We can learn a lot from Tanzania on how to conduct public affairs

President Samia Suluhu. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Senate, Council and Management of the University of Dar resolved to honour their president with the highest honour bestowed by the institution.

The University Chancellor Dr Jakaya Kikwete, the fourth president of Tanzania, informed us that, only three people had received such an honour during his tenure as Chancellor. President Samia Suluhu Hassan was on November 30, 2022 awarded Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).

This was in appreciation and recognition of her outstanding contribution to gender equality and parity, education and human rights.

As her citation was read out, it was amazing to realise how much President Suluhu had achieved in just one year. This included a scholarship established in her name in which hundreds had benefited already with about half of the beneficiaries attending University of Dar es Salaam.

It was a great moment of pride, when the UDSM chancellor and former president, conferred the degree on President Suluhu during the university’s 52nd graduation ceremony at the Mlimani City Hall in Dar es Salaam.

I was particularly inspired, not because I was one of the graduands but because of the genuineness with which everyone conducted themselves. Recognising and appreciating outstanding contribution is great leadership by the university and great humility by the President.

I could not help comparing and contrasting what was going on in Dar with what was going on in Nairobi. The level of national cohesion and integration in Tanzania is admirable. President Suluhu has embraced and involves the opposition in most important national interest matters and has managed to ensure great co-existence in the Union, ensuring Zanzibar is not left behind.

In fact, the university spoke of how facilitative the government was to ensure its branch in Zanzibar is progressing in tandem with the main campus. The opposition is not distinguishable; everyone is treated equally as Tanzanians.

Funding for research, support for public private partnerships by universities and preparing graduands fit for the jobs of the future, appears to be everybody’s business, completely devoid of politics and with the government leading the way.

It was surprising to discover that President Suluhu is the leader of the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), the first ever female to lead the party.

Yet, not a single politically divisive word was uttered during the entire ceremony that took all day. Every statement was about development, progress and human capital and growth; grand plans for the future, and past achievements.

One would have easily assumed that Tanzania was devoid politicians. It was very refreshing.

Meanwhile in Kenya, the National Assembly was concluding petition proceedings against the four IEBC commissioners, who disagreed with their chairman in declaring President William Ruto elected in August 2022.

The proceedings are projected as being about Kenya Kwanza versus Azimio One Kenya and not about the four commissioners; since the two political divides are either opposing or supporting either side to which they belong. This is going to be a very difficult period for Kenya.

When a country is so clearly divided and balkanised along political lines, our democracy is at great risk. No matter how great the composition and performance of the tribunal to try the four commissioners shall be, justice will not be seen to have been served because of the perceived presumption of guilt ab initio.

There is however, a ray of hope. This political balkanisation is majorly manifested at national level as our counties have begun to deliver services to their constituencies without distinction as to who supported which coalition.

Kenyans are hungry, thirsty and jobless and their challenges and problems know no political sides. We can only pray that Kenya borrows a leaf from Tanzania for just four years!

-Join the conversation @Koki_Muli @StandardKenya.