Kambetela wa Kamsopi of the Guardian (April 6) selected a number of newspaper headings which had appeared in the local press:
‘Mrema crosses back to CCM; receives grand reception from Mangula (CCM Secretary General)’
‘Tanzania debt cancelled up to 2000’.
‘Top Civic United Front (CUF) leader crosses over to CCM’
‘David Beckham arrives in Dar es Salaam quietly.’
But all these headings were published on the same day – April 1st!
Among political developments revealed on dates other than April 1st were the following:
Major changes in electoral system being considered
The Government is considering the possibility of introducing a number of changes to the electoral system. In order to try and establish a viable opposition by increasing the number of opposition MP’s, a system of proportional representation might be introduced. Another proposal is to increase the number of MP’s from 295 to 350. The number of women MPs might also be increased from 25% to 30%. And, in an important change in policy, it appears that CCM has agreed, or is about to agree, to the participation of private candidates in Tanzanian politics.
Opposition presidential candidates
The opposition remains divided (and will therefore not rule) as parties hasten to choose their candidates for the next presidential election.
The main opposition party on the mainland, the Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) has said it will field a presidential candidate in 2005 for the first time since it was established in 1992. The party said that this time around CHADEMA had earmarked an energetic member to contest the presidency. The Party Chairman, Bob Makani, has resigned and said he did not intend to seek re-election at his party’s AGM; he wanted young blood to lead the party. Makani also said that if his party came to power it would allow the formation of three governments. The grant of permission for Zanzibar to fly its own flag was proof of the need for a government of Tanganyika and another for Zanzibar – Nipashe.
It is assumed that Professor Ibrahim Lipumba will again be the Civic United Front (CUF) presidential candidate for Tanzania in 2005 and Seif Shareef Hamad will be again the CUF presidential candidate in Zanzibar.
The Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) has declared its chairman, Augustine Mrema, to be its presidential candidate in 2005. In fear of removal from his post, he persuaded the party to change its constitution at its last meeting; the Executive Committee lost its right to remove a serving chairman from his post. The party also expelled ten of its leaders, including its former chairman, vice-chairman and treasurer who had been opposing Mrema. “A major purge in the top ranks of the party was necessary to prevent the ruling CCM party from annihilating TLP,” Mrema said, referring to a trend in which top officials of his party have been defecting to other parties – Mwananchi and other papers.
Makongoro Nyerere appointed special seats MP
President Mkapa has appointed Makongoro Nyerere, the son of Father of the Nation the late Julius Nyerere, as tenth and last ‘special seats’ MP to be appointed by him. Makongoro is a former opposition MP from NCCR-Mageuzi. He lost his parliamentary seat after he lost an election petition against him. He rejoined CCM before the death of his father in 1999.
Other nominees of the President in Parliament are former High Commissioner in London Dr Abdulkader Shareef, Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru, Omar Ramadhani Mapuri, Brigadier General (retired) Hassan Ngwilizi, Chief Abdallah Said Fundikira, Anne Kione Malecela, Dr Masumbuko Lamwai, Mwanaidi Hassan Makame – all CCM members – plus Hamad Rashid Mohamed from CUF.
Chosen for AU parliament
MP’s have chosen the colleagues who will represent Tanzania in the newly created African Union Parliament. They are Ambassador Gertrude Mongella, from the women’s group, Dr. William Shija and Athumani Janguo from the mainlanders group, Dr. Aman Kabourou (CHADEMA) from the opposition group and Remidius Kisasi from the Zanzibar group of MPs – Majira.