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The Politademic Bashiru in Mr. Mandola’s Whisky

The character Mr. Mandola in a 2013 Bollywood’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is very rich, very alcoholic and also very revolutionary. But in this political satire film, the side of a revolutionary Harphool Singh Mandola (played by Pankaj Kapur), is not seen in his character until he is drunk.

Give him one bottle of whisky and all of a sudden the radical Mandola is waking up and the greedy rich man, who wants to grab the villagers’ land and turn it into his property with his name, vanishes. There he calls for revolution against anything problematic, including himself.

At the beginning, it is Mr. Mandola who appears at the villagers’ meeting while they were discussing the measures to reclaim their land and it is ‘he’ who convinces them to revolt against him. The motivated villagers take it to the street towards his mansion and Mr. Mandola uses the back door to escape their anger, but unfortunately he falls into a swimming pool and eventually the whiskey in him stops working!

All of a sudden, the other Mandola arises from him – the greedy rich Mandola who is ready to do anything to achieve his selfish ambitions. He picks up his gun and points to the rioting villagers, who were about to stage a mass coup using people’s power slogans.

Both surprised and horrified by the sound of bullets on air, the villagers run away to save their lives. At the same time, they are asking themselves: “Wasn’t he the one who came to convince us to relovt against his greedy motives and told us that we should take back our rights right now?”

A 2013 Bollywood’s film, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

At that moment, Mr. Mandola is turning to his driver, Matru, asking him why he (Matru) had allowed him to drink so much that he (Mr. Mandola) lost himself into another Mandola, who is dangerous to his wealth and luxurious life!

It’s at this point that you are introduced to the real job of Matru. That he is not just a driver of Mr. Mandola’s car, but rather a controller of his boss’ chronic drinking behaviour too. He is supposed to make sure that Mr. Mandola never gets too drunk even if he drinks.

Listening to a Tanzanian academic turned into a ruling party high ranking politician, Dr. Bashiru Ally, lecturing on the importance of multiparty democracy, one is left with little doubt that this political scientist really aims at revolutionising his party’s politics and, hence, his country’s. After all, the party itself, as Professor Azaveri Lwaitama puts it, symbolises a revolution due to its emblem, motto and name – Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM).

When he speaks in public gatherings, Dr. Bashiru displays a new image that was long forgotten that it used to belong to CCM. He speaks of the other side of the party which stands for human dignity, human development, freedom and, above all, social democracy.

When in Morogoro some weeks ago, he spoke bitterly against electoral systems and lamented on minimum civic participation. He even downgraded his own party’s victories in ongoing by-elections, which he generally called them shameful, and the 2010 general elections which he categorically said it resulted into a government that lacked political legitimacy.

When speaking at Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Gathering at his former comfort zone, i.e the University of Dar es Salaam campus, he strongly accused the unnamed party’s colleagues as being too weak in political intelligence, so immature in the socialist ideology and so corrupt to be comrades in the fight against bribery. He even said that if he would decide to identify them by names, no one would believe him.

Being a general secretary of CCM, similar to executive director of a company, Dr. Bashiru words are just too strong. They resemble very much to that of Mr. Mandola, the drunkard. Actually, through his words, Dr. Bashiru was almost calling for mass action against his own party.

When he mentioned about people’s fear to speak their mind, he was, in actual sense, opposed to his government’s ongoing campaign against the freedom of expression. When he spoke of all sorts of bribery in elections, he was standing against his own party candidates who are known to have come from a corrupted system.

With all these, Dr. Bashiru was arming the mass with the strongest weapons ever for the revolution – knowledge and audacity. But the question is: is a Dr. Bashiru at Nkrumah Hall similar the one who goes to campaign for the migrant politicians who are resigning from their parties to join his party only to vie for the same positions they held before?

Is he capable of telling the voters that so and so are but the bogus candidates who are not worthy their votes since their road toward their candidacy was so rough and smelly? Will he advise them to vote freely for a choice they want and assure them their votes would be respected?

I wonder. A sober Dr. Bashiru won’t allow it to come from his mouth for he is the CCM’s General Secretary – a number three in command in the ranks of the ruling party. In its sobriety, this is a party in power with enough greed to ‘legalise’ its political maneuvers. So it has done for decades under the same banner of being a party of the mass. Not much different from what Mr. Mandola was doing to legalise his land grab against the poor villagers.

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