Former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is leading the 54-member nations of the Commonwealth as part of the international observers to monitor the Tanzanian general election scheduled for October 25 is billed to leave the country this Monday for Dar es Salaam.
Reports indicated that Jonathan is walking into the warm embrace of many Tanzanians who are upbeat and confident that his presence would bring credibility to the polls which analysts consider the toughest and closest elections in the country’s history.
The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party which has been in power since the country’s return to multiparty democracy in 1992 is up against a united opposition that has increasingly been making significant electoral gains.
As Tanzanians prepare to vote in either side, they are happy that high profile observers including Jonathan, who they consider as ‘a hero of free and fair election in Africa’, would be on ground to monitor the elections. They are hoping that their presence would ensure a transparent and peaceful election process.
Paying tribute to Jonathan in a recent editorial ahead of the elections, The Daily News of Tanzania commended the former president for taking his defeat in the last presidential election “in all magnanimity,” adding that “Jonathan may very well have averted bloodshed that is characteristic of incumbent leaders who cling in power tooth and nail, fang and claw! What lesson is there in this for us in Tanzania, pray?”
In the editorial entitled: ‘Salutary lessons for Tanzania from Nigeria’s latest elections; the paper said further: “It is generally admitted that the election in Nigeria was unprecedentedly free, fair and transparent, whereby the opposition candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, won the Presidency. What is more remarkable is that the incumbent president who sought re-election, Goodluck Jonathan, … most graciously accepted the results promptly!
“Oh, I don’t know beyond the fact that Tanzania could tragically do worse if it fails to dedicatedly take a leaf out of Nigeria’s newest book on elections!”
Similarly, the Guardian of Tanzania also poured encomiums on former President Jonathan, describing him as a democrat who has pointed the way forward for the rest of Africa.
In its own editorial comment entitled ‘High profile figures among observers will add credibility to poll process, results’, The Guardian stated: “Jonathan’s voluntary handover of power to the opposition wrote a new chapter for Nigeria’s democracy, given the fact that it is rare for sitting presidents in Africa to hand over powers to winning opposition parties.”
Reports also indicate that the people of Tanzania are happy to see Jonathan lead the Commonwealth election monitoring team because of his exemplary feat of conceding defeat even before the end of the electoral process and subsequently handing over power to the opposition party.
While in Tanzania, Jonathan is billed to meet with the country’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, other heads of delegation as well as the local and international media.
President Muhammed Buhari profusely praised Jonathan for being magnanimous enough to initiate a telephone conversation where he conceded defeat even before the final votes were tallied, thus saving the nation from predicted Armageddon.
While receiving the handover notes from the former President, Buhari had said: “What I will say is since the telephone call you made, you have changed the course of Nigeria’s political history. For that, you have earned yourself a place in our history, for stabilising this system of multi party democracy system and you have earned the respect of not only Nigerians but world leaders.
“All the leaders that spoke to me and congratulated us for arriving at the point we arrived, mentioned this and I could understand, a lot of relief in their voices that Nigeria has made it after all and this is largely owed to a situation.
“If you (Jonathan) had attempted to make things difficult, you could have made things difficult and that would have been at the expense of lives of poor Nigerians, but you choose the part of honour and may God help all of us. Thank you very much your excellency.”Follow us on Twitter at @Riverinenews
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