Tag Archives: elections

“A journalism of integrity”: Mwananchi and The Citizen take a stand

Favourable press coverage in return for money? That sounds like corruption to me.

According to an announcement published in Mwananchi newspaper last month, it sounds like corruption to them as well:

“Ours is a journalism of integrity. … Our staff are expressly barred from accepting money or any form of payment or inducement for publication of news, opinion, or feature in any of our platforms. Such content … is published purely on merit.”

How many Tanzanian newspapers can say this? 

How many newsworthy organisations and individuals – politicians, businesses, NGOs, etc. – operating in Tanzania can say they’re not part of the problem as well? (For every transaction there is a giver and a receiver.) Continue reading

Campaign finance in Tanzania: Is anyone following the money?

The money trail

The money trail (image taken from http://low2highafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/final-days-of-cycling.html)

Peter Nyanje, with a “polite reminder” in The Citizen:

There is a need to give 2015 General Election countdown more space in our debates because, as we speak, many of those who harbour the desire to become Tanzanian leaders, including the top most posts, the presidency, have already begun the race.

Many people have started to receive numerous forms of donations, gifts and assistance in various forms and little do they know that they are being slowly bought into certain election camps. This is very dangerous.

There should be a mechanism of safeguarding people from these candidates with a lot of funds. If we allow these funds to influence the decision makers – the voters – we will not have credible leaders in 2015. Continue reading

Witchcraft and witch-hunts in England and Tanzania

“Trial of Witches, 1612”, by Fred Kirk Shaw in 1913.

In the year 1612, in the northern English county of Lancaster, a famous trial took place – the trial of the “Pendle witches”. Twelve so-called witches were involved in the case – ten women and two men – most from the bleak and inhospitable Pendle hill. They were charged with murdering ten people through witchcraft, and accused of much more besides – causing paralysis, “turning beer sour”, killing a horse – all through witchcraft. One died in custody and one was acquitted, but the other 10 were found guilty and hanged.

400 years later, in the northern Tanzanian town of Kahama, a pair of owls flew into a crowded schoolroom. A political meeting was taking place and tensions were high. The local branch of Tanzania’s ruling CCM party was electing its representative to the party’s National Executive Committee. So when the owls flew in and settled on the table in front of the local MP and regional party chairman, suspicions were raised that someone was using witchcraft to influence the election. Allegations flew. After all, as anyone in Tanzania knows, owls are bringers of death. Continue reading

Parliament as “a place of abject poverty”: Social media reactions to Speaker’s remarks

The Speaker of Parliament, Anne Makinda recently announced that come 2015 she won’t be standing again as MP for Njombe South. She blamed the recent failed attempt to increase MPs’ allowances for low morale among MPs generally, and indicated that this was her reason for stepping down.

In her remarks, made in Njombe town on Saturday Feb 25th, Makinda, who has been the local MP for 17 years, made the following comments (the original Swahili is posted below):

“And I say this with full emphasis: the perception of all people, including you who are here, when I walk is that they see me as money, when they hear I am speaker it’s worse. There’s nobody with more money than me. Nobody. Continue reading

Mfuko wa Majimbo – Unconstitutional, or going with the grain?

A few days ago, a group of seven civil society organisations, including Policy Forum and the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) filed a case with the High Court of Tanzania, arguing that the act establishing the Constituency Development Catalyst Fund, or Mfuka wa Majimbo, is unconstitutional. In doing so, they are following the lead of other organisations raising challenges to similar constituency-based development funds in other countries.

But this move is far from being universally popular. MPs from all major parties supported the CDCF bill. One MP – Dr Faustine from Kinondoni – used his personal blog to criticise the CSOs’ case, arguing that the CDCF has been a very effective way of quickly solving problems in his constituency. Continue reading

Reflections on the elections through a Daraja window

A few weeks have passed, (most of) the dust has settled and life is beginning to get back to normal. So it seems an opportune time to look back and reflect on what was a very interesting election period.

If you find yourself thinking, “oh no, not another election reflection,” rest assured we won’t be going over the same ground that has been very ably covered elsewhere (Pambazuka; Vijana FM; The Mikocheni Report – all of which are highly recommended.) Instead we will be looking at the election through a “Daraja window”, thinking about how the election affected core Daraja themes of water supply, local government, the media and civil society.

Let’s start with water supply. As this blog has previously highlighted, this was a non-issue in the campaigns, particularly at national level and despite consistently ranking very high in citizens’ priorities. Continue reading

Water (not) in the news: more evidence of water supply being sidelined in #uchaguzitz

How much coverage does water supply get in national newspapers? Answer, not much. In the past year since Daraja has been monitoring the press, there was a peak of stories around Maji Week and World Water Day in March, but otherwise not much. And in the election campaign period, the number of stories has been even lower than usual, presumably since space is taken up with other campaign issues.  Continue reading