Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Butiama Bed & Breakfast

Thursday, September 17, 2015

My kind of politics

It's a long way to 2020, but already Zitto Kabwe has reportedly announced he will be one of the presidential candidates. Kabwe is chair of the Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT - Tanzania). I do not not have a strong reason yet to support any single political party but I commend his move.
Zitto Kabwe addresses a campaign meeting in Musoma of the CHADEMA party in the 2010 elections.
Foremost, it provides an opportunity and ample time - five years - for voters to monitor his words and actions and decide in 2020 whether he deserves to become the next president. The current practice of presidential candidates revealing their presidential ambitions in final moments leading to an election is wrong, in my opinion.

Voters should have ample opportunity to assess the various candidates over a much more prolonged period. It is not enough to gauge the performance of a politician only during the several months leading up to the elections, and only, in my estimation, on how well the sponsoring party and image consultants project the candidates to the voters.

The Political Performance Indicator lists four qualities for judging the personality of a politician: rationality, authoritativeness, adventurousness, and inspiration. I am surprised they have omitted integrity, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. All the four listed qualities would be worthless if a leader lacks integrity. Perhaps it is assumed that integrity is a default quality among candidates.

There are undoubtedly some good apples in the political basket but integrity is the single most important factor that leaves many voters searching aimlessly for credible choices in contemporary Tanzanian politics.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The President doesn't earn $192,000 per month. How much does he earn?

State House has refuted claims that President Jakaya Kikwete earns $US192,000 as salary per month. I thought the statement would say how much he actually earns. It did not. That, apparently, is within the legal protection enjoyed by public servants that maintains that salaries of public servants is confidential information.

Despite that, I note that the press release mentions that the newspaper that published the erroneous information could have used proper channels to obtain accurate information. And that is a change from the past when it appeared to me that any citizen inquiring about a public official's pay would have been told to find some other work to do.

Opposition presidential candidate Edward Lowassa is promising to slash the presidential salary considerably if elected in October's general elections although I do not know whether voters should read more politics than resolve in his promise.

I thought I should write something about my attitude on the secrecy surrounding these salaries but realised I had already written about it in 2013. Here's what I wrote then. What is your opinion?