Tanzanian Journalist Praises Chebukati, Says Kenya in Own League

  • A collage of police quelling riots at Bomas of Kenya in August 2022 (left) and IEBC chairperson, Wafula Chebukati (right)
    A collage of police quelling riots at Bomas of Kenya in August 2022 (left) and IEBC chairperson, Wafula Chebukati (right)
    Kenyans.co.ke
  • Tanzanian journalist Sammy Awami lauded Kenyan institutions and systems of governance that facilitated a smooth transition after  President William Ruto's win was validated by the Supreme Court.

    According to Awami, the processes involved in power transition in Kenya exposed hitches and glaring issues in the Tanzanian constitution and leadership policies.

    In his letter published by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Thursday, September 15,  he applauded the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairperson Wafula Chebukati's courage, especially in announcing the Presidential results despite allegedly facing pressure from some government bodies. 

    Awami explained that Chebukati's bravery could not be replicated in Tanzania under the current regime. Awami insisted that institutions' independence in Kenya stood out, which Tanzania is still struggling to establish.

    File photo of Tanzanian journalist Sammy Awami
    File photo of Tanzanian journalist Sammy Awami.
    File

    "We struggled to imagine the head of our commission - appointed by the president, who is also the leader of the ruling party - being as bold as his Kenyan counterpart, Wafula Chebukati, by announcing the real vote-count, even if it went against the CCM and its candidate," Awami wrote.

    "What is clear is that the Kenyan elections have validated the demand of many Tanzanians for a new mother law or constitution. Even those of us who had not quite made up our minds about it now realise how instrumental a new constitution could be in building and strengthening crucial institutions, such as the election body and the courts, that are expected to operate without fear or favour," he added.

    The journalist was also amazed by how Kenya allowed citizens access to the internet even during voting day. He explained that Tanzania subjected citizens to internet blackout during voting and telling period.

    Awami marvelled at how Ruto trounced Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga despite receiving support from the sitting head of state. He argued that no one could defeat a presidential candidate endorsed by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in Tanzania.

    "In Tanzania, a CCM endorsement almost guarantees victory for a candidate - sometimes without a contest," he reiterated.

    He wondered how IEBC openly allowed candidates to pick and submit their forms without facing arrests. Awami further expressed shock at how candidates campaigned freely without law enforcement officers causing disruptions.

    "The competition between Kenyan candidates to outdo each other with huge rallies was also something to marvel. Four years before our election in 2020, then-President John Magufuli banned opposition rallies."

    "When the opposition were allowed to hold them just a few weeks ahead of the election, the rallies were often disrupted by security officers who intimidated and arrested activists and leaders," his letter published by BBC read.

    Nonetheless, he called on the country led by President Suluhu Hassan to start thinking of ways to amend its constitution to hit Kenya's political and democratic maturity.

    While attending Ruto's inauguration at Kasarani on Tuesday, September 13, President Suluhu hailed the country's institutions. She further urged the newly elected president to uphold the rule of law while executing his mandate.

    United Republic of Tanzania President Samia Suluhu waving at the crowd at Kasarani Stadium during the Presidential inauguration ceremony on September 13, 2022
    United Republic of Tanzania President Samia Suluhu waving at the crowd at Kasarani Stadium during the Presidential inauguration ceremony on September 13, 2022
    Kenyans.co.ke

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