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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Where will electoral corruption lead the nation to?

14th October 2012

One may as well begin by congratulating the old grand “revolutionary” party of Tanzania that is CCM, for conducting its intraparty elections, in line with its constitutional requirements.

The event has obviously dominated newspaper headlines for weeks now, and the impact of its outcome is likely to have long term implications.

Anxiety was felt across the nation during the entire CCM electoral exercise.

This is expected, considering the fact that any developments within this well established ruling party are likely to affect the politics of the country, in one way or another.

In the past few months top party functionaries categorically stated that this year’s internal elections would be instrumental in forming machinery for ensuring victory in the 2015 general elections. Tanzanians have been anxious to see the envisaged dream team.

Before coming to the major theme at stake in this write-up, let us make it clear that we are congratulating CCM for holding internal elections not because of party partisanship, but on the grounds that at least on the aspect of party internal democracy, the ruling party continues to be exemplary.

Whoever follows the modus operandi of multi-party politics in Tanzania might have noted by now that many parties have been hesitating to call intraparty elections due to a number of reasons and excuses.

Some lessons have, indeed, been learned from the ruling party‘s elections. We have witnessed theatrics and propaganda which do not deserve comments, and serious happenings worth writing home about.

For example, there is this anticipated move by the party to use the occasion and purge from its leadership ranks leaders tainted with corruption.

Did this happen?  Your guess to  the answer of this question is as good as mine, but there are many observers out there who contend that this is another lost opportunity as far as taking decisive steps to restore the party’s good public image is concerned.

To inject the party leadership with youth blood was also among the objectives to be fulfilled when conducting elections this time around.

Some upsets were noted as the results came out; where several party titans were felled by upstarts in manner reminiscent of the biblical David versus Goliath duel.

It is understood that the number of young men and women in the party leadership ranks increased too. However, in a situation where money possession or lack of it determines winners and losers, we have clearly seen that many financially well off old politicians have survived the youth onslaught.

As for the youth who made it to the National Executive Committee of the party and other positions, observers classify them into two categories.

There are those who have benefitted from the wind of change, which favour giving the young generation leadership opportunities today as opposed to clinging to the slogan “of the youths are leaders of tomorrow.

Category number two consists of those who have been sponsored by the old guard which happen to have its own hidden political agenda.

Analysts argue that young leaders in the second category will be a liability rather than an asset to the country in future.

 A worrisome observation made during CCM elections is electoral bribery which, unfortunately, seems to be on the rise, much as we claim to hate and fight it.

Former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye was not joking when he called a press conference a week ago and stated categorically that there was a sophisticated bribe dishing network during the past event, and warned that this cancer will ruin the nation, unless serious measures are taken to fight it.

Unfortunately, some politicians shamelessly rubbished Sumaye’s concerns on the claim that it was a crying voice of a loser at the polls. Some short sighted politicians who find solace in playing ostrich to problems even challenged him to produce a list of suspected culprits of electoral corruption.

The former Premier is not the sole voice concerned about electoral corruption in the land.

In fact what has happened in CCM elections is an indication that the situation will be worse, come the 2015 polls, as some of the players who have won through the vice will be engaged in a real battle with contestants from opposition parties. Electoral corruption does not augur well for the future. We need collective action to tame this devil.  
Henry Muhanika is a media consultant. [email protected]

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