This is the big question as the 23-member Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) grapples with the MRC debate in the wake of a court ruling the lifted a Government ban on the group.
According to some analysts, MRC activities expose what may be viewed as weak political leadership in Coast Province worsened by the void left by former powerbrokers such as the late Shariff Nassir and Ronald Ngala.
Prof Amukowa Anangwe, a political scientist at Tanzania’s University of Dodoma, says the MRC is an indictment of local leaders and a national political system that does not listen to the voiceless.
“If elected leaders in Coast could have been voicing concerns raised by MRC, things could be better. But as things stand, leaders in that region should pull up their socks or be rendered irrelevant by the MRC which is proving to be popular supported by the common man,” says Anangwe.
But Garsen MP Danson Mungatana argues issues raised by MRC have been adequately addressed by local MPs. Mungatana says the Coast MPs has exhaustively discussed with the Government the historical injustices and marginalization of the region, insisting the emergence of MRC is not due to a leadership vacuum.
Mungatana said the Coast Parliamentary Group has twice met President Kibaki to address the issues. “In the 9th and 10th parliaments, CPG met Kibaki. We have done our best but the frustrations is failure to make it happen by the Executive,” added Mungatana.
But Anangwe, a former minister, added: “Its not that the present leadership in Coast is weaker than the past but the fury of frustrated Coastal people has reached its boiling point. It is because of a political system that does not listen to the majority that things are as they stand.”
According to Anangwe, what is happening at the Coast is a wake-up call to the Government.
“Such centrifugal sentiments are a wake-up call to the State to expedite devolution to address perceived regional disparities and income inequalities as well as political alienation,” added Anangwe.
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