“The IMF seems to be convinced that Tanzania has attained macroeconomic stability. President Mkapa stated in
the 2002 Consultative Group Meeting “This July, the Executive Board of the IMF decided, in view of our macroeconomic recovery, that its staff would henceforth be coming to Dar es Salaam for consultation once every two years.” It will be wrong to conclude that Tanzania has attained sustainable macroeconomic stability. The fiscal situation is still precarious with a very high level of dependence on foreign aid. Fiscal discipline has been overly dependent on the cash budget system with adverse impact on using the budgetary process to determine public expenditure allocation.”
Remarks Prof. Ibrahim Haruna Lipumba, National Chairman of the Civic United Front (CUF Chama Cha Wananchi) at the Swedish Parliament Building organised by the Liberal Party of Sweden and the Swedish International Liberal Centre January 16 2003
My discussion today is on the relationship between Democracy and Economic Development in Tanzania. In the 1950s and 1960s many social scientists particularly economists argued that there is a cruel trade off between democracy with civil liberties and economic development narrowly interpreted to mean growth of per capita GDP. Even Professor Samuelson, the 1969 Nobel Prize winner in Economics regarded this trade off to be a theoretical and empirical reality that he included it in his world famous introductory textbook in economics.
The reasons for accepting and expecting a trade off were that economic growth was seen to be almost mechanically driven by investment. Autocratic regimes were seen to be in a better position to mobilise or force high levels of saving to finance investment. The rapid industrialization of the Soviet Union under Stalin was seen as a confirmation that a ruthless dictatorship is in a better position to carry out rapid growth by forcing a large share of the country’s output to be invested in capital goods. Despite continued high levels of investment in the Soviet Union economic growth collapsed in the 1970s. Growth in most economies is mainly accounted by increases in total productivity rather than by just expanding the capital stock.
The success of East Asia and the Economic transformation of Chile under Pinochet have also been used to demonstrate that autocratic regimes perform better. Lee Kuan Yew has argued that Western type democracy promotes indiscipline. Poor countries need discipline to learn and work hard and not waste resources in endless and fruitless discussions, debates and demonstrations.
He attributes the success of Singapore and other East Asian countries to Asian values and Confucian ethics that includes respect for authority, devotion to family, frugality and respect to education and commitment to learning. A review of the extensive literature on democracy and economic development does not provide firm conclusion about democracy and long-term growth. There are a few autocratic regimes that have performed well in terms of economic growth, but most have done very poorly. On average democratic countries with civil liberties and effective rule of law have recorded better economic performance than autocratic regime. Democracies are much better at handling economic shocks. The best performing African economies are Mauritius and Botswana that have a democratic system since they gained independence in the 1960s.
Some people still believe that democracy is a luxury to be attained when a country is wealthier. Poor people, it is argued want food, clothing, shelter, education, health services and not freedom of speech or participating in political parties or elections. In fact the poor need democracy and voice more than the wealthier, as an instrument of their protection. Amartya Sen, the 1999 Nobel Prize winner in Economics has persuasively documented that no famine has occurred in a democratic country with a free press. Moreover empirical evidence shows that “wealth does not particularly lead to democracy, though it sustains democracy once achieved.“ India with all its shortcomings and poverty has maintained a democratic system. Botswana maintained a democratic system even before the discovery of diamonds. Mauritius was written off as a basket case, a Malthusian disaster by Prof. Meade who later won a Nobel Prize in economics. Mauritius maintained a democratic system and was able to design its own institutional arrangements of establishing export-processing zone that propelled its economy to a high growth trajectory.
As Sen has argued “Democracy has complex demands, which certainly include voting and respect for election results, but it also requires the protection of liberties and freedoms, respect for legal entitlements, and the guaranteeing of free discussion and uncensored distribution of news and fair comment. Even elections can be deeply defective if they occur without the different sides getting an adequate opportunity to present their respective cases, or without the electorate enjoying the freedom to obtain news and to consider the views of the competing protagonists” Democracy has an intrinsic value that is now universal in the sense that most people who have the opportunity to live in a functioning democratic system would prefer it to an autocratic regime.
Democracy combined with an institutional framework that promotes competitive markets is a good engine for economic growth and social development. Development policies that include promoting a high level of literacy and schooling, provision of basic health services, openness to competition, the use of international markets, creating a conducive climate for investment and export, incentives to farmers to promote agricultural transformation and broadening opportunities that widen participation in the process of economic expansion can initiate and sustain broad based development. You do not need a police state to implement these policies. Deliberation and exchange of views in a democratic system provide an opportunity for a self-discovery of appropriate institutional framework for fostering sustained long-term development.
Economists argue that competition fosters efficiency and growth. Similarly political competition is likely to promote economic growth and prosperity when the focus of such competition is ideas for improving the welfare of a broad base of citizens through the provision of market-enhancing public policies. An institutional arrangement that allows leaders and political parties to hold power for long periods stifle such competition and rewards cronyism and corruption instead. In Tanzania the ruling party has been in power for over forty years and have utterly failed to establish an institutional framework and policy regime that that could initiate and sustain growth with poverty eradication.
Democracy and Development in Tanzania
The liberal ideology of individual freedom, respect for human rights, free democratic elections, and promotion of free enterprise in socially inclusive competitive markets is relevant and appropriate to the development challenge of African countries. I believe that a party can win a free and fair election if it effectively articulates a liberal policy agenda. This agenda includes respect and protection of human rights, the rule of law under an independent and competent judiciary, and a development policy that not only, encourages individual initiative and free enterprise to generate productive employment, but also, has a social policy that empowers individuals by providing universal access to good quality basic education and health services. .
Post independence African governments adopted an ideology of national building and economic development to provide legitimacy to their increasing autocratic regimes. Many leaders rationalized autocratic rule by arguing that to bring together diverse ethnic groups and promote economic development required a strong state to prevent centrifugal forces from tearing apart an infant national polity. Development policies and practices in Africa opposed the liberal philosophy of the freedom of the individual and enterprise. One party states or military dictatorship became the norm throughout the continent. By the early 1980s, after two decades of single party system and experiments of state controlled development, economic progress in Africa was dismal and poverty was increasing.
In 1965 Tanzania formally adopted a one party system, abolished opposition parties and criminalized political opposition. This laid the foundation for implementing policies that proved disastrous to long-term socio-economic development. The Arusha Declaration of 1967 nationalized private enterprises. Private initiative was stifled and entrepreneurialship undermined. Rural development policy discouraged smallholder farmers from expanding cash crop production. In Socialism and Rural Development, President Nyerere argued that:
“But the basic difference between Tanzania rural life now and in the past stems from the widespread introduction of cash crop farming. Over larger areas of the country peasants spend at least part of their time- and sometimes the larger part of it- on the cultivation of crops for sale; crops like cotton, coffee, sisal, pyrethrum, and so on. But in the process the old tradition of living together, working together and sharing the proceeds, have often been abandoned. Farmers tend to work as individuals, in competition and not in cooperation with neighbours. And in many places our most intelligent and hard working peasants have invested their money in clearing more land, extending their acreage, using better tools, and so on until they have quite important farms of 10, 20 or even more acres. To do this they have employed other people to work for them. Sometimes but unfortunately not always they have paid the Government minimum wages to these labourers for the period over which they were employed. The result has been an increase in the amount of wealth produced in Tanzania- and still further increase in the wealth of the man who owned and initiated the larger farm.”
The objective of the policies adopted after the Arusha Declaration was to stop progressive farmers from expanding their farms and increasing agricultural output and rural employment. The Presidential Circular No. 1 of 1969 directed that
“All Government policies and the activities and policies of all Government officials, must therefore be geared towards emphasizing the advantages of living together and working together for the good of all; they should be angled at discouraging the continuation of private individual farming; and should attempt to dampen down the urge for private expenditure on consumer and farm durables in favour of communal expenditure on things like cooperatively owned farm implements, stores, water supplies, good houses, dispensaries, nursery schools, roads, community centres, and so on.”
When peasants, who understood better their own environment than party functionaries and government bureaucrats, were not enthusiastic to move into communal villages, the government used force to move millions of peasant into “development villages” destroying their houses and farms. Agricultural production and rural development suffered. Agricultural marketing cooperatives that were semi independent from the ruling party were abolished and replaced by bureaucratic marketing authorities that were inefficient and unresponsive to peasants needs.
Private owned stores in rural area were abolished and a village cooperative store was given the monopoly of distributing basic amenities to the rural population. Shortages in rural areas increased and incentives to work were adversely affected.
The state control of economic activities led to economic collapse despite enormous development assistance from abroad. The nationalization of sisal plantations in 1967, for example, caused the collapse of the sisal industry that was the largest employer in the country. Production of sisal that was the leading export of Tanzania in the 1960s decreased from 236000 tones in 1964 to 33000 tones in 1985, and 20000 tones in 1999.
The noble objective of the late President Nyerere of providing universal primary education and access to basic health services for all could not be attained because of the overextended state and its inherit inefficiency. Nationalization of private enterprises reduced the tax base. State owned enterprises became a burden to the exchequer reducing the ability of the government to provide social services and infrastructure. Monopolization of economic activities by state enterprises promoted widespread corruption and the increase of parallel markets.
Lack of a democratic accountability and freedom of the press in the one party state facilitated the adoption of these policies, such as forced villagization that abused fundamental human rights of the rural population, were economically unsound and degraded the environment. The criminalization of private enterprise activities blunted individual initiative and promoted a culture of dependence at both the state and individual level. The monopolization of politics and the non-church civic society by the single party undermined voluntary community organizations that are important in promoting solidarity in a democratic society.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund supported structural adjustment Programmes (SAP) that was widely adopted by many African countries in the mid 1980s. The Washington consensus policies included macroeconomic stabilization, trade liberalization, financial sector reforms, and privatisation and opening up to capital flows. These SAPs that ostensibly introduced market oriented reforms have failed to initiate broad based high economic growth that is required to reduce unacceptable high rates of poverty. Tanzania started implementing comprehensive economic reforms under SAP in 1986. Economic growth has only recovered modestly. Average income of a Tanzanian was decreasing at annual rate of 2 percent in 1980 – 85 but increased at an annual rate of only 0.2 percent in 1986-2000. Abject poverty is increasing.
There was significant improvement in growth during 1986 to 1990. Trend growth rate of GDP was 4.5 percent but compared to annual growth rate of GDP of less than 1 percent during 1980-85. This period coincides with the first term of President Mwinyi. In the second term of President Mwinyi 1990-95, growth decelerated. Trend growth rate of GDP was only 1.7 percent, more than one percentage point below the population growth rate of 2.9 percent.
In the past ten years coinciding with the first term of President Mkapa there has been a modest improvement in economic growth. Moreover, large fluctuations of growth have been replaced by steady but modest increases in growth rates. Even the El Nino weather phenomenon in 1997 did not cause a large fall in growth. Trend growth rate of GDP of 4.2 percent in 1995-2000 is similar (slightly low) to the trend growth rate of 4.5 percent in 1985-90 (table 2). This is too low to significantly reduce mass poverty facing Tanzania that needs a sustained annual growth rate of not less than 8 percent per year.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of Tanzanians. The 2000/01 Household budget show that 62 percent of adults reported that agriculture was their main economic activity. Expenditure on food account for 65 percent of total household expenditure. The overwhelming majority of the poor live in rural areas. Good agricultural performance is necessary in order to make progress in reducing poverty improving nutrition and providing food security. Structural transformation of the Tanzania economy has not yet started. Agriculture has accounted for 45 percent or more of total GDP in the past 17 years, among the highest for any economy in the world. Although the growth of the agricultural sector has only been modest, it accounted for 45 percent of the growth for the 1985 2001 period.
Agricultural performance after the introduction of reforms has improved but has not been spectacular with a trend growth rate of only 3.3 percent during 1985 – 2000. Successful reformers from previous socialist regimes have tended to record high growth of the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector in China grew at an average rate of 7.1 percent during 1978 to 1984 that helped to propel China into a high growth trajectory in the other sectors. Vietnam agriculture sector grew at trend rate of 8.2 percent between 1992 and 2000 during a period when it intensified its liberalization reforms. Mozambique agriculture grew at an average rate of 4.8 percent during 1991 and 2000. The potential spurt in agricultural growth is yet to be realised. It should be possible to initiate such growth particularly Tanzania has a comparative advantage in all its traditional exports as well as in the staple foods of maize and rice. Moreover the variety of agronomic zones makes Tanzania a potential exporter of non-traditional exports including fruits and vegetables.
Investment allocation has been overly biased against the agriculture sector. If we use sectoral incremental output capital ratios as crude measure of investment efficiency, the agricultural sector is the most efficient user of investment. In the past seven years, the government has allocated less than 5 percent of its total expenditure to directly support the agricultural sector. The investment climate in rural area is less attractive with arbitrary taxes and highhanded behaviour of village and ward executive officers.
The fastest growing sector in the Tanzania economy is mining that has grown at the average of 11 percent in 1990 to 1995 and 16 percent in 1995 – 2000. This fast growth has started from a very small base, as mining accounted for less than 1 percent of total GDP in 1990. Even after this spectacular growth mining accounted for only 2.5 percent of GDP in 2001. It is however an increasing source of foreign exchange earnings accounting for almost 40 percent of merchandise exports in 2001. Gold is now by far the leading export of Tanzania. Mining is the only sector that has contributed to growth mare than three times its share in total GDP. The rapid growth of mineral exports has yet to have a positive impact on government revenue because of over generous tax exemptions.
The performance of the manufacturing sector has also been disappointingly low. The trend growth rate of value added in manufacturing sector for 1985 – 2000 was only 2.4 percent. The share of manufacturing in total GDP was around 13 percent in 1976 and has fallen to 8.9 percent in 1985 largely because of the foreign exchange crisis that reduced capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector. Although privatisation of some enterprises such as Tanzania Breweries has led to a large increase in production, structural adjustment programs and the reforms have not improved the performance of the manufacturing sector as a whole.
Even during 1995 – 2000, when there was no shortage of foreign exchange, growth of value added in manufacturing sector was only 5 percent. Manufacturing share in total output in 2000 was only 7.9 percent among the lowest for any economy in the world. It can be argued that structural adjustment program and trade liberalization in Tanzania has been associated with de-industrialization. At early stages of development, manufacturing usually contributes more to growth than its share in GDP. This has not been the case in Tanzania. The low share of manufacturing in total GDP provides another potential area for a spurt in growth of output in the short run.
The most important achievement of the Third phase (Mkapa) government is on the inflation front. Inflation has been reduced from an average of over 30 percent in the 1980s and an average of 27 percent in 1990-95 to 4.4 percent in September 2002. The reduction of inflation that eluded President Mwinyi administration was achieved in the first term of President Mkapa administration. The use of the cash budget and sticking to the aggregate levels of government expenditure and refraining from using the Central Bank to finance government deficits contributed to the commendable achievement. Staying within the aggregate budget was achieved at the expense of not respecting budgetary allocation particularly in the social sectors. Non-wage expenditure in the health sector- the money used to purchase medicine and medical supplies, for example decreased from Shs. 28 billion in 1994/95 to 4.4 billion in 1996/97.
The foreign exchange market is fully liberalised at least for current account transactions. The amount of foreign exchange reserves has climbed from about 6 weeks of merchandise imports in 1995 to the current level of 18 weeks. The current account deficit has decreased from an unsustainable level of more than 10 percent in 1990 – 95 to less than 5 percent in 2000 and 2001. Although there is no official statement of liberalization of the capital account, there are no effective restrictions preventing Tanzania residents purchasing financial assets abroad.
The IMF seems to be convinced that Tanzania has attained macroeconomic stability. President Mkapa stated in the 2002 Consultative Group Meeting “This July, the Executive Board of the IMF decided, in view of our macroeconomic recovery, that its staff would henceforth be coming to Dar es Salaam for consultation once every two years.” It will be wrong to conclude that Tanzania has attained sustainable macroeconomic stability. The fiscal situation is still precarious with a very high level of dependence on foreign aid. Fiscal discipline has been overly dependent on the cash budget system with adverse impact on using the budgetary process to determine public expenditure allocation.
The opening up to capital inflows has been positive with FDI increasing from zero in 1991 to USD 190 million in 2000.
Impact of Reforms on Poverty
Household Budget Surveys have been used to estimate the level of poverty in Tanzania. Using the 1991/92 Household Budget Survey, The National Bureau of Statistics estimated that people living below the poverty line were 48.4 % of the total population in 1992. The poverty line used in this estimate is a daily per capita consumption of less than 1 purchasing power parity adjusted dollar to reflect Tanzania prices.
The National Bureau of Statistics has used the 2000/01 Household Budget Survey to estimate the levels of poverty in Tanzania. They have used a local poverty line based on expenditure required to purchase food that will provide at least 2200 calories for an adult per day. They have estimated that “Some 36 per cent of Tanzanians fall below the basic needs poverty line and 19 per cent below the food poverty line in 2000/01. Poverty is highest in rural areas, where 39 per cent of the population falls below the basic needs poverty line. Dar es Salaam has the lowest level of poverty, with 18 per cent below the same line” Using the same method they have re estimated levels of poverty in 1992 to be 39 percent and therefore between 1991/92 and 2000/01 head count poverty has fallen by 3 percentage point but this fall is not statistically significant.
The National Bureau of Statistics has used an extremely austere poverty line. For some one in Dar es Salaam spending Shs. 350 a day (4 Swedish kronors) on his basic needs will be counted as non-poor. The basic nutritional needs of an adult require only Shs. 240/- per day. The consumption basket used to determine the poverty probably contains many giffen goods purchased by the poor. The National poverty line in purchasing power parity dollars is only 63 cents
I have used the internationally accepted poverty line of spending USD 1 a day and recalculated the percentage of the population living in poverty. Headcount poverty has not decreased from 39 percent in 1992 to 36 percent in 2001. It has actually increased from 48.4 percent in 1992 to 75 percent in 2001. It should also be noted that the quintile distribution show that another 15 to 20 percent of the population that are above the poverty line spend less than 2.00 PPP dollars a day.
AIDS is devastating Tanzania and has reduced life expectancy from 52 years in 1992 to 48 years in 1998. Lack of freedom of press in the 1980s prevented an honest public discussion of AIDS in the early stages of the epidemic when it could have been prevented before its current devastation.
Structural adjustment Programmes have not been the policy choice of democratic elected government with the mandate and legitimacy to implement reforms. These policies that have sometimes misnamed as ‘neo-liberal’ have been imposed on African governments by the policy conditionality and the IMF and the World Bank. African governments have not owned these policies. To have deep market oriented reforms that have the support of the population require democratically elected governments.
Despite the high level of poverty, a very small middle class, and a predominantly rural population, Tanzania has a good opportunity of establishing both a democratic open society and an inclusive broad based market economy. A democratic society will ensure that political leaders are elected in free and fair elections. An inclusive broad-based market economy will not only accelerate the elimination of mass poverty but also enhance democratic practice. The people in Tanzania including most of those in the rural areas want a democratic society that protects their fundamental human rights and provides opportunities to individuals and their families to live in peace and improve the quality of their lives.
Tanzania has important characteristics that make it feasible to establish a democratic society and a broad based socially inclusive market economy. First, there is a common lingua franca, Kiswahili that provides a cultural and communication bond. Second, in many rural areas of the country almost all households have access to land and we do not have a landed gentry and a landless peasantry. Third, the potential of promoting economic growth based on smallholder agriculture and labour intensive manufacturing has yet to be fully exploited.
The mineral potential that is just beginning to be exploited can provide government revenues to support human resources development including investment in education and life long learning, and improvement in health services. The geographical diversity of the country that includes Kilimanjaro the highest mountain in Africa, exotic game parks such as Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, good beaches and the spicy island of Zanzibar makes Tanzania a perfect holiday destination for tourist that can generate employment and foreign exchange. Fourth, the potential of increasing living standards by concentrating public resources on basic health and education is enormous. Fifth, Tanzania does not have a history of civil violence and political extremism and the people have a tradition of tolerance and compromise. It is possible to encourage competitive political processes based on policy issues rather than ethnic, racial or religious chauvinism and character assassination.
Agricultural Development Strategy
Despite many policy statements to support rural development, the overall impact of government policies has led to the neglect of the agricultural sector and direct and indirect taxation of peasants. Economic development in rural Tanzania that was gaining momentum in the 1960s was arrested by misguided policies as a result rural Tanzanians are very poor. The 2000/01 Household budget survey shows that 70 percent of the population is employed in agriculture. Among the population that is classified as poor, 81 percent depend directly on agriculture as a source of livelihood. Agriculture in Tanzania is rain fed, labour intensive and uses a few rudimentary tools. Poverty can only be reduced by increasing agricultural productivity and incomes of those employed in agriculture.
Smallholder farmers cultivating less than two hectares dominate Tanzania agriculture. Most of the urban centred elite, including private sector businesspersons, tends to believe that efficient agriculture is large-scale agriculture that can tape economies of scale and use modern farm machinery. During the Ujamaa period the government invested in state farms and attempted to persuade or force peasants into establishing large-scale communal farms. In embracing market oriented development strategy, there is a danger of swinging towards believing that large-scale capitalist farms will provide a solution to the agrarian crisis. There are some in government who believe that we should encourage large-scale farmers from Zimbabwe and South Africa to invest in Tanzania agriculture. The Bank of Tanzania Investment Report (2002) recommends creating conducive climate for foreign direct investment in agriculture.
Agricultural transformation has usually preceded or accompanied sustained economic growth and industrialization. The role of agriculture in economic development include providing food and raw materials to the emerging industrial sector, agricultural exports earn foreign exchange that enables the country to import goods including capital goods, the agricultural sector provides labour to be employed in other sector, and saving in the farm sector can finance investment in the manufacturing sector. Increasing incomes of the agricultural population provide a market for the nascent manufacturing sector. Apart from these well-recognised roles, agriculture can contribute to macroeconomic and political stability. A flourishing agriculture that provides adequate supplies of food to guarantee food price stability contributes to both macroeconomic stability that facilitates long-term growth and to political stability that is a prerequisite to sustained growth.
Smallholder farmers are generally efficient producers given the nature of agriculture production function and decision-making and the resource endowment of Tanzania. Agricultural production is spatial and is not amenable to bureaucratic decision-making. In the 1950s and 1960s, smallholder agriculture showed its potential of fast growth. The realization of this potential was arrested by the socialist experiment of implementing Ujamaa from above.
A broad-based agriculture development strategy requires equitable distribution of land. It is absolutely important to prevent concentration of land ownership in order to promote a poverty eradicating agricultural development strategy.
A dynamic agricultural sector is usually integrated to the rest of the economy. An environment that promotes the development and flourishing of product and factor markets in rural areas is conducive to the promotion of agricultural production. A smallholder “uni-modal” agricultural development strategy also requires the development of rural infrastructure to connect rural producers to urban and world markets. Agricultural progress and modernization is usually accompanied by increases in commercialisation of agricultural production. To increase the use of off-farm products—inputs and final consumer goods and services—rural producers have to sell a larger share of their output. Rural infrastructure is indispensable.
Problems with the Democratisation Process
Tanzania introduced a multi party political system in 1992, but the ruling party refused to create a level playing ground for free and fair elections. The first multiparty elections in 1995 were marred by outright rigging in Zanzibar and deplorable weak administration of the elections in Mainland Tanzania. International observers concluded that in Zanzibar ‘the registration of voters and vote tallying were not carried out in accordance with international standards and it was not possible for observers to bear witness to the accuracy of the declared results in the Presidential elections.’
The second multiparty elections in the October 2000 failed again to elections did not advance the democratization process in Tanzania. In Zanzibar the elections were completely bungled as clearly shown in The Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group on the Elections in Zanzibar. They argued that
”In many places [in Zanzibar] this election was a shambles. The cause is either massive incompetence or a deliberate attempt to wreck at least part of this election: we are not yet in a position to know which. Either way, the outcome represents a colossal contempt for ordinary Zanzibar people and their aspirations for democracy… On the evidence of polling day the elections should be held again, in their entirety. But first, the existing election machinery must be reformed from top to bottom.”
The government adamantly rejected the recommendation of all election observers that the Zanzibar should be re run and used brute force to impose the CCM candidate as the President of Zanzibar. In the Tanzania mainland CCM, the ruling party since independence, used the National Electoral Commission, the Tanzania Intelligence and Security Services (Secret Police), the Police, Government owned public media particularly Radio Tanzania and television and government funds to ensure that the ruling party wins.
Following the outcome of the October 29th General elections in which the ruling party CCM was declared to have gotten a landslide victory – amidst cries of widespread foul play – the government through its police department had decided to prevent all rallies and demonstrations by the opposition. Supporters of our Party, The Civic United Front (CUF) – demonstrated peacefully on 27th January to demand, a re-run of the Zanzibar elections in their entirety, a new constitution which will facilitate democratisation and conform to the multi party politics re-introduced to the country in 1992, and a top to bottom reform of the Tanzania and Zanzibar electoral commissions following the failure of the existing bodies to exercise impartiality when conducting elections. In Dar es Salaam demonstrators were beaten mercilessly. In Zanzibar demonstrators were gunned down. Over 70 people were killed and more 2000 flee to Kenya in ramshackle dhows to save their lives.
After these tragic events we realized that the government does not have a vision of peaceful democratic development. To avoid more bloodshed we took an initiative to seek political reconciliation in Zanzibar. As a result of our reconciliation offensive, my party The Civic United Front (CUF) and the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) started negotiations in February 2001. The main objective of these negotiations was to find a lasting solution to the Zanzibar political crisis that was destroying the foundation of national unity, threatening peace and tranquillity for all Tanzanians, destroying the nascent democratisation process and the rule of law. We took the initiative and offered key concessions including accepting the rigged results of the 2000 elections.
These negotiations culminated into the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MUAFAKA) between CUF and CCM in October 2001 that among other things aimed at: –
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(1) <!–[endif]–>Reform of the Zanzibar Electoral Commission to form an independent commission which will ensure that all future elections are transparent, credible and free of controversy in all important respects;
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(2) <!–[endif]–> The compilation of credible register of voters,
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(3) <!–[endif]–>To review the constitution and electoral laws of Zanzibar to enhance harmonization with the requirements of a modern multi-party democracy,
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(4) <!–[endif]–>To reform public media to ensure equitable access for all political parties and balanced reporting of political activities without favour or bias for any political party,
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(5) <!–[endif]–>To ensure free political activity within the law in which all political parties are able to propagate their views and converse support for the respective positions and policies free of harassment and intimidation;
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(6) <!–[endif]–>The judiciary of Zanzibar is to be reformed to enhance its independence, its professionalism and its standing in the eyes of the community as the fount of justice,
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(7) <!–[endif]–>All political parties agree to respect the Constitution and the laws of the land and to refrain from inciting ethnic hatred, hostility and political intolerance.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(8) <!–[endif]–>An independent commission of Inquiry should be established to investigate the cause, reasons and the aftermath of the 26th and 27th January 2001 incidents. Every one will respect the Report of the Commission and its recommendations have to be fully implemented by appropriate institutions.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(9) <!–[endif]–>As a step to normalize political and social peace, the government will withdrawal all cases and release all detained people arrested in connection with the January 26 and 27 incidents.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>(10) <!–[endif]–>We have agreed to make another appeal to all Tanzanians who took refugee to Kenya and have not yet returned home to do so because the government has already given an official statement assuring the safety of refugees and that they will not be prosecuted or harassed when they return home.
The implementation of the MUAFAKA particularly by the Zanzibar Government has been very slow and far behind the agreed schedule. President Karume delayed in appointing the new Zanzibar Electoral Commission; the Secretariat of the New Commission has yet to be appointed. The work of preparing an authentic Voters Register has been delayed. The Zanzibar government is introducing a semi paramilitary militia (KIKOSI CHA VOLANTIA ZANZIBAR) mainly composed of CCM cadres.
The Report of the Mbita Commission on January 26 and 27 killings has been completed and released to the public. Unfortunately the Report is largely whitewashing the tragic killings and human rights abuses of the government and its security forces. The Report has absorbed the government and the police and other security forces involved of any responsibility and accountability for the killings. As is common with autocratic regimes, the Report blames the victims, CUF leaders and supporters for not obeying police and government orders not to demonstrate. The Amnesty International Report on the Zanzibar killings is by far more objective and truthful.
Despite the delays it is still possible to have a free and fair by-elections in Pemba in May 2003.
Given that the leading political parties in Tanzania CCM and CUF have agreed to reform the Zanzibar Electoral Commission, to review the Zanzibar constitution and electoral laws, to reform the public media and the Zanzibar judiciary and many other things. It is obvious that these reforms are also required for the whole of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Tanzania has gone through two multi-party elections but is far from being a democratic Country. Freedom House (2001) classifies Tanzania as a Country with restricted democratic practice which has “a regime in which the dominant ruling party controls the levers of power, including access to the media, and the electoral process in ways that preclude a meaningful challenge to its political hegemony”. Both the 1995 and 2000 elections were flawed. Our elections have not been free and fair. The unwritten rules of the game are biased against opposition parties. We do not have a level playing ground for political competition.
The absence of free and fair elections contributes to the continuation of bad policies. For example in rural areas the collection of poll taxes that have been misnamed as development levies is responsible for extensive human right abuses and the worsening of investment climate for smallholder farmers. The quality of leadership of community and local government is poor because opposition parties in rural areas are harassed and independent candidates are not legally allowed to contest any leadership position. Giving voice to the rural population is necessary for improving civil and human rights of the rural population and for creating conducive environment for sustained socio-economic development.
The absence of free democratic elections creates a fertile ground for the flourishing of corruption. Despite the presentation of an excellent report by the Warioba Commission, no effective action has been taken against corruption in higher places. Corruption is undermining economic development. For example to pay USD 2.9 million a month to Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) in a deal that even the World Bank believes was signed in a corruptible environment. In the biggest privatisation deal related to the sale of Tanzania Telecommunication Company (TTCL), the government has yet to receive a single cent. CCM is not worried of corruption because they depend on winning by rigging elections.
President Mkapa is barred by our constitution from contesting for the presidency for the third term. To his credit he has not shown an intention of changing the constitution even when CCM sycophants proposed such a change. The main obstacle to democratic change is that CCM has yet to accept the will of the people when voted out of power. President Mkapa has the opportunity to lay a foundation of a solid democratic institutional set up by reforming the appointment of the Electoral Commission, introducing proportional representation and allowing independent candidates. He must commit himself to conduct a free and fair elections in 2005 and accept to hand over power to the opposition (instead of using the security forces to ensure CCM stays in power as was the case in Zanzibar in 2000) if they win the general election be it in Zanzibar or the United Republic of Tanzania as a whole.
The respect of human rights and economic progress in Africa require governments that are elected in free and fair elections that will be accountable to the local population. African people want accountable governments that respect their human rights and are able to design and implement policies that will spur economic growth and generate employment and reduce poverty. Only Tanzanians can perform the task of democratising Tanzania. After travelling throughout the regions of Tanzania for at least three times, I know Tanzanians want a democratic change. They say Forty Years of CCM is enough. International assistance is ideally based on solidarity of the common people. Given the reality of one Party system in Africa that want to hang into power by hooks and crooks, international pressure particularly from donor countries is necessary to support democratisation process in countries such as Tanzania. Liberal parties in donor countries should insist on a democratic conditionality in development cooperation. Only those countries that are moving forward in implementing democratic reforms and holding free and fair elections should be eligible to receive development assistance.