Tanzania's politics
Mar 22nd 2007
From the Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire

Few changes since a new president took office a year ago


Just over a year ago, Jakaya Kikwete won a landslide victory in the presidential poll, securing more than 80% of the popular vote. Tanzanians were clearly optimistic that the dynamism of Mr Kikwete's campaign would be translated into government, and that the new administration would be capable of pushing ahead with an ambitious reform agenda on multiple fronts. Unfortunately, the reality is rather different, with the government beset by corruption allegations and bogged down in a seemingly never-ending power crisis. In fact, it has arguably become a mirror image of Benjamin Mkapa's administration, which, while capable, was hardly inspiring.

To be fair, many of the problems experienced since Mr Kikwete's election—such as the power crisis in 2006—were inherited from the Mkapa government, while the new president stresses that his tenure should be judged over the full five-year term rather than his first 12 months in office. He also clearly has a plan in this respect. For the 2005 election the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) drew up a very detailed manifesto, even detailing individual projects to which it is committed. To try to ensure that this goal is met ministries will now undergo annual evaluations to see which of the schemes have been implemented as part of the annual budget cycle. The aim, presumably, is to enable the president to state that he has delivered on his political promises by giving the electorate precise details on the implementation of projects outlined in the CCM manifesto.

However, there are problems with this approach, which in some ways can be seen as hiding behind manifesto commitments. The real constraint to development in Tanzania is not finding schemes, nor even their financing and implementation. In fact, this route for re-election perpetuates the current mentality of the government: its role is to administer a series of projects. Instead, the real problem constraining development is the lack of a dynamic administration able to start to solve the many complex and interlinked constraints facing the country. This is still far from being resolved and is unlikely to be so without a change in the way Tanzania's political leadership regards the role of government.

In addition, this approach blurs the line between the ruling CCM and the government/civil service, while raising doubts as to whether the CCM manifesto or the five-year national development strategy (mainly referred to by its Swahili acronym, MKUKUTA) has higher priority. Although the two are clearly closely linked, the manifesto arguably has more politically orientated projects and did not involve the wider consultations involved in drawing up MKUKUTA. In addition, the manifesto is clearly a less ambitious document than MKUKUTA. As such, the priority should be the implementation of the development strategy, but this does not seem to be the case.

Another problem with the Kikwete presidency may be more fundamental. During his first year in office all the major decisions appear to have been made by the president himself. Mr Kikwete and the first lady are clearly the centre of attention and the locus of political power. The vice-president, who was not selected as a running mate by Mr Kikwete, has been sidelined, while the prime minister, Edward Lowassa, appears loyal but not particularly dynamic.

This centralisation of power does not necessarily have to be a problem—it is arguably common in many African countries—but it has become one because of the substantial amount of time the president has spent abroad in his first year in office. He claims this is necessary in order to raise the profile of the country and to attract foreign investment, but the rest of the government seems unable to make important decisions in his absence. There is a flurry of activity whenever the president returns from a foreign visit, but this quickly dies away with his next trip, and on his return the focus of attention has moved on and there is little follow-up with respect to implementation.

In one sense this isn't crucially important. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects growth to be robust at around 6-7% in 2007, and inflation relatively low, thanks to the end of the power crisis in early 2007, good rains, high commodity prices, a stable macroeconomic environment and large donor inflows. However, it does mean that the government is unlikely to get to grips with the challenges need to turn Tanzania into an economy with a growth rate of between 7-10% a year—the level required to make sustained inroads into high levels of poverty in the country

Michuzi Blog

Tanzanian blog operating since 2005, covering International news and Local News, including Politics, Fashion, Social Scenes, Interviews, Movies, Events, personalities and anything positive happening worldwide. Written in Swahili and English targeting both Swahili and English readers.

Toa Maoni Yako:

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  1. Nilijua tu kabla ya kusoma hii article...mhhhh, mpaka Michu aiweke hapa...it is just another compaign for CCM. Any way let's hope that "growth" is reached.

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  2. So typical of the economist, critisizing on problem that stems 15-25 years on one 1 year of an administration. I read the economist every now and then, they are clearly out of touch with the 3rd world not just this one time.I know they define success as "after 365 days and find Hong Kong in Dar".

    I agree that Kikwete travels a bit too much, hata kwa mtu asiyeishi nje ya nchi huwa naona anazidisha safari he seems to be in my neck of the woods quite a bit. Mr. President you are no longer a foreign minister let your foreign minister and ambassador handle your foreign relations. Maybe he feels his diplomats are incompetent then remove them.

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  3. Ukweli mtupu humu,bajeti ya nchi sasa ina deficit ya bilioni 300. Huyu jamaa ni hovyo mno, yaani ni kheri ya Ben. Halafu na waandishi wa kitanzania nyie hamuoni haya mpaka watu wa nje waandike nyie kazi yenu kuandika 'Mapesa ya Kikwete' 'Kikwete noma' na upumbavu mwingine ambao ni kama mnamuabudu hakuna mtu anayekosoa, kila mtu ansifia tu. Ni kheri niliamua kujilipua mimi, huu ni upumbavu mno. Eti Rais anakopesha watu hela!!! Sijawahi sikia hii, badala ya serikali kutoa subsidy kwenye uti wa mgongo wa nci ambao ni kilimo. Nilifanya cha maana sana kuukana uraia wa Tanzania.

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  4. Kikwete na chama cha mapinduzi wanatuhadaa!Hakuna haja ya kusubiri miaka mitano au kumi tuseme!Kikwete hana vision wala direction hivyo hajui aendako isipokuwa anapick vi-issues na kuvifanya mambo muhimu!Mpaka sasa hakuna la maana alilofanya na kwa misingi aliyowekewa na hasa anayoiweka sasa!waswahili husema MTU ASIYEJUA AENDAKO HAWEZI POTEA NJIA!!

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  5. I think what the economist is saying here is an absolute truth. Mr. President have not performed the way alot of people expected he would. And Yes they have either centralized all the decision making or other officials are incapable of making making decisions on their own, or may be they deliberately decided not to take charge!

    The economist just pointed out what most of us already knew and wrote about.

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  6. Yuko mtu hana mpango kabisa,ndio maana wengine bora wameukana uraia wa kibongo.Ufahari wa Taifa umekuwa uongo na kuomba omba .
    Rais na viongozi wake wanafanyia experiement maisha ya wananchi.

    Waandishi wa habari nao ovyo kusifia tu,hamna cha kukosoa.Kila kitu Jk.Mtu anazunguka tu anasafiri.nimesikiliza hotuba zake alipokuwa Sweden na Norway hamna la maana.Anatembeza bakuli la umasikini Dunia nzima omba omba,hamna tofauti na Matonya,ila huyo anapanda ndege kwenda kuomba na anavaa suti.
    Ameenda Norway anaenda kuomba Wanorway waje kuisaidia nchi kufanya mikataba.Ajiulize Serikali yake inasikiliza maoni ya wasomi,Je wasomi wanakuwa invloved kwenye maamuzi ya kitaalamu?

    Bongo kila kitu siasa,vitu vya kiitalamu vinakuwa vya kisiasa.Lakini serikali ijue Wabongo wanapoteza subiri kila siku na watu wanazidi kuzijua haki zao.Huyu Rais bogus kabisa uswahili swahili tu.Kwa mtaji wa hotuba aliyoitoa Sweden na Norway inaonekana jinsi gani kiongozi alivyokuwa na upeo mdogo.Naona watu kama Nyerere na Sokoine(Mungu awalaze mahali pema huko walipo) wakifufuka leo watalia sana kuona Taifa linapoelekea.Taifa limekuwa omba omba kabisa.Viwanda vyote tumeua hata chupi tunaagiza Ulaya na China.Kweli huu ni utegemezi. msingi ya Taifa imekufa na inazidi kufa

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  7. Hey, kikwete haters, what's matter with you? You still talkin about JK nyerere the made who made us poverty striken and stupid, and I can still see that stupidity in you now. Give the president constructive critisim or ideas and stop attacking him, he is doing what he thinks is the best for the country, some of you left the country because you couldn't bear the hardship, and now living abroad and feel so assured to air your nonsense. Talkin about the president is mswahili , what kinda ignorant bozos you are.

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