IT has been a common view among political thinkers that there exists a special relationship between moral goodness and legitimate authority. Many political authors believed that the use of political power was only rightful if it was exercised by a ruler whose personal moral character was strictly virtuous.
Rulers then are to be counseled that if they want to succeed, that is, if they desire a long and peaceful reign and aim to pass their office down to their offspring, they must be sure to behave in accordance with conventional standards of ethical goodness not only during election campaigns but throughout the entire term of leadership.
In a sense, it is thought that rulers do well when they do good, they earn the right to be obeyed and respected inasmuch as they show themselves to be virtuous and morally upright.
However, acting for good does not come overnight but it begins from person's moral conducts and more importantly on the way such person excels into power.
Leadership ethics are relevant not only to formal big politicians as found in central and local government, and in political parties, but also to the way leaders conduct themselves within civil society organizations, including activist groups and the media, as well as within the commercial and corporate sector.
The ruling party CCM had already realised that the old system of nominating leaders in the party ranks had weaknesses, and that is why they have now decided to change it so that those vying for Parliamentary and Council seats should start their campaigns from cell level.
The new system would give opportunity to people to decide whether the aspirant was good or bad and that members must say no to those who show signs that they are there for personal gains.
“If anyone comes brandishing money we must all say no, otherwise we shall end up with bad leaders in the government, just because they are rich,” said Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda during a recent rally to mark CCM's 33 years anniversary.
He said the ruling party must refuse to nominate such people and should start screening them from district level because there is no need to bring them to the Central Committee.
The premier cautioned against corrupt leaders asking the party to disparage greedy leaders because they will end up being corrupt.
“You cannot vie for a position just to be famous, it's obvious that you will use your richness to get lucrative contracts,” he said.
To end the problem, political parties must address the problem by taking to task individuals who are involved in corruption so that the country gets good leaders.
This and many other factors saw the government enacting the Election Expenses Act 2009, meant to govern elections in the country.
The act seeks to make provisions for funding of the nomination process, election campaigns and elections with a view to control the use of dirty funds, to prevent illegal practices in the nomination process, election campaigns and elections. It also seeks to provide for the allocation, management and accountability of funds used in campaigns and elections.
Tabling the bill in Parliament recently, the Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Phillip Marmo, said the bill (which is now an act) intended to curb and regulate the excessive use of money in elections and discourage aspirants from using dirty money.
The act is also targeting to prohibit corruption during elections and level playing field for all political parties and candidates.
The act demands the political parties to disclose financial reports during campaigns, which include income and expenditure.
Marmo said, “The act directs that political parties and their candidates can be barred from contesting once they violate these conditions. It prohibits candidates from transporting voters to polling stations in a bid to influence them and attract their votes”.
The act gives powers to the Registrar of Political Parties to have access to documents of political parties and other information related to election funding. It also gives mandate to punish defiant political parties and candidates.
“This bill puts in place legal mechanism and regulates gifts, donations and other contributions received and issued by political parties and their candidates during election process,” he said.
There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. The innovator has always the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old system and only lukewarm defenders by those who would gain by the new system.
This is what happened during the discussions of the bill where the parliamentary committee spokesperson Pindi Chana (Special seats-CCM) and opposition legislators, raised doubts over the contentious clauses which were included in the Bill.
This revelation follows strong sentiments expressed by the MPs from the ruling party and the opposition who at one time openly rejected the bill. The MPs rejected the bill at a seminar organised by the Association Network of Parliamentarians against Corruption (APNAC-Tanzania Chapter) to enlighten MPs on the bill.
Some MPs had openly proposed that the bill be suspended to the next general election in 2015 to allow more time for transforming the society. Although the MPs have approved the bill as a positive move in combating corruption and preventing illicit money transfer from abroad, they seemed unconvinced on the time slotted for proposed law.
According to the MPs, corruption was much embedded in society and that the government needed to transform the society first to address it effectively. Voter education is one of major factors legislators think can address corruption in the electoral process.
Ms Pindi Chana doubted among other things the Registrar's power to access all documents as some documents of political parties were classified. She urged the government to shift some of the responsibilities of regulating election expenses and related practices from the Registrar to NEC, to facilitate efficient electoral process.
It is the view of the committee that if it is necessary to involve the Registrar, he should only be allowed to regulate election expenses during the nomination process within political parties, while the responsibility of overseeing elections expenses during campaigns and elections, should fall under NEC, she said.
She noted that there was need for the Controller and Auditor General to be facilitated in order to perform his or her duties accordingly as per the proposed law.
The opposition spokesperson, Halima Mdee (Special seats-Chadema) and Dr Wilibrod Slaa (Karatu-Chadema), said no where in the bill mentioned that illegal or dirty money from any source was prohibited in election expenses.
But instead it only puts ceiling in election expenses, prohibits money from foreign sources and prohibit corrupt practices.
The opposition said the Bill, despite its good intention, it was crafted in a way as to stifle democracy and perpetuate the powerful ruling CCM's stronghold on power.
According to Mdee, even money from foreign sources is only prohibited when it is received 90 days near the election implying that if it is received before 90 days it can be allowed to fund campaigns and election.
She, however, cautioned on excessive powers vested on the Registrar of Political Parties.
"The Registrar is having too much powers which can be abused, he's the police, prosecutor and judge," observed Dr Slaa.
He stressed that some provisions of the bill were undermining democracy and that some provisions were likely to give undue influence to certain parties.
Fred Mpendazoe (Kishapu-CCM) said that the Act would eliminate corrupt elements in the election process and that candidates buying votes should be rejected.
He said any party involved in corruption, if it wins elections, will automatically form a corrupt government.
“The exercise should begin with the political parties in order that they nominate persons of integrity for which they will dedicate all their efforts in serving the people,” he said.
As the late founding father of the nation, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, once said: “... on balance, it cannot be said that we have fulfilled our people's hopes for democracy and Human Rights and that, I believe, ought to be the main focus of our deliberations today, whereby democracy is understood broadly to refer to participatory development and participatory democracy, in which all women and men participate equally in making key decisions on resource allocations, at all levels - in other words, they all lead; and they benefit equally; where there is no systematic discrimination against one or another social group on any grounds whatsoever, thus realizing the people's demand for human dignity and freedom,”.
John Cheyo, the United Democratic Party (UDP) National Chairman said the bill was good, only that the powers that will be vested by the registrar may remove the positive sense that the law is intended to bring.
A veteran politician, Jackson Makweta (Njombe East-CCM), said the law itself is not enough but what is needed is the political will and the provision of civic education to the people as to why they should not receive bribery during elections.
“Without preparing the mass on this point, the law will remain useless,” he said.
Mnyaa Habib (Mkanyageni-CUF) expressed doubts over the exclusion of the involvement of private media companies in the election campaigns. As the bill cited only the public media institutions will be used fairly by all presidential candidates during election campaigns.
Having weighed the merits and demerits of the new Act, it is vital to note that all the positivity of the legislation will remain useless unless the legislation is implemented without favour.
Politicians should show political willpower in adhering to the requirements of the Act to ensure that democracy prevails in this country and that wananchi will have the chance to elect leaders of their choice without being forced, intimidated or without selling their votes for money, beer or other goodies.