What is my thinking today, had I been in Tanzania, how would I have voted on Sunday, 31st October 2010 ... (Author : Temu, A.B.S (c) 2010)
Here is my thinking...
I have thought for a long while - long before the election fever, listened to many debates, observed mindsets operating across various media platforms, people's discussions, noted confusions and well elaborated discussions, I have spoken to some opinion formers, people on the ground in Tanzania, candidates running this year 2010, candidates aspiring for 2015... a good mix...
I remain convinced, as a country, we must always aim such that we don't want to have any unstable & weaker party or parties in government. We don't want weaker alternative parties too - what we want is a truly stable government in waiting machinery in full operation. We want stronger public institutions!
The status quo, the leadership of the ruling party is weaker, perhaps in the history of CCM since it was formed more than 33 years ago.
Why we no longer hear nguvu mpya, ari mpya kasi mpya in this compaign?
CCM has even continued to embrace public personalities that are tarnished with corrupt practices and even to a point allowing CCM presidential candidate to share campaign platforms with some of the accused! How they made it through the selection is beyond me. Leadership is not about following. It is about leading. The fact that opinion polls can decide for a particular candidate, if there are grounds to lead to a different direction, then that is that! There are some candidates who have not been selected for whatever reason, seemingly on party political interests than nations, and or principles.
Integrity, Grand Corruption
This is surely baffling and mind boggling when you actually imagine that the institutions of law and order (under the current government with its Chief Executive, the Head of State, who happens to be a CCM Leader & Presidential candidate) - have charge files open for some of the MP candidates that the President had to campaign for them, basically implying the party and the leadership believe these people are clean and the courts are just wasting your tax papers money chasing these people! It's DONE! Fait accompli!
You need to bear in mind these state organs offices have presidential appointees as their heads, and it is a complete mockery to have their Chief Executive seemingly indicating or rather declaring in public that those they are pursuing, now that they are candidates, they are indeed clean. It would have served the public and the nation much better had the CEO had taken a neutral position and leave the organs of state to carry their duty. Not that the CEO has stopped them, but it is a bad political game being played here! This is wholly destructive to any genuine effort for real fight or to even be seen to fight corruption and indirectly or perhaps politically directly disallowing the law of the land to take its course. This is a BIG mistake and is significant as it now gives an impression and sense what is the real view of the current Leadership
when it comes to allow fair prosecution to take place, especially when one of their teams are implicated in cases involving Grand Corruption. The public secret, is with the current administration, the current establishment, there is no real appetite to fight GRAND Corruption.
Grand corruption is endemic in the country, it is ripe all over! Malaise is in most of the public offices and the operating mindset and pragmatism is purely survival in the majority.
This is not good for a Tanzania of 21st century and we all know that, irrespective of political inclination of affiliation.
New 'Kids' in the Blocks
The good news is, this year has seen a number of new emerging young and fresh potential leaders coming into the fold. If one observes the current positioning of these new 'kids' on the block, one can easily predict no much change in the offing, as the machinery of the establishment is well grounded into its own ways of conducting business, hence, 'how dare you coming and thinking you can change us?'! This is a huge challenge for anyone who has joined the ranks, and more particularly for one aiming to bring real change for betterment of our nation.
Don't be fooled
However, don't be fooled that there is literally nothing happening or has happened as progress under the watch of the current government - not at all, there are gains to be proud off – one example freedom of expression to mention just one – and this could arguably be given as credit to the public for keeping pushing due to intolerable malpractices my those holding public offices;
The blame is on what has been missed, missed as opportunity! The exhaustibly and prohibitively most expensive opportunity cost… as an amalgamation of opportunities missed - i.e. what could have been achieved far more outweighs what has been achieved. This is where the painful experience is, for the country.
What are the options then?
The alternative parties, parties not in power - have recorded impressive support to date - notably CHADEMA on the mainland and CUF on the Isles, partly in some of these seemingly in the last hour!
In the Isles, CUF have significantly good chance for forming a government of national unity. When I read some of the CUF policies, I can hear the frustrations on efforts to make the Union fairer, though I remain in horror and shock if any sixth sense picks any innuendos that are to lead to breaking the union formed by African, and can't stop cautioning that we must do all in our power as peoples of one United nation, to protect our unity and our identity and Tanzanians, as Africans, irrespective of religion, colour, creed, where the fore Fathers came from or any form of shape of racism. We gain a lot more by being united than otherwise. Still, there is Leadership there with Maalim Seif and hopefully we continue with the unity we badly need it and want it, for this young nation of ours, Tanzania. How wonderful would it be, had CUF had similar achievements on the Mainland. ASP and TANU did something and formed CCM. CUF must do all it can to replicate something that will ensure national coverage with similar successes! This is still a journey… However, the House of Representatives in the Isles, has achieved, in terms of balance, what the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania badly wants – this is based on what the nations now needs!
When preparation meets an opportunity people call it luck! Dr Slaa is well grounded as one of the Generals in the war against GRAND Corruption. He is well prepared for that – no doubt! He has credentials and he is an ordinary man. He can identify with people and their cries at this time of need. He is not part of the establishment. All these make him suitably the right person the right candidate to take the fight to the ruling elite, and the established party and its powerful machinery.
Dr Slaa, has many people on his side, has embraced the youth, has embraced technology, and engages with the people much faster and in simple forms. You will find Dr Slaa updating Facebook status. The writing sounds almost as he speaks! If he has an assistant, that assistant is damn good at capturing his boss's mood and putting the wording matching his style. He has massive work to do on the Isles though… and this is a gap that needs addressed not via running mate candidacy, rather by direct appeal and acceptance by the voters due to his party policies and credentials, while ensuring Unity is progressed and maintained.
These are the signs of time! People are fed up with stories and no action, fed up with promises after promises that are never fulfilled. Fed up with plain politicking when it comes to fighting for the interest of the country, interests of the ordinary people on the street… The nation for the first time could see a voter turn out of much higher magnitude, perhaps yet ever registered since self rule in the 60s, or perhaps ever since we emerged as a nation!
What is desperately lucking is the continued, relentless 'reporting' of the successes achieved by the MPs, Councillors of these parties in the wards they led since the start of multi party. Note I have used the word 'reporting', as there is anecdotal indication that there are some very good success stories but these are never successfully show cased! This is where it begs the infamous question or point of view to some, that if you can not give credentials for running just a mere Council, how can you seriously tell serious people that you want them to vote you for the biggest office on the land? Any serious and thoughtful person will reflect on this! This, in my view, should and must be part of the strategy to ensure the machinery of the government in waiting is constantly and repeatedly seeking and talking about what their constituents have achieved in terms of development in the wards that are under their watch. Where the establishment consistently frustrates such efforts through bureaucratic means – as we clearly know such can and do happen - the strategy must equally address these issues aggressively yet tactically and peacefully and informing their rightful empowered bosses, the citizens. Technology of today makes this so easy and much achievable beyond anyone's wildest dreams merely just five years ago!
The alternative parties are also doing nation disfavour, and to the detriment of all evolving effective true democracy of the people for the people, by allowing fragmentation of political parties under the disguise of people are free to have different views. Diversity is indeed extremely healthy, but what is the whole purpose of having a political party? Tanzania surely does not need 20 political organizations vying to govern and each aiming for Presidency! This is utter madness and no doubt firmly and vehemently cements the theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government in waiting as a political ideal and one that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society. In short, simply political, moral, intellectual confusion; chaos; disorder or anarchy in this sphere! The parties outside the government are deemed lacking unity, vision, broader inclusive leadership, and when it is all summed up, the conclusion is yes, we have what we have but these organizations are not ready to govern, coalitional or otherwise – remember to deliver the desired impact that the country badly needs. They are at best pressure groups for certain specific agenda, for example fight against corruption.
The country where it is now, in this journey does not need fragmented political organizations. The Leaders of these parties must provide leadership for the interest of the nation, and come together now and for good. Not just during elections, but this calls for a strategic initiative to bring all factions under one roof and be ready to work and serve for the interest of the nation. With fewer strong parties, having informed representation in the parliament, the benefits to the nation are immense!
Our nation is obviously in soul search mode, badly wanting a committed, determined, serious government in waiting, one that fits the mood of the nation, craving for real change! For that, alternative parties – especially the Leaderships, MUST seriously ask themselves who are they here to save? I am convinced and will be for many serious people, if the answer is to serve the many people of the country, the PUBLIC, then their operational status quo is as unacceptable to the nation as the attitudes of the ruling party's status quo is.
That is the fact many may shy away from stating this as the obvious, but we as people must continue to build and nurture the culture of stating what we see, and playing our part in helping the desired change. We should not remain as observers only or finger pointers only. Surely, we must take actions, take steps forward, and give each other consistent feedback on prevailing developments, successes and challenges. That way we are all engaged in the interest of us as a nation.
We have what we have. It is part of us. One cannot deny who they are. The nation is undoubtedly now screaming for change. The state (and establishment) must continue to scream for fairness and rule of law for all. This is crucial. As a young nation, we cannot afford continued breaking of laws for certain sect of people in the society and expect the rest of the mass not imitating the same be it in a different form! That is still lawlessness! It is in the nature. Where there is vacuum something will certainly get in and fill the vacuum. Good Leadership is one enshrined with the attitude that drives walking the talk, living it. We can't continue to have Leaders who are preaching one thing and doing the appositive. Leaders who are putting money first, bribing the public, looking for own personal career opportunities through dubious means via public offices - these are all signs of corrupted mindset, non serving mindset. Great and successful Leaders are those who enjoy and love giving their time, energy and skills for the good of many, as a public service, they respond to the calling to serve, not self anointed for their own egos, and or their family gains. It is to the contrary, they sacrifice all that! Some succeed, make it, some don't!
We are one people! One nation! We can achieve best when we, each and every one of us, persistently and consistently embrace great universal values, not self serving only and always. Political parties are organizational entities to help us as people in this nation building journey. They are not some mini Gods that one must worship and stick to even when clearly they are heading in the wrong direction.
For that, as one people, we must continue striving to have strong institutions. Strong institutions that are run by principled people, those leaders who know what must be done, and they executive the appropriate plans, by working with appropriate skilled teams to deliver the desired results. Specific, measurable, accurate, realistic, and timed desired results MUST be worked on and declared in advance so that these can later be managed, measured to determine the status for success or later improvements.
Today's election, Dr. Slaa is talking about public services and opening these up to the masses, with a good ad fairer taxation system; attack GRAND CORRUPTION with full vigour and full zealous and revisiting Investment Policies and relevant Contracts. All good stuff to hear, but I am asking myself, where are the credentials for his team members? Surely he needs a good team to run such a massive country! This team, organizational power machine, needs to be out there attacking all weak spots of the ruling government, as a team work and must be visible.
No doubt, we need strong alternative party operating a highly disciplined organization as a government in waiting. If we have that one, then the country is set! If we don't, the country is matching towards that, but unlikely to be fully attained in 2010 elections.
Therefore, what is your conclusion then …
Leaders come from the same society. Bad society yields bad leaders. Whatever Good is, it yields Good! Leaders are a representation, or reflection of what the society wants. If you stay in, and complain, that is what you have chosen. To observe and complain! If you go out and cast your vote, you have done your duty! In the old days that duty could have been going to wars and grab spears and arrows or for modern machinery that could be guns. In our Tanzania, we debate, we debate, and then we make decisions, and expected to act on our decisions, and remain accountable for your decisions.
We are one nation! One country! We are all brothers and sisters! The fight we have as a nation is against poverty, ignorance and diseases! We surely have to deal with securing our borders and security of our people with their wellbeing, their wealth, and their freedom.
To achieve this, we need strong institutions. CCM had made a fair share of blunders, some are irrevocable! Remember, CCM was founded as a 'state' party. Just as treasury is a 'state' institution, so is the founding of CCM. Post multi party we now have other parties, and these get subsidized from treasury, linking that element of public duty.
The founding of CCM and other parties is substantially different. No wonder today CCM is the most established party on the land – be it some people are busy either demolishing it or thinking as if it was their own property.
Our houses of parliaments on the mainland and in the Isles – they need representation that will ensure live debates, informed debates and inform their constituencies on the current state of affairs. They need to be able to bring the government of the day to account.
Formed Final Opinion
To that end, to help our nation so that, this nation gets better alternatives on the table, we the people, as we stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before us, the pioneers who have spearhead alternative politics on our mother land, as they did - in a most disciplined, most honourable, most decent, most honest and most impeccable manner – we must extend our supporting hand to the alternative and best disciplined political party to-date (under the prevailing circumstances) on the land, other than the well established currently ruling party, so that we as the people, end up with real choices , and lay a solid foundation for future generations of Tanzanians, with strong political parties to choose from. No longer should we allow a single party to dominate the parliament to a point that no significant changes can be achieved due to party political whips operating at the expense of the whole nation.
For that, it is imperative voters diligently cast their votes using their MINDS and not EMOTIONS.
If you end up making the same conclusion as I do, that we need alternative strong party representation in our parliament, I have no doubt if you are in the Isles you will vote for CUF and if you are on the Mainland, you will vote for CHADEMA.
This is unlikely to bring neither a CHADEMA President, nor a President from the Opposition on the Mainland, but could potentially bring one on the Isles.
What this brings though, is potentially a vibrant political climate that will ensure, the mighty powerful CCM no longer entertain malaise as it is as rampant and as currently is, CCM will be much more careful and hopeful effective if it wants to remain in the helms of governing, and this truly has to be for the benefit of the country.
Equally, with strong CCM that has lost elections, any future non CCM government will be put to checks and balances with the same rigour and vigour. I would hate to see a dissipated CCM like what happened to KANU or ZANU. CCM is a Revolutionary Party, it is no longer TANU or ASP, and that you can see how visionary those early leaders were! Don't be fooled, CCM is and will remain a political might to reckon with for many years to come.
With more people openly, respectively and decently engage in supporting alternative politics, the alternative parties will get further opportunities to strengthen their organizations, hopefully with view to form a united revolutionary pragmatic movement that will truly be a well organized and highly disciplined, truly no question no quibbles, a government in waiting.
The people of Tanzania, the majority will continue to believe that it is possible after all, to have alternative politics in a peaceful manner and maintain the same family hood we have enjoyed for over 40 years as self home rule Republic.
Mungu Ibariki Tanzania!
Mungu Ibariki Afrika
Na Watu Wake Wote!