...and to confirm to Tanzanians how incompetent they are So, Butiama meeting was just a ploy to buy time By KARL LYIMO email@example.com THE EAST AFRICAN Chama cha Mapinduzis Central Committee and National Executive Council met in Butiama last month to thrash out sticky issues and chart the way forward. No doubt the party already has its eye fixed on the 2010 elections. Many will understand why the party would want to continue governing ad infinitum. It has been behind successive governments since the countrys independence in 1961. Power is not an easy thing to relinquish. THE CONFERENCE CULMINATED IN THE Butiama Declaration whose brevity and shallowness make it famous. It ranged from the cosmetic (memorialisation of Nyerere, party ethics, ideology, protocols and taboos) to self-aggrandisement. Judging by the declaration, the sessions glossed over burning national issues. These include the Zanzibar political rift and grand corruption. The declarations silence on global issues was deafening especially considering that President Jakaya Kikwete is the African Union chairman. One expected a veteran independence party like CCM founded by stalwarthuman- rights and freedom activists like Mwalimu would give definitive directives to its government on Darfur, Zimbabwe, Somalia, Uganda ( the Lords Resistance Army talks ), the Democratic Republic of Congo ( the problem of renegade militia leader Laurent Nkunda) among others. UNFORTUNATELY, IT DIDNT. I FEARED Butiama would be just another partisan potpourri of political rhetoric. There would indeed be resolutions but wishy-washy affairs not worth translating into reality; a mere ploy to buy time till 2010. That is exactly what happened! Take, for instance, the resolution on the tussle between CCM and the Civic United Front, the formers political nemesis in Zanzibar. The results of the past three multiparty elections have been unclear as to who actually won the presidency. CCMS COMMANDO SALMIN AMOUR won the 1995 presidency by 50.02 per cent against CUFs Maalim Seif (49.08 per cent). Mwalimu Nyerere counselled a national unity government to no avail. The stalemated 2000 election results led to over 40 deaths on the Isles on January 26-27, 2001 at the hands of government security forces. Then-Union president Benjamin Mkapa halfheartedly went along with negotiations to ostensibly bring about Muafaka political accords. Inaugurating the Union Parliament on December 30, 2005, newly installed President Kikwete acknowledged the Zanzibar rift, and pledged to sort out the mess once and for all within his five-year term. He nearly pulled this off until Butiama-2008! CUF SECRETARY-GENERAL MAALIM SEIF has announced an agreement with CCM to form a coalition government. I have no reason to doubt him. However, this must have irked CCM, which poured cold water on that at Butiama, resolving that Zanzibaris must decide the issue via a plebiscite! Plebiscites are a virtual election, where people express a choice for or against a specific proposal, government or ruler. Tantamount to partisan filibustering , a plebiscite is CCMs surefire way of delaying a solution to the stalemate until the 2010 elections. A sorry sight indeed. Anyway, reading between the lines is about the only way to assess CCM for what it is truly worth? The Butiama resources could have better been spent elsewhere. Karl Lyimo is a freelance journalist based in Dar.