Mwl. Nyerere outlines four key issues ahead of 1995 General Elections
Dar es Salaam. The journey of the single political party sys-tem that had lasted for 27 years in Tanzania statutorily came to an end in 1992.
From the 1965 presidential election that involved one political party the Tanganyika African National Union (Tanu) votes of ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ were used as a procedure.
However, termination of that procedure was proposed in 1991 by a presidential commission formed by President Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-95).
The commission - which was known as the Nyalali Commission was tasked to establish whether or not the country should continue with the mono-party system or readopt the multiparty system.
In the event, 80 per cent of the polled citizens favoured continuation of the mono-party system, with only 20 percent opting for multi-party politics.
How-ever, Mwalimu Nyerere seemed to agree with the minority view - thereby influencing the statutory changes to readopt multi-partysm in 1992.
The October 1995 polls, therefore, involved the ruling party of the day, CCM, and several newly-formed opposition political parties.
If nothing else, this sparked tensions both within CCM and between the two rival political sides.
The process of obtaining a CCM presidential candidate was not easy after Mwinyi ended his two five-year presidential terms.
Indeed, Mwalimu Nyerere had to be consulted - and he addressed a meeting of the CCM Central Committee in Dodoma in 1995.
In his speech that lasted about 15 minutes, Mwalimu Nyerere spoke of four key items which the ‘Father of the Nation’ directed the delegates to observe in seeking to pick the right presidential contestant, who would be accepted by CCM and the general public.
“Pick a presidential contestant who will meet the expectations of the people,” said Nyerere, who was born in Mwitongo Village, Butiama, Mara Region, on April 13, 1922.
“Tanzanians want to see changes. If they don’t get them within CCM, they will get them outside CCM,” Mwalimu warned - much to applause by the delegates.
“You asked me to come here and help in getting a good leader for our country; a leader who cannot be found outside CCM,” he said thoughtfully adding that it is the people who can get us a good leader through their votes.
The Father of Tanzanian nationalism outlined the four key issues at the time of picking one out of three CCM cadres to vie for the Presidency: Cleopa Msuya, Jakaya Kikwete and Benjamin Mkapa.
Mwalimu’s four key issuesFirst, Mwalimu Nyerere said, “Tanzanians are tired of corruption. As their chairman, former members of the National Executive Committee can remember the way I fought against the issue of corruption here in Dodoma. The state of corruption is so bad that we must do everything to get out of the mess.
“The presidential candidate you are going to pick must be sup-ported by all of us. This is because when you are asked a question about whether that presidential candidate can help us fight corruption, the answer can come from the bottom of your heart Mwalimu Nyerere was consulted and he addressed a meeting of the CCM Central Committee in Dodoma in 1995 he can,” Nyerere said.
“Second,” he told the delegates, “our country is poor, our farmers and workers are poor, this coun-try still belongs to farmers and workers, who are all poor.
“This party (CCM) belongs to the poor; it has never belonged to the rich, we sincerely need to solve the problems facing the citizens in terms of their individual economies, industries, farms, schools and hospitals.
“We want you to pick for us a presidential candidate who knows that this country - which belongs to farmers and workers - is still poor, Mwalimu stressed, adding that they should select a presidental candidate who is well aware of the real situation. Third, Mwalimu Nyerere warned on religious issues, saying
“We never talk about religions. We are really not concerned with the religious faith of any person, because it is entirely a personal matter. We shouldn’t gauge people on issues of religion...,” he reiterated.
Mwalimu Nyerere said that during the colonial rule, people were routinely asked about their religion - a question, in his view, which had no rhyme or reason.
That was why, after political independence from alien rule, one’s religion was not an issue. After all, the government was not about building churches or mosques...Instead, he said, the government wanted to know about people’s ages - and whether or not they could read and write.
“If Imams want to know how many Muslims are there, let then find out. If Bishops want to know how many Christians there are, they should count them when they go to a confession,” Nyerere counseled.
“You find some people talk-ing about religion, bragging about their religion without a shame. We want you (CCM-CC delegates) to pick for us a presidential candidate who will help us to wipe out these absurdities.
And when you are asked if that presidential candidate can do that, then you have the answer,” Nyerere, stated.
Concluding with the fourth item, Mwalimu said in he went to New York, the US, in 1994, and was invited to a meal by Gertrude Mongela who was at that time the Secretary General, of the UN’s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.
As they were having the meal, a Ugandan woman, who was working in the US told them that, in Kenya and Uganda, they knew one another by tribe.
According to Mwalimu, the Ugandan lady who had worked for the East African Community earlier on - went on to say that they never knew about the people of Tanzania by their different tribes!
“I told that (Ugandan) woman this was the case in those days - not now, when Tanzanians have started to ask one another about their tribes.
Today, they think that it (tribalism) is a very important thing. I don’t know if they want to perform tribal rituals. After all, what is the use of being tribalistic in a country with grown-up people,” Mwalimu Nyerere asked somewhat rhetorically.
Despite their wealth and development, Mwalimu stated, “Whites never ask one another about their tribes. We only do that in small countries!”
Warning against tribalism, Mwalimu asked: “Do you want to get us into the 21st century on a bus for tribalistic people? “We want you (delegates) to choose for us a person who knows that tribalism is absurd, is dangerous. We can’t do that because we have been a role model for our neighbours, whom we surprisingly are starting to imitate! Do you want to tell me that if Kenyans and Ugandans speak about tribalism, we should also do so?” Mwalimu wondered.
Why Mwalimu Nyerere warned A veteran local politician, Stephen Wassira, says after inde-pendence in 1961, the country was built on the foundations of unity and freedom.
And, after the 1967 Arusha Declaration on Socialism and Self-reliance, the foundations of economic rights were laid to transform people’s lives for the better in due course.
Wassira - who held different ministerial positions under the first four governments, and was the former Bunda-Urban MP - says one of the conditions for public leadership was not to own houses for hire, or to do business.
According to Wassira, while the Arusha Declaration was well received countrywide, the 1992 Zanzibar Declaration, - which was adopted after Mwalimu Nyerere had retired as President and CCM Chairman - removed the conditions, and leaders went capitalistic witha vengeance!
“During Nyerere’s leader-ship, there indeed were rich Tanzanians, but they weren’t considered to merit leadership positions. If and when they vied for public leadership, they were thoroughly vetted, and also asked to fully account for their inordinate wealth!
It was a difficult thing to do at the time,” Wassira stated.However, under the second-phase government of President Ali Hassan Mwinyi (1985-95) popularly known by Tanzanians as ‘Mzee Ruksa’ for his liberal mindedness money started to flow into Tanzanian pockets.
According to Wassira, it was the time when CCM allowed both the haves and have nots to vie for leaderships and grand corruption started to seep in and gradually flourish to today.
“I remember in the first five-year term of President Mwinyi’s administration (1985-1990, corruption firmly took hold in every sector of the economy, such as Health, the Judiciary and the Police. That was why and when the Prime Minister, Joseph Warioba, offered to resign,” says Wassira.
“However, President Mwinyi refused to assent to Warioba’s resignation and, instead, reshuf-fled the Cabinet, leaving out some ministers,” Wassira recalls.
“So, our current generation is also supposed to strengthen the foundation of unity and solidarity without caring about whether this one is a Christian or that one is a Muslim - or what tribe they are,” Wassira concluded.