By Evans Rubara
After the tightly contested elections in Tanzania, there must be different thoughts running through the minds of the people of Tanzania. Besides, citizens of other African countries must be left wondering, ‘is there democracy in Tanzania?’
The general political climate in Tanzania during the electoral process, when the results started flowing in and even now, days after the electoral process ‘concluded’, suggests a strong sense that a political bloodbath is slowly knocking at the doors in Tanzania. Even though it could be said that the electoral process has actually concluded, it should, however, be remembered that only Tanzania mainland’s electoral process has ended. Zanzibar’s electoral process is not yet concluded. This is due to conflicting results, which led to the electoral process being annulled. ‘How has Tanzania reached here?’ perhaps you are asking…
In 2005 around this time, Jakaya Kikwete, the outgoing president of the United Republic of Tanzania, won popular votes to become the fourth president of Tanzania from the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). His rise to the presidency saw involvement from Tanzanians from all walks of life and economic tiers. The shared hope of the people of Tanzania at the time was that Jakaya Kikwete was going to change social and economic policies for improved livelihoods of the citizenry. Every Tanzanian, even the opposition parties, knew that Kikwete was going to win the presidential race .Finally, the people of Tanzania installed in the presidency, through the balloting box, the person many believed, ‘learned politics at the feet of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere’. The people of Tanzania, including myself, had high hopes that finally, social and economic wounds inflicted on the people of Tanzania would be no more.
Generally, Kikwete wears a pretty and jovial face. Traveling from one end of Tanzania to another after the 2005 elections, the name Jakaya Kikwete was the ‘buzzword’. Just like God peddled the righteousness of Job to Satan, so Tanzanians peddled the attributes of Jakaya Kikwete. ‘Have you considered our new President Jakaya Kikwete, that there’s none like him in Afrika, a man with a pretty face, a beautiful smile, one who shuns corruption and delights in the promotion of democracy and equity?’ This great hope was not only shared among the people of Tanzania but across the region.
At a personal level, and in my many travels in Afrika, Europe and the Americas, people approached me and talked fondly about Jakaya Kikwete. I remember vividly at one point, in Lusaka, Zambia, a woman approached me after a seminar and told me, “You guys have a handsome president”. At another point, after making a presentation to a sizeable group at a Church in Washington Indiana, Davies County – USA, a few politically critical fellows followed me after the event and said, “I hope your president will warm up to social and economic transformation as his personality”.