Tanzania: President Kikwete holds seminar to revitalise party

By Elias Mhegera – THERE are indications that leaders in Tanzania are now losing the speed that the incumbent president Jakaya Kikwete had earlier promised due to lack of preparation in the top managerial capacity.

In 2006 President Kikwete met with cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries and their deputies to chart out what they should do in order to support him in his first five years, but the drastic fall from the over 80 percent of the cast votes in 2005, to 61 percent of the presidential votes during the last year’s General Election sent a strong message that things did not augur well as he had anticipated in the first five years of his tenure.

In order to revitalize his party and the trust of the people to his Government he has introduced a serious of measures which involved a cleansing campaign in the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), where the entire secretariat had to resign. This then was followed by a seminar to formulate new strategies.

Mr Francis Kiwanga

Mr Francis Kiwanga

Commenting on the possibility if the recent seminar that was conducted by the president in the central town of Dodoma would yield any positive results, the director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre, Francis Kiwanga said some leaders lack the basic skills in management which are important because the Government is currently conducting its affairs like a business and not a service per se.

He therefore counseled that management should be made a compulsory subject in all spheres in order to prepare future leaders well in advance. Kiwanga said the seminars were good in capacity building and reviewing the performance of the Government in various capacities.

When he was consulted by Shout Africa.Com for comments the ruling CCM deputy secretary general Capt (rtd) John Chiligati said the issue in debate needs a long discussion and he could not comment because he was attending a party meeting.

Prof Mwesiga Baregu

Prof Mwesiga Baregu

But Prof Mwesiga Baregu a veteran political scientist and lecturer at the St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), said that seminars only will not revitalize the Government’s performance due to a number of factors. “I do not think we should expect fundamental changes if at all there is no clear direction in policy issues, lack of focus and for the fact that some appointees of the president lack the necessary merits after being handpicked without a rigourous scrutiny,” said Baregu.

He traces the weakness as having started since 1985 when the founding father of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius who had set forth ethical codes under the Arusha Declaration.

Baregu says that after having failed to identify an ideology that will make Tanzanians work unitedly various groups started to deviate from the main political track. In the process egoistic interests have fostered and the public interests have been neglected.

As a long term effect says Baregu, the appointment of some top Governemnt officials is lacking rigourous scrutiny but they have been appointed simply because they have been firmly attached to those in power for their selfish interests rather than those of the citizenry at large.

Recently during the directive seminar – the second of its kind – President Kikwete decried negative trends in which some leaders have failed to observe ethics to the extent of misbehaving in public spaces.

Dr Sengondo Mvungi

Dr Sengondo Mvungi

Dr Sengondo Mvungi a lawyer and lecturer of the newly established University of Bagamoyo says that the president has been overburdened by heavy tasks due to the fact that there are senior officials who have fought the hard way to the top not because they aim to serve but for self enrichment.

Tanzania's Premier Mizengo Pinda

Tanzania's Premier Mizengo Pinda

This then would have needed a strong prime minister who could work as a serious head prefect in order to remove from the list those who have failed to deliver. He sees the appointment of the current Premier Peter Pinda as a measure to calm down groups that were emerging very fast in the ruling party much to the detriment of the smooth running of the Government affairs.

He is surprised that the clandestine race for the State House for the 2015 has paralyzed the functioning of the incumbent Government much to the detriment of the unity within the ruling party and the collective responsibility in the Government itself.

Dr Mvungi says the recent cleansing campaign which removed the entire CCM secretariat is not necessarily a panacea to curb power mongers who have weakened the Government’s performance, he condemn the use of big amounts of money in power acquisition as the real current problem in Tanzania.

Dr Haji Semboja a senior economist and lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam say the seminars are expensive and they just consume coffers money while delivery is not guaranteed.

While he supports the idea of having such seminars but he thinks they are not enough because previously there were colleges like the Kivukoni Ideological College currently Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Memorial Academy and the Mrutunguru Ideological College that were established to groom leaders.

He sees lack of such institutions as a handicap in preparing future leaders who are well versed with the skills of running their country

A top official with the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) who spoke on preference of anonymity says there are serious contradictions within the ruling party between returning the party to ethical standards and maintaining party solidarity.

He says a good number of senior politicians both within and outside the Government have had enriched themselves some with lucrative businesses home and abroad, big business networks abroad and offshore accounts they are seen as a threat to the party if they were to be sidelined.

This is happening while the ruling party itself is grappling with how it can return trust of its members particularly the disgruntled youths whom many have chosen to join the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), and other parties which have appeared to sympathize with their ordeal.