Forget about Chadema, Mr President! Rebuild CCM! Monday, 07 March 2011 13:49 Mr Makwaia wa Kuhunga
Deducing from the President’s monthly address to the nation last week, the message is ominous: there is a danger both to national peace and the government of the day. One of the opposition political parties was bent on plunging the country into a crisis to make it ungovernable; removing elected government.
This newspaper’s lead story on the dawn of this month, March 1st rang: Warning that the ongoing demonstrations and rallies of Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (Chadema) could plunge the country into a crisis, President Jakaya Kikwete has advised the Tanzanian people to ignore the opposition party and refocus on safeguarding national peace.
This newspaper quoted the President as saying that Chadema’s current move to organize rallies across the country had a sinister motive: to disrupt peace and create conditions for violence in the country. He warned that such rallies and demonstrations by the opposition Chadema should not be turned into a vehicle for the forceful removal of the elected government in place.
Too a strong word from the President, I thought. But my first reaction when I sampled the President’s concerns from the media was that the President was actually propping up this opposition party and giving it added stature as Head of State by appearing too obsessed with whatever it was up to!
But by the last weekend, there were more concerns from the propaganda machinery of his party echoing the same words by the President but in a different stronger stance: urging coercive organs of state power to deal with Chadema which nurses “a hidden agenda to remove the ruling party by violence – unconstitutionally.”
Eh, Bwana! What is going on here? Is the situation really that serious to deserve the time of the President and aides in the ruling party to talk this language?
How does a party with only 48 members of Parliament which is not even half of the members of the whole House succeed to remove the ruling party from power via demonstrations and rallies?
Since I am not privy to intelligence information from the Tanzanian state, I may not be qualified to place judgment on the President’s concerns and those of his aides in the ruling party on whether there is a real threat to national peace and security in the course of politicking of one of the opposition political parties in this country.
But from the perspective of a reasonably intelligent or level headed person on the ground, the problem is not really have to do with the perceived threat of the said opposition party, that is whether real or imaginary. But before volunteering on what could be the real problem, let me invite you to some form of imagination, that is imagining you were some where on the corridors of power at the moment in time.
What would you feel, watching television news on prime time, seeing those mammoth crowds at Chadema rallies? Those crowds are awful and politically intimidating, aren’t they, emerging as they do in one of this country’s most populated regions?
Eh! Bwana! They are clearly politically intimidating! Just forget about the words being uttered at these rallies; just come to terms with the magnitude of the crowds. If you were in the ruling party in this country and at the top for that matter, may be as Chairman or Secretary-General of the ruling party, what would be your immediate reaction?
Here now comes what I believe is the problem with people in the ruling party here.
All they think is about is power and how to win and keep that power! They have no time to pose the question: where could we possibly be going wrong?
The other day, I approached, in a comradely manner, one of the leaders of the ruling party, CCM. “Please, let us stop being cliquish. It is not simply true that those in the rank and file who are critical of the thrust of this party today are enemies. Why can’t you meet them, convene a meeting for a frank exchange aimed at charting the way forward for this party?”
This comrade just starred at me. He nodded and said nothing in response. But the next thing I heard is a statement urging state organs to “deal” with CHADEMA quoted somewhere in this perspective!
My open free consultancy to this party, CCM which I belong albeit inactively, is reflected in the heading of this perspective urging the President who is the national Chairman of the ruling party here: Mr President: Forget Chadema! Rebuild your party!
My scenario of rebuilding the party, CCM, would be to start with reviving the credibility and integrity of the party itself which has been seriously eroded. The consequence of this vacuum is the massive crowds we see gracing the opposition!
The leadership should have the courage of purging itself; collecting back party membership cards of those its leadership whose conduct has grossly tainted the image of the party.
Secondly, the party should re-posses its original ideological direction of Socialism and Self-reliance in the context of current global and local conditions. Secondly, which is basic, the party’s focus now should be the lot of the majority poor of this country.
If this is done, seriously and urgently, CCM continuing as the ruling party in 2015 is guaranteed. But, otherwise, should it fail to reconstitute itself, it should get ready to occupy opposition benches next vote. And this will happen via democratic means and will never be by violence because nobody can hoodwink Tanzanians. They are a resilient and mature people!
Makwaia wa Kuhenga is a senior Tanzanian journalist and author based in Dar es Salaam
Chanzo: The Citizen, 7/3/2011
Welldone Makwaiya, our president has a pile of duties to deal with, not a 'Minor' issue od Chadema demos!