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Tanzania: Does Nation Need Numerous 'Dormant' Political Parties??

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by nngu007, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

    Mar 18, 2011
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    17 March 2011

    SINCE the re-introduction of multi-party democracy in Tanzania in 1992 numerous political parties have been formed and received permanent registration much as few of them could be labeled 'serious parties.' Many of the parties would always show up when an election time approaches and disappear in the political limelight thereafter.

    "Multi-party democracy in this country is in crisis, you can't measure the level of democracy in a country basing on a number of parties," charged a political scientist at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Mr Bashiru Ally. Adding: "You judge a political party by what it does to the people and its commitment to the people we have wasted almost two decades on multi-party democracy with parties that are as good as dead."

    In his views, Tanzania rushed into political pluralism when most of its citizens had limited civic education. "The political parties have helped to divide Tanzanians than uniting them," he remarked during a telephone interview with the "Daily News." Those advocating for political pluralism then, envisaging a system that would enable Tanzanians have a wide range of choices but according to the don, Tanzanians needed more time to appreciate the system having undergone through multi-party system for decades.

    "The Nyalali report then had very good recommendations but since the country was under pressure from donours it succumbed to it leaving very small room for another option," he remarked. Most of the political parties put focus on mobilizing electorates during election and do little to institutionalise their parties at grass roots, he says.

    "They capitalize on the prevailing social and economic hardships facing the people for politicking rather than reaching out to the people in the grass roots and provide solutions for the problems," Mr Ally said. Save for the ruling CCM, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), Civic United Front (CUF), National Convention for Constitution Reforms (NCCR-Mageuzi), United Democratic Party (UDP) and Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) other parties could be branded dormant.

    The pastor-turn outspoken politician Christopher Mtikila's Democratic Party (DP) is among dormant political parties. If you ask a cross section of Tanzanians today they will agree that Mr Mtikila's name and fame overshadows his party by far. Few months to General Elections on October, last year, cropped a muchhyped Chama Cha Jamii (CCJ).

    Soon after the party came into the limelight it caught everyone's attention with hopes that the new kid on the block would bring changes in the political scene. According to the grapevine then, it was going to be a party of big shots within other parties. People waited to see with anxiety how many of those bigwigs would defect from their parties to join the new party.

    This never happened. It even failed to secure permanent registration from the Registrar of Political Parties and eventually most of its national leaders left it to join other parties. The few that remained decided to change the name of the party to Chama Cha Kijamii (CCK) whose existence is not known either.
    Even with the name change it could not field candidates for the election as it was not registered. At present, CCK is struggling to market itself to Tanzanians. Among all parties who fielded candidates during last year's elections hardly half of the 13 parties managed to secure seats in the National assembly. CCM maintained its victory for presidential elections both in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.
    It also claimed a lion's share in the parliamentary seats followed by Chadema, CUF and NCCR-Mageuzi. The three opposition parties have proved that they too, can give the ruling party a run for their money. The other remaining parties, which also fielded candidates during elections faired badly. Here is the list of political parties that can be classified as dormant; Chama cha Haki na Usitawi (CHAUSTA), Democratic Party (DP) Demokrasia Makini (MAKINI) as well as Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD).

    Others are; Jahazi Asilia, National League for Democracy (NLD), National Reconstruction Alliance (NRA), Popular National Party (PONA) in addition to Sauti ya Umma (SAU), Tanzania Democratic Alliance (TADEA), Progressive Party of Tanzania- Maendeleo (PPT-Maendeleo), Union for Multiparty Democracy (UMD) and United People's Democratic Party (UPDP). The formation of the National Assembly provides for 357 members. Of those, 239 members are elected for a five year term whereas 102 seats are allocated to women who are elected by their respective political parties that are represented in the August House. On the other hand, five parliamentary seats are allocated to members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives while one seat is reserved for the Attorney-General. Some 10 seats are given to members appointed by the President.

    In the General Election last year, CCM's Jakaya Kikwete emerged a winner polling 5,276,827 votes of the 8,398,415 total votes representing 62.8 per cent while CHADEMA's Dr Willibrod Slaa got 2,271,942 votes (27.1 per cent). It was, however, a good start for the former priest turned politician since he was standing for the first time. Prof Ibrahim Lipumba of CUF polled 695,667 votes (8.3 per cent). The economist-cum politician was contesting for a third time.
    He first stood for the highest political position in 1995 in which he emerged number three.

    During election that year, which was the first multi-party election, Benjamin Mkapa of CCM emerged the winner followed by Augustine Mrema of the NCCR-Mageuzi. Mrema is now a legislator for Vunjo constituency on TLP ticket, which he also chairs.

    In another attempt in 2005, Prof Lipumba made it to the second position loosing to first-timer CCM candidate Kikwete who emerged a winner by overwhelming 80 per cent. In that election, Freeman Mbowe of Chadema took position number three. Like the past elections, smaller parties proved to be out of touch for failure to win even a single parliamentary seat.
    According to result announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in the 2010 election, Peter Kuga Mziray the African Progressive Party of Tanzania (APPT) was on fourth position after receiving 96,933 votes (1.2 per cent). Hashim Spunda Rungwe of the NCCR-Mageuzi got 26,388 votes (0.3 per cent) whilst UPDP's Fahmi NassoroDovutwa 13,176 (0.2 per cent) as TLP's Muttamwega Bhatt Mgaywa tailed with 17,482 votes (0.2 per cent).

    In the parliamentary positions it is only the five parties, though dominated by CCM that got seats in the August House. The party garnered 186 constituencies and thus allocated with 72 special seats for women bringing the total 258 legislators as Chadema earned 23 constituencies in which it secured 21 positions for special seats, bringing the total to 44 lawmakers. CUF gathered 24 posts, mostly in its stronghold in Zanzibar. It was also allocated with 10 special seats for women; bringing the total number of its legislators in the House to 34. The NCCR-Mageuzi earned 4 seats and granted 4 special seats whereas TLP and UDP got one seat each in which they were also accorded with a single special seat position accordingly. The remaining parties were no where to be counted.

    One notable feature during last year's election was the fact that while in the past party chairpersons were regarded as automatic presidential contestants through their respective parties, this time things were quite different.
    CHADEMA's National Chairman, Freeman Mbowe, stood for Hai constituency leaving the party's Secretary General Dr Slaa to run for the post while TLP's Mrema also dropped his long time presidential ambition to stand for Vunjo Constituency. Lucky for them, the two managed to win in their respective constituencies.

    The situation was not good for NCCR-Mageuzi's National Chairman, James Mbatia who stood for Kawe constituency and lost to Chadema's Halima Mdee. Now that elections are over, one would expect the tailing parties to be conducting grass-roots' campaigns to announce market their parties policies ahead of the General election come 2015, but the reverse is true.
    With this kind of last minutes politicking prior to elections, we should therefore stand witnesses to parties whose visibility is always ripe when an election is around the corner. Worse still, should the established political parties continue bickering among themselves then CCM would dominate the political scene for as much as they wish.