Sunday, October 18, 2015

CCM, Chadema ride on anti-poverty and corruption promises

As campaigns wind down, Tanzanian voters must now choose between Chama cha Mapinduzi candidate Dr John Magufuli and Chadema’s Edward Lowassa, the main contenders for the country’s presidency.

In their campaigns, both sides agree on one thing: The outgoing administration has left most Tanzanians in abject poverty, and presided over rising corruption.

The leading candidates have, therefore, both been campaigning on a platform of change.

Dr Magufuli has promised to fight corruption by establishing a special court, in essence admitting that his party has failed to deal with the problem. He has also promised to tackle unemployment.

Another favourite pledge of the works minister, with his reputation for hard work, is to rid the civil service of lazy workers to improve delivery of services to citizens.

Other promises, trotted out during campaign rallies by the presidential candidate include poverty alleviation, improving security, improving infrastructure and the economy in general and reviving industries.

Chadema’s promises on the other hand include ending unemployment, free education from primary to tertiary level, revival of the railways, welfare of farmers, increased investment in agriculture, support for industries to generate jobs, addressing transport within the cities and ensuring adequate  water supply.

A psychologist and political activist Prof Kitila Mkumbo says CCM’s promise to create a specialised anti-corruption court is mere rhetoric because “institutions to deal with corruption already exist — namely the judiciary and Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) — but these have remained toothless because of the weaknesses in the system of the day.”

Mr Lowassa’s most prominent promises are improving education, helping petty traders flourish and allowing farmers to sell their products in any market of their choices.

He has promised to solve the country’s power woes and allow small miners to benefit from the rich mineral resources around the country, and to review all mining contracts in order to ensure that they benefit Tanzanians.

However, Mr Lowassa’s critic, former leader of the Tanzania Youth Coalition Humphrey Polepole, says the emphasis should have been in solving unemployment first, a critical challenge that has caused young people to lean towards the opposition.

The only female presidential candidate, Anna Mghwira from Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT), says her first priority will be to uphold the principles of the Arusha Declaration which had set forth the country’s leadership codes. According to her, all woes in Tanzania emanate from poor leadership.

But her critics call her a novice in politics who has no clear plan of how to implement this.

Prof Benedict Mongula lecturer in development studies, says it is very difficult to entrust the State House to a person without any kind of formal experience in leadership.

The selection of running mates has been of particular interest though. CCM running mate Samia Suluhu Hassan was picked with an agenda of attracting women voters.
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