Political parties should focus on policies for change instead of demos

25Sep 2016
Guardian On Sunday
Political parties should focus on policies for change instead of demos

A SIGH of relief has been greeted lately by political activists in different quarters after the police force announced that internal meetings of political parties will be conducted without its permit, but rallies and demonstrations are still proscribed.

There was one reaction that was somewhat predictable that the police don’t have to have that prerogative in the first place. Evidently what the opposition want most are rallies and demonstrations, as they give effect to their positions, making an impact to their followers.

It is thus evident that the relaxation won’t facilitate a particularly changed climate. Generally speaking, this relaxation of political activities will be of significance to parties or kindred organizations which are interested or have an inclination to exercise a minimum of doubt in what they are doing.

When there is an element of doubt, introspection and circumspection also come up, where one isn’t too sure from the start as to the sanctity of what that organization is up to, until its purposes or objectives are evaluated and re-examined.

Owing to the vast change that has taken place at the level of governance, it’s time for parties to also take stock of reality.

The point is that political parties have set their sights on the previous electoral exercise and to that extent, even the next, on the basis of a permanent platform of removing the ruling party from power, or simply maintaining it in office.

Most other issues were being left to chance, or to consultations that were not of a public character and not even transparent. Where it was unclear as to what was the candidate’s attitude to this or that issue in particular, the people were voting candidates to office as if they were betting.

Now that matters are on the table, parties have to reflect. There is for instance a really serious plan about industrialization and no one recalls when Ukawa or Ukuta held a wide-ranging platform or conference to discuss these issues in detail and come up with well thought out recommendations.

The main input with those recommendations would first be to spread them among their own followers and seek that they pursued similar discussions at grassroots level to see what could be done in each sector, and even about each sub-sector like a crop.

There are such issues like exporting, processing and expanding the local market which need to be set out and clarified to have a healthy political debate.

What the work plan by President Dr John Magufuli envisages is that each one of us ought to take things in tandem to say what rectification, contributions and improvements can be made, instead of picking up side issues and call rallies and demonstrations.

Disruptive interventions raise electoral moods and civic feuds of an unnecessary character, where political capacity is put to the service of sabotaging development effort, instead of boosting it up.

Some will say these are arguments of followers of a one-party state but it is sadly true that multiparty structures are not always stable or helpful as they allow demagogues to whip up irrelevant frenzies as opposed to sober analysis.

In the leading opposition party, CHADEMA, central committee member Edward Lowassa has had occasion to underline that he agrees with President Magufuli on whole range of issues in his policy action, insisting though that CHADEMA would have done better.

Most of us would have a few misgivings on the latter part of that assertion, and it would really help if CHADEMA organized internal meetings, took a deep dissection of the president’s policies, show their application and drawbacks in each constituency, and then build a case for political action. It would quickly appear there is more need for law reform than for demonstrations.

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