Kikwete II can make or break Tanzania…


Feb 26, 2010
Kikwete II can make or break Tanzania…

By KARL LYIMO, Daily News, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Monday, November 22, 2010

THE general elections this year – the Fourth Edition of Tanzania’s Book on Representative Democracy – were as fraught with challenges as they were pregnant with opportunities.

Speculation was rife that polling on October 31, 2010 would be marred by all manner and style of mayhem, including violence countrywide. In due course of time and events, the doomsayers predicted, the losers – be they the veteran and incumbent governing ‘Revolutionary Political Party’ CCM or its latest political nemesis the ‘Party for Democracy and Development’ (CHADEMA) – would make the country ungovernable just for the hell of it! In the event, this hasn’t happened…

Three weeks after polling took place, its business as usual from Kigoma to Kilwa, Tunduma to Tuangoma! The nation’s able-bodied workforce of 20m-plus Tanzanians is going about its accustomed income generating occupations, already oblivious of the warnings by doomsayers and over-alert security forces. If the former sought to make sensational news headlines, the latter preferred to err on the side of caution rather than live to regret unwarranted taciturnity.

Tasks in the nation’s daily life range from agricultural activities to industry, to service-provision – even to street-begging and thousands-upon-thousands of seemingly endless office conferences at public expense. But, that’s another story… The story here today’s about the nation-state of Tanzania post-the 2010 elections…

Clearly, the prognosis today’s that, as the electoral processes ended reasonably well this time, all will end well in the here and now, leading to the next elections in the year 2015! In the meantime, crucial is the need for the country to speedily recover from what must have been the most fractious and distractive election fever in Tanzania’s History since Independence 49 years ago.

Tanzanians must sooner than later turn away from all that. For starters, the new Government – spearheaded by a reinvigorated President Jakaya Kikwete – must chart the way forward with a singleness of purpose and definitive good governance.

The overall objective’s to firmly put the country on a path to meaningful and sustainable socio-economic development that will, at the end of the day (or, perhaps more semantically preferable: in the next five years), translate into real economic growth on the ground – not mere statistical glorification in official publications that are routinely churned out by some Government institutions!

To that end, the President must put his best foot forward, making a special effort to come up with a Government (read ‘Ministerial Cabinet’) that’ll prove equal to a situation which is rapidly changing with the passage of time and other relevant evolvements. [In all probability, by the time you’re reading this, the president’ll have already put in place much of his new government. But, no matter… governments aren’t pontificated in, under or as per the Holy Scriptures and, as such, are subject to change by presidential fiat…].

What many a Tanzanian would like to see this time round is a government that’d substantially contribute to greater national cohesion. It is, of course, the president’s prerogative to form

a Government entirely composed of members of his political party. Indeed, this is what has been happening in Tanzania down the years. The fallacy in this is that only card-carrying members of the party in power have the ability, capability, qualifications and commitment to govern a country by properly and prudently managing its social, economic and political affairs.

This is, of course, grossly misguided. In this day and age, continuing to confine government to a single (albeit ruling) party denies the country and its people the myriad benefit of drawing leaders from a broader resource-base. CCM boasts a membership of around 5m out of 20m registered voters – and 44m total national population. In the event, confining political leadership to a 5m-strong pool is as unjust as it is selfish.

I base this thinking on President Kikwete’s frequently quoted argumentation that ‘we are all building the same nation – rulers and the ruled, power wielders and power seekers alike – and, as such, there’s no rationality in fighting over ‘fito,’ building materials!’ In his November 6 presidential acceptance speech, Kikwete intimated that he would implement some ideas adopted from Opposition election manifestos for the betterment of the country.

One’d also like him to co-opt into his government some of the best brains in the Opposition… Based on Kikwete’s very own convictions, one would logically and naturally enough expect the man to draw some of his top officials from his political rivals in Opposition parties.

Without naming names here, I’d point out that some of the country’s best ministerial timber lies idle simply because they aren’t members of the party in power! What waste; what misconception! President Kikwete now more than ever holds the social-economic-political development fate of his country in his hands, and what he does with that’ll make or break Tanzania – depending! He indeed has bridges to build – figurative and structural. Cheers!
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