Dar es Salaam. The ongoing political circumstances in Tanzania are provoking curiosity over what is likely to happen after the general election in 2025 to the governing system.
Looking at the happenings, analysts are convinced that there is a possibility for the formation of the unity government (Government of National Unity), to accommodate the opposition in the government.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has welcomed political reconciliation after forming a taskforce that will listen to the views of different groups, including political parties, on how best Tanzania can embrace democracy.
The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party has also opened doors for reviving the new constitution review that stalled since 2014, joining hands with the opposition which has been pushing for the reforms.
That came out this week, after recently top leaders of the main opposition party, Chadema, met officials from the government and CCM under President Hassan, for reconciliation.
Presenting their views to the task force this week, retired ambassadors who once represented Tanzania in various countries globally, advised the government to look at how to create a national unity based on mutual understanding to improve the country’s governance system.
The chairman of the group of more than 100 retired ambassadors, Dr James Msekela was quoted as noting that the presence of the GNU would signal political will and hit a major democratic step.
“We have advised them to look for alternative mechanisms to forming government after the General Election,” he said.
“For instance, if the winner gets 51 percent of the votes and the opposition gets 49 percent, then they can see the best way to form a unity government
Something can be done so that the second runner-up will have the opportunity to join the winner in bringing development for the country,” Mr Msekela said.
Building on such developments, the experts anticipate the unity government as President Hassan wants to leave a legacy in Tanzania’s democracy.
They pointed out that what seemed to be a difficult issue was the process of a new constitution as well as the availability of an independent electoral commission, issues that now the ruling CCM has shown the way to address in an inclusive manner.
“All that we see now has been in the hearts of many people for many years. Many wanted to see a democracy built on reconciliation, but there was no leadership to open the door like the current one,” said Dr Moses Nshalla of Kampala International University in an interview.
Dr Nshalla believes that the GNU is where the country is heading to and that it would probably come soon after the 2025 elections, depending on the progress of the new constitutional process.
He believes that this is the era of promoting democracy in the country, although it’s obviously something that was not expected by most people in recent years due to the way regimes operated.
“The president (Samia Suluhu Hassan) has things she did not like in all the years of her political journey and she is now working on them after securing the mandate to lead this country which has been an island of peace and unity for a long time,” said Dr Nshalla.
“Whatever is going on now, including that of retired ambassadors advising on GNU, stems from talks between the President and some opposition leaders. Thus, they advised us to believe that it was the right time to do it,” he added.
For his part, Mr Anania Mathew who is a Tanzanian student pursuing a PhD in political science at the University of Nairobi in Kenya said the strengthening of democracy is a major reason why GNU is inevitable.
“From where I sit, I can vividly see a new dawn in my country. CCM has eventually given the new constitution agenda a nod, now discussion about GNU is part of the discussion among the CCM members…This is where we are heading to as a democracy-driven nation,” he said.
He noted that in recent years he had seen Tanzania move towards groups of countries where chaos was nonstop due to lack of freedom and democracy, but now he believed the country was beginning to show why it should be a role model as a beacon of peace.
“We are going to continue our history as a role model country in Africa. As it stands it is difficult for this country to find itself in post-political unrest and that ‘Mama’ (president) will not allow this, so GNU is vividly around the corner,” he anticipated.
Parties speak out
The CCM secretary of Ideology and Publicity, Mr Shaka Hamdu Shaka said like other stakeholders, the ruling party has tabled its opinion and recommendations before the presidential committee on different issues.
“It isn’t wise for CCM to walk and react to opinions and recommendations tabled by other stakeholders. At the moment, I should refrain from commenting on the issue and respect others’ opinions and self-imposed procedures,” he said.
Chadema secretary general, Mr John Mnyika said the GNU was not the only way of building an administration system after political parties have closely tied during elections, noting that the proportional representation was another system.
According to him, proportional representation makes every cast vote valuable which is demonstrated through the party’s position in decision making organs and finally in the nation’s administration.
“However, the country’s system of administration is provided in the constitution. The country is now in the process of reviving the new constitution writing process. Therefore, instead of discussing the GNU, the proportional representation system or other models may be the options,” he said.
He said the country should focus on reviving and completing the new constitution writing process, noting that once agreements have been reached including its schedules, issues of the system of administration could then be discussed as important content to be included in the document.
“Already, we have the constitution draft from the Judge (rtd) Joseph Warioba’s Constitution Review Commission (CRC), however, it lacks the better proposal on the system. Also, we have the Proposed Constitution which is worse in the area,” he said.
“As a country, we need to come forward and see the best way of improving Judge Warioba’s draft constitution on the areas of administrative and governance. But, they need to be discussed when contemplating the content of the new constitution as opined by citizens,” he added.
But, the ACT-Wazalendo secretary general, Mr Ado Shaibu supported the idea, saying the second largest opposition political party in the country welcomed the idea with all the two hands.
“It will increase the value of every vote cast by citizens and prevent the country from belonging to one political party. It will also help in building national unity, consensus and cooperation in implementing important national agenda,” he said.
“We will make internal consultations on opinions touching different areas such as this for the best interest of the country,” he added.
If the power sharing really happens in the union government, the opposition will be part of the government, hence cooling the political atmosphere.
President Hassan’s tone has been for dialogues in case of differences, to avoid activism politics by the opposition. The GNU might be one of those long-term strategies to avoid clashes with the opposition.
The GNU was established in Zanzibar in 2010 following a negotiated political settlement between CCM and the Civic United Front (CUF), to tame election violence and political tensions in the islands.