2009-02-28 10:03:00 Kawawa denounces greedy CCM leaders By Beatus Kagashe THE CITIZEN Retired Prime Minister Rashidi Kawawa yesterday called on members of the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) not to allow a few individuals bent on pursuing their personal interests to wreck the party from within. The 83-year-old Kawawa said CCM should be wary of the few leaders who were trying to use the party to achieve their own interests, as in the "long run they will ruin its image and consequently the country". Breaking his long silence with the stinging criticism of the leadership of his own party, the veteran politician and long-serving confidante of Founding President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, was alluding to revelations of mega corruption scandals in which some top CCM politicians have been implicated in the theft of billions of shillings. He castigated the politicians, insisting that all leaders must put the national interest first. Mzee Kawawa, speaking at State House, Dar es Salaam, during the launch of a new book on his own contribution to the country's leadership from the early 1960s, when he succeeded Mwalimu Nyerere as Prime Minister, warned the party's current leaders that their "deeds and decisions may jeopardise the peace and tranquillity their predecessors strived to build for many years". Launching the book, President Jakaya Kikwete urged leaders to learn from Mzee Kawawa's experiences and observe high standards of integrity and morals while discharging their responsibilities. "In politics let's learn from Rashidi Kawawa's experiences, being tolerant and a good example and not an obstacle to others implementing their duties," said Mr Kikwete. He urged Tanzanians to promote the reading culture as a way of enhancing knowledge.Mr Kawawa is not the first insider to admonish the ruling party. His remarks echo the repeated sentiments of former Nyerere aide Joseph Butiku, who has also openly criticised CCM, stating that it has lost its sense of direction. Mr Butiku, who like Mzee Kawawa, also worked closely with Mwalimu Nyerere for many years, recently fired his well-known salvos at the corrupt leaders within the Government and the party. The national chairman, President Kikwete, also recently criticised his fellow party members. Speaking during CCM's 32nd national anniversary in Shinyanga, on February 8, the President cautioned the party's MPs against complacency. The President warned that if the MPs would not tread carefully, they risked losing their seats to the Opposition in next year's General Election. He was commenting on claims by several CCM regional leaders that some of the MPs had never visited their constituencies since they were elected in 2005. The President reminded the politicians that they were not elected to pursue their own interests, but to effectively represent their constituents in the National Assembly. The author of the book entitled, Simba wa Vita Katika Historia ya Tanzania, Mfaume Rashidi Kawawa, is Dr John Magotti, the principal of the Mwalimu Nyerere Memorial Academy. It describes Mzee Kawawa as one of the hardworking leaders whose contributions fellow Tanzanians should not forget. The launch coincided with the celebration of Mzee Kawawa's 83rd birthday. Present during the launch were former Presidents Benjamin Mkapa and Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former Prime ministers John Malecela and Joseph Warioba, Mama Maria Nyerere, and other prominent leaders and members of Mzee Kawawa's family. The retired politician challenged the current leaders to perform their duties with great integrity and a sense of morality. "Leaders must put the interests of the nation ahead of their own and work honestly in the service of the people," said Mzee Kawawa. He said those pursuing their own interests at the expense of the party could cause a split it by encouraging groupings. Mr Kawawa called for unity, saying that the growing divisions within the ruling party could plunge the country into chaos. "I thank God that I have reached this stage, but I must also pay gratitude to my parents, who brought up me well. This is what enabled me to serve in different positions until my retirement." He said Mwalimu Nyerere had trust in him and he was still grateful to him for that. As next year's elections approach, divisions are bound to emerge, with the various politicians forging camps in which to fight for political survival. During the book launch, President Kikwete said there was need for a National Reading Day to be used to mobilise people to read books and other materials. "Our people don't read. Even in newspapers, they just rush to read headlines only. We need a national day to push people to read. Education is in books," the President declared. "We are singing about science at technology but still we are lagging behind because many people don't read," he said. He also appealed to scholars to write more books on the lives of retired leaders to preserve the country's history. He told Mzee Kawawa: "Today is the special day not only because we are launching the book or celebrating your birthday, but because we have preserved our history." The author, Dr Magotti, said the book traces Mzee Kawawa's story from his childhood, and the positions held in the government to his current life and family.