Someone asked me on Twitter why Tanzanian politics are so inscrutable from outside the country. I had every intention of blogging about that* but this week has kept me busy being glued to various media, parsing what's going on in the wake of CCM's houseparty last weekend. Observing the losers. Listening to what the opposition parties are saying, and not saying, between the lines.
I imagine meandering through some thoughts about silence of Edward Lowassa's resounding silence, Kingunge Ngombale-Mwiru's offerings, the varying shades of graciousness with which the defeated conceded defeat et cetera would have been a step in the direction of de-mystifying our politics. But the truth is, that's just some damn hard slog and tricky too. Just because I try to observe the currents of the ocean that is our political system does not mean I can be definitive about what goes on beneath the epipelagic zone.
The current challenge, for example, is to peer through the thicket of gossip that has sprung up. Is UKAWA breaking apart? Is Lowassa going to leave CCM and join another party? Who exactly was that guy caught with the 700 million shillings (cash) going to bribe in Dodoma? Nobody buys the excuse that he was going to pay some local agriculturalists for their crops. Puh-leeeez. We're vaguely embarrassed on his behalf because being caught greasing palms is just so amateur-sad.
Anyways, this week I kept the focus on what I believe will be my main area of interest for the coming elections. Talking about politicians is being done exceedingly well by other content producers, and besides I have no intention of being accused by the rest of the peanut gallery of having favorites. I might be easily seduced, but you know, that does mean that I am easily seduced. My voracious political promiscuity is a source of pride. So instead, let me focus on the media, and we the peeps.
"The opposition has by no means been neglected, especially not the coalition dubbed UKAWA that sprang up around defending the proposed constitution from CCM's greedy clutches. Having failed to produce Presidential candidates immediately after the GoP, they are being actively stalked by the Fourth Estate. As are all politicians: whoever dares to offer a statement does not lack for a forest of microphones and cameras into which to direct their efforts. There is also an abundance of wits to make short work of said statements, and where appropriate, the lack of any statements at all. Even the licking of wounds incurred in the battle for power cannot benefit from the safety of silence.
We The Votership have never enjoyed such a rich diet. Apparently politicians do taste good, and I sincerely hope that the media will keep on feeding us like this."
*I am thinking of giving this one time. Ten years ago I wrote a thesis which ultimately resulted in a job where I could offer my unsolicited opinions to my government and society (yay!). Am thinking that every decade is a decent amount of time to accept the challenge of doing something like that again in the hopes of attracting opportunities to keep being a public bore.