While I have personally been ambivalent about a career in politics, for friends and colleagues, my entry into politics has always seemed inevitable. With the onset of the 2010 political season, pressure and expectations intensified, certain circumstances compelled in me to decide in July 2010 to run for parliament in Bumbuli constituency, Tanga region of Tanzania. I was driven by a couple of things:
Even before this idea of running for parliament came up, I have been contemplating for quite some time and was leaning towards a decision that, after my boss’s (President Jakaya Kikwete’s) re-election in October, I should probably move on and explore other challenges. What is more of a challenge than representing the voices of some of the poorest people in our country?
After working behind the scenes for 5 years as a presidential aide, a vantage point from where I could influence things quietly, I was itching to speak out and participate in public discourse and debates on the issues of the day. I thought perhaps as a Member of Parliament, I can spell out ideas, expose them to challenges, and get them to work on the ground. This, for me, was an attractive prospect.
I went into government (and participated in politics) with a firm belief that politics is a vehicle for service. But, to my disappointment, I have discovered that a very tiny minority of political actors care for public service. I believe, with a public office, by a way of example in the manner with which I will hold it, with complete devotion to service, I can demonstrate a different way of doing things.
Our nation is at the brink of generational transition - with old actors paving way for new ones. But new actors - the new generation - have to show up. I feel a sense of responsibility to participate in public life, and therefore, by performing well, inspire and recruit good young people into politics. One can only do this through success in public life and exemplary service.