The case for adopting single party democracy for growth

IF I say so myself, Tanzania has had more years as a multi-political party nation-state since it achieved ‘flag-and-national anthem’ independence from alien rule at midnight on December 8, 1961.

Tanganyika became a UN Trust Territory under British control in 1947.

At that time, the country was described as follows: “its geography, topography, climate, geopolitics settlement patterns and history made Tanganyika the most significant of all UN Trustee Territories.

But, two-thirds of the population lived in one-tenth of the territory because of water shortages, soil erosion, unreliable rainfall, tsetse fly infestations, and poor communications and transportation infrastructure…” [See ‘Voices from Tanganyika: Great Britain, The United Nations and the Decolonisation of a Trust Territory, 1946-1961,’ by Ullrich Lohrmann, published by Lit Verlag, Berlin, 2007].

Today, 71 long years later, not much of those shortcomings have been eliminated to improve the quality of life for the people. This is despite all of 57 years of ‘independence’ from alien rule by the Brits, who were replaced with rule by home-grown leaderships!

Under the British, Tanganyika in 1957 was home to an estimated population of some 7million souls. Only about 123,310 of them were ‘non-African:’ 76,536 Asians (65,461 Indians, 6,299 Pakistanis, and 4,776 Goans); 20,598 ‘Europeans’ (British, Italians, Greeks, Germans and ‘white’ South Africans); 19,100 Arabs; 3,114 Somalis, and 3,782 ‘others.’

In 1929, indigenous Tanganyikans formed the African Association (AA), a social organization for government servants. This was renamed the ‘Tanganyika African Association’ (TAA) in 1948– and was transformed into a political organization, the ‘Tanganyika African National Union (TANU), on July 7, 1954 (‘Saba-Saba’). Squarely behind this transformation was none other than Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922-99).

In due course of time and events, TANU entered the electoral fray in the days of the Legislative Council (LegiCo), a colonial legislature established by the Brits on December 7, 1926, starting with the Tanganyika Governor of the day (1925-31), Sir Donald Cameron (1872-1948), as chairman and appointer of LegiCo members…

Governors ceased to be LegiCo chairmen in 1953, and the Office of Speaker was created effective from November 1, 1953. What with one thing leading to another, the LegiCo ‘welcomed’ elected representatives.

This came in the wake of TANU winning 28 of the 30 elected seats in the September 1958/February 1959 Council elections –the other 30 members being appointed by the Governor. In the 1960 elections, TANU won all the 30 elected seats–15 of them uncontested–and Mwalimu Nyerere became Chief Minister of Tanganyika Territory.

The 1960 elections were contested by Nyerere’s TANU, the colonial government-hatched ‘United Tanganyika Party’ (UTP) and the ‘African National Congress’ (ANC), led by Zuberi Mtemvu.

Then, on May 1, 1961, Tanganyika was granted ‘Internal Self-Government’ (what beast is that, pray?)–following the 1960 LegiCo elections won by TANU.

Thereafter, it was downhill to ‘Independence’ on December 9, 1961. Starting out as ‘Tanganyika’ within the (British) Commonwealth on that date–with Mwalimu Nyerere as the first Prime Minister–Tanganyika became a Republic effective from December 9, 1962, with Mwalimu becoming the ‘Founder-President of Tanganyika Republic (1962-1964).

When Tanganyika joined the Isles Republic of Zanzibar on April 26, 1964, Mwalimu carried on as President of the Union Republic of Tanzania until he stepped down on his own volition in 1985.

So much, then, for background material–and on to today’s LUCUBRATION that calls for adopting a mono-party political system over the next two decades or so.

For starters, the country has held six presidential elections under the multiparty system (1962, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015), and six under the single party system (1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990). It has also held six national legislature elections under the single party system (1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990)–but seven such elections under the multiparty system, beginning with the 1958 LegiCo election (1958, 1960, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015).

Recent experience shows that lots of resources–including financial, time, space, physical-and-mental-energy patience/tolerance, etc. –are wasted on mere politicking. This is roughly defined as the activity of trying to persuade –or even force –others to vote for a particular political party or candidate, join a particular political party, even when this requires deserting one’s party!

Parties and their cadres spend untold resources downplaying each other–and even sabotaging and otherwise undermining political rivals. This is mainly in selfishly seeking to cling to power forever.

On the other hand, parties on the outside move heaven and hell–and everything else in-between –to get into State House by hook, by crook… Or by both!

If the resources currently wasted in multiparty politicking were redirected at developmental activities for the next 20-years-or-so, I can see Tanzania in Seventh Heaven on Cloud Nine in socio-economic progress.

It only needs swallowing political pride, and prudently amending the Constitution, to achieve wonders… Cheers!


THE ‘Rainbow Nation’ concept South ...

Author: Karl Lyimo

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