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Can Fragile Opposition Defeat CCM?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Nyaturu, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. N

    Nyaturu Member

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    Can Fragile Opposition Defeat CCM?

    By Guardian on Sunday team, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania


    15th August 2010


    Strategists within the ruling party are weighing their options after Dr Wilbrod Slaa's unexpected decision to challenge the incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete in the October 31 general election. Dr Slaa's sudden announcement may narrow President Kikwete's chances for a second landslide victory, according to political analysts who see the Chadema candidate as the only serious threat to the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM). Dr Slaa, who was officially endorsed by his party on Thursday, has 15 years of experience as a Member of Parliament representing the opposition.


    Strategists within the ruling party are weighing their options after Dr Wilbrod Slaa's unexpected decision to challenge the incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete in the October 31 general election.


    Dr Slaa's sudden announcement may narrow President Kikwete's chances for a second landslide victory, according to political analysts who see the Chadema candidate as the only serious threat to the ruling party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM).


    Dr Slaa, who was officially endorsed by his party on Thursday, has 15 years of experience as a Member of Parliament representing the opposition. He is well known for putting out a ‘list of shame' in 2007 naming allegedly corrupt ministers and key party officials, which prompted a series of legal threats against Dr Slaa by those accused.


    Despite vows that they would sue him for defamation, none of them went to court and the ‘list of shame' was deemed accurate, earning Dr Slaa credibility as an anti-graft crusader in a country where corruption eats up a third of the nation's annual $9billion budget.


    The October 31 poll is the fourth general election since the single party system ended 18 years ago. But nearly two decades since multiple parties were allowed in Tanzania, the opposition has failed to ‘oust' Africa's oldest ruling party, amid growing public outcry that the latter has failed to bring economic prosperity.


    Despite graft allegations in the recent primaries and a spate of internal divisions and power grabs amid the Richmond energy scandal - which cost former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa and two other cabinet ministers their jobs - CCM still looks strong and in position to win this year's election.


    Just two weeks before the official kickoff of the campaign, an electoral frenzy is sweeping Tanzania.


    At stake are the two top political prizes – the presidencies of the Union and Zanzibar as well as spots in the separate legislatures of the two constituents of the United Republic, and, at the grassroots level, councillorships.


    CCM is hell-bent to retain power in both the Union and on the Zanzibar archipelago, and a handful of opposition parties are equally determined to unseat the party that has reigned for as long as the country has been independent – nearly 49 years.


    The ruling party, which claims almost 32 percent of the country's registered voters, has substantial financial backing contributed by its billionaire lobbyists and network of nearly 4.5 million members countrywide. Meanwhile, the opposition parties have remained largely diffused and strapped for cash as they struggled to gain traction outside of urban areas.


    CCM was borne of a merger, in 1977, between the Tanganyikan independence struggle party, TANU, and the Isles' Afro Shirazi Party (ASP), while the opposition parties were introduced for the first time on July 1, 1992.


    Expectations that the opposition parties would loosen CCM's grip on the country, as in Zambia and Kenya, haven't materialised, and there are no indications that, that could happen in the near future, let alone just three months from now.


    Initially, there was considerable panic amongst CCM heavyweights that the opposition would unite and overtake the ruling party. The fear was rooted in a general feeling that successive CCM administrations had failed to improve the country's economy and social welfare, as evidenced by the abject poverty to which the majority of citizens are still subjected.


    Tanzania is in the bottom ten percent of the world's economies in terms of per capita income, with an estimated Gross Domestic Product of $22.1 billion or $550 per capital income The opposition has failed to capitalise on the opportunities the ruling party's failings have left open, however, and no party has yet to elevate its politics above empty slogans and platitudes.


    Opposition veterans like Augusine Mrema, James Mapalala, Christopher Mtikila and Mabere Marando have excelled at politicking rather than the more crucial task of proposing viable policies for lifting the country out of poverty. They pulled crowds, but in the end voters denied them their ballots, instead following ‘the devil you know' principle and sticking with CCM.


    Mrema, the 1995 crowd puller, has since left the business of presidency, and instead, decided to vie for the parliamentary seat in his Moshi home. To Marando, a former spy and a lawyer, who was among the few politicians who initiated political reforms in early 1990s, has abandoned his party and joined Chadema.


    Though he is viewed as the author of political reforms in Tanzania, his background as a spy cast doubt on whether he is really a man on mission or catalyst for real political change in the country.


    To Reverend Mtikila, his slogan of ‘time for liberation is now' has mainly been overshadowed by dozens of court cases during the past two decades. Though he has announced to vie for the presidency ahead of the October general election, his impact won't bring any serious changes in the way voters cast their ballots.


    There's a well renowned economist, Professor Ibrahim Lipumba, who has attempted three times unsuccessfully to become the country's president.


    Though his party, Civic United Front, has given the ruling party a tough moment in the Indian Ocean archipelago during the past one and half decades, in the Mainland, the performance has been abysmal and disappointing.


    He has also declared to face President Kikwete during this year's election adding more disunity within the opposition corridors.


    While the majority of Tanzanians would like to see a united opposition with a single candidate and aggressive campaign countrywide, to the ruling party the divisions serves better than a united opposition.


    The electorate seemed to rationalize that shortcomings notwithstanding CCM is systematic and methodical. It has a countrywide structure with an elaborate hierarchical system that began at the cell level up to the highest decision-making organs – the Central Committee, National Executive Committee and National Congress.


    More fundamentally, it has a periodically reviewed manifesto that acts like a compass for its members and the nation. The electorate's enduring support for CCM has also drawn from its relatively realistic task lists during successive five-year terms.


    The undoing of the opposition, on the other hand, is partly a consequence of unrealistic approaches and cynical sentiments. Examples include promising to introduce a helicopter ambulance service for expecting mothers, and converting Tanzania from an aid recipient to a donor country.


    Another let-down for the opposition is the perennial wrangling, factionalism, and power-mongering amongst leaders, prompting members and potential members to become disillusioned, withdraw or defect to other parties.


    Attendant to that is the apparent ‘Me-I' cancer, whereby particular individuals perceive themselves as the natural chairmen of their respective parties, run affairs as though the entities are private companies, brook no opposition, and bull-doze members into fielding them as presidential candidates in five-year cycles.


    The public appeal for NCCR-Mageuzi (originally led by Mrema and subsequently, Mabere Marando and James Mbatia) ebbed progressively for those and related reasons, as it has for the Civic United Front (CUF).


    A combination of power-hunger and stubbornness has also delayed the opposition from the realisation that joining forces and forming one strong bloc offers better prospects for defeating CCM at the polls.


    A largely ignored factor, too, is that CCM is deeply entrenched, right up to the most remote village, and most Tanzanians in rural areas may be ignorant or wary of opposition parties that are predominately urban-based.


    The result is that many wananchi feel betrayed and the betrayal finds an expression in sticking with CCM.


    Above all, however, incumbency as a long-running ruling party makes CCM much more formidable, for it has the government's resources, logistical machinery, and more manpower at its disposal. The opposition may thus increase its tally in ‘Bunge', but the presidency appears a long shot.


    Benefiting from divisions, graft scandals


    The opposition can't make much headway by expecting to profit from the presumed splits within CCM, since the party has crafty tactics for healing wrongs, its stalwarts apparently keen to keep at bay the Nyerere prophecy that a credible opposition party could only emerge from a splintered CCM.


    The opposition's fortunes can thus only hinge on earnest cultivation of its presence and consolidation at the grassroots, de-emphasise power ambitions, stop petty squabbles, and cleanse the outfits of the government subsidy-mongering image.


    To its credit, the opposition, mainly due to fire-spitting MPs like Dr Slaa and Zitto Kabwe, has shaken up the government as an agency accountable to taxpayers, and kept it on lighter toes. And revelation of action on, and fall-out from, scandals like Richmond have been thanks to a vibrant opposition.


    One of the by-products of opposition-driven debate has been the condemnation of bribery, previously sugar-coated as ‘takrima' (African hospitality). Hence the big exposure of the corruption practices during the recent CCM primaries, prompting the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau officers to work overtime.


    Today, the opposition heads to the polls with a very clean record of fighting corruption, while CCM seems to be worried by the allegations of corruption that have marred the country over the past few years. Though there are other presidential candidates from the opposition parties, it's Dr Slaa who seems to stand the greatest chance of shaking Kikwete's campaign team.


    Defected from the ruling party in 1995 after massive foul play during the primary, Dr. Slaa has since given the ruling party and its regime a tough time especially in Kikwete's five years in office.


    Dr Slaa a Roman catholic priest who left the alter for the political podium managed to penetrate the ruling clique, giving him access to classified information that he has used to discredit the government publicly.


    Worried by his access to classified dossiers, it's alleged that in February last year Dr Slaa's hotel room was bugged by spies whose intention was to detect the moles who have been feeding him insider information on the ruling party's actions.


    No matter what happens, things will certainly not be the same again for CCM. The party's ‘mwenzetu' era of protecting even notorious wrongdoers, is verily coming to an end, as the party can't risk its credibility being further tarnished and have more of its members defect.


    President Kikwete, an economist and political scientist, is also expected to use his economic record over the past five years as well as his anti-corruption crusade to defend his performance at State House.


    Currently, his campaign team is gathering key dossiers to counter any attacks from Dr Slaa, who has declared that he has 20 scandals to bring down the ruling party in October. President Kikwete who scored a landslide victory with over 80 percent of the vote in 2005 has weathered a number of storms since his election, including the Central Bank's External Payments Arrears account scandal and the fraudulent Richmond power deal.


    During that period, he lost one of his close allies, Edward Lowassa, and three key cabinet ministers who were forced to resign after being named in the energy scam and the controversial BAE radar deal.


    In 2008, President Kikwete followed in the path of leaders from Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Nigeria by arresting and prosecuting top individuals alleged to have been involved in corrupt deals, opening a floodgate of speculation across the country over who could be the next target of investigation.


    Again in 2009, his government arrested, prosecuted and finally jailed, Amatus Liyumba, the BoT's former director of personnel, in connection with the shady twin towers project that cost taxpayers a bloated $400 million, up from the initial budget of $70 million.


    In a country with so many scandals and so little headway made in mitigating them, President Kikwete has had little choice but to show a willingness to combat grand corruption seriously and aggressively.


    But to his opponents, Kikwete's commitment is still questionable as long as some of the companies that looted billions, like Kagoda Agricultural Company, are let off the hook.


    Some of the still pending files include those on the BAE radar deal, the Buzwagi Mineral Development Agreement contract, the Richmond energy contract, and dubious deals involving Kiwira coal and Meremeta Gold Mine.


    With most of these scandals being committed during the third phase regime, however, there are very slim chances that those who masterminded the scams will be arrested and prosecuted fully while the same administration is still in power.


    SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
     
  2. N

    Nyaturu Member

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    Is CCM Unbeatable?

    By Rodgers Luhwago

    "The Guardian," Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 15th August 2010

    Unlike many ruling parties in Africa, Tanzania’s Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) is regarded to be unshakeable, thanks to fragile opposition and lack of multiparty system awareness among many voters in the country with a population of about 40 million people.

    Now, some political analysts strongly maintain that it will be a day dream to beat the ruling CCM, even though there is growing popularity of opposition parties on the Mainland and in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba.

    This view arises from a set of concrete reasons that one finds hard to dispute. Almost 18 years down the line since the re-introduction of the multiparty system in the country, the opposition has failed to gain ground and dominate Tanzania’s politics, casting doubt about their ability to trounce the ruling party one day.

    Following poor performance in local government and general elections during that period, it is obvious the opposition has a long way to go.

    But one may argue that opposition parties are operating in an unfriendly political environment. On the other hand, however, the parties themselves cannot easily escape blame for failure to grow and win the hearts and minds of the majority Tanzanians.

    It is a fact that opposition parties have been unsuccessful to extend their tentacles to the villages where serious and devoted voters live. Their presence is only felt in urban areas, forgetting that the most useful and reliable capital in politics is human resource.

    During the single party system it was rare for a village to be without a CCM branch or office, a system that was sustained by the ruling party even after the inception of multiparty system in 1992.

    Today the situation is more or less the same, enabling the ruling party to have many members across the country, numbering about five million. The opposition has much fewer members but penetrating the rural population is a vital for gaining political ground in the country.

    Unfriendly legal framework is another factor stalling the opposition’s performance, especially during elections.

    The parties have in fact gone further, demanding a thorough review of the constitution to come up with a legal framework that created a level playing field.

    Of course their argument holds water. Under the current legal framework the president is the appointing authority of the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), its directors and the district executive directors as well as municipal directors who are appointed returning officers during elections.

    The president who appoints the chairman of the national electoral body and the executive directors (returning officers) comes from the ruling party that also competes in the election. Under the circumstances, the opposition parties feel that fairness can not be embraced.

    Giving the example of a game of football, they say the match can not be refereed by a person appointed by one of the competing teams. The voice calling for an independent electoral commission has relentlessly been raised by the opposition to level the political playing field.

    But in terms of financial muscle, an aspect that is also crucial in the game of politics, CCM outsmarts the opposition. It should be remembered that during singe party era CCM, in collaboration with the general public, had a programme of establishing investments.

    It was during such time when the public witnessed the construction of buildings and stadiums that were declared as CCM property. After the inception of multiparty system, all the property continued to be under CCM turning them into potential income generating investments.

    In today’s politics, there are people among Tanzanians who believe that lack of unity among the opposition parties is a major factor curtailing their performance.

    This Thursday CCM Vice Chairman (Mainland) Pius Msekwa, speaking in a special TV programme, said the major factor curtailing the opposition’s performance in elections is selfishness. Msekwa believes that if opposition parties unite and field a single presidential candidate they could pose stiff competition to CCM.

    To date, eight opposition presidential candidates have collected the nomination forms from the office of the national electoral body.

    However, even Msekwa’s remarks may not hold water if one considers the 2005 general elections results. In that election, nine opposition presidential candidates failed to garner 20 per cent of the total presidential votes cast.

    It will be remembered that President Kikwete scooped 80.28 per cent as the opposition candidates collected 19.72 per cent of the total presidential votes.

    Poor performance of the opposition in the past general elections is now used by the ruling party as a strong reason behind the arrogance that its candidate is strong enough and there is no need for him to participate in debates with the opposition aspirants.

    But activists still believe the opposition will, in future, gain greater political ground.

    The Founding Father Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere predicted this could happen after a split of CCM. But how and when is a matter of “let’s wait and see.”

    SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
     
  3. Kiranga

    Kiranga JF-Expert Member

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    There is a big difference between CCM being unbeatable, and being beatable but that ( it's undoing) not happenning because the opposition is disorganized.

    What we have is more of the latter than the former.
     
  4. MwanaFalsafa1

    MwanaFalsafa1 JF-Expert Member

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    The problem is that the opposition (and it's so called die hard supporters) do not take kindly to criticism. They have drawn the line between for and against us with any scrutiny and opinions against them gunners for a person to be branded a "fisadi" supporter. Most of the things written in this article I myself have said for a long time only seemingly falling to death ears and aroused supporters.

    I agree that there are some things which are to no fault of the opposition but there are some things which the opposition could do to improve their situation. But strong supporters of the opposition keep concentrating on those facts which they can place the blame on CCM and the "political environment" whilst doing nothing when it comes to the things they actually have power to improve.

    If you are a sports team going against a team which has seemingly greater advantage what do you do? Sure you train hard but what's more important is studying the opposition. Try to find out what advantages the other team has and how you can equalize it, try to find any weakness and try to exploit it. Does the opposition parties do all of this? With the results they are having even if they are they are not doing a good job at it.

    The opposition has a long way to go. What is going to cost the opposition sadly is that this year there is a high expectation that this year might be the year. The problem is when expectations are high and are not matched it sets you back because all those people who had hope lose hope. Yes support for opposition is increasing but supporters should remember that other parties also do have supporters so never be fooled to thinking you have the most support.
     
  5. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    Kiranga,
    I beg to disagree. In any free and fair election CCM is beatable, the weaknesses of the opposition notwithstanding.
     
  6. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    Inaonekana hawa wote wameshalipwa kutulisha sumu kwamba opposition ni fragile. Badala ya kuzungumzia udhaifu wa CCM na nini kinachostahili kufanyika kuwaondoa mamlakani wamekazania wimbo wa uzaifu wa upinzani, uzaifu wa upinzani.
     
  7. Kiranga

    Kiranga JF-Expert Member

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    What exactly do you mean by "free and fair" ? Free and fair can be so relative as to render itself next to meaningless if not further qualified.

    Some people would say if you don't have an educated electorate you cannot have a free and fair election while to some the meaning of free and fair election is half-assed certification by reluctant international observers, so which "free and fair" are you exactly referring to ?
     
  8. B

    Baija Bolobi JF-Expert Member

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    =======
    Jasusi
    I can even add to that by saying, CCM is beatable, not only by the opposition, but also by itself. Overtime, the party has gone wild in destroying even the system that used to protect it. It is now vulnerable to weak opposition and not least to itself.
     
  9. B

    Baija Bolobi JF-Expert Member

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    ======

    Vijana wa Mzee Mengi wako kazini baada ya kulishwa makombo ya ufisadi wa CCM.
    Waandishi mamluki ni hatari kuliko mafisadi. Thank God they are writing in English mostly for Dar based international community that does not care because they know the truth on the ground.
     
  10. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    Kiranga,
    We all know that the NEC is headed by a CCM appointee. We all know that all district election operatives are headed by CCM sympathisers and we all know the role of TISS in the counting of the votes. Need I say more?
     
  11. Rev. Kishoka

    Rev. Kishoka JF-Expert Member

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    Jasusi,

    That is why it was important for opposition to field as many candidtes in TAMISEMI 2009 to obtain a fai ground of monitoring masanduku ya kura and wakala which fall s to Madiwani and wajumbe wa kata na shina! Guess who controls a 99% maojirity of TAMISEMI? It is CCM which spent that time in 2009 to train its mawakala during the elections getting ready for 20101 general elections.
     
  12. Kiranga

    Kiranga JF-Expert Member

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    Well and good,

    Kuiondoa CCM ni pamoja na kuondoa monopoly yao ya power inayowapa hizi advantages. Anachosema muandishi, pamoja na wengine wanaosema kwamba the opposition is disorganized, si tu kwamba opposition haiwezi kushinda katika chaguzi, bali pia opposition haina strategy za kuweza kuondoa mfumo huu unaoipa CCM an unfair advantage.

    Kwa hiyo regardless ya ukweli kwamba CCM ina an unfair advantage, point ambayo muandishi anaiweka hapa ni kwamba hamna mpinzani anayeweza kuondoa hiyo unfair advantage.

    Hivi wapinzani wamefanya nini kuhakikisha tuna an independent NEC ? Wapinzani hawa hawa wanaacha Mwenyekiti wa NEC awe appointee wa Kikwete ambaye ni rais, mwenyekiti wa CCM na mgombea urais wa CCM, wanategemeaje kupata fair treatment kutoka NEC ?

    Kwangu mimi sababu moja inayofanya CCM kuendelea kuwa na unfair advantage ni disorganization ya wpinzani, kwa hiyo kusema CCM isingeshinda bila ya kuwa na unfair advantage, na kwamba huwezi kuwalaumu wapinzani kwa unfair advantage ya CCM ni moot..

    Huwezi kuona kiwanja cha mpira hakiko level, mpinzani wako yuko kilimani wewe uko chini, halafu ukakubali kucheza mechi bila ku address hilo, halafu ukifungwa eti useme huna lawama, kiwanja hakikuwa level, kama kiwanja hakiko level usikubali mechi, kataa na lazimisha kibadilishwe. Ukikubali mechi tu maana yake ni kwamba umekubali kiwanja kinafaa.
     
  13. J

    Jasusi JF-Expert Member

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    Kiranga,
    Ni mara ngapi umesikia wapinzani wakiitisha tuwe na katiba mpya? Majibu ya CCM yamekuwa ya jeuri kwa sababu wanajua kuwa wana monopoly bungeni. Ni mara ngapi masuala ya kitaifa yanapoletwa bungeni unasikia wabunge wa CCM wakiitwa kuwekwa sawa? Ni mpaka hapo jeuri ya CCM itakapovunjwa ndipo tutaweza kuwa na level playing field. Tuwape wapinzani moyo kwa kujitosa uwanjani ingawa tunajua playing field si level badala ya kukaaa nje tu na kulalamika. Hopefully baada ya uchaguzi wa 2010 monopoly ya CCM itakuwa kwishne.
     
  14. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    How about an independent electoral commission not appointed by the ruling party? With the current system it will be an uphill battle for the opposition to beat CCM.

    We can throw blame at a nescient electorate but we can't ignore the fact that the electoral commission is not non partisan.
     
  15. Kiranga

    Kiranga JF-Expert Member

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    Hayo yote ni ushahidi kwamba wapinzani hawawezi kuleta mabadiliko na kuiondoa CCM, exactly the point made by the article..

    Wewe unasema wapinzani hawawezi kushinda kwa sababu hakuna playing field, wenzako wanasema wapinzani hawawezi kulazimisha level playing field na hivyo hawawezi kushinda.
     
  16. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    All that can be done and still CCM will find a way to declare itself the winner. Kibaki and Mugabe have already set the precedence. Shoot, CCM themselves stole the election in 1995....
     
  17. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    CCM also learned a valuable lesson from Zambia's UNIP.....

    So say what you want to say about them but they are not as stupid as some would like to think they are....
     
  18. MwanaFalsafa1

    MwanaFalsafa1 JF-Expert Member

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    It is true that CCM has an upper hand in Tanzanian politics. There is no where in the world and no aspect of life where playing ground is level. Someone always has an advantage over another person and that is fact. Let's leave that aside and concentrate on the things the opposition has the power to deal with. Some of the things have already been pointed out by the writer.

    Let's create a scenerion where NEC is non-partisan. Where elections are free and fair by any standard you measure free and fairness. Then what next for the opposition?
    1) They have to face the 5 million (according to the writer) registered members of CCM. What is the number of registered members of opposition parties?
    2) They have to face the fact that CCM is more powerful on the grassroots level due to their long history and a point in time where they were the only party. You can't change the fact the there was once only one party in Tanzania thus it gunnered more roots, what do you do?
    3) There would still be people who support CCM and feel that their interests are better served by CCM. Let's say businesspeople. Is the opposition going to complain that CCM has millionaires bankrolling it? (let's remember that even in advanced democracies candidates and parties are funded by rich individuals).

    As we see here even a free and fair election does not guarantee the opposition victory. What is the opposition doing about these matters that are in their hands. When everything that can be blamed on CCM does not exist what will be their excuse. Many might disagree with me (that's what democracy dictates) but I say there is no opposition party which is ready to seize the moment. At least for now the excuse of CC< foul play still exists but there will come a time where everything will be in their own hands.
     
  19. mwanatanu

    mwanatanu JF-Expert Member

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    UNIP waliangushwa na chama kimoja tu MMD....TZ sijui tuna vyama vingapi vya upinzani....leo wangekaa chini vyama vya upinzani kama wazalendo waka weka mgombea Rais mmoja tu basi CCM itaanguka....vinginevyo haiwezekani wao wamejitayarisha 2015 Lowassa and then Chenge or Rizwani au Makamba jr na kuendelea....CCM ni bigger than kremlin......
     
  20. Nyani Ngabu

    Nyani Ngabu Platinum Member

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    Hata hao wapinzani wakiweka mgombea mmoja sidhani kama wataweza kushinda kutokana na mazingira ya kisiasa yalivyo. CCM inashikilia dola itakayohakikisha haishindwi hivi hivi tu. Siku wakija kushindwa wata pull a Kibaki or a Mugabe....mark my words.
     
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