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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Series 1: ElectionsTanzania 2015: On the impact of CCM revealed elections timetable and the need to think like dolphins!

By Aikande Kwayu
The May 2015 National Geographic Issue has an interesting article “Thinking Like A Dolphin” written by Joshua Foer (the author of Moonwalking with Einstein). The article introduces us to the large brain capacity of dolphins displayed in their unique vocalisations and characteristics. Indeed as the title of the article goes, there are some areas that we need to think like dolphins. These areas are very relevant to our country-Tanzania- as we are about to make huge decisions through our votes in October. I will refer to these areas of thinking later in this same entry.

So…and finally the long awaited timetable from the ruling party- CCM- was made public over the weekend. Prior to that only speculations and conspiracies massaged the curiosity of the increasingly politically active citizens. Over the weekend as CCM Central Committee and the National Executive Council (NEC) were meeting, citizens waited curiously for the outcome particularly on two matters: (1) releasing of the candidates who were banned from campaigning, and (2) releasing the timetable for collection of nomination forms and the decisive party meetings. The party did both. And the feeling on Sunday evening was one that proved we are indeed in elections year now.

Following that, a number of heavy weight party members have hinted on their intention to run. The CCM candidates list is on the increase. Consequently the period between June 3rdto 2nd July will be very dramatic in the national political theatre.

As if the National Electoral Commission was also waiting for the party to make those decisions, the Commission released the elections timetable on Monday giving the date for the elections – 25th October –two months after the scheduled of campaigning period.

This means, between July 12th when CCM announces his presidential candidate and 24thAugust when campaigns will officially start, there will be, I think, a vacuum on the side of the public. Although the time will also be busy with the nominations of parliamentary candidates as well as UKAWA and other opposition parties’ presidential candidates, the citizens will be left on the wait for the campaigns albeit the underground work that will be conducted by the nominated candidates in preparations for the race.

It is in this period that I wish us to be thinking like dolphins. It should be a period of reflection, prayer, meditation, and formation of relationships that are for the common good and not selfish desires. In the National Geographic article, we read quotations from Lori Marino, a scientist who has spent decades studying dolphins, stating (1) “a dolphin alone is not really a dolphin…being a dolphin means being embedded in a complex social network” (2) “when dolphins are in trouble, they display a degree of cohesiveness rarely seen in other animal groups” (3) “For dolphins alliances seem to be situational”

The relevance of the above quotations to our argument here are as follows:
Like dolphins, we need to remember that we cannot stand-alone and indeed being one is nothing – to be a ‘being’ is to be in a social network. In this, we citizens of Tanzania need to stop being selfish and think out of common good. This will help us to elect people out of their intention to the country and not out of their pockets and ability to buy voters.
As we go to elections, we need to be as cohesive as possible. We should not allow party politics and bipartisan tendencies to divide us as a nation. We are Tanzanians first before anything else.
Alliances are integral to politics. So we cannot avoid them. Nevertheless, while forming alliances, we need to think of the collective interests. Thus our alliances should be situational based on the common good and not absolute. If you think you are in a wrong alliance, please feel free to move to a better alliance that thinks of the country.

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