proportion. There is no political crisis in Zanzibar. What we have is just ordinary political struggles that can happen anywhere in the world. No democracy is perfect. I mean even Western democracies have their own shortcomings. The problem with Zanzibar is that it is less populated, making it easy for political differences to be amplified. However, as compared to other countries including the west, the situation in Zanzibar is better.

But claims that the Tanzanian government is suppressing democracy are really, aren’t they?

It is a fact that CCM won the 2015 General Election. It is also a fact that CCM won because voters were satisfied by the party’s Manifesto.

And the Manifesto clearly says that CCM’s agenda is to bring development in the country. So CCM has to be given space to bring the development to the people. Political rallies and demonstrations can very well be used to distract people from the government’s agenda. That is why rallies and demonstrations had to be suspended till 2020 except in constituencies and wards. And it is not true that CCM politicians hold rallies. They are holding closed door meetings just like politicians from other political parties. It is, therefore, not true that the government is suppressing democracy in the country.

There is evidence that the Police have been storming closed door meetings held by opposition parties?

The Police are better placed to speak on this. But usually they do intervene whenever there is reason to intervene. What I know is that the government has clearly explained why councillors and MPs are the only politicians allowed to hold rallies in their respective wards and constituencies.

Is it appropriate for Regional Commissioners (RCs) and District Commissioners (DCs) to lockup government executives?

RCs and DCs are allowed by low to lock anybody up, including civil servants, if there is a reason to do that, for 48 hours. You must understand that even the Vatican has cells where in spite of being resided by the pope, bishops, priests and nuns.

People’s properties are stolen in Mecca during Hajj in spite of the pilgrim’s intention to get out of sin. It means people that if there is reason to lock people up then people can be locked up.

Do you support the ongoing trend of politics in the universities?

A good political party invests in building patriotism among the youth. Some opposition parties use tribal divisions and religious differences to divide Tanzanians, but we in CCM will continue building a united nation.

CCM is blamed for fueling, behind the scenes, a leadership crisis within the Civic United Front (CUF). What is your comment?

The CCM-led government does not benefit in any way when the opposition is weakened. In fact the government has been working hard to provide conducive environment for democracy to prosper. The main problem the opposition CUF is facing it lack of political maturity and inadequate internal democracy.

The main figures in the crisis, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba and Seif Sharif Hamad, are well educated and were once in leadership positions in CCM and in government.

But they have somehow failed to rescue the party from the current slide-down. When Prof Lipumba resigned as CUF chairman, just close to elections in 2015, the party did nothing to formalize his resignation. This means the possibility for his return was left open.

And so the CUF has itself to blame for its problems. They should stop pointing fingers outside the party.

But don’t you believe that a well-functioning CUF is key to the peace and security of Zanzibar?

As I said strong opposition political parties are key to Tanzania’s democracy. Also CCM need conflict-free opposition that can provide constructive criticism.

How is CCM taking on board the government’s concept of “bursting the boils” whereby unaccountable leaders have been sacked from public service?

‘Bursting the boils’ is not a new concept. It was famously used by CCM for years since Mwalimu Nyerere’s era. It is the party that has ordered the government to ensure inept government officers are made accountable.

Being the government’s chief executive, President Magufuli has adopted “bursting the boils” philosophy to promote accountability of public servants.

Now talking of bursting the boils why it appears the main culprits of the Tegeta Escrow account scandal have not been prosecuted

All corrupt officials and politicians will be prosecuted, but other circumstances demands that some criminals be subjected to party observation. Who expected Rugemalira (James) would be prosecuted?

Prof Tibaijuka (Anna) was sacked from his cabinet position because under CCM procedures she didn’t report gifts and materials she received from Rugemalira.

How far has CCM reached in recovering party properties?

Party properties will be recovered step by step in collaboration with government institutions. The process has already started. Lawyers are also needed to provide legal counsel. However, the time is yet to come.

What is your comments on claims that the Executive is interfering with other pillars of the government; the Judiciary and the Parliament?

You must understand that it is one government. All the three pillars are branches of eh same government. And the CCM-led government is committed to restore accountability in all sectors. The MPs are disciplined in accordance with Parliamentary Standing Orders without influence of the Executive.

The courts were not properly fulfilling their responsibilities in spite of former President Jakaya Kikwete’s efforts to provide the Judiciary with a good number of new judges. Cases were taking too long to be concluded, sometimes for no apparent reason, prompting government’s intervention.

Trying to increase efficiency in other institutions is not the same as influencing their decisions and functions.

What is CCM’s stand on the new Katiba writing process?

CCM has instructed the government to provide rights to citizens according to CCM’s 2015 election manifesto. My opinion is that the new constitution isn’t the country’s first priority. We need to develop our economy first before we start dealing with things like the new constitution.

Has the country lent something from the 2017 presidential elections in Kenya?

CCM has learnt a lot, but the lessons need to be implemented according to the country’s situation. We have leant a lot in other elections held in the US, UK and China but our adoption will depend on the country’s demands at respective time.

Can you unreal your life history?

I was born on October 10, 1956 at Bombo Hospital in Tanga where my father worked as a police officer. However, my family is originally from Misenyi District, Kagera Region. I’m married, a father of three, two boys and one girl. I also adopted one child. On top of that I have two grandchildren.

Academically, I completed my primary education in 1971 from Karumo Primary School in Sengerema, Mwanza Region. I completed my ordinary level education in 1975 at Ihungo Secondary School. Then, I joined Nachingwea Teachers Training College (TTC) in 1977.

After attending the National Services Training, I attended a certificate course studies on Ideological Studies at Kivukoni College in 1981 before joining the Tanzania School of Journalism (TSJ) in 1984, then travelled to Czechoslovakia for a diploma in strategic studies.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tanzania: Island of peace or in pieces?

President of Tanzania Legal Society (TLS), MP

President of Tanzania Legal Society (TLS), MP for Singida East and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) chief legal counsel Tundu Lissu 

By Nkwazi Mhango

Two salient incidents ensued in the country last week. The first is the cowardly attempt on the life of the president of Tanzania Legal Society (TLS), MP for Singida East and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) chief legal counsel Tundu Lissu in Dodoma recently. It left Tanzania paralysed.

Unknown people pumped over 20 ammos into Lissu who miraculously survived; and is still receiving medical treatments in Nairobi, Kenya.

This bratty, brutal, horrific and terrific act is a gory scar on Tanzania. Up until now, nobody knows the motive[s] and motif[s] behind such barbaric and horrific attack. It is too early to point fingers. The Inspect General of Police (IGP) Simon Sirro and Chadema Chairperson, Freeman Mbowe, said that Sub-Machine Gun (SMG) was used on the broad daylight.

Before being shot, Lissu had previously complained to the authorities about being trailed by unknown people in car whose colour and number he reported to the authorities that took no action. Why? According to Mtama MP, Nape Nnauye, this car has been trailing other MPs.

Attending a prayer for Lissu at Kanisa la Ufufuo na Uzima, the MP for Ubungo, Saed Kubenea linked the incident with Lissu’s vocalness. I don’t want to believe that the Island of Peace has reached where countries disintegrated because of the bedlam resulting from the elimination of opponents. Differently from that, Tanzanians understand, this country belongs to all equally as ndugus. Nobody is better than others.

Quite so, nobody’s views or ideology are better than others. Nobody has the right to take away anybody’s right to expression, belief and life simply because of having opposing views. Our democracy has always acted as a magic bullet if not magic wand that helped us to avert such nonsense and bestiality.

Whoever wants to kill Lissu and suchlike simply for whatever reasons, he wants to dent our democracy. Human are capable of detaining, torturing bodies but nobody can their mouths or ideas. Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara or Julius Nyerere and Nelson Mandela died. However, their ideas are still alive. Lissu too, can be killed. Yet again, nobody can dispose or kill his ideal ideas. By the way, is there any human being that’ll live forever?”

The second incident was the handing over of two reports to president John Magufuli on diamond and tanzanite that unearthed mega corruption in the mineral sector as a typical replica of what’s been going on for over a half decade almost in every venture the government has ever entered.

To show his talons, Magufuli sanctioned the resignations of his two ministers, George Simbachawene (Minister of State in the President’s Office: Regional Administration and Local Government), Edwin Ngonyani, (Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and communication).

Implicated government officials were left to the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) to deal with them. As for implicated politicians such as MPs, it seems the government doesn’t know what to do. Again, there is an answer to this; though from unexpected quarters. Handing over the reports, the speaker of national parliament Job Ndugai proposed that all parties whose members are implicated should be notified so that they replace them.

He cited CUF’s example of nullifying the membership of some MPs whom it thereafter expelled and replaced. Implicated in the two reports were MPs Andrew Chenge and William Ngeleja (CCM). The duo has been mentioned previously in other reports but nothing was done to see to it that the face music.

Chenge especially has been living in the ocean of scandals. In 2008, he was implicated by UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for having received $1 million as kickbacks in radar procurement. When he was asked about having such a humungous amount of money, Chenge replied that, to him, such was but peanuts. Therefrom, he was nicknamed mzee wa Vijisenti or Mr Peanuts.

Now that Chenge’s and Ngeleja’s dirty laundries are in the agora, will CCM follow suit and heed Ndugai’s call? However, President Magufuli pre-empted what can happen to the culprits saying that, the CCM has its way of dealing with them among which is being reprimanded. Many wondered why Magufuli who is CCM’s chairman fell short of saying that the culprits can be expelled from the party based on what he calls party’s code of conducts.

In sum, thanks to what transpired, is Tanzania going to the dogs? Is the island of peace in pieces?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

CCM now downplay Kikwete remarks



Former President Jakaya Kikwete

Former President Jakaya Kikwete 

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

Dar es Salaam. The ruling party, CCM, has said former President Jakaya Kikwete’s statement on the need for African governments to give political space to opposition parties had no reference whatever to Tanzania.

Discussing a paper presented on Good Governance and Rule of Law at the Leadership Forum 2017 in Johannesburg last month, Kikwete called upon African governments not to consider opposition parties as the enemy but as partners in democracy and therefore.

But the CCM Ideology and Publicity secretary Humphrey Polepole told PoliticalPlatform during an exclusive interview that Mr Kikwete’s comments were not a reflection of what is going on in Tanzania. If the message was intended for Tanzania, according to Mr Polepole, he would have delivered it here. “That’s why Mr Kikwete chose an international platform. There was no need for him to address democracy issue in South Africa if he intended to address the country’s situation. There are many African countries whose progress in democracy is wanting, those are the ones he targeted,” Mr Polepole said.

The CCM spokersperson went on to say despite the fact that some Tanzanian opposition politicians were sabotaging the country’s crackdown on economic crimes, the government does not consider them as enemies. “Elected politicians in the opposition were voted in office to serve the people, to help them overcome various development challenges. But they are not ready to work with people in the wards and constituents,” he lamented.

Speaking on the ongoing exercise of CCM’s property and asset assessment , Mr Polepole said CCM would come with a special operation to recover its assets.

“I’m not going to name the properties, but this should be our message that CCM properties unlawfully owned by individuals will be recovered in the near future,” he said.

He added that CCM initiated the verification of assets to measure its economic strength and weaknesses saying it was shameful for a party with a history of helping several liberation movements in Africa to depend on contribution of individual members.

Mr Polepole said verification identified that CCM owned 22 football stadia out of 33 available in the country and the party was refurbishing the grounds to meet required standards.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Kenyatta’s weakness exposed in his attacks on the judiciary

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses Governors and Members of County Assembly at the State House in Nairobi on Saturday. PHOTO|FILE 

By Emmanuel Kisumo kisumogapi17@gmail.com

Dodoma. The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta seems to be a bitter, angry man following the nullification of the presidential election results by the Supreme Court on Friday.

Definitely the court’s decision in a vote of 4 to 2 ‘shocked’ the region as it was unexpected and unusual for an African court to nullify a presidential election. The court ordered another election in 60 days.

But President Kenyatta made his anger publicly known. Soon after the court decision he launched into a furious tirade against the judges who ruled against his electoral victory, at times even questioning the constitutional arrangement that gives the Supreme Court the final say in election disputes.

After initially saying he disagreed with the court’s decision but respected it, President Kenyatta went on and called them “crooks”, claiming that the four judges went against the wishes of millions of Kenyans. And then he issued threats saying the judges “should know that they are no longer dealing with the president-elect but the serving president” as if in this case the distinction between the two is of any practical significance. Back in 2013 when the Supreme Court made a unanimous decision to uphold his controversial electoral victory which he had secured by the smallest of margins possible, his arch rival, Raila Odinga accepted the court’s ruling graciously, wishing the president-elect the best in his task of leading Kenya.

Mr Odinga fully comprehended the enormity of going back to the streets few years after Kenya suffered its worst post-election violence. He understood how important his words would be to millions of his supporters and the unity of a bitterly divided country.

Kenya was spared the worst in terms of post-election violence in 2013 courtesy of the courts be they local or international; each with its own mandate and a role to play in stabilizing a country on edge, as some of the leading political figures were then accused of fuelling the post-election violence along ethnic lines.

President Kenyatta’s attacks on the judiciary is ill-advised. He should stop his attacks on the judiciary and the judges because his country requires him to provide leadership at this critical moment and his words and conduct are important in post-election stability especially if he goes to lose that election. The court’s decision is a litmus test to the rest of the region and the continent in their pursuit of political inclusion. As things stand, multiparty politics in the region has fared better in his country compared to the rest of its neighbours where political space is squeezed, intentions of running against a sitting president (among other reasons) has sent another country to civil war; in another neighbour controversial elections plunged the country into continued violence to this day, while in another neighbouring coutnry despite what appears to be a different way of organizing competitive politics, critics are not convinced that that country is democratic.

That despite all countries in East Africa (EAC members) having imperfect democracies, Kenya is seen as “democratic” and its neighbours are seen to be inclined towards dictatorships of varying degrees. Part of the reason for this is political tolerance in Kenya and that it is the only country in the region to elect an opposition candidate to the presidency. Toppling a well established ruling party (Kanu) from power and such momentous decision did not lead to bloodshed in Kenya as power was transferred peacefully.

The role played by the courts is another part to the Kenyan democratic story. They are seen as impartial. That they cannot be swayed by those in power or their opponents but the power of their legal arguments. President Kenyatta had no reservation before about the Supreme Court. That is what makes his attacks against them now so tasteless and offensive.

These attacks weaken him and his re-election bid and threaten to return his country back to the precipice. To his supporters these statements can be taken to mean that their victory was ‘stolen” by the courts, putting Kenya on the slippery slope affecting any attempts at electoral and extensive legal reforms across the region as well as offering justification for those in power to keep at bay any efforts of opening up political spaces in their countries.

President Kenyatta has said he is ready to go back to the campaign trail and is sure to defeat his political rival once again. He should focus his message there and not expend his energy attacking the judiciary.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NEC: We are right on special seat legislators

Some of the CUF special seats MPs who were

Some of the CUF special seats MPs who were expelled from the party leave the High Court in Dar es Salaam where they had filed a case to challenge their dismissal. PHOTOIFILE   

By Abdulwakil Saiboko @TheCitizenTz saibokos@gmail.com

Dar es Salaam. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) recently nominated eight Civic United Front (CUF) Women Special Seats Members of Parliament (MPs) amid criticism by some media outlets and politicians over irregularities in the process.

As a section of politicians within the CUF criticised the move which perhaps didn’t favour their interests, one tabloid carried an article which accused NEC of having received directives from the Speaker of the National Assembly on how to address the matter surrounding the expulsion of eight party’s special seats MPs and their replacements.

The matter has raised concern within the national electoral body over the need to educate its stakeholders on the subject in a bid to bridge the gap that seems to exist on the people’s understanding of issues related to nomination of women’s special seats member of parliament.

“Perhaps I think it is the lack of understanding among people on one hand, but on the other hand it could be a deliberate move to mislead. It also seems that those who don’t know they are not ready to learn and understand,” says the NEC Director of Elections, Mr Kailima Ramadhani.

He lamented that NEC observed all legal requirements concerning special seats members of parliament as one of the official types of elections another one being that of voting.

“It should be noted that special seats is also a kind of elections according to laws because we have that of voting at polling stations and this one (special seats) which is an outcome of proportional representation,” he said.

Proportional representation is a type of electoral system that decides the make-up of a parliament by allocating seats based on the number of votes each party received.

He further explained his dismay over the misleading pioneers pointing out that some of them were party officials who are well aware of all the procedures.

“Maybe I should first explain where special seats for women come from. In accordance with Article 78 (1) of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977 and laid down procedures, Political Parties in the General Election which won at least 5 percent of all valid votes for Parliamentary Election shall qualify for special seats and these seats accounts for 40 percent of all members of parliament,” he said.

Section 86A of the National Elections Act gives political parties the chance to send the list of individuals whom they want to be nominated as special seats MPs.

“A political party which contests for Parliamentary election held after the dissolution of the National Assembly may propose and submit to the Commission (NEC) names of eligible women candidates for nomination to women special seats,” reads Section 86A(2) of the National Elections Act.

“Therefore in 2015 during general elections we wrote to political parties asking them to furnish us with the names for the purpose in question,” said Mr Kailima.

He pointed out that in the procedures of filling the posts, the Commission allocates the seats to the political parties that have succeeded to meet the 5 percent requirement, and in 2015 the parties that had qualified includes Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Civic United Front (CUF) and Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema).

Section 37 (3) states “where a Member of Parliament resigns, dies or otherwise relinquishes office for reason other than under section 113 (election petition where the court has to decide) the Speaker shall in writing to the Chairman of the Commission, and by notice published in the Gazette, declare that there is a vacancy in the seat of a Member of Parliament”.

Mr Kailima noted that after NEC has received a letter, the next step is taken trough Article 78 (4) of the Constitution which directs that the same list that was presented or submitted by a political party during general elections will be used to fill vacancies but this is done after the Commission has consulted the concerned political party. “The list of the names for the women candidates submitted to the Electoral Commission by each political party for general election shall be the list to be applied by the Electoral Commission after consultation of the party concerned, for purpose of filling any vacancy of Members of Parliament of this category whenever the vacancy occurs during the life of Parliament,” reads Article 78 (4) of the Constitution.

“From the requirement of the law we normally write a letter to a political party, asking them to tell us who among the names in the list that we already have should fill a vacant post. They are required to respond by filling Form Number 8E, we then go on with management procedures of determining whether individuals in the list qualifies for the post and thereafter approve them,” said Mr Kailima.

He added that the criteria for qualifications are normally based on the requirements of the law for one to become an MP but also the fact that the names being presented are in the list which was presented to NEC during general election, adding that NEC does not accept new names.

“Subject to the provisions contained in this Article, any person shall be qualified for election or appointment as a Member of Parliament if he-is a citizen of the United Republic who has attained the age of twenty one years and who can read and write in Kiswahili and English and is a member and a candidate proposed by a political party,” reads Article 67 (1) of the Constitution in part.

“After the vetting we write to the speaker of the National Assembly informing him that we have already made a selection, a letter is also sent to a political party with reference to their application letter informing them that their application has been worked upon and the decision has been made and sometimes we even write letters to appointed MPs…” said Mr Kailima.

He noted further that on the CUF’s case in particular, procedures were followed because “…on the evening of 26th July we received a letter from the Speaker (Speaker of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai) informing the Chairman of the Comission (Judge Semistocles Kaijage) that there are vacancies in the House of CUF’s special seats MPs. On 27th July I wrote a letter to CUF’s secretary general. If the chairman (NEC chairman) writes a letter it is addressed to the party’s chairman, but if I (the Director of Elections) write a letter, I address it to the party’s secretary general”.

He added that in so doing the electoral body always uses the address that was provided by the registrar of political parties because it does not deal with registration of political parties but it rather receives all the details including parties’ names, registration numbers and names of parties’ leaders.

The Director acknowledged the fact that some political parties have more than one address such as CCM (Dar es Salaam and Dodoma) and CUF (Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar).

He however pointed out that for the CUF’s recent case in particular, the letter came from Dar es Salaam and therefore the Commission’s management replied through the same address.

Responding on the claims that the names of appointed MPs did not emanate from the list submitted earlier on, Mr Kailima said that such statements are yet a vivid example on how politicians were deliberately misleading members of public for political reasons known better by them.

“It is alarming because the CUF Secretary General, Seif Sharif Hamad who is claiming that the nominated MPs are not in the list brought by CUF, he is actually the one who signed a paper which bear the very names and was submitted to us (NEC) during 2015’s general election,” he said.

Explaining as to why NEC responded so quickly on the matter in question (the nomination of special seats MPs), Mr Kailima said the laws that guides NEC on nomination procedures does not put a time limit, in other words, the commission is free to make decision as soon as possible. He added that the speed was also shown previously while replacing CCM and Chadema MPs.

Mr Kailima further noted that there was no arrangement on the commission’s ways of operation that allows any discussion or syndicate with the National Assembly or the Speaker on the matters related to nomination of special seats MPs, pointing out that claims that the Commission was acting under pressure from the Parliament were baseless.

“The commission has never, and it will never sit in a meeting with the Speaker to seek his advice on matters related to its jurisdiction. According to the constitution, laws, rules and regulations, we don’t have such a forum. I would like to advice politicians and media houses to be frank and ethical in their approach of issues,” he said.

He elaborated that NEC may consult National Assembly on matters related to introduction of new constituencies in relation to the capacity of the House. He also pointed out that NEC was also collaborating with the government on matters related to facilitation of its operations and security during elections and other activities such as voters’ registration.

“We have been working closely with political parties, they are our crucial stakeholders and we are thus obliged to engage them in every activity such as voters’ registration and elections among others, but this does not mean that they can interfere or influence our independency in decision making..,” he said.

The writer of this article is an information officer of National Electoral Commission (NEC)

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Presidential rerun; Kenya isn’t out of the woods yet

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

No doubt. Kenya is facing a Solomonic test that begs for Solomonic wisdom. After the Supreme Court of Kenya nullified president Uhuru Kenyatta’s win, Kenya, once again, was pushed back to square one as far as the search for its president is concerned. September 1, 2017 goes to the annals of history as the day, for the first time in East Africa, Africa and the world at large, president’s results were nullified.

What a big blow for rulers in countries in the region who tamper with the constitution to cling unto power! For, from what transpired in Kenya, many citizens have seen the beauty of having progressive constitutions. This means; Kenya is now shifting gears from presidential democracy to Constitutional democracy. Notably, up till now, the full ruling and the rationale thereof have not been known. For, the court hasn’t yet released them.

However, the Supreme Court, in its decision, ruled that Kenya’s presidential election was not credible, free, fairs and verifiable; thus invalid, null and void thanks to the illegalities and irregularities the court found. The said election didn’t meet constitutional prescriptions as stipulated in Kenya’s constitution. Therefore, the Court ordered the rerun within 60 days of make or break that will decide the future of Kenya.

With Kenya’s future hanging in the balance, as country and a people, needs more than what it takes to come out of this imbroglio peacefully and safely. There are a few reasons to think that anything can happen though elections and a long waiting that followed were peaceful and hopeful.

First, I don’t think; the time stipulated in the constitution is sufficient enough for Kenya to conduct credible, free and fair presidential election. Apart from the constraints of time, there are resources constraints such as finance, logistic, procurement of electoral materials and whatnots.

Secondly, the body charged with conducting the election, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), like the court, is now at the receiving end, especially from the losers of the petition. Recently, president Kenyatta and his deputy slung mud at the judiciary while the opposition, the National Super Alliance (NASA) said categorically that the IEBC has lost its credibility, thus, it cannot conduct another election. While the NASA wants the IEBC to pack And hit the road, the status quo prefers it to conduct the rerun as prescribed in the constitution.

This means: Kenya is facing legal-cum-political impasse at the same time. The situation becomes even dire due to the fact that the constitution stipulates that elections should be conducted in 60 days shall the results be nullified.

Legally speaking, such provisions were enacted to deal with parliamentary; and possibly gubernatorial and other disputes but not presidential. This is why the Supreme Court’s ruling caught Kenya off guard. Never had in Africa any presidential victory been quashed.

Thus, those who enacted the law didn’t expect such an eventuality would happen. Is Kenya capable of conducting a credible, free and fair election within the confines of the constitution? How if the NASA doesn’t trust the IEBC? Will wisdom dictate that Kenya amends its constitution to accommodate this eventuality?

Third, apart from legal limbo and political imbroglio-cum-quandary, recently the situation took a bad turn when President Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, attacked the decision; and referred to the Supreme Court as Kangaroo court and judges wakora or crooks which is unfortunate and bad. Ironically, the same said that they will respect its decision!

Fourth, looking at how diverging and discordant the campaigns and polls were, Kenya is currently divided right down the middle gyrating around ethno-affiliations. This shifts national politics to ethnopolitics whose tendencies are always deadly and unpredictable if we remember the 2007-2008 Post-Election Violence (PEV).

I am not trying to be a doomsayer or a worrywart,. chiefly when I explore the fact that the protagonists who caused such a crisis are almost the same save that this time the competition is between Kenyatta and Raila Odinga as opposed to Mwai Kibaki and Odinga. Importantly, the duo comes from the same antagonistic tribes and their alliances.

Now what should be done to do away with this catch-22?

Firstly, the Supreme Court should caution politicians about the contempt of court. Shall they stand their ground; they must be sued and punished. This will de-escalate the looming danger such monkey business can cause.

Secondly, the NASA must go to court to stop the IEBC from conducting the rerun. For, it was found liable for some criminal negligence; and partly the contempt of court due to refusing to allow the petitioners to access some evidence as ordered by the court.

To cut a long story short, Kenya needs Solomonic wisdom to pull it out of the limbo is in. and this is only possible shall all Kenyans stand as one as they shy away from their tribal bubbles.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Women’s struggle for land rights

Granting land rights to women can raise farm

Granting land rights to women can raise farm production by 20-30 per cent in developing countrie. PHOTOS|VALENINTE OFORO&FILE 

By Valentine Oforo @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

Dodoma. Land remains among crucial determinants of a country’s economic growth, especially through agriculture sector.

Statistics show that the agriculture sector accounts for more than one-quarter of Tanzania’s GDP, employing about 80 per cent of the work force.

However, it is also true that in Tanzania, as in much of Africa, women make important contribution to the agricultural labour force and to the rural economy in general. In rural areas, women are the chief producers of food in the family . Most men tend to spend their entire time in local brew clubs.

It is estimated that in Tanzania women constitute for at least 70 per cent of the agricultural labour force.

But despite playing such a vital role, to date, women in Tanzania have tenuous rights to the land they rely on to feed their families. Though Tanzania’s Land Act and Village Land Act (both passed in 1999) provide for women’s ownership of land, customary practices regarding marriage and inheritance continue to discriminate heavily against them.

In Tanzania customary practices often require women to access land through their fathers, brothers, husbands or other men who control the land.

It is for this reason that women small –scale food producers in Chamwino District in Dodoma have formed their special forum, dubbed “Chamwino Women Small-Scale Famers’ Forum” to advocate for the land rights and liberate women from all forms of social masculinities in their areas.

“For many years women here have seriously continued to be suppressed by men and are deprived of crucial constitutional rights due to prevailing poor cultures,”

“We can no longer tolerate seeing the way women spend their entire days in farms producing food for their families but after harvests their ‘lazy’ husbands end-up selling all harvested crops in order to get money to buy local brew, leaving the families in famine and destitute,” Anastazia Madeje, a secretary of the Chamwino’s small –scale women farmers’ forum told Political Platform during an interview in Mlodaa village, Chamwino District.

The journey of Chamwino’s women to push for their land rights has a long-way-up background, although very little has so far been achieved.

In October last year, they climbed Mountain Kilimanjaro in a special expedition dubbed ‘Women to Kilimanjaro; Stand Up for Women’s Land Rights’ in a bid to voice their voices to the government to implement gender focused policies and plan support for women transformative agenda in Tanzania.

“We have been pressed for our land rights for some years but we have yet to achieve what we intended. Many women in the districts are not in any position of owning land due to poor perception. Societies here believe that land is for the clan and that there is no need for men to give land to someone who is in transit (wives). If a female child is given land by fathers, the belief is, she will not respect her husband.”

“Some believe that if you give land to a female child, then then when she gets married the land will automatically be under the possession of her husband from another clan,” said Maria Chiute, a resident of Mlodaa village.

However, a recent tour of the district found that widows in most villages were seriously undermined after the death of their husbands.

“After the death of my husband two year ago, my in-laws took over all of our farms, leaving me with a small plot which cannot even produce enough food for my two daughters,” narrated Paulina Msisi.

Moreover, the tour noticed that women in the districts are also subjected to different forms of gender based violence (GBV) including rape and beatings by their husbands but they fail to report such crudity incidences due to masculinity dominance.

“Women are not involved when it comes to decision making pertaining to key issues, from family to societal levels, we are just the victims of men’s decision,” said Pendo Yaledi, a villager of Mlodaa.

But amid all these obstacles, women have vowed never to down their tools in the fight against masculinity and poor customary laws that suppressing their rights over land ownership.

Meanwhile, Chamwino District Commissioner Vumilia Nyamoga has vowed to do her righful part to see women in her area of jurisdiction are respected and treated equally.

“The fifth-phase government realizes the major role played by women to improve the economy in the country, and thus I will stand work hard to advocate for women’s welfare here in order to remove all gender inequalities,” she assured.

In most rural areas, the exclusion of women and girls from inheritance deprive them of their rightful inheritance and source of livelihood thereby leaving them destitute.

There has also been various initiatives to ensure that women and girls are not discriminated against but up to date discrimination exist, as a result widows and orphans are forced into poverty, girls dropping out from school, and to some extent early pregnancies and marriage.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Angolans vote today in rare, decisive elections

Vice President Samia Hassa Suluhu chats with

Vice President Samia Hassa Suluhu chats with her Angolan counterpart, Manuel Domingos Vicente, in a past Sadc summit. The Pretoria meeting held over the weekend discussed many issues including the threat of terrorrism in the region. PHOTO | FILE 

By Ciugu Mwagiru @TheCitizenTz ciugumwagiru@yahoo.co.uk

Mombasa. Following the Kenyan general election held on August 8, Angola is now poised for crucial polls that will see the exit of veteran president Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled the country since 1979.

Set for today, August 23, the Angolan general election will be the third one since the country emerged from a long-drawn civil war in 2002.

This time around six parties will be competing for the 220 parliamentary seats, with the ruling MPLA widely viewed as dominant, and its presidential candidate Joao Lourenco as the most likely to succeed the ailing dos Santos.

The poll will come soon after the inauguration of recently re-elected Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who was sworn in for a third term last Friday, and also at a time when the Kenyan presidential vote results have culminated in a tantalising Supreme Court suit.

Filed by Nasa, the country’s opposition coalition, the case will put Kenyan institutions like the Judiciary and the electoral and boundaries commission under a major test.

In an unusually eventful weekend, the Angolan general election will also follow the 37th summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Pretoria, South Africa over the weekend, and had the theme “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value-chains”.

Among the objectives of the regional meet was that of “exploring ways of harnessing the public and the private sector to work together to promote sustainable economic development in the region.”

Underpinning the meet’s deliberations will be the urgency of putting in place mechanisms for attaining the goal of industrialisation and sustainable development in the region, while also bolstering ongoing efforts to achieve deeper integration for the member countries.

A major objective is to safeguard political stability and peace and security in the region with a view to ensuring a quality life for all citizens and realising the targeted economic development goals.

While appreciating the fact that their region has been spared the vagaries of the terrorism that has become rampant on the African continent and globally, the participants have reportedly noted that acts of terror are unpredictable.

Bearing that in mind, they have also expressed concern about the fact that religion is a major factor in the terrorist activities reported in recent years around the world.

Amid the general optimism in the Sadc region, however, clouds of uncertainly still hang over countries such as Zimbabwe and South Africa with regard to festering succession issues.

Incidentally Jacob Zuma, the president of the latter country, was hurled into the limelight during the two-day summit even as the 93-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s arrival in Pretoria was clouded by the shenanigans surrounding First Lady Grace Mugabe, 52.

Controversial at the best of times, the former secretary was under mounting fire for allegedly assaulting a 20-year-old Johannesburg model, Gabriella Engels, with an electrical extension cord while her 10 bodyguards watched.

According to the victim, the furious Grace Mugabe brutally attacked her and two of her friends after finding them in the company of the Mugabe boys, both in their 20s, at the Capital 20 West Hotel in the upmarket business district of Sandton.

“She flipped and just kept beating me with the plug,” the victim reportedly told the News 24 website. “Over and over. I had no idea what was going on. I was surprised... I needed to crawl out of the room before I could run away.”

As for the two Mugabe sons, Robert Jnr. and Chatunga, who live in Johannesburg, they reportedly fled the scene in the midst of their distraught mother’s fury.

Apparently spoilt rotten, the hedonistic young men are widely viewed as overgrown brats and the latest examples of the indiscipline of the progeny of Africa’s political aristocracy.

Regarding summit host President Zuma, he has recently survived the eighth no-confidence motion of his controversy-ridden political career.

Still raring for a good fight, Zuma has now vowed to go after his detractors, particularly those from the ruling ANC party who voted against him during the censor motion held on August 8.

Internal South African political challenges aside, the apparently indomitable President Zuma is today set to assume the rotating Sadc chair from King Mswati III of Swaziland.

Back to Angola, according to the country’s authorities 9,260,403 voters have been registered for the looming polls, amid recent claims that the government has been trying to manipulate the electoral process in order to determine the outcome.

Consequently, there have been spirited protests by civil society activists, seven of whom were recently sentenced to 45 days in jail for their role in a demonstration in the capital Luanda for a credible election

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

BOTTOM LINE : Accountability: Africa’s lesson from Pakistan



NKWAZI MHANGO

NKWAZI MHANGO 

By Nkwazi Mhango

When Pakistan is mentioned many think about exporting illegal immigrants to Africa, terrorism, negative ethnicity, radicalism and Abbottabad where the former renegade head of Al Qaeda, an international fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group, Osama bin Laden was gunned down.

To the contrary, what recently transpired there shows that Pakistan still has something significant to offer and teach for Africa. News that the High Court, in its unanimous decision, removed Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharriff from office after being implicated in corruption unveiled by the 2016 Panama papers leak.

According to the Al Jazeera Pakistan (28 July 2017), Sharriff came under fire after the Panama papers leak indicated that his three children Hussain, Hasan and Maryam owned at least three off-shore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. To make matters worse, documents supported allegations against Sharriff indicating that his children were involved “in a $13.2m mortgage involving the London properties as collateral, the first time the Sharif family’s ownership of the apartments was proven on paper.”

How does Sharriff’s sack chime with Africa? Firstly, some African presidents such as Jacob Zuma (South Africa) represented by his nephew Khulubuse Zuma, and Joseph Kabila whose twin sister Janet Kabila Kyungu was implicated, were mentioned. We actually don’t know if Kyungu’s business has anything to do with president Kabila. However, if we look at how Sharriff was implicated under the strength of the participation of his children, chances of dragging Kabila’s name in the scandal are high.

Provided that two African heads of state have been touched on; not to mention others who are not implicated even though in their countries their corruption is clearly known, Africa can still learn from Pakistan where whenever the name of the prime minister is dragged into any scandal, he or she has to be accountable.

Again, is there any African court that can remove the president from office like it is occurred in Pakistan? No way; how if at all African rulers are above the constitutions of their countries for them to abuses and misuses as they deem fit? This means if we craft our constitutions skillfully, we are likely to use them to fight graft scientifically and quickly. Therefore, the first thing to do is pull down all demigods from being above the constitution. It doesn’t cross any mind to allow a mortal to be above the constitution and expect him or her to do justice or be accountable. Absolute power corrupt absolutely chiefly when one has it knows he or she is totally unrebukable. This is the nature of all mortals. Putting a mortal above the law abuses and belittles the law.

So, too, allowing a mortal to be above the law is nothing but offering a carte blanche for such a corporeal to abuse the law. For, such a mortal knows that at the end of the day he or she will never been required to be accountable for whatever criminality committed under his or her watch. It is sad that this has sadly been the case in many African countries where power has become a family business if not a private estate.

Due to this ruse, politics has become a very booming business whose competition, in some countries, warrants the elimination of the opponents or whoever deemed to be a stumbling block to that seeking–let say–presidency.

This is why Africa has many dictators in power who don’t want to vacate power for the fear of losing such a booming business. The mess doesn’t end up with the top thieves. Their families and their partners and friends too, are like mini-presidents. Pakistan decided to say no to family presidency something Africa needs to learn quickly so as to save many countries from the hands of thieves, their families, consigliore and partners.

What makes the situation hard for corrupt fat cats in Pakistan is the fact that the constitution is foolproof which is different from Africa where we recently evidenced some potentates tamper with the constitutions of their countries to remain in power illegally. This is the lesson Pakistan can offer to Africa.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WRITTEN WORD : Why hope is crucial for survival



Human existence is a study in hope. PHOTO|FILE

Human existence is a study in hope. PHOTO|FILE 

By Patrick O.Creary

Amidst the hassle of our daily obligations, it is necessary for us to take time to reflect. This is time well spent; for often, when we are stressed, pessimism may set in and we become doubtful whether the challenges that we face are surmountable. We may even embrace the status quo making it a fixture within us. This phenomenon is what is used in the domestication of wild elephants.

In Asia, whenever these giants are taken from the forest, they are usually held in captivity by a strong chain. After repeated attempts to break loose, the captive elephants eventually conclude that resistance is futile, and they soon settle into the routine of bondage. However, what the elephants do not know is that sometime during their bondage; their captors substituted the chain with a chord that could be broken with reasonable effort.

This conformity to seemingly insurmountable obstacles is what psychologists call “Learned Helplessness.” A person so afflicted, is prone to accept his state. Habitually, he or she is constantly defeated and relinquishes hope.

Arguably, human existence is a study in hope. Millions have embraced this redemptive philosophy based upon a fervent desire for salvation. Many seek this salvation in religion, as aspirants strive for something better than what they possess; something eternal, something that transcends all that they can see or do for themselves. This is significant, for those so persuaded often rise above spiritual self-reliance to trust in a higher power, one through which they might confirm their hope.

However, in spite of their fervent effort, nature often frustrates the process, defeating the aspirants through the flaw within their longevity; for humans are mortal. This fact of life forces us to think generational, and this is why hope needs to be viral. It needs to be transmitted to a broad cross-section of the population so that it can transcend the death of the one who initially ignites it. Consequently, most visionaries create disciples: the chosen ones who carry on the teachings of the dreamer after he or she has passed on. All great individuals have a vision that transcends them. This ability to see beyond one’s life is that which makes hope purposeful. And in pursuing this path we find the way in nature.

How long has it been since you sat silently and observed nature? Doing so on a day when there is a breeze gently blowing across the lake; or watching the ferocity of a storm sweeping across the Serengeti, evokes the same admiration for an influence that is beyond our control. When we observe nature, our lives become brighter and more clearly defined.

We are pulled subtly into contemplation, and are forced to slow down to appreciate simplicity. After which, we are soberly awakened to our potential, as we begin to feel and dream about possibilities. This awakening of potentiality creates a specific mood within which the mind becomes more inclined to embrace hope, for nature reminds the observer of his or her divine origin; an understanding that will result in humility of the kind that has gratitude at its core, and a natural willingness to bring others into the sphere of such an understanding. It is only after we have entered into this contemplative state, achieved by thoughtful observation and restfulness that we come to appreciate the sublime dignity of being human, individuals created with a full and rich ability for growth and discovery. This is the process through which hope evolves into the new birth.

Hope influences us to pursue meaning for our existence, though this pursuit is often misunderstood, for we sometimes imagine that this meaning is cloaked in a mysterious plan that is hidden somewhere in the future.

But this is not so. Our purpose is simply to pursue goodness, and to use our means and talents for the betterment of humanity. In spite of this, many go on a lifelong search to discover the meaning for their lives. They try this thing or the other, to see which might be more purposeful for them. But the great profundity of our existence is that our purpose lies simply in evolving into wise, patient, and fully realized human beings.

The writer is the CEO of Grand Africa Literary Initiative Ltd

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is this the end of the road for veteran politician?

Nasa presidential candidate poses after a

Nasa presidential candidate poses after a televised debate in Nairobi last month. The veteran politician is expected to announce his future plans in Kenyan politics soon. PHOTOIFILE 

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

Arusha. In September 1997 Raila Odinga, happened to be in Dar es Salaam.

He was attending a conference on political reforms in Africa held at the University of Dar es Salaam’s Faculty of Engineering - now the College of Engineering and Technology (CoET).

The meeting attracted political activists - mainly from the political parties and the academia - and apparently took stock of the reforms undertaken with the re-introduction of multi-party politics.

I happened to be there and after noticing his presence I found out the man was a material for an interview given his status and the fact that Kenya was heading for elections in three months’ time.

At that time the local papers in Tanzania were still awash with successive deaths of prominent people in the world which happened almost at the same time.

These included the tragic death of the famous Princess Diana in a horrific car crash in Paris and Mother Theresa, a Catholic nun from Calcutta, India who touched the hearts of millions across the world.

There was also the demise of Mobutu Sese Seko, the master of his fallen empire of graft in former Zaire, a few months after he was defeated and dethroned by forces led by the late Laurent Kabila.

Would Raila make a big story? One would guess. He was the leader of the National Development Party (NDP) and he was going to contest the Kenyan presidency for the first time.

His father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga had died three years earlier - in January 1994 after having led the opposition from the 1960s but failing to win the presidency.

At the brief interview during the tea break, Raila, 72, appeared optimistic on his long struggles and enthusiasm the region was witnessing because of the political reforms.

But on that year’s elections in Kenya, he was not amused. Only a month before the Dar es Salaam meeting, the Coast region (around Mombasa) had witnessed some killings which were later associated with the polls.

Nonetheless, he was emphatic on one thing; the ruling party or those at the helm of power in his Kenya then would do everything to ensure Kanu was not defeated in the December 1997 polls as was the case in December 1992.

One of the schemes he feared the rulers would use was disenfranchisement of people from voting. He was critical of the registration of voters in his country for that year’s elections.

“There are schemes already employed to ensure some people are denied their right to vote”, he said, adding that this could have been done through manipulation of the registration process, terror campaigns to certain communities and the like.

Raila went back to Kenya and was one of the presidential candidates for the top seat. Kanu once again retained power but for the last time as it was swept out of the throne in the December 2002 polls.

The son of the first Kenyan vice president the late Odinga is never tired of political activism. He is known to be campaigning even when elections are many years to come or have just ended.

At one time, he joined forces with former President Daniel arap Moi to beef up the disintegrating Kanu against a wave of the opposition parties clamouring for power. The project failed. Raila and other “young turks” left Kanu after President Moi had hand-picked Uhuru Kenyatta as Kanu’s presidential candidate.

Back to the opposition Raila merged his NDP into one huge opposition outfit called Narc which was to send Kanu and Mzee Moi reeling out of power. And Kenyatta, who won on last Tuesday’s presidential election became a member of opposition.

One of Raila key partners in unseating the independence party from power was Kenya’s third president Mwai Kibaki. But their alliance did not last long after a fallout that followed a stalled constitutional process.

Kibaki and Raila would meet in the 2007 elections in one of the most competitive Kenyan elections in the history of the country.

Many observers contend that the never-say-die opposition leader was much closer to winning presidency in 2007 than at any other time, including this year.

In fact, live TV screens showed him ahead of Mr Kibaki by about a million votes in the second day of the vote counting, only for the mathematics to make a U-turn in favour of Kibaki on the third day!

Kenya then plunged into bloodshed which cost the lives of 1,300 people and displacement of about 600,000 during two months of politically-instigated violence.

With Raila, once again failing in his dream of the State House seat, what does the future hold for him?

A section of the Kenyan media reported on Monday that the 72 years old has vowed not to run again. This despite the fact that he has he has remained in touch with his base sending messages of defiance and unsuccessfully calling for mass protests on Monday.

Observers further say Raila’s promise not to contest again should not be taken as retirement from politics and political activism.

The career politician who made a name for himself after he was jailed during the struggles for democracy in Kenya in the early 1980s, might find it difficult to throw in the towel.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BOTTOM LINE : Lessons and reflections on past Kenya’s elections

 

By Nkwazi Mhango

The just ended general elections in Kenya left many pivotal lessons for democracy in Kenya and Africa in general.

This piece analyses a few of glitches and lessons from the said elections.

Tribalism

No doubt about this. Kenyans, though not all, voted along tribe cocoons. This means; issues were negated. You can see this on how the ballots were cast and the way the results indicated.

The incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) did well in Central and the Rift Valley areas while the challenger, Raila Odinga did well in Nyanza, West and Coast where their co-principals hail from respectively. As if it is not enough, it seems that Kenyans are going to be under tribal regime for yet a long time to come.

The deputy president Ruto says openly that he is going to take over from Kenyatta after his second term lapses. This means. Kenya is seen as country to be ruled by two tribes namely Kalenjins and Kikuyus if this anomaly isn’t nipped in the bud timely and quickly.

Unfulfilled promises

The opposition and some civil organisations promised they would tally, tabulate and announce their results alongside the IEBC. Interestingly albeit, none of them lived up to their words! Why? Maybe, just maybe; they didn’t have the facilities in place to do so. Otherwise, the world, especially Kenyans would like to know why this bottleneck despite being sanctioned by the laws. Why did they fail to live up to their words while they openly promised Kenyans they would do so? We all know that the opposition and some civic organisation adapted parallel tallying from Ghana that saw the opposition unseating the incumbent. Essentially, Kenya failed where Ghana succeeded.

African factor

Although this can be seen as patronising Africans, the truth of the matter is; African countries are still doing things differently from other countries when it comes to democracy, justice, and transparency. You can vividly see this in the elections in point. For example, there was no way one would expect computers to be hacked or tampered with as the opposition alleged had Kenya been willingly ready to use this advanced and expensive technology to do away with rigging. The signs that things would go wrong surfaced when the head of ICT at the IEBC Chris Chege Msando was butchered a few days before the balloting day.

Demonstrably, this was supposed to act as an eye opener-cum-wake up call, chiefly for the opposition. Ironically, even when the UK and the US offered to investigate this mysterious death, Kenyan authorities kept mum. Why?

For clean and accountable people, especially the opposition, this was a hunch they would have gripped to see to it that the government charged with the security of its citizens and electoral official investigate and come up with convincing narrative about such a criminal death. Sadly, this didn’t happen. Again, the opposition didn’t see things the same way they were supposed to.

Delay

Apart from hanky-panky, there was an unnecessary delay. For, it becomes difficult to understand how the elections set to be computerised to take such a long time to announce the results. This means that the computers the IEBC promised to use were but white elephants. And such a long time delay offered the opposition the ammos to attack the IEBC and deem the exercise spurious and unfair. The major question one may ask is: Why spending billions of shillings on something that could not effectively be used?

Politicians vs citizenry

As noted above, Kenyans voted en mass and peacefully to end up waiting for Godot simply because the IEBC could not declare the winner timely as expected and promised. Kenyans, once again, were treated to a shocking long waiting for no reasonable reasons if I may say so.

It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever for the entire nation to be on alert simply because two dynasties were flexing muscles against each other. Again, can we blame the two Kenyatta and Odinga dynasties while Kenyans intentionally or otherwise entertained them? This is easy to pin down.

Even where discordances against the results occurred, it is citizens whom were reported to have been killed but not politicians.

Financial sources

Kenyan politicians spent billions of schillings without showing how they got them. Choppers were at display virtually at every rally. Ironically, despite such an open secret that extravagance was the order of the day, up until now, no Kenyans are seeking explanations from their political leaders.

Neither the media nor civic societies seem to want to know how these billions were donate, solicited or made. Why? It is simple. Our leaders reflect who we actually are. The society of corrupt citizens produces corrupt leaders. Don’t expect a hyena to sire a lamb.

Kudos

Despite all tribulations noted herein above, Kenyans voted peacefully. If politicians had been as sane and patriotic as the citizens they sought to lead were, maybe, the quagmire and controversies evidenced in Kenya’s elections would not have happened.

In a nutshell, for Africa to have credible, free and fair elections, many changes are needed. Instead of depending on strong men or personalities as it is in the case in Kenya vis-à-vis the said dynasties, and others in the region, Africa needs to build reliable and strong institutions that are accountable and capable to pull it out from embryonic practices as evidenced in Kenya’s elections.

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who is based in Canada

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Have you found something worth dying for?



Patrick O. Creary

Patrick O. Creary 

By Patrick O. Creary

Every person should live with an abiding aim, which would keep him or her pursuing life with zeal and determination. In such a case, that enlightened soul would increasingly find each new day unfolding with purpose and with promise.

Living with such an inclination renders life worthwhile; more so than it would be, if one neglects the necessity to abide by the principle of purposeful living. Incompliant to purpose, a man becomes half committed to living, and goes through life bearing his existence like a burden.

Each day, he rises with unspecified aims that cloud his judgment sending him on various unproductive paths, until at last he discovers that the years have passed, and he has little to show for his time on earth, except possibly children whom he may hardly know and whom may or may not live their lives with the same aimlessness as he, having eaten the grapes, which he planted unwittingly due to his lack of purpose.

To this man, we say that living requires effort; as much effort as it takes to plant a garden in a wild field; only, in this case the garden is our mind. It must be tilled constantly, with care to eradicate useless thoughts and wasteful habits.

We must plant dreams as seeds within the garden of our mind, seeds which are of the right kind, and they must be watered and tended for as long as it takes them to germinate and grow into productive trees, which may bear fruits according to their kind for a hundred years or more.

In fact, it is this harvest of good habits, thrift, and righteousness, which will sustain us in the latter years when we have become incapacitated by time.

Because we have only one life, as far as we know, we ought to ensure that we invest it wisely, ever mindful of the need to dream of things beyond our immediate grasp. This dreaming must take into account that life is unfair, and that we may not be as talented, as wealthy, as fortunate, or even a member of the race which may be in vogue at the time of our brief sojourn on this earth, for such things are always in flux. We must also be mindful that the gods are capricious, granting arbitrary gifts. They give great intellects to humans with little concern of their gender, origin or race.

Consequently, each man or woman possesses abilities, which are randomly distributed. And it is this randomness, which allows each of us a chance of greatness. Yet in spite of how great or small our minds may be, we are nevertheless required to do our best in order to have a worthwhile existence.

Those who have found their purpose understand the art of living. They know and accept the responsibility of cultivating their mind beyond the base needs of impulse, or greed. Brick by brick, they build daily an edifice, which may endure.

They form concepts and theories that may become the salvation for millions, years after they have passed on. The ancient Africans said that to call a man’s name means that he lives on. Thus, in their way of understanding existence, Ramses is immortal, for we proclaim his name.

How is it with us? Have we found our purpose? Do we daily pursue our goals in spite of how far away they seem to be? I am always mindful of appearing foolhardy whenever I tell students or other people that there lies within us a realistic capability to change the world.

My pause is due to the fact that a million other men doubt this ability. They, like sheep, flock in anesthetised herds, conforming to the easy path, and never taking risks in order to achieve greatness. But Martin Luther King Jr. once said:

“There are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for. And I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

It is my steadfast desire to instill within us the need to find that eternally true thing for which we are prepared to die, our country needs such a commitment from us.

The writer is the CEO of Grand Africa Literary Initiative Ltd

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

East Africa’s standard gauge politics

East Africa’s rail traffic density is the

East Africa’s rail traffic density is the lowest in the Continent. PHOTO|FILE 

By Timothy Kalyegira @TheCitizenTz news@thecitizen.co.tz

A new standard gauge railway line is currently under construction in East Africa’s northern corridor.

Financed and built by the Chinese, it is supposed to link Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan and ease and lower the cost of transporting bulk goods.

There is more that binds the eastern African countries than just shared borders and this standard gauge railway. They are also bound by a standard kind of politics.

Despite this new transport investment, the internal politics of the countries through which that railway is supposed to go still resemble the way politics was in the late 1890s when the original Uganda Railway was constructed by the British.

It is still very much based around tribe and the Big Man. Kenya and Rwanda have been the focus of the media during this month of August because of the elections held in the two countries. Since independence in 1963, Kenya has been all about tribe and ethnicity in its politics. It has never tried to hide this fact.

It might have the highest skyscrapers and largest shopping malls and residential areas in East Africa but the politics remains parochial.

Usually in Kenya predicting who wins presidential election, one only needs to study the most recent Kenyan population census.

That is because Kenya votes along blocs of tribal alliances. Since the late 1960s the central Kikuyu region has tended to ally with the Rift Valley Kalenjin. It is the same alliance in the 2017 election campaign.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is a child of modern, digital technology Kenya, as is his deputy president William Ruto. But in the 2013 and 2017 election campaigns they had to reckon with the reality that even in the 21st Century tribe is still thicker than terabytes in Kenya.

There is no sign that this will change any time soon.

In Rwanda, elections after 2000 have been even more humorous than Kenya’s. Kenya’s election campaigns might be parochially tribal, but they are very competitive. There is real campaigning, calculation, the formation of alliances and the deployment of campaign teams.

In Rwanda since 2000, it has been the story of one man and that is President Paul Kagame.

Apart from physically towering over most of his countrymen, Kagame towers even more over the country’s politics.

Even if he didn’t campaign, he would still win with landslides into the mid-90s per cent. Even before he announces that he will contest the election, Kagame has already won by a huge margin.

From 1994 when the RPF took power in Kigali to 2000, there was at least a semblance of weight in Rwanda. There were a handful of prominent Hutu politicians either as chairman of the RPF or president.

Since Kagame moved up from his position of vice president, he has become the face of Rwanda in more ways than any recent African president has been the face of his nation.

In that sense, Rwanda’s is just another standard gauge political formula that resembles 1970s Africa.

Further along the standard gauge railway, we arrive at a station called South Sudan.

Like Kenya and Rwanda, South Sudan is a raw, ethnic-based society. The civil war waged by the SPLM starting in the 1950s was all about security of the identity and territory of the Black, mainly Christian South Sudanese.

Ever since it gained independence in 2011 and no longer having the northern, mostly Muslim Republic of Sudan to worry about, the major tribes of South Sudan turned on each other in December 2013 in a civil war.

There was a brief period of peace but the civil war resumed in 2015.

Finally we get in the last leg of the standard gauge railway and arrive in Uganda.

Like Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni’s Uganda was hailed by the naïve US administration of president Bill Clinton in 1996 as a breath of fresh air, the leaders as a “new breed” in Africa.

Over 21 years later, the “new breed” of African leaders are still in power and are starting to be in power longer than the Big Men of the 1960s and 1970s who were much despised around the world and in their countries. Just as a Kagame win of more than 90 per cent is always guaranteed even before Kagame has thought of running for re-election, it is definite that the Ugandan Constitution will be amended to lift the limit imposed in 1995 on the presidential age, as the presidential two-term limit was lifted controversially in 2005.

By 2018 or 2019, we shall have a new standard gauge railway connecting these eastern African countries. They are already bound by a common 1960s-style Big Man and tribal politics.

Rail infrastructure in EA

The railway politics aside, the region’s rail traffic density is the lowest on the continent with none of the lines, whether in the central corridor or the northern one, having more than one million traffic units per route kilometre, says Rajiv Sharma, an Infrastructure & Capital Projects manager with Deloitte East Africa.

By global standards, he adds, East Africa’s rail traffic volumes are a little more than what might be carried by a moderately busy branch line. Moreover, such low traffic volumes do not generate the revenue needed to finance infrastructure rehabilitation and upgrading.

“The average effective velocity of rail freight in the region is less than 10km per hour; this slow movement of goods has something to do with infrastructure but even more to do with the extensive delays suffered in border crossings, port delays, reliability constraints, limited network, trade logistics and safety,” he says.

It is projected that total traffic on the Northern Corridor will increase from 21.5 million in 2013 to 35.2 million in 2015 reaching 89.6 million tonnes by 2030, he notes.

He says to meet the future demand and facilitate the easy movement of goods within East Africa, efficient national rail networks as well as integrated operations serving landlocked Uganda, Zambia and Ethiopia through Kenya, Tanzania, and Djibouti respectively are crucial.

“This will result to vast economic benefits such as reducing the cost of transportation in the region making it an attractive investment destination, accelerate industrialisation through easier and cheaper transport and the establishment of new industries to service the new railways,” he says.

With recent accelerated developments of the Mombasa to Nairobi standard gauge railway (SGR) line, Kenya is keen to maintain her status as a logistics hub; and is monitoring closely developments in Tanzanian ports and central line upgrades, which is expected to route 35 million tonnes of freight annually to landlocked Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and eastern DRC — countries that currently rely on Kenya’s infrastructure.

Regional governments are currently evaluating financing options for the construction of their respective portion of the SGR.

Mr Sharma says an equity model that proved successful was the introduction of the railway development levy of 1.5 per cent by the Kenyan government on all imported goods for domestic; over Ksh20 billion ($208 million) was collected in 2013-14 surpassing target collections by 48.9 per cent.

“Nonetheless, the East Africa rail network is currently described as being in a state of neglect and dilapidated accounting about 4 to 6 per cent of cargo from Mombasa port and about 5 per cent from Dar es Salaam. In the 1970s, freight volumes stood at about 60 per cent of port cargo. This has mostly been attributed to negligible advances of the railway line since construction,” Mr Sharma says.

A lack of an efficient railway system has increased transit costs estimated to be at 40 per cent of the total shipping cost.

To achieve a world class system driven by technology where East Africa rail capacity and revenue are comparable to developed markets; I believe that the following areas need to be addressed in order to sustainably operationalise the region’s rail network.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rwanda sets off Africa’s action-filled poll season

Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame (L)

Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame (L) greets a crowd of supporters as he arrives for a campaign rally on July 31, 2017 in Gakenke ahead of August 4 presidential election. PHOTO | AFP  

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

Dar es Salaam. On Friday, Rwanda sets off the more dramatic episode of round two of Africa’s election season. In East Africa, the Rwandan vote ushers in the anxiously awaited elections in Kenya.

After the August 3 and 4 presidential election in Rwanda, a General Election will be held in Kenya on August 8.

In Rwanda, President Paul Kagame, who won 93 per cent of the vote in 2010, will be seeking a third term that would see him extending his 17-year reign.

The incumbent is revered for stopping Rwanda’s genocide and engineering what admirers call an economic miracle, but his critics see a despot who crushes all opposition and rules through fear.

The 59-year-old former guerrilla fighter is seeking a third term in office after voters massively approved a constitutional amendment allowing him to run again and potentially stay in office for another two decades.

Kagame frames his run as a duty to his country, however the move angered international allies whose patience has worn thin with a man once held up as a shining example of successful post-colonial leadership in Africa. Yet the president of the East African Community member state has become one of Africa’s most powerful and admired leaders. His counterparts, inspired by Rwanda’s turnaround, have tasked him with reforming the African Union.

His close friend Tony Blair hails him as a “visionary leader” for the remarkable development he has brought about.

August 8: Kenya poll

Kenya’s election campaign also entered a tense final week yesterday, with a tight race between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga leading to intensified personal attacks and rigging accusations.

The longtime political foes face off at the polls for a second consecutive time on August 8, and Kenyans are on edge after an acrimonious campaign marked by the opposition’s deep distrust of the electoral commission.

The vote comes 10 years after Odinga claimed an election was stolen from him and the country plunged into two months of politically-motivated ethnic clashes, which along with a police crackdown on protests left more than 1,100 dead and 600,000 displaced.

The violence traumatised the nation and stunned observers.

Voting in Kenya largely takes place along communal lines, and both Kenyatta and Odinga are heading formidable alliances of different ethnic blocs with closely matched numbers, meaning turnout will be crucial to either side’s success.

While campaigning has largely been peaceful, the run up to the vote has been marred by the murder of a top election official charged with overseeing the electronic voting and tallying system.

Additionally months of attacks by pastoralists invading private land in the Rift Valley has been blamed on politicians seeking to displace populations ahead of the vote.

Elsewhere in the country Kenyans have moved from cities to their hometowns, both to vote and as a measure of security.

August 23: Angola

The Angolan General Election follows on August 23. The presidential election will result in the exit of incumbent José Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power for 37 years.

Joao Lourenco, Angolan presidential candidate who appears set to win next month’s election, launched his campaign last week with a speech vowing to tackle corruption and spread wealth.

Defence minister Lourenco, 63, is the chosen successor of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, whose decision to not contest the August 23 vote will bring to an end his 38 years in power.

“Corruption is a great evil that will not go unpunished,” Lourenco told thousands of ruling MPLA party supporters in Huambo, Angola’s second city.

Promoting his campaign slogan “Improve what is good, correct what is wrong”, he also promised to distribute “national wealth more equally” and to improve the business climate.

Dos Santos’s rule has seen the end of civil war and an investment boom in the oil-rich country.

But he has been criticised as secretive and corrupt, with authorities crushing dissent and Angola’s citizens suffering dire poverty as his family became hugely wealthy.

October 10: Liberia

Africa’s first female president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia is also expected to step down after two terms in office.

Liberia’s 20 presidential candidates, including a former warlord, footballer George Weah and a former fashion model, started campaigning last week to succeed Africa’s first female head of state in October’s election.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is stepping down and there is no obvious frontrunner to lead the fragile west African state. The Nobel Prize-winning Sirleaf was elected to run in 2005 following a long civil war which left deep scars on Liberia’s economy and social fabric.

Elections for the presidency and House of Representatives take place on October 10 -- the first time since the end of the conflict in 2003 that the country will hold a vote without UN peacekeepers providing security.

Ahead of candidates opening their campaigns, the UN appealed for the ballot to go ahead smoothly, urging all “to spare no effort in their pursuit of peaceful elections.”

Among the final president/vice-president tickets published by the National Elections Commission (NEC) on Monday last week, key figures from the civil conflict loom large.

Senator Prince Johnson -- a onetime rebel fighter filmed drinking beer during the notorious murder of former president Samuel Doe in 1990 -- is standing for president for the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).

Football superstar and Senator Weah will stand for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) with Jewel Howard-Taylor, 54, the ex-wife of Charles Taylor, as his vice-president pick.

Weah told AFP he was “fully ready to take the presidency this time,” following a failed bid for the job in 2005.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The making of an open govt (2)

President John Magufuli and his predecessor

President John Magufuli and his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete during a past ruling party CCM meeting. The fourth phase government under Mr Kikwete has been lauded for initiating expansive openness under the Open Government Process, and now all eyes are on the incumbent leader, President Magufuli to see how much further his administration takes this globally-accepted concept in public governance.   PHOTO | FILE  

By Faraja Kristomus @TheCitizenTz Email: farajalugome@gmail.com

As I said in the previous article, Tanzania joined the Open Government Process (OGP) in 2011 largely due to personal efforts of President Jakaya Kikwete and Rakesh Rajani. These two figures were the Tanzanian pro-open government activists.

Global Integrity in its report, quoting one open government expert, says that “President Kikwete and Mr Rajani were motivated to embrace and promote OGP in large part because of its potential to provide momentum to on-going reform efforts”.

Therefore, this section is dedicated to a discussion on how OGP was institutionalised, the principles of OGP, benefits that Tanzania has got from OGP, and constraints facing the implementation of open government agenda in Tanzania.

The report further shows that OGP’s national action plan processes in Tanzania provided a forum to some pro-reform actors to promote an open government agenda.

The report says, “These processes may have modestly affected the sustainability of open government in Tanzania, and have also resulted in some limited state–civil society engagement that otherwise would not have occurred”.

The existence and sustainability of OGP, however, depended highly on the interests of individual leaders. So, it is difficult to speak of institutionalisation, or the transformation of open government principles and processes on the basis of OGP.

Principles of OGP in Tanzania

OGP does not rank countries according to their levels of transparency. Rather, the OGP supports and encourages member countries to engage in participatory governance processes, by which citizens and civil society work together with the government to implement desired reforms. The OGP process requires government to consult with civil society and citizens, and the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) assesses the quality of this consultation.

OGP, therefore, depends very much on a stable and amicable relationship between government and civil society. Governments are expected to actively collaborate with civil society when drafting and implementing country commitments, as well as when reporting and monitoring their progresses.

It is from that perspective the OGP in Tanzania had to involve both government and CSOs representatives in the steering committee.

How has Tanzania benefitted?

Global Integrity (GI) explains that the introduction of OGP in Tanzania created a space in which the government and at least some civil society groups negotiated the changes they wanted around some narrow reform areas.

However, the GI’s report also found that a small number of government officials and a limited number of CSOs have dominated OGP in Tanzania.

As discussed in the first article, several months after the government joined OGP, in 2012, the first steering committee was established. The government was represented by the ministries of Finance, Water, and Health, as well as the Prime Minister’s Office of Regional Administration and Local Governments, and the President’s Office of Public Service Management.

Twaweza oversaw the selection of other CSO representatives in the steering committee. As it was explained previously, the efforts to incorporate influential CSOs like Policy Forum, Sikika and HakiElimu interested in the process were unsuccessful.

In the end, Repoa and the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) joined Twaweza as CSO representatives on the steering committee. These CSOs were selected because they were all engaged at different levels in promoting the open government agenda in Tanzania.

For example, these organisations had been involved in the design and review of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan. These CSOs were also able to bring experience and capacity to engage the government on policy matters.

GI further explains that, “They joined the Steering Committee under the conviction that they would be able to engage the government and shape policies and National Action Plan initiatives to bring meaningful changes to the governance of the country”.

As previously discussed, the first steering committee was not very successful – few of the commitments on the first national action plan were implemented - and so the second steering committee was formed in 2014. It involved more actors from both the government and CSOs, the view being that this would improve its effectiveness.

The second steering committee involved key stakeholders including representatives from the investors, donors, from the government, and new civil society representatives (namely, the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) and FCS, both of which are amongst the largest CSOs in the country). Moreover, as stated in the report: “Tanzania’s commitments on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) provided an added incentive for including the ministry responsible for extractive industries.”

Indeed, participation in EITI – which Tanzania joined in 2011 to promote transparency, credibility, and accountability in extractive industries - encouraged the government to try and leverage OGP to promote its commitments tied to extractives and land issues.

It is further argued that the commitments in the second action plan were selected according to consultative discussions involving stakeholders who were invited by the Steering Committee. The selection of priorities was deemed to have been based the country’s priorities outlined in the five-year development plan 2011/12–2015/16.

The chosen priorities were also meant to contribute to achieving overall government objectives, including those integrated into other initiatives like TEITI. Other OGP inputs provided some support for broadening participation and voice in the open government agenda.

Constraints on implementation

The constraints faced OGP could be best explained by examining the feasibility of the country’s commitments; namely, its implementation capacity in terms of human and financial resources. It is very unfortunate that the OGP was perceived to be externally driven and hence lacked comprehensive support throughout relevant government departments and ministries.

The responsible ministries considered OGP to be a new bureaucratic burden to them rather than a complement to other reforms. And further to that, political tensions within the ruling party from the outset had frustrated efforts for enhanced public transparency.

Consequently, despite the highlighted efforts that government had shown in implementing the OGP in Tanzania, CSOs eventually accused the government of not honouring its OGP commitments.  There were also other external events such as constitutional review impasse, the 2015 general elections, and adversarial advocacy (laced with political undertones) by some CSOs that have undermined dialogue with the state and its ruling party - CCM.

Faraja Kristomus is an assistant lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaa

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WRITTEN WORD: How Tanzania can achieve economic freedom



Patrick O. Creary

Patrick O. Creary 

By Patrick O. Creary

I recently had a conversation with a friend concerning the reasons for the state of the black world. Why Africa and other sovereign black nations fall short of achieving their economic potential? He repeated the familiar reasons: The lack of capital, and the need to select better leaders, et cetera. Those of you who have been following this column know that I suspect those reasons, not because they are meritless, but instead because they are possibly symptoms and not causes.

Yet my friend repeated those reasons perhaps through reflexive reasoning, if not because he truly believes them. In any case, if those reasons are true, how would we ever achieve economic independence and prosperity? After a few minutes of less than persuasive counter arguments, my friend appeared to have begun to see value in my opinion that the wealth of a nation is proportional to the state of the collective mind of that nation; formally schooled or otherwise.

Most people would agree that economic advancement rests on the ability of nations; ability to innovate, and to access and utilise information. A nation needs not be the smartest to be the most progressive or wealthy. It is a redundant fact, but nevertheless worth stating, that any nation can develop imaginative economic theories, or scientific methods. Such a nation merely needs to have such a will, and dedicate its talents towards that end.

Ideas are free - at least in economic terms - and the universe distributes them to everyone without regard to race or creed. They are given to those who seek them, earned with the basic currency of thought.

Everyone who desires knowledge, may freely access a million books on the internet. This availability allows for instantaneous knowledge. Consequently, we may apprise ourselves of almost all the collective knowledge of civilisation simply by clicking a mouse. Therefore, the difference between one man and another is merely the extent to which one strives, innovates, plans, and executes such plans in relation to what he wishes to accomplish; the same goes for nations.

Given those facts, we may readily harness our human capital, to exploit our collective genius. When this is done, we would have unleashed an unimaginable dynamo of productivity. According to Wikipedia, Tanzania’s GDP is about $150 billion (PPP), nominally it stands at about $45 billion. This places us 9th on the continent in terms of our economy. But the size of our economy is only 15 per cent of Nigeria’s, though we have a third of its population. Even so, I am quite confident that in the next decade the scenario will change as Tanzania’s economy is more diversified, among other factors.

The economic opportunities, which presently exist on the continent are unprecedented in its history. Yet, let us return to the reason for the slow progress of development. To understand the question, we may wish to consider it within the socio-historical context.

But that has been addressed ad infinitum. And moreover, other nations with similar history have grown above us, so perhaps there are other reasons beyond colonialism, lack of education, bad governance, weak financial infrastructure, low FDI, reliance upon commodities, energy issues, and insufficient infrastructure, et cetera. We appreciate those basic reasons, but they are not unique to the continent, and others have overcome similar circumstances, so they may be viewed with a measure of healthy skepticism.

Those who follow developmental issues are aware of how Ethiopia has grown to the seventh position on the continent in terms of its GDP. The country now stands ahead of Kenya and Tanzania on the list, both which are 8th and 9th respectively. But in the scope of things, these East African economies are underperforming, and are hardly what they will be in coming years, if present trends continue.

Nevertheless, when we consider that Wal-Mart Stores, a single US corporation, earns about the same as Tanzania on an annual basis, we can clearly imagine what we may achieve through innovative strategies.

In fact, we may exploit the available opportunities for business, and grow our economy even faster in coming years. Harnessing our rich resources, geographical position, and fully exploiting our human capital will serve to put us well along the way towards development.

The writer is the CEO of  Grand Africa Literary Initiative Ltd

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BOTTOM LINE: Costs of Hamad, Lipumba’s feud go beyond their party

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer based in Canada 

By Nkwazi Mhango

As fate would have it, it seems the chairman of the Civic United Front (CUF), Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, and his secretary general Seif Sharriff Hamad are hell-bent to destroy the party, and destabilise the opposition in general. This is because the duo seems to not understand the CUF crisis, and how it’s slowly destroying the party. This isn’t only a big blow to the party, but also for democracy in our country. By the look of things, the impasse the CUF has been in for a while is but a suicidal attempt for the party and its leadership.

Considering the resources and time the mix-ups between the duo have already consumed, not to mention the relationship gone sour, there is no way all or any of the two can benefit from the ongoing drama without sitting on the roundtable and iron out their differences. The duo has discretion to accept such advice or go on their suttee. However, surely the only winner is the ruling party.

Due to the hegemonic nature of our politics, it seems that the duo has hijacked the party so as to pointlessly leave the members in the cold. This means CUF has never belonged to the members. Instead, it has always been the private estate of the leaders. This is why the members are not heard, nor are their views accommodated in addressing the problems the party has, for long, faced.

Interestingly, history has the tendency of replicating itself. Those who know how James Mapalala, the founder of CUF, was thrown under the bus, don’t wonder to see Hamad suffering the same fate. Live by sword. Die by sword.

So, too, those who wrongly thought that Hamad was using Lipumba now know how the duo was but strange bedfellows. Who was using whom? It isn’t easy to tell. More importantly, CUF has always seen to incline to one side of the United Republic of Tanzania. Refer to how Hamad entered into the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Visiwani without bothering to do the same in the Mainland. Strikingly, you wonder how one party can win on one side of the Union and lose on the other. This shows where its priorities are.

Demonstrably, the game the duo is playing is very lethal; however, thanks to their personal ambitions, it’s much to their own peril. For over a year now, they’ve been trading insults, bloviating, pontificating, calling each other names and expelling each other in what started as a spat among others. There is no way they can maintain squabbles and meaningfully forge ahead. This is why they are easily played against each other; simply because they are playing in the hands of their enemies. What the duo is doing is like dancing with the devil thinking that there is a way one can get away with it. When two friends do their dirty laundry in public, the shame that comes therefrom affects both equally.

Provided that the fate of the CUF is clear, what can be done to save or salvage it? Firstly, the duo must admit responsibility; and accept that they are part of the problem, but not the solution. Therefore, they should start addressing the problem based on this understanding, instead of the blame game that has been going on for a long time. Knowing and admitting the roles they have played in destabilising the party are key to the resolution of the conflict. In conflict resolution studies, we say that there must be the stage at which the conflict must be allowed so that those ensnared in it can start using different lenses, positive instead of negative ones to view each other based on their needs.

If the first mechanism flops, the members should shun; and thereafter expel the duo so that they can start afresh to either mend fences or tweak their parties.

In sum, Hamad and Lipumba have the solutions to the problems they created. So, too, they have the means to fell the CUF. Destruction is easier than construction. Again, this being obvious, why Hamad and Lipumba are putting their dirty linens on the agora?

Nkwazi Mhango is a Tanzanian writer who  is based in Canada

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Msigwa: No hard feelings on Lowassa

Chadema Member of Parliament for Iringa Urban

Chadema Member of Parliament for Iringa Urban Reverend Peter Msigwa (left) gestures during an interview with Mwananchi Communications Ltd journalists at the media house’s Tabata Relini headquarters in Dar es Salaam last week. PHOTO | FILE 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis199 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Against the backdrop of a shrinking space for its political activities and unending legal battles facing its senior members, the questions to ask Chadema strategists is: As things continue falling apart for the country’s main opposition, what game plan is on the cards? Will the centre hold long enough?

The opposition party is ducking blows left, right and centre. There is pressure to remain relevant in national politics, and the recent spate of arrests of its senior members on the orders of regional and district commissioners have not made it any easier.

To talk about these and other wide-ranging issues affecting Chadema, Political Platform interviewed a member of the party’s Central Committee and Member of Parliament for Iringa Urban, Nyasa Zone chairman Reverend Peter Msigwa during his recent visit to Mwananchi Communications Ltd headquarters:

QN: Chadema recently announced its decision to sue RCs and DCs for arresting and detaining (for 48 hours) opposition leaders, do you believe that this will solve the problem?

ANS: Hopefully, we have made a good decision. We will use legal measures to ensure peace and tranquility prevail in the country, and that the courts dispense justice against government leaders abusing powers entrusted them. However, we will continue educating people on the rights provided by the constitution.

You once said some Chadema councillors are colluding with CCM, can you prove that?

Chadema’s secretary for the Northern Zone, Mr Aman Golugwa, made it clear on the day he addressed the media immediately after the councillors defected. This ‘recruitment’ and money changing hands has been reported in the councillors’ saga.

It appears that councillors from Arusha and Mwanza are the main target, why is it so?

CCM believes Arusha is our stronghold. Therefore, once Chadema is weakened in Arusha that is likely to have spiral effect across the country. This tells you that there is a plot, a specific mission.

CCM seems to be reorganising itself to reclaim the Iringa Urban Constituency you are representing, how prepared are you?

They didn’t want me become MP in 2010 and 2015. I defeated Ms Monica Mbega by 2,000 votes in 2010, before increasing that margin to 10,000 in 2015 when Mr Fredrick Mwakalebela contested. In 2020, I will repeat what I did in previous years, whether they like it or not.

What impact on the opposition do you think the ban on live Bunge broadcasts has had?

It’s not just the opposition that has been affected, but the whole nation. No new political talent is being discovered; newly-elected MPs have been confined to local politics – only in their constituencies. Moreover, the ordinary citizen has been denied the right to access adequate and well-researched information. When MPs knew they are being watched live by their people, they used to prepare themselves comprehensively before debating; that has since disappeared from Parliament.

In Parliament recently, the opposition outstandingly gave former President Jakaya Kikwete a standing ovation when he escorted his wife Mama Salma for debut in the House. That was highly unexpected, if not strange, considering that the same opposition launched fierce attacks on Mr Kikwete during his presidency?

Politics is a game of dynamics. It’s not statistic. Nobody will erase the achievements he made when he served the country, and the opposition will continue recognising and praising him for that success. In the same spirit, we will also remind him about his failures a head of state. What we actually want President Magufuli to do is to leave behind the shortcomings of the fourth phase government, and take on board its successes, such as the improvement in investment climate, infrastructure development and the strengthening of democracy in the country. The fifth phase government is lagging behind on these key issues, if we are to compare the two administrations.

So, what exactly do you miss about Mr Kikwete’s leadership?

He didn’t abuse the powers entrusted to him; he didn’t use state organs to hurt people because he knew his authority was but for a short time. The President is a very powerful person in the country, if he is not careful many people could be hurt because he has the powers to do anything. Mr Kikwete provided for the freedom of speech and criticism, a sign that he was a good leader.

Let’s talk about the opposition’s relations with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Job Ndugai. When you had a bitter confrontation with his deputy Dr Tulia Ackson, he was generally considered a warmer person. It seems that is no longer the case considering the latest incidents between you and the Speaker, what has changed?

The opposition blamed Dr Ackson for violating the Parliamentary Standing Orders. Being a member of the Commonwealth, Tanzania must have a parliament in which those who constitute the minority should be heard, although it is the majority whose decisions see the light of day. On the contrary, under her leadership, the majority enjoyed both the right to be heard and the right to decide at the expense of the minority, who were denied both.

Unfortunately, after the Speaker worked hard to resolve our dispute with his deputy, he has let the opposition down by allowing Parliament to lose its powers through taking orders from the Executive. There are no checks and balances – and Parliament is no longer properly playing its oversight role with regards to its functional relations with government. The only thing happening now is the expulsion and suspension of opposition MPs.

One of the most interesting recent developments in the opposition is Mr Edward Lowassa’s declaration that he would be the coalition (Ukawa)’s flagbearer for the presidential race in 2020. What is your comment on this?

Nothing is wrong with that. Every politician has his own private ambitions, including myself. Any member of the party is allowed to express his/her ambitions.

They should, therefore, confidently express their feelings without fearing Mr Lowassa because fearing him would turn the party into another CCM. All in all, it is healthy for Chadema to have many members seeking nomination because out of them the party will pick the right leader to compete with candidates from other parties.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

As clock ticks to Kenyan poll, Arusha sits on edge

The Namanga border post between Tanzania and

The Namanga border post between Tanzania and Kenya. Arusha, which is close to the Kenya, has been gripped by the election fever in the neighbouring country, with many praying for a peaceful vote on August 8, this year. PHOTO I FILE 

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

Arusha. With less than two weeks to go to what has turned out to be yet another fiercely-contested battle pitting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, seeking a second term, against his archrival Raila Odinga, anxiety over the August 8 general election is increasingly gripping Arusha.

At the East African Community (EAC) headquarters, preparations are underway to send an observer team as usual. But officials here have already spelt out their verdict – suggesting that this year’s election in the neighbouring country is bound to be more charged – and a bit worrisome than the past ones.

On a more optimistic note, the regional bloc’s observers do not generally anticipate the likelihood of a repeat of the violence and killings that rocked the country in the aftermath of the tightly-contested 2007 general election. But they are still concerned that given the tight race for presidency, there is no ruling out a spate of violence should the results be contested.

Their worries are neither isolated not farfetched.

Already the European Union (EU) and other international observers as well as some donor countries have expressed their concerns over the likelihood of violence on the premise that it is highly unlikely that none of the two main camps, Jubilee and Nasa, would simply accept defeat.

“It is no secret that there are concerns about the possible outbreak of violence. This is not inevitable,” said Marietje Schaake, head of the EU Election Observation Mission, as she promised “an honest and impartial assessment” of the coming vote.

With violence “everybody loses,” said the Dutch member of the European Parliament.

The initial 30-strong EU team is among a host of international and national observers being deployed across Kenya ahead of the vote.

Also early this month, advocacy group Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of threats and voter intimidation in Naivasha, a flashpoint town in 2007 and one of the potential hotspots in this year’s election.

“All Kenyans should be able to take part in free and fair elections ... without fear of violence,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at HRW, calling on authorities to investigate the allegations.

Closely monitoring

And analysts at the EAC secretariat are closely monitoring the situation, praying for peaceful elections this time round, despite the growing anxiety. They don’t want a repeat of the 2007/2008 chaos over the disputed results, which put Kenya on the verge of civil war.

Although dates for general elections in Kenya have been known for months, the preceding weeks to the voting day (August 8th) as well as the election aftermath, have impacted or will slightly affect EAC activities.

One of the effects of the politicking and wrangling that has heavily characterised this year’s poll – the sixth general election in Kenya after the restoration of multi-party system – is the absence of one the most prominent EAC organs, the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala). The fourth assembly of the legislative arm of the EAC could not be re-constituted because Kenya is yet to pick its candidates due to the elections and wrangling between the ruling and opposition parties on the modalities to elect candidates for the Eala posts.

As it stands, the EAC observer mission to Nairobi will be short of Eala members among its ranks because none of the candidates picked by the four countries, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan, have been sworn in. Rwanda has also not picked Eala MPs and will be going to polls on August 4.

Eala is not likely to resume operations possibly until the end of the year or early next year because even after the elections, it will take time for Kenya as well as Rwanda to settle down and pick their members for the regional assembly.

“The Community will launch observer missions in the two partner states: Kenya and Rwanda,” the secretary general Liberat Mfumukeko affirmed during a recent visit to Kenya for talks with senior United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNoN) officials.

But for the Arusha residents, the situation is a bit worrying on three fronts: the possibility of rigging, fears of violence due to disputed results and the manner by which the election pattern is taking place along tribal lines.

Petro Ahham, who runs an environmental non-governmental organisation based in Arusha called Meso, takes us back on the nature and facts of the Kenyan politics ahead of the much-awaited August 8 polls.

Although many people want to liken this year’s polls to the 2007 (by then the incumbent Mwai Kibaki against the ODM flagbearer Raila), he sees things to be different this time.

“Back then people had to cast their votes on three ballot papers. This time it is six papers,” he told The Citizen, adding that this has slightly changed the election pattern in Kenya because votes cast at the grassroots level may not necessarily reflect national or presidential votes.

However, Mr Ahham’s major concern is on the tribal element in the on-going campaigns. “You cannot independently think and campaign on tribal lines because this is undermining democracy,” he said.

He also has fears over rigging, doubting the independence of the electoral commission as is the case in many countries in Africa. This time round it is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which is overseeing the polls in Kenya.

He challenged the electoral body to put in place a system that will make it impossible to rig. Yet he remains skeptical that the losing aspirants of various political posts would concede defeat.

William Makali, a community development expert, emphasised that the rule of law must prevail in the Kenyan polls in case of grievances and irregularities found during the voting exercise.

He argued that violence anticipated in some quarters cannot be prevented as long as politicians and their parties are not willing to put their personal interests aside for the sake of saving the lives of ordinary Kenyans and property.

“The way we know most of our politicians, they can do anything at the expense of their own people in order to grab power,” said Mr Makali, who runs an NGO called Senett.

All about democracy

Mathew Mollel, a tour operator, whose vans ply the Arusha-Nairobi route, said elections were all about democracy. He urges Kenyan leaders and those managing the polls to respect the voters’ choice.

He said in order to avoid the repeat of violence, which have been seen in past elections in the East African country, the exercise should be free, fair, peaceful and credible, short of which the country can plunge into chaos.

“Kenyans are our neighbours. When you’re happy, your neighbour is also happy. If there is fire, it’s a scare to the entire neighbourhood. Let’s pray for them to hold peaceful elections and accept the outcome provided the exercise is democratic”, he said.

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