In 2014 I blogged about the Politics of Image. The blog was informed by images of CCM Secretariat meetings and activities across the country. In brief, I thought the party was very effective in rebranding itself as party for a normal mwananchi – a humble party that fits in into everyday mwananchi life.
Since CCM released its schedule for form collection, we have CCM an increasing number of members announcing and reaffirming their intention to run. Ironically, the images and dramatic moves we have so far seen in the announcements are not what the secretariat has been trying to portray over the last one year or so.
But, I guess politics of money which is manifested through images have now became a worldwide thing. Wole Soyinka observed and lamented the same about the recent past elections in Nigeria. So did Lee Kuan Yew who noted it as a problem of elections in neoliberal democracy systems.
Money – as opposed to policies/ideologies- has become the most influential variable in elections within neoliberal democracy. I have even asked my self, is it the case that neoliberalism has become so dominant to the point that Fukayama’s early 1990s thesis of “the end of history” is now becoming a reality? In that, because there are no competing ideologies – so the contrasting variable becomes money and not ideas since ideas are the same – end of history!
I think for the case of Tanzania, we need a revisit. A revisit to policies that will really work to lift this beautiful- soul of Africa- out of poverty. The impressive economic growth (attributed to neoliberal policies adopted in early 1990s and cemented by Benjamin Mkapa’s regime) has not trickled down to normal mwananchi. It is a disaster. We are not talking about how 70% of our population who are farmers can benefit or be incorporated into this growing economy.
Without digressing much, the point is…will the appointed CCM candidate be able to relate with the normal mwananchi, mostly a peasant in the village, and uplift his/her condition towards being “rich”. Indeed I concur with Edward Lowassa’s statement, ‘I hate Poverty’… but for me hating poverty is not to sideline the many poor…it’s to work with the poor towards lifting them out of the demonic poverty. In 2013, I wrote about the need to listen to the poor and get solution from them because they are the one who know what will work for them. If the candidates are really into lifting Tanzanians out of poverty they should first start by relating to them so as to seek to understand their issues and solve them.
Do the policies spoken by candidates (if any) talk about solutions to issues of the majority poor Tanzanians? or about the only few who can listen to us through social media, TV, and newspapers? These are the questions we need to ask ourselves….
In the final analysis, I think the Politics of Image in Tanzania will require more observation and analysis… I bet interesting “images” are yet to come in 2015!
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