Crucial elections for leadership positions in Tanzania’s ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) Party took place throughout October all over the country and prepared the way for a series of elections which will take place over the next three years. These are the 17 parliamentary by-elections in Pemba (the smaller of the two main Zanzibar islands) in 1993, (see recent issues of TA), local elections throughout the country in 1994 and the presidential and parliamentary elections in 1995. The by-elections will be the first real test of political opinion in Pemba since 2000. As both the 1995 and 2000 elections in Zanzibar were widely considered to have been flawed, the results of these byelections (if they are free and fair) should finally indicate exactly how popular the CCM and the main opposition party -the Civic United Front (CUF) -are in Zanzibar.
The CCM elections were in three stages. The first stage elected leaders for ward, district and regional party posts all over the country. Some 1,600 elected delegates then came together for the second stage -elections to the 85-strong National Executive Committee (NEC). These positions are elected by five different groups: women (20 seats), youths (15), parents (10), Zanzibar (20) and the Mainland of Tanzania (20).
President Benjamin Mkapa, who has retained widespread popularity and respect after seven years in power, was comfortably elected as National Chairman of the Party and, following the decision of the current Vice-Chairman for Zanzibar, former Zanzibar President Salmin Amour, not to enter the contest, Zanzibar’s present President, Amani Karume, was elected to this post.
Describing the qualifications needed for these topmost positions, Party Secretary General Philip Mang’ula (also comfortably re-elected), listed allegiance to the party, readiness to defend it, to explain its policies, honesty, hard work, vision and wisdom. Political party representatives from 15 countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Korea, Rwanda, Mozambique, Cuba, China, Namibia, and the South African ANC participated in the CCM conference.
The results of the second phase once again showed the remarkable unity of the party -one of the factors largely responsible for keeping it in power since independence in 1961. However, there were, as usual, many changes -six ministers and junior ministers, including Minister of Higher Education Pius Ng’wandu and several regional commissioners lost their seats. Delegates ensured that some of the oldest colleagues of the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere preserved their positions in the NEC. Notable for his durability among these is former Prime Minister, 68-year-old John Malecela, who obtained 99.98% of those voting when he was again nominated as party Vice-Chairman for the mainland. He had tried for the presidency in 1995 but had been vetoed by Nyerere (on allegations of corruption); he has been hyperactive in the party for over forty years.
Other leaders elected to the NEC included Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye (who came first on the mainland list), Party Secretary General Philip Man’gula (second), East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Abdulrahman Kinana (fourth) and the Party’s veteran socialist Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru (fifth). There was some new blood too 38-year old Ramadhani Maneno defeated veteran party leader and former Press Secretary to Mwalimu Nyerere, 69-year-old Paul Sozigwa, as the NEC Member for the Coast Region. The most popular of the defeated presidential candidates in the 1995 elections, Foreign Minster Jakaya Kikwete, who came twelfth in this NEC election, and Minister of Water and Livestock Edward Lowassa, who was fifteenth, are still likely to try again for the presidency in 2005. The third stage of the elections was for the 24-strong Central Committee (CC), a relic of the socialist days when the party’s structure was closely modelled on that ofthe Communist world where power was always concentrated in secretive Central Committees. This committee remains the Party’s key policy making body. Its new composition gives further guidance as to who might obtain the much coveted nomination as the party’s candidate for president in 2005. Those at the top ofthe poll included Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru and the only Asian NEC member, Minister of Tourism Mrs Zakia Meghji, but neither ofthese are likely to compete for the presidency. Dr Salim Ahmed Salim consolidated his position as a possible future president of Tanzania by becoming one of seven new members from Zanzibar. Jakaya Kikwete kept his seat on the Central Committee. Among those defeated was another possible presidential aspirant, Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Juma Ngasongwa.
NO THIRD TERM
Julius Nyerere reigned as the first President of Tanzania for 22 years and then made sure that it was his choice, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who became the second President in 1985. With multi-partyism in 1992 it became more difficult for him to arrange things his way, as seventeen top leaders of the Party threw their hats into the ring and vied to become the chosen candidate for the presidential election in 1995. Nyerere needed all his considerable powers of persuasion and guile to ensure that his favourite, Benjamin Mkapa, became the third President. Mkapa cannot stand for a third term as Nyerere established the rule under which presidents can only serve for two terms and none of the subsequent presidents, including many presidents of Zanzibar, have been able to change this. The previous President of Zanzibar Dr. Salmin Amour tried very hard to do so but did not succeed.
All the recent CCM elections were hard fought. Needless to say they provoked intense rivalry and there were many allegations of bribery. One CCM delegate in the Mwanza Region was quoted in Mtanzania as saying that election bribes of from Shs 5,000 (£4) to Shs 50,000 were common and that he wanted more frequent elections “because we get lots of bribes”. In Kilimanjaro Region the Prevention of Corruption Bureau (PCB) was said to be investigating complaints of bribery. One cynic was quoted in the press as saying “There must be something good in it to make the old guard hang on for a lifetime”!
OPPOSITION SELF-DESTRUCTION AND PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS
These elections were made more significant because most of the 15 opposition parties are continuing a process probably best described as ‘self-destruction’ thus ensuring that the person chosen as CCM presidential candidate will almost certainly become the next president of Tanzania in 2005. Former Secretary General of the OAU, Salim Ahmed Salim, who has been away from Tanzania for many years, successfully presided over a recent seminar in Parliament on the future of democracy in Tanzania which was attended by virtually every top leader in the country; he is from Zanzibar and it has been the custom for the presidency to rotate between Zanzibari and mainland personalities; it may now be Zanzibar’s turn again. Others who have just been elected to the NEC and are likely to vie for the CCM presidential candidate position include: Foreign Minister Jakaya Kikwete who came second to Mkapa in the ballot for candidate in the 1995 elections; Edward Lowassa who was also near the top in those elections; Minister of Transport and Communications Prof. Mark Mwandosya, whose cause may have been damaged however because of the serious rail accident in which 280 people were killed on June 24 this year; Works Minister John Magufuli; and, Trade Minister Juma Ngasongwa who has recovered from accusations of corruption some years ago. Tanzanian Vice-President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, who was picked from obscurity in July 2001, following the death of his predecessor, Dr Omar Ali Juma, is a possible candidate as is Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye. There will be other aspirants as the election gets nearer.
Most of the smaller parties have problems. In July the Central Committee of the United Democratic Party (UDP) suspended its Chairman John Cheyo (former head of the Finance Committee of the National Assembly) allegedly for misappropriating party funds. Since then Cheyo has been trying to regain his position but Political Parties Registrar John Tendwa sided with the rebels in the party and recognised the acting chairman, Armani Nzigili as the new chairman. The matter is now in court.
The National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCRMageuzi party), under its then leader, former Deputy Prime Minister Augustine Mrema, gained 28% ofthe votes in the 1995 election. After Mrema departed, amidst much acrimony, to re-establish himself as leader of the Tanzania Labour Party (TLP) the NCCR was left with only one MP and he recently lost his seat.
According to the Guardian, the party now appears to be splitting between those wishing to come closer to the CCM and others wanting to continue as a separate party. Party leader James Mbatia has been going around the country terminating the membership of many longstanding members on the pretext that they have been disloyal to the chairman.
The NCCR-Mageuzi began to seek, early in December 2002, a High Court Order allowing it to institute a suit against the Government in relation to the latter’s claims that the party had been registered without fulfilling all the required conditions. This followed the receipt of a letter from the Registrar of Political Parties asking the party to provide it with a PP.5 form indicating the names of its supporters from the 10 Mainland and two Zanzibar regions – a requirement for registration as a party. The NCCR insisted however that the correct form had been presented to the Registrar on January 7, 1993.
Augustine Mrema has been chosen as a presidential candidate by the TLP but his main contribution is likely to be to damage opposition hopes of winning next time as he will divide the opposition vote. The leader of the new and very small Democratic Party (DP), Christopher Mtikila, has just been cleared of charges of sedition made against him following speeches he made in November 1999 in which he severely criticised Father of the Nation the late Julius Nyerere.
Some other opposition leaders including the Secretary General of the NRA party, the Deputy Secretary General of the TLP and the National Chairman of the TPP have defected to the ruling CCM Party.
THE CIVIC UNITED FRONT (CUF)
On the opposition side there is at present only one serious candidate for the presidency of Tanzania -Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba, head of the strongest opposition party, the Civic United Front (CUF). But even his party, which is generally well organised, has its problems.
Its leadership tried earlier in 2002 to unseat four of its nominated women MP’s because of their failure to join other CUF MP’s in boycotting Parliament. This boycott followed the serious rioting in Zanzibar in January 2001 which reflected the party’s dissatisfaction with the conduct of the 2000 elections. But the High Court has already ruled that three of the four could not be removed, under the party’s constitution.
More serious for the party were rumours that Zanzibar Party leader and CUF Secretary General Seif Shariff Hamad, who, it had been assumed, would be the party’s candidate for President of Zanzibar, may now be facing a dissident group calling itself the ‘G7’. This group is said to be campaigning instead for CUF Deputy Secretary General Juma Duni Haji, as the candidate. Haji served a long time in jail in Zanzibar on charges which were abandoned immediately after the last election.
ELECTIONS ACT AMENDED
Parliament has passed a new amendment to the Elections Act under which persons petitioning against the results of a parliamentary election must deposit 5,000,000 /-as security for costs. The Court of Appeal had declared the Act unconstitutional, saying the amount would bar poor people from seeking their rights in the courts, as guaranteed by the country’s constitution. The Amendment gives courts discretionary powers to determine the amount, which should not exceed 5,000,000/- and should be related to the petitioner’s economic means. Before the 5,000,000/- requirement was introduced, petitioners were required to deposit 500/- as security for costs.