Opposition has really hard time mapping out inclusive economy

07Aug 2020
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Opposition has really hard time mapping out inclusive economy

TANZANIA’S opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency – ACT-Wazalendo, for short – is a newcomer to general elections. But shrewd as it shows it is, it is already promising to surprise older parties in the coming polls.

It is the youngest political party in the country, but it isn’t growing as a nascent political group the way moat other parties started in the past.

It is essentially a regrouping of cadres from established parties, opposition in particular, and therefore many people know what to expect from them. It is thus not entirely far-fetched for the party to declare that it will give older outfits a run for their money in the polls.

What that formulation means in usual terms is that the party will put up a stiff challenge in most areas in the elections, and it definitely stands to benefit from concussions in major opposition parties like the Civic United Front (CUF) and Chadema, many of whose cadres have since decamped.

It has also benefited from the usual election tremors in CCM, though there isn’t anything like the 1995 or 2015 ‘earthquakes’, despite fetching at least one leading cadre from the ruling party. This enhances its credibility, largely so.

ACT-Wazalendo is especially interesting in that it has presented fairly comprehensive starting bloc talking points as to what it wishes to tell the voters and the public generally, and definitely it has a number of sound points.

It unfolded a platform where the key campaign areas include creating a stable and inclusive economy, investing in women empowerment, improved social services as well as valuing and improving the private sector.

All these are areas that current authorities have worked to develop and expand, but it is evident that more can be done, by CCM or the opposition.

There are more precise issues where the capacity of the party or any other to realize those objectives are either limited or substantial depending on how the promises are factored, the costing that can be imputed to those objectives.

ACT-Wazalendo says that it will make sure every Tanzanian has health insurance, that a government it forms would pay pensions to every Tanzanian when becoming old, that is, above the formal employment eligibility age limit.

That is part of modernisation, but it has essential prerequisites which impact on the character of ownership of the means of production.

There are areas like restoring the dignity and respect for every Tanzanian, especially women and children, against stigma and harassment.

Definitely that is a laudable platform. It must be acknowledged, though, that the ruling party has made such efforts in successive governments but most of those drawbacks are sourced in culture.

This also has to do with social positions which in turn are related to how land is owned and used, the gender and age-set roles therein, etc. Activists call it a patriarchal economy, and it is prevailing.

Perhaps the party’s Leader, Zitto Kabwe, kicked up more dust when he said that they are working to ensure that they create a government that respects the rule of law, dignity, freedom and well-being of the people.

He underscored the importance of having a fair system of justice, true democracy, freedom as well as inclusive, strong and prosperous economy. That is crucial, though it is often much easier to say it than to actually ensure it, but we wish the party well.

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