What new Tanzanian president needs to do

By: ELIUD OWALO

It has been confirmed that John Magufuli of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) won the recent Tanzanian presidential election.

This gives him a credible margin for legitimacy in office.

His rivals in the race should now accept the election outcome, which generally reflected the will and wishes of the people of Tanzania.

Besides, the peace exhibited by Tanzanians following the outcome of the presidential election reaffirms the mood of the nation.

Such conduct is rare in countries neighbouring Tanzania, Kenya inclusive, whenever presidential elections are held.

ZANZIBAR ELECTIONS

However, the annulment of the Zanzibari presidential election results by the Zanzibar Electoral Commission did not go well with most citizens of Zanzibar and pro-democracy forces in general.

Many believe that opposition candidate Maalim Seif Sharif Hamad won the Zanzibari presidential poll and that CCM influenced the eventual outcome through the electoral commission.

Thus, the immediate challenge to Mr Magufuli following his swearing-in into office is how to handle the Zanzibari electoral issue.

He is better advised to do it in a way that reflects democratic practice and leaves the people united.

Doubtlessly, unity and support of people in both Zanzibar and Tanzania will be critical for the success of his administration.

CCM should, therefore, accept defeat in the presidential poll in Zanzibar as is widely believed was the case.

The wishes of the Zanzibari people should be recognised and honoured.

EAST AFRICA INTEGRATION

The next agenda for Mr Magufuli will be to chart his administration’s policy, not only for the political and socio-economic development of Tanzania but also for East African integration.

He should take cognisance that Tanzania has been blamed by other East African Community states for her rigidity and lack of appetite towards realisation of East African integration.

Tanzania, as a country, must play an integral role in East African commerce and industrial revolution not only due to its strategic location for purposes of economies of scale but also because it has the needed resources and market for the emergence of a strong and powerful economic bloc.

Further afield, Mr Magufuli’s government should revive the spirit of pan-Africanism, which Julius Nyerere championed religiously at the Organisation of African Unity (now African Union), especially during the liberation struggle for many African countries.

It is hoped that Mr Magufuli’s education background and past public sector experience will easily enable him steer his country towards the realisation of the aforestated objectives and ideals.

But, above all, he must be at the forefront in advocating and demonstrating his zeal for democracy, good governance, the rule of law and free and fair elections in the East African region and anywhere else for that matter.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION