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Suppose our politicians can’t find their brains again once the Arusha poll is over?

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Mwembetayari, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. M

    Mwembetayari JF-Expert Member

    Mar 24, 2012
    Joined: Feb 21, 2012
    Messages: 333
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    Careful now, the madness we adopt during elections could one day refuse to go away.

    It is becoming almost normal in Tanzania that every time there is an election, people you would otherwise take as perfectly sane abandon their wits, embrace madness and conduct themselves like demented fools.

    Once the election is over, they go back to where they left their brains, reclaim them and go back to being sane again.

    We are in the midst of another election, a by-election in Arusha, and the same madness is manifesting itself once again.

    We have been witnessing acts of hooliganism and violence on a frightening scale and allegations of conspiracies to wreak more havoc flying from the contending political parties.

    Sometimes, listening to these accusations and counter accusations, it becomes hard to tell the victim from the perpetrator.

    The verbal violence has risen a few notches recently with agents of the two main contending parties sparing no epithet in their negative portrayals of their adversaries, hurling abuse at and demonising each other.

    It has been particularly sad that individuals you would ordinarily consider elderly statesmen have plumbed the depths of this hideous exchange when they might have been expected to recommend restraint to their younger followers.

    At least one such elder will be smarting from the harsh and bruising rebukes he has received from the young hotheads as a result of his ill-advised wading into the campaigns with unfortunate and ill-advised remarks he should have had the wisdom to avoid.

    The Tanzanian political scene has seen serious deterioration of late, with an assorted legion of shadowy interests taking command of the political process.

    For instance, the subterranean war being waged between the president, who is also chairman of the ruling party, and some of his erstwhile comrades, is a poorly kept secret.

    After a couple of years of shadowboxing and proxy wars, party bigwigs who believe that they were unjustly sacrificed by their “friend” now seem bent on demanding an explanation, and they have become brazen about it.

    The sharks have seen blood in the water; they believe they can attack.

    Many observers think this is some kind of comeuppance.

    Political deals cut in opaque conditions and lubricated by suspect monies can be an inconvenience when their beneficiaries grow cold feet in the implementation of the deals. There is honour among thieves, and a deal is a deal.

    The by-election in Arusha comes to render a noxious situation more so, and the bitter rivalries among the heavyweight men of straw in the ruling party are perhaps more acute than that between it and the opposition.

    Needless to say, the poison secreted by these mindless squabbles — in Arusha and elsewhere — will find its way into the body politic.

    Indeed the talk has been of poison — as in poison — these recent months, with senior officials of the government bandying around claims of some elements within the ruling clique having poisoned others in attempts at physical elimination.

    You would hardly believe that this is happening within the same party that Julius Nyerere founded.

    So, come polling day, in a week’s time, one of the two parties will win, and if it’s the ruling one that does, it will mean one of the factions will have lost.

    The losing faction and the opposition will be disgruntled. The opposition party will challenge the result in a court of law, and the ruling faction will fight it in the continuing underground intrigues. No respite.

    What is to be feared is that those who abandon their brains from time to time because of elections might one day, after another senseless campaign, fail to get back to where they left their wits.

    Worse, they will have dragged us with them into their mindlessness.

    Jenerali Ulimwengu, chairman of the board of the Raia Mwema newspaper, is a political comentator and civil society activist based in Dar es Salaam. E-mail: ulimwengu@jenerali.com

    Suppose our politicians can