Mixed views greet Samia’s maiden letter to Tanzanians

By Jacob Mosenda

Dar es Salaam. Players in political science and democracy in Tanzania have commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her resolve to strengthening democracy based on the pillars of Reconciliation, Resiliency, Reforms and Rebuilding which she termed as 4Rs.

In an opinion pieced she penned and got published in several national newspapers yesterday, President Hassan reflected on the 30 years of multi-party democracy in Tanzania.

The experts were impressed to witness a sitting President penning an opinion piece to outline her vision of uniting the nation.

“This has never happened in the country for the President to set aside time to write down her views and to articulate her vision through the media. This is a wonderful move…,” said Zitto Kabwe, the ACT-Wazalendo party leader in an interview with The Citizen yesterday.

The Citizen, however, understands that President Benjami Mkapa had some pieces also published while still in office and after retirement.

In her article titled: “I am determined to bring about political, economic change”, the President noted that the work of fighting for democracy was not yet complete explaining that Tanzania was currently facing the same difficulties that existed when the multi-party system was re-introduced.

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“That is why in my leadership I believe in the so-called 4Rs–Reconciliation, Resiliency, Reforms and Rebuilding,” she said in an article published in Mwananchi newspaper.

However, Mr Zitto explained that after the president had conveyed her vision through the 4Rs, her assistants who represent her to the people should explain them further so that the latter can better understand the President’s vision.

“But in spite of all this, we need to see these issues taken to Parliament and various laws amended including those involving the political parties so that the goals and commitment of the President can be real…,” he said.

But, Chadema General Secretary John Mnyika said President Hassan could have made good use of July 1 to free political parties from bondage and provide direction for the coming years, especially by announcing speedy completion of the new constitution writing.

Mr Mnyika said 4R statements were promises that must be accompanied by action. “In defining 4Rs, the President did not write about the following issues which she would have been better off making: to remove the illegal ban on public rallies if it is to comply with the constitutional requirements and the law on political parties and the police force as it currently stands.

“To finalise the new constitutional process for allocating funds and to amend the constitutional amendment law and the referendum law to expedite implementation,” he said.

Mr Mnyika added that changing the electoral laws alone would not bring the fair competition if it was not preceded by the drafting of a new constitution or making major constitutional changes that will enable the country to have free and fair elections.

“As we commemorate 30 years of multi-party democracy as we move towards the end of the National Vision 2025 it is time now to form a united and long-term national vision,” Mr Mnyika said.

College of Diplomacy lecturer, Innocent Shoo said: “If you do not have political freedom in the economy, many people are afraid to come and invest… so what President Hassan is doing is ensuring the country builds itself economically because countries that have done so like Singapore were successful.”

For his part, Mr Anania Mathew who is pursuing a PhD in political science at the University of Nairobi in Kenya said the President has continued to show her good intentions in strengthening democracy.

“We should be grateful to have a President who takes time to express her resolve to nation building and democracy. Through her articles you can see that she’s determined to carry out what she says as the newspapers do not forget. We just need to be patient so that all the flaws in various sectors can be worked on,” he noted exuding optimism.