NEC technically locks out CCM presidential aspirants


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Feb 11, 2007


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NEC technically locks out CCM presidential aspirants

By Rodgers Luhwago

28th February 2010


President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

Any CCM member seeking nomination as the ruling party's candidate in the next presidential election would literally be daydreaming, given the introduction of a new system that makes it virtually impossible for the incumbent, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, to be dislodged.
The snag lies in the limited ten-day time-frame within which every aspirant is supposed to pick nomination forms and mobilise endorsement signatures from 250 members in 10 regions – eight on the Mainland and two in the Isles.
According to the CCM nomination timetable unveiled in Dodoma two weeks ago after a National Executive Committee meeting, candidates wishing to vie for the union and Zanzibar presidency will pick up nomination forms from July 1 to July 8.
The nomination of the candidate for the Union presidency will be made on July 18, while the flag bearer for the Zanzibar presidency will be picked on July 16.
In 2005, CCM availed nearly one whole month to eleven presidential candidacy hopefuls to criss-cross the country in search of the signatures.
This time round, whoever wishes to challenge Kikwete would find it extremely difficult, and most probably impossible, to meet the preconditions. To visit ten regions and sweet-talk 250 CCM members into endorsing the aspirant within ten days would entail chartering a helicopter at a staggering cost beyond the reach of the majority, as well as crafting a very tight schedule.
Even if one were to afford helicopter-propelled mobilization, eyebrows would be raised over how he or she raised the money, more-so in relation to a party that projects itself as an outfit of, and which caters for mainly poor members and wananchi at large.
It is apparent, therefore, that the limited time frame has been set to deliberately discourage those nursing candidacy and, by extension, presidential ambitions within the CCM orbit, and thereby smoothen Kikwete's bid for a constitutionally-mandated second, final, five-year term as Head of State.
CCM presidential candidates who locked horns in the primaries in 2005 were Chairman of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Former Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye, Ambassador Ali Karume, Former Minister in President's Office Planning and Privatisation Dr Abdallah Kigoda, Former CCM Vice Chairman and Prime Minister John Malecela and the incumbent President Jakaya Kikwete.
Others were Former Minister for Industries and Trade Iddi Simba, Ambassador Patrick Chokala, Minister for Water and Irrigation Prof Mark Mwandosya, Former MP for Sengerema constituency Dr William Shija and Maswa MP John Shibuda.
The party's Central Committee (CC) trimmed down the list from eleven to five. Those dropped were Malecela, Shibuda, Chokala, Dr Shija and Simba. The remaining five aspirants were screened by the National Executive Committee, dropping two: Kigoda and Sumaye.
The names of the top three were taken to the party's Congress for voting in which President Kikwete emerged the victor. Dr Salim was the first runner while Prof Mwandosya was in the third slot.
CCM Ideology and Publicity Secretary John Chiligati told The Guardian On Sunday over the weekend that the decision by NEC to allocate only ten days for the nomination process was deliberate, as the party didn't expect any member to challenge President Kikwete, whose performance during the first five-year term he said was exemplary.
"We saw no reason for allocating time for candidates to move around the country to seek support as it was the case with 2005 because this time we are going to have only one candidate who does not need to go around the country for self introduction, including seeking signatures of support from members," Chiligati said. The spokesman added: "We have an internal arrangement of re-nominating the incumbent president to vie for the post of president if the party is satisfied with his performance in the first term. Now, this also applies to this year's general elections whereby after assessing the performance of the incumbent, we have decided that he be given another term,"
However, Chiligati said CCM members wishing to oppose President Kikwete are not prevented from doing so because the party constitution gives them freedom and the right to vie for any political posts provided they meet the requirements.
"The ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has not barred any member from challenging President Kikwete for the party nomination during this year's General Election.
However, I would like to give a piece of advice to those wishing to challenge President Kikwete; that they should first study how the political wind in CCM is blowing before doing so," he said.
However President Kikwete himself has not made any public declaration of his intention to defend the post, despite the stand of the party of which he is the National Chairman.
So far, only Maswa MP John Shibuda has declared his intention to challenge President Kikwete as CCM nominee for the presidential race.
Speaking about Zanzibar where a new presidential candidate has to be fielded because incumbent President Amani Abeid Karume is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election and he has himself said he won't, Chiligati said the time set for the nomination process is adequate since the twin islands of Zanzibar and Pemba constitute a relatively small geographical area.
To be nominated as a CCM candidate for the presidency, one has to pay a deposit of one million Shillings and have the documented support of 250 people from each of eight Mainland regions, and the same figure in two Isles' regions.
The next step is a screening exercise conducted by CCM's internal organs such the Ethics Committee and the Party Secretariat.
However, the final decisions are made by the Central Committee (CC), the National Executive Committee and the National Conference.


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