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Tanzania Inspires Electoral Hope for the Continent

In the midst of vast constitutional changes in the continent, one must congratulate President Jakaya Kikwete and his political party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) for allowing a new candidate to contest for the October 25th National election. This brings hope and inspiration at a time when some leaders have opted to prolong their stay by changing their various constitutions in the continent.

In Rwanda President Kagame has successfully won the bid to contest for the third term. In the Democratic Republic of Congo there are allegations of President Kabila trying to do the same or prolong his stay through technicalities. A recent painful one is the Burundi situation. Leaders of that country have totally reversed their gains of democracy, respect for human rights and total freedom for their citizens. All this happens in the midst of many African leaders who have overstayed their welcome in positions of power. This transpires when the Youth of the continent is yearning for younger leaders.

One ought to remind African leaders that there is no point and need to place two term limits in the constitution only to change it later. Our constitutions must be crafted in such a way that they place ordinary people at the centre of economic transformation.

Ever since nineteen ninety five, when Tanzania adopted a multiparty democracy, the East African country has been able to maintain democratic elections within the required period. With the 2015 elections the burden is on all Tanzanians to ensure that they welcome and embrace outcomes of the elections. This happened regardless of a closely contested race; an occurrence which must never be viewed as a problem. Matured democracies allow for such and we are filled with hope that fellow African countries are choosing the stability of democracy over chaos.

It is also encouraging that we saw the likes of former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, who was heading a team of Commonwealth election observers.

With more than twenty two million people having voted and the majority of that being women, it is incumbent on the new leadership to prioritise the reduction of hunger, malnutrition and improve health services. The incoming leadership must take over from President Jakaya Kikwete and steer the country towards development and prosperity. African leaders are called upon to respect their constitutions, their electoral mandate and fulfil their promises. Gone is the era where young and old citizens of the continent would let situations slide without taking their leaders to account. The incoming President must know that the Arab springs and the recent FEESMUSTFALL campaign in South Africa are not far from happening in Tanzania should they renege on their promises and responsibilities. He must priorities development and serve his people with diligence.

By Rhulani Thembi Siweya

Siweya is a Pan Africanists and writes for Africa Unmasked