Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa

Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa

Sunday, 30 August 2020



Popular disco musician Patricia Majalisa dies - NewZimbabwe.com
Those who knew the late Patricia Majalisa (15 Feb, 1967- 9 July, 2020), she, indeed was but a diva who made many happy, especially in the 80s through the 90s. Our diva is no more. Her hit Cowards above is one of the hits that introduced her to the world of music. RIP Patricia Majalisa. Uhambe Kakuhle, Lala Ngoxolo Usisi Wam.



Friday, 28 August 2020


Africa is changing dramatically.  Pam Nkutha saw it before. Listen to this song and tell us what you remember about yourself and Africa.



Mimi na Cde Pius Msekwa tulipoandika kitabu cha Magufulification: New Concept that Will Define Africa's future and the Man who Makes Things Happen, tuliyazingatia haya ambayo ofisi yake sasa imeamua kuyaweka bayana, yaani utendaji wake wa kipekee katika kuiinua Tanzania na kuhakikisha inatumia na kufaidika na raslimali zake ilizojaliwa na Mwenye Mungu. Ukisikiliza maelezo na ushahidi wa utendaji wa rais John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, utakubaliana nasi kuwa hiki ndicho tunachokiita Magufulification of Tanzania and Africa. Tazama kipindi hicho juu, utakubaliana na uchambuzi wetu. Kwa kuzingatia utendaji wa Magufuli au Magufulification kwa lugha ya kitaalamu, Magufuli amenaweza kushinda uchaguzi hata bila kuhangaika na kupiga kampeni. Kwani kizuri chajiuza na kibaya chajitembeza. Wahenga walinena. Mwenye mato haambiwi tazama; na mwenye masikio na asikie.


Wednesday, 26 August 2020

TOWARDS THE 2020 GENERAL ELECTIONS : A contribution to voters’ education.


The  National  Electoral  Commission  has  already  approved  a  long  list  of  Institutions  that  will  be  allowed  to  participate  in  the  exercise  of  proving  what  is  described  as  “vote  education”  to  the  prospective  voters  for  the  October  2020  general  elections.   I  am  personally  not  aware  of  the  topics  that  are  taught   in   such   voter  education  classes;  but   I  would  like  to  make  a  small  contribution  in  connection  therewith;   for  whatever   little  value  it  may  add. What  the  voters  must  know:   The   President  needs a  majority  in  Parliament.

In order  to  achieve  smooth  and  conflict-free  operations of our  ‘Parliamentary system’   of government;   the   relevant  general  election  must   give  the  elected   President  a  clear  majority  of   MPS  in the National Assembly.   Thus,  it  is  my  humble  submission, that   this point   should constitute  a  significant  part of the ‘voter education’ programmes  that  are   being  offered  to   our voters,   in preparation for the  forthcoming    October 28th  general  elections.

‘Voter education’   is primarily intended  to enhance  the voter’s   awareness   of  the  true  meaning  of  the  outcomes   which may result from his vote,   so   that  it  may enable him to vote wisely, and  in a way   that will enable him to achieve the kind of outcome which will be of maximum benefit to the country’s governance system.                                    

 Unfortunately  however,     in  the  past  general  elections,   some of those  who  participated in providing  ‘voter education’   were  not  very   helpful  to  the  voters   in  respect  of   the  need to  enhance   their  understanding  of  this  important  aspect  of  multi-party  elections,  because  the most  common  message  that  was  being  delivered  to  the  voters , was  typically  telling  them :    “ to  listen carefully to the candidates’ campaign speeches, and then vote for  the candidate  of your choice”.   This,  indeed,    is   good and  correct   advise,  and  that  was  the  message  that  was  being  delivered  to  the  voters  during  the  by-gone  days  of   the   ‘one-party  State  elections.    However,  it  is  wholly  unsuitable  for  the  multi-party  elections,  and  can  even   be   totally  misleading,  for  the  following  reasons:-

 In   the   multi-party   political  dispensation,   the purpose   of  a  general  election  is to enable the voters to select what will become the country’s  Ruling  party  for the following five years.   In other words, voters are expected to make a choice between   the   competing   political parties,   and  certainly  NOT  between  the  individual   the  candidates.  This is  so   because  the Westminster Parliamentary   system  of government  which we inherited  from  Britain,  is  known  as   “Government   by  political party”.     This  means  that  it  is  the  political  party  that  wins  the   general  election,  which  forms   the  country’s  Government  and  not  the  persons  who   won   the election  in  their  individual  capacities. 

Thus,   it  would  be   much more  accurate  for  the  voter  education  providers,   to  urge the voters  “to vote for “ the political party of his choice”,  rather  than   for  “the candidate of his choice”.                                            

That  is  the  reason  why  political  parties  produce   their  election  manifestos,  in  which  they  outline  their  policy  options  and  programmes,   in  order  to  persuade   voters  to  vote  for  the  party  with  the  best  policies    

Hence,  in  this  article,  we  will  endeavour  to  explain   a  very   fundamental  Constitutional point,  which is  that   for the smooth operation of our parliamentary system of government  , the  newly  elected  President   needs to have a majority  of  MPS  in the National Assembly.    Any  other  election  outcome,   is bound to  create  difficult   problems   in  the  operations   of   the  parliamentary  governance system.                                                                           

 For  that  reason,  that   the  voters   should  be  made  to  understand,   that  if  they   decide  to vote for the Presidential   candidate of any   given political party,  they  should  also vote for the parliamentary candidate of that same party;   in order to avoid a situation in which  the President faces  an  Opposition-dominated   National Assembly,  that  is to say,   in  which the majority of its members  belong  to  a political party or parties,  other than that of the President himself.

This is important,   and   necessary,  just   because if the President does not have a majority in the National Assembly, there are several provisions in the Constitution of the United Republic,   which have the capacity to generate conflict,  and could therefore give rise to instability,  in the process of the  country’s  governance;  such  as  the following:-

(i)  The appointment of the Prime Minister.

Article 5i(2) of the Constitution provides as follows:

 “As  soon  as  possible,  and  in  any  case  within  fourteen  days  after  assuming  office,  the President shall appoint a member of Parliament elected from a constituency, and from a political party having a majority of members in the National Assembly,  or, if no political party has a majority, a person who appears to have the support of the majority of the members, to be Prime Minister of the United Republic”.

Thus,  because  the   President  is  obliged to appoint  the Prime Minister from the majority party  in  Parliament,   if  such  party  is  not   his own party,  he will be  obliged to negotiate with the leaders of that majority party,   in order to agree on a candidate for this appointment.   Two possible  problems  may arise.  One  is  that   in  the  event  that such negotiations will take longer than the mandatory 14 days,  there will have occurred a breach of the Constitution,   and  this   is clearly against the principles of good governance.                                                   

The other   problem   is   that   the  Constitution  requires  the  Prime  Minister’s  appointment  to  be  ratified  by  the  National  Assembly.  Thus,   if  the  President  attempts to appoint a Prime Minister who has not been approved by  the  relevant  Opposition  leaders,  his appointment  will  obviously   not be ratified by the National Assembly,  a  situation  which  will  create be  conflict between the President and the National Assembly,  which  is   definitely  undesirable,   for  the  country’s  management  and   good governance.

(ii) The functions of the Prime Minister.

The functions of the Prime Minister are specified   in articles 52 and 53 of  the Constitution of the United Republic;  which   require the Prime Minister “ to perform or cause to be performed any matter or matters which the President directs to be done”;  and  further   that the Prime Minister “shall be accountable to the President for the exercise of his authority”.

I   should  perhaps  point  out,  that  these provisions were made during the period of the  ‘One-Party’ system of government,   in which case they could not create any such problems.   But under  the  present  multi-party system,  in  any   cases  where the President and the Prime Minister happen to belong to different ideological camps, and therefore  will   have been elected on the basis of different election manifestos;   these are obviously potential areas of conflict, which  can  be avoided  by  the voters giving the elected President   a comfortable majority in the National Assembly.

(iii) The Legislative functions of Parliament.

The process of enacting laws involves both the President and the National Assembly, for it provides that No  Bill which is passed by the National Assembly can become law  without the President’s assent.                 

In enacting this provision, the Constitution makers appear to have foreseen the possibility where the President would be unwilling to give his assent to a certain Bill, that is  presumably why they made provision (in article 97 thereof) for dealing with such a situation, if  and  when  it  occurs.   Article 97  provides   that  the President must return  such   Bill to the National Assembly,  together with a statement  of his reasons for withholding assent.   And if the National Assembly, after considering the President’s reasons, again adopts the Bill with a two-thirds majority, the President,  in that case,  must give his assent to the Bill, or if he still withholds his assent, he must dissolve Parliament in order to pave the way for new elections to be held.

Under normal circumstances, no one expects such a major conflict to arise, and this would appear to be a purely hypothetical provision.  But  still,  it  is a potential  area for conflict between the President and the National Assembly, which could best be avoided at the time of voting,  by giving the President  a comfortable majority in the National Assembly.

(iv) The provisions relating to the quorum in the House.

 Article 94 of the Constitution provides that the quorum at every sitting of the National Assembly shall be  ‘half of all the members of the House’;   and further that every question which is proposed for decision in the National Assembly  ‘shall be determined by a majority of the members present and voting’, except where it is provided otherwise.

These  provisions,  perhaps   unwittingly,  create an opportunity for  a  National Assembly  whose majority is in opposition to the President   to  embarrass him,  for example,   by  instructing  a  number of  their members to absent themselves  from a sitting of the House,  when an important government business, such as the annual government budget,  is  due to be approved.  This would make the ensuing   decision illegal, for having  been  adopted  in the absence of a quorum;   and  could  be  successfully  challenged  in  a  court  of  law.  Hence, Voter  education  should  also  address  this  problem,  which  can  be  avoided  by  the  voters  giving  the  Presidential  candidate  of  their  choice,  a comfortable majority of  MPS   in the National Assembly  at the time of voting.

Learning  from  history:   the  Presidential Elections  Bill  of 1962.

Our legislative history shows  that  the  1962 Presidential  Elections Act,  was specifically designed to achieve this particular objective of giving the President a guaranteed majority in the National Assembly;  for   it  had  included  an innovative provision  of pairing the Presidential  candidate with the Parliamentary candidates.   The procedure to be used was a kind of indirect election, whereby every candidate who stood   for election to Parliament,   was   required   to make a statutory declaration,   indicating  the name  of  the Presidential candidate whom  he supports.   Thus, under  this  arrangement, when  the results of the Parliamentary elections   are announced,  the Presidential candidate who secures  the  support  of  more than half of all the members  who  were  elected  to  Parliament,   is declared   to have been elected President.   

This   meant,  in  effect,    that   while voting for the Parliamentary candidate, the voters  would,  at the same time,   be voting for the President.   This  arrangement   was   obviously  intended  to ensure that   the person who was elected President,   was  guaranteed  to  have majority support  among  the  MPs   in the National Assembly,   in order  to secure the   desired  smooth  operations   of the government   machinery.

 However,   this   innovative  system   was  never used,  as  it  was  rejected   during   debate  in  the  National  Assembly,   and  had  to  be  replaced  with  the   more   popular   method   of electing  the President    directly   by  all  the  registered  voters.    

We  said  at  the  beginning  of  this  article,  that  voter  education  is  intended  to  enhance  the  voters’  general   awareness  of  the  outcomes  that  may  result  from  his  vote. Our  electoral  history  has   shown  that   the   voters’   tendency  is  to  vote  for  the  individual  candidate,  regardless  of  his  political  party.                                                                     

Thus,  in  the  particular  circumstances  of  this  year’s  general  election,  wherein    the  factor  of   President  Magufuli’s  popularity  will  most  likely  dominate,   some  voters  may  be  ready  to  vote  for  President  Magufuli,  but   be  tempted  to  vote  for  a candidate  “of  his  choice”  who  happens  to  belong  to  an  Opposition  party. This  presentation   will,  hopefully,   be  of  some  help  to  them.

 (will  continue  next  week)

piomsekwa@gmail.com /0754767576

Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Has the AU now blessed coup d’états in Africa?

The year was 1997, in Harare Zimbabwe–––this was the time the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU), thereafter the African Unity (AU), on its 33rd summit–––passed the resolution of banning coup d’états in Africa. The host of the summit, the then Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, was quoted as saying “wwe are getting tougher and tougher on coups. Coup-plotters and those who overthrow democratic governments will find it more difficult to get recognition from us. Democracy is getting stronger in Africa and we now have a definite attitude against coups.” Ironically, Mugabe was toppled 20 years thereafter and the AU didn’t live up to its promise. Is the situation still the same as was after the AU succeeded to thwart the coup in Sierra Leone soon after it issued this statement?

            Considering a stern stance by the AU on coups in Africa, what transpired recently in Mali pokes holes on this stance. After suffering from long-time wrangles, brutalities, massacres by terrorist groups and hoo-ha over power among politicians, the world on Tuesday 18thAugust, 2020 woke up to the news that the army had arrested Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, his Prime Minister Boubou Cissé and other top dogs in the upper echelons of power. This is the fourth coup on the row that Africa’s recently evidenced after the militaries in Egypt, Algeria and Sudan respectively. Like the coups in Algeria, Egypt, Sudan and Zimbabwe, Mali’s coup came on the milieu of carps as citizens wanted their president out of office. Thereafter, the military and the civilians agreed to share the spoils. Will this be replicated in Mali as was the case in Zimbabwe where the army toppled the governments that faced fierce demonstrations.  Many still wonder. Why, in Sudan (the revolutionists) and Zimbabwe (the ruling party, the ZANU-PF) did the duo enter a shotgun marriage to end up messing even more? Did they bow before the pressure exerted from within and outside; or just because one of the duos, the military juntas, agreed for the sake of argument in order to devise more methods of usurping power provided that they’d guns under their disposal? Will the demonstrators seek the share of the cake in Mali just was in Sudan? Wil the AU sanction such criminality, which is like to motivate other putsches to power?

First of all, before delving into what seem to be in the store for Mali and the resurgence of coup d’états in Africa, we need to ask ourselves if this is what demonstrators and Malians in general expected or wanted when they took to the streets. Whatever the answer[s] one gets will tell us if the military and opposition decided to share the spoils. I once warned that the revolution in Sudan was likely to go haywire and be grabbed as it transpired in the neighbouring Egypt wherein the army robbed the civilians the victory just a year after the mass agitated against and thereof overthrew Hosni Mubarak whose elements, like in Mali, stepped in and deposed a democratically elected president, the late Mohamed Morsi whom the army killed thereafter. The difference however is that in Egypt, the status quo waited for a year.

The causes of revolution in Egypt, Algeria, Sudan and recently Mali are the same in nature, reeking endemic and systemic corruption and failures for many regimes to deliver not to mention long-time economic adversities many African countries are now facing.

Another reason is that dictatorships and bad governance, normally don’t deliver or create conducive environment for democracy, development and peace as has recently been the case in Mali. That’s because of systemic impunity, regimes enjoy holier than thou to end up creating the seeds of destruction within themselves for their own destruction. Naturally, dictatorships fall however long they try to cling unto power. That’s because of creating many enemies inside and outside of it. What’s in the cooking currently in Sudan speaks volume shall the junta grab power in Mali. We recently evidenced a smoldering conflict in Sudan where the majority still view their revolution as incomplete after the junta robbed it.

Geared by greed for power and nearsightedness, the junta in Sudan seems hellbent to cling unto power. Though, as argued above, this can be pointlessly replicated in Mali for the peril of the two countries. After toppling Keita, the opposition, demonstrator and Iman Mohamoud Dicko seem to be contented with the move they’ll soon regret.  The key question one can ask is: Will juntas survive and stay in power; and if they do, for how long? Will the current carbuncular religo-civimilitary regime adequately address and solve the problems that geared them to take power by handing power to civilian transitional governments that will prepare them for democratic elections? Will the powers that be behind the curtains snatch this opportunity to exploit Mali vis-à-vis foreign powers that are currently operating in Mali under the decoy and ploy of combating terrorism?

            When it comes to the AU, has it surrendered to the putsches? What precedent does that set for other ticking bombs under dictators? What’d we expect? For, apart from condemning the move, after the junta took power in Mali, the AU hasn’t yet convened an ad hoc meeting to look into the matter nippily and timely. Will the international community stay aside and look as if what’s ongoing isn’t one of its duty-bound responsibilities? Where are the powers of the world? Again, who cares about Africa and African things? Will the AU see the light and make a U-turn by coercing the juntas to leave the business of politics to politicians? Is it possible after the Malian strong man Assimi Goita has already imbedded himself in power? Will military or diplomatic solution work in Mali? Will the army manipulate the demonstrators as was the cases in Egypt, Sudan and Zimbabwe? Will the Malians–––who seem to stoop towards the junta–––buy into this chicanery wherein the conflict seems to have been postponed? Yes, the conflict’s been postponed either because of the fear or wooziness of the parties to it. In conflict resolution, we understand that wherever there’s conflict, what we see is but the tip of the iceberg; a small lot of a problem. This is why my understanding is that what transpired in the above-mentioned countries and now in Mali is but the beginning of the beginning of a big problem yet to come. That is because the process of making the government under the military is naturally flawed. As well, Africa still face the same problems and has some dictators causing the same problems. The protagonists may hope that things will normalize naturally. How, while those with guns have an upper hand in everything?   

Further, the military juntas have no knowhow of economic and political matters. Thus, having such immense power alone or by being a part of the ruling configuration will make matters worse than they’re so as to force the people back to the drawing board. The duty of the military is the security of the country but politics. You can take this to the bank. If the juntas think that they’ll have their cake and eat it–––expecting to have a very smooth ride just like has been the case in Egypt–––let them be told that the two cases are completely different.  In Egypt, superpowers from the west have their interests to maintain and safeguard, particularly if we consider the centrality of the Middle East with its oil-rich nations not to mention Israel which has always been the project of the west as it created it in 1948. Thanks to regional geopolitics, Malian junta will never make it due to the fact that Mali is Africa. The aid that’s maintaining dictatorship in Egypt will never be forthcoming shall Malians stand again against it. So, too, what created the problems the military’s used as a ruse to seize power will never enable it to get away with murder without necessarily addressing central issues such as mega graft, tanking economy, unemployment and hardship. More importantly, the force behind Mali coup’s nothing new but the kamikaze youth who have nothing to lose except their chains. And such desperate people can support whoever comes to them with sweet words. That’s why an Iman Dicko took a lead in the demonstrations that weakened the deposed government.

In sum, now that everything’s on the agora as far as the resurgence of coup d’états in Africa is concerned, what’ll the AU do to nippily discontinue this delinquency? As argued above, will the junta in Mali have its cake and eat it as has been the case in Egypt or keep the country on tenterhooks as is the case now in Sudan? Whatever choice embarked on, is perilous for Mali and junta.

Source: African Executive Magazine today.



Monday, 24 August 2020



Japo alitoa mchango mkubwa katika burdani miaka ya 80 na 90, sijui kama kweli kuna kumbukizi lake. Hawa ndiyo majabari ya muziki yaliyofanya muziki uwe si burdani tu bali sehemu ya urathi wa mataifa na Afrika. Wimbo wa Sina Makosa hadi sasa unasifika utadhani uliimbwa jana. John Ngereza ni mmojawapo waliotoa burdani hii isiyo na kifani. Ama kweli, ya kale dhahabu.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Thursday, 20 August 2020



Malian le nouvel homme fort de la junte au pouvoir Colonel Assimi Goita is the new kid on the block  as far as military takeovers in Africa are concerned. In 1997, the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) thereafter the African Union (AU) that's never been banned coups in Africa banned coups. Soon after this decree, government in Sierra Leone––which the OAU foiled–– Egypt, Sudan and Zimbabwe were pulled down. Recently, Mali followed the suit. Goita took advantage of the already weaken government and pulled it down by arresting former president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and forced him to relinquish power.  The government was in bad shape after being crippled by demonstrators who viewed it as a sitting duck that could not take on graft in the country. The AU, ECOWAS, EU and the UN condemned the move without necessarily doing anything meaningful. Will the AU lick its wounds and allow coup to resurge in Africa? Who knows?

Wednesday, 19 August 2020


TOON AUG 20, 2020Courtesy of the Daily Nation


The impediments  to  free  and  fair  election (continued),DailynewsWe  terminated  our  discussions  of  last  week  at  the  point  when  we  were  discussing   the  scourge  of  corruption,  which  is   a  major  impediment  to  achieving  free  and  fair  elections.     We   will   continue  with   that  discussion  later   in  today’s  article.  But  let  us  first  consider  the  other  vitally   important,  but  little  known   matter;   namely,   the  Constitutional   role   of  the  ‘Official  Opposition’ in  Parliament,  which  we  had  also  promised  to  do.The  vital  role  of the  Official  Opposition  in  Parliament.

 This  matter   is  being  introduced   in  these  discussions,  because  it  is  generally  very  little  understood, or  appreciated.  But   a  better  appreciation  of  this  matter  will  probably  help to  change   the  current  misguided  attitudes among  some  of  the  Opposition  political  parties,  who  think  that  their  only  mission  is  “to  remove  CCM  from  power”;  which,  apparently,   makes  it  their  sole   reason  for  their  participation  in  every  general  election.                     

It  will  be  remembered  that  the  ‘UKAWA alliance’  between   certain  specified  Opposition  parties  was  formed  in  preparation  for  the  2015  general  elections,  precisely  for  that  sole  purpose;  but  they  still  failed  to  achieve  this  elusive  goal;  obviously  because  of  CCM’s   inherent  electoral  strength,  even  in  the  acknowledged  difficult  circumstances  surrounding  the  2015  general  elections.                              

 But  we  are  now  talking  about  the  2020  general  elections,  which  will  be  taking  place  in  a  totally  different  political landscape,  which   has  changed  vastly   in  favour  of  CCM’;   thanks  to  President  Magufuli’s   “miracles”  which  he  has  performed  in  the  management  of  the  nation’s  affairs  during   his  just  ended  first  term  in  office.   Thus,  in  the  current  political  circumstances,  for  the  opposition  parties  to  continue  hoping  ‘to  remove  CCM  from  power’  in  the  2020  general  elections,  is  essentially   like  living  in  a  dreamworld.  

 In  these  circumstances,  the  only  proper  course  of  action  for  them  to  take,  is   to  just  “cry  off”   that  elusive  and  unachievable  ambition;  and  direct  their  energies  on  the  more  viable  alternative,  namely,  to  vie  for  the  chance  to    form   the  ‘Official  opposition’  in  Parliament.    Apart  from  being  an  achievable  ambition,  this is  a  goal  that  has  many   other  obvious  advantages  for  whoever  achieves  it.    Firstly,  it   provides   the  desired   “comparative  team”  to  compete  with  the  ruling  party  CCM  inside  Parliament,  at  least  for  the  next  five  years.                                                                   

 It  is  presumably  common  knowledge , that  the  multi-party  democracy  theory  provides  that  “after the  electoral  competition  is  completed,  active  political  competition  now  moves  to  Parliament”;  wherein  the  losers  of  the  election  continue  competition  strategies    from  the  Opposition  benches, and   prepare  for  the  next  election.    In  other  words,  political  competition  between  the  respective  parties  does  not  cease  at  the  conclusion  of  elections,  but  thereafter   just  moves  to  Parliament.    And,  for  that  competition  to  be  healthy  and  meaningful,   that  is  where  a  “comparative  Opposition  team”  is  especially  required,  in  order  to  keep  the  Government  constantly  in  check.

For  the  benefit  of  those  who  may  be  unaware,  it  should  be  explained  that   inside  Parliament,  the  ‘Official  Opposition’   occupies  a  very  respectable  position.    It  is  entitled  to  appoint  the  “Leader  of  the  Official  Opposition”  who,  according  to traditional  Parliamentary  protocol,  occupies  second  place  immediately  after  the  Prime  Minister;  and   he  is  empowered  to  form  what  is  known  as  the  “shadow  cabinet”  which,  in  all  parliamentary  proceedings,  is  also  second  in  rank,   immediately  after  the  Government  cabinet.   But  beside  protocol,  the  Official  Opposition  has  a  very  vital  role  to  play  in  the  proceedings  of  the  House,  for   the  ‘Official  Opposition’  is  traditionally   recognized  as  “the  alternative   Government  in-waiting”,  whose  main  function  is   to   secure  continuous  accountability  of  the  Government,  for its  stewardship  of  the  nation’s  affairs. 

These  are,  obviously,   very  important  functions  that  require  to  be  performed,  in  order  to  provide    for  the  healthy  functioning  of  our  multi-party  democracy.  It  should  therefore  be  accepted  and  appreciated,   that  it  is   a  great   honour  and  distinction  for  any   political  party   that  cannot  win  an  election,  to  vie  for  this  particular  distinction, of  being  “the  comparative  team ”  in  the  competition  that  normally  moves  to  Parliament  after  the  elections.                                                                                                

And  that,  I  humbly  suggest,  should  be  the  principal  aim  and  objective  of  the Opposition  parties   in  the  2020  general  elections.   As  the  old  adage  says,  “if  you  can’t   beat   them,  join  them”. No  Opposition  team  can  possibly  beat  Magufuli’s  CCM   team  at  the  forthcoming  polls. Thus,  the  Opposition camp   can  only  hope  to  join  with  CCM  in  managing  the  affairs  of  the  nation  by  occupying  the  respectable ‘ Official  Opposition’  benches  in  Parliament.                                                                                                

And  In  that  connection,  the  Opposition  camp’s  ‘best  brains’  who   are   vying  for  the  Presidency (an  objective  which  obviously  cannot  be  attained),  would  have  been  better  advised  to  vie  for  the  elegant  position  of  ‘Leader  of  the  Official  Opposition’  in  Parliament,  in  which  their  valuable  talents  would  be  much  better  utilized  in  the   service  of  our  nation.   Commendably,  this  is  precisely   what  the CHADEMA  party’s  leader   Freeman  Mbowe,  wisely  did  in  2015.

 The   impediments   to  free  and  fair  elections.

 Let  us  now  return  to  the  discussion  on   the  other  impediments  that  constitute  obstacles on   the  road  to  achieving  that  desired  objective;  which  include  the  following:  (i)  the lack  of  democracy  within  the  political  parties;  (ii)  the negative and  harmful  attitudes  of  some  of  the  aspirants  that   are   based  on  their  acute,  personal  ambitions,  leading  to  the  unscrupulous  commitment  of   election  irregularities   by  sympathetic election  officials.   

The  lack  of  democracy  within  political  parties.

This  was  first  disclosed  in  the  Report of  the   National  Electoral  Commission   relating  to  the  first  multi-party  elections  of  1995;  wherein  the  Commission  said:  “most  of  the  problems  regarding  the  nomination  of  candidates  are  due  to  the  lack  of  democracy  within  the  political  parties.  Therefore,  the  Commission  recommends  that  the  Political  Parties  Act,  1992,  be amended  to  ensure  the  existence  of  democracy  within  the  political  parties”.   

 With   regard  to  CCM,  the  primary  nomination  of  its   parliamentary  candidates   has,  indeed,  often  been  undemocratic,  in  the  sense  of  being  unfair  to  deserving  candidates.   Thus,  in  respect  of  those  unfairly  rejected  aspirants,  the  election  process  within  CCM  was  not  free  and  fair. 

The  negative,  harmful  attitudes  of  aspirants.

These  harmful  attitudes  are  generally  expressed  in  such  words  as  “if  you  participate  in  an  election,  you  must  win;  if  you  don’t  win,  you  have  been  cheated”.    Such  negative  attitudes  have invariably  led  to  the  losing  parties  claiming  that   the  relevant  elections  were  not  free  and  fair,  and  thereby  taking   negative  actions  that  inevitably  cause  unnecessary  harm  to  the  affected  communities.                                                      

Recent   History  has  shown,    that  in  cases  where  such  harmful   attitudes  are held  by  the  rulers  who  are  seeking  re-election,  they  have  led  to  the  commitment   of  the  most  unscrupulous election   irregularities,  including  what  are  described  as  “stolen  elections”. Whereas   in   cases  where  such  attitudes  are  held  by  those  who participate  in  the  relevant  election  with  the  sole  aim  of  winning,   when  they  lose,  they  invariably  resort  to  post-election  violence,   through  a  variety  of  acts  of  commission  and/or  omission;   thus  creating   unnecessary  suffering  among  the  affected  communities.                           

 This  has  in  fact  happened  frequently  in  Zanzibar,  where  the  main  opposition party  CUF  has  repeatedly  claimed  that  the winning  party  CCM,  has  always  “stolen”  their  Presidential   elections,  and  for  that  reason,   they  have  consistently  refused  to  recognize  the  results  of  the  Zanzibar  Presidential  elections;  and  adopting  a  policy  of   total  non-cooperation  with  the  Zanzibar  Government.                                                                       

But   this   has  also  happened  in  Zimbabwe,  from  where  it  was  reported  that:  “following  their  July  30th,  general  elections, in  which  the  MDC  Alliance  lost,  “ hell  broke  loose  when hoodlums were  deployed  to  start  a  war  in  Harare’s  Central  Business  District . . .  They  attacked  people  and  stole  property.   But  what  happened  was  not  exactly  unexpected, for  the  MDC  Alliance   had  promised  to  cause  anarchy  if  they  lost  the  election”                                                                                                                    

We  have  stated  above,  that  such  harmful  attitudes  are  normally  based  on  the  aspirants  personal  ambitions.  A  British  journalist,  whose name  was  John  Cowper  (1872 – 1963),  is  on  record  as  having  written  the following line:  “Ambition  is  the  grand  enemy  of  all  peace”.   What  is  reported  to  have  happened  in  Harare  on  that  occasion,   was  clear  evidence  of  the  validity  of  this  assertion.  

 Another variant of   such  negative  attitudes.

The  persistent  demand  “for  an  independent  Electoral  Commission”   are,  in  fact,  merely  a  variant  of  such  negative  attitudes;  and  a  veiled  threat  to  free  and  fair  elections.  It  is,   presumably,   a  convenient  excuse,  or  clever  tactic,   for  the  opposition’s   subsequent   (familiar)  claim  that  “their  victory  was  stolen”!                                                               

This  is  so  because,   right   from  its  inception  in  1995,  when  the first  National  Electoral  Commission  was  appointed  by  President  Ali  Hassan  Mwinyi  under  the  new  multi-party  political  system,   it   was  composed   of  high  judicial  officers,  who  could  be  trusted  to  carry  out  their  duties   ‘without  fear  or  favour’,   as   their  judicial  oath  of  office  enjoins  them  to  do.    But  still,  the  Opposition  parties  have  claimed  repeatedly,  that  they  have  no  confidence  in  that  Commission;   based  on  the  suspicion  that  it   will   be  biased  in  favour  of  the  Ruling  party  CCM,   for  the  reason  only  that  it  was  appointed  by  the  President,  who  is  at  the  same  time  the  Chairman  of  CCM.    And,  surprisingly,  these  claims  have  continued  for  all  the  intervening  years,  right  up  to  the  present  time.   One  may  rightly  ask:   what  kind  of ‘ independence’  do  they  really  want?

This  is  a  valid  question  because,   the  dictionary  definition  of  the  word  “independence”,  is  given  as  follows:  “being  not  dependent  on  other  people  or  things;  not  controlled  by  other  people  or  things”.    Now,  in  the  light  of  this  definition,   is  it  possible to  have  an  independent  Electoral  Commission?    The  answer  to  that  question  is  both  “yes”  and  “no”;  and   both  are  equally  valid.                                                   

A  “yes”  answer  is  valid  because  the  independence  of  the  National  Electoral  Commission,  is  firmly provided  for  in  the  country’s  Constitution,  which  provides  as  follows, in  its  article 74(7):- Kwa  madhumuni  ya  utekelezaji  bora  wa  majukumu  yake,  Tume  ya  Uchaguzi  itakuwa  in  Idara  huru  inayojitagemea”;   and   in  article  74(11),  which  provides  as  follows:   “Katika  kutekeleza  madaraka   yake,  Tume  ya  Uchaguzi  haitalazimika  kufuata  amri,  au  maagizo  ya  mtu  yeyote,  au  maoni  ya  chama  chochote  cha n siasa”.Thus,  the  National  Electoral  Commission  is  Constitutionally   bound  to  be  independent.

But  there  is  an  equally  valid  “no”  answer,  which  is  that  the  National  Electoral  Commission  cannot  possibly  avoid  “ being  depending  on,  or  being  controlled  by,  other  people”.         

This  is  unavoidable  because  of  two  cogent  reasons.  The  first  is  that   this  Commission  is   required  to  perform  its  duties  and  functions,   strictly  in  accordance  with  the  Constitution,    and  the  relevant  laws.  But  since  the  Commission  itself  has  no  authority  to  enact  laws,   it  must  depend  on   “other  people”  who  are  empowered  to  do  so,  namely  Parliament,  to  make   the  necessary  legislation  which  will  enable   it  to  carry  out  its  function.

The  second  reason  is  that  the  Electoral  Commission  needs  money,  or  a  budget,  which  will  enable  it  to  perform  its  functions;    and  for  that  purpose,  it  is  totally  dependent  on  “other  people”   ,  namely  the  Government,  to  provide  it  with  the  money  required. 

These  two  ‘statutory  dependencies’,necessarily  impose  a  limitation  to  the  Commission’s  “independence”.  And   in  view  of  these  limitations,  the  Opposition’s   objective  in  demanding  “an  independent  electoral  Commission”   becomes  totally   frustrated,  and   completely   unachievable.

(will  continue  next  week)

Piomsekwa@gmail.com /0754767576. 

Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa.



Tuesday, 18 August 2020



Famous ivorien musician Fredric Desire Ehui famously known as decided to defend his dignity and that of his country by taking on social media to address Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattra after announcing he'd run for the third term in office contrary to the constitution. Vividly angrier, Meiway didn't mince any word. He issued a very stern warning to the president whom he asks to respect the constitution and not to play with the new generation which is now competent. He starts with saying that through art, he sacrificed for his people whom he'd want to see free and those who want to lead them must desist to serve their petit interests. Take a listen though only for those qui connaissent le Francais.

Is terrorism proxy or new form of colonialism?

Reading about terrorist attacks in Cameroon, Mali Niger, Nigeria even Somalia or elsewhere, one thing comes to my mind. Who’s the beneficiary of this backward trend? I call this trend backward based on its history. Historically, the first terrorists were religious groups one Christian and another Muslim which used brutal ways of achieving their political goals under the cover of religion. Before delving into the history of terrorism, it is good to tell the readership that there’s no international agreed upon definition of terrorism. The lack of the definition for terrorism makes it a contentious phenomenon to legally deal with under national and international laws and in various disciplines of social science. However, there are hundreds of definitions of terrorism even within one government of one country. Despite lacking a globally agreed definition, terrorism is multidisciplinary phenomenon in nature. It spans from sociology, psychology, criminology to political science. Therefore, there’s no way one can define terrorism and meet the needs of all stakeholders, especially after the US declared the global war on terror without necessarily seeking an a globally agreed definition of terrorism or international legality.

Many people think terrorism is a new phenomenon that started in 1998 when Al Qaeda, an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group, attacked United States’ embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in East Africa, or when the same group attacked the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001. This is so because before then, there were no buzzwords in the media about the phenomenon.  However, historically, terrorism started many year ago. Academics trace the genesis of terrorism on Zealots and Assassins, the first terrorist groups that committed violence aiming at making political statement and sending a warning to their enemies who at the time seemed to be more powerful than them. The two are ancient Christian and Islamic groups respectively. History of the dawn of terrorism goes as far back as year 74 CE when a Christian group known as Zealots or Zelos (ardor or strong spirit in Greek) committed suicide after being surrounded by the Roman soldiers. Such an act was viewed as unique, particularly at the time. Since, then other terrorist groups used suicidal tactics to target their enemies.

After the Zealots, there came the Assassins, a sect of Ismaili Shia, which means a murderer, more particularly, one who kills by stealth and treachery, whose victim is a public figure and whose motive is fanaticism or greed. These two groups are the harbingers of terrorism.  

As time went by, many terrorist groups evolved and died. Nevertheless, what’s never changed is the aim of terrorism namely to seek to achieve political gains by ways of violence. Such groups used various tactics such as hijacking people, planes and bombings. Groups such as Italy’s Red Brigade, Germany Baader-Meinhof gang and Red Army Faction, among others, were famous at certain times before disappearing or being vanquished. What made such groups unique from the modern-time terrorist groups is the fact that, although they’re known internationally, they’d narrow mission confined in their countries. One may say that the nature of communication at the time, mainly under the Cold War, might have been the obstacle for such groups to rapidly and widely expand internationally as the modern time terrorist groups have. By then, there’s no internet and other advanced means of relaying information as it is presently. The lack of such means made networking harder at the time. This is different from modern-time terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda or the ISIL whose savviness in using internet is great. Similarly, capitalist drive for profit and lust for wealth have helped modern-time terrorism to become more lethal.

After briefly exploring the history of terrorism and its controversies with regards to an international binding definition, let us now look at the major question. Who benefits from terrorism, especially in Africa? The answer is obvious that our former colonial powers do. Refer to how France is now busy in Chad, Cameroon, Mali and Niger under the decoy of purging terrorists who oft-attack these countries? Ironically, when France was attacked, no superpower such as Russia or the US went there to help it.  This creates suspicions and many questions. Are the beneficiary behind terror attacks that some countries have experienced? Why are major modern-time terrorist attacks are aimed at countries that boast having some resources such as oil or uranium as is the case in the countries above or fish in Somalia? Which type of terrorists our former colonial powers are after apart from those God put under the ground namely our minerals? Are Africans participating in such terrorist attacks under whatever pretexts, be they political or religious, aware that they’re making the second occupation of Africa much easier than it would have been? Are they aware of the size of the problem they’re creating provided that, differently from colonial times, this time, our former colonial masters are occupying Africa militarily? Refer to how our former and new colonial powers are dividing Africa among themselves as they establish their military bases, which don’t aim at protecting Africa but flexing military muscles and secure areas of influence as was in colonial times. To know how lethal this is for Africa, imagine. If missionary centers and garrisons enabled Europe to easily colonise Africa, what’ll be the ramifications of military bases?

Under the lures of money, many African countries are ready to believe in and embark on anything pointlessly for their peril. Look at a tiny country of Djibouti that’s now a hub of foreign military bases. If you ask why it has given in easily allowing its soil to be used for various military bases, you’ll be told that it receives money from countries, mainly superpowers, establishing their bases in its territory for regional interests. Such myopic and selfish take is destroying Africa for the second time. When the US sought to occupy the Middle East to weed out the terrorists God planted in the soil namely oil, just created artificial terrorists in Saddam Hussein. Similarly, when it sought to occupy the Maghreb and cox countries such as Egypt, just created terrorists such as Muamar Gaddafi and Mohamed Morsi. Interesting, when it comes to paving the way for military occupation in these countries, the citizens ran the show for their peril. Where are they now? Aren’t they mourning and yowling?

If anything, greed and selfish––based on national sovereign–– are what the division and partition of Africa envisaged. Now, the division and partition of Africa are paying dividends.  Again, why’s Africa repeating the same mistakes that cost it hugely? In my last piece I proposed that Africa must unite in order to survive. I repeat the same as my humble submission. Africa unite or perish.

Djibouti or any African country, under the pretext of national security can sell its freedom to any superpower while neighbours watch. But when the results of such myopia start to bite, all of them, like axiomatic rats in rattrap, will find themselves caught in the same trap of military occupation.

Apart from economic and political occupation of Africa, as the second struggle for Africa and military occupation of Africa, those carrying out or supporting terrorist actions because of religion or whatever individual or myopic reasons, must know: they’re paving the way for cultural imperialism, which also is a type of colonialism whose goals are indirectly economic and political. Refer to how Africans spend billions of dollars going to Mecca and Rome under the pretext of religion.  Underscoring the above arguments, I am comfortable to answer my own question that terrorism is either proxy or new form of colonialism wherein Africans are the big losers while their tormentors are big beneficiaries.

Source: African Executive Magazine today.

Sunday, 16 August 2020


 Zanzibar24 on Twitter: "Aliyekuwa Mbunge wa Ubungo kupitia CHADEMA ...Kwa wachambuzi na wataalamu wa siasa, kitendo cha mbunge wa Ubungo aliyemaliza muda wake Said Kubenea kutimkia Chama cha ACT-Wazelendo ni pigo kubwa kwake na chama chake kipya. Kubenea ambaye alipata umaarufu baada ya kumwagiwa tindikali, hana sifa yoyote ya siasa ukiachia mbali kuwa hana taaluma wala elimu yoyote japo ya msingi, anachofanya ni kujikaanga kwa mafuta yake kama samaki. Kwa tunaomjua na tuliofanya kazi naye, Kubenea si mwanasiasa bali msaka tonge sawa na wasaka tonge wengine. Ni mbabaishaji ambaye hana ithibati kimaadili wala kisiasa. Kwa wale watakaokumbuka andiko hili, watakuja sema kuwa nilisema kuwa alichofanya Kubenea si chochote wala lolote bali kuanzisha mwanzo wa mwisho wake kisiasa. Ama kweli, la kufa halisikii dawa. Na isitoshe, ujanja ujanja una sifa ya kujenga mbegu na chembe za maangamizi ndanimwe. Kubenea si mpinzani bali msaka tonge ambaye yuko tayari kuuza utu wake kwa lolote. Kama anadai ana makazi Kinondoni na ana ofisi Kinondoni, kwanini aligombea ubunge Ubungo? Si aseme amemkimbia profesa Benephace Jocob ukiachia mbali kutapatapa? Sioni tofauti ya Kubenea na akina Gwajima na wasasi wengine wa tonge na ngawira. Ukiachia mbali kutapatapata, Kubenea unasumbuliwa na ukafu ambao umemfanya amfuate maalim Seif Sharif Hamad. Kwanini Kubenea ameshindwa kung'amua kuwa Zitto Kabwe mwenye ACT-Wazalendo atawatumia yeye Seif na Bernard Membe kama ambayo CHADEMA waliwatumia akina Edward Lowassa na Fredrick Sumaye na kuwatema kama ganda la muwa? Ugwiji wake wa kufanya utafiti uko wapi hapa wakati anaingia mkenge mchana kweupe? Kubenea amesahau kuwa watanzania sasa wanajua kuwa umaarufu wake haukutokana na sifa wala umahiri bali kumwagiwa tindikali. Hivyo, alipata kura za kuonewa huruma ambazo kwa sasa hazitakuwapo. Je huu ni mwanzo wa mwisho wa Said Kubenea msaka tonge aliyepata umaarufu baada ya kumwagiwa tindikali?

Friday, 14 August 2020

War on Graft: New Africa Is Born in Angola where the Son of Former President Is Jailed

 Angola's Jose dos Santos' son remanded on corruption charge - TODAYAngolan ex-president dos Santos denies ties to daughter's alleged ...After suffering from graft silently whereby those sharks involved do it with total impunity, Africa is now waking up. The news that the son of the former president of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Jose Filemon dos Santos received a five-year jail sentence after being found guilt of embezzling $1.5 billion is good news for anti-graft campainers and the general public that's for many years suffered from the vice. While the son of Angolan ex-president is now legally a prison, his sister is waiting for the same. She  fled Angola after being accused of embezzlement of billions of dollars. In Senegal, the son of former president Abdulaye Wade, Karim, in 2015, received a six-year jail sentence to end up being pardoned a year after under suspicious presidential pardon. Will this be replicated in Angola?

Senegal: Abdoulaye Wade's son denies 'monarchy plans' - BBC News

Thursday, 13 August 2020


 Zapiro: 899 - The Mail & GuardianKwa tulisikia marehemu Benjamin Mkapa rais mstaafu aliyefariki majuzi akitangaza kifo cha baba wa taifa Mwl Julius K Nyerere, ni kama ilikuwa jana. Kwangu binafsi, hakuna matukio ninayoyakumbuka kama kifo cha Nyerere na baadaye mashambulizi ya kigaidi ya Septemba 11 kule Marekani. Kweli siku hazingandi. Lala pema Kambarage Julius NyerereMwalimu Julius Nyerere: An intellectual in power | Pambazuka News

A tribute to the late Former President Mkapa.

Tanzania's former president Mkapa, regional peacemaker, dies aged 81Dailynews

As  we  continue  paying  tribute  to  the  departed  former  President  Benjamin  Mkapa,  whose  sudden  death  last  month shocked  the  entire  nation;  and  as  part  of  that  tribute,  it  is  worthwhile   remembering  some  of  his  views  and  major  statements,  which  constitute  a  valuable  guide  on  the  required,   proper  behavior,  of  elected  leadership  in   a  multi-party  democratic  dispensation.                   

In  his  inauguration  speech  on  the  occasion  of  his  installation  as  President  of  the  United  Republic  for  his  second  term  on  9th  November,  2000,  he  said  the  following:-“What  is  important  for  our  people,  is  that  their  leaders  should  not   aspire  for  leadership  in  pursuit  of  personal  glorification,  or  personal  gain.  Instead,  they  should strive  for  the  glory  of  the  nation,  and  the  gain  of  the  people.  In  this  country  of  Mwalimu  Nyerere,  you  are  elected  to  serve,  not  to  be  served. This  is  the  political  culture  of  our  country  which  we  inherited  from  Mwalimu  Nyerere,  and  this  is  what  constitutes  the  foundation  upon  which  our  nationhood,  and  our  unity,  firmly  stand”. 

He  continued  as  follows:  “The  attitudes  of political  leaders,  and  those  of  our  people, have  to  evolve  to  a  point  where  politics  need  not  be  a  dirty  game,  or  a  game  of  chicanery,  deception,  and  mudslinging;   but  an   activity  that  can  be  pursued  in  dignity  and  decency.  Political  opposition  need  not  evoke  enmity,  what  is  important  is  that  all  players  shall  put  the  community  and  national  interests  first”.     

Thus,  as  we approach  this  year’s  general  election,  both  the  aspirants,  and  the  voters, are  strongly  advised  and  encouraged,  to  observe  these  guidelines;  as  in  doing  so, they  will  have  paid  proper  and  deserved  tribute  to  our  fallen  leader,  former  President  Benjamin  Mkapa. I  may  as  well  disclose  here,  that  it  was  former President  Mkapa  who actually  asked  me,  when  we  met  in  Dodoma  on  12th  July,  2020,   to  write  this  series  of  articles  as  a  ‘warm  up’  for   the  forthcoming  general  elections.  He  was  himself  an  avid  reader  of  my  weekly  articles. 

Tribute   paid,   we  will  now  proceed  with  today’s  discussions.

The  imperative  need  for  free  and  fair  elections.

President  Magufuli  has  faithfully  promised  that  the  forthcoming  general  elections  will  be  free  and  fair.   Indeed,  historically,  the  need  to  ensure  that  all  our State  elections  are  free  and  fair  elections,   has  always  been given  the  necessary  attention  by  all  our  Governments,  starting  with  the  first  phase  government  of  Mwalimu  Julius  Nyerere,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that  his  was  a  ‘one-party  state’  political  dispensation.       

This  is  evidenced  by  the   legal  provisions  that  were  put  in  place.  The  relevant  provisions  of  the   Elections  Act (no.  46  of  1965) provided  for  the  appointment by  the  National  Electoral  Commission,   of  ‘supervisory  delegates’,  whose  duty  was,  in  the  words  of  that  statute,   “to  supervise  the  election  campaign  in  the  constituency  assigned  to  them,  and  to report  to  the  Electoral  Commission  on  any  failure  to  accord  a  fair  and  equal  opportunity  to  the  competing  candidates,  and  any  non-compliance  with  the  requirements  of  the  elections  law”.            

And  on  election  day,  these  supervisory  delegates  were  entitled  “to  visit  any  polling  station,  In  order  to  satisfy  themselves  that  the  arrangements  that  had  been  made  for    voting,   were  proper  and  adequate  for  that  purpose.  Plus  they  were  also  entitled  to  be  present  at  the  counting  of  the  votes  and  the  declaration  of  results  by  the  Returning  Officer”.    And  there  were  also  other  provisions  providing   for  the  nullification  of  unfair  elect ions  by  the  High  court. 

 These  were  not  just  idle  provisions of  the  law;  for   they  were  actively  implemented  throughout  the  relevant  period.    In  the  case  of  the  ruling  party,  those  who  were  convincingly  shown  to  have  committed  the  specified  offences  were  invariably  denied  “primary  nomination”  by  the  National  Executive  Committee.  Similarly,  as  a   result  of  successful  election  petitions,  many  of  the constituency  elections  were  nullified  on  the  basis  of  these  provisions.

These  arrangements  worked  very  well  until  the  introduction  of  multi-party  politics  in  1992,  when  the  provisions  for  the  appointment  of  such  supervisory  delegates  were  removed  from  the  Elections  law.

The  impediments  to  free  and  fair  elections.

But   there  were,  and  still  are,   certain  incurable   impediments  to   free  elections.   The  first  is   the  scourge  of  corruption  in  elections,  which  appears  to  have  completely  defied  all  the  efforts  to  combat,  as  it  has  continued  to  rear  its  ugly  head  in  every  election  that  has  been  held,   throughout  the  country’s  election  history;  including  the   CCM  ‘primary  nomination’  process  that  was  held  in  preparation  for  2020  general  elections.   For,  very  soon  after  the  completion  of  the  preferential  voting  within  CCM,  many  complaints  were   raised  regarding  the  prevalence  of  corrupt  practices  that  were  committed  during  that  process. It  therefore  seems  to  be  a  problem  that  has  completely  eluded  solution.

It  may  be  helpful  to  refresh  our  mind  about  Mwalimu  Nyerere’s  efforts  supreme  efforts  in  combating  corruption,  when  he  introduced  the  “stiff-punishment”  policy  strategy   by enacting  a  law  which  provided  for  a  two-year  imprisonment ( without  the  alternative  of  a  fine),  plus  twenty  four  stokes  of  the  cane.  This  law  was  primarily  intended  to act  as  a  deterrent,  that  would   scare  people  away  from  committing  that  crime.   But  it  does  not  appear  to  have  had  any  significant  effect  in  reducing  this  problem,  which  has   continued  unabated.   

 President  John  Pombe  Magufuli  vigorously  returned  to  the “stiff-punishment” strategy.    In  May  2016,   the  Minister  of  State in  the  President’s  Office  responsible  for  the  Public  Service,   Ms  Angela  Kairuki,   said  the  following  in  her  address  to  members  of  the  African  Parliamentarians  Network  against  Corruption  (APNAC)  meeting  in  Dodoma:  “The  light  punishments seem  to  fuel  corruption,  which  is  still  a  serious  problem  in  our  country.  Until  now,   convicted  culprits  have  been  given  light  punishments  that  do  not  match  the  gravity  of  their  offences.  tougher   punishments  will  help  reduce  this  problem”.                                                                                   

The  Minister  was  basically  talking  about  corruption  in  the  Public  Service;  But,  her  remarks  are   equally  applicable  to  the  similar  problem  of  electoral  corruption. But   are   such stiff punishments really  the  solution?                                                                        

The  difficulties  of  fighting  corruption  through  the  Courts.

The  anti-corruption  legal  regime  has  been  in  place   right   from  the  very  beginning,  in  response  to  Mwalimu  Nyerere’s   categorization of  corruption  as  “an  enemy  of  the  people”,  when  he  said  the  following  in  his  Legislative  Council  speech  on  17th  May,  1960:-  “Mr.  Speaker,  there  is  one  other  enemy  which  must  be  added  to  the  three already  declared   enemies,   of  poverty,  ignorance,  and  disease,   and  that  is  corruption.  I  think  corruption  must  be  treated  with  ruthlessness  because,  in  my  opinion,  corruption  and   bribery  are  greater  enemies  to  the  welfare  of  the  people  during  peace  time,  than  war  is  during  war  time.  I  believe  that  corruption  in  a  country  should  be  treated  in  almost  the  same  way  as  treason”  Furthermore, the  Ruling  party’s  constitution  spells  out  clearly  that  “corruption  is  an  enemy  of  justice”;  and  enjoins  every  party  member  to  promise,  on  oath,  the  he  or  she  “will  never  give,  or  receive  bribes”.

 And,  according  to  the  country’s  laws,  corruption  is  a  criminal  offence.  The  prevalence  of  corruption  is  roundly  condemned  in  our  society,  as  an  unmitigated  evil;  But  still,   despite all  these  efforts,  plus  the  “stiff-punishments”  strategy;   corruption  continues  to  prosper  in  this  country.  Why ?                                                                                   

 Any  amount  of  brain-racking  about  a  way  out  of  this  problem  has  always  ends  up  in  frustrating  futility.    Although  everyone  seems  to  wax  lyrically   on  the  evils  of  corruption,  but  when  it  comes  to  the  point  of  suggesting  a  solution,  they  all  tend  to  run  out  of  ideas,  and  quickly  resort  to  saying  that “the  Government  must  do  something  about  it”.    The  government,  of  course,   has  a  binding  obligation  ‘to  do  something  about  it’;    However,   under  the  ‘rule  of  law’  principle,   the  government  can  only  fight  corruption  through  the  courts  of  law.  But   even  that  route  has  its  problems,  which  are  caused  by  certain  difficulties  that  are  inherent  in  the  court  procedures, that  tend  to  effectively  create  obstacles  on  the  road   to  achieving  a  successful  prosecution  in   corruption or  bribery  cases.                                                       

 One  such  difficulty  is  the  provisions  that  allow   reliance  on procedural  technicalities,  which   are  often  relied  upon  by  the  defense  counsel  to  save  their  clients  from  conviction;  and  even  the  courts  themselves  have  often  relied   on  such  technical  provisions  to  free  an  accused  person;   as  happened  in  the   1963  case   which  utterly  frustrated  President  Nyerere, which  he  himself  narrated   in  the  following  words:-“Siku  moja  tulipata  habari  kwamba   waziri  wetu  wa  sheria,   amehongwa,  na  tukampata  mtu  aliyemhonga.  Mtu   huyo   akashitakiwa,  na  akakiri   mwenyewe  kuwa  kweli  alimhonga  waziri  huyo.  Kwa  hiyo  akahukumiwa  kwenda  jela,  na  akapata  viboko  vyake.   Lakini kwa  upande  wa  mshitakiwa  mwenzake  yule  waziri,   Mahakimu  wale  walitafuta tafuta  njia  ya  kumwachia  huru,  na  wakaipata.  Wakaamua  kwamba  yeye  hakuwa  na  kosa,  pamoja  na  kwamba  walimfunga  yule  mshtakiwa  aliyemhonga.   Kumbe  sheria,  na  haki,  ni  vitu  viwili  mbali  mbali!”                                                       

That  was  how  Mwalimu  Nyerere’s  expressed  his  indignant frustration  over  that  matter.

 But  there  is  yet  another  impediment,  which  is  the  requirement  to  produce  evidence  that  will  satisfy  the  court “ beyond  reasonable  doubt,  in  order  to  prove  that  the  accused  has,  indeed,  committed  the  offence  with  which  he  is  charged.                                     

In    most  electoral  corruption  cases,  this  is  a  major  impediment,  because  of:    (a)  the  secrecy  normally   surrounding  such  corrupt  transactions,  and  (b)  the  mutual  willingness  by  the  parties  involved  in  the  relevant  transaction;  which   is  akin  to  the  “willing  seller/willing  buyer  principle  which  is applicable  in  lawful  commercial  transactions;  whereby  the seller  of  a  given  product  is  willing  and  happy  to  sell  his  product,  and  the  buyer  is  equally  willing  and  happy  to  buy  that  product.  Thus,  In  such  circumstances  of  secrecy  plus  mutual  willingness,   it  becomes  extremely  difficult  to  find witnesses  who  will  provide  credible  evidence  that  will  convince  the  court  beyond  reasonable  doubt,  that  the  alleged  offence  was  in  fact  committed.

However,  this  is  not to  say  that  we  should  give  up  and  surrender.   The  books  of  authority  on  this  subject  have  proposed  that  “ corruption  is  like  a  virus,  which  is  always  around  to  infect  a  political  system  and  make  it  sick,  anywhere  in  the  world.   And,  very  much  like  the  human   body,  political  systems  are  also  capable  of  developing  their  own  immune  systems  that  can  automatically  fight,  and  resist,  the  corruption  virus”.  And  further  that  “the  degree  of  corruption  prevailing  in  any  one  political  society,  largely  depends  on either   the  strength,  or  the  deficiency,  of  its  immune  system.   In  a  democratic  polity,  a  strong  and  vigilant  public  opinion  is  the  built-in  immune  system which  resists  and  restricts  the  onslaught  of  viruses  like  corruption”. 

This   contention,  in  essence,  enjoins  every  leader,  in  their  respective  areas  of  responsibility,  to  become  that  ‘public  opinion  leader’,  in  order  to  help  create  the  desired  “strong  and  sustainable  public  opinion  that  will  resist  the  continued  onslaught  of  the  virus  of  corruption”.

  Indeed,  as   Emund  Burke (1729 – 1797), is  reputed  to  have  said,    “for  any  evil  to  triumph, it  is  only  necessary  for  the  good  man  to  do  nothing  about  it”.  Therefore,  let  every  leader  in  our  society  be  that  “good  man”  who  undertakes  ‘to  do  something’,  in  order  to  curb  corruption  in  his  or  her   allotted  area  of  responsibility.

(will  continue  next  week)

piomsekwa@gmail.com /0754767576.

Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa Himself.