What Samia's meeting with opposition leaders is likely to focus on


Summary

  • The issues at hand include rising costs of living, reconciliation aimed at healing political wounds, the new constitution, independent electoral commission, economic growth and impacts of climate change

Dar es Salaam. Six issues are expected to dominate President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s meeting with leaders of opposition parties slated to take place at the Magogoni State House in Dar es Salaam.

They include rising costs of living, reconciliation aimed at healing political wounds, the new constitution, independent electoral commission, economic growth and impacts of climate change.

Others are decisions made after the government has received the taskforce report on better means of practising the politics in the country.

President Hassan who doubles as the CCM chairperson is meeting her opposition counterparts, 257 days after promising to meet them for deliberations.

She made the promise shortly after taking oath to succeed former President John Magufuli who died in office on March 17, 2021.

October 21, 2021, a task force she formed to collect stakeholder’s opinion on the better way of running politics in the country handed over its report to the Head of State.

The handed report consists of 18 recommendations, with President Hassan saying several other task forces would be formed within the government to provide advice on better means of executing the endorsements.

“These are the things touching the interests of different groups in the country. They include ordinary citizens, religious leaders, rights groups etc,” said one government official under conditions of anonymity.

“For instance, everybody would like to know issues that have been agreed in the reconciliation and those that are not part of the consensus and reasons behind the flop,” added the source.

The source said climate change that has adversely affected the country including severe death of livestock, food shortage, water and power rationing in some parts of the country will also be discussed.

Social groups would like to know measures taken by the sixth phase administration in addressing the rising inflation due to global increase in fuel prices therefore causing skyrocketing prices of commodities, especially food stuff.

“There are complaints of raising prices of commodities due to the outbreak of Covid-19 hence restricting industrial production. As a result most products that were stored in warehouses were subjected to use triggering shortages hence raising prices,” said the source.

However, a political and economic expert, Mr Gabriel Mwang’onda said maintaining the country’s peace was another issue that will dominate the meeting.

He said people’s lives, political activities and issues of the new constitution were among those that will dominate today’s meeting.

“The new constitution is a fresh issue despite opinion disintegration among political parties comprising those demanding reform of the independent electoral commission while others were of the view that the electoral body should be part of the components of the new constitution,” he said.

“This has led to misunderstanding among political parties themselves. Similarly, political rallies are another area that will dominate the discussion. However, economic issues are less discussed in such meetings,” added Mr Mwang’onda.

Furthermore, he said issues of economy are not deeply discussed in such meetings, rather they are used as political dice to criticise the government in power.

Dr Faraja Kristomus said political reconciliation, new constitution and independent electoral commission are key issues that will dominate the meeting.

“The new constitution and the country’s environment to conduct political activities will dominate the meeting. Others are issues of independent electoral commission and maintenance of the country’s peace,” he said.

A political and education analyst, Dr Aviti Mushi said costs of living, especially raising price of foodstuffs, will dominate the meeting.

“Independent electoral commission will also be discussed in order to eliminate challenges recorded in past elections, especially mass disqualification of candidates nominated by opposition political parties,” he said.

The National Muslim Council of Tanzania (Bakwata) secretary general, Mr Nuhu Mruma said religious institutions and political parties should push for national development, the right to criticise and purring strategies of interests to the country.

“What the Head of State is doing is exactly what she was supposed to do for the interest of Tanzanians regardless of their political affiliations. This is a huge thing for the interest of the country’s democracy,” said Mr Mruma.

“Nobody can have the best opinion for leading the country without receiving opinions from others. By listening and looking for consensus, President Hassan has demonstrated the highest level of political maturity. Therefore, we strongly commend her decisions,” he added.

He said avoiding opposition leaders wasn’t a solution, instead she was supposed to meet and discuss with them about different challenges facing the country for the interest of the nation and the general public.

An economic specialist, Mr Oscar Mkude said costs of living and economic growth could be among issues that would dominate discussions during the meeting.

He suggested that the meeting should put emphasis on improving collaboration between the public and private sector in order to achieve pre-requisite economic growth.

“This is because the two sectors interact closely.