Your excellencies! Leaders of alternative parties in SADC countries, Representatives of Forum for Public Dialogue (FPD) and African Democratic Institute (ADI), the two institutions who organized this historical conference, ladies and gentlemen!
I truly appreciate the spirit of all leaders who have journeyed from certain corners of our continent to be at this occasion, I am honored to greet you “Good evening everyone“ and thank you all for your presence! For those who have never been in my country, Tanzania, an evening greeting is “Habari ya Jioni” and the reply is “Nzuri” or if the greeted person is older than you it is “Shikamoo” and the reply is “Marahaba”. For those who are interested to learn more Swahili like my friend Mmusi Maimane who forwarded me an official request yesterday, I will have a good time with you this evening and you will know more words from the language that I believe the future African Generations would maintain as the language of the continent!
First and foremost, it is my pleasure and on behalf of you all to congratulate FDP and ADI for a wonderful preparation and an excellent welcome that we all received. It is my duty to give open thanks to Hon. Moeletsi Mbeki for a wonderful keynote speech that was delivered yesterday. You see Excellencies, yesterday, when I enter into this conference room and saw Mr. Moeletsi I directly thought it is the real “Mbeki”, second President of the Republic of South Africa by the physical qualities, when he was introduced as a keynote speaker is when I realized the presence of a brother of the former president. It is undeniably imperative to have you here!
It is in actuality a great thing to meet so many ‘Opposition Leaders’ here at Johannesburg, South Africa. In reality, we are the “Alternative leaders” and our particular institutions are ‘alternative parties’. I can see some faces of leaders who have ever won elections in their particular countries but the African phenomenon of liberation parties which still hold power has been the only obstacle to these alternative leaders to have a chance to serve their nations. I understand that some of you have ever been in power through the GNU’s and I can see my great brother Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai, Former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. My party, The Civic United Front has also gone through the GNU in Zanzibar and it is a case study of my speech!
As we have introduced each other early, my names are Julius Mtatiro, A National Leadership Committee Chairperson at the Civic United Front (CUF), a third large political party in Tanzania with 43 MP’s in the Union Parliament, 300 hundred councilors in Tanzania mainland, majority in 5 municipalities and councils and enjoys majority through coalition in few other municipalities.
On behalf of my party I am privileged to stand before you, not because I am the best of all, but because the organizers, among many things decided that we will share the experience of Eastern African politics as part of SADC and thought that my experience on Tanzania Politics as a young politician and a leader of a historical party, would help this esteem conference to discuss broadly on issues facing the political destiny of Africans in Southern Africa and particularly the SADC countries. Instead of concentrating my focus of the whole of Eastern Africa, I have rather decided to narrow my focus on Tanzania, especially the Zanzibar Political Impasse!
When Lucia called and assigned me to prepare this speech, the first thing I asked her was, what kind of leaders would I address? Without hesitation she mentions the Mmusi Maimane’s, Julius Malema’s, Morgan Tsvangarai’s, Nevers Mumba’s, Thom Thabane’s and the like. Before I asked her more questions I was thirsty and needed a glass of water. It is my first time to address such great leaders around SADC countries, leaders who suffers sleepless nights struggling for second liberation of Africans, leaders who some of them live in exile because their own brothers who lead their countries in the first liberation struggles are not ready to transform their loved nations through democratic means, leaders who some of them have ever enjoyed the real taste of political sufferings in Africa! Indeed, Lucia call was like a sharp object penetrating my body, but on the other side the call was so much of honor and respect to the Civic United Front and me personally. I accepted the assignment just like how Mandela accepted to lead independence struggle in Madiba’s land and just like how the Late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere accepted the call of Tanganyika elders to fight for the independence of Tanganyika and later on Tanzania.
TANZANIA, THE CIVIC UNITED FRONT AND ZANZIBAR POLITICAL CRISIS:
As said early, my party, The Civic United Front is the third largest party in the United Republic of Tanzania. All of you understand that Tanzania is a nation formed as a result of union of two countries, Zanzibar and Tanganyika. The union which took place in 1964 was architected by the popular Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika (the late) and late Abeid Amani Karume (First President of Zanzibar). One year after union, multiparty system was abolished in Tanzania. The late Mwalimu Nyerere reasoned it as he might have not managed to lead a stable and strong nation in presence of diverse political options.
30 years later, with the internal pressure and western countries pressure, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (Retired President at a time) did a great job to influence his inflexible party, CCM, to accept on the re-establishment of multiparty system in Tanzania. In 1992 the democratic system was officially re-established and the constitution of Tanzania was slightly changed to allow formation of multiple political parties.
The Civic United Front (CUF) was formed on 28 May 1992 through a merger of two formerly existing movements – KAMAHURU, a pressure group for democratization in Zanzibar, and the Civic Movement, a human rights organization based on Tanzania mainland. The party received full recognition on 21 January 1993 and participated in the first multiparty General Election that took place on October 1995.
In the first multi party elections (1995), CUF managed to won the Zanzibar Presidential seat although the ruling party CCM, did not accept the defeat, also the election were rigged. The Zanzibar Electoral commission (ZEC) announced the ruling party (CCM) to have won the Zanzibar presidential election and that its candidate Dr. Salmin Amour, got 50.2%. The ZEC further declared that the CUF candidate, Seif Sharif Hamad have scored 49.8% of the votes. Because of controversy and lack of transparency in the election process, my party (CUF) rejected the election result, disowns the elected government and boycotted its participation in the House of Representatives of Zanzibar. As a result, two years later, 18 CUF leaders were arrested and subsequently charged with treason, again – 3 years later they were acquitted by the Court of Appeal of Tanzania as they were not guilt.
In the same 1995 elections in Zanzibar, voters were entitled to elect members of House of Representatives that do the legislation role for Zanzibar matters. Out of 50 constituencies, the ruling party CCM won 26 seats and CUF won 24 seats. On the side of Union election, my party’s presidential candidate, Prof. Ibrahim Lipumba got 6.43% and emerged at third position surpassed by a ruling party, CCM’s candidate, Benjamin Mkapa who had 61.82% followed by National Convention for Construction and Reform–Mageuzi’s (NCCR) Augustine Mrema, who managed to pursue 27.77%. In the Union Parliament CUF managed to get 24 seats out of 232.
Tanzania had its second and third multiparty elections in 2000 and 2005 respectively. My party participated fully despite the presence of too much use of security forces and the questionable credibility of the two national election bodies; National Election Commission (NEC) of Tanzania and Zanzibar Election Commission (ZEC) of Zanzibar. In Zanzibar again it is no doubt that CUF won the presidential seat in both elections but the ruling party sided with ZEC and security forces to declare victory in favor of the ruling party CCM. Due to persisting problems in the isles (Isles of Unguja and Pemba which form Zanzibar), including the failure of two preceding Peace Accords, continuation of sporadic incidents of violence, hostilities and mutual distrust leading to increasing destabilization of the Zanzibar political system, 4 years after the 2005 General Elections, the then President of Zanzibar, Dr. Amani Karume (Jr) realized that there were a need to do something on Zanzibar Political impasse.
Dr. Karume held a meeting with CUF party’s Secretary General and a only party presidential candidate for previous three consecutive elections that were rigged, Seif Sharif Hamad. The two leaders agreed to end their political hostilities, commit to working together to find a lasting solution to the political impasse. Their agreement was welcomed by the House of Representatives of Zanzibar, majority of citizens of Zanzibar and Tanzania at large. The House of Representatives of Zanzibar passed a resolution to order the Government to stage a power sharing system in Zanzibar after the 2010 General Elections. The government concluded all steps including the Referendum where majority of Zanzibari’s decided on favor of the power sharing system.
The 2010 elections were held in Zanzibar and Tanzania at large. In Zanzibar it was announced that the ruling party CCM has won by 50.11% against my party (CUF) which had 49.14%. Despite the belief of my party that the election was rigged, we decided to be part of Zanzibar Government as per the Zanzibar Constitution and the Power Sharing spirit, therefore, my Secretary General, Seif Sharif Hamad was nominated by the party to become the First Vice President of the Government of National Unity of Zanzibar.
The best performance of CUF representatives in the government as well as true leadership revealed by Seif Sharif Hamad between 2010 – 2014 became “bitter medicine” to the ruling party, both in Zanzibar and the Union Government. The ground reality in Zanzibar exposed the fact that in the following elections (2015 elections) the Zanzibari’s would opt for CUF and therefore it would become a senior party in the GNU which means the President of Zanzibar would come from CUF.
While the preparations for the 2015 were underway, and having realized that her winning chances are high, CUF made strong and excellent preparations in all ways and manners in for both Zanzibar and Union elections. For the first time in 2015, Tanzania enjoyed a most stronger opposition camp from leading alternative parties where my party (CUF), CHADEMA, NCCR and NLD formed a coalition known as “UKAWA”, originated from the New Constitution move that failed in 2014 after the ruling party, CCM, manipulated peoples opinion and priorities of the said constitution. The 2015 Tanzania General Elections was held on October 25th. In Zanzibar the voters had to elect a President of Union, a President of Zanzibar, Members of the Tanzania Parliament, Members of the House of Representatives of Zanzibar and Councilors. In Tanzania mainland voters had to elect the rest of the posts in exclusion of the President of Zanzibar.
Two days after election both Election commissions (Of Zanzibar and of the Union Government) were continuing to announce the results as they were coming in. In Zanzibar, a dream of two decades was almost becoming true, the true leader of the Zanzibari’s and Secretary General of CUF was becoming the President of Zanzibar and hence a leader of the GNU. Seif Sharif Hamad was leading by a difference of 25,000 votes against the incumbent president, Dr. Omar Mohammed Shein of the ruling party CCM.
Having confirmed that the opposition was winning, the Chairperson of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) made a temporally stop in announcing the Presidential results. He left the Official tallying center under the escort of security forces and told his subordinates that he was called by “the Big People”, upon his return he said that he was having headache, and sometimes he said he was having stomach ache…All these diseases started because the opposition, CUF, was winning the Presidency of Zanzibar. The ZEC chairperson disappeared again and never comeback only to left his Vice Chairperson in the Zanzibar Tallying Center. Because the ZEC Vice Chairperson is mandated by law to assume powers of his Chairperson if the chair is unfit to continue with the election supervision duties, the Vice Chairperson who is the Hgh Court Judge, was reminded by the commission members to do so as prescribed by the statutes. While the ZEC Vice Chairperson was preparing to assume such duties, the armed forces stormed in and took him away just like how the Police arrest a robber!
Then, on the 28th of October 2015, the disappeared ZEC Chairperson appeared in a National Broadcasting and announces the nullification of all Zanzibar Elections including the results of members of House of Representatives and Councilors in exclusion of the Union results! He took such action single handedly without consulting his fellow commission members. Even if he would have decided to consult them, the ZEC as a body do not have any statutory or incidental power to nullify the election results that has been conducted freely and fairly like the October 2015 elections in Zanzibar.
Therefore, the 2015 Zanzibar Elections were nullified because an opposition leader had won a presidential seat and the Union results were blessed because the CCM candidate for union presidency, John Magufuli, had won. The same results that nullified CUF victory in Zanzibar are the results that were upheld to legitimize John Magufuli’s contradictory victory at the Union Elections. Sometimes later, the ZEC chairperson appeared again and announces the date of Re-Election that was scheduled to take place on 20th March 2016 of which my party boycotted and called for peaceful internal and international support not to recognize such hooliganism as elections. Then, the ruling party and ZEC moved on with one sided elections and re-install the incumbent! This is really what is taking place in Africa, almost all over the continent!
Zanzibar impasse is just a case study of poor political management initiated by the ruling parties, mostly the parties fought for the Independence. On my view, we should always appreciate the role played by the ANC in South Africa, the ZANU PF of Zimbambwe, the TANU (late on CCM) of Tanzania and so many other parties that struggled to get back the true independence to this beautiful continent. But, in the same view and I stand to be corrected, these liberation parties (especially those which are still in Power) must be told the truth, everywhere! They must be told the truth that they are tired parties! That they are no more credible and that they have failed to pursue the Agenda of liberating the social-economic and political context in the continent. Wherever you meet these Old Guards, tell them this truth, that Africa need a break, a break from resources embezzlement, corruption, poor social services, poverty and the list is on and on. Africans are tired of these old institutions that think of banning media freedom today and yet wand the same media when they have status quo propaganda in their hands! The leaders that think of controlling views of the electorates today, the leaders that think of suppressing the credible and alternative political institutions today, the leaders that think of rigging free and fair elections today, the leaders of executive that think and plan of controlling the legislature and the judiciary and the leaders that think of using security forces to ignore voices, interests and priorities of their fellow brothers and sisters, children’s of this historical continent!
My fellow leaders,
While we are embarking on fighting for true democracy in Africa, our brothers in the ruling parties are doing whatever they can to control power. We want democracy and they want power! We want economic stability and they dream of power! We struggle for better education in our countries, equal opportunities for all and at least to have a society free of diseases and they think about power! Their priority is no more of fighting poverty, quality social services to citizens, setting the rule of law and all those important elements of a liberated and a transformative society, rather they use all their times plan on how they will control power and block the credible alternative parties to serve the particular nations through democratic means.
That’s why in Africa, winning election has never been a problem in some countries, but being allowed to take power through democratic means and realize the trust and expectations of electorates is really an impossible phenomenon. The story of Zanzibar has happened in Zimbabwe where the brother who is today present here, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the 2008 elections but another African brother, Robert Mugabe, sided with the Election Commission and security forces to control back power to Mugabe. Initiatives by the AU to install an Interim Leadership through GNU does not teach any lesson to Mugabe since in the following elections he made sure that Morgan wouldn’t access any political survival, a thing that was realized in the succeeding elections.
It is then the top most duty of us leaders of alternatives political parties under SADC to do whatever it takes to re-install the degraded African Humanity and the endangered democracy. We will do that through investing much of our programs and focus on civic and election education to our people, more research and formation of stronger coalition amongst alternative parties in your particular countries, advocate for reforms in our Specific country’s constitutions, the reform in election commissions in our homelands and to find a proper way to address the issue of how do an alternative party do to access democratic transition of power once that particular party have won the elections putting in mind that the incumbent/ruling party is enjoying support from the Security Forces.
Dear my brothers and sisters, African Alternative Leaders,
The path to true and beautiful continent where every soul and body would enjoy the maximum satisfaction of living is underway. When we are thinking that it is too dark, is when the light is nearer! The destiny of transforming this continent is in our own hands, we are the ones that need to give answers to the electorates back home that there are always peaceful alternatives to make their voice heard and their power, citizen’s power, being recognized in democratic processes particularly what is spoken in the ballot boxes.
As alternative leaders of this African Generation, we have a debt to clear to the next generation. We will have the questions to answer even if we will be in graves, our children and grandchildren would need to be left with a better African, an African that was worked on, by us, an African that we would needed to respond to them “…our job was done by our all efforts, here is yours…”. Our grandchildren would not need to hear the stories of our failure or the laments against the old ruling parties and how they ruined our continent; they would need to hear the stories of success like how we hear the stories of success of “African Liberation”.
This month, and specifically today, yesterday and tomorrow, will remain the very historical dates, when SADC alternative parties would decide whether to watch each other’s suppression on news or to stand together against those brutal and undemocratic tendencies from the ruling parties in our continent. The problems that some of our parties face back home will be nothing if we join hands to find their solutions, share our experiences and assisting each other on practical focus of the same. It is with this spirit that African alternative parties will prevail and the destiny of African people will go back to the clean hands where it will never again being wasted but rather in the hands of alternative leaders who would use every night sleeplessly to find the water for Africans, food, housing, education and protect the key human rights to their brothers and sisters. I am indeed privileged to be part of this dream, the dream that every true and patriotic African would dream of!
Dear respected leaders,
Let me conclude my speech by quoting the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere as he addressed the Higher Education forum in Tanzania, way back 1960, “…Those who receive this privilege therefore, have a duty to repay the sacrifice which others have made. They are like the man who has been given all the food available in a starving village in order that he might have strength to bring supplies back from a distant place”.
It with that Mwalimu’s quotation that I urge all leaders who are listening to me at this important conference, you are really privileged to be here today, you are here today to plan what would be the best future of our SADC nations through the efforts of alternative parties. Whatever has been planned and would be concluded in this meeting as far as the real improvement of our people’s economy, social and political lives as concerned – it is what Mwalimu Nyerere tells us. We all have a duty to repay back the sacrifice of our people, repaying back has no satisfaction, we shall continue to repay until everybody in our continent assures us that he/she is satisfied of what we repaid back. Leadership is all about giving back to your own people, not taking from them!
Asanteni sana na Karibuni Tanzania! (Thanking you so much and welcome to Tanzania!)
B.A, MPA, LL B, PDLP,
30th October 2016,
Johannesburg – South Africa.
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