The countdown is over and today, August 20th, 2010, Tanzanians are just one step closer as we are gearing towards the 2010 Presidential, Parliamentary and Councilors Election. But no one in Tanzania believes that, in their lifetime, they will get to see the promised land under the leadership of CCM and its driving force which defines irresponsibility, bureaucracy, ufisadi, enormous wealth for the few, and total disconnection with the people.
So what exactly can we hope for if, as many expect, CCM wins again in October 2010, just as it has been the case since our first Multi-Party Election in 1995?
There are several options — parts of which are already unfolding across the country. Not everybody is talking about them much, at least publicly, but they include missions to make sure we do not fail in trap again. But ask the designers and executors of government plans what they all add up to, and the answer inevitably boils down to “not enough.” Taken together, these plans have already run into far greater economical and technical slowdowns than anyone expected. If CCM’s pressure to stay in power builds up, our country might be driven to the negotiating table, where UTULIVU na AMANI will have to be defined in more comprehensible terms than ever in the history of our nation.
We know that Tanzania cannot change overnight, considering the specie of leadership we have had for about half a century now. Some might be surprised to hear critics saying Kikwete has so far yielded nothing, but I myself, will never hesitate to proclaim that, “Mr. Kikwete has so far yielded nothing”. That assessment sounds like the now-familiar combination of selfishness and incompetence of CCM’s approach to governing. But in the case of waking up Tanzanians, CCM is running up against ticking clocks. As many have come to realize, that once we don’t vote responsibly, our nation may come to a certain point, that it may be impossible to revive the hopes of its people.
Some people in this great nation say they wonder whether leadership has truly grappled with the question of how this country should be governed and what kind of risks they are willing to take beyond what they think is appropriate.
In a place that we happen to be at, in our human society today, voters normally articulate their protest at the polls through voting the incumbents out of power. But is our democracy mature enough to execute this move? I think this is not the kind of question you win many points asking, because once you draw a line in the sand, you have to decide how you are going to act when CCM steps over it.
I therefore interpret this as an effort to force a debate on the hardest questions.
Protests are a tempting tool for citizens. They impose more pain than doing nothing and they stop well short of violent confrontation. Unfortunately, when it comes to voting against the incumbent governments in Africa, history suggests that the process is rarely effective.
CCM knows well that with their limited tools, their time to stay in power has to be redefined. Now is the time to demand rather than begging for our rights. And if we will be forced to act against our will, then mass protests options are the last and the riskiest choices, so wananchi will have to reach so far.
Let us not rule out that, what seems outlandish is often based on what we think may be plausible.