…A matter of principle? Or political naivity?

24Mar 2017
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
…A matter of principle? Or political naivity?

SOMEWHAT ironically, Nape Nnauye’s removal from his position as information minister yesterday may have inadvertently boosted his own political fortunes,

After his stance on the Clouds Media Group (CMG) invasion incident earned him much admiration among political analysts, observers, social media users, and members of the general public.

‘A true patriot…’ is just one of the choicy adjectives used to describe the young Mtama member of parliament whose open condemnation of last week’s CMG television station invasion involving Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda appears to have been a major reason leading to his ouster by President John Magufuli.

The fact that he appointed a committee to investigate the incident and allowed it to present its report in public may have been the final nail in Nnauye’s coffin in the eyes of many – at least for the time being. But for many others, it only gave him more credit as a political leader with strong principles.

Among commentators that The Guardian talked to was Prof Kitila Mkumbo from the University of Dar es Salaam, who suggested that Nnauye and the president may have had differences in how to deal with the probe team report on RC Makonda’s TV station raid in the company of armed security officers.

According to Prof Mkumbo, there are crucial concerns among wananchi over the whole matter. “Tanzanians should understand that our president does not like criticism …Nnauye’s decision to form a committee of inquiry against the RC was seen as insubordination to the president since both the minister and the RC are presidential appointees,” he said.

Another UDSM lecturer, Dr Benson Bana, also opined that President Magufuli was annoyed by Nnauye’s decision to form a committee to investigate the TV station raid.

But according to Bana, Nnauye did no wrong in visiting the CMG premises to express his sympathies and wanting to be seen to be supporting the media as a whole against such threats to their independence.

Former member of parliament for Kigoma South (NCCR-Mageuzi) David Kafulila tweeted: “Congratulations my friend Nape. You are a winner. The president was frightened because he does not believe in the rule of law”.

Party leader of the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT-Wazalendo), Zitto Kabwe, posted a comment via social media describing Nape as “a hero of the current generation.”

Nzega Urban legislator (CCM) Hussein Bashe said: “You will never walk alone, I know, we know you, justice will prevail no matter how long will take… let’s work for our nation and the people. It is just a beginning of a new journey.”

But there were some critical comments too. According to veteran journalist Lawrence Kilimwiko: “Nape should have known beforehand that the government cannot contradict itself. Both he and the Dar es Salaam RC are presidential appointees. One presidential appointee can’t humiliate another with such impunity.”

“Equally significant, the electronic media is under the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport and that is where all radio and TV stations are registered and regulated through the Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority (TCRA) - and not MAELEZO where newspapers are registered or deregistered.”

“The responsible minister here was Prof Makame Mbarawa and not Nnauye. Likewise, it seems both Nnauye and his committee were one-sided for you cannot judge someone prima facie”.

Kilimwiko continued: “Nnauye appears still a novice in the workings of governments. Kingunge Ngombare Mwiru was fired by Mwalimu Nyerere as Singida regional commissioner when he opposed a motion in parliament. Even Augustine Mrema was fired by former president Ali Hassan Mwinyi when he opposed a government stance.”

“You need also to know that under the current constitution the presidency is a very powerful institution. He can create or abolish any post or position without asking anybody or being questioned by anybody. He can appoint anybody without being asked criteria used by anybody under the sun.”

“Finally, Nnauye should have known that the Dar es Salaam RC is at war against cocaine warlords and has at his disposal all arsenals he needs to use rightly or wrongly. That is why he has both uniformed and plain clothed body guards.”

Former Tanzania Teachers Union (TTU) president Gratian Mukoba said: “We expected this to happen. Nnauye was working with a government system that he did not understand …the current system is different from the previous government.”

Dr Bashiru Ally from UDSM said both the system and government structure give the president constitutional powers to appoint and dismiss any civil servant, although the issue which led to the latest cabinet reshuffle seems to be complicated.

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