As the country marks the 10th death anniversary of Father of the Nation Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the spotlight is on what the Kikwete administration is doing to keep his political legacy alive, amid mounting challenges.
In assessing President Jakaya Kikwete's performance in his first five-year tenure, which ends with the elections expected in October next year, political analysts and critics have been zeroing in on the fight against corruption, which has emerged as the most daunting task. The other two notable areas are maintaining leadership ethics and fighting poverty.
Inevitably, his leadership is being judged against that of his predecessor, Mr Benjamin Mkapa, from whose tenure he inherited some of the mega corruption scandals that have tainted the image of the highly respected country that Mwalimu Nyerere led from Independence in 1961, until he retired in 1984.
But in comments, which appeared to stridently defend his leadership against recent criticism, President Kikwete said on Monday in Musoma, Mwalimu Nyerere's home region, that his government should, in fact, be lauded for its relentless war against grand corruption (See also separate story).
Addressing members of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the President said they should walk around with pride and tell the people the truth. He said that of the four administrations since Independence, his government had done the best in fighting corruption.
"If you are asked during the coming civic election campaigns, don't hesitate to tell them that what has happened in the last four years, as far as war against corruption is concerned, has never happened before," he said.
But commenting on Mwalimu Nyerere's leadership, a respected former Prime Minister, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, said that one of the key areas that had suffered a major setback in recent years was the grooming of credible future leaders.
Dr Salim, a career diplomat, who served for some time as the secretary general of the African Union and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, said Mwalimu Nyerere had meticulously moulded the entire current leadership, including President Kikwete, to play key roles in the nation.
A respected scholar, Prof Issa Shivji, who is a retired law lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam and founding head of the Nyerere Research Chair on Pan�African Studies, said though Mwalimu Nyerere was not an angel, he was a great leader. He cited integrity, as one of the strongest personal qualities of the founding President, which was inspirational.
He added: "There are his political practices; some of which need to be assessed and others cannot stand up to criticism."
The executive director of Tanzania Media Women's Association (Tamwa), Ms Ananilea Nkya, told The Citizen by telephone yesterday that declining commitment to upholding leadership ethics was an issue the Kikwete administration must treat, as an emergency to regain public confidence.
"Nowadays people run for leadership positions as opportunity to amass wealth. That is why, for instance, many of the top current leaders are businessmen,"she said.
She also said that during Mwalimu Nyerere's time, and to some extent, President Mkapa's era, there was a clear indication that their administrations cherished leadership ethics.
Ms Nkya accused the current leaders for selfishness and marginalising the majority poor fellow Tanzanians.
"That is why the gap between the poor and the rich has been growing. That is why social services are deteriorating. We can�t boast of building schools in every ward, while the services are poor and quality of education offered wanting," she said.
And addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam, the national chairman of NCCR-Mageuzi, Mr James Mbatia, also castigated the current leadership, accusing it of diverting the country from the principles set by the founding President.
Mr Mbatia charged that they had betrayed Mwalimu Nyerere, claiming that a decade after his death, the nation had gone astray, having abandoned his principles and philosophy.
"There is a widening gap between the minority and majority poor Tanzanians, which was not there during the Nyerere era," said Mr Mbatia, who has just returned from an overseas study tour.
"This is as a result of the selfishness among the leaders. They don�t think about the majority poor Tanzanians," he said.
He warned that if the people�s dignity was not protected and egalitarianism cherished, they would be forced to find a way out of their problems.
He said: "As we mark 10 years after Nyerere's death, we should ask ourselves what are we celebrating? What should Nyerere be remembered for and how far the country has implemented the legacy."
Mr Mbatia said a national forum should be organised to discuss the widening gap between the poor and rich.
In Musoma, President Kikwete said the Government would not hesitate to take appropriate action against people suspected of engaging in acts of corruption.
"But given the current situation, where good governance is emphasised, we will not embark on arresting people on suspicion. We have to look for concrete evidence before taking anyone to court," he said.
He advised the CCM leaders to campaign for the civic elections confidently, as the Government had done a lot to solve the country's problems.
"We have done many things. We promised and we have delivered and will continue to implement what we have planned in order fulfil our promises. It is true that problems will never end, but it is also true that what was promised has been implemented," he said.
In his interview with The Citizen, Dr Salim, who has lately been occupied with the UN's panel of wise men, described Mwalimu Nyerere as someone who often followed up issues very closely.
"You had to be very well prepared before going to meet him for briefing,"he said.
His strictness aside, Mwalimu Nyerere was a very nice person to work with, Dr Salim said, adding that the late leader was also colour blind and never cared about creed or tribe of those he associated with.
Another Mwalimu legacy, he added, was his vision of the United Republic of Tanzania, "which remains fundamentally different from how many of people today still see the union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar".
Dr Salim added: "Granted, the union was born out of a legal framework, but Mwalimu wanted it to pulsate with the greater spirit of goodwill and mutual understanding that transcended the legalistic bonds. Whether he was right or not, only time will tell."
But on the Union issue, CUF secretary general Seif Sharif Hamad saw Mwalimu Nyerere as wanting, saying there were many things he did not do so well as far as Zanzibar was concerned.
"I feel that he had a tendency of pushing Zanzibar too far. But he did it so tactically that it was not possible to openly see that he was dictating things. There are many issues during the CCM Central Committee meetings, which eventually contributed to our fallout from the party. It was how he treated Zanzibar," he said.
He said that even after retiring, Mwalimu Nyerere was not only advising, as "there is evidence that he was dictating things behind the scenes, some of which were very serious and the people were implementing what he said."
A University of Dar es Salaam lecturer, Dr Azaveli Lwaitama, also castigated the current leadership�s lack of commitment to ethics.
"In the last 10 years, but more so in the last five years, the top crop of CCM leaders has continued to be drawn from the fairly better off business or professional classes than from the low income earning working people.
"This is partly as a result of the relaxation, via the adoption of the 1991 Zanzibar Resolution, of the stringency with which CCM leaders were expected to adhere to the provisions of leadership code of ethics enshrined in the Arusha Declaration," he said.
Today, he added, most CCM regional party chairpersons and National Executive Committee members are drawn from the business or professional classes.
Wednesday, October 14
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