Recent headlines on politics

The Marmo Report was found unacceptable in Zanzibar and so Tanzania was plunged into a situation which brought into focus the constitution itself and its seemingly increasing ambiguities.

Professor Issa Shivji, writing in Africa Events (March 1993) questioned whether the constitution – and in particular the increasing numbers of items which have been added to the list of matters reserved to the Union Government over the years (for example, foreign exchange), was itself lawful. ‘The OIC membership, which is presumably a matter concerning external affairs and is therefore a Union matter cannot be treated in isolation from the basic issue of distribution of power which lies at the core of the problem of the Union’ he wrote. Pointing out that every time anyone had tried to question the official interpretation and structure of the Union such opposition had been stifled, he quoted three cases in support of his contention the case of the former President of Zanzibar, Aboud Jumbe, who was ‘ignominiously booted out in 1984 for raising the issue’; the Nyalali Commission’s recommendation for the creation of three states (the mainland, Zanzibar and the Union instead of the present two) which had been ‘brushed aside’; and, the issue of the vice-Presidency of the Union which had been postponed at the last session of the National Assembly (Bulletin No 44). I At the end of the day’ he wrote, ‘the disease is in the very heart of the body of the Union. The rest (including the IOC issue) are all symptoms. Whether we like it or not, history has objectively placed a new constitutional order on the agenda. The longer we resist it the more the damage to our social fabric and political stability’.

Zanzibar President Salmin Amour stated that Zanzibar had joined the IOC for economic and social gains because the organisation offered interest-free loans unlike the World Bank and IMF. He urged MP’s to assess the Union bearing in mind that unity of any kind required not only goodwill but also resolve to uphold its tenets. “There were areas where we went wrong” he said “and areas where we did well”. There were differences among people but “man excels when he wisely looks for solutions”.

The party which is believed to represent the main opposition to the CCM in Zanzibar had three of its top leaders briefly arrested on February 10th; they had their luggage searched. According to the Business Times, the Police seized two empty cartridges of bullets said to have been used in a Police shoot out of CUF members in Pemba early in February in which it was said that one person had been killed and a few others injured. The Police were said to have immediately appointed a probe team and suspended 11 policemen.

Another extreme element in the political-religious situation in Tanzania is the Rev. Christopher Mtikila, head of the ‘Full Salvation Church’ and Chairman of the as yet unrecognised Democratic Party who is openly advocating the break-up of the Union. He has vowed not even to seek the 400 sponsors from Zanzibar needed if his party is to be registered.

After a speech in Dar es Salaam in January, a group of his supporters apparently caused a breach of the peace and paramilitary forces had to be brought in to keep order.

Mtikila was subsequently arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, breach of the peace and uS1ng abusive language against CCM leaders and the Government (on January 28th in Dar es Salaam). It was alleged in Court that his speech had stirred his followers into rioting and attacking people of Asian origin; many people were injured and some lost property. During the first stage of the court case Asian shopkeeper Almoonir Jiwa (22) said that he had had to have six stitches on his face after being attacked. A Police Officer told the packed courtroom that Mtikila had told the rally that President Mwinyi was a thief, Tanganyika had been sold to the Arabs and Indians, that its wealth was under the control of 161 people he termed ‘gabacholis’ and that it was time to dismantle the Union and declare the liberation of Tanganyika. The case against the Rev Mtikila was subsequently dismissed apparently on the grounds (amongst others) that stating that President Mwinyi and Mama Sitti were thieves was merely a figure of speech meant to attract political sympathy. The verdict seems to have raised eyebrows in legal circles in Dar es Salaam.

Three opposition parties – CHADEMA, the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the Tanzania Peoples Party (TPP) plan a merger to form a powerful opposition against the CCM. Meanwhile, another party has fallen into disorder. Its Chairman Chief Fundikira, has attempted to dismiss the Secretary General, Ambassador Tumbo, and his executive committee and to appoint a ‘task force’ to run party activities – a move described by Mr Tumbo as unconstitutional.

Considerable interest was directed towards Kwahani in Zanzibar in April as the first by-election to be held in Tanzania since multi-party politics were introduced approached. The former MP had been killed in a road accident. The opposition parties reached what they described as a gentleman’s agreement to boycott the by-election, claiming that conditions in Zanzibar were not conducive for the holding of a free and fair election. However, the Tanzania Peoples Party (TPP) later decided to break ranks and fielded a candidate against the CCM. According to the Business Times the registration of voters went smoothly and campaign rallies met with broad satisfaction. But only the civic United Front (CUF) was thought to be able to provide serious opposition to the ruling party (CCM) and it had decided to boycott the election.

The result, announced on April 19th was:
Mohamed Ali Khamis (CCM) 2,634 (89.3%)
Boniface Justin Mgodas (TPP) 219 (7.42%)
spoiled votes 98

The TPP candidate walked out of the Hall during the vote count complaining of election irregularities. He was advised to petition through the normal channels and is expected to do so.

The Daily News hailed the result and wrote that the people of Kwahani had shown the rest of the country the way to manage an election in a multi-party system. ‘It should be a great inspiration to Tanzania and a demonstration to the rest of the world that we are masters of our own destiny. The turnout of 2,951 voters out of 3,327 registered is impressive by any standards anywhere. All we need is discipline, tolerance, respect for the law, fair play and acceptance of the ultimate results’.

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