Saturday, August 7, 2010

Despot Needed, Please Enquire Inside.

So, the people have spoken via a non-scientific blog poll and they have said loud and clear that they aren't too strongly attached to their personal freedoms. 50% of respondents are in favor of a benevolent dictatorship, two people want in on Perfect Steak Quest, two of you don't care how things get done so long as they are done, and one person is actually in favor of democracy (and the sole winner of the Mikocheni Report Virtual Hug Prize).

Seriously? I guess it is a good thing we're not having a referendum about this democracy business.

Still, I think that this year's elections are already proving to be extraordinary because of the heightened focus on the primary stages, the parliamentary candidates and local government elections. We're expanding and improving our democracy even as we express our discontent with it. Typical.


  1. To be honest with you, I think those who express a yearning for a benevolent dictator ala Kagame are a small minority of elites. As you are suggesting, for the majority of people who voted and actively took part in the recent primary campaigns and elections have no desire for such a leadership. We already had one in Mwalimu. And while we still revere our late President, we are not sure his model of governance was the best one. Hence, the excitement in the up coming general elections, both here and in Zanzibar, which promise to be the most open since the birth of our great nation.

  2. Isn't there a little bit of hypocrisy in giving the SOLE person in favor of democracy a 'virtual hug' as you said.

    Its a bit undemocratic don't you think, when you force a 'democratic' structure on a citizenry that would prefer a different kind of social and political setup?

    @shurufu if you look at the people who actively engaged in the primaries, you do see a strengthening of democratic resolve, but perhaps that is because it is the only option. In fact, I disagree with you in saying that these elections could promise to be the most open. Open for who? Definitely not potential candidates, when the democratic structure is designed to force a sizable 'investment' to win, (deep pockets or friends with deep pockets). Is it possible you are calling the wrong people elitist?

  3. @HJ: Fine, you can have a virtual hug too. All you had to do was ask. One of the delicious ironies of democracy is that it has almost always been imposed undemocratically, especially in the post-colonial world. But you raise an interesting question: what different kind of social and political set-up might people living within the imaginary boundaries of the social construct we call Tanzania (or Shurufu calls 'our great nation') be interested in? Any suggestions as to how to investigate that? Definitely a cool project for REDET at UDSM.

    @Shurufu: I don't know that it is necessarily an elitist impulse to crave paternalistic governance but I hope so since elites can always be outvoted and even occasionally outwitted. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: once our new parliament is in we will see how well or poorly the votership has performed in selecting legislators. Making allowances, of course, for electoral 'irregularities' that are bound to take place.


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

A little birdie told me...

Follow MikocheniReport on Twitter