The World just observed another peaceful presidential handover when the outgoing Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete hugged the newly elected and sworn in President John Joseph Pombe Magufuli.
Talk everywhere has been that relief that ten years finally came to pass. Kikwete has left Tanzania a torn apart state. It was during Kikwete reign that the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) lost veteran members among them two former Prime Ministers to the opposition.
The Southern Sahara revolutionary and long standing political party, CCM, has never faced grave challenges as it did during Kikwete regime. Corruption within the party activities went load that some of the party sharks were wounded and left grieving.
Sympathising with the Génocidaires
His massive overseas and continental visits, it seems, were based on paving for divisionism among Africans particularly neighbors in the Great Lakes Region.
In 2013, Kikwete shocked the international community when he advocated for Genocide perpetrators, FDLR, and said they were just a political party with no genocide ideology.
He publicly sanitised them saying, “Those are children of former militias and have nothing to do with genocide”.
The current Burundi political unrest bears signs of genocide in the region, but Kikwete has openly supported President Pierre Nkurunziza in fueling chaotic situation in Burundi and perhaps supporting the ongoing silent genocide.
It was Kikwete who played central role securing Nkurunziza’s presidency after a failed coup.
Kikwete is far different from other African presidents. Take an example of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. While Tanzanians themselves wish Kagame was their president for at least a month, they wished Kikwete could have disappeared from their country.
It was vividly expressed when Kagame arrived at the Dar es Salaam National Stadium for the swearing in ceremony for Magufuli. Yet, other Heads of State arrived to little jubilation.
But thousands of Tanzanians at the ceremony, vibrantly decorated with immediate cheers, welcomed with applause the man whom Kikwete had desperately made them think he is their enemy.
For Kagame, millions of Rwandans back home have petitioned to the parliament to amend the constitution and allow him to continue leading after his presidential term in 2017. Yet Tanzanians are cursing the reign of Kikwete even after he is out of office.
East African member states are sighing with relief from their experience with the comedian Kikwete who habours utter divisionism, and are hoping the Senior Chemist ‘President John Pombe Magufuli’ could revive Tanzania’s foreign policy particularly with Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region.
Tanzania’s diplomatic relations with Rwanda had long been smooth since the era of former presidents Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Benjamin Mkapa.
Indeed Mkapa nurtured President Magufuli into a fine minister and a strong politician he has become. Kikwete just rode on Mkapa’s ripe fruit.
Kikwete, a wanderer president?
It turns out that the tourist or rather a wonderer president Kiwete as most young Tanzanians call him (Raisi Mtalii), has left the country even poorer.
Apparently by September 11, 2012, Kikwete had clocked 337 official trips outside Tanzania. Magufuli who served as minister for 20 years and another 20 as a parliamentarian travelled only five times.
Tanzanians believe Kikwete ate too much for the blind to see. Those official trips were supposed to bring some returns to Tanzania; instead he spent time overseeing the smuggling of state resource including wild animals such as Giraffes and Elephants. Kikwete is now regarded as a retired tourist and not a retired president.
Kikwete has left the famous Tanzania’s Union (Tanganyika and Zanzibar) at the edge of a cracked cliff.
Despite being part of Tanzania and thus the Union; Zanzibar remains under military siege after the just ended general elections whereas opposition was denied their election right as winners and the Zanzibar Electoral Council (ZEC) nullified the elections.
CCM and Kikwete decided that the President of the United Republic of Tanzania swears in without Zanzibar’s fate being known.
Meanwhile, the general election on Tanzania mainland where President John Pombe Magufuli was in stiff competition with Former Premier Edward Lowasa was seen as magic, a blame piled on Kikwete’s failure to consolidate and strengthen the party’s political foot hold.
Undisclosed power hunger
Fear of a catastrophic outcome, Kikwete postponed a referendum on a new constitution in April 2015 after what the electoral body said was ‘some delays’ in registering voters, as many observers say, was buying time for the general elections to delay and prolong his presidency.
The postponement heightened tensions over the charter, which the major opposition parties had rejected. The delay also could complicate presidential and parliamentary elections that were set to be held in October 2015 as it was recently observed.
Opposition parties and civil society groups had sought limits on presidential powers and a federal system of government, but Kikwete was against this democratic move. The sluggish progress would award him more days in power.
In fact, while addressing parliament in Dodoma ahead of the elections, Kikwete’s Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda ordered security organs to intimidate and beat up people not in support of CCM. “Wapigwe tu [Just beat them],” he said.
As the country sets foot back on track after all the gaffes and bigoted drama on stage, Tanzania’s folk tale for Mheshimiwa Kikwite would probably be another Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Tanzanians can now comfortably chew the Korosho and seap on Chai or the famous hot aromatic Kahawa!