Political party rallies have returned after seven years hiatus following a ban placed by the fifth phase government.
CHADEMA has held its public rallies in Mwanza, Musoma, Tarime, Dar es Salaam and Singida. We have assessed these rallies by looking at issues discussed in each rally and weighing them by measuring the time spent on each issue across all rallies.
Our analysis shows that the new Constitution was the issue that was mostly discussed in these rallies taking 23 percent of the time spent on all issues, followed by the political crackdown of the Magufuli government taking 18 percent of all the time.
CHADEMA’s history and its principles were the third issue, here CHADEMA leaders took a moment to remind members of its history and transformation through time, as well as party principles. This took about 8.3 percent of all time spent.
The ongoing reconciliation process between the government and CHADEMA was the fourth item taking 5.8 percent of the time spent. On current issues, the rising cost of living was the issue most discussed taking about 5.7 percent.
Through our analysis, we are seeing CHADEMA agenda is clearly formed, a new constitution. See the infographic below for the full scope of the analysis.
A deep dive into the regional performance shows CHADEMA has been learning and improving along the way. In the first rally that was held in Mwanza, the CHADEMA agenda is not clearly formed and we are observing CHADEMA leadership spending a lot of time countering allegations that it has been compromised by reconciliation talks.
But this changed in Musoma and Tarime where among other things CHADEMA agenda is clearly seen, but also CHADEMA is taking time to address local problems, especially people’s rights in the mine and also around Serengeti national park where CHADEMA highlighted some horrendous acts are done to the people in the name of conservation.
In Dar es Salaam we are seeing the party tone is clearly improving, the coming of Vice Chairperson and 2020 presidential aspirant Tundu Lissu seems to add more weight. The party was able to address the big problem in the country, the rising cost of living, but at the same time maintain its course on the constitutional agenda.
The party chairperson, Freeman Mbowe also highlighted the direction of the party including the recruitment of new members and building a constitutional movement spearheaded by the youth.
It is at this rally that Mr Mbowe described one of the big issues that face Tanzania politics, people’s low participation and passiveness.
He alluded that the opposition is not being respected because it doesn’t have a say over people and that it can’t call for mass action even when it wants to, party solution to this is building a national movement by going door to door and streets by streets.
Outside CHADEMA we are seeing CCM responding to the rising cost of living issue. This was done during a CCM rally in Morogoro but also by a response from the Minister of Finance and Planning as well as the agriculture minister in a separate address to the public.
Our analysis anticipates that CHADEMA will continue with its new constitution agenda by increasingly relating it to daily problems.
Reconciliation is one of the dilemmas that the party finds itself in, with five years of a heavy crackdown on the party, the distrust of any negotiation with the government remains high among party members. However, the CCM government has reasonably shown its commitment to the dialogue by meeting some of the opposition requirements.
One of the solutions proposed during rallies is that the national chairperson continues to lead a team at the negotiation table as the party simultaneously builds its influence outside so as to have enough cards for negotiation.
As the party Vice-Chairperson Tundu Lissu explained that the national chairperson is bound to the negotiation table, that there are things he can’t say or act a certain way so as to maintain trust with the other side, but he believes that he can continue differently, in tone and acts.
Mbowe emphasized that the party can not seat down and say we are only waiting for reconciliation, that ‘work must continue as reconciliation proceeds.’
Some observers believe this dilemma might be used to pit the CHADEMA chairperson who is known to be more strategic and calculated with his Vice-Chairperson who is known for his activism sort of politics. See the full analysis on YouTube below (switch on close caption for English subtitles)
Tony Alfred K is analyst, writer and editor working with The Chanzo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @tonyalfredk. Do you want to publish in this space? Contact our editor at email@example.com.