|Political Parties and Democracy in Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam University Press, 1994, 228 p.)|
|Chapter 2: Political Parties in Tanzania|
In order to have an indepth appreciation of the organization of the new political parties in Tanzania, we shall consider some features of the set up of a select group of the new political parties one after the other.
(i) The National Convention for Construction and Reform (NCCR-Mageuzi)
The National Convention for Construction and Reform or simply the NCCR-Mageuzi, finds its roots in a civil rights movement. Of the four political parties we have designated above as major, the NCCR-Mageuzi has todate demonstrated a very high degree of organizational competence, internal cohesion and commitment to their party's course.
One of the essential commitments of this political party is the creation of a democratic environment that is conducive for the operation of a multiparty system. They have pioneered the call for a broad based constitutional conference and the repeal of the 40 undemocratic laws as recommended by the Nyalali Commission as some of the necessary infrastructural construction for the operation of a democratic society.
On their own part, unlike the other parties, major or minor, their commitment to democracy has been demonstrated by the use of elections as a means to fill up leadership positions at all levels. In early March, 1994 they completed this exercise by a very well organized national party convention attended by elected representatives from the regions and districts at which the national leadership was elected.
Organizationally, the NCCR-M is headed by a National Chairman and the day to day running of the party is overseen by a Secretary General under whom are leaders of various departments: Finance, Mobilization, Youths etc. The structure is constitutionally supposed to be replicated at regional and district levels but this bureaucratic structure is far from complete because the Party is yet to establish itself firmly in other areas of the country. In those other areas, the NCCR-M has posted officials only.
There is supposed to be an NCCR-Mageuzi leadership structure for Zanzibar whose election is yet to take place. And this is one of the very unique features of the NCCR-M Organizational Structure. They refer to an NCCR-M Chairman in Zanzibar as if it is a different party.
One of the biggest assets of the NCCR-M is their internal cohesion, commitment and capacity for intra party conflict resolution. In terms of cohesion and maturity at conflict resolution, where other parties have completely disintegrated, the NCCR-Mageuzi have speedily been able to mend cracks in it when they occurred and moved forward as demonstrated at the national convention at which funds to meet conference expenses "went missing" and nearly paralysed the proceedings. Both party sympathizers and members came to its rescue through immediate donations and contributions.
The NCCR-Mageuzi, by and large, is a party of the Youth and middle aged people although one can also find a number of seniors in it. Although not formerly so recognized, the NCCR-Mageuzi enjoys a lot of its support from the youths, academics, and the newly employed. This includes also those in the informal sector, a constituency that is fiercely contested also by the incumbent party CCM and also forms the basis of Reverend Mtikila's movement or unregistered party, the Democratic Party (DP). So the NCCR-M appears to have a defined and clearer constituency they are addressing.
Being a party of essentially the youth, the NCCR-Mageuzi is a party of very energetic people who work diligently mainly on a volunteer basis. The mobilization team they mounted for the Ileje by-election bares testimony to this inspite of their modest win of only 5.0 percent.
On the whole, the NCCR-Mageuzi has a potential to grow into a solid opposition and possibly capture power in due course. This is because of its relative organizational capabilities and the support that it enjoys from a cross-section of society but particularly the youths and the intelligentsia, a sector with the capacity to influence people's opinions.
The NCCR-Mageuzi are also endowed by a publicity network which however is essentially urban based. The NCCR-M occasional newsletters serve to spread their message. Also one or two Swahili Weeklies appear to support the NCCR-M.
(ii) Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA)
The Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) is another very promising political party. As it was alluded to earlier under the classification of the parties, CHADEMA's most attention is on the economy and therefore appeals more to that section of the indigenous population that is business oriented including former senior government and parastatal officials.
This social character of CHADEMA is yet to become clearer since some of this same business and government officials maintain close association with the party in power in order to keep secure their business and consultancy contracts.
At the same time there is more "confidence building" kind of relationship between the Chadema leadership and the regime in power as indicated by frequent consultations (relative to other parties) that are usually made between them. CHADEMA is also enjoying a relatively greater amount of tolerance, from the regime in power. While the rest of the opposition parties and especially the NCCR-Mageuzi are the punching bags of the regime in power, relatively milder remarks are made against CHADEMA. There may be several reasons to explain this. One may simply be generational. The top level CHADEMA leadership, especially its chairman and its secretary general, mirror the age group that is currently in power and in fact they just previously were occupying adjacent offices with those who still are in government.
But more importantly is the second assumption. The regime in power has significantly changed its basis of support from the general masses towards the business elite. In this regard the CCM and Government leadership may see itself as soon retiring from public office to private business where CHADEMA appears to already have its foothold. CHADEMA therefore could, in the eyes of CCM and the government leadership be viewed as future partners in business and in politics who should not be antagonized at present.
To some extent, like the NCCR-Mageuzi, CHADEMA leadership has demonstrated great cohesion and commitment to democracy. Elections for the National leadership have already been made and ideally this is to filter down to the lower levels, where presently they simply have offices and officials.
As was the case with the NCCR-Mageuzi, CHADEMA are likely to grow into a powerful opposition party. Their participation in the Kigoma by-election in February gave them an impressive 35.5 percentage of the votes cast suggesting in a sense their strength in organization and resources.
In the actual organization, CHADEMA is modelled along the CCM line with a National Chairman and two Vice Chairmen, one for each of the two regions that form the Union. But in the actual operation, CHADEMA appears to be a party of and for the mainland. The Zanzibar side appears to have its own autonomy as revealed in the conflicting decisions to participate or not in the Kwahani by-election. CHADEMA in Zanzibar decided contrary to the decision by the union leadership.
(iii) The Civic United Front
The Civic united Front is a political party that is infested with issues that we are still attempting to interpret. It is increasingly becoming evident even to the casual observer that this is a party with two but possibly three factions:
(a) CUF (Chama cha Wananchi - CCW) featuring James Mapalala. It is mainland based, anti CCM and professing the philosophy of Utajirisho (Enrichment).
(b) CUF (Hamad) featuring Vice Chairman Seif Sherrif Hamad. Zanzibar based, centred on the island of Pemba. It is anti Union, anti CCM and possibly pro 1964 Revolution exile forces.
(c) CUF (Shabaan Mloo and Haji Pandu) featuring the CUF Secretary general Shaaban Khamis Mloo who with CUF (Hamad) and the United Peoples Democratic Party (UPDP) under Abdallah Seleman together formed the Zanzibar based Anti CCM Movement, the KAMAHURU or the Zanzibar United Front (ZUF). CUF Mloo is anti CCM anti Exile Forces. Probably could gain the African people constituency if the issue takes a clearer form.
The difference between CUF (CCW) and CUF (ZUF) has to do with the distinct character of politics in Zanzibar. From our experience with pre-revolution politics and pre-multiparty politics in Zanzibar, there are all indications to suggest that the emerging multiparty politics in Zanzibar is going to be a replay of the pre-revolution politics in Zanzibar under seemingly new political parties.
No wonder then that CUF is just a front so tailored to suit the legal demands for political party registration but in essence these are two different political parties organizationally, in terms of method of work and philosophy. CUF (CCW) has always had a statement of philosophy which gives it direction: "Utajirisho" (Enrichment). CUF (ZUF) had been silent on this. It merely talked about programmes: industrialization, housing etc. It is only recently that both CUF (CCW) and CUF (ZUF) have zeroed in on the philosophy of Utajirisho. This may bridge the rift that previously existed. Still, CUF (CCW) as a matter of policy is ready to participate in the political process, through elections.
This regionalist organizational issue is not peculiar to CUF however. As indicated earlier, NCCR-Mageuzi have a specific leadership structure for Zanzibar. Even CCM itself, with a longer history of closer working relationship between its founding parties, has an elaborate leadership structure for Zanzibar which deals with the specific issues of politics in the area. So it seems that CUF as much as CCM and others, recognizes the need to have an organ which can squarely play the politics of that region as defined by the peculiar situation there.
The only uniqueness of CUF (ZUF) in this regard is that unlike the other opposition groups, it appears to have the popularity and vitality sufficient to cause serious anxiety in the CCM camp in Zanzibar. Sometimes CUF (ZUF) exploits this opening to play politics with the regime in power in a non conventional way such as through confrontational methods of calling for civil disobedience, its leaders playing president with a motorcade ride behind a well attended but unauthorized rally etc. This approach has in our opinion contributed to the hardening of the regime in power such that it has opted for use of more repressive (may be old revolutionary) methods as the only appropriate means to deal with the opposition.
Of late, the rift in CUF has taken two important dimensions. One is between the Chairman, James Mapalala, and some members who accuse him of personalizing the party. Mapalala has subsequently sent those members to court for allegedly ploting to assassinate him. But the most dramatic aspect of the ongoing case at the writing of this book is that the CUF Secretary General, Shabaan Khamis Mloo, has accused Mr. Mapalala of dictatorial management of the party.
The other dimension of the current conflict in CUF is between some prominent members of the CUF and Vice-Chairman, Seif Sheriff Hamad. Hamad has been accused of selling out to Islamic Fundamentalists and Arab Exile forces based particularly in the United Arab Emirates and to the former CCM National Chairman. In the sell out to the Islamic Fundamentalists and Arab Exile forces, Hamad is accused of ploting to Islamize and Arabise the Party, Zanzibar and possibly the United Republic.
On this point, in our book the Anti Climax in Kwahani, Zanzibar (1993)7 we did find out that there was a shared feeling among particularly people of African Origin that Hamad did have this hidden agenda. The current accusations may only serve to confirm our previous findings.
The question of Hamad's sell out to Nyerere arises out of two secret meetings Hamad is alleged to have had with him in August at which it is further alleged that Hamad requested for Nyerere's support to gain the Zanzibar presidency in exchange for a commitment to further the later, creation, the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. The secret meetings were certainly held. What exactly transpired between them is anybody's guess. The big question however is, on which points could Nyerere and Hamad come together? Answering that question is just as difficult as even contemplating Nyerere hosting Hamad in the first place. In any event such is the conflict at present in the CUF camp that it has reduced the credible status of a one time seemingly solid party.
(iv) The Union for multi-Party Democracy (UMD)
While the CUF is only likely to split into two or three parts, the UMD has actually disintegrated into three factions: UMD - Abdallah Fundikira, featuring the founder of the party. Chief Abdallah Fundikira; UMD - Tumbo, featuring the Secretary General, Kasanga Tumbo and UMD - Cheyo, featuring the previous UMD financier John Cheyo, now leader of a splinter party - the United Democratic Party (UDP). The factional conflict within the UMD is yet to be fully resolved. It was both legal and political. Legal because the conflict had been taken to court but later settled out of court. The most difficult is the political conflict. Kasanga Tumbo managed to convene a UMD "National Congress" at which elections were held with Kasanga Tumbo himself being elected Chairman. It would seem that Tumbo had been able to leave with him the largest section of the UMD constituency which he was likely to retain if he decided to form a fresh party and leave UMD original to Fundikira. John Cheyo was fast enough to organize a fresh party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), which secured its full registration on March 24th, 1994. He is likely to use his financial resources to attract UMD members from Fundikira's and Tumbo's factions to his UDP.
In August this year, however, through the efforts of the registrar of political parties, Mr. Fundikira and Mr. Tumbo declared a reconciliation and called upon the members of both factions to reunite in the first UMD with Fundikira as Chairman and Tumbo as Secretary General.
While this may be a positive move for the party, the test of a reconciled party will be at the National Conference, the Registrar has demanded that it be called to elect the UMD leadership if the party is to avoid cancellation of its registration certificate.
(v) The Character of the rest of the new Political Parties
The rest of the political parties are yet to establish themselves and become a force at least that which approximates what we have designated as major opposition parties. Going by the by-election results in April, 1993 in Kwahani, Zanzibar, Ileje in Mbeya and Kigoma Urban in Kigoma region as well as the results of the Civil election at hamlet and street levels, there is promise in Mwakitwange's PONA and Kambona's TADEA.
PONA and TADEA secured 2.68% and 2.81% of the votes in Ileje respectively, while they managed a mere 1.10% and 0.16 percent of votes in Kigoma respectively. But these and other relatively minor political parties have had their own share of leadership conflict. PONA has suffered the defection back to CCM of their Vice President, Mr. Nyimbo. In the TADEA camp one cannot tell in whose leadership the party is! Is it under its guardian and founder Oscar Kambona, or its interim president. Flora Kambona, or its outspoken Secretary General Lifa Chipaka?
The TPP had perhaps been the first to show serious features of conflict from as early as 1993 with the defection of its Zanzibar vice president, Mr. Boniface Yustin Ngodas and later its mainland vice president Mr. Leons Ngalai, thereby leaving the entire party almost exclusively in the interesting leadership of its founder Dr. Alec Humphrey Che-Mponda.
An Appraisal of the Internal set Up of the New Political Parties
The internal set up of the New Political Parties has been influenced by a number of factors. The first factor is the CCM legacy. The incumbent Party, CCM, has left behind institutionalized arrangements which in many ways have a significant bearing upon the new political parties. One of these arrangements is the party organization. As it will be explained in the relevant section later, the incumbent party at its peak, in the late 1970's to mid 1980's, had created an elaborate bureaucratic machinery at National, Regional and District levels and attempts were in progress to do the same at lower levels at the branch and cell. Such an organization may be important for certain party functions although it is not the only party organizational model. It is a model which assume substantial resource endowment in terms of funds and personnel.
When the new political parties came into being, even when CCM itself was shedding off some of this excessive bureaucratic weight due to resource limitations, some of the new political parties were making attempts at replicating CCM's old set up.
Apart from the organizational arrangement, perhaps one of the most intoxicating legacy which CCM may have passed on to the new political parties is the authoritarian style of work. CCM was run by a select group of party executives with little democracy within the larger institution. Most of the new political parties have, for whichever reasons are given as a justification, not extricated themselves form this model. This is what has led other analysts of the democratic transition in Africa to argue that the single party system has simply multiplied itself for as many times as there are new political parties.
Apart from the factor of the incumbent party, a unique conditioning force influencing the set up of the new political parties in Tanzania is the Union Question. Here there is the unresolved problem between the legal provision which requires political parties to have a union character and the evergrowing anti-union movement. In our distinction of the new political parties we shall demonstrate how formerly the new political parties seemingly appear to abide by the legal provisions, when de facto, organizationally, all the parties (including CCM) have a regionalist organizational form.
The overall level of Tanzanian societal development is the other critical factor which explains the set up of the new political parties. This will simply be enumerated as expressing itself in terms of:
- The mainly urban biased character of the parties following the lopsided development of the society. Thus parties will only be found in only accessible urban areas.
- Little political penetration because of the underdeveloped character of the civil society that is to support it. This express itself in the absence of lower level party organizations.
- Little resource base. This aspect inhibits the parties from making more headway in organizational work including financing some of the critical party activities, for example, national party congresses.
- Lack of physical infrastructure to facilitate political penetration, and interest aggregation.
But perhaps one other important factor which accords with the internal make up of the new political parties is the social basis of the parties leadership. As we noted earlier the leadership of most of the new parties is elitist in character. Being elite, their interest is directed towards the struggle with the regime in power for control of the state as a means through which they can accumulate resources. Their interest is not rooted in the conditions of the masses. Such leadership is therefore likely to be authoritarian with little real regard for the opinions of the general membership of the society. Important decisions will therefore be effected by the most loyal members of the party who may be committed to the leader on the basis of ethnic/tribal, regionalist, religion and other patronage networks.