WHEN YOU ASSUME THE OFFICE...
Written by: Gideon Mchau
Dear Jakaya, greetings from Paradise. I am doing fine since I arrived here almost six years ago...
I have decided to write you this message after having learned that Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has elected you to be its presidential candidate. Congratulations.
I would also like to assure you that if I were still living there, I would have supported you simply because your age now allows you to be president. In fact, you are the best candidate of our party. You know I never had grudges against you.
Pope John Paul II had invited me for coffee in one of the restaurants here over the weekend, and we were talking about the future of Africa and Tanzania in particular.
Somewhere in the middle of our talk, Sheikh Thabit Kombo, Alhaj Abeid Karume and Sheikh Hemed bin Jumaa joined us, making the discussions very interesting.
Horace Kolimba cracked a joke at me the other day, saying that if he were living amongst his fellow partisans down there, CCM members would be completely calm, waiting to see who he would cast his vote for.
"The truth is that my choice would have been Kikwete," he said with a chuckle at his joke. I supported him on this.
You know that your election was not an easy one, since there were three candidates who also sought nomination by CCM.
Unfortunately, luck was not on their side this time but on you. Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, John Malecela, and of course Premier Frederick Sumaye also wanted to be elected, but mhhh ?.I reserve my comments.
Please, do co-operate with all of them. Make sure that they become your main campaigners to give the party a landslide victory. A word of caution though. Do not under-estimate opposition parties like CUF and CHADEMA, since they could give you a big surprise.
My advice comes from the fact that, CCM is the strongest political party in Africa, which people talk about even here in Paradise.
So I ask you to work together in close partnership with these three. A departure of any of them from you or the party might trigger disharmony. That could be disastrous for your party.
I only have few minutes to write you, so let me go straight to the point. I am confident that, God willing, you will become the fourth president of the United Republic of Tanzania. Please make the State House a holy place, where the entire country will turn for refuge.
You may remember how I used to lay down strategies, convincing the general public on the quality that ought to be taken into consideration while pondering who should inherit the State House chair.
My trip to the United States sometime back while I was there, will illustrate what I mean. I took the occasion to visit Gertrude Mongella, who was by then working in New York.
Mongella had also invited other East Africans staying in New York. As we sat at table talking and eating, a woman from Kenya told me how she admired Tanzanians for their national unit.
The woman told me that she had worked in Arusha during the 'the earlier' East Africa Community and appreciated the nature of union spirit of Tanzanians, unlike Ugandans and Kenyans who were divided over tribal lines.
But I shocked that Kenyan woman that day when I told her that things had started changing in Tanzania, since tribalism, long buried and forgotten, was creeping back in and now there were clear signs that people had tribal divisions. You know how I hated the idea of Mchagga president, minister Msukuma , or ambassador Mngoni.
My son Kikwete, I left that country, warning Tanzanians against tribalism. But I hear that local politicians still continue to perpetuate elements of its evil in public offices.
Do you remember the disapproval of the Parliament last year when a big number of MPs expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the top leadership of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) was a composition of officials from just one ethnic community.
My son, that was a vivid sign that there are people who will still employ workers for their mother tongue and not their merit. Once you become the president, please be watchful of this.
One other thing, our president-to-be, direct all your fury at corruption. If you want your administration to win hearts of the people and run smoothly, then ensure the rule of law. Lay down strategies on how to fight graft
I hope you still remember that during my time, ministers, (including the Prime Minister) linked in corruption scandal were forced to resign.
When you assume office (god willing), please state clearly your stance towards corrupt government officials.
Your new parliament after the October 2005 polls should be able to enact a law that will specifically say how corrupt leaders should be punished.
My son, you should be in a position to say how you will fight corruption, and this shouldn't be expressed by mere remarks or empty words. Rather, there ought to be logical plans outlining the objectives and priorities that should be implemented from the grassroots level.
Bear in mind that Tanzania is still among the poorest nations in the world, and though it receives millions of dollars in form of aid channeled through International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, its people still continue living in abject poverty. Ask yourself why?
Concerning religion, I hear some local groups have started talking about the relevance of one's religion before they assume the presidency. Some even dare to ask the religion of a candidate, something that was not there during my time.
You know how I insisted that Tanzania has no religion. My principle was that politicians or civil servants are governed in their service to the people by the Constitution and not by scriptures of their faiths such as the Koran, Bible or different religions.
Many expect you to elevate them to prestigious positions. Please be careful with this, and only appoint people on their merits to perform, and not otherwise.
Please have a fresh outlook on the privatization exercise, because I fear that in the future natural resources and income generating projects will only be in the hands of foreigners. Do you still remember my stance on this?
My last advice is, have the interest of the nation at heart, putting it at forefront. Before you make a decision, ask yourself first, "How will this benefit my country?"
I do not see any threat to your success in the forthcoming presidential elections. You will beat your opponents resoundingly. Begin thinking how, after November, you will answer the question, "How will I make my country a better place to live in?"
Sorry, young man, but I have to rush to a meeting with Kwame Nkurumah, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Patrice Lumumba. I will write you again after you appoint your cabinet.
Julius K .Nyerere.