ELECTION GUIDE

At the Mnazi Moja Grounds at the crossroads of Bibi Titi and Uhuru streets in Dar es Salaam there is a large banner warning Tanzanians against being taken into troubled waters by power-hungry individuals. Wise advice as the plethora of candidates for Tanzania’s presidential and parliamentary elections compete for the right to stand for office.

There has been much drama during the last three months as Tanzania’s first multi-party elections approach. They are due to take place on October 22 in Zanzibar and October 29 on the mainland. The final list of candidates was not due to be approved by a very busy National Electoral Commission until August 28, after this issue of TA has gone to press, but the main pattern is now clear.

In the presidential list only those candidates who have selected vice-presidential running mates (who have to be from Zanzibar if the presidential candidate is from the mainland) are being allowed to stand.

In the race for parliament, competition is fierce. Thousands of people in 13 registered parties are jockeying for selection. Three more parties applied very recently for registration.

THE MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY
The principal opposition to the ruling CCM party has been, since the dramatic exit from government on February 24 of former Deputy Prime Minister Augustine Mrema, the NATIONAL CONVENTION FOR CONSTRUCTION AND REFORM (NCCR-Mageuzi) – see TA No. 51. Since then Mr. Mrema has been indefatigable in touring the nation and attracting huge crowds in what will be by far the longest election campaign of them all. However, although tens of thousands of people have apparently joined the NCCR-Mageuzi party, it still seems like a one-man show compared with the mighty CCM with its branches and cells in every town and village in the land.

Thus, much, more than the normal attention was directed to the selection of NCCR’ s vice-presidential running mate. The answer came as a complete surprise, not least to the candidate himself, on Monday August 7, when it was announced that the NCCR had unanimously chosen the long-time British resident and well known Professor A M Babu as its candidate. By Thursday he was in Tanzania and on Friday was addressing a large NCCR rally in Dar es Salaam. Later he did the same in Kigoma.

But then some lawyers pointed out that, under Article 47 of the Constitution of the United Republic, a person can only stand for an elected seat in parliament or for the Vice Presidency if he/she is eligible to vote by reason of having lived in the country for five consecutive years before the election. Babu has been away from Tanzania for most of the last 16 years. But, as Constitutional Lawyer J T Mwaikusa told TA, this legal requirement may not apply because it was intended to bar opportunists who had been away for political reasons. He pointed out that Babu organised a seminar in Zanzibar last year and had never been prevented from returning to the country. But Babu then also faced another problem. His selection apparently did not prove popular with the CUF party in Zanzibar with which Mr Mrema was hoping to make an electoral pact. The matter was not resolved as this issue of TA went to press. Furthermore, neither the CHADEMA Party nor the CUF Party (details below) had nominated candidates for the presidency and seemed likely to support Mr. Mrema. They had agreed not to oppose each other in parliamentary constituencies. Smaller parties wished to fight on alone.

THE PRESENT RULING PARTY
For the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) the die was finally cast at a crowded Extraordinary National Conference of the Party at Dodoma on Saturday July 22. After months of drama as more and more people put themselves up as candidates, there had been seventeen persons for the party to choose from. But after preliminary selections by the party hierarchy, the list had been reduced to six. Then, on June 17 the party’s National Executive Committee reduced the list to three.

The mantle finally fell on the shoulders of former Foreign Minister Benjamin Mkapa – but only just – and apparently because of a switch of votes to him by Zanzibari delegates. The party’s Youth Wing, having heard the results of the first ballot in Dodoma, had begun celebrating when the candidate they favoured, Lt Col Jakaya Kikwete, came out top. But according to the rules, as he had not achieved 50% of the votes, there had to be another ballot. Prime Minister Msuya had come a poor third in the first ballot.

The results of the balloting were as follows:

First Ballot:
Ben Mkapa 459, Jakaya Kikwete 543, Cleopa Msuya 336

Second Ballot
Ben Mkapa 686, Jakaya Kikwete 639

Six months ago few would have expected Mr Mkapa to gain the candidacy and some observers have expressed the opinion that CCM would have done better to choose a more charismatic figure from a younger generation like Finance Minister Jakaya Kikwete or Lands Minister Edward Lowassa to cope with the formidable opposition candidate Augustine Mrema. But all agreed that Mr Mkapa brought to the candidature one element considered vital in an election in which corruption is the main issue – his total integrity. And he has one other great asset; Mwalimu Nyerere’s determination to campaign vigorously in his support.

THE CIVIC UNITED FRONT (CUF)
The CUF, formed on May 28 1992 as a merger between a pressure group for democratisation in Zanzibar – KAMAHURU – and a mainland human rights organisation – the CIVIC MOVEMENT. which is the third most important party because of its considerable strength in Zanzibar (particularly Pemba) has been plagued with problems because of differences between its former mainland-based Chairman and its Zanzibar Vice-Chairman, former Chief Minister Seif Sharrif Hamad. It has finally elected a new national chairman. He is former Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister Musobi Mageni Musobi who was elected by 268 votes out of 383 delegates. Hamad was elected National Vice-Chairman by 97% of the votes and was also chosen as the party’s candidate for the Presidency of Zanzibar.

WHAT ARE THE POLICIES OF THE PARTIES?
Mr Mkapa was asked the other day how socialist he is. He replied: ‘As a staunch CCM member I am as socialist as the CCM is’. But this reply begs the question. The extent of socialist philosophy remaining in the CCM is not easy to determine. CCM’s President Mwinyi, with IMF and World Bank support, has been conducting a free market/privatisation policy for several years. He describes this policy as pragmatism. CCM’s Mwalimu Nyerere, whose influence in the party is still very great hankers after a return to socialism and the spirit of self-reliance enunciated in the Arusha Declaration. At a May Day rally of 20,000 people in Mbeya (he can still attract the crowds) he described the privatisation of parastatals, which President Mwinyi has been pursuing vigorously, as “naked plunder of the toiling masses”. “How can a responsible government sell off profit-making public corporations like the Tanzania cigarette Company?” he asked. CCM seemed likely to have some difficulty in agreeing on a party manifesto.

In the main opposition parties corruption is the issue. In ideological terms Mrema has insisted that he is a a man of the people; it can be assumed therefore that he is ‘left of centre’. So clearly is the one-time (in his youth) Marxist Babu but he has modified his views over the years and now accepts some elements of the free market. NCCR may thus have less difficulty in presenting an agreed manifesto.

Another party which might achieve some significant support is John Cheyo’s UDP (see below) because it is clearly in favour of the free-market and could be described as Thatcherite in its policies.

In Zanzibar it seemed that political history and local nationalisms are of greater importance than ideological differences between CCM and CUF.

In view of the serious problems facing the nation several leaders including Mwalimu Nyerere have proposed a Government of National Unity (GNU) after the elections. If the results are close this could be the ultimate outcome.

WHO WILL WIN?
The results of both the Union and Zanzibar Presidential elections are uncertain as this issue of TA goes to press. 85% of the 10 million eligible voters live in 8,000 villages in rural areas. CCM, by reason of its superior organisational abilities, the respect in which it is still held in much of the countryside, the paucity of suitable NCCR candidates and the sophistication of the Tanzanian electorate, seems likely to obtain a comfortable win in Parliamentary seats on the mainland. It is perhaps significant that virtually none of the established figures in the CCM (apart from Mr. Mrema) have changed sides to the opposition.

An indication of the strength of the NCCR however has been the results of the only true tests of voter opinion since Augustine Mrema gave some backbone to the opposition. There have been five local by-elections. The first was for a seat on the Dar es Salaam City Counci I on June 5. The NCCR-Mageuz i candidate, Dr. Masumbuko Lamwai, a lawyer, gained a substantial victory by 3,356 votes to 1,899 for the CCM with 270 votes for the CUF candidate. There followed four byelections for councils in Moshi Rural, a Mrema stronghold. NCCR-Mageuzi candidates took every seat with an average of 82.8% of all votes cast.

WILL THE ELECTION BE FREE AND FAIR?
The record of the CCM government since multi-partyism was introduced has not been totally good. For example, the Kigoma parliamentary by-election result in 1994 was later declared nul and void because of CCM misdemeanours (TA No 50).

Again, in March this year, the Dar es Salaam Court ruled that the civic elections in Kariakoo Ward won by CCM City Mayor Kitwana Kondo in October 1994 had also not been free and fair. The opposition candidate, who was then in the UDP party but has since followed many others in joining NCCR-Mageuzi, was Mr Abbas Mtemvu, son of the Mtemvu who challenged President Nyerere for the presidency in the 1960’s. In a 100- page judgement the magistrate said that the speeches given by President Mwinyi and Zanzibar President Amour had been intimidating and had ‘lowered the esteem’ of Mr Mtemvu. They had portrayed the opposition in a ‘destructive manner in insinuating that Mr Mtemvu was someone who could usher the country into a Rwanda-like situation’. Mr Kondo was required to pay costs and has since lost his position as Mayor.

There have also been frequent cases of disruption of meetings of the CUF in Zanzibar and some cases of trouble at NCCR meetings on the mainland. The worst of the latter was in Moshi in late July when the Police used teargas against Mr Mrema’s motorcade and he had to be taken to hospital. Later, leaders of the 13 registered opposition parties strongly condemned the action and a group of women presented a petition on the subject to the Danish Embassy in Dar es Salaam. The Danes are coordinating donor assistance for the elections. CCM pointed out, correctly, that Mr Mrema had held numerous public meetings around the country without difficulty but President Mwinyi promised to tighten up protection for opposition leaders.

CCM dominance of the radio continues but Minister of Information Philip Marmo said that things would change as soon as the electoral campaign officially began on August 28.

The Electoral Commission has improved CCM chances by creating 52 new parliamentary seats. In the last parliament there were 255 seats including seats for 75 National members – 15 Presidential nominations, 15 from mass organisations, 15 women, 5 elected by the Zanzibar House of Assembly and 25 Regional Commissioners. These seats now disappear. Many of the CCM stalwarts who were sitting as National members and have been desperately looking for seats will now be able to find one. Former Prime Minister John Malecela is one who has found a possible home in the new constituency of Mtera. According to the ‘Business Times’ (with tongue in cheek) rumour had it that two Masaai CCM MP’s fighting for one seat, and remaining true to their warrior ancestry, were going round with folded spears in their briefcases! When Masailand was divided into two constituencies they were said to have jumped into the air and done a three-minute Masaai jig before locking themselves in brotherly embrace!

There are to be no extra seats in Zanzibar. There are 29 in Unguja and 21 in Pemba.

Selection of CCM candidates for parliamentary seats was in full swing as this issue of TA went to press. Selection was to be finalised by August 28.

The National Electoral Commission is showing efficiency and ingenuity in coping with these first multi-party elections. It is establishing 40,522 registration centres and intends to try and ensure a free and fair election.

Following a minor disturbance at the recent Dar es Salaam local by-election a Bill was rushed through Parliament in August to make provision for all votes to be counted at polling stations.

OBSERVERS
There will be many observers. The Department of Political Science and Public Administration of the University of Dar es Salaam has set up a ‘Tanzania Electoral Monitoring Committee’ under the chairmanship of Prof. R S Mukandala which hopes to have a representative at every one of the 10,000 polling stations.

Foreign election observers are likely to be in Tanzania in strength. The Commonwealth, the UN, the EU and others are hoping to send observers.

THE FUTURE TOP LEADERSHIP
In an effort to resolve difficulties which had arisen following the passage of the 11th Amendment to the Constitution (TA No 51) a 12th Amendment, approved by Parliament on May 4, created ‘Four Top Union Leader’ positions – union President, Union vice-President, Zanzibar President and Union Prime Minister, (but not, as originally proposed, the Zanzibar Chief Minister as it was feared that the Isles could have reached a position of dominance) to ‘be responsible for the welfare, security and development programmes in the united Republic’. This presumably means that these persons represent the ultimate leadership of the United Republic.

WHO WILL PAY FOR THE ELECTIONS?
Much of the considerable cost of the elections will be covered by a pledge of $15 million from Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the EC and $ 1 million from Canada. The government intends to spend some Shs 22 billion on the elections; it will subsidise political parties by giving each party Shs 5 million; for each parliamentary candidate nominated there will be Shs 1 million and for each ward candidate in civic elections Shs 30,000.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URL

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.