Debate on what happened during latest CCM-NEC meeting: THIS DAY AT least one topmost official of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has openly confirmed a brazen party bid to silence once and for all some of its more vocally anti-corruption MPs, including National Assembly Speaker Samwel Sitta, during last months CCM national executive committee (NEC) convention in Dodoma. In his written treatise believed to have been distributed to various diplomatic missions in the country, CCM vice-chairman Pius Msekwa acknowledged that Sitta and a number of CCM legislators were collectively criticized for their lack of party loyalty and discipline, but insisted that this was done for a good cause. The Speaker was criticized primarily for his failure, while guiding the deliberations of the House, to observe the parliamentary conventions governing the exercise by parliament of its control function over the government, Msekwa said. The document is understood to have been circulated amongst members of the diplomatic community in Tanzania, to explain CCMs position in the wake of the social and political debate now simmering across the country regarding what precisely transpired during that NEC meeting in Dodoma. Msekwa, Sittas predecessor as National Assembly Speaker, is now a member of the three-man team picked during the meeting to oversee efforts to restore party unity and fix CCMs growing image problems. The team is led by ex-president Ali Hassan Mwinyi, and also includes former Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Abdulrahman Kinana. Its primary task has been described as to seek ways of healing an apparent deep rift between a growing number of CCM legislators and the central party establishment itself. All three members are sitting members of the all-powerful CCM central committee. In general, Msekwas remarks contained in the new document, a copy of which has been obtained by THISDAY, appear to contradict earlier statements by various CCM senior functionaries which vehemently sought to deny all reports of any kind of friction during the Dodoma NEC meeting. Some of the key CCM officials who have been in such denial so far include secretary general Yusuf Makamba, publicity secretary John Chiligati, and self-styled propaganda specialist Richard [?]Tambwe Hiza. But according to Msekwa: Particular reference was made to certain unacceptable utterances which have been made by members of parliament and the Zanzibar House of Representatives in their respective Houses, as well as the conduct of Speaker Samuel Sitta. He sought to deny media reports quoting various legal experts saying the NEC meeting deliberations had contravened Article 100 of the national Constitution in trying to curb ruling party legislators from exercising their democratic right to debate issues freely in the House, but insisted on the importance of maintaining party organization and discipline during this era of political pluralism. He said since competition between political parties does not terminate with elections, but only shifts to the floor of parliament, appropriate rules of competition are also required at this new stage of competition within the House. �This emphasizes the importance as well as the high value of the CCM parliamentary party caucus rules, and the need to adhere to them, for the smooth operations of parliament,� he added. Amongst senior diplomats in the country who are understood to have made clear their alarm at the reports of what transpired during the latest CCM top-level meetings was the Swedish Ambassador, Steffan Herrstrom, for one. It is understood that during the highly-charged Dodoma meeting, more than 40 NEC members launched direct attacks on Sitta and other rebel MPs for speaking out against high-level corruption in government. They accused the Speaker of embarrassing the government by allowing MPs during the recent parliamentary budget session to openly criticize senior public leaders, both past and present, and there were several calls for Sittas immediate expulsion from the party and replacement as House Speaker. An official CCM statement issued after the meeting said merely that all ruling party cadres - particularly MPs � had been banned forthwith from speaking out on widespread corruption and abuse of office allegations against ex-president Benjamin Mkapa. Nothing else was said.