The ‘Lucrative’ presidency of President Mama Suluhu Hassan

The word “lucrative” is normally used in commercial terms, to describe a successful business , which is making, or is likely to make,  good money.  But, in my humble opinion, considering the huge reliefs and benefits that are accruing to the people of Tanzania as a result of President Samia’s heavy investments in the construction of the necessary social and economic infrastructures country wide ;  her Presidency has  definitely  become  ‘lucrative’  or ‘profitable’  business,  for  the people of Tanzania.  And that is the context in which I have used the word ‘lucrative’ in the heading of this presentation.

William Shakespeare, that famous English Play wright of the sixteenth century, wrote the following in his  Play  titled  “Twelfth Night”: “Some are born great; some achieve greatness; and  some have greatness thrust upon them”.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan  of the United Republic of Tanzania; perhaps had “greatness thrust upon her” when she was peacefully elevated to the Presidency  two years ago  by simple operation of the  country’s constitution, upon President John Pombe Magufuli’s sudden death, on 17th march, 2021. But in the meantime she has, indeed, “achieved greatness” through her own sterling performance efforts.

She must, presumably  also have been “born great”; in view of the gender obstacle which stood in her way  during her consideration at the ruling party’s  highest leadership  level  for the position of  ‘running mate’  for the 2015 Presidential election.

I was at that time CCM Vice Chairman for Manland Tanzania, and therefore a member of CCM’s “Baraza la Ushauri la Viongozi Wakuu Wastaafu” which is established by section of 123 (1) of the Chama cha Mapinduzi constitution, 1977; and its functions are prescribed in section 123 (3).  They are, primarily  “to give advice to the party and its governments” on issues of exceptional  national importance.

President Jakaya  Kikwete apparently felt the the choice of the presidential  ‘running mate’  was one of such exceptional importance, so he decided to consult the  said  ‘Baraza la Ushauri’.  Former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi was the Chairman of this Baraza, and I was its Secretary,

I was present at that special session of this Baraza, and can clearly remember the issues that were presented  by the President Jakaya Kikwete for consideration and advise.

He informed us  that the incoming President Magufuli had two candidates in mind, namely;  Hussein Ali Mwinyi (the current Zanzibar President); and Samia Suluhu Hassan (the current Union President).

The main issue to be considered was “whether the Wananchi  of  Tanzania were ready to be governed by a female President; should the President become incapacitated by disease or other cause, and thus becomes unable to govern the country”;  which is provided for in article 37 (2) of the country’s constitution.

This shows that the female gender of Samia Suluhu Hassan, was considered an obstacle,  which might lead to her rejection by the voters, and consequently the rejection of both the Presidential candidate himself his running mate!  Fortunately, the Baraza quickly dismissed such fears as totally unfounded, and  Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan was chosen as  the ‘running mate’ for the 2015 Presidential election; and became the Vice President after CCM had won that  election.

She was picked again, this time without any difficulty, for the 2020 Presidential election, and  again, she became the Vice President after winning that election.

But, unfortunately, President Magufulii’s suddenly died only a few months into his second term, on March 17th, 2021; and the same doubts about the capability of a  female President to manage the affairs of the nation,  were raised again,  by some people;  who harboured the unreasonable doubt that she would surely fail. These are known in Biblical parlance as  the “doubting Thomases”.

President Samia’s sterling performance, has proved that they were shamefully wrong.

There is a little  nursery school story  that I heard being told one  day, about a baby mosquito’s  exciting adventure, when it  flew out for its first time, and found itself among a small gathering of human beings. On returning home.

The baby insect report the good news of its ‘grand reception’ by human beings:-  “Wow’’, it exclaimed  excitedly to its parents, “everyone whom I approached, clapped his hands to welcome me”.

The insect’s father’s response ws:  “congratulations son, for successful adventure, and the that pleasant experience you have gained today”.

But the mother said: Listen son, these people were not welcoming you at all.  You should understand that they were, instead, trying to kill you! The moral of this story is that some women have greater wisdom than their men. This should be a good lesson for those men who tend to belittle the women’s intellectual capacity.

Mama  Samia Suluhu Hassan takes on the mantle of the of Union President.

Following her accession to the Presidency of the United Republic in March 2021, Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan quickly ”hit the ground running” and many appreciative Tanzanians,  in the various  sectors of the Public Service, and   the Private Sector; plus many other Organisations and Establishments, offered their sincere congratulations,  and well wishes; plus expressing  their full confidence in her capacity to perform well in her new role.

These sentiments were repeated by the country’s religious leaders of all denominations in April, during their Easter celebration sermons; when these leaders additionally  called upon  all Tanzanians to pray for her and her new govern, asking the almighty God to grant divine guidance to her, and to constantly guide her in  the performance of her presidential duties.

These well wishes and prayers, were apparently not just wasted, for they seemingly have helped President Samia to “achieve greatness” as Tanzania’s President, even  during her  initial two years in that office.

According to article 40 (4), President Samia Suluhu Hassan is entitled to seek re-election only once, that is to say, only in 2030.   Thus, if though her singular efforts, she has managed to achieve such pronounced “greatness”; we should reasonably expect her to achieve enhanced “greatness”  during her remaining term in that office.

Regarding the  her gender,  she herself  showed that she was fully aware of the presence of the doubting Thomases mentioned above; and took the earliest opportunity to assure the public, in her maiden  “Address to Parliament’ delivered on 22nd April, 2021; in which she said the following;-

“Kwa kuwa ni mara ya kwanza  katika historia ya nchi yetu kupata Rais mwanamke, najua kwamba  watakuwapo baadhi ya watu wanaodhani kuwa sitoweza kubeba majukumu mazito ya Urais. Nataka kuwaondoa hofu, kwa kusema kuwa  Mwenyezi Mungu hakuumba ubongo dhaifu kwa mwanamke na ubongo imara kwa mwanaume,  La hasha.Wote tulizaliwa tukiwa sawa; isipokuwa ni kwamba malezi na umakini wa akili ya mtu, unategemea jamii inayomlea, pamoja na shughuli zinazomzunguka.                                                                                         Nataka kuwahakikishieni kwamba mimi nimekuzwa katika jamii sahihi, na kwamba ninao uzoefu wa kutosha wa kazi za umma”.

This sentimental statement by President Samia, reminds me of  a similar statement  which was made by  Queen Elizabeth 1 of England,  when her country was under the serious threat of being invaded by King Phillip  II of Spain in 1588:-   “I know I have the weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a King, and the King of England too”.

This is  part of  ‘European History’ which we were taught during my student days. It is about  the Spanish King who had sent a fleet of 130 ships transporting his large army, on a mission to invade England and overthrow the heretical Queen Elizabeth 1.  But the invaders were disrupted by English fire ships off Gravelines.

They suffered further losses from the Atlantic storms, and returned to Spain with only 86 ships”. In the words of the British national anthem ”God had saved their  gracious Queen”.  And to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, England minted a special medallion, with the Latin inscription “Flavit deus et dissipate sunt” (God blew, and they were scattered).

 In her other role as CCM Chairperson

The relevant books of authority inform us that “in all properly functioning parliamentary democracies,  political parties play a pivotal role to play, by providing a stable base for the operations of the government of the day,  in the country’s governance operations”.  The ruling party (CCM)  has, similarly, been providing a  stable base for President Samia’s  governance.

In continuation of CCM’s tradition of “kofia mbili” for Presidents who are elected to that high office on the party’s ticket, President Samia Suluhu Hassan was elected CCM national Chairperson on 30th ,April,  2021.  The expression “kofia  mbili” (wearing two hats),  refers to the CCM convention  which provides that  ‘the person who becomes the Union President,  shall also become CCM’s national Chairperson’.

There was a time in the past, when this convention applied also to the party cadres  who were appointed Regional Commissioners and District Commissioners, who also became the Regional or District party Secretaries in their  respective Administrative areas; but this practice was discontinued in 1983, when it was decided  that  these positions shall be held by different persons; thus confining the privilege of “wearing two hats” only to the Union President, plus the Zanzibar President, who becomes the national Vice Chairman of the party  for Zanzibar.

In her role and capacity as the apex leader of the ruling party, she has attracted overwhelming   support from the party, and particularly from UWT, which is the women’s  powerful wing of the ruling party.

But even the results of her election demonstrably showed the  high level of acceptance  that she was enjoying;  for she obtained 100 per cent  of all the votes cast by the 1,700+  conference delegates; whereas, with the exception only of Mwalimu Nyerere, all her other predecessors had always receive a number of dissenting votes, albeit very few.

A bright star that shines in the morning.

A Kiswahili proverb says  “Nyota njema huonekana asubuhi”.  This is precisely what Tanzanians have witnessed during the first two years of Mama Samia’s Presidency. She has clearly demonstrated that she will maintain her predecessor’s  high tempo of constructing  public (both mega and minor) development  infrastructures. But she has also demonstrated, equally clearly, that she is determined to chart her own governance direction, of the kind that some observers had not expected;  as evidenced by her introduction of her 4Rs philosophy.

The abbreviation “ 4Rs”  represents:  Reconciliation; Resilience,  Reform; and Rebuilding; whose implementation has greatly contributed to the maintenance of the  country’s peace and tranquility;  indeed,  a welcome ‘breath of fresh air’.

But  with regard  to sectoral infrastructure development, I must acknowledge the fact  that  even our small-size, geographically isolated, Ukerewe Islands  District, has hugely  benefitted from President Samia’s  equitable distribution of  development projects resources,  particularly in the health, education, and transport sectors. The residents of this District  are full of admiration and gratitude, for the unprecedented  large share of resources  being allocated to Ukerewe by President Samia Suluhu Hassan ; specifically  in the construction, or rehabilitation of the infrastructures  in the  above mentioned  health, education, and transport sectors.

The construction of ferries which provide a reliable connection between the largest island and the smaller ones of Bwiro, Kamasi, and Ghana; is particularly impressive, and will greatly improved the lives of the residents of these densely populated islands.  The longtime residents of Ukerewe, like myself, have never   seen such massive government investments coming to our  islands!   /0754767576.

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