- As political campaigns come to a close, the big question remains whether the candidates have done enough to back up their parties’ manifestos with slogans during campaign trails
Dar es Salaam. Political parties will on Tuesday windup campaigns ahead of Wednesday’s General Election that involves 15 presidential candidates, a higher number than previous elections.
As predicted earlier, the 62 campaign days were dominated by a race of two horses, both in the union presidency under the National Electoral Commission (NEC) as well as in the Isles’ presidency under the Zanzibar Electoral Commission.
For the union presidency, the CCM candidate, President John Magufuli, faces a strong opposition from Chadema’s aspirant, Tundu Lissu while CCM’s Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi takes on ACT-Wazalendo’s Seif Shariff Hamad for the Zanzibar presidency.
Likewise, campaign rivalries were witnessed in different parliamentary strongholds including the Ubungo Constituency, where the former permanent secretary for Water Ministry, Prof Kitila Mkumbo, is contesting against the former Ubungo mayor under the Chadema flagship, Boniface Jacob.
In the Kawe Constituency, Glory of Christ Tanzania Church (GCTC) Bishop Josephat Gwajima campaigns against Chadema’s outgoing MP Ms Halima Mdee, while in the Mbeya Urban Constituency, Chadema’s Joseph Mbilinyi alias Sugu takes on former Deputy Speaker, Dr Tulia Ackson (CCM).
In the Iringa Urban Constituency; Chadema’s Peter Msigwa faces Ms Jesca Msambatavangu of CCM while Godbless Lema and Mrisho Gambo of Chadema and CCM respectively battle for the Arusha Constituency.
CCM’s parliamentary candidate for the Hai Constituency, Saasisha Mafuwe, campaigns against the outgoing Chadema’s MP, who doubles as the party’s national chairman and former Opposition leader in Parliament Freeman Mbowe.
NCCR-Mageuzi national chairman James Mbatia takes on former CRDB Bank managing director representing CCM, Dr Charles Kimei, for the Vunjo seat.
For the Rombo seat, the outgoing MP on the NCCR-Mageuzi ticket, Joseph Selasini, battles former Natural Resources and Tourism Permanent Secretary, Prof Adolph Mkenda.
Manifestos and slogans
Campaigns which commenced on August 27, this year, required candidates to carry weapons of respective political parties’ election manifestos, ideologies and slogans that required competence in selling them to citizens/voters.
While the CCM Election Manifesto is guided by the slogan, ‘Tumetekeleza kwa kishindo, tunasonga Mbele pamoja’ meaning ‘We have massively implemented; we are moving forward together’, the motto of Chadema’s document is ‘Uhuru, haki, na maendeleo ya watu,’ which means; ‘Freedom, Justice and People-centred Development’.
ACT-Wazalendo sells its election manifesto through the ‘Kazi na Bata’ slogan, literally meaning ‘Working Hard for Efficiency and Happiness’, while CUF’s motto in selling its manifesto is ‘Haki sawa na furaha kwa wote’, meaning ‘Equal Justice and Happiness for all’.
As campaigns near conclusion, citizens have given diverse opinions regarding the waging of this year’s campaigns, with some saying the rallies have met their expectations while others begging to differ.
A resident of Dar es Salaam, Ms Sarah Mwenisongole, said she has made a decision on three positions; the presidency, parliamentary seat and councillorship.
“My decisions have been guided by campaigns, especially after listening to rallies and getting to know the plans banked by political parties through respective election manifestos and slogans,” she said.
She was seconded by Mr Raymond Shirima, a resident of Moshi in Kilimanjaro Region, who said it was difficult to pass through election manifestos of all 15 political parties that have fielded presidential candidates this year.
“As a driver, who arrives home late and tired, I was visiting social media to follow up campaign rallies where presidential candidates were selling their manifestos and slogans in order to lead me in decision making,” he said.
“Generally, campaigns have met the expectations I had at the commissioning. As I speak, I know the candidates, who have already won my trust and vote.”
But, Mr Geoffrey Mpangala, a resident of Mbinga in Ruvuma Region challenged most presidential aspirants for lack of expertise in selling their respective partie’s manifestos and linking the document with endorsed slogans.
“With the exception of a few of them, most derailed from addressing issues and instead started attacking personalities. Therefore, they have failed to convince voters to decide in terms of what is contained in their election manifestos,” he said.
He said most Tanzanians lacked a reading culture as campaigns were an easy way of reaching and convincing undecided voters and those who were not supporters of any political party.
“However, some presidential candidates haven’t campaigned at all; others have done so in very few regions. Probably, this could be attributed to what has been widely reported as financial crunch,” said Mpangala.
Mr Balole Lutema, a resident of Ngudu in Mwanza Region said most candidates spent most of their time preaching things that were out of context and unrelated to the content of election manifestos of respective parties.
“If all political parties could concentrate on selling content of election manifestos linked to their respective slogans and policies, then they could have helped us a great deal in decision making,” he said.
CCM’s political affairs and international relations secretary, Colonel (rtd) Ngemela Lubinga, said his party’s manifesto and slogan were designed to reflect achievements recorded in the last five years and focus on the next five years (2020-2025).
“We have outlined the projects we have implemented including the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), the Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Power Project (JNHPP); the construction of the peripheral wall in Mirerani and the protection of the country’s natural resources,” he said.
He added, “The slogan has condensed these achievements and promises to ensure they are successfully implemented in the next five years as well as starting new ones for the benefit of Tanzanians, something we believe has been communicated effectively by our candidates and I’m certain citizens will once again vote for CCM.”
Chadema’s secretary-general John Mnyika said his party’s election manifesto and slogan reflected its policy and accommodated issues that citizens have been denied by the CCM government. According to him, these issues were identified as freedom, justice and people’s centred development.
“These issues have been sold well by our party’s presidential candidate Tundu Lissu, parliamentary and councillorship aspirants and could be justified by the crowd attending our campaign rallies that have shown readiness to vote for changes on October 28,” he told this paper on the phone.
ACT-Wazalendo secretary-general Ado Shaibu said the slogan of ‘Kazi na Bata’ was designed to send a proper message to citizens with different education backgrounds and coming from different walks of life. It reflected the party’s election manifesto, philosophy and policies ahead of this year’s elections.
“Through the manifesto, our party pledged to improve the economy through hardwork and decent jobs that would lead to better social services, including healthcare, education, provision of clean and safe water, better infrastructure – things that will make Tanzanians live a happy life,” he said.
He further said that rival party CCM has this time around neglected the ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’ slogan sang in the 2015 elections after realising that it has turned Tanzanians into some sort of slaves, and therefore decided to go with a different slogan for the upcoming elections.
CUF’s national campaign manager Juma Kilagai said the poor doing of justice was discovered to be a major issue in the country when designing this year’s election manifesto.
Furthermore, he said since the challenge was conclusively said to be caused by politics, resolution measures had to come from politics as well.
According to him, the World Happiness Report 2020 ranks Tanzania the fourth among most unhappy citizens globally despite available abundant natural resources.
“The government has created a difficult living environment that causes stress to citizens, making their lives extremely unhappy .
“Our 2020-2025 election manifesto and slogan pledges restoration of justice and happiness,” he said.
He said most citizens have expressed keen interest in the party’s track of thought and the new hope given by the party during campaigns, something that will give CUF a landslide victory.
For his part, University of Dar es Salaam (Udsm) political science lecturer, Dr Richard Mbunda said slogans summarized what contained in election manifestos.
The Udsm don said political parties’ presidential candidates were expected to repeatedly link slogans and policies of their parties and philosophies during rallies in order to win votes from citizens.
“Those who have managed to do this to the extent of making citizens sing and memorize issues contained in respective documents should be confident of people’s votes. Therefore, individual candidates’ competence was an issue of significance,” he said.