“Nauli”, on the back of a (brown) envelope

Aspiring CCM presidential candidate, Ambassador Amina Salum Ally, was quoted in Habari Leo yesterday on the role of money in securing the signatures of party members in the regions:

“What surprises me is the practice of being asked for money in order to sign nomination forms. I’ve been in the party more than 30 years and this pains me greatly. In the past you did not have to pay but now without money you won’t get the signatures.“*

And from two weeks ago, in Mwananchi:

The task of the former Prime Minister, Frederick Sumaye, of collecting signatures on his nomination forms almost met with trouble after party members wanted to tear up the forms with their names on, claiming that they hadn’t been given “nauli” [bus fare] to go to the CCM office for this exercise.**

In both cases, it seems very clear that paying “nauli” has become an expected part of the nomination process.

I asked several people who are closely following the process what someone who wants to be the CCM presidential candidate might have to give as “nauli” to each of the 450 (minimum) party members who officially sponsors them in order to get their support. The answers given ranged from 1,000/- per signature, up to 20,000/- (roughly $0.50 to $10).

It is possible, even likely, that some do not have to provide such “nauli”, particularly where they are already well known and popular, and/or where they are only aiming for the required number of “sponsors'” signatures: 450. And several aspirants, including Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, Mark Mwandosya, Asha-Rose Migiro, Vice President Mohamed Bilal and Augustino Ramadhani, seem very happy to collect “just” 450 signatures, perhaps with a few spares.

Some of the aspiring candidates, however, are not aiming for 450. Some are counting their sponsors in the tens of thousands. It was widely reported over the weekend that Edward Lowassa collected 212,150 signatures from party members in Dar es Salaam. His strategy is clearly to show the party leadership that he has mass, popular support. And he is not the only one collecting large numbers: see Bernard Membe in Pwani (21,000) and January Makamba in Singida (8,300), for example.

So, on the back of a (brown) envelope, how much cash is potentially being paid out to wadhamini [sponsors] around the country?

nauli - back of an envelope2

For a spreadsheet with references and calculations see here.

The figures on the left are the reported number of sponsors collected by Edward Lowassa from each region. With a few more added for Dodoma, Morogoro and Zanzibar, (for which I could not find figures), and more for other candidates, it comes to an estimated total of 1,000,000 sponsors. On the right are calculation what the total cost of “nauli” for these sponsors might be, depending on how much is paid as “nauli” to each sponsor. It could be as much as 20 billion shillings – over 10 million dollars.

It is not possible to conclude that any individual campaign has paid this amount. However, if the reported numbers of sponsors are correct, and if “nauli” of 20,000/- has been paid to each one, then the total would come to around $10m.

(And that’s before costs for transport for the candidates and their teams, entertainment, media, and everything else are included.)

As we have seen, at least one aspirant, Ambassador Ally, considers “nauli” payments to be a form of corruption. And it is possible that the law agrees. Here’s an excerpt from the Election Expenses Act of 2010:

election expenses act 23(1) 24(2) - conveyance

Or, in simpler language: Payments for transporting voters to or from a poll station as part of promoting the nomination of a candidate are not permitted, and any candidate who does this is liable for disqualification.

There are some grey areas here. “Nauli” is surely a payment for transporting people, but are “sponsors” really “voters”, according to the law? And can each CCM regional office (or wherever the aspirants set up to collect sponsors) be considered a “polling station”?

However, although the letter of the law may be open to interpretation, the spirit is very clear: paying “nauli” is considered an unfair practice.

One final question to end with. If the aspirants have collected roughly one million sponsors from across the country, that means there are a million witnesses to such payments. How come nobody in the media has been reporting on this in detail? Is it so widely accepted that it’s not considered newsworthy? Or have they decided (and/or been persuaded) not to touch the subject?

Further reading:

Original Swahili of translated text:

* “Jambo lililonishangaza ni kuombwa fedha kwa ajili ya kudhaminiwa, mimi nipo katika chama zaidi ya miaka 30 hili limeniumiza sana, zamani ilikuwa ni bure lakini kwa sasa bila ya fedha huwezi kupata wadhamini,” alisema.

** Kazi ya Waziri Mkuu mstaafu, Frederick Sumaye, ya kusaka wadhamini juzi nusura iingie dosari baada ya wanachama kutaka kuchana fomu zenye orodha ya wadhamini kwa madai kuwa hawakupewa “nauli” ya kwenda ofisi za CCM kufanya kazi hiyo.