Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Independent candidates and other excitingly murky political developments

Some days, it all comes together beautifully. I have been procrastinating about doing some research on MP performance in Bunge when I stumbled across this article. Apparently Twaweza has been there and done that. When I get my hands on the actual report, I plan to mine for information about the female MPs and the young MPs because I am sure there is something exciting going on there.

Another process I have been keeping half an eye on is the Independent Candidate issue and today's main story in the Daily News was wonderful in that regard. As the story goes, our constitution makes allowances for independent candidates to stand for election...which was conveniently irrelevant until we actually went multi-party in 1992. I remember my mother describing her voting experience during those days- apparently there would only be the CCM candidate on the ballot. What an embarrassment of choices. Do you vote yea? Do you vote nea? I can't believe anyone bothered getting out of bed to do this.

Anyways, recently the Reverend Christopher Mtikila- a politician after my own heart who specializes in activism using the court room as his battleground- petitioned the government to allow private candidates in 2005. The High Court saw nothing unconstitutional in his petition, and in May of 2006 'gave the AG between the date of delivery of the judgement and the next general elections to put in place a legislative mechanism that would allow private candidates to participate in elections alongside those representing political parties.' The government, naturally, appealed.
February 2010: the government has just remembered it hasn't taken care of the independent candidate problem and there are only ten months and maybe four Bunge sessions left to push through antagonistic legislation. So the Deputy Attorney General shows up in front of seven justices of the High Court to fix the matter by claiming that the government's appeal against the High Court's decision is 'a stay of execution upon the decision sought to be appealed against'. Mr. Masaju was met with this gem:

"We wish to refresh the memories of the learned Deputy Attorney General and his team that an appeal does not operate as an automatic stay [...] as it is at the moment and onward to the General Elections in October is what the High Court has decided, that is, independent candidates are allowed."

Apparently not all our public servants are comatose at the wheel, and I intend to savor this moment in our political development because some other issues are defying my comprehension: the legalities of the proposed coalition government in Zanzibar. Does anyone out there have a clue to spare? I can't tell what my fellow citizens are thinking or intending, exactly, over there on the island and I have a horrible suspicion that they don't know either. Also, Freeman Mbowe's newspaper has been saying some strange things about it and it is giving me a headache.


  1. You can find the MP report at

  2. Our politicians have taken us for fools, they have self-proclaim themselves as rulers and we as the ruled class.
    Most of them are there to serve their own self interests. I am not surprised with the stats about their contribution in the parliament, they are now busy helping themselves.


  3. Great post! I read the Citizen article which is fascinating and really rather well written.

    Thank you Mr Anonymous for telling us where we can read the full report...I typed 'uswazi' instead of 'uwazi' in my Google search...a classic Freudian slip.

    If Bunge was allocated TZS 62 billion, it is possible to calculate the value of each intervention and see which MPs deliver the greatest value for money (or how much 'hot air' costs).

  4. Faustine- with today's news that Richmond has been laid to rest with no fanfare, I am inclined to agree with you. I had such high hopes at this time two years ago...

    Aidan- Jinx! Just need to find the stats on what MPs officially cost us per head, and start breaking that down into Tshs per Hot Air Minute.

  5. ...I am disappointed with this parliament which wanted us to expect "Speed and Standards". I have seen neither. You can read my incomprehensible thoughts about our parliament here:

  6. One step forward, 20 steps back...

    I suspect your headache was caused by the fact that the article was in Kiswahili. :)

    Ha! word verification is minsc. As in truth and justice in TZ is min(s)cing along!


No biting, spitting, trolling or ugly insults- only pretty ones allowed.

A little birdie told me...

Follow MikocheniReport on Twitter