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Tanzanians Praise Jonathan as Hero of Credible Election in Africa

Valentine Chinyem



Ahead of the Tanzanian General Election, Former Nigeria President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who is leading the Commonwealth Election Monitoring Group to Tanzania, arrived Dar es Salaam International Airport yesterday and was received by the Acting Nigeria High Commissioner to Tanzania, Alhaji Salisu Umaru.

The Tanzanian general election is expected to take place on the 25th of October.

However, Tanzanian newspapers have continued to shower the ex-President with encomium, as the man who conceded defeat in a bid to avoid bloodshed. They believe that his presence alongside other observers would bring credibility to the elections believed to be the toughest and closest elections in the country’s history.

The Daily News of Tanzania, which paid tribute to Jonathan in an editorial titled, ‘Salutary lessons for Tanzania from Nigeria’s latest elections,’ commended him for taking his defeat in the last presidential election “in all magnanimity,” stressing 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 which came ahead of the polls: the paper maintained: “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!”

In the same vein, the Guardian of Tanzania, in its own editorial themed, ‘High profile figures among observers will add credibility to poll process, results’, poured encomiums on the former Nigerian president, describing him as a democrat who has pointed the way forward for the rest of Africa.

The Guardian further wrote that “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.”

The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM, party in Tanzania has been in power since Tanzania’s return to democracy in 1992, is up against a united opposition that has increasingly been making significant electoral gains.