Will the real Opposition emerge under Magufuli’s repressive CCM?
When President Magufuli was addressing a political rally in Manyoni Township, Singida region on the 29th July 2016, he referred to the opposition in Tanzania as a dying snake. He said “after you cut off a snake’s head, it keeps thrashing its tail. You may think it hasn’t died, but it has”. It appears that he believes the recent announced move of protests by the leading opposition party in Tanzania, CHADEMA, are signs of a dying party. He said “where are those parties? They are dead.” In the same rally he dared CHADEMA to go to the streets and demonstrate. The President threatened in ‘street’ Swahili “watakiona cha mtema kuni. Wasinijaribu. Sijaribiki.” Meaning he isn’t testable and he will crash them heavily.
CHADEMA announced a new operation called UKUTA, meaning an alliance against dictatorship in Tanzania. The Swahili word ‘ Umoja’, which I translated here as an alliance, is actually misused since it was the decision of one party. Even parties under UKAWA, a consortium of opposition parties that supports the people’s constitution, are not part of UKUTA. How CHADEMA ended up using the word Umoja is either a result of arrogance, ignorance or simply a lack of a proper word to have in an announce-able term UKUTA, which literarily means the WALL. President Magufuli may have interpreted the lack of an actual alliance as an indication of the fall of UKAWA, thus the snake parable.
The President is prone to issuing threats. He appears to enjoy it. In his coronation as the chairperson of CCM, he raised eyebrows when he said that had he been a CCM leader during its presidential primaries, he would have liquidated all CCM congress national executive members who were pro-Edward Lowassa. When the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces makes a remark like that, it is really threatening. If he cannot tolerate dissent within his own party what will he do to the opposition? The dead snake parable leaves a lot to be desired.
For years opposition activists and some political analysts have been predicting the end of the CCM regime. In the course of three elections, CCM’s popularity has been dwindling from 80% in the year 2005 to 61% in 2010 and 58% in 2015 (if we can take official Presidential elections results as an indication of overall party popularity). The last election was a clear test of CCM’s ability to maintain power as several of its influential members left for the opposition including two Former Prime Ministers who are now in CHADEMA. However, since the election of Magufuli as President and eventually the head of CCM, the party seems to be charting ways to survive. Will CCM survive? Will the opposition thrive? These are the questions I attempt to put to the readers of this article and our political analysts who are seemingly muted.
CCM is an authoritarian party in all sense and purpose. It is a dominant single party with some ability to adapt. President Kikwete’s methods of adaptation were through opening up; for example, allowing the Parliament to hold the Executive to account. He lost a prime minister following a parliamentary work and reshuffled his cabinet thrice, strengthened the National Audit Office and allowed free debate of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) report of government accounts and did not hinder opposition parties to operate freely and organize. He faced criticism within CCM for being too liberal and later the opposition called him weak. Kikwete’s guided nomination of Magufuli as CCM presidential candidate is arguably one of his Machiavellian tactics of survival. President Magufuli in particular and CCM in general takes the opposite route to Kikwete. The true colours of an authoritarian, dominant CCM are starting to show.
Authoritarian parties like CCM have two main goals. First, to hold onto power by eliminating real and perceived threats. Second, to generate popular support in order to achieve development goals. In his book, The Dictator’s Dilemma, Bruce Dickson (2016) observes that the above goals are achieved through the survival strategy of legitimation, co-optation and repression.
President Magufuli’s legitimation process is through war on corruption, ambitious development agenda and straight talk to the population. After he came to power in November 2015, he launched a crackdown against corruption and has continued the crackdown ever since. He has as well announced anti corruption crackdown within CCM. His anti corruption platform has been a platform of the opposition for a decade. The author and his colleagues, like the former CHADEMA Secretary General, Wilbrod Slaa, used the parliament to legitimise opposition politics by raising corruption scandals and holding the government to account. The opposition in general and CHADEMA in particular lost the platform during the 2015 elections and literally handed it to the CCM candidate. Other parties like ACT Wazalendo had a more clear agenda on anti-corruption but its voice wasn’t heard in the campaign dominated by two candidates, one from CCM and the other a former CCM ex-Prime Minister running under the opposition alliance ticket of UKAWA. The CCM candidate was announced winner and he wasted no time in starting an anti-corruption agenda. He now owns it.
Tanzanians hated CCM because of, among other things, its inherently corrupt nature. The people of Tanzania have started to fall in love with the new no nonsense leader. He got them instantly and the opposition lost an agenda despite trying to discredit him on his lack of following due process. The opposition used elitist arguments. The common man and woman just wants action, not legal technicalities and that’s what the President is giving them.
President Magufuli sugarcoated the anti-corruption agenda with an ambitious development agenda. Every time he speaks he reiterates the industrialisation agenda. He uses a simple language that wananchi understand. Pockets of the urban-based, middle to upper class segments of the country see his agenda as unclear and largely ambiguous. But many more Tanzanians have swallowed the message as it is wholeheartedly. There is limited evidence of the President’s successful implementation of his development agenda. All projects he has opened to date are projects that were started under Kikwete. But citizens don’t care. Because he has won them on anti-corruption. The President currently talks about new aircrafts for dying Air Tanzania and people cheer while less than 5% of them fly. He got it. He won the narrative. The opposition lost it.
The President has embraced CCM cadres who lost the CCM primaries during the 2015 parliamentary elections. With this action, he has kept most members of the 11th parliament on their toes. Losers of the primaries are being ‘fed’ to be able to go back and contest against sitting members in the next election. Sitting members will now work to please the President so that, as the chairman of their party, he doesn’t cut them off during the nomination in 2020. In short, President Magufuli has created a shadow parliament of his own. The political genius many people underestimate. He now has a carrot and stick for Members of Parliament (MPs). He has a cat to threaten most of them. As a result, we will likely witness a parliament that becomes more toothless and subservient. Haven’t we already started seeing that?
Some sectors of society, sectors important to a vibrant and open democracy, face quiet co-option. Academia and media come to mind. Open repression is reserved for political parties. The President himself announced a ban on public rallies by political parties. The ban is completely unconstitutional and against political parties’ enabling legislation. In his address at Manyoni on the 29th July he clarified by allowing Members of Parliament to conduct rallies in their own constituencies and since he is the President he is the only one who can do rallies all over the country. This move is an effort to channel only one point of view to the public – that’s of the President and his party and in the process frustrate other parties into oblivion.
Under those circumstances many people have started to write obituaries for the opposition.
However, I would still argue that these circumstances are at times a necessary condition for the rise of real opposition politics. One-agenda politics must pave way for issues-based politics. Repression is conducive for likeminded members of the opposition parties to work together without worries. The liberal approach of President Kikwete created an environment of envy amongst comrades and a sense of ‘it is our time to eat’. It has had detrimental consequences for politics and development in the country, and for the welfare of the opposition.
The real opposition will have to engage in providing a critical analysis of the regime and offer an alternative policy. Issues like budget management will be critical as signs are out there that the fifth phase government will have more adverse audit opinion than any other before. Out of budget expenditures are rampant and more threatening is the drawdown of foreign reserve. It has never happened in the previous 20 years for the Tanzanian foreign reserve to decline and it was happening even before Magufuli started to implement his budget. US$500m has been withdrawn from our foreign reserve between November 2015 and June 2016. The amount remaining is enough to serve the country only for 3.6 months. The best practice for developing countries is to have a reserve enough to cover at least 6 months.
Tax revenues are still at the levels of the previous administration. High profile announcements of monthly revenues collection are no longer there because the taxman was collecting arrears and the government attacks ‘the chicken laying golden eggs’ i.e. the business community, without adequately investing in alternative sources of revenue for the country.
These are the issues the opposition must bring up. Well-articulated issues backed by expert evidence. Critical analysis of data and of government actions and reactions. The era of scandal-raising politics is over; the regime has co-opted it. Only politics of solutions can support the opposition now. The steady slide towards repression must be fought vehemently. But if the opposition does not articulate issues affecting the day to day lives of people, the repression will be supported by people. A coalition of likeminded people who have credentials to fight against corruption and articulate developmental politics must emerge and take up the ideological bankruptcy existing in the country now. Lack of issues and business as usual weaken the opposition and discredit most of our moves, including the recent UKUTA operation.
Once our modus operandi changes and we start tackling issues and articulate them, the real opposition will emerge, stronger and ready to govern.
Call fresh elections in Zanzibar
ACT Wazalendo is a party that stands firm on democracy and the due process that comes with it, steadfast in ensuring that the voice of the people is heard and adhered too without compromising on the principles of democracy.
What has transpired in Zanzibar has left us both in awe and disgust on how certain individuals can manipulate the system to best suite their crude desire for power. Right after the nullification of the elections in Zanzibar, ACT Wazalendo was firm in its stand that democracy was being toyed with and that the Zanzibari peoples wishes were not respected. It is the party’s firm belief that Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad was the chosen president for the people and by the people.
We raised ten (10) points of caution to President Magufuli; as the custodian of democracy in the United Republic of Tanzania for him to take to task, one of them being the current situation in Zanzibar showing all signs of lacking any democratic decorum. This plea unfortunately fell on deaf ears and the outcome of this negligence was the re-run of the Zanzibar election in March, which to date still bids the question of the legality and mannerism of how it was conducted.
ACT Wazalendo continues its fight for a booming democratic environment in Zanzibar that would foster the growth of new age politicians who are not intimidated by sheer police brutality or the power of the state. With this stand, ACT Wazalendo, has continually denounced the legality of the election in Zanzibar and has chosen not to recognise the current government of Zanzibar in its totality for, if there is ever a doubt that ones rights are infringed the party will not stand by those who infringing the rights of another.
Chaos breeds fear and fear has no part in the struggle to attain justice. Dr. Shein recently has been quoted saying “I am not afraid of Maalim Seif, for he does not have no posses tanks or ammunition”. In hindsight he is right, Maalim Seif does not possess the power and might of the state, after the sabotage that took place in October 2016 he is merely a citizen and former 2nd Vice president of Zanzibar. But let us not forget that he also happens to be the leader of a group of people on the Isles, maybe he does not require military might to be feared all he needs to do is get the attention of his followers. Maybe this was the trigger effect that made the army interrogate the politician when he simply wanted to practice his democratic right to be heard.
ACT Wazalendo cannot condone the words said by Dr. Shein, for one they are beneath him and beneath any self respecting citizen of the United Republic of Tanzania, we were liberated; one half by good diplomacy and the other half by force. It would be wise for Dr. Shein to remember the seat that he is clinging on comes with its own history, and it should be a lesson to him no to mock the people by threatening them with military might, after all the Sultan of Oman, not only had his army but also the backing of the then hegemony United Kingdom, this did not stop those who could not stand injustice to stand up against military might. Words such as those uttered by Dr. Shein only work to remind us that Zanzibar is not a step sibling that we can ignore, that such mishap and insensitivity from a seasoned politician leaves the isle vulnerable to many a thing, we do not want to see our brothers and sisters shed blood…again.
As a party, ACT Wazalendo is fully aware of the hardship that faces the Zanzibar people, the political tension translates to a stagnant economy and a demoralised society. We do understand that there is a need for the people to take control of their state but we firmly believe and have not lost hope that the process be ballot and not bullet. One way of ensuring that the Zanzibari people walk away the winners and not just the politician, is for those who want to serve the people to lower themselves and consider their people first and not self gratification.
If we may, let us restart the clock again for Zanzibar, go to the ballot and ensure that the peoples wishes are respected no matter what the outcome maybe. Some may argue that how can we restart the clock? That at no point in time can a state be without a leader. For this we say, have a transitional government that comprises of members from all political players on the isles, let that government involve people who are respected by all fractions of Zanzibaris.
Possibly the greatest thing for the Zanzibari people to do is to ignore the blatant attack on their integrity and rights by Dr. Shein, for he may have not known better. Let history be a reminder for him and a point to remember for the people on the isles that throughout oppressors have met an unfavourable outcomes, we do not wish to see the same for Zanzibar no do we wish for their good name to be tarnished.
Zitto Kabwe, MP
Party Leader, ACT Wazalendo
By Zitto Kabwe, MP
General election of 2015 was one of the toughest in Tanzanian history. John Magufuli, a candidate of the ruling party won the election with the lowest proportionate of votes than any other since introduction of multiparty elections in 1995. With 58% of votes, he assumed power and quickly established himself as the landslide victor. President Magufuli started to take actions that sent clear message that his was not a business as usual administration.
For the people who have been advocating for a clean government by fighting corruption especially large scale ones, Magufuli was a welcome leader. Many of us celebrated his actions popularly known as ‘ kutumbua majipu’ and as of the date of writing this article more than 150 people have been sacked from their positions of power. Most notable sackings were at port authority and revenues authority. Achivements received in his first month was massive increase of government monthly revenues collections.
The President delivered his maiden speech in parliament that insisted largely on his anti corruption platform and his aim of cutting down unnecessary government expenditures, boosting revenues and industrialization of the economy. He became a talk of the region and sometimes globally. The Economist magazine dedicated an article for him vis a vis a rise of social media in politics ( though everybody knows that he himself is not a tech savy person ).
Has 100 days of Magufuli administration defined him of what kind of a leader he is? Can we call him a transformative leader? Is he a reformer? Is he just a perfectionist of the status quo?
Archie Brown in his seminal book The Myth of the Strong Leader, describe a transformational leader as ‘the one who plays a decisive role in introducing a systemic change’ whether of the political or economic system of his or her country. ‘ It suggests profound change, but a fundamental reconstruction of the system into one that is qualitatively better than what has gone before’. It may be very early (just 100 days) to define President Magufuli, however the first 100 days may help us to see what kind of a President Magufuli will become.
Magufuli took office with a promise of Change. His opponents promised change too. The political group that was a leading opponent had a clear message that it wanted to change the system and they often referred to ‘corrupt system’ or corruption is systematic. Has President Magufuli’s actions against corruption bear any semblance of breaking down a corrupt system? He has fired people and try some in the court of law. He even fired an anti corruption czar Dr. Edward Hosea. We have seen people removed and others replaced and installed. Has PCCB and other accountability agencies changed? These are key questions, very fundamental in analyzing President Magufuli.
Our system is characterized by impunity. President Magufuli’s actions have shown that everybody must live in accordance to the law. However he hasn’t done anything to reform the agencies that uphold rule of law and law enforcement. PCCB is still the same. It has no powers to prosecute without permission from the Director of Public Prosecution ( DPP ). In his first 100 days not only has President Magufuli been quite of reforming the institutions, we have seen two parliamentary sessions without any legislation to that effect. Changing heads of these institutions means the President is interested with perfecting the existing system rather than transforming the system that brought him to power.
#WhatWouldMagufuliDo became a trending hashtag in twitter. There exists in people’s spirits someone named Magufuli and like a personality cult is being developed. All his ministers are asking themselves ‘ is this the way in which the people expect Magufuli to act? In this regard we have observed a growth of one man show and two principle leaders of the country The Vice President and the Prime Minsiiter being eclipsed. A personality whose work is supposed to be ‘office work’ in the name of Chief Secretary of the country has turned a celebrity. He is being seen making announcements to sack that and change that and early in this administration the Chief Secretary was seen inspecting hospital beds in Muhimbili. Chief Secretary as the disciplinary authority of the bureaucrats shall never be the prosecutor since the people he announces sacking would end up in his desk for appeals. Slowly the country is heading towards a One Man Show and all others ‘Presidents Men’. It is a worrying trend being observed in his first 100 days and it must be stopped.
The third phase administration under President Mkapa didn’t allow dissent opinion. Records show that for five years President Mkapa and Prime Minister Sumaye didn’t allow reports of the Controller and Auditor General to be debated in Parliament an important step in building accountability in the country. Works of Public Accounts Committees of Parliament were suppressed and Parliament became largely a rubber stamp of the works of the executive. President Kikwete changed that and strengthened the Office fo the National Audit, allowed Parliament to debate CAG reports and even took actions against Ministers whose ministries had poor financial records. Signs are that President Magufuli will not allow this continue. The formations of committees done recently point to that direction. As far as parliamentary accountability is concerned, this will be a backward move against all the achievements recorded thus far.
My judgment of President Magufuli’s first 100 days is that the status quo will continue with some perfections. More revenues will be collected, service delivery in some sectors of the economy ( health and education ) may improve, old corruption will be addressed with vehemence and new ones emerges with treatment of kids gloves but accountability institutions will be hugely undermined. As for Transformational leader, Magufuli is yet to fit the bill.
Zitto Kabwe@zittokabwe is the Party Leader and MP for Kigoma Urban (ACT-Wazalendo)
Vitabu 23 nilivyosoma mwaka 2015
Nimesoma vitabu 23 tu mwaka huu unaoisha leo.
Mwaka 2015 ulikuwa mwaka wa uchaguzi, nimesoma zaidi kidogo ya nusu ya https://zittokabwe.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/vitabu-nilivyosoma-2014-books-i-have-read-in-2014-booksread2014-letsread/ .
Katika mwaka 2015 niliweza kufanya uchambuzi wa vitabu 4 tu kwani ilipofika mwishoni mwa mwezi Machi, 2015 nilianza kazi mpya kabisa ya kujenga Chama kipya cha Siasa chenye kufuata mrengo wa kushoto – ACT Wazalendo.
Niliweza kuchambua 1. The Establishment, Owen Jones 2. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho 3. The Last Banana, Shelby Tucker na 4. Act of Treason, Vince Flynn. Natumai nitarejesha safu yangu ya Kitabu na Kalamu ya gazeti la #RaiaTanzania kuanzia Januari, 2016.
Baadhi ya vitabu nilivyosoma mwaka huu ni marudio ya vitabu nilivyosoma zamani ili kujikumbusha mambo Fulani Fulani. Mfano hivi sasa najitahidi sana kusoma vitabu nilivyosoma shule ya sekondari katika ‘literature’ ili kuelewa zaidi na kulinganisha na hali ya sasa. Ndio maana mwaka huu nilirudia kitabu cha A Man of the People cha Chinua Achebe mara tu baada ya uchaguzi. Kiukweli huwa narudia rudia sana vitabu vya Achebe kutafuta ulinganisho wa hali ya siasa ya miaka ya sitini na miaka hii ya sasa. Vile vile najaribu kuelewa suala la #Biafra kutoka katika jicho la mwandishi.
Mwaka huu nimejitahidi sana kusoma ‘fiction’ na nimefurahia sana juhudi hizo japo niliuweka kando ushairi na sikuweza kabisa kumaliza The Capital, Thomas Piketty. Kwa kuwa nimedhamiria kujikita tena kwenye taalumu yangu ya Uchumi na kutumia taaluma hiyo kwenye siasa za Bunge, nitamaliza The Capital In’Sha Allah. Ninataraji kufungua mwaka na The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a crisis and its aftermath, Ben S. Bernanke. Kitabu hiki nililetewa kama zawadi na @Ritaupara, mmoja wa rafiki zangu wanaopenda kusoma vitabu pia. Kitabu changu bora cha mwaka kilikuwa Ujamaa, Ralph Ibbot. Napendekeza kila Mtanzania anayethamini historia ya nchi yetu miaka ya mwanzo ya Uhuru asome kitabu hiki.
Karibu kuona orodha ya Vitabu nilivyosoma mwaka 2015;
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- Deng Xiaoping: The Man who Made Modern China – Michael Dillon
- Ujamaa: The hidden story of Tanzania’s socialist villages – Ralph Ibbot
- Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar: The Memoirs of Ali Sultan Issa and Seif Sharif Hamad – G. Thomas Burgess
- Home and Exile – Chinua Achebe
- My Watch – Olesegun Obasanjo
- How Much Land Does A Man Need? – Leo Tolstoy
- Facing Mount Kenya – Jomo Kenyatta
- The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
- Chinua Achebe: Tributes and Reflections – Ed. Nana Ayebia Clarke & James Currey
- A Man of The People – Chinua Achebe
- Believer: My 40 Years in Politics – David Axelrod
- Politics – David Runciman
- The Man from Beijing – Henning Mankell
- The Establishment – Owen Jones
- 50 Years of Development Partnership – The World Bank
- Adultery – Paulo Coelho
- The Zahir – Paulo Coelho
- Growing Up With Tanzania – Karim Hirji
- The Governance of China – Xi Jinping
- The Last Banana – Shelby Tucker
- Act of Treason – Vince Flynn
- In the Footsteps of the Prophet – Tariq Ramadhan