The most amazing thing this week for me is the fact President Kikwete managed to scare the heck of out The Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA), to the extent that the labor union actually folded and ceased calling for a countrywide strike. The scariest part of all is the fact that the President hinted at the possibility of “authorized” human rights abuse by the Tanzanian police force!
That alone, could be a separate topic on its own. Seriously, does it mean that if I am a civil servant in Tanzania and I stop going to work on a strike, the police could actually come at my house and start clobbering me?
Before the President’s speech, it is obvious TUCTA and Mr. Mgaya had a lot going on for them. The speech, obviously, took the wind out of the high-flying balloon and has painted TUCTA in the negative light. That’s a political strategy that I have to commend the President for.
So what would I have done, if I were Mr. Mgaya, following the President’s speech? I would have used the President’s speech against himself.
Let’s go to it folks.
I would have attacked and negatively painted the President’s remark about being ready to “forsake” workers’ votes in the upcoming general elections. I would have done that by focusing on the fact that Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s (CCM) logo – the famous hammer and a hoe – speaks of CCM as a party of farmers and workers. As such, the “disrespect” shown by the President on the very same foundation he is standing on, is a sign that he is out of touch with his own party’s tradition of respecting workers who are the backbone of the Tanzanian economy.
Furthermore, I would bring up the whole Jumuiya ya Wafanyakazi (JUWATA) which was nothing more than a labor union under the CCM’s wings. The existence of JUWATA, I would emphasize, was a sign that the Father of the Nation – Julius K. Nyerere, had a lot of respect for workers than the current chairman of the party who seems to have lost his ways [ thrown in Nyerere in the mix and you got someone’s attention in Tanzania, trust me!]
I would also spin, the possible degree, the fact that the President also “assured” himself of being to on the October ballot. I would made it seems like the President is not respectful of the democratic principles and process instituted in his own party. I would emphasize the fact that anyone desiring to vie for any political position must go through a screening process to ensure qualification. As such, the President’s self assurance of being on the October’s ballot indicates dictatorial tendencies, as that indicates the President does not believe nor respect a democratic process nor the desire of other CCM members to vie for the post.
To add more drama, I will tie the dictatorial tendencies to the fact that the President made threats of a possible police abuse of peaceful workers.
Would all that be effective? Probably. Nevertheless, since Mr. Mgaya has the microphone with the media following up what he says, I would make sure that I cause a strategic havoc at Ikulu.
Besides, all politicians are spin doctors. Why not beat them at their own game?