|Political Parties and Democracy in Tanzania (Dar Es Salaam University Press, 1994, 228 p.)|
During the era of monopoly politics in Tanzania, the state was divorced and alienated from the public realm. The state encompassed all spheres of social, political and economic life of all Tanzanians. It translated political monopoly to economic monopoly. In this instance, the legitimacy of the state ceased to depend on the social compact but was drawn from coercion and benevolence. All state institutions, the bureaucracy, the legislature and the judiciary became mere extensions of the single party dominion. Citizens were denied basic human rights, for example, the right to assemble freely, the right to organise free civil organizations like independent trade unions and political parties of their won choice, free press and the right to autonomous sources of information and knowledge. Indeed, citizens were reduced to puppets and became on-lookers in a political arena refereed by the party. Alienated citizens became disillusioned with the democratic promise of independence and never became active participants in shaping both their political and economic destiny.
The introduction of multipartism has ushered in a new political and economic ethos. The rules of the political game of governance have changed. The various institutions of governance are now supposed to come under the close scrutiny of the free press, the attentive citizen, such civil organisations as the nascent autonomous trade unions and the numerous political parties. Although the new political parties are often viewed as extensions of the same ruling elite, their appetite for the State House propels them to uncover weaknesses and bad behaviours of the government in power. They may not cater for the interest of the lower classes, the downtrodden poor workers and peasants. Whereas they basically spouse the interests of the bourgeoisie at least the citizens benefits from the exposure of malpractice by the incumbent rulers. Pressure for openness and accountability in governance help to uncover the inherent weaknesses of the existing structures and institutions of governance.
Since the introduction of multipartism in Tanzania, the executive branch of government (the bureaucracy), the most visible governance institution has been exposed to various public scandals of corruption, malpractice and utter incompetence in managing the economy and societal affairs in general. In debating the 1994/95 budget estimates of the Prime Minister and First President's Office, the Morogoro South member of Parliament Mr. Semindu Pawa said that "since 1990 the government made over 434 unfulfilled promises, that the government issued 79 executive orders none of which has been executed, and that the government has failed to deny about 703 scandal allegations made against it".1 The boldness of the members of Parliament to speak openly against the bureaucracy and the powers that be was rare under single party politics. After all the Party ruled supreme. Nor was it possible for the press to report negatively against the bureaucracy. Multipartism, the free press and other political liberalization measures such as voiding party supremacy has led and given an opportunity for the other two branches of government, namely the legislature and the judiciary to seek autonomy from the domineering bureaucracy (the executive branch of government) and the ruling party.
It is postulated therefore, that the era of multiparty politics has led to a drive towards assertion of autonomy of the one time diffuse organs of the state. Under single party authoritarianism, all the major institutions of governance, the judiciary as well as the economic structures of governance i.e. the parastatals, were all under the spell of the Party. Whereas the drive towards plural politics in Tanzania was a result of mainly external pressures and lightweight internal efforts, the efforts to reform the three major institutions of governance (the bureaucracy, the legislature and the judiciary) are more home grown, a result of the new enlightment under multipartism. It is a response to the need to meet internal challenges posed by the adoption of plural politics; that is, to adjust and come to terms with the need for transparency, efficiency and accountability in governance, as demanded by the new political parties.
Under liberal democratic conditions, the three branches of government provide both the checks and balances in governance that can ensure that the common wealth is properly accounted for and efficiency managed in transparent economic and political system. The transformation of public demands into economic and political issues becomes possible where no branch of government dominates and dictates the other two. Nor can citizen needs and aspirations be well articulated when party supremacy reduces the government and society to political servitude. Institutions and structures of governance have therefore to be adjusted to the changing demands of greater democratisation of society. This calls for the efficient management of politics and the economy. It also demands more transparency and a higher level of accountability of these institutions of government to the people in order to end the cancerous corrupt political practices that have soiled the moral framework of governance in Tanzania.
Since the legitimization of multiparty in Tanzania in mid 1992, over 13 political parties have officially been registered. Numerous unregistered political parties are still fighting for official recognition and registration. Moreover, the independent press has been firmly established. Both the new political parties often also refereed as opposition political parties and the free private press have exposed numerous corruption scandals committed by the bureaucracy. These have ranged from misuse of public funds such as the OGL and CIS funds to misuse of public authority, etc. The government has often come under fire as inept, especially in tax collection and in misusing public funds (buying non-existing services, paying "ghost" (non existent) workers etc).
In particular, the public has been enlightened not only on the scandalous practices of government officials, such as the non collection of taxes from rich businessmen due to collusion and bribery while overburdening poor workers with heavy tax loads. Also scandals of double allocation of plots by officials of the Ministry of lands have been exposed. Indiscretionary sales of the national wealth, the only heritage of the indigenous Tanzanian to foreigners such as the Loliondogate, where private foreigners have been leased public national park lands to the detriment of public companies and local villagers, the Stein Monduli land scandal where 14 previously nationalized acres were returned plus an additional 380,000 more acres and over 1.2 billion shillings compensation to a single individual while thousands of villagers remained landless and cannot afford school fees for their children and hospitalization costs for their families. The rot and immorality in government that has been exposed by the free press such as sexual harassment of female employees by senior government officials and many other improper practices, has also revealed how constitutional rights of individual citizens have been callously violated.
The constitution of the country has been violated by the executive with impunity. A case in point is the OIC scandal initiated by the Zanzibar government and sanctioned by senior union government ministers and tolerated and defended by the Chief Executive who took an oath of office to defend the constitution. It is now common knowledge in Tanzania that the Zanzibar government leadership decided to join the Organization of Islamic Conference (IOC) with the support of Senior Union Cabinet Ministers contrary to the spirit of the constitution. By virtue of the constitution, the United Republic of Tanzania is secular with no state religion. Yet a part of the union, was allowed to join an institution whose purpose is to propagate the islamization of government all over the world. This happened despite the fact that foreign affairs are Union matters to be deliberated and executed by the Union government, perhaps this was done to flex autonomy muscles of the Isles government at the expense of the Union government of which the Zanzibar executive is also the second vice president.
Multipartism and Legislature
It is under that political scenario of bureaucratic corruption and other improper practices, that the union legislature and the judiciary have found it more expedient and proper to distance these two branches of government from the rot in the executive mode of governance. These two branches have come to terms with reality, that both the weak presidency and the abhorrent corruption and all its manifestations within the bureaucracy has landed the Tanzanian state into a political crisis of questionable legitimacy. It is also manifestly clear that under pluralism the legislature as one of the prime institutions of governance and all its functionaries, the individual members of parliament will likely loose their prestige and credibility in the eyes of the public if they do not make ardent effort to scold the vices of the corrupt bureaucracy. Moreover, already members of the parliament are looking ahead and are focusing attention to political survival strategies in the October 1995 general elections. Therefore, many MPs would like to stand up and be counted as having done something against the obvious governance crisis created by a weak and corrupt bureaucracy.
The legislature has therefore taken several actions in an effort to shape government policy, take the bureaucracy to task over corruption and inefficiency as an indicator of autonomy. The Parliament has also tried to take a different line, in an effort to delink from the party and become more autonomous. It is through this view that many members of Parliament have shown courage to speak out against government motions or in suggesting mechanisms for sanctioning corrupt government officials. On several occasions now, members of parliament have threatened to use their parliamentary prerogative to block government budgets by withholding a shilling from ministerial budgets. The government through the Prime Minister, and First Vice president, leader of government business in Parliament, has many times been forced to intervene to save government motions. Responsible sectoral Ministers have also been forced on many occasions to give lengthy explanations before the threat to block ministerial budgets were withdrawn.
The legislature has also sought to shape government policy through private motions as indicative of attempts to exhibit autonomy. Several private motions have been presented in parliament since the introduction of multiparty politics in 1992. Most of these motions either seek to question the legality of actions taken by the bureaucracy (the executive branch of government) or to seek to probe wrong doing by the government.
One of the most spectacular actions by the legislature against the executive, was the motion to establish a Parliamentary Constitutional committee to probe the violation of the Union Constitution when Zanzibar joined the IOC. This motion was presented by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Mr. Marmo, the Mbulu Member of Parliament. Despite government protests and tantrums the motion passed and a probe committee formed. The outcome of the probe committee confirmed that indeed, the union constitution was violated when Zanzibar joined OIC. It was recommended that all the culprits be punished. Although Zanzibar did not immediately withdraw from OIC as recommended, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was transferred to a more junior cabinet position as Minister for Labour. The Tanzania Ambassador to the Middle East who connived with Zanzibar on the OIC saga, was prematurely recalled back to Dar. Eventually, Zanzibar was forced to withdraw its OIC membership.
Another private motion was presented to parliament on what is commonly known as Loliondogate and on the NIC scandal. The introducers of the motion wanted parliament to form a parliamentary probe committee to investigate the dubious deals between senior government functionaries and private foreign entrepreneurs. The deals resulted to long term leasing of public national Park Lands to these foreign businessmen contrary to Tanzanian conservation laws and in direct contravention of hunting contracts between the government and public company dealing with wildlife. The MPs therefore questioned the wisdom of the government's withdrawal of hunting rights from Public Companies and surrendering them to foreigners contrary to existing legislations.
The Loliondogate private motion was also tied with the NIC management saga between the NIC Managing Director and the NIC Chairman. Wild accusations were traded around, that the NIC chairman appointment was improper. That the NIC chairman had private insurance companies and therefore was an interested party who would use the public office to enrich his private insurance business. Unconfirmed rumours circulated in Dar es Salaam by private newspapers suggested that the NIC chairman, a prominent Asian businessman with private business in England and Europe, was supported by the Minister for Finance and the President in his effort to undermine his Managing Director because of dubious dealings. To pacify the public outcry over these issues the government fought hard and prevented the formation of a Parliamentary probe committee on the NIC management crisis that had divided the workers into two camps: one supporting the managing director and threatening a general strike if the Asian tycoon was not removed from NIC. The other camp wanted the managing director to be sacked from office. However, the government washed its hands by withdrawing the services of both the Asian NIC Chairman and the indigenous NIC Managing Director. This was meant to also scuttle opposition efforts to rally public support around the NIC management crisis.
The Loliondogate was more complex and hot debates ensued among MPs supporting the government especially government ministers and those MPs supporting the formation of a probe committee. Deliberations in Parliament on the Loliondogate also revealed that somehow the office of the President, the Ministry of National Resources and Tourism as well as the Attorney General's office were involved. A senior officer in the Attorney General's office acted as a private counsellor and helped the perpetrators to prepare the contracts on Loliondo. These allegations were published in private newspapers in Dar es Salaam. The fact that some local government officials in Arusha and Loliondo were involved does not mean that the people of Loliondo were consulted and were therefore happy with decisions made by the government leadership. The Loliondo scandal also became a rallying point by the opposition parties. Both NCCR-Mageuzi, CHADEMA and the unregistered Democratic Party accused the CCM government of prostituting the national heritage for short term personal gains. Although the government prevailed on both the NIC and the Loliondo issues, the Parliament had made a point. It was ready to take the government to task on sensitive public issues. This Parliament, although technically still a CCM parliament, was not prepared to acquiesce to government actions that ran contrary to public interests!
The Parliament has also taken the government to task on the state of the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Again, the parliament was reacting to public sentiments as propagated by opposition party demands. While NCCR-Mageuzi, CUF and the UMD were putting pressure on the CCM government to implement the Nyalali Report to the letter, PONA, NLD, TADEA and the unregistered Democratic Party of Rev. Christopher Mtikila were calling for an outright break up of the Union. It will be recalled that the Nyalali Report which ushered in Multipartism in Tanzania had recommended a three tier Government, namely, the State government of Zanzibar, the State government of Tanganyika and the Federal Government of Tanzania.
The CCM government had sidelined this three tier government recommendation and instead sought to do a patch work on the union constitution. Because the new political parties were making inroads on the issue of Tanganyika, CCM members of Parliament were worried about their own political survival in their respective constituencies. PONA, whose Chairman, Mr. Wilfrem Mwakitwange, a prominent indigenous businessman, and the Mbeya business tycoon, Mr. Nyimbo, PONA deputy chair, were campaigning all over Mbeya Region on the need for establishing a Tanganyika Government. Also, Mr. Chipaka of TADEA, a businessman and long time CCM opponent and TADEA secretary General also vehemently campaigned on the Tanganyika ticket while opening TADEA offices in Mbeya and Ruvuma regions. Mr. Edwin Mtei, the CHADEMA chairperson and businessman, former government bureaucrat and darling of international financial oligarchies, took the Tanganyika issue as a personal crusade to sell his party all over Tanzanian Mainland. Likewise, Marando, chairperson of NNCR-Mageuzi and many other chairs of registered political parties fully supported Mtikila's political baby - the establishment of the Tanganyika government. The unregistered Democratic Party prepared T-shirts and flags bearing the colours of Tanganyika and revived the favourite Tanganyika anthem and songs praising Tanganyika. Rev. Mtikila also hails from the Southern Highlands.
Mbeya and other southern regions members of parliament felt particularly vulnerable from the politics of Tanganyika as espoused by the new political parties. This issue plus the various violations of the constitution and other vices tolerated by the union government and the union parliament prompted these MPs to raise the Tanganyika issue in Parliament. While debating the OIC issue in parliament, the Zanzibar leadership had ridiculed the union MP's as "shaking a full match box" and would not get anywhere. Mr. Njelu Kasaka, an outspoken member of Parliament for Chunya constituency decided to introduce a Private Member's Motion towards the end of the 1993/94 budget session in August 1993. About 55 members of Parliament signed a petition in support of the Private motion calling for the immediate establishment of the government of Tanganyika within the Union. This group of Members of Parliament has ever since been nicknamed the "G 55". The CCM parliament differed with the CCM government on this particular issue. In essence, CCM Parliamentarians had also decided to steal the political thunder from the opposition parties. This was a survival political strategy, to appear independent from the vices and weaknesses of the CCM and its government while taking advantage of CCM's incumbency and about three decades of domination.
The CCM (Party) and its government did not take this affront to its hegemony lightly. At first, the CCM government leadership under the prime Minister, Mr. John Malecela, vehemently opposed the motion. The Prime Minister suggested that the motion be withdrawn on the grounds that the CCM government had already appointed two commissions, to study the appropriate needs of the current Union under multipartism. The first such report was the "Report of Experts Concerning the Presidential Election and Related Issues Pertaining to the new Set up of Multiparty System in Tanzania: the Bomani Report of 2 October 1992.
It may also be pointed out that although the Bomani Report had previously been tabled in the April-May, 1993 Parliamentary session, members of Parliament, especially the G 55 supporting the Private motion on Tanganyika were not particularly impressed. They were not happy with the way the union issue was being handled by the executive Branch of Government, the President and his cabinet in particular. Moreover, the same Boman report (an Executive Report), had itself, among other things acknowledged that "the existence of a multiparty system could be misused by some political parties especially if the weaknesses in the execution of Union affairs were not rectified.
Njelu Kasaka and other Members of Parliament presented a counter argument. They argued that the CCM government had failed to correct obvious weaknesses in the execution of union, affairs. Obviously CCM was incapable of sanctioning its stubborn leaders particularly those from Zanzibar. They argued further that it was CCM's lack of effective control that contributed to its failure to prevent Zanzibar, a part of the union, from joining OIC contrary to the spirit of the secular union constitution. Furthermore, the Union President and some of the Union cabinet members in particular the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Ambassadors appointed by the Union President condoned and assisted the Zanzibar government to violate the Union constitution. Later, the union government attempted to cover up this scandal with the union President defending the Zanzibar, leadership position as a matter of economic expediency. This angered the members of parliament proving more than ever that the union can only be salvaged by introducing a third government, the government of Tanganyika.
However, it may perhaps be intimated that it was the warning in the Bomani report that some opposition political parties might make political capital out of the CCM government's mishandling of the Union affairs that cemented the MPs resolve to address the issue squarely. After all, the executive report (Bomani Report) had also correctly concluded that under multipartism, "the Parliament was expected to be more robust and maintain a higher status than under a single Political party system"3. Indeed, the legislators found it appropriate to take up the challenge as suggested by the Bomani report. Thus, the MP's were in no mood for compromise. They therefore refused to withdraw the private member's bill calling for the immediate establishment of a Tanganyika Government. Initially, about 58 MPs had signed their names in support of the motion. However after government arm twisting at least 55 MPs were still in support of the motion.
Having passed the Parliamentary committee test, the motion on Tanganyika was presented to the full house for debate to the chagrin of the government. It may also be suggested that allowing the motion to be discussed by the full house exhibits enormous weaknesses on the part of the Party whig in Parliament. As a matter of procedure, an issue not presented by the Party and the government should never have been allowed to pass the first reading in the committee level. The laxity of the party machine in parliament was also symptomatic of the inability and unpreparedness of the Party to cope with the political changes taking place in the country. No party boss was able to use party and parliamentary rules to kill the Tanganyika motion. After bitter discussion and hot exchanges between Mainland MPs supporting the motion and Zanzibar MPs opposing it, the Parliament unanimously passed the motion in favour of the establishment of the Tanganyika Government within the Union. The motion was unanimously passed on 28-4-1993. But this was not the end of the story.
The political struggles between the CCM old guards and the "young turks" in CCM continued to rage unabated. The former CCM chairman and retired President, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, took the issue as a personal crusade. In late October 1993, Nyerere called a Press Conference at his Msasani residence and unflinchingly castigated the CCM leadership both in the Party, in the government and in the parliament for failing to protect the sacred union. He accused them of conspiracy to undermine the union. Nyerere argued that the Tanganyika motion was treacherously passed contrary to the rules and norms governing government business in parliament. He condemned the motion and refused to accept its validity. In January 1994 the Party convened an extraordinary meeting in Dodoma to try to resolve the political crisis within CCM that threatened to split the party. The MPs stuck to their guns, and the Minister for constitutional affairs later on suggested that the motion as valid because it was legally passed in parliament.
Nyerere's fight for the current status of the Union bore fruit in July 1994. He called another Press Conference and suggested that any body opposing CCM policy of a two tier unions should resign and join the opposition. Early August 1994 an ordinary CCM National Executive meeting was held in Dar es Salaam, at the Institute of Finance Management. Nyerere made another appearance and appealed for the withdrawal of the Tanganyika motion. NEC passed a resolution officially opposing a Tanganyika Government in support of the current union. On Friday 19th August 1994 the Parliament seating as a CCM committee deliberated on the NEC resolution. The parliamentary party Committee was told that the new CCM policy was to fight for a single union government hence the two tier union government should be considered as transitional. To appease the members of parliament especially the "G 55" it was declared that no passports will be demanded from a mainlander who wanted to go to Zanzibar. The Zanzibar government was also denied the right to hoist its own flag, to have its own Zanzibar, currency and anthem, as an effort to reduce Zanzibar nationalism. Apparently the promise of a single Union government appeased the MP's who then agreed to withdraw the motion on Tanganyika.
Despite the defeat of the "young turks" by the CCM old guards, the rebellious CCM Parliament had made a significant political statement. The fact that it took the CCM and the bureaucracy one year to reassert their hegemony over the Parliament is itself an indication of changing political fortunes; that the legislature was ready to take an autonomous position as expected of it under multiparty politics. Also, the CCM members of parliament had wanted (and succeeded to some extent) to undercut opposition parties on this particular issue. They were now in the political limelight and taking active political leadership rather than the docile defensive line legendary under party supremacy during the heydays of monopoly politics. However, it is also clear that, in their effort to reassert parliamentary authority long lost to the hegemonic party and the bureaucracy, the CCM MPs unwittingly undercut the unity of purpose of the very political party that sent them to Parliament.
The fact that the CCM Parliamentary Political Affairs Committee was unable to prevent the private motion and the inability of the Party members of parliament ushers in the possibility of introducing into the Tanzanian political system, a Parliamentary CCM and a governing executive CCM. Here the interests of the Parliamentary Party would appear to be different from that of the executive (governing) party. It is hard to contemplate the survival of such a political system, which tends to widen the scope of democracy in parliament, but which also divides the party into antagonistic factions. Under conditions where no independent parliamentarians (those not tied to a political party) are allowed, it is difficulty for the hegemonic party to tolerate dissent and survive under multipartism. Moreover, since each individual member of Parliament looses his/her seat in parliament if they resign from the Party that sponsored them to Parliament, there is always that potential threat. The party can threaten to sack them and that would be enough to cow them and bring them back to the party fold, When the NEC threatened to sack the MPs, the Tanganyika motion died a natural political death.
On top of those contentions, probably the real political situation prevailing in the country is itself an indication of a CCM Party leadership in disarray. The inability of the CCM leadership to control the Party agenda in Parliament is a clear manifestation of a weakened political party and a questionable legitimacy. Members of Parliament took cognizance of this inherent weakness and maximized it to cultivate their won legitimacy. It is interesting to point out that the President is the CCM party chairman, and he does not appear to be in control. The prime Minister, Mr. John Malecela, is the leader of Government business in Parliament and he is also the deputy CCM chairman. The Party Secretary Mr. Horace Kolimba is a Cabinet Minister who participates in parliamentary debates as a nominated Member of Parliament and an experienced politician and party's chief ideologue. Given all the CCM heavy weights in parliament one wonders how a motion which is in direct contradiction to the party line can sail through all the stages and survive for twelve months. The weak presidency and weak control over party affairs could be the only explanation. It took Nyerere's stature and personal prestige to single-handedly take charge and reclaim the lost political will of a weakened political party. Nyerere's honesty of political and private life, his strong political convictions and the respect he still commands enabled him to rally the whole party leadership behind him together with the majority of CCM members. The political fortunes of the assertive Parliament tumbled under Nyerere's strong will and once again reverbated to the old squirming and acquiescent legislature.
Yet, we may also assert that, perhaps the Tanganyika motion was another unintended effect of the Bomani Report having earlier recommended that the Parliament be allowed to impeach the President of the United Republic. Indeed, one of the serious actions taken by the legislature to undercut the power of the Executive was in April 1994 when the Parliament passed a bill which specified conditions under which the Parliament can impeach a President and remove him from office. The President accented and signed the bill into law. Although the intention of this law was to introduce checks and balances between the executive and the legislature in Tanzania, it has been interpreted by the legislators to mean that the Presidency is weak and vulnerable. After all if the possibility exists, remote as it may be, that they can remove him, then his prestige has now declined while that of the legislature has risen. Now the Parliament can remove a president from office by a two thirds majority in the National assembly. Only under rare conditions can this happen given the large number of national members of parliament and nominated MPs. The President can still dissolve the Parliament if a government budget motion is defeated in a full house debate and vote. Looked positively however, the checks and balances together with the efforts made by the legislature to be autonomous points out clearly how the evolution of multipartism has influenced the behaviour of the legislature. In a way, multipartism has enabled the legislature to acquire more powers while reducing that of the executive as it is not in a position to question, and investigate executive abuse and where necessary to remove the executive. The legislature can also ignore party hegemony, even though temporarily, as manifested by the Tanganyika motion.
Efforts by the government to convince legislators to withdraw the Tanganyika motion on the excuse that the Shelukindo Report (another executive report) was not ready also failed miserably. It will be recalled that, on 20th July 1992 the President of the United Republic had appointed a Commission on the Bureaucratic and Administrative Functional obstacles in the Union Arrangement under the "Select Presidential Report on the Bureaucratic and Administrative Functional Obstacles in the Union Arrangement: The Shelukindo Report." Despite the fact that the Shelukindo Commission was commissioned by the President, it has not been deliberated in Parliament. The excuse for not discussing this report is that the government was still studying it. The report recommends a stronger union with the removal of the demand of passports for mainlanders going to Zanzibar, reiteration of a single customs policy, and a single monetary policy i.e. single Central Bank and single currency contrary to Zanzibar's demand for its own monetary and fiscal policy.
The Shelukindo report also recommended that Zanzibar cease to hoist a Zanzibar flag and use her own national anthem as well as to remove clauses in the 1984 Zanzibar constitution which defines Zanzibar nationalism rather than Tanzanian. When some members of Parliament wanted to deliberate the Shelukindo report during the April 1994 parliamentary session, the government refused on the ground that the fall report will be tabled in parliament during the next session i.e. during the June 1994 Budget Session. The legislature responded by refusing to withdraw the motion calling for the establishment of a Government of Tanganyika. Moreover, the G55 threatened to introduce another motion that will dictate a timetable and a course of action on the establishment of the government of Tanganyika. Only Nyerere's personal intervention has helped the Party and the Bureaucracy to save face through a CCM members' referendum on the motion.
On August 6, 1994 a Committee of CCM Parliamentarians accepted a decision of CCM's National Executive Committee (NEC) which resolved that "CCM will continue with the policy of two government Union Structure". The Party's National Executive Committee met in Dar es Salaam for four days from July 29 to August 1st, 1994 to deliberate on the future of the motion to establish the government of Tanganyika and the results of an opinion pool conducted on CCM members. The meeting in which MPs sat as a Committee of CCM Parliamentarians, was chaired by the Prime Minister and Fist Vice-President, Mr. John Malecela and was also addressed by the President, Mr. Ali Hassan Mwinyi. President Mwinyi advised CCM MP's that "it was wise and in the spirit of democracy for the MPs to accept the outcome of an opinion poll conducted amongst 1.3 million CCM members, where 61.75 percent of then endorsed the present two government structure, that NEC has taken note of reservations raised by CCM members on administrative problems facing the Union despite their preference of the present structure and promised the MPs that the Government would act swiftly to solve them. The President further said that NEC had noted with interest and delight the aspirations of 29.21 percent of 1.3 million Party members who were surveyed who wanted the single government Union structure. That NEC had adopted the feelings of those members and its position was to have a single government Union in the future.4 NEC's adoption of a resolution of single government union, together with Nyerere's call that those MPs opposed to the party position should resign from CCM and join the opposition or form their own political parties was enough to remind MPs that the game over Tanganyika was over. They therefore adopted the NEC resolution and later presented a motion to officially withdraw the August 1993 Tanganyika motion.
Another mind-boggling issue to members of Parliament, the opposition Party leaders and most citizens in general, has been the Stein land issue in Monduli. In November 1993 the member of Parliament for Monduli had introduced a Private motion requiring the government to rescind its decision to compensate Mr. Stein 317 million shillings for his land nationalized on 17th July 1982 and the allocation of over 381,000 new acres of land to the same Mr. Stein despite the acute land shortage facing villagers in Monduli District.
Steingate had further eroded the moral and ethical standing of the CCM government, especially the bureaucracy. Most of the new political parties especially NCCR-Mageuzi, CHADEMA, UMD (Tumbo faction), PONA and NLD have castigated the CCM government for abandoning the indigenous people of Monduli in favour of Mr. Stein, the foreigner settler. They argued that instead of accumulating thousands of prime fanning land to a single foreign settler, the CCM government should distribute that land to landless villagers in the district. People could not comprehend why a bankrupt government which has failed to pay living wages, to its workers, which was terminating the services of thousands of its civil servants, a government which was reversing the gains in education and health care by introducing fees which villagers cannot afford was willing to compensate millions to an individual who was once declared an unwanted, immigrant in Tanzania. Once again, opposition political parties were using CCM government mistakes to gain political capital. This gave the new political parties prominence in the booming private press. Moreover, it was reported in a bi-weekly newspaper, that Monduli villagers were threatening a blood-bath if Stein got all the land. That they will fight and were prepared to die for their ancestral lands in Monduli.5
To undercut the opposition's political gains from CCM government scandals, the CCM Parliament made another dash for autonomy. It was yet another effort by Parliament to cultivate and salvage its own legitimacy by dissociating the legislature from such rot in government. Thus, the honourable Lepilal Ole Moloimet, Member of Parliament for Monduli introduced yet another private motion to censure the government and force it to withdraw the scandalously generous offer to Mr. Stein. The motion gained support in the Parliament.
The CCM leadership in Government was once again forced to intervene to save face. Mr. Edward Lowasa a highly respected and upcoming CCM political star took it upon himself as Minister for Lands to mediate. Mr. Lowasa promised to revisit the whole Monduli land dispute and make a fair and just decision. The Prime Minister Mr. John Malecela promised Parliament a full government report on the issue before the "next Parliamentary session" i.e. before the April 1994 session of Parliament. As a result this government intervention, no decision was made by the Parliament. However, the parliament had made its point; that the legislature was unhappy with the executive mode of governance, and was now willing to take an independent corrective action. Indeed, the April 1994 Bunge session was delayed for almost two weeks to enable the government to bring to the full parliament an amicable solution to the Monduli problem as demanded in the Parliament. In the April 1994 Bunge session, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Mr. Samwel Sitta read the governments' statement on the Monduli-Stein affair. Mr. Sitta informed a hushed Parliament that the government had decided to reverse its decision to give Mr. Stein the 381,000 acres of land. He said further that, Mr. Steins' controversial land will be returned to its traditional owners, the Monduli villagers. Moreover, the government had reduced the amount to be refunded Mr. Stein from 317 billion Tanzania shillings to a token compensation of 6.23 billion shillings.
The decision to withdraw the right of occupancy offered to Mr. Stein was an indirect victory to both the Legislature and the new political parties which had demanded such an action. It was a victory to the extent that the Legislature is learning to keep a check and force a reversal of executive action, thanks to multipartism. In a way, the new political parties together with the free press must also get some of the credit for bringing the scandal to light. This is an indication that multipartism is slowly influencing government practice to ensure openness, accountability social justice in governance. It is a small step, albeit inadequate but definitely an action in the right direction.
On the other hand, the bureaucracy is slowly learning to be sensitive to issues raised in parliament rather than ignore them as it did in the past. When it became clear that the open grounds at Mnazi Mmoja had been allocated to a private developer; concerned members of Parliament raised the issue in the Parliamentary question and answer session. The private free press also gave extensive coverage on the issue. The free press opposed the move to privatize open play grounds in Tanzanian cities. NCCR-Mageuzi, the unregistered DP, TADEA, and UMD (Tumbo faction) gave numerous public statements in press releases and public rallies denouncing as unpatriotic the selling of national monuments as manifested in the sale of Mnazi Mmoja, the home of the Uhuru Torch and other monuments to private tycoons.
Mr. Edward Lowassa, the Minister for Lands, once again came to the rescue of the government. He made an immediate response to the question raised in Parliament by ordering the city council to withdraw the right of occupancy offered to the private developer. The city Director said the city did not recognize Lowassa's directive and only responded to the order given them by the Minister for Local Governments. However, the city fathers forgot the fact that local governments including the city government were mere extensions of the central government. They are central government administrations at the local level and were therefore subordinated to central government decisions. The Minister for Lands had functional relations with local governments as far as land allocation was concerned. Therefore, no public land (open play grounds) could be allocated to anybody without the approval of the Minister for Lands. When the Minister for Local Government gave her backing to the decision made by the Minister for Lands, the city fathers changed their opinion, but not before they further scandalized the office of the President by suggesting that the city fathers had a tacit approval by higher authorities in the State House, the state house, to allocate the open ground to the Asian entrepreneur allegedly in order to raise revenue and create employment.
When the city fathers appeared to continue to oppose the order to withdraw the right of occupancy to the private developer, both NCCR - Mageuzi and the unregistered DP called on the people of Dar es Salaam to take popular action. The people responded by tearing down the fence erected by the private developer and appropriated the galvanized iron sheets and timber used in the fence. The city fathers realized the mistake they had made, first to allocate the public land to a foreigner in the city, but also to oppose the orders of a popular CCM cadre and Minister with functional relations with those who allocate land. To make up for the mistake, they first agreed that they recognized Mr. Lowassa's order as being lawful and second that they would with immediate effect comply with the order and withdraw the right of occupancy to the private developer. Once again the legislature, the free press and the new political parties had brought the government to its senses.
The few examples cited are only meant to illuminate how multipartism has influenced the behaviour of the legislature vis a vis the bureaucracy in Tanzania. Multipartism has forced the legislature to reclaim its autonomy lost for more than three decades to the executive (the bureaucracy) and the party. In essence, multiparty politics has forced the legislature (the Parliament) to make efforts to dissociate itself from the rot in the executive branch of government and strive to take corrective actions. Expression of autonomy has manifested itself in numerous private motions which have put the bureaucracy on its toes. This is a healthy sign for good governance and expanded democracy. Nevertheless, the withdrawal of Tanganyika motion (moved by G55 in August 1993) on Tuesday, August 23, 1994 has undermined the prestige of the Parliament under multipartism. The humiliation of the Parliament by the Party and the Government (Executive) is testimony that without opposition parties in Parliament, it will continue to be decimated by the party.
Multipartism and the Judiciary
Multipartism has in a way also influenced the behaviour of the judicial branch of government. The independence of the judicial system is critical for the expansion of democracy. The Nyalali Commission which recommended the re-introduction of Multi-party politics in Tanzania emphasized that for expanded democracy to take shape in Tanzania, the judicial system has to remain autonomous from executive and parliamentary control. Furthermore, the judiciary must ensure that "no parliamentary legislation undermined the constitution. Also, the judiciary must be empowered to review executive actions, to make sure they do not violate basic human rights enshrined in the constitution".6 Indeed, section 64(5) of the 1977 Constitution emphasizes and gives the Tanzanian High Court the power to declare null and void any law passed by the Parliament which directly contradicts with the constitution of the United Republic. The "doctrine of separation of powers" demands that in protecting constitutional rights, the High Court should never be intimidated by any other branch of the government. Justice James L. Mwalusanya, has sighted a number of instances where the High Court has found it expedient to strike a number of laws from the legal books. For example, the High Court sitting in Mwanza, in a case involving Chumchua s/o Marwa Vs Officer i/c Musoma Prison and Attorney General Mwanza High Course Misc. Criminal Cause No. 2/1988, the High Court nullified the Deportation Ordinance Cap. 38 for violating constitutional rights of individuals. Also in November 1992, the High Court nullified a section of the law which prohibited individuals from suing the government without first seeking the express permission of the Attorney General. Section 16/1967 was nullified by the High Court in Peter Ng'omango Vs, Gerson Mwangwa and Attorney General: Dodoma High Course case No. 22/1992. It was struck down from the law books because it was in direct contradiction with the constitution.7
The examples quoted from Justice Mwalusanya's "expositions on the Expansion of Democracy and Human Rights under Multipartism", are testimony to the legendary judicial autonomy. The High Court in Tanzania was proving to the Tanzanian public that it could check both the legislature and the executive on matters involving violations of individual constitutional rights by the other two branches of government. Justice Mwalusanya further asserts that under multipartism, the courts can be-used to ensure a smooth transition to expanded democracy Without resorting to the barrel of the gun.8
Despite the emphasis on the need for autonomous courts where citizens can seek redress when their rights are trampled by their government, Tanzanians are still ambivalent towards the judicial system in Tanzania. The Bomani Report, for example, reiterates this point and suggests that the judicial system in Tanzania is mistrusted by citizens. The report further asserts that:
there are many citizen complaints which show a poor faith in the judicial system. That there are too many allegations of corruption in the Court... and second that the independence of the judiciary is questionable, not only because of the corruption problems, but also because of political interference in judicial work ... and that judicial independence must be emphasized especially now that Tanzania has adopted a multiparty political system ...9
It may also be pointed out that although multipartism was reintroduced in July 1992, by June 1993, the legacy of one-party state still lingered on the judicial system as pointed by the Bomani (executive) report. Indeed, even the Chief Justice, Hon. Francis Nyalali, the architect of multipartism in Tanzania was still unhappy with the conduct of the judicial system in Tanzania. Thus, when being handed over renovated court buildings of Ilala and Kariakoo in Dar es Salaam by the Canadian High Commissioner in Tanzania on 7th June 1993, the Chief Justice found it still appropriately expedient to reiterate that:
The first adverse effect of the one - party state has been the extensive erosion of the rule of law and its replacement by the rule of political fiat. Under one party, laws enacted by Parliament and judgements passed by courts were often disregarded in favour of political expediency. By 1984 the situation had become so alarming that I got myself, as Chief Justice, invited to the-CCM central Committee and subsequently the National Executive Committee, to speak and warn against what I saw to be the impending dangers to the country arising from widespread disregard of the rule of law.10
"Wide disregard of the rule of law" is what makes citizens to be sceptical about the judicial system. There are many laws which are still regarded as oppressive. The Nyalali Commission listed about forty laws which it found oppressive, yet the High Court, the defender of the constitution has not reviewed the legal system to nullify them.
Many opposition parties, particularly NCCR-Mageuzi, CHADEMA, CUF, PONA, TADEA and the unregistered DP have called upon the Parliament and the Executive, to repeal all oppressive laws particularly those 40 laws undermining individual constitutional rights as pointed out by the Nyalali Commission. These opposition parties have also called for a constitutional conference in order to rewrite the Tanzanian constitution.
The CCM government has flatly rejected the idea of a constitutional conference and has alone embarked upon the tasks of patch work amendment of the constitution. The government is not in a hurry to amend the oppressive laws which undermine democratic governance in Tanzania. Why so? It is common knowledge and the government is aware, that there is still no grass root support for a constitutional conference. In fact, to date there has not been any spontaneous demonstrations or work stoppages demanding a constitutional conference. Even those candidates who attempted to use the issue in the by-election campaigns were nevertheless defeated by CCM candidates. However this does not preclude the fact that the High Court is in a better position to nullify such oppressive laws.
Realizing the deliberate effort of the CCM government to maintain the status quo, the judiciary has by itself attempted to cut down the government to size and reclaim its rightful position in the governance of Tanzanian society. Mr. Justice James Mwalusanya attributes this to "a few activist judges who have taken up the duty of knocking down the offending laws one by one despite hurdles like derogation clauses and claw-back clauses as well as a hostile government attitude".
Before the introduction of multipartism in Tanzania only a few cases were decided against the state. Moreover, very few citizens challenged the state in courts of law. However, since the introduction of multipartism, citizens have found it easier to sue the government whenever they felt aggrieved. Even judges have found the political and social environment conducive to decide cases against the state. At any rate, political and economic liberalization has introduced an element of freedom that enable citizens to feel free to seek their rights through the judicial system.
Among the outstanding cases which have helped to expand the scope of democracy and social justice, include the case which gives citizens the right to sue the government without first seeking permission from the executive. Thus, in Peter Ngomango vs Gerson s/o Mwanga and the Attorney General: Dodoma High Court Civil case No. 22/92, the presiding judge decided that it was not necessary for an aggrieved citizen to get prior permission from the government in order to sue it. In a way, this court decision, seriously contested by the government but to no avail, does not only enhance the independence of the judicial system but also helps to check the excesses of the government bureaucracy. When the government abuses constitutional rights of individual citizens, they can now freely sue the government for wrong doing and redress without inhibitive conditionalities. Before the courts enabled citizens to sue the state without prior approval, many aggrieved citizens were barred by the Attorney General who routinely denied the permission.
In 1993 expelled students of the Institute of Development Management decided to sue the government, i.e. the Minister for Manpower Development. In the same year expelled students of the Dar es Salaam Technical College sued the Ministry of National Education. Also in May 1994, a number of second Year Faculty of Engineering students, from the University of Dar es Salaam decided to sue the University and the Ministry of Higher Education. In both cases the courts decided in favour of the students and ordered their reinstatement to the disappointment of the government. The students had decided that their constitutional rights had been violated by the government and decided to use their democratic right and won, thanks to the independence of the judiciary and multipartism which has created conditions for expanded democracy.
Another pace-setting court decision in favour of expanded democracy was the High Court decision of October 1993 where a Judge of the High Court nullified act no. 22/92. Judge E.N. Munuo of the High Court sitting in Arusha on 21-10-1993, decided on a 12 page judgement that:
the court finds that sections 3, 4, 5 and 6 of act No. 22/92 the Regulation of Land Tenure (Established Villages) Act 1992 violates some provisions of the Constitution thereby contravening Article 64 (5) of the constitution. The unconstitutional act No. 22 of 1992 is hereby declared null and void and accordingly struck down.12
That High Court decision did two wonderful things for expanded democracy in Tanzania. First, it censured the executive and the legislature for writing and approving laws that denied citizens one of their basic human rights, the right to own property and therefore limiting their opportunity to decently earn their livelihood. It may also be noted that while protecting individual rights, the court was also simply reiterating its role as the custodian and protector of the constitution.
In the land dispute case, it was revealed that, the petitioners, Lokay Akonnay and Joseph Lohay had formerly lodged their complaint to a lower court in 1987, pleading the court to force the government to return to their custody and use their 20 acre piece of land confiscated during the era of villagisation in the 1970's. Their civil case No. 4 of 1987 was decided in their favour by the Arusha Resident Magistrate who ordered the government to surrender the contested 20 acres back to its two owners by 1st November, 1990. However, in direct response to this order the government passed new land legislation in 1992 which had the effect of undermining the court decision and protect earlier government decisions to redistribute land as it wished. The government was resorting to its hegemonic powers and the two citizens pleaded the courts to protect their constitutional rights.
The High Court decision to declare the 1992 land act unconstitutional was also hailed as a triumph for the rule of law, a precondition for sustainable democracy in any country. No democratic transition can be completed nor can democracy sustain where the rule of law is lacking. A lawless society is always anarchic and undemocratic. The Petitioners's advocates M/s Lobulu and Sang'ika of Arusha, were of the opinion that the 1992 land law was "the second most oppressive unconstitutional law after the Preventive Detention Act."13
On Thursday, August 11, 1994 Judge Lawrence Mchome made another High Court decision that will inevitably strengthen multipartism. High Court Judge Mchome ruled that "the Kigoma urban Parliamentary by-election last February was not fair and nullified the results which gave CCM candidate Azim Premji victory."14 This decision has helped to boost the morale and legitimacy of the new political parties. The fact that the CHADEMA candidate defeated in the by-election was able to prove that the government used unfair means to win the election is a victory for the opposition and for democracy. It is hoped that this will serve as a lesson to the government and the ruling party that free and fair elections means that every one has to compete on, a clean slate and that the courts will not tolerate fraudulent acts which undermine democratic and human rights of citizens. This decision therefore, goes a long way to bolster multiparty democracy in Tanzania.
The few examples enumerated in this chapter show that multipartism has influenced the behaviour of the central organs of the state in Tanzania. Both the legislature and the judiciary have responded to multipartism by reasserting their autonomy from the executive and from the party. The legislature has used mainly private motions to censure the executive. It has also used the question and answer sessions as well as the establishment of Parliamentary Probe Committees to investigate the executive. The judiciary on its part has used court decisions to nullify laws enacted by parliament and approved by the executive. It has also revised executive decisions in favour of aggrieved citizens. Moreover the constitution gives the High Court mandate to check both the executive and the legislature. This helps to create checks and balances that are so critical for the accountability and democracy.
1. Majira, Tuesday, June 28, 1994
2. See "Report of Experts Concerning the Presidential Election and Related Issue Pertaining to the New Set-up of Multiparty System in Tanzania: The Bomani Report" of 2 October 1992, p.3.
3. Ibid., p.38.
4. Sunday News, August 7, 1994.
5. Mwananchi, Friday, January 7 - 9, 1994
6. URT, The Nyalali Report, Volt. 1, 1991, p.92.
7. See Justice James L. Mwalusanya, "Upanuzi wa Demokrasia Na Uimarishaji wa Haki za Binadamu Katika Mfumo wa Demokrasia ya Vyama Vingi Tanzania: Matumizi ya Katiba na Sheria zilizopo ili kudumisha utulivu, amani na mshikamano." Sheria Na Haki zako No. 3. Tanzania Legal Aid Association, Dodoma 1993, p.1.
8. Ibid., p.2.
9. The Bomani Report: 1992, pp. 128-129.
10. Daily New, 8th June, 1993.
11. Justice James L. Mwalusanya, "Conditions For Functioning of a Democratic Constitution" (mimeo) 1993.
12. Tanzania High Court Records, Dares Salaam 1993.
13. Mfanyakazi, Jumamosi, Novemba 6, 1993.
14. Daily News, Friday, August 12, 1994.