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Election campaigns should be about policies, not chaos and mudslinging

25th March 2012
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Editorial Cartoon

The ongoing campaigns in Arumeru East by-election is a replica of cheap politics, which we have witnessed in this country for the past few years. From Tarime to Busanda, Igunga and now to Arumeru East, our politicians have failed to market their policies and instead, they have chosen to invest in mudslinging, lies and chaotic politics.

This is what we have so far witnessed in Arumeru East constituency. It’s the same story we witnessed in Igunga last year. No party has managed to market its economic and social policy, which shows how these policies would solve people’s problems.

How does the connection with Nyerere’s family help the people of Arumeru East constituency whose main problems include land and poverty? How does the history of Dr Slaa’s move to abandon the priesthood help the people of Arumeru East?

The by-elections have become a platform for mudslinging, chaotic politics, lies and a show of how some of our politicians have gone bankrupt in terms of ideas. For any keen observer, it’s obvious that our main political parties have failed to market their economic policies.

We at the Guardian on Sunday do believe that the time has come for our politicians to shun their dirty politics and start competing with clear economic and social policies. There’s no justification to use Nyerere’s name or family to win an election or using those personal issues as the main agenda.

Tanzanians are not ready to consume personal issues and therefore those whose preaching is ‘pillow talk’ should be condemned at any cost. Tell voters how you will help them to access clean and safe drinking water, a commodity they have missed for fifty years of independence.

Tell them how will they get enough land to cultivate crops or how they will access better health care at affordable cost. Remember the popular slogan by former US president Bill Clinton during the campaign in 1992, “it’s the economy, stupid!’ "It's the economy, stupid" was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign against George Bush.

For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf War. The phrase, a slight variation on a phrase created by Bill Clinton's campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

Clinton's campaign used the recession to successfully unseat George Bush. In March 1991, days after the ground invasion of Iraq, 90 percent of polled Americans approved of President Bush's job performance. Later the next year, Americans' opinions had turned sharply; 64 percent of polled Americans disapproved of Bush's job performance in August 1992.

We are therefore calling for all political parties currently competing in Arumeru East constituency to market their policies instead of verbal attacks targeting personal issues, which can’t bring bread and butter on the table. We are a nation of 44 million people, but our problems are the same especially in the rural areas.

Our biggest problem is still poverty, and since we trust politicians to lead us through the theory and principles of the social contract, we therefore expect these politicians to market their economic agendas.

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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