President Samia’s outstanding performance in her two years ‘on the throne’

In her maiden address to Parliament on 22nd April, 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the following (translated from Kiswahili):- “This is the first time in the history of our country that we have a female President. For that reason, I know that there are some people who believe that I will not be able to shoulder the heavy Presidential duties and responsibilities.

I want to assure such doubting people, that the almighty God did not create ‘weaker minds for females and stronger minds for males’.  That is not the case at all, since all human beings are born equal.  It much depends on the individual person’s up-bringing, and the environment in which he or she was brought up. I want to assure everyone that I was brought up under proper care and attention; and that I have accumulated sufficient experience in matters relating to governance”.

“Walking the talk”

Well, her two years on the Presidential throne, have shown very clearly that she has, indeed, ‘walked her talk’.  She will be remembered more particularly for her outstanding performance and achievements in two distinct areas.  One is her acknowledged success in the difficult area of ‘political reconciliation’; and the other is in the area of the ‘general Administration’ of the country’s affairs, both as Head of government, and as Head of the ruling party, CCM.

Political reconciliation

“Reconciliation” is achieved when there is an end to serious disagreement, either between individuals, or groups of individuals.

Between political parties, there will always be differences of opinion, mainly related to their different policies, and the competition between them in the quest for the opportunity to rule the country. But matters become “serious” when the party in power uses state power to suppress the parties that are in opposition. And this is what happened on two different occasions:  One was during the reign of the late President    Dr. John Pombe Magufuli of the United Republic; when some opposition cadres were forced to seek political asylum in foreign countries, allegedly for fear that their lives were in grave danger; and the other was during the reign of  Zanzibar President Dr. Salmin Amour; when a large number of cadres in the Opposition camp fled to Mombasa (Shimoni)  in  Kenya;  for the similar fear that their lives were in danger.

In one of his works, good old William Shakespeare, that famous English Playwright, gave the following warning: “Oh, it is nice to have the strength of a giant, but it is tyranny to use it like a giant”.

In the case of Zanzibar, ‘political reconciliation’ was achieved after a long process of repeated negotiations between the ruling party CCM, and the dominant Opposition party (then the Civic United Front (CUF).  Such negotiations had to be repeated three times, simply because the Agreement reached as a result of the earlier negotiations, was unceremoniously broken immediately after the following Presidential election, which the CUF candidate lost. It was only the third Agreement (MUAFAKA III) which produced lasting peace in Zanzibar, which was facilitated by the establishment of a “government of National Unity” (GNU), in 2010.

President Samia’s unique leadership style

In order to give her Administration a semblance of continuity, she tactfully invented the catchword slogan “Kazi iendelee”; while she, in fact, quietly set about introducing radical shifts from her predecessor’s hardline policies.

She was, apparently working on the basis of the ‘doctrine’ enunciated by British Labour party Prime Minister Tony Blair; who, upon winning victory in the relevant British Parliamentary election, and thus ousting the Conservative party government from power; is reported to have said the following: – “What is good and working well, we will maintain, but we will abandon all that is not so good”.

Her radical policy shifts started with the ‘Covid-19’ pandemic, which her predecessor had dismissed as a hoax.  She appointed a ‘committee of experts’ to advise her on the way forward, by proposing measures that would keep Tanzanians safe.

Then came her decision to allow ‘teen mothers’ to return to school to continue with their studies. This is another ban which had been imposed her predecessor, a measure which had been widely condemned by some of the development partners, and the human rights campaigners.

But of much greater political significance, was her lifting of the ban that had been slapped by her predecessor the Opposition political parties to hold public rallies; plus, lifting the ban on a number of media outlets; measures which were very well received by all the stakeholders.

The reconciliation process

The authorization for her to proceed with the task of reconciliation was readily given by her party CCM, in apparent compliance with the saying that “where there is a will, there is a way.  But after obtaining it, she skillfully handled the rest of the process in her own personal style, starting with the appointment of a “reconciliation committee” to do the necessary groundwork.

The positive results of her sterling stately work are wide open to everyone who cares to see them. As they say in Kiswahili: “Mwenye macho haambiwi tazama”.

Both Islam and Christian religion teaches us about the diabolical spirit of ‘revenge’, which should be shunned; and the holy nature of mercy and forgiveness; which should be embraced.

President Samia seems to have imbibed the spirit of these teachings in full measure; a factor which presumably has contribute immensely to her wisdom in managing the reconciliation process.

A bit part of President Samia’s wisdom in respect of the ‘mercy and forgiveness’ aspect, was revealed in her address to the residents of USA River minor settlement on the outskirts of Arusha City, when she said something which is akin to, or reminiscent of, the Biblical story of the ‘prodigal son’.  This is what she said (translated from Kiswahili):-

“My younger brother (Lema) said to me:  “Mama, I want to come back home. Come back now, I said to him, for we need to build our country together.  But Mama (he pleaded), there is a manufactured political case in court against me, of which I am very fearful.   Fear not Lema, I said to him, it will be terminated, using the usual court procedures” (presumably of nolle prosequi).

Obviously in full trust of the President’s word, Godbless  Lema  quickly came back from exile in Canada, and so did the other exiles, like Tundu Lissu, who had also fled the country   “for fear of their lives”.  If proof is needed in order to determine the success of President Samia’s success in the reconciliation process, this is it.

President Maaufuli’s critics

The word “criticism” is defined as ‘the act of expressing disapproval of somebody, or something’.             The late President Magufuli was severely criticized, especially by his political opponents, for what appeared to be his intention and willingness to strangle the opposition parties.

But what riles me, is the bad and unreasonable habit of some persons who continue criticizing him,  even so  long after his departure from this world.

The famous German Statesman Bismark (1815 -98), is on record as having said in his speech to the Prussian Chamber in December 1863, that “Politics is not an exact science”.

One interpretation of that statement, could be that ‘in managing politics, one is liable to make mistakes’.  The late President Magufuli did make mistakes, including that of attempting to ‘strangle the opposition parties’.   But what riles me, is the bad and unreasonable habit of some persons, who continue criticizing him even so long after his death.

For example, it was only last week that a sympathetic friend sent me a scanned newspaper cutting of an article that was recently published in the “East African” newspaper, which carries the provocative article headlined “Tanzania needs some cathartic healing from the Magufuli trauma”.  When I read it, I quickly remembered these ancient wisdom pieces: – One is William Shakespeare’s ‘observation’ in one of his famous Plays, that “the good that men do, is often interred with their bones. But the bad lives long after them.”

The late President Magufuli certainly did a lot of good things for the development of our country, but the author of the said article seems determined to let all those ’good’ things done by the late President Magufuli  be “interred with his bones”, by weirdly harping only on  the late President’s ‘bad’ deeds.

The second, is the saying of the British poet William Blake (1787 -1727), who said the following: –   “a truth that is told with bad intent,  beats all the lies you can invent”.

The tone of this writing shows clearly that the author of the said article is telling his story with such “bad intent”; i.e. with a determination to do something harmful.

The third, is our own ‘traditions and customs’; one of which advises us “not to speak ill of a dead person”, This author is clearly in blatant breach of that highly respected custom.

He may claim to be utilizing his “human right” to express his opinions.  But, as President Samia said on a recent occasion. “even human rights have their limitations”.   She was condemning the evil practices   of homosexuality, whose perpetrators also claim to be “exercising their human rights”.

As Head of the ruling party, CCM

It is a fundamental convention of Chama cha Mapinduzi, that the person who is elected to the country’s Presidency, shall also become the party’ national Chairperson. Thus, on the basis of that convention, following her elevation to the Presidency after the sudden death in office of party national Chairman Dr. John Pombe Magufuli;  Dr.  Samia Suluhu Hassan, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris causa);  was  duly  elected Chairperson of Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) on 30th April, 2021;  by an extraordinary special meeting of the ‘CCM National Congress’  which was held in Dodoma for that purpose.   And, immediately after her election, she literally “hit the ground running”; for on that same day, she got down to the serious business of appointing the group of officials who constitute the party’s Secretariat, all of whom were new faces, including the Secretary General, Daniel Chongolo.                                                                                                                                                                                    Indeed, the reform actions which she began taking to rejuvenate the party, and to re-shape the government direction, during her first few months in office, confounded the ‘doubting Thomases’ and all their accomplices.

The inherent strength of Chama cha Mapinduzi

President Samia was, in a way, lucky to have inherited a ruling party which already had “the strength of a giant” deeply embedded in it; that is securely based on the following four basic factors:- (i) It is a strongly unified party; (In its long history since independence, there has not emerged any  ‘power hungry’ monsters, who  create divisive groups or factions within the party, for the greedy purpose of helping them to acquire  power, which is often the reason which has scattered some political parties in our neighbouring countries) .                                                                                                                                                                                       (ii) The clarity of its ‘Mission’ and ‘Vision’; (as spelt out in the party Constitution).  (iii) Its successful implementation of its policies and programmes; (which are regularly articulated in its ‘Election Manifestos’ every five years).

(iv) Its strong Organizational structure; (which makes the party presence felt everywhere throughout the country, down to the ten-house ‘party Cells)’.

Her main job is thus limited to properly managing these ‘valuable assets’.

piomsekwa@gmail.com   /0754767576.

 

 

 

 

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