Tanzania: Opposition Told to Go Back to Drawing Board

OPPOSITION parties must assess their performance in terms of their contribution to the country's development before going back to the drawing board to strategies on how to win the hearts of the public, observers have said.

Political analysts and academicians said that this year's election results should serve as a lesson to opposition parties as they strategize on the kind of leadership that they think they can offer to win the public trust.

In the 2020 General Election held on Wednesday, Tanzanians witnessed the collapse of opposition with the dominant Chama Cha Mapinduzi uprooting opposition bigwigs in the parliamentary election.

According to the results announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) through its returning officers, CCM won in 256 constituencies with opposition parties winning only eight legislative seats.

Reacting to the polls outcomes, Mr Edgar Atubongise, a political Analyst, said that there was a need for opposition parties in the country to make self-assessment to see whether they can continue to have influence in the country's politics.

He argued that the defeat by CCM affected even opposition bigwigs who some of them were not only parliamentarians but also leaders of their respective political parties.

He said one of the reasons for the defeat of heavyweight opposition legislative parliamentarians might be poor performance that disappointed their electorates.

"Most of the opposition parliamentarians who lost their seats have served for two or more terms... . and may be people are not satisfied with their performance and have decided to elect other representatives for change," he said.

Mr Atubongise, however, said that the opposition parties still have a chance to win back their seats in the future if only they convince the public on how they can come up with different leadership styles beneficial to the citizens.

University of Dar es Salaam lecturer Dr Lucas Kisasa said that the opposition defeat in this year's general election has been contributed by various factors among them being failure to appreciate what the ruling party has done.

"Opposition parties have been criticizing everything ... there are good things which have been done by the ruling party, they were supposed to appreciate them," Dr Kisasa noted.

He added that opposition parties and their MPS, in the past five years, indulged in the tendency of peddling their own interests while in parliament and not the interests of their voters.

He said despite being in politics for a long time they failed to create a base that could build a strong and credible opposition in the country.

Speaking on the performance displayed by the ruling party in the just concluded election, Dr Kisasa said that CCM National Chairman Dr John Magufuli helped a lot to rebuild his party by resolving challenges that were affecting the public.

"This has helped a lot to win the public trust which has been reflected in this year's General Election... this should serve as a lesson to opposition parties that they should appreciate what the government does instead of indulging in criticism.

Prof Joseph Matumaini of St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) CCM's landslide victory should serve as a lesson to all opposition parties.

"We still need opposition parties but they should be very strong... we need to recruit new politicians who will create strong opposition that can constructively support the ruling party in spearheading the country's development and not criticizing it," he said.

Prof Matumaini further added that the country is now entering into a new era, expressing optimism that having majority members of the ruling party in the parliament does not mean that there will be no criticism on issues related to the country's development.

"The victory by the ruling party is an indication that there were some shortfalls in opposition such as lack of unity among themselves and safeguarding personal interests which have posed many questions to the public," Prof Matumaini said.

He, however, said the ruling party had scientifically planned its campaigns and policies, something that has contributed a lot to its victory.

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