Butiama meeting should signal overhaul of CCM By KARL LYIMO firstname.lastname@example.org THE EAST AFRICAN The ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), met in Butiama late last month. Butiama is the sleepy northwestern town where the founder of Tanzanian nationalism Mwalimu Julius Nyerere (1922-1999), was born and lies buried. Nearly half-a-century has elapsed since Tanganyika became independent from foreign rule in 1961. All through that period, the country has been governed by one and the same party: the Tanganyika African National Union which changed to CCM. In 1965, Tanzania formally adopted single-party politics. Responding to pressure from the international donor/creditor community, the government legislated multipartyism back into fashion in 1992. More than 13 political parties went through the motions of vying for power in the 1995 elections. CCM easily won with a comfortable 61 per cent of the vote. The 2000 elections saw the party win with an over 70 per cent majority. And the 2005 election results were even more astounding. CCM took over 90 per cent of the parliamentary seats, and over 80 per cent of the presidential vote! Elections may be won by election manifestos with captivating development policies/programmes, through election rigging, or both. LETS SAY CCM HASNT BEEN RIGGING elections; then, attractive policies and development programmes did it. But, if the latter is the case, how come the party never delivers on its election promises? Tanzanians are getting poorer by the day despite what successive governments and development partners say to the contrary. Much of that is mutual back-scratching and palliative political rhetoric intended to lull voters and critics into a malleable mood. Pervasive poverty persists, never mind the enormous natural resources of the country. Many of these are ruthlessly exploited by foreign investors via dubious contracts. HOW, THEN, CAN ONE EXPLAIN THE APparent popularity at the polls which CCM continues to enjoy despite such great odds and an electorate that should be seething with anger? This defies imagination and socio-political theory too. CCM won the Kiteto by-election hands down last February at a time when its government was floundering in major scandals. One involves the loss of millions of dollars from the central bank through the External Payments Arrears Account to fake claimants. The other is about a dubious power purchase agreement that saw Tanzania shell out around $137,000 each day in standing capacity charges to a foreign company for simply lazing around! Lets face it, the Tanzania government is rotten through and through in terms of governance. CCM has, of course, been behind successive governments over the years and, as such, must have a direct bearing on their performance. The party and its governments have miserably failed the masses. I FEAR THE BUTIAMA RENDEZVOUS WAS just another partisan potpourri of political rhetoric, with resolutions that will never ever be translated into reality. CCM needed to burn itself on the Butiama Pyre and then, phoenix-like, rise from the ashes with renewed credibility and efficacy. The party must surgically get rid of the rot within itself and its governments regardless of faces and names. Then, hopefully, all will be forgiven in favour of a fresh start. Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar.