8 Mar 2010


It's nearly less than seven months before Tanzanians go to poll to elect,among others, the 5th phase president,should all go well.However,none of the major opposition parties have so far come up with any names of their potential presidential candidates.Does this imply that they have indirectly endorsed a potential CCM candidate,the incumbent president Jakaya Kikwete?The Swahili word for it is 'kusuasua'.Arguably,that's how one could describe opposition politics in Tanzania.Nearly two decades after Tanzania embarked into multiparty politics,most,if not all,of the country's opposition parties have been a hughe disappointment.It could well be concluded that Tanzanians are yet to benefit from the considerably huge number of opposition parties.They are more popular for their seemingly incessant internal skirmishes than their polices or service to the society.Although the ruling party CCM has frequently been accused of meddling into the Opposition's affairs,the truth remains that they are either too weak or too disorganised to pose any serious challenge to the ruling party.

The first multiparty elections saw the perceived might of NCCR Mageuzi,a party that was seen as a serious contender for the ruling of the country.However,sooner after the party lost miserably to CCM,it embarked into a bitter power struggle that eventually led to its chairman,and one of the four 1995 presidential candidates,Augustine Mrema,to switch sides to join TLP.

The next two elections in 2000 and 2005 continued to be the same sad story as CUF and Chadema succeeded in pulling huge crowds during their campaign rallies but only for them to receive meagre number of votes.

Although Chadema emerged fairly stronger in the elections after winning a substantial number of seats in local elections,and has so far gained considerable support in its outspoken stance against economic sabotage (ufisadi) it has so far failed to project any personality that voters could take as a serious contender against Kikwete.And with election looming,the party seems more concerned with increasing their share of parliamentary votes than winning the presidential seat.

The opposition is well aware of how strong CCM remains despite its poor record in delivering its election promises.While opposition parties have an uphill task of convincing potential members and supporters to join them,the ruling party has a distinct advantage from the pre-political reform era where membership to the party was compulsory.That's on top of the current de-facto single-party political environment in which all the characteristics of a one party state prevail except for the legal and constitutional provisions making it official.

One would have expected that by now the opposition parties should have started the process of nominating their presidential candidates process if their participation in the coming election is to make any difference. Faced with acute financial and logical constraints,and with such limited time left before the election,it's fair to conclude that the opposition parties have 'informally' endorsed a CCM candidate even without making such a stance public.

While this blog has nothing personal against such an 'endorsement',it is disaapointed to see how 18 years of opposition politics have produced so little hope to Tanzanians and therefore leaving them with no other choice than continuing to vote for CCM,a party that is so out of touch with voters.Once they lose the election,which is becoming most likely,they (opposition parties) would certainly repeat same old excuses such as calling for an independent electoral commission and constitutional reforms,all of which would brand CCM as a culprit in sabotaging democratic development in Tanzania.However,unless the opposition parties clean up their act,they are doomed to continue to perform dismally in every election.

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