Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni is using the security forces and public money to fight off anyone attempting to challenge his 30 years hold on power during the forthcoming 2016 sham elections.
In Tanzania his counterpart President Jakaya Kiwete is completing his constitutional two term limits in October 2015 and is looking forward to hand over power to whoever will be elected by the Tanzanians.
The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) or Party of Revolution has selected a party flag bearer for the October 2015 general elections.
A total of 42 aspirants (including two ladies) picked application forms upon payment of one million shillings ($600).
Among the 42 was the current Vice President, two former Prime Ministers, the current Prime Minister, former Ministers, a retired Chief Justice, almost half of the serving Cabinet Ministers, career diplomats, Members of Parliament, one university student, and several local citizens.
Of the 42 who picked the nomination forms only 38 have managed to return the forms after the four failed to beat the deadline for Of the 38 is a 43 year semi illiterate Primary Seven graduate peasant farmer – Eldeforce Bilohe.
CCM’s constitution and electoral laws require an aspiring candidate to be seconded by 450 party members from at least 15 regions, three of these being in Zanzibar Island.
For the last almost two months, the CCM presidential aspirants have been traversing the countryside and holding public rallies to seek secondment by party members.
The exercise was conducted and concluded peacefully with security forces and government institutions availing equal opportunities for all aspirants.
In Uganda, Museveni deploys Police to block aspirants from moving out of their residences and when they dare, they are arrested and detained under the colonial Preventive Arrest/Detention law.
The 38 aspirants will be scrutinized by the Central Committee (CC) which is the highest decision making organ of the party.
The CC will be informed by the report from the party’s Ethics and Security Committee which reviews all the 38 aspirants based on how they adhered to the party’s ethics, rules and regulations.
The 32 member CC Chaired by the party Chairman who happens to be the sitting President will come up with five names out of the 38 aspirants to be forwarded to the National Executive Committee (NEC).
CC’s decision is final and can neither be questioned nor challenged. It is under no obligation to explain how it arrived at the five names.
The 378 member NEC which doubles as the party’s electoral body will pick three out of the five forwarded to it by the CC.
NEC will forward the three names to the party’s general assembly or National Congress.
The party’s 2400 members of the national congress will vote on the three in order to get one best candidate as the party’s flag bearer for the October 2015 general elections.
The proceedings of the party’s national congress are broadcast live and afforded wide media coverage.
The selected CCM flag bearer will battle it out with aspirants from other political parties notably the opposition coalition under their umbrella organisation – Unity for the Constitution (UKAWA).
President Jakaya Kikwete is finishing his two terms and there is no doubt that he is to hand over to whoever Tanzanians will elect to lead them.
In Uganda, Museveni lifted the two terms term limits amidst intimidation and bribery of Members of parliament to enable him rule for life.
Museveni’s ruling NRM party is almost non-existent as he has made sure that it is fused with the state and cannot survive a minute without him.
The ruling CCM party respects the opposition and the government even provides funding to the opposition parties.
Tanzania’s ruling CCM is not using state resources in running the party activities.
The Tanzania President’s State House is not used for party activities and assemblies as every party activity is hosted by the party headquarters in the Administrative capital of Dodoma.
Although, the general election is nearing, there are no indicators of chaos whatsoever.
In Uganda, the future is uncertain as Museveni is evidently drawing the security services and other armed paramilitary groups into partisan politics.
Museveni uses state resources to run his ruling NRM party including State House that doubles as the party headquarters.
He often used repeated terror alerts in order to curtail the freedom of movement and assembly of the opposition and civil society.
Unlike Museveni, President Jakaya Kikwete is not fearing to leave office for any international crimes against humanity or corruption and abuse of office.
President Kikwete is leaving office with no Tanzanian detained or in detention over treason related charges save for Uganda’s Jamil Mukulu who is undergoing a formal judicial extradition process instead of simply handing him over as it would be the case if he had been arrested from Rwanda or Kenya.
While Tanzania respects the opposition and funds the opposition activities, in Uganda being in opposition is considered treasonous and an enemy of the state.
Tanzania has a total number of 26 registered political parties and 21 – 23 registered voters.
Elections are held using the Biometric Voters Register (BVR).
There is freedom of assembly, expression and association with 16 daily newspapers of which only two belong to the government, 62 weekly newspapers, 115 radio stations (only one belong to government, and 29 TV stations (only one belong to government).
There is no policy of censoring of news.
During his ten years in office the country had made dramatic political, economic and social progress.
A number of cabinet Ministers and other government officials were prosecuted and convicted for corruption and abuse of office and a total of 89 billion shillings was recovered from corruption related cases.
Some cabinet Ministers and a Prime Minister resigned after taking responsibility for some irregularities.
The economy was ranked as the fastest growing in the East African region. A per capita income of US $950 million was registered with a taxi revenue of $ 6 billion during 2014.
The GDP stood at 3.5% in 2014 and currently the exchange rate with US$ stands at 2,200 – 2,300.
Because of peace and stability Tourism has flourished from 612,754 visitors in 2005 to 1,140,156 in 2014 and the revenue accruing from tourism rose from 823.05million to 2 billion as of 2014 thus providing employment from 32,673 in 2005 to 686,130 as of 2014.
Management of foreign investment and mining focuses on national interest first.
Unlike Museveni who vowed never to leave power before witnessing “his oil” flow, President Kikwete is leaving others to manage the diamond, gold, uranium and gas extraction because they are not his personal resources.
A basic salary of 300,000 shillings (about $150) was introduced and sustained.
Because of his intelligence, diplomatic and sober approach to public affairs, President Kikwete managed to amicably diffuse ugly situations i.e the threats to the Union with Zanzibar, the violent demonstrations by the opposition, the diplomatic standoff with Rwanda, the lake border conflict with Malawi and the Museveni orchestrated attempt to isolate Tanzania from the East African Community.
His strong and principled stand was able to tame Museveni’s rush for the East African Community political federation.
We are yet to see if Museveni will be able to bulldoze President Kikwete’s successor in this regard.
Just last week Museveni visited Tanzania’s Kagera region to express solidarity with the relatives and friends of the illegal immigrants who were expelled by Tanzania in 2013 before Museveni accorded them a red carpet welcome.
Museveni wants to be the first President of East Africa and to benefit from military alliance interventions to protect his dictatorial regime.
Unlike Museveni whose thirty years has witnessed the country divided along ethnic, religious, and regionalism lines, President Kikwete found a United Tanzania and is leaving office when the country is more united.
Unfortunately Islam in Museveni’s Uganda is linked to terrorism and the regime is supporting one faction against another while Muslim Clerics are mysteriously gunned down every other day.
Unlike Museveni, President Kikwete has not destroyed government institutions.
The security forces are not tagged to an individual and the ruling CCM has no para military wing unlike Museveni who has destroyed the Uganda Army and Police through privatization and indiscriminate arming of civilians.
As Commander in Chief, the Tanzanian army accomplished the task in the Congo with precision but under Museveni, the Uganda army operations is proving to be disastrous in Somalia, Congo and South Sudan.
Museveni’s army will permanently stay in Somalia as a way of holding the west at ransom.
I have no doubt President Kikwete will scoop this year’s Mo Ibrahim Award which Museveni said is for the poor.
Long live East African Community, Long live the Coalition of the Willing (Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda), Long live the coalition of the Third Term (Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi)!
Sarah Nalukenge, the author is a social and political commentator