Liberal Peace Conflict, Gender, and Peacebuilding

Liberal Peace Conflict, Gender, and Peacebuilding

Thursday 30 March 2023

Tavita and the music of the week


 

Pending reconciliation issues: The question of the independent candidate in elections

BY PIUS MSEKWA

IN last week’s presentation, I referred to the ‘understanding’ that has been reached to include the ‘new constitution’ agenda, in President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s ‘reconciliation’ process. And  I also mentioned the two pending constitutional issues that have continued being raised in different formal platforms; namely: the ‘two-governments’ Union structure and the question of the independent candidate in elections.   Due to editorial space limitations, we were able to discuss only the first issue and reserved the second one for discussion later.  Hence, that is the subject of today’s presentation.
        Strictly speaking, these were not, in fact, political conflicts as such in the sense that they were not conflicts between political parties. But nevertheless, they were raised by other interested stakeholders.  The ‘two-government’ issue has been repeatedly raised by ‘Constitutional Review commissions’ chaired (and largely influenced) by senior Judiciary officers; and the ‘private candidate’ issue was raised by ‘human rights’ activists.
The long story of ‘private candidate’ issue
As a general rule, ‘political decisions are made under the influence of the political circumstance prevailing at the material time’.  In the political circumstances prevailing around the time of the country’s independence, the participation of ‘independent candidates’ in elections was allowed.           And, indeed, in the 1960 pre-independence parliamentary election; one such independent candidate actually defeated the official TANU candidate in Mbulu constituency. But when the ‘One-party’ constitution was enacted in 1965; it outlawed the participation of private candidates in elections.  This major constitutional change was also dictated by the political circumstances of the time; which were that the country (Tanganyika) was operating as a de facto ‘One-party’ Statewhile it was, legally and in fact, a multiparty State. under the “Independence constitution” that was enacted by the British Parliament in London (based on the concepts and traditions of political management which were prevalent in the United Kingdom), and imposed on Tanganyika as part of the independence negotiations and Agreement in March 1961.
        These were, indeed, unusual political circumstances, whose effects became manifested in two areas: (i) in the 1960 pre-independence Parliamentary election results, and (ii) in the functioning of the country’s Legislature.
        The 1960 parliamentary election results actually surprised even the colonial Administration itself (whose officers had supervised the elections).  In 58 constituencies (out of a total of 71 constituencies countrywide), the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) candidates had all been elected unopposed at the time of ‘nomination of candidates’.  And when the election was held, TANU candidates won by huge majorities in each of the remaining 13 constituencies; including Mbulu, where the independent candidate who won the election, was in fact a TANU member.
        But in the Bagamoyo constituency, the African National Congress (ANC) candidate Zuberi Mtemvu (who was the President of that party), even lost his election deposit, for having received only 53 votes, which was far below the minimum required for a refund of the election deposit to be made to the candidate.   TANU’s political dominance had been clearly demonstrated.
        However, of much greater significance and importance was the fact that in the 58 constituencies where the TANU candidates had been elected unopposed, the voters therein had been effectively dis-enfranchised; which means that they had been denied the opportunity to cast their votes at that election. The reason for this was that under the multi-party environment, the law allowed each participating political party to nominate only one candidate for election in any given constituency; and if no other candidate is nominated, no ting takes place in that constituency.
        Thus, by an ingenious paradox, the more support the people gave to TANU as a party, the more they reduced their own level of participation in the process of government; as a result of being dis-enfranchised!
        This was regarded as a serious “democracy deficit” by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, and that was one of his reasons for wanting a ‘One-party State’ constitution enacted, in which TANU would be required (by the constitution) to select more than one candidate to compete in each and every constituency, thus removing the possibility of the electorate being dis-enfranchised.
        Mwalimu  Nyerere’s major reason for wanting a ‘one-party’ constitution, was his philosophical conviction, that a multi-party system can be justified only “when the parties are divided over some fundamental issue or issues; otherwise, it merely encourages the growth of factionalism “And he was committed to preventing the emergence of any such factions.”
        The “artificial” functioning of the Legislature was yet another reason that influenced his decision to abandon the multi-party system; for it curtailed the TANU MPs’ freedom of expression”; because they were required to follow the “party line”.  In other words, they were not free to express their sincere opinions on subjects which came up for discussion in the House.  And even such ‘caucus meetings’ are, in fact, part of the structure of multi-party Parliaments; as they are intended for use by the ruling party to determine their strategies for defeating the opposition MPs during debates on the floor of the House; which was not necessary in this case. But nevertheless, a “TANU Parliamentary party caucus” was established for that purpose. These were the main arguments that were advance in justifying the introduction of the “One-party” constitution; which would get rid of all such irrelevant restrictions.
Enter the ‘one-party’ constitution
But in crating the ‘One-party’ constitution, consideration was also  given to a large number of other factors,  including:  (a) the need to ensure the maintenance of democracy in a one-party environment by “providing maximum possible participation by the people in their own government,  and its ultimate control by them”;  (b) the need to make provision for the maintenance of “ethics and integrity”;  and (c) the need to make provision  for the observance of the “fundamental rights and duties of every citizen”; and (d) the need to make provision for implementing  the principles of “good governance and the rule of law”.
        And among the other factors that were considered, was this controversial prohibition of private candidates’ participation in elections, by confining such participation only to “a citizen of Tanganyika who has attained the age of eighteen years, and is a member of the party. These provisions were retained; both in the constitution, and in the relevant election laws.
The return to multi-party politics
The constitutional amendments which were made by Parliament in 1992 in order to accommodate the multi-party system, also carried forward these prohibitive provisions.  However, under the changed political circumstances, the said provisions became the subject of attack from different stakeholders; including Rev. Christopher Mtikilla, who filed a petition in the High Court challenging the constitutionality of these provisions, in the case cited  as Rev. Christophet  Mtikila  v  Attorney General (1995),  T.R.L. 31 of 1997; in which he asked the High Court to declare several statutory provisions to be unconstitutional “for infringing the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution of the United Republic”. 
        The provisions that were challenged included those which prohibited the participation of independent candidates in elections.
His contention was that the requirement for membership of a political party “contravenes article 20(4) of the constitution, (which provides that no person shall be compelled to belong to a political party); together with article 21(1) (which entitles every citizen to participate in the government of the country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives) were both unconstitutional, for the reason that they deny the citizens their right to participate in in the governance affairs of the nation”.
        His petition initially succeeded, as judgment was given in his favour.  But the wording of that judgment had provided a loophole, which enabled the government to escape its implementation. That judgment said: “It is illogical for a law to provide that no person shall be compelled to belong to a political party, and in the same breath, to provide that no person shall be qualified to run for office except through a political party. If it was the intention of the Legislature to exclude non-party citizens from participating in the government of their country, it could easily have done so by removing the generality in article 21(1)”
        The loophole was in the final sentence; which the government promptly used by submitting to Parliament its proposals for amending that article of the constitution, “in order to remove that generality”.  Parliament duly obliged, by enacting Act no.34 of 1994. However subsequently, on 17th February, 2005; Rev. Mtikila filed yet another petition to the High Court, seeking a declaration that even Act no. 34 of 1994 had violated the constitution.
        His second petition also succeeded; when the Court again agreed with the petitioner, and declared that the amendments to the constitution which were introduced by Act no, 34 of 1994, were unconstitutional.  But on its part, the government announced its intention to appeal against this decision, in order to seek a determination of the question “whether the High Court has the power to declare a provision of the constitution itself to be “unconstitutional”! I am not aware of the outcome, if any, of this appeal.
        This ‘legal battle’ reminds me of the objections which were raised in the Parliament of the Australian Capital Territory, when the House was considering proposals for the enactment of a “Bill of Right; when some of its Members contended that “A Bill of Rights” will generate a litigation culture, and the only benefit is to the lawyers”.
        The 1984 amendments to the Constitution of the United republic had introduced a Bill of Rights into the Constitution of the United Republic. Hence, the “litigation culture” that was alluded to by the Australian Law makers had, apparently, been created here, and Rev. Christopher Mtikila was a beneficiary thereof.
        But because of the persisting Opposition parties’ demands for a new constitution, President Benjamin Mkapa appointed a ‘Constitutional Review Commission” under the Chairmanship of Mr. Justice Kisanga. The Commission’s Report said that it had used the methodology of asking the people to address specific areas of the constitution which were deemed to require amendment.  These included “the structure of the Union”; and the issue of the “private candidate in elections”.
        The commission’s findings on each of these matters are reported as follows: -“Regarding the question of the ‘structure of the Union’; 96.25 per cent of all the people who responded to this question preferred the ‘two-government structure’; and regarding the question of allowing private candidates to  participate in elections; 92.13 per cent  were against  allowing private candidates to participate in elections.  The status quo had been effectively defended.
Mwalimu Nyerere joins the chorus
Another prominent personality who joined the chorus for demanding the removal of this prohibition, was Mwalimu Nyerere himself; when he expressed his views at a public rally that was held in Mbeya on May Day in 1995 (to which he had been invited in the capacity of ‘Guest of Honour)’. In his key note Address, among many other things, Mwalimu Nyerere also said the following: -“Ninalo tatizo moja ambalo ninataka kulisema hapa, kwa sababu ninaona ni la msingi sana. Mimi nadhani kwamba sheria zetu zimekoea sana,  kwa kuzuia wagombea binafsi,    Hili ni jambo la msingi kwa sababu linahusu haki ya mtu ya kuomba kura. Hiyo ni haki yake ya kiraia, ambayo huwezi kumnyima.”  However, even his powerful intervention has not succeeded in removing the said prohibition.
piomsekwa@gmail.com /0754767576.
    Source: Daily News today.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Friday 24 March 2023

Do our callous, corrupt rulers deserve red carpets?

African traditional dances, Mbende Jerusalem
WHEREVER an African ruler goes, there are three things, namely, a red carpet, bodyguards and traditional dancers. I have always wondered: What is their significance? Are they not colonial carry overs and a wastage of time and public money? I am of the firm belief that our colonisers pretended that they revered our traditional dances, while they actually disliked them and wanted us to concentrate on them instead of liberating ourselves.
        Traditionally, Africans do not have the red-carpet culture. The red carpet is a sign of colonial and Western superiority. One would have thought that former colonies would detest and eschew such colonial instruments because they hardly demonstrate decolonisation, freedom or mellowness. Again, how can our rulers rebuff such colonial dregs while they act exactly like our former colonisers, not to mention that the State houses they greedily and owlishly occupy and protect were built by the erstwhile settlers?
The splendour and trimmings the State houses shamelessly display and enjoy are but typical replicas of colonial comportment and mentality?
        For Western leaders and monarchs to display such penchant makes sense because it is a sign of their perfidy that conceived colonialism and neocolonialism. Nonetheless, for the victims, taking pride in colonial lees, is nothing, but self-degradation if not the display of rank ignorance and greenness, not to mention burdening their poor people whose taxes they burn.
        Many still ask where the problem lies. Is it because they are not leaders but rulers who lack self-confidence? Is it a monkey see monkey do malady? I shudder to note that some of those displaying and regurgitating such colonial vestiges are PhD holders who cannot discern such simple things. I shudder to painfully see a ruler of a poor and begging country driven in a bigger motorcade than that of the late Queen of England whose major sources of income were slavery and colonialism.
        Considering how many corrupt and callous African washouts behave and misbehave, methinks they deserve to be received on dirty, torn and not red carpets. Why? Simple. They rule and live like nawabs on the sweat and taxes of pauperised people and countries. How and where do they get the money they squander? Is it by means of begging and borrowing? Nay, they make a killing by collecting taxes from paupers without offering any services.
        Also, they make money by vending our resources without any fear since we fear to confront them for fear of being purged. Another reason why African rulers deserve dirty carpets is the fact that they intimidate and mug their nationals, while Western leaders fleece other countries to feed their people who appreciate and applaud it. Considering how inept our rulers are, methinks they don’t deserve red, but a dirty carpet. Before giving more nuggets of wisdom, let me allude to the short history of the red or crimson carpet and its infidelity and death trap.
        According to Amy Henderson, history emeritus at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, the history of the red carpet started in Greece during the times of Agamemnon, King of Mycenae in the year 458 BC. Agamemnon left his wife Clytemnestra at home and went to fight Trojan wars. On his return, Agamemnon brought a concubine with him, which infuriated Clytemnestra who hatched a plot to punish him for infidelity. She rolled out a crimson or red carpet to walk him to his death. The long story short is that the red carpet is historically a symbol of betrayal even though “it denotes stratospheric status, style and opulence” (BBC, February 22, 2016).
        Do our corrupt and inept rulers love the red carpet because of their political infidelity or fake opulence?    If you combine the two, you find that they are right to love the red carpet since they are politically infidel and heartlessly opulent.
In Greek mythoi, red carpets were for the gods only.
        Again, when it comes to our mortal rulers who play God, and are but self-appointed demigods, they think the red carpet is their birthright.
Again, if you consider how corrupt and gunge our rulers are, they deserve a dirty carpet, and not a red one, otherwise it would befit them if they are walking to their deaths for their political infidelity.
        In sum, provided that the monies thrown away on colonial red carpets were siphoned from taxes, we need to question their rationale.

It maddens to find that those who love to walk on red carpets, most of them, if not all, are the children of paupers who slept on goatskins before conspiring against their people. Again, based on their failure, do our rulers deserve to plod on red carpets or on dirty ones? Again, if our countries were free, maybe, we would have chosen leaders and discarded rulers.
Source: Independent Zimbabwe today.


Thursday 23 March 2023

President Samia’s reconciliation efforts: The dawn of a new era

By Pius Msekwa 
Wednesday, March 8th, 2023 was the day when President Samia Suluhu Hassan truly ‘made history’, by becoming the first ever President (and CCM National Chairpeson) to grace an Opposition (CHADEMA) party’s event.   As CHADEMA National Chairman Freeman Mbowe himself put it, “many took it as a joke when I announced that President Samia would grace this event”.
        But she elegantly did; to the genuine delight of many people. It was, indeed, the beginning of a new era in the politics of Tanzania.
Hence, this matter will be the main topic of today’s presentation; primarily in order to draw attention to the important role of the individual person who happens to be the  ‘political system operator’ at the material time.  It is my contention that, just as the safety of the passengers on a Bus, largely depends on its driver’s commitment to adhere to the traffic rules, so does the political system’s well-being, which similarly depends on the commitment of its principal ‘system operator’ in adhering to the relevant rules.
        ‘Political reconciliation’ actually becomes necessary only where serious, fundamental differences arise between the ruling party and the parties in opposition.  And such differences generally arise only in circumstances  where the ruling party uses ‘state power’ to suppress the parties that are in opposition.  This assertion can best be illustrated by looking at our own political history.
        The multi-party political system was inherited at the time of independence in 1961; when there were several political parties competing in the pre-independence elections. Tanzania Mainland had four such parties: The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU); The United Tanganyika Party (UTP); The African National Congress (ANC) and The All-Muslim Party National Union of Tanganyika (AMNUT).
        Three more parties were registered soon after independence. They were:  The All People's’ Convention Party (PCP); The African Independence Movement (AIM) and The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
        Similarly, in Zanzibar, at the time of their independence in December 1963 there were four registered political parties: The Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP); The Zanzibar Nationalist Party (ZNP); The Zanzibar and Pemba Peoples’ Party (ZPPP) and the UMMA Party. Competitive elections were first introduced in Zanzibar in 1957 and in Tanganyika in 1958/59.
        On the Tanganyika side, these elections were generally conducted ‘freely and fairly’ by the colonial Authorities, where the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU)’s obtained massive victories in all the pre-independence elections, and thus made that party so politically dominant, to the extent that the other political parties were reduced to oblivion; thus making the country a de facto ‘One-party State’.
        But the situation was very different in Zanzibar; where the colonial Administration’s unfair gerrymandering of constituency boundaries in favour of the Arab parties, rendered all their pre-independence elections null and voi.  But this fact was arrogantly ignored, a factor which accounts for the Afro-Shirazi’s ‘glorious revolution’ of 12th January, 1964; which brought President Abeid Amani Karume to power; and who, because of the electoral frustration of the past, promptly outlawed all the other political parties, thus making the Afro-Shirazi party the sole, and ruling party.
The return to multiparty politics
And many of the  African countries that had adopted the “one-party” political system, including Tanzania, were suddenly faced with  strong demands for the return to multi-party politics; fueled by the severe economic crises which occurred at the material time, that was blamed on the failure of the ‘one party’ system governments to manage their economies properly.
        Unfortunately, however, when Africa inherited the multi-party system’s form, in many cases it failed to inherit that system’s culture of political competition without animosity, or “kupingana bila kupigana” as well.   And this is precisely where the ‘system operators’ come in; for the proper management and maintenance of the multi-party system’s culture, very much depends on the disposition of the principal ‘system operator’; on whom the system’s good or bad fortunes will very largely depend.
The important role of the system operators
Usually, between political parties there will always be differences of opinion, mainly related to their different policies and the competition for power. Thus, all is well when this competition, and the management of the political affairs of the country are carried out in a “just and fair” manner.
  The dawn of a new era.
President Samia was a new ’system operator’ who had entered the stage. Her action of attending the CHADEMA women’s rally in Moshi, visibly ushered in a completely new era in Tanzania politics, for it had never happened before; and, in fact, could not possibly have happened, for the simple reason that multi-politics is a competitive system, and in any such system, psychological ‘prudence’ forbids the taking of any action which gives advantage to the opponent.  That is presumably why the CHADEMA Chairman, Freeman Mbowe, referred to the said that “many people had taken it as a joke when he announced that President Samia would grace that event”.   It was, indeed, something “out of the ordinary”.
        Chairman Mbowe further lamented that: “Over the past six years, we, the Opposition, went through very tough times. However, we are ready to forgive and forget the past”.  A conciliatory gesture indeed, a new ‘system operator’ had come on the stage; and it was now “all systems go” for the success of the reconciliation process; which was necessitated by her predecessor’s actions.
        This is precisely what distinguishes President Samia’s ‘leadership style’ from that of her immediate predecessor, who had created the conflict that now required reconciliation. This single action by President Samia, generated new public trust and confidence, that she will surely succeed in her determination to achieve genuine political reconciliation.
        Although, as we saw in last week’s presentation, CCM was able to achieve successful political reconciliation with the Opposition CUF party in Zanzibar; that was actually facilitated by a different “system operator”, CCM Chairman Benjamin Mkapa.
The new constitution as part of reconciliation
The demand for a “new multi-party constitution” was one of the earlies conflicts between the ruling party and the opposition parties. Repeated demands for a new constitution were routinely rejected by the ruling party, for the stated reason that following the ‘Nyalali commission’ recommendations, the constitution had been extensively amended in 1992  in order to accommodate the new multiparty political dispensation, and that further amendments would be made whenever it became necessary;  thus, there was no valid reason for engaging in the more expensive exercise of enacting a new constitution.
        But the opposition demands persisted, thus qualifying this conflict to be included in the reconciliation process.  And, in respect thereof, President Samia disclosed that she will, in the very near future, announce her team which will be tasked to undertake the constitutional review process. “Nobody is opposing that”, said the President, and continued: “even CCM fancies a new constitution”, she said amid thunderous applause from over 3,000 CHADEMA members who had assembled at the place of that meeting.
The still unsettled major constitutional issues
In my own experience of the past constitutional review processes, there have been two major issues which have recurred again and again, but have not been finally determined, that will perhaps need to be considered in the upcoming exercise.  These are (i) the structure of the Union, and (ii) the question of the independent candidate in elections.
        Issue (i) is more intractable, because the ‘two-government’ structure of the Union is a matter of CCM policy, which was reconfirmed at after a CCM referendum which was held in 1994.   However, the restriction imposed on the independent candidate’s participation in elections is more difficult to defend, or justify.  Because of editorial space limitations, we can only deal with the first issue in this presentation.
        The ‘two-government’ structure of the Union was established by the Union “Interim constitution”, enacted on 1st May, 1964.  What it meant was that the Tanganyika partner of this Union, had no separate government, but was to be administered directly by the Union government; whereas Zanzibar had its own government, that was responsible for “non-Union” matters within Zanzibar.
But since then, there have been several attempts to change this arrangement; starting with the then Zanzibar President, Aboud Jumbe; who, in 1984, embarked on a plan to introduce a three-government structure.   But his attempt failed, and he was forced to quit from all his leadership positions; for the cardinal offence of promoting something which was against CCM’s sacrosanct ‘two-government’ policy.
        The next attempt was made by the ‘Nyalali Constitutional Review Commission’, appointed by President Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1991;  which also recommended a change to the ‘three-government’ Union structure; but this was also rejected, for precisely the same reason of  being against CCM policy.
        Then came the BUNGE resolution of 1993; wherein the Parliament of the United Republic, formally called upon the government “to initiate a process which will culminate in the establishment of a Tanganyika government within the Union structure”.   This actually meant the establishment of a ‘three-government’ structure.
        This was a particularly serious development; because, firstly, the Members of the House who passed this resolution were all CCM members; and so was the government of the day.  Thus, this resolution was, in fact, an act of rebellion.  Secondly, by established convention, BUNGE resolutions are binding upon the government, and must therefore be implemented.  Hence, perhaps unwittingly, this became  an ‘oversized, ingenious  paradox’;  and, consequently,  it took a lot of time and energy, in terms of numerous meetings of the relevant CCM organs at the national level, to find a viable solution.
But, as the saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way”.  It was decided to hold a referendum of all CCM members, who were asked to indicate, by secret vote, which structure they preferred among the ‘one government’; ‘two-government’; or ‘three-government’ structures.
        The results of the referendum showed that the majority (61.75 per cent of the CCM members) voted in favour of retaining the ‘two-government ‘structure; thus reconfirming the party’s ‘two-government’ policy.   But the rebellion produced its own victims. The Prime Minister, at that time John Malecela, lost his job; and so did Horace Kolimba, the Secretary General of Chama cha Mapinduzi.
But, surprisingly, even subsequent to that, recommendations for the adoption of the ‘three-government continued being made by the Constitutional Review Commissions which were appointed later.          The first to do so was the “Kisanga Commission”, which was appointed by President Benjamin Mkapa in 1998; and more recently, by the Warioba Commission, appointed by President Jakaya Kikwete in 2012.  Needless to say, their recommendations were routinely rejected.
        The re-introduction of multi-party politics in Tanzania in 1992, was brought about by the strong “wind of change” that blew across Africa and much of the rest of the world at that material time; as a result of which, the powerful communist “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)” collapsed, followed by the fall of the “Berlin War” in Germany.  These events effectively terminated  the “cold war” between the Western “Capitalist countries”,  and the Eastern “Communist block”; thus the Western ‘Capitalist block’ remained as the only effective ‘world power’ which  could, and in fact did, use its influence to  exert undue pressure on the  ‘one-party’ States to change to multi-party politics;  
This shows that this matter remains unsettled; as it is, apparently, still on the drawing board. It thus qualifies for inclusion in the reconciliation process.
piomsekwa@gmail.com  / 0754767576.
Source: Daily News today.


Saturday 18 March 2023

RIP JOHN POMBE MAGUFULI ALWAYS MISSED

Although your beneficiaries in big numbers seem to have abandoned and forgotten you, we still remember  and treasure you as the leader who attempted to decolonise and deconstruct almost everything. 
RIP John Pombe Magufuli

Thursday 16 March 2023

Letter to Muhoozi Keinerugaba, Tweet Even More Please

Muhoozi, before saying something, I must remind Ugandans the best day the country has ever had. On 24th April 1974, Uganda and the world were blessed with and received one of the most powerful sons of presidents in the world, you. This is the time you (he who avenge or revenges) came to this earth to save some of earthlings from the ennui of a long-time ruler who happens to be one of your makers. It is the time your great mother gave birth to you, the great son of president who wields as much power as his father, the son who needs more power. Indeed, your arrival wasn’t a habitual occasion. It wasn’t like the birth of small men and women who come from poor and weak families. Yours was the birth of a saviour of some sort, especially for those who don’t believe that the more things change the more they remain the same. You know what I mean. Still, you’re a saviour for the status quo so to speak as far as Ugandan politics is concerned.

            Dear Muhoozi, a few weeks ago, you, as the most power son of the most powerful man you unveiled what Ugandans need to make do with.. Yep, you started to bite at the power that your dad’s been eating on for long. Because of your significance and that what you want everybody to know and made do with you fired a tweet Kenya threatening to take and occupy it within two weeks. No joke. You’re not joking. Did you mean business or you’re just looking the way take a bite on power and come out of the political closet.  This, for me, shows your significance as the son of the most powerful man in Uganda as the most powerful son of the president over the insignificance of the rest that can be taken for a ride. The twosome of–––without forgetting your mother––––are the most powerful people Uganda’s ever had. Let Ugandans know that your trinity’s unshakably intact and unique since you’ve made Uganda what it’s today, rich for them and poor for the rest.  Let them know that you still have a lot to offer, and Ugandans must wait for more surprises from this trinity.

            Dear good General, underscoring your greatness and significance, I propose that next time you tweet, all Uganda’s media must support you by subscribing to your tweeter account I propose that your tweets must be made breaking news in all Ugandan media. I know those who don’t like you, dear good general, will wag tongues thinking I’m trying to get a mileage out of this assertion, or I might have been paid to say this. Nope, what I’m saying is as simple as the tweets themselves. I know those who don’t know the importance of the first family, you, the mother general, and the father general, wrongly think that their lives––––that are adversely impinged on with uncertainties your tweets cause. Go figure. Guys, who are you in Uganda? Who bewitched or cheated you not to get it?

            Dear General, when the story of your tweets and threats to Kenya surfaced in the media, a friend sent me an email complaining about the uncertainties they’d cause. Also, he’s concern about the EAC, which’s never delivered anything. I scolded him to stop being selfish, evil, and naïve since things have changed. Christians believe Jesus died for their sins though they’re told everybody to carry one’s cross. To the contrary, politicians believe that citizens must die for them and their sins. Methinks this is the genesis for many African rulers to live larger than life while their taxpayers live in penury. I told the guy to consider other related things such as the disturbances democracy’s been causing in many African countries that tried it and ended up abusing it through vote rigging and tampering with constitutions to extend their time in office.
            Dear General, methinks Ugandans––––whether they like it or not­­­­–––should brace themselves to see you becoming their leader shall anything happen to your father. This is simple to decipher. When I consider your gruff rise in the army, you can easily know what I mean. Also, if you interrogate the reason[s] behind your father’s clinging unto power, you’ll be on the same page with me. More so, if you consider the powers your mom has behind the curtains, you’ll agree with my hypothesis. To give those who pretend to deny the truth, I want them to ask themselves as to why your tweets are leaving everybody shocked? Is the system testing the waters? Is it preparing Ugandans psychologically for what’s in the card in the upper echelons of power wherein manipulations are one of bread and butter of its mainstay? Why have you become such important this time around? Let’s get as serious as a seal instead of trying to screw over this rear up of your display. What do you aim to achieve if not more power?

            Dear General, in sum, let me wish you a very spiffy tweeting mission. The Swahili sage’s it that clouds are the signs of rains. Therefore, what you’re seeing with regards to your centrality is but the beginning if not the tip of the iceberg. Tweeting threatening the neighbour is one leg in the waters. The sage’s it that if you can’t beat them, join them. Whether they like you or not, they need to understand Uganda’s power dynamics, especially after your dad came to power and altered everything to his advantage. If he were able to prop up you so quickly that way in the military, how can he fail to do so in the office of the president? Once again, Dear General, you seem to brace yourself for big things. Big things come to big people. That’s my titbits of sagacity. Ring-a-ding-ding, nothing but.

President Samia’s outstanding performances in her two years ‘on the throne’

IN her maiden address to Parliament on 22nd April, 2021 President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the following (translated from Kiswahili):-“This is the first time in the history of our country that we have a female President. For that reason,    I know that there are some people who believe that I will not be able to shoulder the heavy Presidential duties and responsibilities. I want to assure such doubting people that the almighty God did not create ‘weaker minds for females and stronger minds for males’.  That is not the case at all, since all human beings are born equal.  It much depends on the individual person’s upbringing and the environment in which he or she was brought up.   I want to assure everyone that I was brought up under proper care and attention and that I have accumulated sufficient experience in matters relating to governance”.
“Walking the talk”
Well, her two years on the Presidential throne, have shown very clearly that she has, indeed, ‘walked her talk’.  She will be remembered more particularly for her outstanding performance and achievements in two distinct areas.
One is her acknowledged success in the difficult area of ‘political reconciliation’; and the other is in the area of the ‘general Administration’ of the country’s affairs, both as Head of government, and as Head of the ruling party, CCM.
Political reconciliation
“Reconciliation” is achieved when there is an end to serious disagreement, either between individuals, or groups of individuals.    Between political parties, there will always be differences of opinion, mainly related to their different policies, and the competition between them in the quest for the opportunity to rule the country.
            But matters become “serious” when the party in power uses state power to suppress the parties that are in opposition. And this is what happened on two different occasions:  One was during the reign of the late President Dr John Pombe Magufuli of the United Republic; when some opposition cadres were forced to seek political asylum in foreign countries, allegedly for fear that their lives were in grave danger; and the other was during the reign of  Zanzibar President Dr Salmin Amour; when a large number of cadres in the Opposition camp fled to Mombasa (Shimoni)  in  Kenya;  for the similar fear that their lives were in danger. In one of his works, good old William Shakespeare, that famous English Playwright, gave the following warning: “Oh, it is nice to have the strength of a giant, but it is tyranny to use it like a giant”.
            In the case of Zanzibar, ‘political reconciliation’ was achieved after a long process of repeated negotiations between the ruling party CCM, and the dominant Opposition party (then the Civic United Front (CUF).  Such negotiations had to be repeated three times, simply because the Agreement reached as a result of the earlier negotiations, was unceremoniously broken immediately after the following Presidential election, which the CUF candidate lost.
It was only the third Agreement (MUAFAKA III) which produced lasting peace in Zanzibar, which was facilitated by the establishment of a “government of National Unity” (GNU), in 2010.
President Samia’s unique leadership style
In order to give her Administration a semblance of continuity, she tactfully invented the catchword slogan “Kazi iendelee”; while she, in fact, quietly set about introducing radical shifts from her predecessor’s hardline policies. She was, apparently working on the basis of the ‘doctrine’ enunciated by British Labour party Prime Minister Tony Blair; who, upon winning victory in the relevant British Parliamentary election, and thus ousting the Conservative party government from power; is reported to have said the following: – “What is good and working well, we will maintain, but we will abandon all that is not so good”.
        Her radical policy shifts started with the ‘covid 19’ pandemic, which her predecessor had dismissed as a hoax.  She appointed a ‘committee of experts’ to advise her on the way forward, by proposing measures that would keep Tanzanians safe.
        Then came her decision to allow ‘teen mothers’ to return to school to continue with their studies. This is another ban which had been imposed her predecessor, a measure which had been widely condemned by some of the development partners, and the human rights campaigners. But of much greater political significance, was her lifting of the ban that had been slapped by her predecessor the Opposition political parties to hold public rallies; plus lifting the ban on a number of media outlets; measures which were very well received by all the stakeholders.
The reconciliation process
The authorization for her to proceed with the task of reconciliation was readily given by her party CCM, in apparent compliance with the saying that “where there is a will, there is a way.
But after obtaining it, she skillfully handled the rest of the process in her own personal style, starting with the appointment of a “reconciliation committee” to do the necessary groundwork.   The positive results of her sterling stately work are wide open to everyone who cares to see them.   As they say in Kiswahili: “Mwenye macho haambiwi tazama”.
        Both Islam and Christian religion teaches us about the diabolical spirit of ‘revenge’, which should be shunned; and the holy nature of mercy and forgiveness; which should be embraced.
President Samia seems to have imbibed the spirit of these teachings in full measure; a factor which presumably has contribute immensely to her wisdom in managing the reconciliation process.
        A bit part of President Samia’s wisdom in respect of the ‘mercy and forgiveness’ aspect, was revealed in her address to the residents of USA River minor settlement on the outskirts of Arusha City, when she said something which is akin to, or reminiscent of, the Biblical story of the ‘prodigal son’. This is what she said (translated from Kiswahili):-“My younger brother (Lema) said to me:  “Mama, I want to come back home. Come back now, I said to him, for we need to build our country together.  But Mama (he pleaded), there is a manufactured political case in court against me, of which I am very fearful. Fear not Lema, I said to him, it will be terminated, using the usual court procedures” (presumably of nolle prosequi).
        Obviously in full trust of the President’s word, Godbless  Lema  quickly came back from exile in Canada, and so did the other exiles, like Tundu Lissu, who had also fled the country   “for fear of their lives”.  If proof is needed in order to determine the success of President Samia’s success in the reconciliation process, this is it.
President Magufuli’s critics
The word “criticism” is defined as ‘the act of expressing disapproval of somebody or something’.  The late President Magufuli was severely criticised, especially by his political opponents, for what appeared to be his intention and willingness to strangle the opposition parties. But what riles me, is the bad and unreasonable habit of some persons who continue criticising him,  even so  long after his departure from this world.
        The famous German Statesman Bismark (1815 -98), is on record as having said in his speech to the Prussian Chamber in December 1863, that “Politics is not an exact science”.
One interpretation of that statement, could be that ‘in managing politics, one is liable to make mistakes’.  The late President Magufuli did make mistakes, including that of attempting to ‘strangle the opposition parties’.   But what riles me, is the bad and unreasonable habit of some persons, who continue criticising him even so long after his death.
        For example, it was only last week that a sympathetic friend sent me a scanned newspaper cutting of an article that was recently published in the “East African” newspaper, which carries the provocative article headlined “Tanzania needs some cathartic healing from the Magufuli trauma”.  When I read it, I quickly remembered these ancient wisdom pieces: –  One is William Shakespeare’s ‘observation’ in one of his famous Plays, that “the good that men do, is often interred with their bones. But the bad lives long after them.
        The late President Magufuli certainly did a lot of good things for the development of our country, but the author of the said article seems determined to let all those ’good’ things done by the late President Magufuli  be “interred with his bones”, by weirdly harping only on  the late President’s ‘bad’ deeds.
The second, is the saying of the British poet William Blake (1787 -1727), who said the following: –  “a truth that is told with bad intent,  beats all the lies you can invent”.
The tone of this writing shows clearly that the author of the said article is telling his story with such “bad intent”; i.e. with a determination to do something harmful.
        The third, is our own ‘traditions and customs’; one of which advises us “not to speak ill of a dead person”, This author is clearly in blatant breach of that highly respected custom. He may claim to be utilizing his “human right” to express his opinions.  But, as President Samia said on a recent occasion. “even human rights have their limitations”.   She was condemning the evil practices   of homosexuality, whose perpetrators also claim to be “exercising their human rights”.
As Head of the ruling party, CCM
It is a fundamental convention of Chama cha Mapinduzi, that the person who is elected to the country’s Presidency, shall also become the party’ national Chairperson. Thus, on the basis of that convention, following her elevation to the Presidency after the sudden death in office of party national Chairman Dr John Pombe Magufuli; Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris causa);  was  duly  elected Chairperson of Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) on 30th April, 2021;  by an extraordinary special meeting of the ‘CCM National Congress’  which was held in Dodoma for that purpose.   And, immediately after her election, she literally “hit the ground running”;  for on that same day, she got down to the serious business of appointing the group of officials who constitute the party’s Secretariat, all of whom were new faces, including the Secretary General, Daniel Chongolo.
       Indeed, the reform actions which she began taking to rejuvenate the party, and to re-shape the government direction, during her first few months in office, confounded the ‘doubting Thomases’ and all their accomplices.
The inherent strength of Chama cha Mapinduzi.

President Samia was, in a way, lucky to have inherited a ruling party which already had “the strength of a giant” deeply embedded in it; that is securely based on the following four basic factors:- 
        (i) It is a strongly unified party; (In its long history since independence, there has not emerged any  ‘power hungry’ monsters, who  create divisive groups or factions within the party, for the greedy purpose of helping them to acquire  power, which is often the reason which has scattered some political parties in our neighbouring countries) .
        (ii) The clarity of its ‘Mission’ and ‘Vision’; (as spelt out in the party Constitution).   
        (iii) Its successful implementation of its policies and programmes; (which are regularly articulated in its ‘Election Manifestos’ every five years).  

        (iv) Its strong Organisational structure; (which makes the party presence felt everywhere throughout the country, down to the ten-house ‘party Cells)’. Her main job is thus limited to properly managing these ‘valuable assets’.
Source: Daily News today.
piomsekwa@gmail.com /0754767576.


Saturday 11 March 2023

Kenya’s political eclipse; Part III

The Supreme Court of Kenya is where democracy goes to die. Its ruling in 2022 giving the IEBC the legal fiat to rig elections will live in infamy. The last institution that could have saved Kenya’s democratic experiment has not performed as expected.

 By Makau Mutua   Professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the KHRC.

This Sunday in my series on Kenya’s Political Eclipse, I focus on the end of Kenya’s experiment with the democratic project. At some point as a country and people, we have to look each in the eye and have an honest conversation. We have to say the things that are difficult to say. We must mean what we say, and say what we mean. We can’t – and shouldn’t – keep lying to each other with a straight face.

At least I can’t, and won’t. We have become a nation of liars. And the biggest lie we have been telling each is that we are a democracy. I am sorry boys and girls – we aren’t a democracy. We are a kleptocracy.

        I have been a student of law and politics my entire adult life. I have lived for extensive periods in four countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Italy, and the United States. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the last of these four – the US. Apart from book learning and teaching, I have observed first-hand – and participated – in four diverse political cultures. Everyone knows the torturous route that the US – the world’s most successful democratic state – has travelled in history.

        Its most demonic moments are unspeakable. So we know the democratic project isn’t easy. But what I learnt and witnessed from the front row in the 2022 Kenyan General Election was enough to kill me a thousand times. 

Let me tell you why Kenya isn’t a democracy, and why we may never become one. A democracy is a state in which the values and tenets of liberalism – equality, equity, the rule of law, liberty, freedom, autonomy, separation of powers and checks and balances – are used to create a society of economic and social opportunity for all.

        The end result must be the happiness of the largest majority of the people. Such a society must reduce powerlessness for most of its people. It must curb political and economic despotism. The praxis of democracy must be internalised by large swathes of the elite and the hoi polloi in norms, processes, and institutions. It must become second nature in citizens.

        A democratic society and culture produce a prototype of a human being who is philosophically and by sensibility powered by its values. It’s a society generally of empathy, not antipathy. A society that’s bounded by redlines on the limits of State power. Where officials go into government to serve the people, not the other way around. And where the people don’t expect officials to be masters, but servants – not looters of public coffers, but stewards of the people’s purse.

Mutual cannibalisation

If you look at all these indices of democracy, you can’t argue with any credulity that any – a single one of them – is present in the Kenyan zeitgeist. Ours is a voracious culture of mutual cannibalisation and the crudest of materialism.It wasn’t always this way and doesn’t have to stay this way. I remember a time when Kenyans had a softer heart and an Ubuntu sensibility. But those days are long gone. In my view, we have entered the “door of no return” in our politics. We have become savage beasts in human form.

        Most Kenyans get whatever they can get no matter the cost to the next guy or the society. Our political elite aspires to state power, not for any other reason but to steal from us. If you listen to UDA’s Rigathi Gachagua, or his boss William Ruto, you know what I mean. Their disdain for citizens who will not cave to them is gargantuan. 

        Importantly, Kenya’s democracy has died because of the calibre of leaders and the corruptible nature of the institutions that are central to it. Key among these is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). That institution is rotten through and through to its innermost core. Most senior officials who have worked in it – and its predecessors – are some of the most corrupt Kenyans alive or dead. The IEBC in the last election was a feeding trough for the most piggish officials. The truth is Kenyans know this and yet go along with the theft.

        Today, some Kenyans tell me Azimio should’ve been a smarter thief than UDA. They believe you must steal elections to win, or you are the fool. Lastly, one cannot discuss the death of Kenya’s democratic experiment without defrocking the intellectual and moral midgets at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of Kenya is where democracy goes to die. In spite of the David Maraga Court in 2017 which made history by calling out the theft – a clear aberration – the Supreme Court is possibly public enemy number one.

        Its ruling in 2022 giving the IEBC the legal fiat to rig elections will live in infamy. The last institution that could have saved Kenya’s democratic experiment has not performed as expected. That’s why I say without equivocation that Kenya’s democratic experiment is buried – entombed – at the Supreme Court.

Makau Mutua is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Margaret W. Wong Professor at Buffalo Law School, The State University of New York. @makaumutua.

Source: Sunday Nation tomorrow.

Thursday 9 March 2023

International Women’s Day 2023: Insights into the continuing journey to women’s emancipation in Tanzania

    

By Pius Msekwa            

YESTERDAY, 8th March, 2023 was “International Women’s Day”, so recognised by the United Nations Organisation and celebrated in all countries around the world. Such celebrations are intended to give an opportunity to women to highlight the efforts that have been made towards the achievement of the goal of women empowerment, or gender equality; the successes arising therefrom, plus examining the issues that still require attention. We have devoted today’s presentation to this topic
        The word “emancipate” is used here in its usual meaning of “freeing a person from legal, political, or social restrictions”. And we have described this as a “continuing’ process, simply because our women folk have not yet been totally emancipated therefrom, especially with regard to certain cultural restrictions.
        Many countries, including the United Republic of Tanzania have, over the years,  been progressively taking appropriate steps, mainly through legislative measures, to emancipate their women citizens from such restrictions, but there are some others which have obstinately remained in place; such as the issue of girls’ cruel ‘genital mutilation’, even though it is against the law of the land.
The traditional role of Women in Society
Traditionally, women in every country, including Tanzania, have always played a significant role, especially at family level, as economic producers and providers of strong stability for the household.  But certain well-known factors, mostly cultural in nature, are what have prevented their meaningful participation in the nation’s public affairs, particularly in matters relating to the country’s governance. They managed to do this, in the first place, by providing obstacles to the education of girls, for example, through early marriages forced upon them by their parents; plus other unreasonable tribal customs, such as that which is widely practiced in my own District of Ukerewe, which forbade women to eat certain types of nutritious fish and meat; as these were reserved “for men only”.
            However, such negative factors notwithstanding, the women have always contributed significantly to the democratic process through their active participation in elections, but essentially as voters, not as elected leaders, except in very few isolated cases.  But that was so only until recently, when President Samia Suluhu Hassan, came on the stage, and introduced dramatic positive changes in that respect; which have given the women ‘participation in governance’ spectrum an entirely new fresh look.
Tanzania’s structured efforts in this area
This information has been assembled from various scattered sources; going back to the pre-independence days of British colonial domination in Tanganyika; when the colonial Administration nominate women candidates to enter the Legislative Council (LEGCO).  The Tanganyika Legislative Council was established by legislation cited as the “Tanganyika Legislative Council) Order – in Council, 1926”; which was passed by the British House of Commons on 26th March, 1926; and held its first session on 7th December, 1926, in Dar es Salam.
        But it was not until 1955, when the Governor decided to nominate the first female Members to join the Legislative Council. They were:  Elifuraha Mkamangi  Marealle,   K.F. Walker, and S. Keeka.
The post-independence period
Then came the reign of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, “a man of principle”; who had dedicated himself to implementing  the principle that “Binadamu wote ni sawa”.
And, indeed, he was able to overcome   some of these  obstacles, particularly those relating to ‘women participation in matters of the country’s governance’,  when in the 1960 pre-independence parliamentary elections, TANU (the political party which he led as its President), nominated women to stand for constituency elections. These included Bibi Titi Mohamed (Rufiji-Utete constituency); Mwami (Chief) Theresa Ntare (Kasulu constituency); and Lucy Lameck (Moshi constituency).
            Their election was greatly facilitated by TANU’s political dominance at the material time, which enabled them (and many other TANU candidates) to be elected unopposed  in 58 out of a total of 71 constituencies countrywide. However, come the next parliamentary elections of 1965, this ‘privileged facility’ had been removed by the new constitution, which had removed the possibility of candidates being elected unopposed, because TANU was now required to nominate two candidates for each and every constituency; which resulted in no woman candidate being elected in any of the constituencies whose number had been increased to 120.
        Subsequent to that, no woman candidate was able to win a constituency seat until the 1985 parliamentary elections; when a single woman won the election in a constituency. Further improvements occurred in the 1990 parliamentary elections, when two women won the election in their respective constituencies.
        In these circumstances TANU, which was now the only political party (under the then subsisting “One-party” political system) devised a new innovative method of getting women into Parliament; when it caused legislation to be passed to amend the constitution, in order to provide for the establishment of what were called “Designated National Institutions”, solely for the purpose of nominating candidates for election to Parliament. Each of these designated institutions was guaranteed five seats in Parliament to be filled through election by the other Members of Parliament sitting as an electoral college.  These included “Umoja wa Wanawake Tanzania” (UWT).
        In addition, the Constitution also allowed the President to nominate up to ten Members of Parliament, among them, five must women. The provision for ‘designated National Institutions’ was removed from the constitution by the major constitutional amendments which were introduced in 1984.  But still, in order to cater for the need for women’s meaningful participation in Parliament; new constitutional provisions were introduced, which made provision for the establishment of what were, and still are, designated as “special women seats” in Parliament. The initial allocation was only15 per cent of the constituency Members of Parliament, but this figure was progressively raised through further constitutional amendments, to the present “not less than 30 per cent”.
The Gender Forum Coalition on the Constitution (GFC)
As we continue travelling down memory lane,  I must also mention a more recent initiative  that was taken here by the women themselves, following former President Jakaya Kikwete’  establishment of a ‘Constitution Review Commission’ under the Chairmanship of  Judge (rtd) Joseph Warioba, in 2012;  The women took that opportunity to form an Organisation called  the  “Gender Forum Coalition on the Constitution”; which was given the task of ‘mobilising women in Tanzania to raise their voices in demanding a constitution which would  provide for gender equality, particularly in matters related to governance’;  or, in its Kiswahili version, “Uwakilishi wa wanawake  kwenye vyombo vya maamuzi”. Their stated objective was to achieve 50/50 representation in Parliament.
            It is gratifying to note that President Samia Suluhu Hassan has indicated that she is desirous of achieving that goal.  But this is, perhaps, more easily said than done.
This objective can, of course, be more easily done by just changing our electoral system, from “First-past-the-post” (FPP) to “Proportional Representation” (PR).
            But this is “easier said than done”; because all the stakeholders in this country were brought up under the FPP electoral system, And, to the best of my memory, no such recommendation has ever been made in all of the constitutional review exercises that have been undertaken. It is most unlikely therefore, that such change will be achieved in the foreseeable future.
        Advocates of this change can continue to base their hopes on the Bible inspiration given in the Old Testament, that “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.
Mwalimu Nyerere’s speeches and writings.     
There are many people who are presumably aware of Mwalimu Nyerere’s  speeches and writings, in which he reiterated his sincere belief in the “equality of human beings”, regardless of a person’s different gender, race, colour, or creed.
        One of his earliest writings published in 1942, while he was a student at Makerere Teachers’ College in Uganda, amply demonstrates his commitment to the liberation of women.  In that Paper, which was titled “The plight of African women”, Nyerere highlighted the hardships and miseries of African women who, he pointed out, “worked almost like slaves”; and strongly condemned the tribal customs which facilitated this existence of undesirable situation.
       This was, apparently, a competition essay, and as the records show, it won him a handsome five hundred East African shillings (a lot of money in those good old days), having been the winner of that competition.
        It would appear that  his essay was most likely based on his own experience of  his mother’s tribulations in that regard;  for his biography (which was published after his death) also  includes the following information:-“As a young boy, Julius Nyerere witnessed how much his mother toiled, having to wake up at the first cock-crow to go and work in her own shamba, returning later to her hut to cook for her children (and her husband if it was her turn); thereafter heading to her husband’s communal shamba for further work along with the other members of the family.  In between, she was supposed to collect firewood and fetch water.  This was part of the culture of the tribe, under which women worked like slaves, and in which Julius Nyerere himself was brought up”.
        And later in 1967, when he wrote the famous policy document titled, The Arusha Declaration” he said the following: –  “It is true that within our traditional society, ill-treatment, plus enforced subservience, could be the women’s lot. This is certainly inconsistent with the concept of the equality of all human beings, and the right of everyone to live under the same freedom and security as all the others. Thus, if we really want our country to make full and rapid progress, it is essential that our women are enabled to live on terms of full equality with their fellow citizens who are men”.
Attempting to find the core of the problem
With regard to the unsatisfactory condition of women elected representation in the State’s elective organs, what could be the core of this problem?  Why do women generally fail to obtain sufficient votes at the relevant elections, that would them to enter Parliament inn larger numbers?
        In my considered opinion, there are three basic reasons which account for this state of affairs. One is the FPP electoral system that is in operation; the other is the people’s   biased mindset; and     the third (in the particular case of Tanzania), is the constitutional provision for “Women Special Seats”.  This provision was actually intended to increase the number of women in Parliament and in Local Authorities Councils. But it produced the completely unintended, and mischievous excuse, for the male candidates to campaign against women constituency candidate by falsely claiming that the women have their own sufficient reserved seats, and should not seek constituencies seats.  “Hiyo ni tamaa mbaya” the male campaigners would add mischievously; thus effectively providing support, for the already biased voters’ mindset.
        The FPP electoral system is, indeed, heavily influenced by the voters’ mindset also in some in other respects.  For example, when nominating their candidates for elections, political parties have the   tendency of ignoring women; with the result that very few women get nominated for election in the constituencies.
And if you add the outdated traditional attitudes of regarding women as “made only for the upkeep of the family household”; the total effect of these ‘negatives’ is what provides the major impediment to women’s representation in Parliament, and in the Local Authority Councils.
piomsekwa@gmail.com   / 0754767576.
   Source: Daily News today.