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. Continue reading →
A couple of weeks ago, I asked how CCM will choose it’s 2015 presidential candidate, and explained the key stages of the formal decision making process. But the same question could be answered a very different way, as several noted: how will this small electorate decide who to give their support to?
There are many competing factors for to take into account, so I have enlisted some help from Tanzania’s excellent newspaper cartoonists.
The East African’s readership in Tanzania is low in numbers, but significant for who they are: the country’s business and political elites. It is seen as a thorough and dependable source of news on financial matters and regional politics in particular. It’s also part of the same media group (NMG/MCL) as two major and respected Tanzanian newspapers: The Citizen and Mwananchi.
We’re unlikely to see the outcry that followed suspension of Mwananchi in 2013. Most Tanzanians – even newspaper readers – won’t notice, with cabinet resignations and reshuffles dominating the news agenda. But it stands, once again, in stark contrast to the government’s stated commitment to open government and freedom of information. Continue reading →
It could be a very big day for Tanzania today. The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, under the determined leadership of its chair, Zitto Kabwe, promises to present its findings on the IPTL / Escrow audit report as prepared by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG), despite apparently considerable pressure through official channels from the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, the judiciary and others, and through unofficial (and unpleasant) channels from unknown sources.
For background on the case and why it is so significant, I recommend two excellent articles in the Citizen newspaper, which has reported steadfastly on this topic for many months:
Witchcraft is a huge issue in Tanzania at the moment. Levels of belief are extremely high, with horrific consequences for two groups in particular: older women (and others) who are accused of being witches and in many cases murdered as a result, and people with albinism who are attacked or murdered for their body parts, which are said to possess supernatural powers. With a general election coming up next year, there are fears that the situation for people with albinism could get even worse. And though it is less obvious, the manipulative actions of people calling themselves witchdoctors – tricking people out of their money through big promises and/or blackmail and fear (as alleged in this case) – are also highly damaging.
I will explore this issue in more depth at a later date, but for the moment, I just want to bring one thing to wider attention: did you know that Tanzania has a Witchcraft Act on the statute books?
It dates from colonial times, 1928 in fact, but was amended as recently as 2009.
Cartoonists work in metaphors, and today there is a clear theme in the Tanzanian press.
It’s all about the Constituent Assembly, preparing another draft of what may become Tanzania’s next constitution, and doing so without the participation of the leading opposition parties and several others.
And at the same time, it’s all about transport.
On the wrong track, off the rails, (or an accident waiting to happen) says King Kinya in The Citizen: