CCM and the opposition: Tanzania general election

Tanzanian politics is led by several political parties from both the ruling party and the opposition side. The ruling party is Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which has been in power for about five decades and hopes to win in the coming general election in 2020.

However, international human watchdogs, including media institutions such as Aljazeera, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, report that there is infringement of human rights in every aspect of Tanzanian society.

According to Aljazeera, these include the infringement of political rights and freedom of expression through draconian media laws.

During this election year, many political events and movements can be witnessed in struggle and competition, with each party thirsty to take up the leadership of the country. Their ambition exists regardless of what exactly any of them will do for the country. 

However, the struggle and preparation towards the general election differ from party to party, and they attract media reportage from inside and outside the country based on the magnitude of the events, the people involved, and the places of occurrence and media affiliation.

In 2019 to 2020 Aljazeera reported that rights groups interviewed dozens of government officials, lawyers and NGO representatives, as well as academics, journalists, diplomats and religious leaders. 

Many of them said that since 2015, the government has stepped up censorship by banning or suspending five newspapers for content deemed critical of the government. Among them was Tanzania’s major English-language paper, The Citizen.

The rights groups found that one way in which speech has been stifled is through amendments to legislation. The Political Parties Act, for example, was amended in January 2019 to give the Registrar of Political Parties sweeping powers to de-register parties, to demand information from political parties, and to suspend party members.

The reality is with Tanzanians, who have the power to choose the government by exercising their political rights during the elections. Whether by elections or general elections, this determines who is to lead the country.

According to the National Electoral Commission of Tanzania, in 2019 Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party scored landslide victories in almost all of the more than 330,000 local leadership positions at the grassroots of government in villages, cities and towns across Tanzania in 2019.

This is evidence that most Tanzanians believe in Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), rather than in the opposition parties that have lost their credibility with the majority.

According to local media reportage, the opposition side has been weak to the extent that it is not capable of competing with the ruling party CCM. There is tangible evidence of what the CCM government has implemented — something that is different from the opposition side, which relies on mudslinging politics.

Some events of most political leaders from the opposition parties have shifted to Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which raises questions as to how opposition parties will survive in the years to come.

It also reflects the kind of people that are in both the ruling and opposition parties — whether they really have passion for serving the people, or whether they are pursuing their own self interest. 

I am of the opinion that good leaders are those who are able to solve existing challenges in the nation with the use of both human capital and the natural resources we have, so that the country can develop from where we were to the next level.

For the time being, the ruling party CCM has more chance to win the 2020 general election. This is due both to its long history in leadership, and its vivid development plans, strategies and projects that can speak to the people. This is contrary to the opposition side, which is more words.

CCM has been successful in implementing various development projects, such as construction of infrastructure in health, education, transportation and public policy with respect to minerals and natural resources. These have a positive impact and multiplier effects for Tanzanians.

Again, this has led public discussion as to whether there is a need for a multiparty system, which is now a public policy issue. While there may be a number of important reasons for a multiparty system, the question for discussion is what kind of political parties?

The important thing to keep in mind is that the real political parties cannot be identified or measured through political campaigns. It is rather their implementation of things that can bring about social, political and economic change toward sustainable development.

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