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President Magufuli is Not the Right Guy for Tanzania’s Democratization Process

When Cham Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) bungled party nominations after that grueling night in Dodoma and emerged with John Pombe Magufuli as the flag bearer, I said he was a wrong guy for the job. I didn’t believe in CCM anyway, neither do I do now but I hoped they gave a ticket to a right guy, not Magufuli. I mean, Benjamin Mkapa was and is a CCM person still. I knew that after it frustrated constitutional reforms, CCM was hell bent on rigging elections, which it did anyway. Unless, of course, anyone believes that those Tanzania’s last general elections (2015) were credible; what we know is that the elections in Tanzania passed way outside most of the known benchmarks of electoral credibility. In Zanzibar, we witnessed an ‘electoral coup.’ Today, we have a President, in Tanzania, who cannot be differentiated from the presidency, the party (CCM) and the state simply because in him all those are but one and the same thing. Many people are now starting to realize that President Magufuli is steering the country in the wrong direction, at least as far as democratization is concerned, unless again Tanzania decides it is no longer willing to pursue the path of democracy. But why would anyone expect President Magufuli to steer the country in the right direction in the first place? He has always been a wrong guy for democracy – he never believes in inclusivity in decision-making. He is a man of his own; he is always right and his decisions are and should be final. Tanzanians know him since when he was Member of Parliament and minster. It does not necessary mean that all his decisions are wrong but then again they bypass most of the fundamental features of democracy and therein lie the problem.

Tanzania is headed in a wrong direction. To understand you need to review the history of the country and analyze the current situation and the political decisions being made. President Magufuli is an authoritarian president. His decisions are populist in nature and often lack substance, he rarely makes any good decisions and even when he does those few cannot be said to be sustainable because they are individualist (not institutional). Tanzania has political fault-lines that require inclusivity and sobriety to address. The institutional reforms effectively stalled and Magufuli is perfectly taking advantage of weak institutions to turn the country into a kleptocracy. The media has been one of the casualties since as any dictators Magufuli isn’t comfortable with media freedom because he cannot risk an informed populace. The most recent incident in which the President fired his minister for information, Mr. Nape Nnauye, who seemed to stand on Magufuli's way to muzzle the media says it all. The biggest danger is that where Tanzania has reached in terms of attempting democratization it is more risky going back than forging ahead. But Magufuli is backpedaling and that is how the country is in a wrong path
President Magufuli is Not the Right Guy for Tanzania’s Democratization Process President Magufuli is Not the Right Guy for Tanzania’s Democratization Process Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on March 28, 2017 Rating: 5

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