It could have been called the story of nineteen rebellious women and a devious Speaker of Parliament. Or it could have been called the case of a speaker who babysat nineteen wives but lost his home. Or the Hapless Speaker and His Illicit Nineteen Women.
Many other humorous epithets can be coined to describe what is essentially a case of extreme forms of hypocrisy affecting politics Tanzania and the US are plagued by painful twists and turns that this country is undergoing due to a seriously ill political dispensation.
The case itself is so simple that it deserves to be considered child’s play.
The short story is as follows: About 30 years ago, this country was sucked into so-called “multiparty politics” and patches had to be rushed into the existing constitution just for the 1995 elections to go ahead new regulation enables competitive politics.
Since then I have always argued that the ruling political elites in this country are essentially in the still existing government There is no real desire for an established and functioning political pluralism today. Rather, they longed for a formal rule that would have little substantive content to ensure genuine competition.
So one of the things that was enshrined in the constitution was – and still is – that Requirement that in order to be elected to government bodies such as Parliament and County Councils, one had to be a member of a political party.
Some of us argued hoarsely because we saw this as an aberration as it was to take away a citizen’s freedom to participate in the country’s political processes without having to submit to the constraints of a political party, but the usual non-thinking of our rulers prevailed, so we have it in our Constitution.
But in 2020 and John Magufuli’s desire to pave his way to establishing a lifetime presidency by removing obstacles like term limits, voter rigging took on new meaning as it s o was systematic and the opposition parties were simply wiped out of the political landscape and the one-party system was virtually restored.
But there was a twist. Although the main opposition party, Chadema, lost all its seats, its candidates were somehow sworn into parliament under the pretense of having been elected! Constituency votes, the Chadema women could sit in Parliament, although Chadema’s electorate in the constituencies was close to zero. This alchemy was so blatant that many people were left speechless, but the Speaker held on to his wives and sworn them in outside Parliament, as is customary.
So when Chadema said there were no women parliamentarians, the Speaker insisted that these 19 women were indeed Members of Parliament and he, the Speaker, would protect them.
If Spott were killed, we would all live a graveyard. We have now witnessed a spokeswoman for the ruling party fighting tooth and nail to have opposition women represented in Parliament when the opposition did not want to be represented! Bizarre can’t even begin to describe the crippling logic of these people.
This isn’t black magic, though we’ve earned a sad reputation for being a hopelessly superstitious bunch. The bill was simple, and it involved filling Parliament with unconditional, bogus MPs who would sanction what the Speaker and his gang wanted to do, which was to “force” Magufuli to accept “the pleas of the people” so that he despite tenure in office, limits remain.
Magufuli’s machinations failed only because the conspirators of this saga had not reckoned with divine intervention, and when the man succumbed to whatever was troubling him, his henchmen now sat with him Women who didn’t know how to use it, and their party didn’t want to!
So the women tried to appeal to the party last week, allegedly to ask for a pardon. They were vehemently opposed and have now been officially voted out of the party.
This could prove to be the end of several political careers, which were reflected in the way they took a stand on many burning national issues and articulated, had shown promise.
It is difficult to fathom, but it must be surmised that there was a certain desire to have his cake and eat it .
The speaker who promised to defend this group was unable to defend his own seat, and there is now a discernible change in the tone of the presidency that suggests there is a willingness to initiate a dialogue between President Samia and Freeman Mbowe of Chadema.
To her credit, Samia appears to have made the decision to turn away from her predecessor’s visceral antipathy to political competition and pursue a much larger political political latitude than Magufuli ever would have allowed.
All of this does not bode well for the 19 women who will now roam the political arena in search of a new home.
< strong>Jenerali Ulimwengu is now on YouTube via jenalionline tv. Email: [emailprotected]