THE next General Election scheduled for this October is literally around the corner.
In an ideal situation, the election season should be a happy one, as it is supposed to provide the citizens with an opportunity to exercise one of their leading fundamental rights – the right to vote or to be voted.
Granted, Covid-19, a worldwide monstrous health crisis, has disrupted many fundamental political, social and economic activities.
To its credit, however, and more-so against the backdrop of our country being superintended over by a visionary leader, President John Magufuli, Tanzania opted for grappling with the pandemic in a manner that doesn’t culminate in outright stagnation.
Measures like lockdown were thus ruled out at the very outset. The scheduled General Election is the most important upcoming event for which the government is gearing up to ensure it proceeds as planned.
Obviously, safeguards would be exercised, like avoiding mammoth campaign rallies, while ensuring that through safer alternatives, campaign messages by the political parties in contention are relayed to the electorate.
Among early reported players of the political game are 30 members of different parties in Tarime Urban and Rural constituencies in Mara Region, who have openly expressed interest in vying for legislative seats.
As alluded to earlier, expression of political ambitions constitute a fundamental right, which many other men and women elsewhere in the country will seek to exercise as we inch towards Election Day.
Going by experiences and lessons drawn from past elections, however, election seasons sometimes degenerate into highly volatile, warfarelike scenarios.
This stems from some parties or candidates perceiving themselves as automatic victors. This creates an atmosphere whereby loss, however legitimate, is perceived as an outcome of foul play, and which the losers seek to “straighten” by chaotic means.
We wish to reiterate what has consistently been our viewpoint; that election campaigns are supposed to be sane and peaceful, as opposed to civil warfare, as sometimes threatens to become the case.
Election campaigns are supposed to represent a competition for votes from the electorate, for particular parties through the candidates they have fronted.
The candidates are supposed to win the hearts and minds of the electorate through the presumed rational policies and programmes they espouse.
Persuasiveness is the principle here, as opposed to gangster politics. This should guide us all as we inch towards the General Election.