Right here is the first half of a two-segment interview performed by Nolan Quinn, a study accomplice for the Council on Foreign Relatives’ Africa Program, and reviewed by Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow John Campbell. The interview became as soon as held on March 19, 2021–the day after Tanzania President John Magufuli’s loss of life became as soon as announced. The 2nd half shall be posted in the upcoming days. Mr. Lissu has confirmed as honest the quotes attributed to him on this put up.
“Well, we’re now not making an are trying to overthrow the authorities, are we? No? Correct, so let’s attain it on the file.” — Tundu Lissu
Tundu Lissu, a Tanzanian opposition chief, would now not honest to overthrow the authorities, nonetheless he then all over again has monumental targets for his home country. Following the loss of life of Tanzania’s authoritarian President John Magufuli, an avowed COVID-19 skeptic who seemingly died of the disease, Lissu plans to come to Tanzania to fight for democratic progress in a country that has experienced lickety-split democratic backsliding in the final 5 years.
“President Magufuli’s passing offers us a risk to come to the set quo ante. And I would now not stand for one thing less.”
Lissu, a member of the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (the Gather together for Democracy and Development, CHADEMA), has spent his political profession, which involves a ten-three hundred and sixty five days stint in parliament, combating for a extra responsible polity in sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth most populous country. And it almost price him his existence. In September 2017, he became as soon as shot sixteen instances in what is widely considered as an assassination strive orchestrated by the Magufuli authorities.
However Lissu survived. And three years and extra than twenty operations later, he returned to Tanzania from Belgium final three hundred and sixty five days, the place he had been in search of sanatorium treatment, to contest the presidential election held in October. After attracting monumental crowds as he toured the country to campaign, he became as soon as defeated in a contest marred by intimidation and fraud, handing Magufuli one more 5 years rather than job and forcing Lissu abet into exile. However following the president’s untimely loss of life, Lissu is plotting his return.
Asked whether his plans upon returning to Tanzania are extra in line with activism or a re-entry into politics, his response became as soon as straightforward:
“Is there a distinction?”
Removing the Velvet Glove
In a previous interview with the Africa Mumble, Lissu said that whereas it became as soon as “very easy to point an accusing finger at Magufuli,” the worn president also had “now not changed a single provision of the constitution, and these powers were created by Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere,” Tanzania’s revered first president. Hence, focus on of a return to the set quo ante appeared, in the origin, insufficient.
“Tanzania has continually been authoritarian and violent,” Lissu outlined. “There would possibly maybe be continuity from the colonial to the put up-colonial authorities. Every comprise lacked accountability and didn’t care about rights.”
“However what Magufuli did is he removed the velvet glove from the iron fist that has continually been the Tanzanian mumble. He turned the protection companies and products above and beyond honest appropriate the opposition.”
And, by the employ of the organs of the mumble to grab honest at civil society, musicians, and personal citizens, Lissu thinks, counterintuitively, that Magufuli created an opening for extra lasting–and particular–political trade.
“Magufuli squandered his political capital with his ruthlessness. The Magufuli project became as soon as over. After which, even earlier than he died, COVID had performed him politically.”
And now, after 5 years of the president’s “reign of fear,” Lissu sees a rising consensus that “one of the top formulation to forestall one more Magufuli is a brand unique constitutional and political declare.”
Reforming the Structure
“Tanzania has obligatory a brand unique constitutional declare for a extremely prolonged time,” in line with Lissu, “and the introduction of multi-occasion democracy in 1992 made requires reform louder, nonetheless now not many of us took reformers critically.”
This became as soon as due, in segment, to the perception amongst many Tanzanians and donors that despite the dominance of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (the Gather together of the Revolution, CCM)–the occasion has, in one bag or one more, been in energy since independence in 1961–Tanzania had continued to democratize under Magufuli’s predecessors, President Benjamin Mkapa (1995-2005) and President Jakaya Kikwete (2005-2015).
After Magufuli, then all over again, “the case for a brand unique constitution is unanswerable.”
Lissu believes that even Kikwete, who he accuses of torpedoing the constitutional reform route of in 2014, along with the faction within CCM that aligns intently to him would now toughen a brand unique constitution.
Asked what obligatory to be changed, Lissu answered that, at the start, a brand unique Tanzanian constitution must peaceable attain away with “the imperial presidency place into place by Julius Kambarage Nyerere.”
The “presidentialism” enshrined in the constitution desires to be abolished, Lissu said, as “giving monumental energy to one particular person is unhealthy in unstable societies,” as Magufuli so brutally demonstrated.
“Will we desire a president that has the ability to nominate officers all of the model down to the district stage?” Lissu requested rhetorically. He argued that Tanzania desires to “devolve and decentralize” energy nearer to the place it is far exercised, thus serving to construct “accountability from the bottom.”
Asked what a greater scheme of authorities would explore devour in Tanzania, Lissu said that Tanzania must peaceable decide for a parliamentary democracy whereby “parliament is the steady heart of energy and the head of mumble is answerable each day to parliament.”
“The 1961 constitution gave us parliamentary democracy,” Lissu continued, “nonetheless it for high-tail lacked a invoice of rights.” As a result of the invoice of rights became as soon as incorporated into the constitution in 1984, Lissu argues that “a parliamentary democracy now would possibly maybe most definitely well well be on a varied airplane than 1961.”
Lissu cares miniature about whether the head of mumble will put the title of president. More most considerable, he says, is characteristic.
“In South Africa, they’ve a president, nonetheless he can peaceable face a vote of no confidence honest appropriate devour the high minister in London. Impeachment is extraordinarily now not going politically. We observed that even in the United States with Donald Trump. Impeachment is now not a ample take a look at on the ability of the president.”
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Beyond abolishing the imperial presidency, Lissu also sees need for a revisiting of the connection between Zanzibar, the semi-self sustaining archipelago that merged with the mainland–then is believed as Tanganyika–in 1964.
“I if truth be told feel extra strongly referring to the demand of Zanzibar than even many Zanzibari nationalists,” Lissu speedy. “The 1964 Zanzibar Revolution became as soon as a coup funded, armed, and supported by mainland Tanganyika to overthrow the legit authorities of Zanzibar. Basically one of the top formulation to withhold the Union since then has been via violence,” illustrated most now not too prolonged in the past when as a minimum nine of us were shot needless by police in Zanzibar in the bustle-up to the October elections.
Lissu, objecting to CCM’s employ of power to manipulate Zanzibar, said he helps Zanzibari requires independence.
“Since 1984,” when modifications to the Zanzibar Structure extra extended CCM’s influence over the islands’ politics, “there had been requires a looser union which have not diminished.” Lissu pointed out that many mainland Tanzanians push apart these calls outright, on the seek that accepting a looser union is merely a halfway present independence–and he is of the same opinion. However “it is far up to Zanzibaris to imagine whether they deserve to dwell in the union and, if this is the case, under what plot.”
This article is segment of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Mission on the Scheme forward for Democracy. Blog posts signify the views of CFR fellows and crew and never these of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.