Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Speculating Magufuli’s absence at Uhuru Kenyatta’s Inauguration

29 November 2017
As I drove on the Thika Superhighway on the weekend before Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration on Tuesday, the road was decorated with flags of different countries. At the foot-bridge next to National Youth Service (NYS) Headquarters, the Tanzanian flag flew sublimely. Other flags including the Nairobi City Council flag decorated the Thika Superhighway that headed towards Kasarani, the venue of the inaguration. The Office of the Government Spokesman in Tanzania, had on 24 November issued a press statement saying that President John Magufuli would attend Mr. Kenyatta’s swearing in on 28 November. Days before Mr. Kenyatta’s inauguration, NASA leader Raila Odinga, a close friend to Mr. Magufuli flew to Zanzibar, where it is reported that the two met. Mr. Odinga’s trip to Zanzibar which came a few days after he jetted back to Nairobi from an overseas trip sparked debated and controversy.
President Kenyatta, President Magufuli and NASA leader Raila Odinga
On the inauguration day, Tanzania’s State-House issued a press release saying that Vice President Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan had arrived in Nairobi, where she was to represent President Magufuli. Several Kenyan media quickly labeled this as a Magufuli snob of the inauguration. Even before the official statement from the Tanzanian government, there was speculation whether Magufuli would have attended the swearing in. A few weeks back, Tanzania and Kenya had a frosty diplomatic incident. The Tanzanian government had auctioned 1,000 cows that belonged to Maasai pastoralists that had crossed into Tanzania for pasture. Veterinarians in Tanzania earlier in the month of November burned over 6,000 chicks which had been illegally imported from Kenya. Following the auctioning of the cows, President Magufuli made outrageous remarks saying “Tanzania is not a grazing land for cattle from a neighboring country.” This statement was not received well in Kenya. Tanzania-Kenya relations have in the past been frosty and these two episodes in November can explain the relations.

Tanzania politics and the 2017 Kenyan Elections
President Magufuli and Mr. Odinga are close friends since their days as ministers of public works in their respectful countries. Tanzania’s main opposition party Chadema was known to be close to Mr. Odinga’s party ODM. In the elections of 2007 and 2013, Chadema provided campaign support to Mr. Odinga and his party. Tanzania’s ruling party CCM, though not stated outright, has been friends with Kenya’s ruling parties – KANU and Mr. Kenyatta’s party Jubilee. Tanzania’s former president Jakaya Kikwete was seen as a close friend to the Kenyatta government. The defection of Edward Lowassa from CCM to Chadema in 2015 saw Chadema rescind its support for Mr. Odinga. Mr. Lowassa was a close friend to Mr. Kenyatta and Chadema’s retraction from supporting Mr. Odinga and his party ODM was no brainer. As the old saying goes “a friend of my enemy is my enemy” meant that Chadema had to shift allegiances as a party and openly declared support for Kenyatta’s reelection in 2017. CCM as a party remained silent on this. Mr. Lowassa was invited by the Jubilee Party in a number of campaigns in Maasai areas, where he campaigned for Kenyatta.

Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan with President Uhuru Kenyatta
NASA Tallying Center in Tanzania?
During the presidential TV debate, Mr. Odinga was asked to clarify the allegation that his coalition’s tallying center was in Tanzania. During this debate skipped by Mr. Kenyatta, Odinga was evasive and played down the allegation. This episode, though never clarified further pointed to the closeness between Odinga and Magufuli. It was even speculated that President Magufuli was offering some campaign logistical support to Mr. Odinga. Outspoken Kenyan MP Moses Kuria even said that Magufuli was conspiring with Raila Odinga to rig the elections.  It was evident during the campaign season in Kenya that Mr. Lowassa and Chadema were courting Mr. Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party hoping that they would reciprocate in the 2020 elections in Tanzania.

Inauguration Day
After been sworn in, Mr. Kenyatta in elaborate speech said that Kenya would treat citizens from the East African community like Kenyans and that “they will only need a national identification card to travel, work, do business, own property, farm and even marry and settle in Kenya.” As he made this pledge, the television cameras beamed at Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame. If President Magufuli had attended, then the television cameras would have focused on him. Tanzania has been accused of dragging the integration process through restrictive policies. As a Tanzanian who has grown up and lived in Kenya, this promised by Kenyatta was a welcome one. “We only hope that Tanzania would reciprocate,” one of my friends told me. The inauguration was attended by about 47 foreign delegations and heads of states. At the luncheon at State House, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the African leaders where they discussed various bilateral and multilateral issues.

President Kenyatta attended Maguguli's inauguration in 2015
Speculating Magufuli’s absence

Tundu Lissu in Hospital in Nairobi
Images of VP Samia Suluhu Hassan visiting shot opposition MP Tundu Lissu at a Nairobi hospital were released on Tuesday evening after the inaguration. She was, according to the reports conveying greetings from President Magufuli. A Financial Times newspaper report on the shooting of Tundu Lissu was also released on Tuesday. In the report, Lissu blamed president Magufuli, where he alleges that it because of his criticism of his government. Had President Magufuli attended the inauguration, it was expected that he would have visited Lissu in hospital just like the Vice President did. “Greet the president, tell him am thankful,” Lissu told Mama Samia Suluhu. With the FT report, Magufuli’s meeting with Lissu would have been extremely awkward.

VP Samia Suluhu visits MP Tundu Lissu
Lowassa as a special guest
Mr. Lowassa just like former President Kikwete were officially invited to the event. Kikwete through his official Twitter page congratulated Uhuru Kenyatta, but said he was not able to attend due to prior engagement. Having shown support to Kenyatta, Lowassa savored the occasion. He sat together with his wife Regina at the VIP dais smiling and relaxed – maybe praying that Mr. Kenyatta will in 2020 attend his inauguration!  

Magufuli had other ‘serious’ engagements
President Magufuli has recently lamented that being a president is “frustrating.” As he spoke during his abrupt visit at the port in Dar es Salaam, Magufuli decried the lack of will to fight corruption in the country. Since assuming office in 2015, Magufuli has made a handful of international travels with Ethiopia the furthest he has gone. Magufuli may just be consumed by domestic obligations which have curtailed his international travels. His party CCM had just won by a ‘landslide’ in the councilor elections. Maybe he was savoring the ‘victory’ at home. You never know!                

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Comment: The Politics of Party Defection in Tanzania

Political party defection is a sign of unstable party democracy and/or jockeying for political positions. Defections happen from ruling party to the opposition and from the opposition to the ruling party. In African fledgling democracies, party defections are not about ideology or philosophic underpinnings. Party switching in many African states is largely driven by ethno-demographic and religious factors. These factors have also informed political party formation. Party switching is also a strategic political manoeuvring. Despite Tanzania boasting of national parties, political party strength is largely regional. We're now witnessing a surge in party defections from across the parties.

The defection of former PM Edward Lowassa from CCM to Chadema in 2015 was monumental, especially it coming just before a general election. The election season several high-profile defections. Defections from a dominant ruling party like CCM to the opposition is always huge. CCM's single party dominance has continuously been challenged. There has been attempts at opposition unity and we’re now witnessing defections. CCM is also benefitting from defections from the opposition. It has become a show of who can reap more from the defections!

My analysis: This is a sign of dissatisfaction in how parties are being run in Tanzania. It is also an indication that despite CCM's dominance, there is a growing apathy within the party which is causing these defections. With the opposition losing its members through defections, it means there is something wrong in their parties. Despite CCM’ dwindling fortunes, opposition switching allegiances means that it remains a core party whose legacy resonates with the national character of Tanzania.   

Monday, 20 November 2017

Why Kisii Women Make the Best Wives [My wife's take]

My wife sent me this piece in the Standard on why Kisii women make the best wives. I responded that yes, indeed as article argues, Kisii women actually make the best wives. Here is the link to the article, which among other things argues that Kisii women are submissive, compassionate, homekeepers, motherly and self reliant. 

Kenya's Supreme Court Upholds Uhuru Kenyatta's victory

The Supreme Court of Kenya upheld Uhuru Kenyatta's controversial win after it had ordered a fresh elections in a judgement on 1 September 2017. A fresh election which was boycotted by the main opposition NASA, was conducted on 26 October. Uhuru Kenyatta won by 98.2% in an election that witnessed extreme low voter turnout. Two petitions were filed challenging his victory. The Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision concluded that the petitions challenging Mr. Kenyatta's victory lacked merit. 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Zimbabwe Army Coup?

My Facebook Post: Listening to various commentaries on BBC this morning on the situation in Zimbabwe, there is a great pointer to the fact there has been a military coup. One MDC MP even observes that the ousted VP Emerson Mnangagwa might have a hand in the coup. It is alleged Mnangagwa met the army general Chiwenga. The analysis is that the military cannot allow Grace Mugabe to succeed the husband because she didn't take part in the liberation war. Grace is the architect of the fall of Mnangwagwa. This is just a prelude to what will happen after Bob is gone. Murky! #Zimbabwe#ZANUPF

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

#KenyaElectionDiaries: One Election; Two tales

I had gone to refill my cooking gas at Githurai when the news that Uhuru Kenyatta had been announced as winner in the re-run elections broke. Jubilant tunes and dance broke. Matatus and Bodaboda hooted, men, women and children whistled in delight. The Kenyan flags where being sold at 50 bob. The jubilee flags were free! They all danced in jubilation. I met a former security guard of USIU who was rather gloomy and unperturbed by the celebration. I asked him subtly what the celebration was all about. He grinned and said "Uhuru wao ameshinda". The few people I interacted with spoke to me in Kikuyu. I smiled and told them "Tano tena" As I drove off towards the now crowded Githurai roundabout they chanted "Tanzania Tuko Pamoja" when they saw my car registration. I put on the hazard lights and hooted as I drove off! #KenyaElectionDiaries

Monday, 30 October 2017

Lazaro Nyalandu Ajiondoa CCM

Kutoka Ukurasa wa Facebook wa Lazaro Nyalandu 

NIMEAMUA kujiuzulu NAFASI yangu ya Ujumbe wa Halmashauri Kuu ya Chama Cha Mapinduzi CCM, pamoja na nafasi zote za Uongozi ndani ya Chama kuanzia leo, Oktoba 30, 2017.
HALIKADHALIKA, asubuhi ya leo nimemwandikia Spika wa Bunge, Mh. Job Ndugai, Mb., barua ya kujiuzulu nafasi yangu ya UBUNGE wa Jimbo la Singida Kaskazini kupitia tiketi ya CCM, nafasi ambayo nimeitumikia kwa vipindi vinne mfululizo tangu nilipochaguliwa kwa mara ya kwanza mnamo mwaka 2000 hadi Sasa.
AIDHA, Nimechukua UAMZI huo kutokana na kutorishwa kwangu na mwenendo wa hali ya Kisiasa nchini, ikiwa ni pamoja na ukiukwaji wa HAKI za Kibinadamu, ongezeko la vitendo vya dhuluma wanavyofanyiwa baadhi ya watanzania wenzetu, na kutokuwepo kwa mipaka ya wazi kati ya MIHIMILI ya dola (Serikali, Bunge, na Mahakama) kunakofanya utendaji kazi wa Kibunge wa Kutunga Sheria na wa Kuisimamia Serikali kutokuwa na uhuru uliainishwa na kuwekwa bayana KIKATIBA.
VILEVILE, Naamini kwamba bila Tanzania kupata Katiba Mpya Sasa, hakuna namna yeyote ya kuifanya mihimili ya dola isiingiliane na kuwepo kwa ukomo wa wazi na kujitegemea kwa dhahiri kwa mihimili ya Serikali, Bunge na mahakama ambayo ndio chimbuko la Uongozi Bora wa nchi, na kuonesha kwa uwazi kuwa madaraka yote yatokana na wananchi wenyewe, na kwamba Serikali ni ya Watu kwajili ya Watu.
MIMI Naondoka na kukiacha Chama Cha Mapinduzi CCM, nikiwa nimekitumikia kuanzia ngazi ya Uenyekiti wa UVCCM Mkoa, Ujumbe wa Kamati za Siasa Wilaya na Mkoa, Ujumbe wa Kamati ya Wabunge Wote wa CCM na Mjumbe wa Halmashauri Kuu ya CCM TAIFA, kwani nimejiridhisha kuwa kwa mwenendo wa hali ya kisiasa, kiuongozi na kiuchumi uliyopo Tanzania Sasa, CCM imepoteza mwelekeo wake wa kuisimamia Serikali kama ilivyokuwa hapo awali. AIDHA, Naamini kuwa, kama ilivyotokea kwa mihimili ya Bunge na Mahakama kutokuwa na uhuru kamili, bila kuingiliwa kiutendaji kwa namna Moja au nyigine, CCM nayo imekuwa Chini ya miguu ya dola badala ya chama kushika hatamu na kuikosoa Serikali inapobidi kama yalivyokuwa maono ya Baba wa TAIFA MWALIMU Julius Kambarage Nyerere.
HIVYOBASI, kwa dhamira yangu, na kwa uamuzi wangu mwenyewe, nikiwa na haki ya KIKATIBA, natangaza KUKIHAMA Chama Cha Mapinduzi CCM leo hii, na nitaomba IKIWAPENDEZA wanachama wa Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo CHADEMA, basi waniruhusu kuingia MALANGONI mwao, niwe mwanachama, ili kuungana na CHADEMA na watanzania wote wanaopenda kuleta mabadiliko ya kisiasa na kiuchumi nchini kwa kupitia mfumo wa ki demokrasia na uhuru wa mawazo.
VILEVILE, nimemua kujiuzulu KITI Cha Ubunge, Jimbo la Singida Kaskazini kuruhusu kufanyika kwa UCHAGUZI mwingine ili wananchi wapate fursa ya kuchagua ITIKADI wanayoona inawafaa kwa majira na nyakati hizi zenye changamoto lukuki nchini Tanzania. Ni imani yangu, kamwe hayatakuwa ya bure maneno haya, wala uamuzi huu niufanyao mbele ya Watanzania leo ili kwamba, SOTE kama TAIFA tuingie kwenye mjadala wa kuijenga upya misingi ya nchi yetu. Ni maombi yangu kwa MUNGU kuwa Haki itamalaki Tanzania. Upendo, amani na mshikamano wa watu wa imani zote za dini, mitazamo yote ya kiitikadi za Kisiasa, na makabila yote nchini uimarike. Tushindane ki sera na kuruhusu tofauti za mawazo, lakini tubaki kama ndugu, na TAIFA lililo imara na nchi yenye ADILI.
Lazaro S. Nyalandu.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Reflections from the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) Conference, Accra, Ghana [October, 2017]

Nicodemus Minde
United States International University Africa

The conference [October 12-14, 2017] was an excellent opportunity to debate the Africas standing in global politics. The conference stimulated my interest in the discussion around African studies, Africas agency in international relations and place of local agencies in conflict management and peacebuilding. The panel that I presented was titled The future of Peacebuilding: Security, governance and transitional justice in post-colonial Africa. This panel among other things debated the potency of Western-led and state-centric approaches to peacebuilding and transitional justice in Africa. In my paper presentation Peacebuilding through Transitional Justice in South Sudan: Challenges and Prospects, I critiqued the liberal peace thesis in the peacebuilding agenda in South Sudan. I also critiqued the timing of transitional justice in post-conflict South Sudan arguing that it was rushed. Building on the thematic area of our panel, I also looked at the role of the local agency in peacebuilding. The resulting discussion was on the need for a careful balance between Western approaches to peacebuilding with those that we refer as traditional.

I participated in many other panels which among other things looked at decolonizing academia, deconstructing and reimaging educational systems, democratic consolidation and discourses of development. All panels managed to stimulate debate and discussion on the place of Africa in global politics. For me the best debate came from Emeritus Professor Jacob Gordon of University of Kansas who presented on the role of ASAA in African Studies. Prof. Gordon averred that unless ASAA develops its capacity it cannot influence anything in the global arena. He challenged the role of ASAA and prescribed ways it can be able to resuscitate African intellectualism.