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The East African : Oct 31st 2015
18 The EastAfrican OPINION OCTOBER 31 - NOVEMBER 6, 2015 PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY THE NATION MEDIA GROUP Afte≥ the bitte≥ contest, time to unite the people TANZANIA’S ELECTION was one of the most bitterly fought in the electoral history of East Africa’s biggest country. Dr John Pombe Magufuli, a former works minister, has been declared the fifth president of the United Republic of Tanzania, defeating his rival and former premier, Edward Lowassa, by over two million votes. The election took place against the backdrop of divisions within the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi. Mr Lowassa, a former CCM stalwart, crossed over to the opposition coalition Umoja wa Katiba ya Wananchi (Ukawa) after his former party locked him out of the presidential ticket. This historic election eventually turned out to be a referendum on two key issues: One, whether CCM will continue with its five decade-long dominance of the country’s politics and two, whether Tanzania will cement its status in the exclusive league of Africa’s most peaceful electoral democracies. It is therefore Tanzanians who emerged victorious in this bitterly fought election. The more than 15 million who voted again demonstrated to the world that it is the people who remain the ultimate employers of their national leaders. Through their disciplined conduct during the elections, Tanzanians also taught their fellow East Africans crucial lessons in democratic politics; that it is possible to disagree on the direction of the country without necessarily digressing into ethnic and religious jingoism. As Dr Magufuli prepares to take the reins of power next month, he has his work cut out for him. The president-elect will need to quickly bring Tanzanians together after a bitterly fought contest, while his party and supporters need to be magnanimous in their victory. This is important because Mr Lowassa is challenging the presidential election results. Similarly, in the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, results for its own presidential election have been cancelled on account of electoral malpractices. Leadership is required from both the outgo- ing and incoming administrations to amicably resolve these disputes. The EastAf≥ican holds the view that Tanza- nia is a mature democracy able come up with its own local solutions to address these postelection challenges. It is indeed a welcome sign that the situation in Zanzibar has been brought under control after a few days of riots. It is also important to commend the opposi- tion for a well-run campaign. The gains made from the last election in 2010 show that a united opposition can contribute immensely to checking the ruling party and help consolidate Tanzania’s democracy. Lastly, while it is the democratic right of Mr Lowassa to challenge the results, he should do so in the courts of law. On the surface, it seems we’re hopeless at organising elections — even at village level.” Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo and parliamentary elections in Tanzania. And then there were the primary T elections of Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement, ahead of the vote scheduled early next year. We shall not talk much about out- comes, although in Tanzania the opposition has cried foul, and rejected the results, which declared the long-ruling Cha cha Mapunduzi’s until recently little known John Pombe Magufuli the winner. We need to look at the possibility that there is an almost independent patronage industry organised around our elections The election in Tanzania delivered an East African record, though. In the past 30 years, Tanzania has changed leaders through elections more than the rest of the East African Community states combined have done over the his past week, there were two elections in East Africa. There were the bigger and more headline-making presidential Why Af≥ican polls have a method to thei≥ madness same period. However, this time the elections in Zanzibar were cancelled, because the electoral commission deemed them to have been a fiasco. It claimed there was heavy double voting, party agents/ observers were kicked out of polling stations, and members of the semi-autonomous Isles’ electoral commission were pulling in different directions and frequently their differences degenerated into fist fights. In that sense, it was like the NRM primaries in Uganda. They were probably the most chaotic primaries held in East Africa, so much so that party chief President Yoweri Museveni chided members and said they had a poor democratic culture. A record number of party bigwigs were felled in the NRM primaries, as indeed were ministers and party veterans defeated in Tanzania’s parliamentary vote, so something positive happened there. But if the chaos with the biometric kits in the Kenya election of 2013, and the madness of its primaries is added in, we are really hopeless at organising elections — even at village level. It raises the issue of how a party that can’t organise an election at ward level, can run a country once it is in power. However, the deeper question is why this chaos happens. There is the racisttinged view that it represents the wider Kenya moves to c≥ipple human-≥ights lobby Co-ordination Board — which last week announced through the media that it was deregistering 957 NGOs. Not to mention ordering the Central Bank of Kenya to issue instructions to the banks of those NGOs to freeze their accounts. The reasons given? Supposedly T that, following a “forensic audit” of the 10,015 NGOs registered under the NGO Act, those 957 NGOs have failed to account for the funds they received. Alarming indeed. Until we see one of the only three organisations it chose to single out in its statement: The Kenya Human Rights Commission. Which it accuses of “operating four illegal bank accounts” and filing “false reports” and audited accounts that show a discrepancy of Ksh1.2 million. The KRHC’s response was immedi- A PUBLICATION OF THE NATION MEDIA GROUP JOE MUGANDA: Chief Executive Officer TOM MSHINDI: Editor-in-Chief PAMELLA SITTONI: Managing Editor Nation Centre, Kimathi Street, P.O. Box 49010-00100 G.P.O. Nairobi. Tel. 3288000, 2221222, 337710, Fax 214531, 213946. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org © Nation Media Group ate. It circulated a public rejoinder to the NGO Co-ordination Board noting that it had not once received any question about its audited accounts — dutifully filed annually with the NGO Coordination Board. Demanding to see the so-called forensic audit referred to, as well as the immediate retraction of the slur on its reputation. It also noted its concern that — like every- he Kenyan state is on the warpath yet again. This time using the proxy of the NonGovernmental Organisations body else — it had only seen the report of its featuring on the list of NGOs to be deregistered in the media. It had not received any communication from the NGO Board to that effect. Where does the truth lie? No doubt there are some who will be found guilty of improper accounting for and misuse or theft of grantmakers’ funds. But that sort of problem sorts itself out naturally — once a grantmaker realises that’s the case, Going by the experience of Haki Africa and Muhuri, the state is unconcerned with being proven wrong in court they simply turn off the taps. And the grantmaking world is small — word gets round and the NGO is blaclisted. Even if the grantmaker concerned doesn’t opt for criminal prosecution. Which, frankly, they should. To prevent individuals involved from being able to continue to rotate through civil society. But (for sure) the KHRC is not one of those NGOs. It is probably the bestfunded human-rights organisation around. It has had a fairly stable core group of grantmakers for many years. That could not continue to be the case were it or its staff or its directors guilty of what the NGO Co-ordination problem Africans in general have organising things. But that is nonsense, because a government that appoints an incompetent electoral commission will still put on a sleek presidential inauguration after the vote. The more respectable argument is that chaos is instrumental. It helps incumbent parties to cheat. Honest voters get put off, or scared, and when they leave their names are ticked and a ghost casts their ballots. But again, this falls short, because the best way to rig an election is with efficiency, and a veneer of legality, because the legitimacy of the outcome is less likely to be contested. We therefore need to look at the possibility that there is an almost independent patronage industry around our elections. Magufuli, for example, will reward his campaign managers and CCM functionaries who worked to deliver victory for him. But if those were the only people who “ate,” they would be too few. So there will also be those who get a seat on the table because either they prevented his votes from being stolen, or miraculously conjured up votes in opposition strongholds. Cha≥les Onyango-Obbo is edito≥ of Mail & Gua≥dian Af≥ica (mgaf≥ica.com). Twitte≥@cobbo3 The KHRC is pro the best-funded such organisatio around.” L. Muthoni Wanyeki Board is trying to make it out to be. So what could the NGO Board be trying to achieve? Frankly, it is yet another case of regulatory harassment. Plus public defamation and slander. That and the preliminary points referred to above will be easily proved when the KHRC heads to the court But, going by this year’s experience of Haki Africa and Muslims for Human Rights, the Kenyan state is unconcerned with being proven wrong in a court of law. Or even with upholding court decisions. Haki Africa and Muhuri got court orders that the Kenyan state remove them from the list of “designated entities” under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. To date, that removal has not translate into the unfreezing of their accounts. Meaning that their operations remain crippled. That is, no doubt, what the state wants for the KHRC as well. To cripple its operations, regardless of the law. L. Muthoni Wanyeki is Amnesty Inte≥national’s ≥egional di≥ecto≥ fo≥ East Af≥ica, the Ho≥n and the G≥eat Lakes. She is also a fo≥me≥ executive di≥ecto≥ and cu≥≥ent boa≥d membe≥ of the KHRC.
Oct 24th 2015
Nov 7th 2015