Sunday, 2 October 2016


Listening to some old Lingala music
Tshala Muana sings Kokola
Reminiscing the past – I just can’t explain this feeling
As I drove back – my thoughts are far in wonderland
I recollect the past moments of joy and smile 
But am here healthy and sound
My son brings me great joy
I see him thrice a week 
I always sing him a song every morning 
“What a beautiful morning” he smiles and giggles
But I have to do this for him
When you are four son – papa will be a doctor of philosophy
I know you’ll wear my cap and ask why it’s not like the rest’s
It will be a happy time for us all
You’ll have started school and maybe have a sister
I think of all this with a hopeful heart

Friday, 19 August 2016

A Tribute to Maalim Aboud Jumbe Mwinyi: A life of Courage and Principle

By Nicodemus Minde
“…[Ndugu Chairman] allow me to relinquish all the responsibilities you have given me. I say this with a clear conscience, without arrogance or humiliation or anger or joy.” These were Aboud Jumbe’s concluding remarks after a three hour-long speech to CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in 1984. Aboud Jumbe served as Zanzibar’s second President after the assassination of Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume in 1972. He also served as Tanzania’s Vice-President under President Julius Nyerere during the time when the Zanzibar’s president by his virtue assumed the number two position in the United Republic of Tanzania. This speech was his last as President of Zanzibar, VP of Tanzania and also the Vice-Chairman of his party CCM.
It was the culmination of what the renowned Tanzanian historian Issa Shivji terms as ‘Jumbe’s trial’. Jumbe was being ‘tried’ for his strong position in support for a three-government Union format. Tanzania and indeed the ruling party CCM faced a difficult period between 1983 and 1984 over the composition and structure of the political union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Termed as the ‘Crisis of the Union’, this period was characterized by strong debates on the Union – with factions within Zanzibar questioning the position of Zanzibar within the Union. Although Issa Shivji pits the struggle as a battle between factions within Zanzibar, there were fuming anecdotes over the Union, which took the form of power struggles in the isles. Central in all this was Aboud Jumbe who had until then taken an aloof position on the matter.    
Aboud Jumbe Mwinyi_Jussa
Aboud Jumbe (1920-2016)
Aboud Jumbe died on 14 August 2016 at his home in Mji Mwema, Kigamboni Dar es Salaam. He was 96. He was educated in Makerere University and was an experienced teacher teaching in several schools in Zanzibar before venturing into politics. He was instrumental in the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution and served in the first Revolutionary Council under Sheikh Abeid Karume. According to Zanzibar lawyer Awadh Said, people should not forget Jumbe’s colored history as a teacher just like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
Jumbe nyerere
Light moment: Aboud Jumbe, centre shares a hearty moment with Julius Nyerere (on his left) Mozambique statesman Samora Machel (far left). Far right is Salim Ahmed Salim
Jumbe rise to the presidency was completely off script just like that of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Mubarak. A career soldier, with little political ambition Mubarak succeeded Anwar Al Sadat who was assassinated in 1981. When Karume was assassinated in 1972 Jumbe was quickly confirmed as Chairman of the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) and Nyerere selected him as his First Vice President.
Jumbe and Reforms
One of his biggest legacies was the position he took regarding the structure of the Union. Having consolidated his power after taking over as president Jumbe was quick to bring reforms. He was instrumental in restructuring the ASP and according to lawyer Awadh Said Jumbe opened the democratic space in Zanzibar. “He reduced the powers of the Revolutionary Council and was instrumental in the introduction of the Zanzibari House of Representatives,” Awadh told me. He also did a lot to bring about judicial reforms by bringing in educated people to serve in various positions within the judiciary. Although these reforms were noble, Shivji maintains that the “reforms were carefully crafted to ensure that his own authority and power as the President of the Party would not be affected.” That notwithstanding Jumbe will be greatly remembered for the radical reforms he made.
Jumbe and the Union
Jumbe was at the heart of the merger of Zanzibar’s ASP and the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) in 1977. The merger of the two parties further consolidated the political union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika that formed the United Republic of Tanzania in 1964. A permanent Union constitution was hastily passed in 1977, which made Tanzania a single party state. The merger of the two parties forming CCM and the passage of a permanent constitution in 1977 was the genesis of dissatisfaction among some people in Zanzibar. For Jumbe especially, the merger ate into Zanzibar’s autonomy presented a hurdle in his quest for political control in Zanzibar. He still believed in autonomy for Zanzibar and understandably he created the House of Representatives and a draft of the Zanzibari constitution of 1979.  
Waraka Mrefu
Jumbe’s downfall in 1984 came at the back of a long letter (waraka mrefu) he had drafted together with Bashir Swanzy, a Ghanaian lawyer who he had hired as Zanzibar’s Attorney General in place of Damian Lubuva. According to my interview with Awadh Said, Damian Lubuva who is currently the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) was brought to Zanzibar through the recommendation of Mwalimu Nyerere. Bashir Swanzy was well known in Zanzibar, and according to Awadh Said, he even had a Zanzibari wife.
He first came to Zanzibar to present ASP in an election case just before the revolution. President Jumbe asked Swanzy to help him draft a letter, which in the very sense questioned the format of the Union and according to Jumbe himself, a question of interpretation of the Articles of the Union – the principle document of the Union. The letter, was drafted in English by Bashir Swanzy and according to various literature and interviews I made, the letter was supposed to be discussed first at the Revolutionary Council before been taken to the main man – Mwalimu Nyerere. The letter was first to be translated into Swahili – a language common to the Revolutionary Council before been debated. The document/letter was titled “The Case which the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has against the Executive of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Government of Tanganyika.” Going by the title, this was a grievance letter which Jumbe used to produce the book “The Partner-Ship: Tanganyika Zanzibar Union, 30 Turbulent Years” and translated into Swahili by journalist and now MP for Malindi Ally Saleh.
Shivji observes in his book “Pan-Africanism or Pragmatism: Lessons of Tanganyika-Zanzibar Union” that the document/letter was like a ‘charge sheet’ or ‘demand letter’. In it, Jumbe outlines Zanzibar’s dissatisfaction with the Union. The thrust of his argument is a three-government federal Union, which, according to him was envisaged in the Articles of the Union. The ideas of Jumbe are well captured in his book. In the nine chapters of the book, Jumbe tears into the structure of the Union by questioning the legal interpretations of the Articles of the Union and the effects of the consolidation of the Union through the merger of the two parties. He discusses in Chapter Two the type of government that the Union of 1964 envisaged – two or three government format? He argues conclusively that the Union government that was formed by the governments of Tanganyika and Zanzibar envisaged a three-government Union. He argues that Article 3(b) of the Articles of the Union provides for the appointment of two Vice Presidents, one of which (being the resident of Zanzibar) shall be the leader of the government of Zanzibar and will be the principle assistant of the president of the United Republic in the government functions in Zanzibar. Jumbe argues therewith that this is testament of the presence of three-governments.
Jumbe in his book again poses the geographical question of Tanzania Mainland versus Tanganyika. The 1977 constitution of the United Republic in Article 2(1) on the territory states that ‘the territory of the United Republic consists of the whole of the areas of mainland Tanzania and the whole of the areas of Tanzania Zanzibar, and includes the territorial water.’ In strict terms, as Jumbe argues, the term mainland Tanzania is ambiguous and brings about ‘geographical confusion’ observing that calling Zanzibar, Tanzania Zanzibar or Tanzania Visiwani is a mark of territorial control. Jumbe’s again posits that the Tanganyika leaders have abolished the Tanganyika government replacing it with Tanzania, which in effect is the United Republic
Jumbe paid the price for his beliefs in 1984 after Nyerere accepted his resignation from all party positions. He also left his position as President of Zanzibar. However, Jumbe left behind a trail of questions over the nature of the Union. When Tanzania began the constitutional review process in 2011, the key feature in the constitutional narrative was the question of the nature of the Union. Various commissions such as the Nyalali, Kisanga and Warioba proposed a three-government format of the Union based on people’s views and general historical considerations. The recommendations have however been squashed on all occasions – but the recommendations must have been a solace to Maalim Aboud Jumbe. He goes well.
Eddy Riyami Tribute.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Magufuli's Gorbachev Moment

Chama Cha Mapinduzi - Tanzania’s leading political party, modeled on socialist and revolutionary ideology. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union – the founding and ruling party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The CPSU and CCM bear loads of similarities both in ideals and philosophy. Although CCM would deny this, but just like the CPSU it’s organization is based on Lenin’s concept of democratic centralism and Vanguardism. This Marxist concept prescribes to consensus majoritarian decision making within a political framework and in this case a political party. Both parties were built on the background of socialist consciousness and revolution. For CCM, formed in 1977 after the merger between the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) of Zanzibar and the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) of Tanganyika the idea of mapinduzi (revolution) is heavily borrowed from the triumph of ASP in the Zanzibar Revolution in 1964 while the socialist consciousness is a legacy of the Nyerere philosophy of Ujamaa (African Socialism).

Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin
I have been rereading Francis Fukuyama’s provocative work The End of History and the Last Man. Fukuyama narrates the worldwide liberal revolution in the late 1980s asserting that during that time both the communist Left and the authoritarian Right became bankrupt of serious ideas capable of sustaining the internal political cohesion of strong governments. It was at this time when Mikhail Gorbachev, USSR statesman had been elected as CPSU’s General Secretary after the death of Konstantin Chernenko. The USSR was experiencing a wave of change as seen in the publishing of articles critical of Stalin era in 1986. Press freedom expanded exponentially during that time. Gorbachev was credited for introducing reforms in the political and economic setting of the USSR as well as the foreign relations of the country.

Gorbachev’s reformist agenda also saw a restructuring of the party where he replaced the old gerontocracy with new faces. In this reform agenda he updated the party philosophy and through Glasnost, he expanded freedom of thought in the party including reforms aimed at reducing party control of the government. These proposals included a new executive mandate under a presidential format. In these reforms Gorbachev became the President of the Soviet Union. Sweeping reforms also saw the perestroika agenda, which meant restructuring. This involved restructuring of international relations based on nuclear disarmament and the development of democracy. 

Despite the reforms Mikhail Gorbachev was not able to prevent the demise of the CPSU in 1991, which also marked the end of the Soviet Union. Various theories have been fronted to explain the death of the CPSU under Gorbachev. But one was the imminent rise of nationalism in the Soviet Republics and the eventual failed coup in 1991 leading to his resignation.
Kikwete and Magufuli in Dodoma

CCM just like CPSU has experienced turbulent times since its inception in 1977. CCM’s turbulence in the 1980s was a result of disaffection of the Union especially from the Zanzibar side. This turbulent time between 1983 and 1984 saw was called ‘crisis of the Union’ rocked the party leading to the eventual downfall of Aboud Jumbe, Zanzibar’s second president and then Union Vice President. When CPSU was going under in 1991, Tanzania was moving to multiparty democracy. Tanzania which had hitherto been under single party rule allowed multiparty elections beginning 1995.

Despite varying opposition’s forays in five elections, CCM has remained a solid ruling party. It however faced its biggest challenge in 2015 General Elections. The party was rocked by the defection of its members including former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa who became the opposition’s presidential flag bearer. Admittedly, the party was grappling with internal schism, corruption and personality cults within. The nomination of John Magufuli as CCM presidential flag bearer in 2015 somewhat averted the collapse of the party. Magufuli went on to clinch the presidency of Tanzania and has since embarked on radical restructuring of the country.

Similar to Mikhail Gorbachev, Magufuli upon been elevated as the Chairman of the party in 23 July 2016, he outlined grand plans to restructure the party. In his acceptance speech President Magufuli vowed to cleanse CCM. Unlike his predecessor President Jakaya Kikwete, who is a CCM man through and through having served the party on various leadership positions, President Magufuli is an inexperienced novice in the party. He has not held any party position apart from being a member of various party departments. As President Kikwete outlined his service in the party during CCM party convention and later reading Magufuli’s CCM profile, you could see the glaring disparity in terms of party service. Regardless, Magufuli has been hailed as a technocrat and not a party cadre.

Magufuli’s ‘perestroika’ as outlined in his speech includes fighting party corruption, routing out disloyalty, revamping the party’s constitution, weeding out unnecessary party positions and strengthening the financial position of the party. Just like the Gorbachev’s reforms, Magufuli’s proposals are noble and timely for the green party. Just like the conservative elements within the CPSU which frustrated Gorbachev’s reforms, similar dissidents exist within CCM who will not be happy with Magufuli’s plans. Magufuli admitted that there exists of ‘ndumilakulwili’ or two-faced people within the party who “support CCM during the day and Chadema during the night”. The convention that brought CCM members to Dodoma to witness the elevation of Magufuli as Chairman on 23 July 2016 seemed united but it is evident that there are some factions that are not pleased with the pace of President Magufuli who has even promised to move government activity to Dodoma in four years. The party has also promised to bring on more educated people on board to steer the party into new thinking and direction similar to Gorbachev’s plan. Will John Magufuli face the Mikhail Gorbachev fate in his quest to cleanse CCM?     


Thursday, 9 June 2016

Zitto Kabwe’s Proposal for Transitional Power Sharing in Zanzibar – A Commendable Proposal

ACT – Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe recently made a proposal for a transitional power-sharing formula in Zanzibar in order to avert the simmering tensions in the isles. Almost eight months after the unilateral decision to annul the 25 October General Elections in Zanzibar there has been no sound political plan to resolving the stalemate in Zanzibar. It was expected that the new Tanzanian President John Magufuli, as shown in his political goodwill in Tanzania, would delve into the crisis in Zanzibar but he instead chose not to ‘interfere’. His party CCM was at the centre of the political crisis – and understandably his decision not to wade in made perfect political sense. His earlier ambivalence on the situation in Zanzibar later changed when he addressed the elders on Dar es Salaam on February 2016 promising not to interfere in the reelection which was announced despite the efforts to reach an agreement between the two warring parties CCM and CUF. In a veiled threat, President Magufuli said he had a responsibility to ensure security and as Commander in Chief he would ensure peace in Zanzibar and any ‘choko choko’ [trouble] will be met with serious repercussions. The main opposition CUF announced that it would boycott the ‘illegal’ reelection – stressing that a legal election was held on 25 October 2015 – in which its presidential candidate Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad had won. Zanzibar’s electoral commission ZEC went on with the reelection on 20 March 2016. CCM’s Dr. Ali Mohammed Shein won 91.4% of the votes and the party clinched all the 54 seats in the House of Representatives.
Maalim Seif
Maalim Seif – CUF leader
A Checkered Political History in Zanzibar
Zanzibar’s political setup is mainly dominated by CCM and CUF who by virtue of their checkered history represent two conflicting and divergent political views. CCM, the successor of the Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP) prides itself as the custodians of the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution that overthrew the Arab Sultanate while CUF is a product of liberators and critics of CCM who broke out of the party in the late 1980s. CUF projects itself as liberal party that champions for a ‘balanced’ Union and Zanzibari nationalism. Its detractors say they advocate for a break of the Union. Zanzibar’s political culture is deeply embedded in this two political outfits – so much that it has become an aspect of identity, a source of tension and division in Zanzibar. The political DNA of Zanzibaris is defined along this two political parties – and children grow up with this identity from their formative years. This political schism is not only rooted in the 1964 Revolution but also in aspects such as the geographical divide – Pembans vs Ungujans as well as the Zanzibar and the Tanganyika divide [Tanganyika and Zanzibar Union discourse] . The race factor in Zanzibar has also metamorphosed into political identities. In short, Zanzibar is a deeply divided society characterised by the above mentioned identity formations. Politics has thus been a stage where these identities are played and as seen in the periods even before the 1964 Revolution, elections have been contested in these identities. Even during the era of one-party dictatorship in Tanzania Zanzibari identity has always played out both domestically and at the Union level. The reintroduction of multiparty politics in 1992 reinvigorated the identity lull in Zanzibar. All the elections from the first multiparty elections in 1995 to the 2015 elections have been between CUF and CCM with the latter winning all and the former contesting all save for the 2010 elections which were conducted after signing of the Maridhiano Agreement – a reconciliation agreement aimed at diffusion the tensions through an inclusive Government of National Unity (GNU).
The 2009 hand-shake agreement – Maridhiano Agreement between President Karume and Maalim Seif
Consociational Democracy through Power-Sharing
Arend Lijphart, the Dutch political scientist and a specialist in electoral systems, ethnicity and politics is famed for the erudite publication “Patterns of Democracy”. He is also widely acclaimed for the concept of consociational democracy. In this seminal conceptional analysis, Lijphart proposes ways in which segmented and divided societies manage to sustain democracy through power-sharing in what he called the Politics of Accommodation and Democracy in Plural Societies – which largely drew from case points in Europe. In his postulation, Lijphart believes that political culture and social structure are empirically related to political stability. Interestingly, he observes that when, on the other hand, a society is divided by sharp cleavages with no or very few overlapping memberships and loyalties – in other words, when political culture is deeply fragmented just as the example of Zanzibar – the pressure toward moderate middle – of the road attitudes become absent. In so doing, Lijphart identifies four characteristics of consociational democracies. A key one is the aspect of a grand coalitions (power-sharing).
Power Sharing and Peace-building
Peace-building is an important factor in conflict management. Power-sharing governments are common ingredients of peacemaking and peace-building efforts. Katia Papagianni observes that, power sharing guarantees the participation of representatives of significant groups in political decision making, and especially in the executive, but also in the legislature, judiciary, police and army. By dividing power among rival groups during the transition, power sharing reduces the danger that one party will become dominant and threaten the security of others. Liberia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Nepal, Iraq and Afghanistan are examples of countries where power-sharing transitional governments were responsible for guiding the complex processes of demobilisation and re-integration of combatants, return of displaced persons, preparation of elections and the negotiation of new constitutions. As for Zanzibar, the Maridhiano Agreement between President Amani Karume (CCM) and Maalim Seif Shariff Hamad (CUF) in November, 2009 set the stage for a post-election Unity Government aimed at building peace after decades of inter-party animosity. Pursuant to Lijphart’s proposal, the GNU formed in 2010 went a long way at easing the tensions between the supporters of CCM and CUF.
Zitto Kabwe’s Proposal for a Transition Government in Zanzibar
ACT-Wazalandelo party leader Zitto Kabwe recently proposed a transitional government in Zanzibar. “CCM rejected the [25] October election results, CUF rejected the reelection [20 March 2016] election results, they should agree to form a transitional government and a fresh election to be called under a new electoral commission and whoever wins lead the country”. According to Mr. Kabwe the call for a transitional government will obviate the simmering tension is the isles. A transitional government is a government temporarily set up to prepare the way for a permanent government. Transitional governments work best in countries undergoing a transition into peace after periods of instability. Examples of countries that underwent periods of transition include Iraq, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Transitional governments are normally inclusive of the main parties to a conflict and in many cases involve constitutional reforms to increase political participation in the country. Zanzibar’s unity government, which worked between 2010 and 2015 is virtually dead with CCM controlling state power. Going by Lijphart’s proposal of consociational democracy, it was imperative – with all factors constant for Zanzibar to have an inclusive power sharing. Such is the division in Zanzibar that no single party can govern alone. We have witnessed the reemergence of enmity images between the supporters of CCM and CUF especially in Pemba island.  The gains made by the Maridhiano Agreement are now gone with an exclusive CCM government.
ACT Party Leader Zitto Kabwe
ACT Party Leader Zitto Kabwe
Building Peace during a Transitional Phase
Transitional phases offer unique opportunity to reflect on internal issues especially on the constitution. The annulment of the 2015 election and subsequent call for a fresh election unearthed the constitutional gaps in Zanzibar. It is evident that the annulment and the call for a fresh election were illegal and unconstitutional despite attempts by the ruling party CCM to justify the decision. It was further evident that the constitutional amendments in 2010 had envisaged the formation of a unity government to only include CCM and CUF as the main players. Dr. Shein, despite the constitutional demands [Article 9 (3) of the Zanzibar Constitution (2010 edition) which calls for a government of national unity] went on to form a monolithic government and didn’t name a First Vice President, who should come from the party that comes second in the election or with a second majority in the House of Representatives. These constitutional gaps and ambiguities that arose during the crisis could be debated during a transitional phase offering valuable lessons for the future.