Epistle to Afrophobic South Africa
Sunday, 30 August 2020
Friday, 28 August 2020
Wednesday, 26 August 2020
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)
Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa.
Tuesday, 25 August 2020
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
Courtesy of the Daily Nation
The impediments to free and fair election (continued),We 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)
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.
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
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?
Saturday, 15 August 2020
Friday, 14 August 2020
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?
Thursday, 13 August 2020
Kwa 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 Nyerere
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)
Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa Himself.