A Tanzanian political science professor has told VOA the entire population seems well-educated and equipped to make informed decisions in the upcoming general election scheduled for 31st October.
Professor Xavery Lwaitama, a lecturer at the University of Dar-Es Salaam, said the “militancy” of the population will serve as a strong warning to all participating political parties that there would be no business as usual in this election.
“The population this time round has been prepared, especially by the civic education programs that have been offered by different agencies educating the population about the importance of using their vote to register their preferences, and also to register their displeasure with how things have been going.”
Local media reports that the electoral commission, civil society groups and non-governmental organizations have launched a massive civic education campaign ahead of the vote.
Lwaitama said the civic education has been successful.
“This is showing itself as a bit of a surprise both to the electoral commission, I suspect, and to the political parties themselves because the political parties did their homework, I suppose, and the electoral commission (members) maybe did their homework. But, I think the most important thing is that, previously, the population was not usually prepared.”
He further said Tanzanians have not often been made aware of their rights and encouraged to be part of a process of “either confirming the legitimacy to govern of those particular set of people who were governing or removing them from power. Previously, this was not made clear to them,” Lwaitama said.
Analysts say, despite a stiff challenge from opposition parties, incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party will win the vote.
But, Lwaitama said the October election will be much more competitive than previous ones.
“Whatever the various technical procedural sorts of gaps, even policy sort of shortcomings, you can see clearly that the population is determined to assert itself and is determined to make some stand to make the politicians and all parties aware that they are not going to continue to be the same sort of people that they are used to.”