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The State of Politics in Tanzania

by Richard Shaba

Third Quarter Report 2010

TANZANIA political landscape changed dramatically in the third quarter of 2010 due mainly to three factors:CCM allowed a broader participa-tion of its grass-roots members to vote during the preliminariesThe entry of Dr. Wilbrod Slaa, Secretary General of the opposition CHADEMA party in the presidential raceA more visible and active Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) during the preliminaries

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TANZANIA political landscape changed dramatically in the third quarter of the

2010 due mainly to three factors:

  • CCM allowed a broader participation of its grassroots members to vote during the preliminaries
  • The entry of Dr. Wilbrod Slaa, Secretary General of the opposition CHADEMA party in the presidential race
  • A more visible and active Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) during the preliminaries
In the past a handful of CCM leaders at the grassroots/branch level were voting during the preliminaries. In most cases the potential winner was predictable well in advance. It was easy for the contestants to ‘manipulate’ the voters in their favour; the results could be ‘arranged’ well in advance. The new system saw CCM members at the grassroots/branch level casting the preferential votes. Their numbers made it difficult for the contestants to even attempt to ‘manipulate’ them.

The entry of Dr. Wilbrod Slaa into the presidential race caught the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and its government machinery; other opposition political parties and even voters alike; by surprise. His entry also triggered a new wave of political excitement in a country where since the conception of citizens by the colonial and later the one-party regimes as essentially passive subjects and source of labour, revenue and other resources led to their disempowerment and the nurturing of a subject, quiescent or submissive political culture.

Likewise, in a country characterized by political exclusion and relatively high intolerance of opposing views and opinions, especially in rural areas, and in a situation where the Kiswahili term for “opposition” (wapinzani)” is equated to treason, the entry of Dr. Slaa has widened the political space to a higher level. Pro-democracy groups are now looking forward to a bright political future given that nearly half of voters this time around are young people born when the wave against single party authoritarian regimes was sweeping across Africa.

Most of the candidates were made aware that PCCB shall not hesitate to take legal and other action against any contestant who was proved to have contravened the Election Expenses Act and related legislation.


The reaction of the ruling party to the entry of Dr. Slaa in the presidential race has proved one thing, absence of political civility. The low level of civility in the political campaign has manifested itself in the violent language unleashed by party hawks in the ruling party against the opposition and more specifically Dr. Slaa.

The entire leadership of CCM took upon itself to character assassination, mudsling, name calling and outright defamation. Religion, racial, ethnic and even sex orientation took its toll in the election campaigns. CHADEMA which since its formation in 1995 was labeled as tribal (Chagga) based party, with the rise of Dr. Slaa was now renamed a Roman Catholic sponsored political party. CUF on the other hand, continues to be labeled “Islamic fundamentalists” led party.

In addition to such character assassination, the state party devised other methods including all-the-well-known financial means of weakening and dividing opponents and their organizations: bribery, the maintenance of intra-opposition rivalries, restrictions on opposition parties ‘funding’, political violence and disinformation campaigns.

The dissolution of Parliament to pave way for the October general elections and the entry of Dr. Slaa in the presidential race witnessed massive movement of both sitting MPs and prospective challengers from both the ruling and opposition political parties rushing to rural villages to canvass for support.

In a country where most MPs only visit their constituents in times of elections, the rush was basically triggered by political panic given the high stakes involved in losing or winning political elections.

With research findings by REDET (Research and Education for Democracy in Tanzania), a political think-tank at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) predicting the fall of up to 143 MPs in the 232 constituencies, ripples of fear among incumbent MPs were triggered.

Voters according to REDET study, accuse sitting MPs of incompetence, absenteeism, corruption, self serving interests, negligence, arrogance, complacence and unresponsiveness to voters’ concerns in the constituencies.

Indeed as predicted by REDET several political heavy weights, including seasoned politicians like John Malecela, Joseph Mungai, Bakari Mwapachu, Jackson Makwetta, William Shellukindo, Joel Bendera and many others were booted out in preferential voting within the ruling party.

The fall of several candidates during the preferential voting within respective parties trigged movement of potential contestants from CCM to the opposition parties and from opposition parties to CCM. All taking place in the hope to clinch the coveted nomination.

With regard to campaign agenda, CCM is sticking to their ‘2010 Manifesto’ promising among other things the purchase of ships to ply the Victoria and Tanganyika Lakes respectively; construct houses for teachers. Given similar promises made in the past, people tend to be skeptical. The above not-with-standing CCM is busy trying to prove that most of the promises made under the ‘2005 Manifesto’ have been respected – barring a few.

Dr. Slaa’s agenda has set to overhaul the outdated Constitution within the first 100 days in office saying topping the agenda will be to trim the excessive presidential powers and cut down the cabinet size. His argument is that; the excessive centralized presidential powers were inimical to principles of democracy, good governance and separation of powers. He would like to see clear cut checks-and-balances between the Executive and Parliamentary powers. What this means, is that, MPs will cease to be Ministers in order to play effectively their watchdog role.


The proposition that those who invest in the media industry do so to promote their selfish interests and not necessarily to expand democracy came to its fruition during this quarter with the conversion of media outlets into weapons of destruction of “political enemies”; Dr. Slaa and his party being the main target.

Much as Tanzania enjoys a plethora of media outlets never experienced before, some of the newly created media, which greatly helped set the democratic transition in motion, have become excessively partisan and polemical. Articles and editorials too often exude anger and other violent passions, which neither help clarify public debate nor inform citizens regarding key election issues of national interest.

And as if that is not enough, during campaign trail period a number of media outlets including editors and individual journalists fell trap to the power game and became hostages to the ruling party and its candidates.

With price tags dangling in front of their noses, a number of media outlets were turned into “political daggers” all out to slaughter opponents - Dr. Slaa and CHADEMA their main victims.

When President Kikwete collapsed in front of TV cameras during the inaugural of CCM’s election campaigns on 21 August 2010 at Jangwani grounds in Dar es Salaam, not only TV cameras could not show the footage but also the following day there was blackout in both public media (Daily News and Habari Leo) and those of IPP media (ITV, Radio One, The Guardian and Nipashe).

Instead of discussing the health status of the President (Kikwete has collapsed three times in public since 2005), the media turned their attention to trivial issues of no public interest.

And to show their true colors, when CHADEMA inaugurated her election campaign at the same venue on 28 August 2010 TBC temporarily disconnected the live broadcast allegedly because the speakers were using “abusive” language. The broadcast was only restored when it became apparently clear CHADEMA supporters were not going to lie low like envelopes.

On 04 September 2010 Mwananchi reported that copies of Changamoto (a weekly tabloid) were being distributed free of charge in Arusha and Mwanza regions apparently with a story scandalizing Dr. Slaa. It is rumored that Changamoto is owned by one of state intelligence agents, meaning, state institutions were being used illegally in favor of CCM and its candidates.

Elsewhere individual journalists have taken up leadership posts in the competing political parties as publicity officers, campaign media strategists and in some cases have contested elective posts as youth leaders, women league activists or simply practise paid up journalism (sunshine journalism) thus holding political candidates at ransom through conflicting interests.

For the first time, Tanzania has also witnessed the emergency of mercenary journalism, in which journalists write anything for pay, in particular, they are paid to ‘murder or maim political enemies’ for political expediency.


The rush for political positions is fueled by the huge salaries and other benefits befitting MPs in Tanzania, which is envied even by politicians in advanced donor countries.

The lifestyle of politicians in Tanzania is so envious that even medical doctors, lawyers, bank executives cannot fail to notice. People join politics not because they want to serve the citizens but simply to become rich.

The culture of primitive accumulation witnessed in Eastern Europe after the fall of communist regimes has found its way into the East African country of estimated 45m, out of whom almost 13m are illiterate.

Thus the rush for parliamentary seats must be seen from that angle. Politics in Tanzania is lucrative business with economic saboteurs, white collar criminals and political con-men/women leading the rush. Fears are that the state has already been captured by a gang of criminals masquerading as politicians.

Perhaps that is why even though political corruption has long been recognized as the mother of corruptions in the country nobody was pursuing the malaise from that angle. Even the Election Expenses Act, is there merely to hoodwink the development partners that the government was serious about corruption when in reality the opposite is the case.

There is a lot of cheating with fake academic certificates, age and false property records. The Leadership Code and related Legislation does not yet allow the information to be in the public domain with easy access and verification option. Politicians are also running briefcase companies and NGOs through, which millions of development partners’ money geared to support HIV+AIDS associated problems is diverted into private bank accounts, investments and to fund election expenses. This permits them at times to circumvent the Leadership Code.

Perhaps this partly explains why despite being one of African’s biggest per capita aid recipient, there is very little to show on the ground. Poverty is everywhere with an estimated 13m people living on less than USD 1 per day.

A country ranked by UNDP in the same development category with South Korea, Pakistan, Viet Nam and Taiwan during the attainment of juridical independence in 1961, 50 years later is ranked 159 out of 175 on the Human Development Index (HDI).

Efforts to improve basic needs income poverty have been disappointing, access to social services is equally appalling with 3 out of 100 newborn babies dying before they are a month old while 8,100 women die every year in labour or because of complications related to pregnancy, according to UNICEF.

Overall, there is serious dissatisfaction with government performance in most areas.

The entry of political merchants in the political arena has resulted from the collapse of founding Father Mwalimu Nyerere’s single party socialist ideology characterized by massive state control of political and economic spheres.

During the single party system people wielding economic power were isolated from political processes and office. The business community was prohibited from being nominated to contest parliamentary seats. This was done through regulations which required nominees to be either farmers or workers. At times, it was also required that whenever possible the nominated farmers must live in or be member of Ujamaa village.

It should be noted that election expenses during the single party rule were covered by the government. Election regulations did not allow individual candidates to mobilize and use resources available to them for the purposes of bettering their chances of getting elected.

However, with the dawn of liberalism and the emergence of an extreme rich class of people mostly from looting public money during the privatization of state enterprises things have changed. The economic powerful class is now translating its economic power into political power.

One approach has been to finance selected candidates into political office. The other is direct contestation of parliamentary seats.

The reaction from the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi has been even more interesting. It has rehabilitated and transformed the very people it used to castigate as economic saboteurs just a decade ago, into party sponsors. Most of the lucrative government businesses/tenders are their preserve. Very likely there is a win-win situation for all concerned.


The failure of the Kikwete regime to manage the economy with experts warning the country was even more off-track to achieving the income-poverty-reduction envisaged in the MDGs and the fact the absolute number of poor people has increased by 1.3m in the past four years of his regime, has sent ripples of political fear to the ruling party.

Sensing its waning popularity among the populace, and the danger its MPs were facing ahead of the forthcoming general elections; and with Trade Unions Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA) announcing a nationwide strike of its members over pay rise, the incumbent party, has once again proved its mastery in acrobatic politics. The saying is, you move with the current or sink. It quietly increased workers salaries even though it had vowed never to bow to workers pressure.

It also directed the government to dish out what is known as Constituency Funds. The move of dishing out the money is not to support individual constituents but rather to give incumbent MPs an edge over upcoming challengers in financial terms.

The Bill to establish the Constituency Fund (CF) w as passed overwhelmingly in Parliament despite strong opposition from members of the civil society, media, academia and even donors. The civil society opposed the Bill very vocally citing the fact that MPs are part of the Local Government Authority Control Machinery. However, according to the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) many Local Government Authorities (LGAs) have failed to account for the funds they used. This indicates there is some weakness on the part of Councilors and MPs in fulfilling their control function. Furthermore, the civil society argued that the MPs have a control and not execution function.

Should they now manage the CF they shall have interfered with the Executive while compromising their control function. Thus, the civil society expressed concern that if the CF would be managed in the manner afore-said it would be very difficult to monitor who the end user shall be; given the role reversal of MPs. Essentially the CF is geared to spur development projects in the constituents under the direct supervision of respective MPs.

To many observers, the CF is a political weapon for the incumbent MPs from which to entice voters through corruption and elicit ground support from poor people many of whom cannot afford even their basic daily needs. The money is in addition a bonus each MP is entitled at the end of five-year term in office.

Perhaps the biggest political development during this quarter was the decision by the Court of Appeal to suspend the decision by the High Court to allow private candidates in all political elective posts.

In what has been described by many political observers as compromise of its constitutional powers, on 17 June 2010 the Court of Appeal declared that it had no constitutional powers to enforce private candidates passing the buck to Parliament. “The issue of independent candidates has to be settled by Parliament because it is a political matter and not a legal one. Each party should bear its own cross”, Chief Justice (CJ) Augustino Ramadhani who chaired a seven-appeal-court-judges-panel declared in the ruling.

The position taken by the highest court in the country has sent ripples of fear, with political scientists saying the ruling itself was political and has compromised the authority and independence of the Judiciary and that it will now be out maneuvered by both the Executive and Parliament.

On 05 May 2006 the High Court ruled in favour of private candidates in both presidential and parliamentary posts and directed the Government to put in place legislative mechanism that would allow private candidates in elections alongside those representing political parties.

The Government through the Attorney General AG, however, appealed to the highest court on the land, which has now come up with what many believe is a political ruling with the Judiciary digging its own grave.


The entry of Dr. Slaa has also boosted the image of the weakling opposition political parties some of which have come out of their political cocoons for the first time since 2005 to exploit the unfolding political space by voicing their concern on a number of issues especially on reeking corruption and mismanagement of public resources.

They are exploiting the new space to expose weaknesses in the ruling party and its government through numerous scandals and poor service delivery that had fueled public reservations across board.

Led by Dr. Slaa, the opposition camp revived the call for a new constitution saying it was the basic cause of grinding poverty and growing inequality.

The smooth transition of leadership in CHADEMA is also a lesson to other opposition political parties whose leadership is still in the hands of their founders. Much as most of the opposition political parties in Tanzania are now 18 years old, however, they remain stunted and groping in the dark mostly because of a combination of factors - lack of material and financial resources to function properly and more importantly lack of visionary leadership.

Apart from CHADEMA, TLP, NCCR-Mageuzi and of course, CCM most of the political parties are still under the leadership of their founding chairpersons. Similarly, almost all of them operate like replicas of the incumbent party with centralized structure and a very domineering position of the chairperson without checks and balances and effective grassroots in rural areas where majority of voters reside.

Like the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi, the weakling opposition parties are also structured in top-down posture without a strong enough base at the grassroots.

Lack of internal democracy is another glaring problem with a number of these political parties managed like private corporations by their founders. Perhaps this explains why many of them have failed to expand and attract new membership with fresh ideas and leadership even though nearly 50 per cent of those who will be voting this year were born in the 1980s. This apart there is heavy infiltration by state security agents, who are sponsored by the ruling party so that it retains power at any cost - the Machiavellian way.

And with the current socio-economic and political environment remaining unchanged, it is very unlikely for the opposition to wrestle power from CCM. Notwithstanding the scandals that have rocked its foundation, the ruling party still enjoys a monthly government subsidy of about Tshs 2.9bn for its activities while its nearest earner CUF earns about Tshs 260m. CHADEMA, which comes third, earns about Tshs 60m. All the rest earn less than Tshs 5m. Such income gap does not augur well for competitive politics.

During the campaign trail it emerged that the Election Expenses Act was flouted right, left and centre and despite the loud talk by the Registrar of Political Parties and the presence of PCCB, both proved toothless as too much money was exchanged under their noses undetected. While the Act provides guidelines on how election money should be raised and expended, its implementation came into force when millions of money had already changed hands through M-Pesa via mobile phones.

Similarly, while an attempt was made by PCCB to detect and arrest corruption acts during the preferential voting within political parties, it failed miserably during the campaigning; mostly because of limited staff and the very sophisticated methods used by the culprits so much so that it was overwhelmed. Even those who were arrested represent a tea spoon of sugar poured into the sea. The other obvious reason is lack of political will on the part of the ruling party and its government. A government under merchant politicians that feasts and whose survival is hinged on corruption cannot be expected to fight corruption.


After being in power for 49 years, CCM appears to be exhausted and to have run out of ideas, yet the power of the purse, use of state machinery and resources to sabotage the opposition; and the high degree of docility among the population have combined to create a conducive political environment for its survival.

The positive thing about this development is that all indicators show that there will be more MPs on the opposition camp than ever before. Equally important, the entry of Dr. Slaa has raised public awareness to an all time high in the recent history. The CCM government is facing an uphill task to provide answers to the electorate.

CCM is not used to direct challenges both from within and without. But with the political space growing it has to contain with a lot of ‘unexpected’ developments. It came as a ‘rude shock’ to CCM when the Director of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) concurred with the opposition that some of the billboards displayed by CCM during the current campaigns were misleading and unfair to the opposition. The said billboards were the ones showing the CCM presidential candidate Jakaya Kikwete in his role as the President of the United Republic of Tanzania carrying out a function (opening a facility, receiving dignitaries, etc). The argument was – in that capacity he was the President of all and not the leader of CCM. The Director ordered the billboards to be removed; and CCM obliged!

When CHADEMA lodged a complaint with the Registrar of political parties indicating that CCM had violated a section of the Election Expenses Act and wanted the CCM presidential candidate disqualified, some eyebrows were raised. It did not take long for CCM to lodge a counter complaint against CHADEMA. But CHADEMA was quick to indicate that above all the complaint was already time barred

The Registrar ruled that CCM had no case to answer and threw out the complaint from CHADEMA. The CCM case was also thrown out on the grounds that it was time barred.

The state media is progressively allowing free space to all political parties. The state TV is hosting ‘political open discussions’ in most regions. The events are broadcasted live. None-the-less CCM has given a blanket NO to all its candidates and has prohibited them to participate in such live events.

The opposition parties questioned the logic of the government to use national resources to ferry the First Lady, Mama Salma Kikwete, on her campaign trips on behalf of the CCM presidential candidate. In a hastily convened press conference CCM produced all the receipts purporting CCM was meeting the costs for her travels and not the government. The press went ahead and queried the presence of government officials using public transport accompanying the First Lady – CCM was at pains to admit that it neither asked them to accompany the First Lady nor use public transport. CCM said the relevant authorities were at liberty to take the ‘offending’ officials to task.

In Tanzania the issues of citizenship are handled and determined by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It becomes politically problematic when the Minister for Home Affairs (CCM) who is defending his constituency; lodges a complaint with the NEC purporting that the contestant from the opposition CHADEMA is not a citizen of Tanzania and thus should be disqualified from contesting. The situation becomes politically complex when the NEC objects to the claims by the Minister and allows the CHADEMA candidate to challenge the Minister. It almost smacks of abuse of office on the side of the Minister for Home Affairs.

It is politically correct for civil servants aspiring for political office to resign/retire from their current positions or take unpaid leave. But the same does not apply to political leaders such as Ministers, Regional Commissioners, and District Commissioners. There is a lot of murmuring within the ranks indicating that the civil servants are getting a raw deal. The same would not have been the case if the separation of powers was strictly adhered to – Ministers, Regional Commissioners and District would not be MPs. It is only a question of time before the issue of Ministers being appointed from outside the Parliament is elevated to a debatable agenda.


According to government statistics, Tanzania’s economy expanded by 6 per cent in 2009, beating a forecast of 5.0 - 5.5 per cent growth and should grow by 7 per cent this year. In the same vein inflation is expected to slow down to 8 per cent.

Improved economic management and progress with reforms improved the resilience of the country’s economy towards the end of ex-President Ben Mkapa. GDP stood at 6.8 per cent in 2005.

However, such growth has not succeeded in generating adequate employment, and much of the workforce is either unemployed or underemployed. Likewise improvement in the economy has not succeeded in reducing dependency on foreign aid. The country continues to rely on foreign aid for almost 40 per cent of her development budget. During the 2009/10 fiscal year foreign assistance made up 33 per cent of the budget.

Interestingly, much as Tanzania is among Africa’s biggest per capita aid recipient, the absolute number of poor people is increasing mostly due to mismanagement, lavish and wasteful expenditure by the current regime. Examples are many. Wasteful expenditure is one reason why the development partners decided to cut down their General Budget Support (GBS) contributions to the tune of USD 534m in the 2010/11 budget.

The other obvious reason is the failure of the Government to deliver many of the promises and development partners’ concern over slow pace in government reforms. The latest development means the country will find it very hard to get the money elsewhere unless it resorts to commercial borrowing from the local banks. The move however, is suicidal given that commercial loans are tough and always come out with high interest rates and short repayment periods, which make their payment burdensome to citizens.

Other measures taken to cope with the donor's decision include cutting down the health budget by 30 per cent. Sadly enough, the health sector is already poorly funded for the obvious reason that all big shots in the corridors of power are treated abroad at the taxpayer’s expenses.

With regard to income poverty, there has been little progress with a small decline in poverty incidence, but Tanzania is in fact off-track to achieving the income poverty MDGs. Much as the percentage of people living below the poverty line has decreased slightly, the absolute number of poor has increased by 1.3m in the past five years.

Experts are in agreement that without a change of policy direction and increased pace, MKUKUTA (poverty reduction strategy) objectives and MDGs will be at risk.

Another area of cause for worry is the widening income gap between the country’s richest 20% who are holding 41 percent of the national wealth and the poorest 20 percent owning only 20 percent of national wealth.

Much as government economic indicators show that income per capita is now Tshs 682,737, there is every reason to dismiss that. In a country where the price of sugar has soared from Tshs 550 per kilogram in 2005, to Tshs 1,800 to date, surely there is something wrong. The reality on the ground is such that minimum wage earners have ceased drinking tea in their homes.


The most notable political development in Zanzibar in the third quarter was the 10th amendment to the 1984 Constitution that paved the way for formation of Government of National Unity (GNU) thus ending the political divide that cut the country right at the middle into two halves since the bloody revolution of 1964.

Members of House of Representatives also went further to declare Zanzibar a state with all trapping of sovereign state, a move seen by constitutional experts as geared to wreck the Union.

Both the ru ling Chama cha Mapinduzi and the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) fielded Pemba-born presidential candidates in the name of Seif Sharrif Hamad, the powerful CUF Secretary General to represent CUF and Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein, the current Vice President in the Union Government on CCM ticket.

Five other political parties have fielded candidates. These are Juma Ali Khatibu of Tanzania Democratic Alliance (TADEA), Haji Ambar Khamis of NCCR-Mageuzi, Said Soud Said of Chama cha Wakulima (AFP), Kassim Ali Bakari of Jahazi Asilia and Haji Khamis Haji of National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA). One candidate, Haji Musa Kitole from Sauti ya Umma (SAU) was however, disqualified by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The huge number of presidential candidates is a reflection of the anticipated positions in the government given the constitutional amendment that gives room for a government of national unity.

Dr. Shein’s candidature, however, is a big test to the nerve of CCM die-hards who are believed to have sworn they will never allow a Pemba-born citizen ascending to the saddle of power in Zanzibar in the next 100 years. The referendum results indicated more Yes votes from Pemba and more No votes from Unguja. A reflection of the old political lines.

It will be remembered that since the bloody revolution of 1964 all the six Presidents - Abeid Karume, Aboud Jumbe, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Abdul Wakil, Salmin Amour and now Amani Karume hail from Unguja.

In fact, even the rebellion of Pemba people emanated from the discriminatory tendencies both in political and economic spheres. Even though 70 per cent of cloves, the mainstay of isles economy come from Pemba most of the proceedings have been invested in Unguja.

Such discriminatory tendencies fueled the rebellion with Pemba people rallying behind CUF to the extent that Zanzibar is a divided country right at the middle into two halves.

The latest development, however, is a product of political accord signed in the second quarter between CCM and CUF. The accord allowing for a government of national unity was followed by a referendum, which approved its implementation. It is from the same accord that perhaps even the CCM diehards had to change the stand of conservative revolutionary council hard liners.

The medical doctor trained Ali Mohammed Shein proved his political maturity when as Vice President to Benjamin Mkapa remained aloof as others scrambled to succeed his boss. As a Vice President and in a political party with a tradition of alternating leadership between Mainland and Zanzibar, Dr. Shein had a better chance than any other person to succeed Mkapa by virtue of coming from Zanzibar given that Mkapa is a Mainlander yet he allowed another Mainlander in the name of Jakaya Kikwete to succeed Mkapa.

Interestingly, however, political observers say his option to enter the Zanzibar presidential race when he could stand a better chance to succeed President Kikwete in the Union Presidential race in 2015, is a calculated strategy by ‘visionary’ but ambitious Mainlanders. The argument is that as Vice President for 15 years, Dr. Shein would have gained enough experience that there will be no need to push him out. By shunting him to Zanzibar, it paves way for those Mainlanders gunning for the post to start positioning themselves.

Even the manner in which Dr. Ghalib Bilal, Kikwete’s presidential running mate was picked is very interesting. Under the present set up when the President is Mainlander his running mate must come from the other side of the union. Dr. Bilal was picked because he offers no threat given his advanced age.

Should Dr. Shein win the political race to succeed Karume in Zanzibar, political interest will then be on who will be the eventual successor to Kikwete in 2015. Both Kikwete and Mkapa being Mainlanders, political agitators in Zanzibar are already agitating for their son to ascend to the Union presidency after 2015. But with Dr. Shein shunted to Zanzibar, this is indeed, an area of interest to political watchers.


With veteran politicians and new entrants laying the groundwork for what promises to the biggest political contest in the country’s history since the dawn of multiparty politics in 1992, and with clerics urging voters to be vigilant and ensure that they elect leaders of quality there is noticeable panic in the CCM hierarchy.

And as a matter of fact, the political survival of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi and its chances of retaining power hinges on three pillars namely – state machinery, experience and the personality of Kikwete. The other obvious pillar though waning is lack of civic competence of the citizenry. The influence of Dr. Slaa is real.

Having been an opposition MP for 15 years, the former Roman Catholic Padre is seen by many political observers as the most solid presidential candidate and a real challenge to the credentials of President Jakaya Kikwete. CCM cannot afford to lie low like envelopes. They will fight using all available weapons within their reach.

Political analysts are very confidently expecting an increased number of MPs and Councilors from the opposition after the election. Many insiders concede openly to the fact that unlike in the past when CCM could take voters for a ride, this time around, CCM is facing the biggest political test in its 56 years of existence.

Much as there are other four presidential candidates - Professor Ibrahim Lipumba of Civic United Front (CUF), Hashim Rungwe of NCCR-Mageuzi, Peter Kuga Mziray of APPT-Maendeleo and Mutamwega Mugahywa of Tanzania Labour Party (TLP – n.b. The chairperson of TLP, Augustine Mrema, is busy campaigning for the CCM presidential candidate!!), the focus of real political battle is now between Dr. Slaa and Kikwete, the incumbent.

Two other candidates: Paul Kyara of Sauti ya Umma (SAU) party and Christopher Mtikila of Democratic Party (DP), were disqualified by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Available records show that almost all the leading television and radio stations are in the hands of politicians (ministers and parliamentarians or businesspeople-cum politicians). Editors and journalists are also in the pay roll of individual politicians-cum businesspeople to serve their interests. The fusion of business, politics and media is levying a cruel tax on media freedom and has led to what is now referred to as corporate speech and market censorship at the expense of information that can spur the growth and flourish of liberal democracy.

As things stand now all attempts by President Jakaya Kikwete to insulate political offices from the business community are bound to fail. Even the passage of Election Expenses Act, 2010 is not going to yield the intended objectives given the heavy involvement of political merchants in meddling with the country’s politics.

The Constituency Fund has been established at a time when the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) is calling for the removal of MPs from sitting in the Boards of Directors of Public Parastatals, Public Utility Organizations, Regulatory Bodies and other Enterprises and Institutions to avoid conflict of interest.

The CAG’s argument is direct and simple. MPs should remain free so that they can effectively exercise their oversight duties on public money and other resources as provided in the constitution. Logic dictates that one cannot be a referee and a player at the same time.

Interestingly such argument is being ignored mostly by MPs themselves because of the fat sitting allowances they enjoy as board members in these public bodies.


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