Tolerance, independent minds are great pillars of democracy

23Apr 2016
The Guardian
Tolerance, independent minds are great pillars of democracy

BUILDING democracy is a slow process that requires tolerance among people, especially of different political orientations.

There are nations which are more than 200 years ‘old’ since their establishment, yet the process leading to a strong and appreciable democracy has not been completed.

Tanzania, as an independent nation, is hardly 55 years old and resumed a multiparty system of election of its leaders in 1992.

The choice of multiparty system as the path to democracy is characterized by multi-faceted benefits. First, it promotes the freedom of speech for anyone affiliated to any political party to speak their own mind without infringement of other people’s rights or contravening the laws of the land.

Bunge is the nucleus of democracy. A general treatment of another person’s views in parliament is a perfect reflection of the extent of acceptability and tolerance for each other.

For the first time in the country’s history the opposition has registered an appreciable number of legislators. The credit goes to the voters. Again, the ruling party has for the first time proved in action the resolve to reduce dependence on donor support.

Over and over again, President John Magufuli has insisted on the need to strengthen revenue collection for the country to finance development projects on its own instead of waiting for support from outside.

Since inauguration of the fifth phase government, the nation has witnessed revelations of absurd performance of some of the entrusted public officials.

Among issues that in the past sparked controversy in parliament were questionable business contracts entered that subjected the nation to huge financial losses.

Such issues of national interest are sure to come up in the ongoing Bunge session. It should be understood that such concerns are not meant to victimize anyone, but rather to get things done in the interest of the nation.

There are instances when our legislators deserve a pat on the back when they decide to put aside ideological differences and stand together to get things done.

We believe that this kind of solidarity will prevail in the ongoing sitting of the National Assembly as a sign of love for the country and of their democratic maturity.

Obviously, the content of the budget speech, the first under the new administration, will have some issues that might require clarification.

We expect our representatives in the House will focus on issues for serious redress free from ideological leanings.

For example, we expect to hear constructive proposals on an effective mode of revenue collection and proper spending. Our president has shown an example in prudent expenditure of public funds and given priority to public demands.

It will be absolutely wrong to discard suggestions of a legislator simply because they come from a different political party. That attitude undermines collective efforts in building democracy.

Critical assessment of issues brought up for discussion is the yardstick for an independent mind not overloaded with ideological affection.

We wish the parliamentary budget session all the best, looking forward to their attaining patriotic-guided expenditure allocations for various development projects.

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