By Aikande Kwayu
Since CCM announced the timetable for party nomination process, we have seen a number of CCM potential candidates stating their intentions to run (if they had not done so before), outlining their vision and policy statements, and going to Dodoma to collect the forms. Everyday we read news on such. It’s been busy. Marathon. Dramatic. Say whatever you can say, but I think it’s a sign of democracy and freedom within the party- where any member of the party who is constitutionally eligible to run for presidency is feeling free to join in the race.
So my question is: where is the opposition- and in particular UKAWA? I remember them (if am right) saying that they will start the process in late July, but there’s no heat on the ground as it has been on the CCM side even before the party released its schedule. I sense fear inside members to do so.
Regarding late starting of the process, I don’t know if this is a political strategy or not, but I think if they do start their process after CCM has announced their candidate, it will be boring as CCM is and has almost put a belief that the candidate they will nominate is the president (automatic). The public feels like the game will end on 12th July. That is why there’s much haste and close public follow up on who is likely to be CCM candidate. I am not hearing any discussion on opposition candidate as potential president. It is a very sad fact in Tanzania. After July 12th, I think the best debate the opposition will be able to steer on the public eye will be on parliamentary level…unless if there will be a serious dissent within CCM.
Well, I am disturbed not only with the delay but also (and mostly) with the lack of boiling within opposition on different potential candidates wishing to run. I’d thought if anything, the opposition should have been the side through which people could freely state their ambition, dreams, and intention to run the country. But we see that platform is best offered in the dominant party (one can even say this is irony).
I have entered in my diary (before) and call for Political Scientists to look at dictatorship tendencies beyond state-level and to get further down into political party levels. This is because it’s important to examine any dictatorial gene from the very “channel” of power. I am saying that because I feel there is some sort of fear within the opposition side for members to announce their intention. Even when the leader of one of the party in the coalition (UKAWA) – Prof. Lipumba of CUF said of his intention, he did not come out as bold. Reading that I felt like he was not confident enough-saying (paraphrasing here) “…but if am not elected/nominated I will accept”. This is not a good sign. Why thinking of defeat before even the process has started and you are the leader of one of the strongest parties in the coalition?
Well, I’ve heard of an argument that having many CCM party members who are joining in their party nomination race is a sign of a “watered down of presidency office”. I do not agree with it. I think it’s healthy for one to be given a chance to practice his/her democratic right as well as chasing his/her dream. CCM has opened that platform, and I beg UKAWA to do so…allow people to join in the race- don’t be defensive or scared. A healthy democracy gives chance to all. Also give us citizens a chance to discuss opposition potential candidates as we have done with CCM.