35 years and more at the helm of power, means that if it was human being the youth age bracket is over as far as UN, AU and Tanzania is concerned. With the change of name of the independent and ruling parties merged on February 5th, 1977 to form a new party Zanzibar’s Afro-Shiraz Party (ASP) and Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) to Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Revolutionary Party, CCM). The slogan of the party has been, ‘Mapinduzi Daima, revolution forever.’
Has the party evolved from people centred to elite and rich centred? Does the ‘revolution forever’ slogan have a meaning if it is considered with regard to time and space of its use? Of recent we have seen some revolutions taking place in the continent, popular democracy. Popular or people’s revolution has been the normal terminologies we used to hear from time to time. Denoting different things at a given time and space.
The debate on the timing and space of the so-called revolution, decolonization and especially the present people’s revolution alias popular democracy changing regimes and government in the world. Middle East and Arab world at large has been the area of focus due to the unexpected changes which stole the attention of the entire world.
The debate is timely and of great importance in evaluating the causes of such abrupt changes demanded by people themselves.
After the end of World War II in 1940s through 1950s, this period was also known as the ‘turning point of the African independence,’ from the mouths of Suez Canal to the shores of Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of the African continent in South Africa.
During that time the African continent was under the harsh, cruel and ‘inhumane’ rule (if you like to call it so) of the European colonialist, making Africans of the black race and the Arab origin turned to second class citizens in their own lands, take an example of the Kikuyu of Kenyan highlands. This time either black or Arab Africans were to negotiate their ‘flag independence’ with the colonialists by sending ‘few western educated’ to negotiate on their behalf.
It is under such circumstances where other negotiators turned nationalist, others not more than tribal chauvinist, and others self-proclaimed revolutionists. People thought and saw them as the second saviors like Mohammed or Jesus Christ from the pangs of mistreatment and bad rules and other tribulations like forced labor and taxation.
After assuming power the revolutionist cum nationalists changed to be monsters or semi-gods if you praise them a little while citizens being the prey, the secret police and security were now serving the black colonialist for the interest of his companions and small boys.
The republics of fear were created and given space and time to thrive at the expense people’s development. Public coffers were directed towards one or few men’s enrichment. The citizens were taken as ignorant due to fear inflicted in them through the state apparatus. Much of the budget was used in paying the police and the military salaries and buying expensive ammunition, which were to be used to repress and crush the opponents hence facilitating the creation of Republic of fear as opposed to freedom peoples’ republic.
These new states or republic has secret dungeons where people with the opposing views or an alternative idea to the one of the head of state or the ruling elite, was easily wasted by detention without trial and sometimes extermination. The blessed were those who have to go on exile without passport confiscation.
The military was the major pillar of these states, because it is known for not taking central part in states politics but the high ranks were filled by the head of state’s good boys loyal and ready to defend his interest.
This tells why the army up to date in many countries especially of the south the military and secret service or intelligence units are highly paid among the civil servants, their pay can only be compared to the financial institutions scales and their budget is not subject to scrutiny and auditing.
It was until other some military officials who had gained influence in the military politics and were unhappy with the goings when they started to plan and strategize the ousting of the existing regime, refer to former president General Olusegun Obasanjo’s role in Nigerian politics in 1975-1979.
The revolutions architecture by the military also meant to serve the military best, hence the creation of nations within the perimeters of one country. The nations are of; the rich people, the poor people, affluent, culture and other ways of life.
The current situation in Africa tells thousand volumes of information. The popular-will-driven revolution through protests has now opened a new way of dealing with the autocratic and authoritarian leaders in the continent.
The current situation in Nigeria where people took to streets to protest due to hiking petrol prices tell volumes, that might face Tanzania in meantime if the ruling party won’t stand on what the name denotes since the crisis is not far from our doors with the hiking food prices and living standards deteriorating!
Tunisia dared and succeeded, Egyptians borrowed the Tunisians way of changing regimes and likewise succeeded to tell Hosni Mubarak out. The man who was like a curse to the Egyptian populace in a period of 30 years rule, ruling with the Emergency law in place since 1980s when he took over power. Libya is also trying to bring peace and harmony after Muammar Ghaddafi’s departure.
Popular democracy can only be counted successful if it stands the test of time. If it is people driven, people worked for it and initiated it from their hearts not by few greedy for political power or public offices. This has been the case in many incidents.
In this change of name what was the essence of revolution there was no change of guard, no change of policies and ideology, no change was brought in rather than colors and name. After 35 years of existence what revolution have the CCM members and Tanzania at large observed!