Tanzania – if not East Africa’s – foremost Muslim mystic, numerologist and astrologer, Sheikh Yahya Hussein, has once again laid his cards on the table with his political predictions for 2010. In short, Jakaya Kikwete will get a second term and form a coalition government, with the Prime Minister to be from the current oppostion.
Let’s not be sniffy about this. His thoughts are given serious press coverage – page 3 in the state owned Daily New and the front page in its Swahili language sister paper, Habari Leo. Mengi’s Nipashe has it above the fold on page 3 while Freeman Mbowe’s Tanzania Daima gives it a front page splash.
None, however, give us a flavour of his logic. For this we have to go back to January of this year, when he made essentially the same predictions. As reported in Nipashe at the time:
Speaking with reporters at his home in Dar es Salaam, Sheikh Yahya said that President Kikwete will win due to being lucky enough to be in office at the head of a long standing government and also, his name is the number eleven, in numerological terms.
“Another reason for President Kikwete to win is his ability to deal with conflict in the party, his fearlessness in revealing those suspected grand corruption and not hesitating to arrest them.
“I predict a coalition government in 2010. This is 2009 (whose number is 11 – 2+9). This Fourth Phase government under the leadership of CCM is in its 47th year (4+7=11).
“So, the number 10 is J and the number 11 is K, meaning that JK will be the winner. That will be President Kikwete”, said Sheikh Yahya.
I’m with the Sheikh, having been privately predicting that JK would reach out to the “anti-corruption” camp in CCM as well as the opposition after the 2010 elections. Increasingly, the watershed issue politically is grand corruption, both within the ruling CCM and more widely. He’ll have to take sides at some point. Whether this will allow matters of grand corruption to be addressed is another matter – but it will allow power to be held, which is the real issue.
A show of unity at least will be maintained by CCM in the run up to the elections. Nobody wants to be the one to break up the party. But those divisions will become acute in a very dirty election. Formation of an inclusive government in order to isolate the grands rentiers may be JK’s last chance to seize the day.