This entry is objective. It is written after much reflections and thoughts. It is an expression of my reflections. I declare the following:
- Mr. Zitto Kabwe is my good friend and we are writing a book together.
- Mr. Freeman Mbowe is my home MP. We come from the same village and are neighbors. We are, in many angles, a family. I also worked very closely with him during the 2010 elections and admired his strengths. Learnt so much from this experience.
- My father, Mr. Clement Kwayu, is a local councilor with Chadema ticket.
- I am a loyal member of Chadema. I supported the party since when I could remember. My party card membership is from 2005.
- I ran for a women special seat MP in 2010.
- I am now a development and management consultant at BUMACO and a research affiliate of the University of Oxford, Department of Education. I do not plan to ran for any office in the near future as my focus is on academic research and writing.
In the early hours of Friday 22nd Nov, news broke that Chadema, the main opposition party, has stripped off Zitto Kabwe and Dr. Kitila Mkumbo leadership positions in the party. (For a coherent analysis and events as they unfolded see Mtega’s analysis and features) The former was the Deputy Secretary General of the party and the Deputy Opposition leader in the Parliament, while the latter was the member of the party’s central committee. Both of them are young, energetic and highly educated people. Their works are known and respected both locally and internationally. For example, both of them have international publications- meaning that they command respect and contribute to the reviewed knowledge. Dr. Mkumbo is a senior lecturer at the University of Dar-es-Salaam and he has published in peer reviewed academic journals. He is an authority in a number of aspects on education psychology. Mr. Kabwe is becoming one of the leading experts in the war against corruption. This is owed to his continuous dangerous and risk fight against corruption in Tanzania. His name appears in the recent best-sellers book on corruption- Global Corruption by Cockcroft.. In the same vein he has been engaged himself in a herculean task of fighting tax injustice and illicit money flow. Of late, Mr. Kabwe was among experts who participated in a Europe fact-finding mission commissioned by a coalition of European NGOs to investigate on illicit money flows. He also invited to present a paper on illicit money flows in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit in London 2013.
In the local public sphere, Zitto Kabwe is a development- minded leader. This has led him to look at things from a bipartisan perspective. It is costing him. He is paying a high price for this. I will talk about his work at domestic level from my various encounters with him. The idea of writing a book with Mr. Kabwe was born out of our discussion of why poverty persists in Tanzania amid a decade long 7% average economic growth. The book has progressed but due to his busy schedule it has been difficult to meet the deadlines. For those who have met him before may testify to the fact that Kabwe discussions and talks revolve around development issues in Tanzania. He speaks about rural poverty and constantly thinking of ways to bring about rural development in Tanzania. Eradicating the rampant rural poverty in Tanzania is his ultimate wish.
In that respect, Kabwe came up with the idea of extending social security to farmers. Conventionally in Tanzania, social security has only been something for formally employed people, who make an insignificant percentage of Tanzanian population. Most of the productive age in Tanzania are engaged in informal economic activities most of its being self-employed peasantry farming. Kabwe piloted his idea in Kigoma through a cooperative known as Rumako. Him and NSSF raised awareness and enrolled 750 farmers into the scheme. When that worked well and successful, Kabwe thought of the plan to extend this to other regions in the country. He linked my employer company- BUMACO with NSSF – so as we can do the same for farmers in Kilimanjaro. The rationale for working with BUMACO is due to its 30-years track record of working with cooperatives in rural settings. BUMACO has a network of 20 SACCOS in rural Kilimanjaro. Kabwe ‘s wish is to extend social security to farmers in other regions all over Tanzania. He keeps saying this is transformational.
Being a member of Chadema I am ever proud of having a party leader such as him. He is always working very hard. This year alone, Kabwe has put so much in his parliamentary committee ( #PAC), and party membership recruitment and public rallies (refer to his 9 days party tour and rallies he did in North-Western Tanzania in September). He has his weaknesses as any other human being, but the best thing is to capitalize on his strengths so as to counter his weaknesses. Why does the party keep looking for his mistakes? Why? Is this what politics is all about? Is this the kind of political change we want?
Kabwe has stood up on principles such as refusing to accept sitting allowances as well as standing firm on the parties to be audited. The party, if anything, should have supported these two principles. In fact I think the party should have adopted them in the list of its main agenda. If the party leadership keeps calling for the changes, yet keeping fighting internally with those who are trying to bring real and painful changes, what does it expect the public to think of them?
To cut the long story short, I think the party central committee decision was wrong to strip Kabwe’s off leadership position based on the following reasons among many others:
- The timing of the decision is insensitive, and if anything a testimony to the unfounded claims to strip Kabwe off his leadership position. Of late, since Kabwe announced that PAC has ordered political parties’ accounts to be audited, we have been reading defensive reactions and attacks directed to him from the two main political parties in Tanzania. Even if Kabwe did not inform his bosses or rather collogues prior to his announcement (which I think there was no need to since he was acting as a PAC chairman and not party puppet), why was the party so defensive???? What’s the implication of such a reaction with regards to the ‘Mkakati wa Siri’ interpretation? All these are many questions that one has to ask. The events that unfolded before the central committee decision do not add up to the central committee’s ‘excuse’ given for stripping off Kabwe’s leadership position
- The editor of the ‘Mkakati wa Siri’- Dr Mkumbo declared that Kabwe was not aware of the document. Even the language used in the document refers to him in the ‘third person’ – i.e. he was not part of him. A credible committee should not use feeble evidence to make such huge judgments.
- The party’s internal elections have always been dramatic and not to the best of democratic ideals. Personally, I vied for a special seat MP in 2010. To date, I do not understand the process and criteria to which 25 women were nominated to be part of the key branch (the parliament) of our esteemed republic. These women legislate for the country and use millions of tax- man money as salaries and allowances. Thus, I can never trust (100%) the ‘fairness’ of decisions made by the central committee.
Political analysts with interests on Tanzania’s party politics can go on analysing this drama. Mine is not a political analysis per se, but my honest reflection of the ongoing drama in relations to my experience.