Politics in Tanzania

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Chadema Wins the Election

Today seems to be an appropriate day to start my blog. It is the day after the election, and Chadema has won the vote in Arusha. The celebratory spirit here is overwhelming, so contagious it makes you want to join the cheering throngs of people lining the streets. Young and old stood cheering with Chadema flags or giving the peace sign- also a symbol for the Chadema party. My walk home from the office today was completely exhilarating, like walking into a revolutionary March, both so frightening and inspiring.

Dala Dalas, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and cars rushed by honking their horns and flashing the Chadema sign out the windows. Crowds standing on the street replied back with shouts, flag -waving, and further Chadema hand signs. Every now and then a Tanzanian would shout at me and throw up their Chadema hand signal, hoping I would reply. When I did reply, they would be absolutely ecstatic. As the sun cast a golden glow against the dusty, crowded streets, I rushed to get home before dark while still enjoying the atmosphere.

It is really amazing that Chadema has won Arusha, and I can only hope that this is a positive sign for the election. CCM, the party running for reelection, is extremely corrupt and Tanzania is due for a change. It is really fantastic to be here during this election, as the feeling of hope and excitement is certainly palpable here in Arusha.

Unfortunately, CCM is winning almost all of the rural areas here, and the Tanzanian population is overwhelmingly rural. It is amazing to me that such a corrupt party can still garner such support. When I asked my Tanzanian counterpart Johnson about this, he replied that many rural inhabitants fear a war breaking out and so continue to vote for CCM. So how can Tanzania progress if change is so feared? It seems nearly impossible, but the spirit here in Arusha is reassuring.

Liz H.

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