Monday May 11, 2009 Local News Msekwa: CCM firm due to grassroots base JAPHET SANGA in Johannesburg, 11th May 2009 Ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party Vice-Chairman (Tanzania mainland) Mr Pius Msekwa has said his party is still firm because it was not built on personality clout but on grassroots support. Mr Msekwa, who was here to attend the investiture of President Jacob Zuma on Saturday in Pretoria, said yesterday that its members could squabble but the party would not tremour. He cited past cases where some influential persons like the late Oscar Kambona and the current Chairman of Tanzania Labour Party, Mr Augustine Mrema, defected and people thought CCM would crumble only to be proved wrong. The vice-chairman was reacting to concern that CCM was likely to go the African National Congress (ANC) way whose internal friction has seen the creation of Congress of the People (COPE) by some ANC defectors. "Ours is a party molded on grassroots support and, unlike the ANC, we transcend tribal divides," explained Mr Msekwa. He described last weekend's inauguration of President Zuma as yet another opportunity to solidify ties between CCM and the ANC, saying the ties were destined for greater heights than before. "President Zuma is a close friend to CCM, an amity that spans many years ago. I was here to witness his installation as the ANC President in December 2007 and he came to the CCM congress in Kizota, Dodoma. Therefore, this closeness is set to solidify our ties even further," said Mr Msekwa. The vice-chairman, who was flanked by the party's Ideology and Publicity Secretary, Mr John Chiligati, said the purpose of their attendance at the inauguration was to cement relations and share experience with the ANC. "CCM has vast experience in government leadership since 1961 (then Tanganyika African National Union -- TANU) while the ANC swept into government in 1994. So they have something to learn from us much as ANC was established in 1912," explained Mr Msekwa.The Ideology and Publicity Secretary, Mr Chiligati, described last Saturday's inauguration in Pretoria as a milestone in showing the spirit of reconciliation within the ANC. "Initially most of us thought former President Thabo Mbeki would not attend the ceremony given the hassles that prevailed between Mr Mbeki and Mr Zuma but the former came to the inauguration and they hugged. "That's how African politics should go. They really showed maturity," said Mr Chiligati. President Jacob Zuma becomes South Africa's fourth post apartheid president after Saturday's investiture attended by about 5,000 dignitaries and invited guests.Some 29 heads of state and government, including President Jakaya Kikwete were here to witness the installation.