The long-awaited launch of ACT Wazalendo as Tanzania’s newest political party finally took place on Sunday. As expected, Zitto Kabwe, whose long-running battle with his former party, Chadema, recently came to an end, has been appointed as party leader.
Perhaps the new party’s most notable policy position is their insistence that all party leaders much make a declaration of their assets, which will be posted online.
This is almost entirely new in Tanzania. Although those at high levels of government are required to declare their assets, the declarations are not public documents, but remain in the hands of the Ethics Secretariat.
In a single move, the party has thus demonstrated their commitment to two-thirds of the English part of their name – Alliance for Change and Transparency.
The problem that Zitto and the party have is the third part: how much can the party be described as an “alliance” when it’s built so much around one individual?
This concern has been picked up by the cartoonists. CCM and Chadema donkeys carry their riders, while Zitto carries the ACT donkey.
A second theme in the cartoons is newness and size – the ACT sapling dwarfed by the sturdy tree trunks of CCM and Chadema, and the cocky young boxer heading for a fight with the heavy-weights.
Starting a new party is not easy. Zitto has already shown he has the determination and personal popularity to make it work. He has new ideas and apparently limitless energy.
But will that be enough?