President Mwinyi has launched a nationwide debate on multipartyism (‘Mfumo wa Vyama Vingi’ in Swahili) and a very large number of people clearly wish to participate in it. He has appointed a 22-member Commission (13 from the mainland and 9 from Zanzibar) to collect the views of the people on the possibility of introducing a multi-party political system. The Commission began its work on April 24 1991.
The Chairman of the Commission is Chief Justice Francis Nyalali and the member ship comprises many well-known names including former Zanzibar Chief Justice A. Masoud Borafya (Deputy Chairman) : Mr Lawi Sijaona; Mr Pius Nsekwa; Ambassador Dr Wllbert Chagula; Prof Haroub Othman; Mr Chrispin Tungeraza; Mr Juma Mwapechu and Ambassador Tatu Nuru. Asked by journalists if members of the Commission would act impartially, since most of them were CCM members, Justice Nyalali said that it was the tradition of CCM members to criticise themselves and there were diverse opinions within the Party.
The exercise is to be conducted in two phases. From April to July this year the Commission is touring part of the country hearing peoples’ views. In July these views will be reviewed, evaluated and synchronised.
During Phase 2 from October 1991 until March 1992 the Commission members will visit regions not visited during Phase 1 and consider views expressed in the mass media and at seminars. The Commission’s Report will be presented to President Mwinyi in March 1992.
So much has been printed in the media in Tanzania during recent months that this Bulletin can give only the briefest summary of the points being made:
SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS PRESENTED FOR A CONTINUATION OF THE ONE-PARTY SYSTEM
– multipartyism can only work in countries where the people have developed a culture allowing them to sort out their differences using proper political channels and not violence;
– peace and unity are rare commodities in Africa; to preserve them in Tanzania it is essential to maintain the present one-party state;
– multipartyism is being imposed on us from outside, particularly from financiers who want to link their aid with multi-party conditionality; ;
– in view of Tanzania’s poor economy the country needs unity and stability more than ever before;
-there is a danger of regional, tribal and religious differences being exacerbated under a multi-party system;
– ‘the CCM Party’s roof has been leaking but it can be repaired; it isn’t necessary to abandon the house and move elsewhere’;
– Zanzibar’s turbulent political history indicates that introducing a multi-party system would soon ‘ create chaos’ and weaken the Union Government;
– a two-party system can only be justified when the parties are divided over some fundamental issue; otherwise parties only encourage divisive factionalism;
SOME OF THE ARGUMENTS PRESENTED IN FAVOUR OF MULTI-PARTY DEMOCRACY
– The CCM has outlived its usefulness and needs a challenge from another party; there are too many self-interested leaders in the Party;
– Freedom to express oneself without fear is the very essence of democracy; this opportunity has not been available to the majority of Tanzanians for the last 27 years of a one-party state;
– you cannot liberalise the economy without liberalising the political system;
– the country’s poor economic situation has been partially caused by ‘illiterate’ unqualified Party leaders occupying strategic posts in government;
– there has been discrimination against non-Party members; why must 2.5 million CCM members dictate to 25 million Tanzanians?
– the army should be depoliticised and not continue to serve the ‘ruling class’; it is being ‘bought’ by the introduction of a host of allowances not available to ordinary workers;
– the recent Zanzibar Declaration (see below) has deviated from the original objectives of TANU and the CCM parties; leaders, having aqcuired wealth which they cannot account for, now try to legalise their deeds by allowing Tanzanians to engage in capitalist practices;
– “Even God has allowed opposition by allowing Satan to live among His people!” – Extracts from the Daily News and Business Times.