- Feb 11, 2007
|Stage set for final face-off|
|Saturday, 15 October 2011 21:53|
By Bernard James
The Citizen Reporter
Dar es Salaam.
Daggers are drawn and the stage is apparently set for a major showdown in Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), whose opposing fronts spared little detail this week to suggest the ruling party could be staring at a bitter split in its rank and file. Each of the warring factions upped their stakes in a game of wits that observers said was bound to raise temperatures ahead of a decisive National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party later this month or in early November. Sources said this weeks outburst by CCM publicity secretary, Mr Nape Nnauye, and the youth wing (UVCCM) acting chairman, Mr Benno Malisa, only served to ignite more confrontations within the rank and file of the countrys oldest political party.However, in an interview with The Citizen on Sunday, Mr Nnauye dispelled fears of a likely confrontation, saying this weeks sparring of words was healthy for CCMs internal democracy.
He was referring to his own assertion that a faction within the party was out to undermine President Kikwete, charging they were using their wealth to drive a campaign to separate his role as head of state and national chairman for the ruling party.
He also defended himself against attacks by Mr Malisa, who, when addressing a public meeting in Arusha, said Mr Nnauye was dividing and sabotaging the party by riding on the decision to purge corrupt officials to wage a personal war against unnamed senior officials. Mr Malisas criticism was telling, as he argued that there was no way for CCM to distance itself from or run away from the current weaknesses in governance. It was this attack that Mr Nnauye branded a rebellion by those he saw as aligning themselves to those targeted in the corruption purge.
But according to party insiders, the NEC meeting planned for Dodoma is expected to determine the fate of Mr Edward Lowassa and Mr Andrew Chenge, and thus likely to be stormy in the wake of recent acrimonious exchanges.The duo are high-raking party officials expected for some time now to announce their resignations from key CCM positions as part of an ongoing internal purge of leaders accused of involvement in corruption and soiling the partys public image.
President Jakaya Kikwete, who doubles as the CCM national chairman, presided over a meeting in April that endorsed the plan to rid the party of top officials deemed to have lost public trust and contributed to party suffering losses in the 2010 General Election. Even though no individuals were named, impressions created then indicated that among those targeted were high profile individuals implicated in several mega corruption scandals in the country.
Mr Lowassa is a powerful politician and MP for Monduli who resigned in 2008 as prime minister after a select committee of Parliament implicated him in the Richmond power scandal, while Mr Chenge, who is Bariadi West MP, also quit the Kikwete cabinet amid investigation into bribery claims in the $40m radar deal.
They were expected to follow suit after Mr Rostam Aziz quit CCMs NEC and forfeited his Igunga Parliamentary seat in July. Mr Aziz, a successful businessman said, however, he had quit over dirty politics and blamed some top officials of using the said purge to witch-hunt others.
With the clock ticking fast, and no sign that neither Mr Lowassa nor Mr Chenge would throw in the towel any time soon, sources said this weeks outburst by Mr Nnauye and Mr Malisa only served to ignite more passions. Unconfirmed reports say unlike Mr Aziz, Mr Lowassa and Mr Chenge have told close confidants that they were ready to fight from within and would not go down alone. They have personally maintained studious silence.
The factions, one said to be getting President Kikwetes ear, while the other is gravitating towards the Lowassa axis, were reportedly rallying loyal troops to face off in the ultimate showdown in Dodoma. The prize, it is said, is a head start to clinching the partys nod to run for the presidency in 2015.
Other pundits also agreed that the party officials were headed for a nasty confrontation in Dodoma. They are worried that if the crisis worsened, it could stall the nations progress as the infighting has much to do with personal ambition to attain power.
It is a grave mistake today to think that Tanzania is CCMs property. Individual interests for the presidency could hurt us badly and cost the nation, warned CCM MP for Ludewa, Mr Deo Filikunjombe.
They have forgotten their basic responsibility. They cannot distinguish between own interests and the duty to serve the people, he said, regretting that the partys leadership had failed to act promptly. When the Titanic was sinking the captain of the ship was alerted several times that the vessel was grounding but he ignored the calls until the disaster happened. And this is what is exactly happening now to CCM, Mr Filikunjombe added.
For his part, Mr Nnauye says the ongoing reforms in his party were meant to bring it back on track and were not meant to attack or weaken individuals aspiring for the presidency in 2015.
But African liberation stalwart and once CCM staunch supporter, Brigadier General (rtd) Hashim Mbita, said CCM was on the verge of ruin.I think the youth are not alone. They are being used as agents ofa selfish interest. It is unfortunate that there is laxity in enforcing CCM ethics, seemingly without a common position and moral authority to counter evil.
Issues affecting the wellbeing of the party and the nation must be discussed fearlessly in formal party meetings and decisions reached implemented. The government must be accountable to the party. When this happens the factions will automatically crumble, he said. University of Dar es Salaam law lecturer and opposition politician, Dr Sengondo Mvungi, said squabbling in CCM would cost them votes. Tanzanians no longer expect their liberation to come from CCM, he said.
Dr Mvungi believes President Kikwete has little room and options to change his party for the betterment of the country. Only an alternative government by the opposition could bring true change because there is no point in leading the country astray because of CCM infighting.
Saying he was merely expressing his personal views, CCMs Dar es Salaam regional secretary, Mr Kilumbe Ngenda, said internal wrangles in CCM need not break it. For him, what mattered most were matters affecting the function of party organs. There could only be a problem when people boycott valid party decisions.
He said it was not right for the time being to brand anyone aspiring for the presidency a rebel so long as such advances observed party ethics.
Mr Ngenda said CCM had survived serious confrontations in the past. I do not know how people measure the gravity of the alleged crisis, but I have witnessed even much bigger and serious differences in the past, he said.