ULIMWENGU:Why Kenyan politicians openly sleep around when Tanzanians do it behind closed door


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By Jenerali Ulimwengu

Posted Saturday, December 8 2012 at 12:26


IN SUMMARY

  • I suspect one of the reasons why it is common for the Kenyan politicians to take positions and build alliances at the opposing ends of the spectrum within a week is that they know, just as their Tanzanian counterparts also know, that these are not political parties, just vehicles to take them to power.







Within the three senior East African countries, Kenya and Tanzania have been staging intriguing political dramas that show interesting levels of resilience in political arrangements and the way politicians craft a modus operandi to further their ambitions.



In Kenya, we have been witnessing summersaults that could shame the most nimble circus artists, as politicians have been jumping from one political alliance to another, flipping and flopping from earlier commitments and declarations and jumping into bed with people you thought they would not say Jambo to.



In Tanzania, there has not been much party hopping for the time being, but the ruling party has been doing some housekeeping designed to restore a measure of confidence and trust among an electorate that has tired of too much of a bad thing.



Though most of it can be seen as tinkering at the edges, still some people have expressed the view that it just might work.



The major difference between the politicking in the two countries is that while in Kenya disaffected former bosom pals fall out noisily in public, call each other nasty things and decamp to a new ally’s bedroom, in Tanzania’s polite society, people hang in there, keep up appearances, make all the right noises such as “Tuko pamoja” (We are together), but continue to backbite and spy on each other, plotting each other’s downfall.



Of course, those in the know realise that the ruling party houses at least three big cabals, all with daggers unsheathed.



Yet when they meet in any of their impressively huge congresses, one could be fooled into believing that they really mean what they say. In reality, they are playing for time and waiting for the opportune moment to pounce and grab the coveted trophy.



These cabals have crafted a wily way to keep their chairman sweet by not antagonising him, for at the crucial moment Jakaya Kikwete could change the rules of the game to disadvantage any of the contestants he may consider unsavoury.



Benjamin Mkapa did something like that to eliminate people he did not want in 2015, and Kikwete did it just the other day, to monitor closely the way regions voted, which encouraged regional kingpins to deliver a favourable vote for the chairman. It paid dividends.


So, Tanzanian politicos generally keep polite company, except for a few hotheads who lack the education of the system, and these have earned themselves notoriety among the public, who consider them uncouth.

I suspect one of the reasons why it is common for the Kenyan politicians to take positions and build alliances at the opposing ends of the spectrum within a week is that they know, just as their Tanzanian counterparts also know, that these are not political parties, just vehicles to take them to power.

That is why a party chairman can abandon his party and form a new one in the blink of an eye, without a thought. But they also know that these alliances have delivered in the past, and on at least one occasion the man who eventually landed the top job was precisely the one who had waited till the last minute to choose his vehicle.

Their Tanzanian counterparts have no such precedents to go by as CCM, the lumbering behemoth of forever, has so far been the one and only guarantor of victory, sole source of political power and unique centre of largesse and privilege.

One crosses this mighty machine at one’s own peril. Not many have tried, for our people possess more wisdom than they are sometimes credited for.

All this may change ahead of October 2015. Continuing signs of electoral weakness and a dwindling popular base could expose the ruling party’s soft underbelly in time for the impatient pretenders within the opposition to move in for the kill

If that happens, and the ruling party is dislodged, then the Kenyan scenario can be played out here, with, perhaps, a CCM chairman quitting to form his own brand-new party. But we not there just yet.

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





 
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NDIO HAPO NAPE NNAUYE na KADI zake zitamtoa JASHO sababu hakuna atakaye TAKA KADI kama kuhama kwa WENYEVITI ni kama KARATA...

Sijui atajisikiaje...
 

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