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ACT-Wazalendo: A Decade of Democratic Resilience in Tanzania My Generation Witnessed

ACT-Wazalendo stands out not for its years but for its stature; it is the youngest in formation yet a colossus in action.

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ACT-Wazalendo has emerged as a beacon of democratic progress, captivating the youth with its swift and impactful revolution.

The party’s journey began with a notable event: Zitto Kabwe’s departure from CHADEMA, marking the inception of his venture with ACT-Tanzania before it was changed to ACT-Wazalendo, a name that resonated with me very much.

In late 2014, as a Form Four student, I had the privilege of meeting the late Anna Mughwira. She convened a group of us to share her strategic vision and her parliamentary aspirations for Singida in the upcoming 2015 elections as a representative of CHADEMA. 

A few months later, the media buzzed with her announcement to seek the presidency under the ACT-Wazalendo banner, sparking my deeper interest in the party.

Despite its relative youth, ACT-Wazalendo faced its share of turbulence, particularly when influential figures like its former chief adviser Kitila Mkumbo and the 2015 presidential hopeful Anna Mughwira departed in 2016/2017. The subsequent political climate, marked by prohibitions on gatherings and police encounters, seemed to herald the party’s demise.

READ MORE: ACT-Wazalendo’s New Leadership Singles Out Election As Top Priority

However, 2019 marked a resurgence for ACT-Wazalendo. The arrival of esteemed members such as the late Seif Sharif Hamad, Ismail Jussa, Nassor Mazrui, Salim Bimani, Juma Haji Duni and many others fortified the party’s presence across the mainland and islands.

The party’s allure for young people and women stems from its commitment to leadership opportunities and talent recognition. Its policies adeptly tackle current societal challenges.

ACT-Wazalendo, as a modern party, focuses on addressing the needs of today’s generation. It is committed to policies that promote economic equality, improve education and healthcare, reform criminal justice systems, and promote diversity and inclusion.

Notable innovations

The party significantly evolved in the past ten years, creating specialised divisions to tackle critical issues in democracy and the economy. A notable innovation is establishing the Shadow Cabinet Research Office (SCaRO). 

Since its inception in February 2022, it has introduced fresh faces into the political arena, with individuals assuming roles as Shadow Ministers for various portfolios.

READ MORE: Fourth ACT-Wazalendo Annual Convention Kicks Off in Dar

This development has injected a new vibrancy into politics, with figures like Esther Akoth Thomas, Mwanaisha Mndeme, Ndolezi Petro, Isihaka Mchinjita, Emanuel Mvula, Shangwe Ayo, and Dr Nasra Nassor, among others, becoming well-known. 

The Shadow Cabinet, the party’s policy and research wing, has emerged as a fertile ground for nurturing the next generation of political leaders within ACT-Wazalendo.

For instance, the Shadow Finance Minister, Ms Kiza Mayeye, impressed many with her articulate and confident analysis of the Auditor General’s report at a recent event

Additionally, the party’s response to the Rufiji floods, led by Shadow Prime Minister Isihaka Mchinjita, showcased a blend of humanitarian concern and a demand for governmental accountability, signalling a refreshing change. 

The Shadow Cabinet’s role has been pivotal in ensuring that ACT-Wazalendo maintains its focus on policy-driven politics.

READ MORE: Who Will Likely Succeed Zitto Kabwe As ACT-Wazalendo’s Party Leader?

Another remarkable initiative by ACT-Wazalendo is its commitment to addressing its members’ economic challenges. The launch of ShushaTanga SACCOS, a digital savings and credit cooperative, offers members a sustainable financial alternative to predatory lending practices. 

This member-centric financial institution provides immediate, interest-free small loans. I recently joined ACT-Wazalendo through their digital platform, ACT Kiganjani, and my membership facilitated my enrollment in ShushaTanga SACCOS, an impressive feature indeed.

Gender balance

When I visited the party headquarters in Magomeni, I overheard a joke in the hallway about the women in the party leadership. Following the electoral convention in March 2024, the party’s secretariat was predominantly female, with only two men in the mix: the secretary general and the secretary for human rights. 

This unexpected gender ratio sparked a light-hearted moment at the first consultation meeting for the Tanzania Mainland secretariat, reflecting the party’s evolving landscape. The growing presence of women in leadership positions within ACT Wazalendo points to a transformative era in our political landscape.

Celebrating a decade of democratic practice, ACT-Wazalendo has exemplified the essence of living by democratic principles. Zitto’s personal trials in party-building never overshadowed his dedication to constitutional adherence and leadership transition, culminating in Dorothy Semu’s election to the party’s pinnacle, a testament to the trust in female leadership.

READ MORE: High Cost of Living on Top of ACT-Wazalendo’s Agenda As It Inaugurates Its Political Rallies

With ten years of foundational growth behind us, ACT stands at the threshold of a new decade that promises to sculpt a future of leadership and national stewardship. 

Zitto Kabwe’s resilience, overcoming expulsion and political adversity to rise anew, mirrors the party’s own trajectory. Despite early defections and challenges, ACT-Wazalendo is now an indomitable force, a decade strong and poised for the future.

Tanzania’s political landscape is dotted with numerous parties, many of which have a history stretching back two decades. Among them, ACT-Wazalendo stands out not for its years, but for its stature; it is the youngest in formation yet a colossus in action.

Rahma Salumu is a social development and politics enthusiast. She is available at or on X as @rahmersalum.  The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chanzo. If you are interested in publishing in this space, please contact our editors at

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks Rahma for your publication and overview , I’m not so much into politics world but I have my eyes onto this party and prominent figures like Zitto . He is a very convincing man I had once attended his conferences at Morogoro and ever since then his speech live in my head. Thank you alot for this

  2. It is obviously a good analysis, but disappointedly, a one sided story that lacks a critical review of its dismal performances in elections and its perceived, and perhaps real opportunistic or appeasement approach to national politics. That it draws much of its political support base from Zanzibar and far less so from Tanganyika, with the exception of Kigoma Region where his founder seems to be coming from, needed to be well examined in the analysis to provide a balanced view for the readership.

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