By Elias Mhegera – Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete who is also the chairman of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has fuelled a nationwide debate.
This is after directing harsh words against the current main opposition party, Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA).
During the monthly speech late last month, Kikwete had warned of the impending danger if Chadema was to continue with their rallies which he claimed are characterized by derogatory speeches.
Other things which the president mentioned in his speech are to do with the Gongo la Mboto bombs, food situation in Tanzania, sugar prices, energy problems and the Chadema issue which has fuelled serious debates.
Chadema launched a series of rallies known as “Operation Sangara” which is after the Nile Perch a big fish known well for swallowing the small fishes in Lake Victoria.
Asked to comment on the speech, the CCM chief propagandist, Tambwe Hiza supported his party boss by saying that the opposition party has gone astray because it is conducting rallies in the manners that it did during the campaigns last year.
“The president is right, how can you allow such harsh speeches against the legally elected head of state? Chadema should respect President
Kikwete since currently he is above party politics after having won for the second term for the State House,” said Hiza.
He added that what Dr Slaa, Chadema’s secretary general and last year’s one of the presidential aspirant and his colleagues are doing is insubordination and a calculated move to frustrate the president who has many other obligations to deal with.
Asked which kind of language he was using when he was the publicity secretary for the Civic United Front (CUF) Hiza said, amid a big laughter, that he should not be reminded of what he did when he was in the opposition, instead he would prefer to be asked things that are related to his current position in the CCM.
But this stance was disputed by Peter Kuga Mziray the chairman of the APPT – Maendeleo, who also had contested for the presidency last year, who said that he was not envious of what Chadema is doing, he says if he
had money he would have conducted rallies all over the country to explain the weaknesses of the Kikwete’s administration.
He claimed that Kikwete has been shocked by events in North Africa and part of Middle East where leaders have been removed from power by popular movements. “It is this ghost of revolutions which is troubling the president,” said Mziray.
Mziray said the political culture in Tanzania is changing very fast since now the well to do people are in full support of Chadema, a culture that was not there, the CCM was accustomed to weak and disgruntled people in the opposition.
“Chadema are politicians just like the CCM party did the president expect them to stay idle waiting for the coming General Election in 2015?,” asked Mziray in astonishment.
Prof Mwesiga Baregu a prominent political scientist says Kikwete has never been the same since when the Chadema influenced substantive votes during the General Election, last year; he is worried the wave of revolutions, in Arab countries can reach Tanzania.
He therefore supported Chadema in the guise of freedom of speech, being a democratic and fundamental right of the people. Baregu said Kikwete should make considerable consultation with his party’s think tank before delivering a public speech.
Dr Sengondo Mvungi from the University of Bagamoyo was surprised to see that Kikwete failed to come up with strong issues that would have strengthened his speech, and give hope to the desperate citizenry.
The prominent lawyer said in the recent times it was not proper to think of controlling the opposition parties though intimidations and threats. “What the president did was total intimidation,” said Mvungi.
Instead, said Mvungi, Kikwete must fulfill his promises and the opposition parties including Chadema will miss strong points to attract attention in their rallies.
“People need a strong voice that will address serious issues like power rationing, disputed payments for a ghost power company Dowans, food shortage but in a more appropriate, not in the way he did last week.