Immediate past President of Nigeria and chair of the Commonwealth election observer mission to Tanzania, Goodluck Jonathan, , has called for a free and fair election in the presidential poll on Sunday while urging for concession of defeat by the loser.
Jonathan, using his acceptance of defeat in the March 28 Presidential election in Nigeria as example, warned that politicians should always put the citizens first, stressing that any attempt to reject the will of the people will lead to chaos and loss of lives.
“If you lose, accept defeat. I was concerned about allowing my personal ambition to scuttle a democratic system I had helped to nurture”
“In any election, there are winners and losers. The presidential candidate who loses on Sunday should gracefully concede the election to avert a political crisis.”
“If all parties, including the national electoral commission, political parties, and police force will play their role, nothing will stop Tanzania to record a free and fair election this year.
“Successful elections will depend on how each stakeholder plays his or her role to ensure a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process…I’m confident Tanzanians will achieve this.”
As Tanzanians prepare to vote in either side, they are happy that high profile observers including Jonathan, who they consider as ‘a hero of free and fair election in Africa’, would be on ground to monitor the elections. They are hoping that their presence would ensure a transparent and peaceful election process.
Paying tribute to Jonathan in a recent editorial ahead of the elections, The Daily News of Tanzania commended the former president for taking his defeat in the last presidential election “in all magnanimity,” adding that “Jonathan may very well have averted bloodshed that is characteristic of incumbent leaders who cling in power tooth and nail, fang and claw! What lesson is there in this for us in Tanzania, pray?”
In the editorial entitled: ‘Salutary lessons for Tanzania from Nigeria’s latest elections; the paper said further: “It is generally admitted that the election in Nigeria was unprecedentedly free, fair and transparent, whereby the opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, won the Presidency. What is more remarkable is that the incumbent president who sought re-election, Goodluck Jonathan, … most graciously accepted the results promptly!
“Oh, I don’t know beyond the fact that Tanzania could tragically do worse if it fails to dedicatedly take a leaf out of Nigeria’s newest book on elections!”
Similarly, the Guardian of Tanzania also poured encomiums on former President Jonathan, describing him as a democrat who has pointed the way forward for the rest of Africa.
In its own editorial comment entitled ‘High profile figures among observers will add credibility to poll process, results’, The Guardian stated: “Jonathan’s voluntary handover of power to the opposition wrote a new chapter for Nigeria’s democracy, given the fact that it is rare for sitting presidents in Africa to hand over powers to winning opposition parties.”
Reports also indicate that the people of Tanzania are happy to see Jonathan lead the Commonwealth election monitoring team because of his exemplary feat of conceding defeat even before the end of the electoral process and subsequently handing over power to the opposition party.
The Tanzanian general election of 2015 will be the 5th quinquennial election to be held since the restoration of multi-party system in 1992. Voters will elect the President, Members of Parliament and local government councillors. By convention, the election is held on the last Sunday of October and will be supervised by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Political campaigns commenced on 22 August and will cease a day before the polling day.
The incumbent president, Jakaya Kikwete, is ineligible to be elected to a third term due to term limits. The country’s dominant ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) selected Works Minister John Magufuli as its presidential nominee; instead of the front-runner former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa. After failing to secure the ruling party’s nomination, Lowassa defected to an opposition party that once labelled him as “one of the most corrupt figures in Tanzanian society.”
This year’s election is the most competitive and unpredictable in the nation’s history. The government has warned politicians to refrain from engaging in witchcraft, and a deputy minister told parliament that reports linking politicians with the killings of people with albinism could be true as it increases during the election period.
A ban on witch doctors was imposed in January 2015, as some of them condone the killings due to superstitious beliefs that the victims’ bodies “possess powers that bring luck and prosperity”.