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Cablegate: Opposition Chadema Leaders Critique the Kikwete Presidency

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DE RUEHDR #0706/01 2891401
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 151401Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7952
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 1024
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3212
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1143
RUEHDS/USMISSION USAU ADDIS ABABA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAR ES SALAAM 000706

AF/E FOR JLIDDLE, INR/RAA FOR FEHRENREICH

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TAGS: PGOV PREL TZ

SUBJECT: Opposition Chadema leaders critique the Kikwete Presidency

1. Summary: In a discussion with DCM, two leaders of opposition
party CHADEMA recognized that Tanzania's democratic development "has
a positive trend line." They criticized President Kikwete's
handling of the African Union Chairmanship as unfocussed and
reactive. They maintained that by postponing indefinitely difficult
decisions and refusing to confront corrupt figures in his party and
government, Kikwete is undermining his own presidency and turning
serious issues (Zanzibar power sharing, Union status, corruption)
into "explosive" issues. There are elements of truth to this harsh
critique, but as opposition leaders they cranked it up a few extra
notches. State House is chaotic and faction-ridden, with no one
serving as a strong Chief of Staff. We continue to urge the
President, who we are convinced has good governance policy
intentions, to put his house in order. End Summary.

2. DCM met with two leaders of the opposition Chadema party, Zitto
Kabwe and Dr. Wilbrod Slaa. Both are members of parliament. The
meeting took place at Dr. Slaa's parliamentary office in Dodoma
prior to Chadema's recent victory in the Tarime by-election
(septel). Dr. Slaa serves as his party's Secretary General. Zitto
Kabwe is a noted activist and "young turk." The opposition controls
15 percent of the seats in parliament (44 out of 290). Chadema
controls eleven of those seats, with the remainder held by CUF (32)
and the UDP (1). The opposition parties coordinate in parliament.


3. Slaa and Kabwe made the following points, in unison:

On Tanzania's Democracy:

-- Parliamentary procedures and constitutional arrangements were
shaped by nearly thirty years of one-party rule. A dozen years or
so of multipartyism has not yet erased the legacy of the one-party
state, especially as regards the relation between the ruling party
and state institutions such as the police, the judiciary and the
central bank.

-- Still, we recognize that the trend line is positive. Tanzania is
becoming more genuinely democratic. Here in parliament the Speaker
has made several important reforms to give the opposition a greater
voice and to require consultation with the opposition. We know that
he is under severe attack from his CCM (ruling party) colleagues for
his reasonableness.

On the Kikwete AU Chairmanship:

-- No one can tell us what Kikwete's agenda is for his African Union
Chairmanship. When Ghana had the Chairmanship they announced their
agenda and worked that agenda methodically. Kikwete leads the AU
just as he does Tanzania: in an ad hoc manner always reacting to
events, never launching his own initiatives. When we wish to
consult on these issues who do we speak to? No one in the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs or the Presidency is designated to back up the AU
Chairmanship, with the possible exception of the Foreign Minister.
There is no "AU cell," as there should be.

On the Kikwete Presidency:

-- There is a vacuum at State House. There is no seriousness, no
strategic vision, no plan. Kikwete needs to act. He is
accumulating problems as he constantly postpones all issues. For
the first time in our country's history cabinet meetings are
cancelled due to lack of a quorum. Kikwete is unable to get his
ministers to attend his cabinet meetings.

-- Kikwete is personally popular, but he is increasingly seen as too
weak to address the corruption in his party. He is surrounded by
people notorious for their corruption. His image is hurt by this.
He is not pulling the CCM up. The CCM is dragging him down.

-- He made a public commitment to resolve the political problem of
Zanzibar. He publicly associated himself with the power sharing
arrangements in Kenya and Zimbabwe, but is unable to achieve the
same for Zanzibar. At Butiama (site of the last ruling party
conference) he allowed himself to be humiliated by Karume (President
of Zanzibar). His strength within the party is undermined by his
refusal to confront anyone.

-- Kikwete's weakness directly led to the worsening relations
between Zanzibar and the Union. Now that politicians like Karume
see that Kikwete will not confront them and will indefinitely put
off difficult decisions, they are successfully manipulating him to
the detriment of the country. These issues (Zanzibar power sharing,
union, corruption, etc.) do not improve with age, they only become
more "explosive."

DAR ES SAL 00000706 002 OF 002

4. Comment: There are elements of truth to this harsh critique, but
as opposition leaders they cranked it up a few extra notches. We
too have lamented the lack of discipline and the apparent lack of
strategic thinking at State House. We have also witnessed the
tendency to put off difficult decisions, especially on Zanzibar and
corruption. State House is chaotic and faction-ridden and no one
serves as a strong Chief of Staff. We continue to urge the
President, who we are convinced has good governance policy
intentions, to put his house in order. A former Foreign Minister,
Kikwete clearly relishes the international stage and is effective at
working regional issues. However, for the good of the country and
his own political standing, he must devote more of his attention to
the responsibilities of Chief Executive.

GREEN

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