Business environment ranks high among voters, traders in Kilimanjaro

Tuesday September 22 2020

People pass by closed shops in Moshi

People pass by closed shops in Moshi Municipality. Many traders in various parts of the country have been compalining about poor business in recent times. PHOTO | FILE 

By Daniel Mjema

Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is a region that is classified as one of the strongholds of the opposition due to the political rivalry between the opposition and the ruling CCM party since the 1995 multiparty General Election.

Consequently, there are at least 18 arguments that are expected to shake the region during the campaigns for this year’s polls.

The region’s history

Kilimanjaro Region was established in 1963 through Government Gazette no. 450, having Kilimanjaro and Pare Districts.

Before independence from British rule at midnight on December 9, 1961, the region was part of the Northern Province formed by Arusha and Mbulu districts, while Pare District was part of Tanga Province.

Kilimanjaro Region comprises an area of 13,209sq.km. But is densely populated, boasts Africa’s highest Mt Kilimanjaro, and reliable infrastructures.

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The residents of the region are hard-working as some of them have engaged in professional jobs and entrepreneurship, all of this targeting development.

The region has six districts with nine parliamentary constituencies including Moshi Urban, Moshi Rural, Vunjo, Mwanga, Same West, Same East, Rombo, Hai and Siha.

Political situation (1961-1992)

Soon after Tanzania’s independence in 1961, Kilimanjaro, as other regions in the country, was under a multiparty system.

During that time political parties in the region included Tanu that merged with ASP to form CCM, UTP and African Congress and the region continued to be under the administrations of Mangis and Fumwas until 1964.

However, Tanzania abolished the multiparty system and a mono political party system was instead introduced in 1965 until 1992 when the country readopted the pluralist system.

In 1995, multiparty elections were held after many years of being under a single party system.

In the election results that year, Kilimanjaro Region was hit by the shock wave of the opposition that won seven constituencies out of nine, before the opposition repeated in the 2015 General Election after 20 years.

CCM, Chadema reignite rivalry

The temperature of the 2020 polls is indisputably high now in Kilimanjaro Region, especially after CCM Secretary General Dr Bashiru Ally said, “he had set up and tested machines” for ‘liberating’ constituencies.

After that statement, CCM’s national leaders have been making visits to the region each passing day to explain the achievements of the Fifth Phase Government to the residents of the region.

However, Chadema’s Secretary in the region, Basil Lema, says Kilimanjaro cannot be compared to other regions due to the knowledge level of the residents of the region.

For his part, the CCM Secretary in the region, Jonathan Mabhia, said this time around they are going to win all the constituencies and wards as well.

He said this is because they had implemented what was in CCM’s manifesto by 99 percent, including addressing many challenges that were facing the residents.

Arguments in 2020 polls

During the upcoming polls, election campaigns, apart from national issues, can be dominated by at least eight arguments including achievements and challenges.

The national issues include the incomplete process of the country’s new constitution, an unfulfilled promise that every village would be provided with Sh50 million and the suppression of democracy in the country.

Little money circulation affecting purchasing power, closure of some shops and the fall of coffee prices are among the issues to be brought forward before voters during campaigns by the opposition.

The other issues that will need the answers include the shortage of water in Same and Mwanga districts, land disputes and khat business.

The non-allocation of permanent business areas to entrepreneurs, a levy dispute at the Moshi main bus stand are among the arguments that will also need the answers.

CCM achievements

The achievements that will unarguably support CCM is the resumption of passenger and cargo train services from Dar es Salaam and Moshi, the ongoing construction of Ngangamfumuni Bus Terminal and the upgrading of the road infrastructure.

Residents speak out

A resident of Msaranga Ward in Moshi Town, Mr Amani Ngowi, says they are not going to vote for candidates who can help bring change.

“You know, this is not going to be an easy election, because you may pull a large crowd in a rally here, but your audience may not vote for you. Every voter is going to vote according to what he or she believes in,” said Mr Ngowi.

A resident of Mwanga District, Mr Rodgers Msangi, was of the view that the issue of life hardships would dominate during the campaigns because many people were broke as businessmen were now burdened by high taxes.