And this happened not in Europe or in America, where democracy is believed to be more developed, but in Tanzania, where the opposition means saying all the bad things only about the government.
As New Year wishes are sent and received, the opposition Civic United Front (CUF) was not to remain behind. It issued a press statement praising the Union and Zanzibar governments for a well job done in the year 2011. One of the oldest opposition parties in the country sent out a New Year message, CUF said the government scored highly in service delivery to the masses.
The opposition party cited improved social services such as education, health and maintenance of general law and order as areas where the government did very well in 2011. Indeed the government has done a lot in its attempt to improve social service for its citizens, although challenges still remain.
This is an unprecedented gesture in the African politics, where opposition is synonymous with criticisms –sometimes criticisms coming blindly, ignoring progress so obvious for every eye to see. CUF, though partner in the Government of National Unity (GNU) in Zanzibar, showed us that the role of the opposition should not only be to criticise but to correct and to give praise where it is due.
Too much unfair criticisms create a crisis impression, which demolishes hard working individuals and undermines the spirit of working to excel. Unfortunately our politics have always been characterised by harsh criticisms only, ignoring any positive progress that the government in office has done. We have many examples such as how the war on graft has been politicised to the extent of ignoring steps taken to prosecute the suspects.
Political parties that criticise for the sake of it forget that they are parties on the bench, ready to form government in case the electorate votes them in. But to qualify as government in waiting, a political party must articulate policies that convince the voters, pointing out weaknesses of the government of the day and say what they would do better if voted in.
All round criticisms create a hazy picture of one’s policies and do not convince the voters on their alternative policies. CUF has now showed the way and it is up to other parties to follow and we praise them for playing mature politics.