Accept Defeat If You Lose Like Me, Jonathan Tells Tanzanian Politicians
Chair of the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission to Tanzania, former President Goodluck Jonathan, has urged the loser of Sunday’s Tanzanian presidential election to promptly acknowledge it in the interest of the country’s peace and unity.
Jonathan, who has been briefing a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Dar es Salaam – including chairman of the electoral commission, leaders of political parties, journalists, youth organisations and the civil society – said it was equally important to realise that for the poll to be free and fair, all stakeholders must play their part.
“If you lose, accept defeat,” he said, warning that any attempt to reject the will of the people can only lead to chaos. He told them that he immediately accepted defeat after losing his re-election bid early this year because he did not want personal ambition to derail democracy in Nigeria.
“I was concerned about allowing my personal ambition to scuttle a democratic system I had helped to nurture,” he continued.
“In any election, there are winners and losers. The presidential candidate who loses on Sunday should gracefully concede the election to avert a political crisis.”
The two leading Tanzania’s national newspapers, The Guardian and The Citizen, which have been celebrating the former president since his arrival last Monday, quoted him as saying: “If all parties, including the national electoral commission, political parties, and police force will play their role, nothing will stop Tanzania from recording a free and fair election this year.
“Successful elections will depend on how each stakeholder plays his or her role to ensure a peaceful, inclusive and transparent electoral process…I’m confident Tanzanians will achieve this.”
He assured the public that the Commonwealth Observers Group would perform its observation role with impartiality, independence and transparency.
He also said the group would issue an interim statement on the preliminary findings shortly after the elections, while a final report would be prepared in Tanzania.
“We will also submit the report on the Tanzanian elections to the Secretary General of the Commonwealth and subsequently share with relevant stakeholders and the public. The group is scheduled to depart in Tanzania on October 31,” he said.
The group comprises 14 members drawn from various Commonwealth regions, including Africa, Asia and the Caribbean; and Jonathan is one of two former African heads of states leading the observer teams. The other is Armando Guebuza, former Mozambican president, who is leading the African Union (AU) mission.
Guebuza was Mozambique’s third president who led the country for a maximum of two five-year terms and handed over to a successor from his party, Frelimo.
The incumbent president, Jakaya Kikwete, is ineligible to be elected to a third term due to term limits. Therefore, the ruling, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), selected John Magufuli, minister of works, as its presidential candidate – ahead of the front-runner former prime minister Edward Lowassa.
Lowassa consequently defected to an opposition party that is a coalition of four parties, and will therefore run against his former party man.