Dar es Salaam. The newly appointed Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) deputy chairperson (Tanzania Mainland) Mr Abdulrahman Kinana will be confronted with at least two main challenges facing the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD) as he is replacing ACT-Wazalendo party leader Zitto Kabwe as the centre’s chairperson.
On Wednesday, Mr Kabwe handed the leadership of the non-partisan democracy think-tank over to Mr Kinana after serving as its chairperson for six months. TCD’s leadership is rotational where members get to lead it for a six-month period before letting another member take the helm.
In his hand-over notes released yesterday, Mr Kabwe identified what he thinks are critical challenges facing the 2005-founded institution, urging Mr Kinana to use his shrewd leadership acumen in trying to find their solutions.
“The main challenge [facing TCD] is the one that concerns political parties not to take part fully in the meetings organised by the centre and even issuing statements that tarnish the image of our institution,” said Mr Kabwe in the notes shared on social media.
TCD’s current members are the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), CHADEMA, the Civic United Front (CUF), NCCR Mageuzi, and ACT- Wazalendo. Originally, the centre was intended to bring together political parties with representation in the parliament.
While Mr Kabwe fell short in naming the parties that have not been taking part in the TCD-organised meetings, at least two opposition parties have on numerous occasions shared publicly their boycott of the meetings as well as expressed what they think about TCD in general. These are CHADEMA and NCCR-Mageuzi.
“It is very likely that some political parties that are TCD members harbour some personal differences that hurt the growth of our institution,” Mr Kabwe added. “It is important for the incoming chairperson to use his office in making sure that [political parties’] leaders do not transfer their personal differences to the institution.”
Another challenge that Mr Kinana should be prepared to confront at the centre is the one that concerns financial constraints that continue to prevent TCD from undertaking its stated activities.
TCD is supposed to serve as a platform to strengthen a culture of multiparty democracy in Tanzania through dialogue, consultation, strategizing and implementing an agenda for democratic development.
“Financial constraints have made it impossible for the centre to implement its projects,” said Mr Kabwe in his hand-over notes. “Also, [the challenge] renders TCD ineffective in organising capacity-building sessions for political parties that would make our multiparty democracy efficient.”
Mr Kabwe hopes that Mr Kinana will take up the proposal that the former’s team prepared titled ‘Tanzania Democracy Strengthening Facility’ and that Mr Kinana will engage important stakeholders in raising the fund needed to implement the project.
Among steps that Mr Kabwe said he undertook to strengthen TCD institutionally include the successful hiring of the centre’s executive director Ms Bernadetha Kafukwe; conducting an audit of the centre’s expenditures; plus ensuring that all the meetings that the TCD constitution outlines are being conducted.
Other steps include the preparation of TCD’s strategic plan as well as ensuring that the centre really provides a platform for a dialogue where political parties and other important stakeholders could discuss challenges facing Tanzania’s multiparty democracy and discuss ways to solve them.
The successful organisation of the ongoing justice, peace and reconciliation conference in the capital Dodoma is cited by Mr Kabwe as one of his legacies as TCD chairperson.