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The East African : Nov 7th 2015
14 The EastAfrican NEWS NOVEMBER 7-13,2015 He≥culean task fo≥ Tanzania P≥esident Magufuli, at home and in the ≥egion Republic of Tanzania, has his work cut out. Almost immediately, he has to deal with thorny problems — in the country and around the region — bequeathed to him by his immediate predecessor, Jakaya Kikwete. J The most obvious issue at the top of his “To Do” list is the political impasse that has gripped Zanzibar since the electoral commission on the islands (Zanzibar Electoral Commission, ZEC), annulled the polls in that part of the Union, leaving Zanzibar with neither a president nor a House of Representatives. The contestants in Zanzibar’s presidential polls were the incumbent, Ali Mohammed Shein, of Chama cha Mapinduzi, and veteran opposition figure Seif Shariff Hamad of the Civic United Front (CUF). Since the first multiparty general elections in 1995, Hamad and CUF have claimed polls were rigged. This time round, Hamad an- nounced his own tally of the results and declared himself the winner. Immediately, ZEC chairman Jecha Salim Jecha unilaterally annulled the poll for being “not free and fair.” Jecha alleged numerous violations of polling regulations, mostly in Hamad’s stronghold of Pemba. The National Electoral Com- mission (NEC) nonetheless went ahead to announce the Union’s presidential and parliamentary results, which included Zanzibar’s votes. Pro-opposition legal experts have asked whether a flawed process in Zanzibar could produce valid and credible results for Union positions. The Zanzibar stalemate is likely to preoccupy Magufuli because the archipelago has been a source of political tensions, which have often resulted in violent clashes. In January 2001, following an- other disputed election, scores of people were killed in clashes with the police. CUF claims the death toll was higher than 50 but former president Benjamin Mkapa said on BBC Hard Talk that “only 17 died” while his own appointed commission into the ohn Pombe Magufuli, who was inaugurated last Thursday as the fifth President of the United position secretly. In the presence of Kikwete, Magufuli castigated those elements, stressing his intention to weed them out. Since he is not yet the party chairman, Magufuli has no powers to take such action. But he knows he will eventually succeed Kikwete as party leader, and that is when he may have the chance to flex his muscles. For the time being, he has to persuade his predecessor to get rid of the “hypocrites,” though on the evidence available it is unlikely that Kikwete will be doing any housekeeping anytime soon. In the region, Magufuli will be confronted with challenges that require diplomatic finesse, which he lacks personally but can easily employ. Within the East African Community, he will need to launch a fence-mending exercise with the other partners, who have been at variance with Kikwete’s unfocused diplomacy. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda Newly elected Tanzanian President John Magufuli speaks at his swearing-in ceremony in Dar es Salaam on November 5. Pic: File ANALYSIS JENERALI ULIMWENGU “A foreign minister with savvy, tact and ‘savoir-faire’ will stand him in good stead with neighbours and beyond.” episode claimed 34 people were killed. It is this history of violence, coupled with the apparently dysfunctional stance taken by ZEC and the absence of resoluteness displayed by Kikwete in dealing with the crisis, that cast a dark shadow over Zanzibar and the political stability as well as the international credibility of the Union. Several foreign embassies have called for greater transparency in resolving the crisis. Some lawyers have quesioned the legality of Shein continuing as president of Zanzibar beyond last Monday, when his term was due to end. As the Zanzibar crisis contin- ues to simmer, there are more problems that Magufuli will have to juggle. The manner in which the elections were organised and the popular response to the results have once again put into sharp relief the debate on a new constitution. The opposition Chadema and its allies in the Ukawa coalition ran their campaign on that platform, promising a new constitution based on the popular views as processed by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) chaired by Justice Joseph Warioba. The Warioba draft was thwarted by the Constituent Assembly, under Samuel Sitta. The CA draft did not go far itself as Kikwete stalled plans for a referendum. As a result, the country went to the polls under the 1977 Constitution. Under that dispensation, the NEC is selected solely by the president, who also is the chairman of the ruling party, while the NEC’s declaration of the winner is final. These are the constitutional provisions that the opposition is strongly opposed to, saying they favour the ruling party and therefore do not provide a level playing field. After last month’s elections, Chadema presidential candidate Edward Lowassa declared that he had won the race, citing figures he claimed were collated from a tallying mechanism by Chadema and Ukawa. The opposition leadership wanted to call a mass protest against the results last Monday but the police denied them a permit. Dar es Salaam police commander Suleiman Kova said police had witnessed some opposition leaders travelling abroad while they had called on their supporters to demonstrate, saying that was unacceptable. It is not clear whether Magu- fuli will revive the constitutionwriting process and if, should he do so, he will favour the Warioba draft from the CRC or the Sitta draft from the CA. Still on the home front, Magu- fuli will have to devise a strategy to deliver on his promises to wananchi — especially on economic issues, dealing with extreme poverty, unemployment among the youth and the weakening shilling. Everywhere he went, he told his audience that his government would spearhead industrialisation to create jobs for the youth and reduce poverty. He will also have to deal with the escalating national debt, which rose threefold during Kikwete’s rule. The Tanzanian shilling has also experienced a drastic fall in recent months to above Tsh2,200 to the dollar, from Tsh1,300 a year ago. Within his own ruling party, CCM, Magufuli has been outspoken about “hypocrites within,” meaning those who professed their loyalty to the party in public but were working with the op- have sought to champion the socalled Coalition of the Willing (CoW), effectively isolating Tanzania, which they denounced as too slow and indecisive. Relations have been particularly frosty with Rwanda, whose leader Paul Kagame poured scorn on Kikwete’s public call for Kigali to find accommodation with the Interahamwe rebels implicated in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The political instability in neighbouring Burundi, with increasing violence and a mounting death toll, is another hard nut to crack. Tanzania is a regular recipient of Burundian refugees since the 1960s and their numbers have once again begun to swell, and anyone at the helm in Dar cannot ignore the deteriorating situation there. Greater sophistication in the incoming minister for foreign affairs will help Magufuli re-establish trust and push the agenda of regional integration more resolutely, even take the leadership role that has over the past few years gravitated towards Kampala, Kigali and Nairobi. He will also have to reassure President Uhuru Kenyatta that his well-known personal friendship with opposition kingpin Raila Odinga will in no way interfere in the proper diplomatic exchange between Kenya and Tanzania. It is for these reasons that the choice of a foreign minister with savvy, tact and savoir-faire will stand him in good stead with his neighbours and beyond.
Oct 31st 2015
Nov 14th 2015