Top CCM leader secretly funding opposition party THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam A PROMINENT member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzis (CCM) central committee has been secretly bank-rolling a rival opposition party in the country ahead of the upcoming 2010 general elections, it has been revealed. Well-placed sources say the heavyweight CCM politician has in fact been one of the opposition partys main donors for quite some time now. Revelations that the senior CCM official is sponsoring the opposition party have caused an internal rift within the political party in question. Insiders say some of the national leaders of the opposition party being bank-rolled by the CCM member have now fallen out as a result of disagreements over his secret campaign contributions. There have been concerns that the credibility of the opposition party with a strong presence in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar could be compromised as a result of its unholy alliance with the top CCM leader. The CCM man has actually been holding clandestine meetings with some of the top leaders of the opposition party from both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, said an official close to the opposition party. He added: The member of the ruling partys central committee is also ironically involved in fund raising activities for CCM itself. It is understood that the CCM man secretly donated millions of shillings to the opposition party to finance its election campaigns in the recent Busanda parliamentary by-election in Mwanza and the polls for a House of Representative seat in Zanzibars Magogoni Constituency. It is believed that this CCM leader is bank-rolling the opposition party to guarantee protection for himself in the unlikely event that the ruling party should lose the general elections, said another source familiar with the matter. Apart from bank-rolling the opposition party in question, the ruling party official is also known to have sponsored individual parliamentary candidates from other opposition parties during the 2005 general elections. This CCM money man has also been footing the hotel bills in Dar es Salaam for a senior member of the opposition party being personally funded by him, said another source. Sources say the CCM official has a close friendship with the leaders of at least three opposition parties as part of his larger strategy to safeguard his interests. He has been paying off some well-known opposition leaders to ensure his vast interests are protected at any costs, said an official close to one of the opposition parties that has been benefiting from secret campaign contributions from the CCM man. Political sources say the CCM party itself is not officially aware that one of the members of the powerful central committee was financially supporting rival opposition parties. The secret campaign contributions made by this CCM central committee member to opposition parties are intended to safeguard his own personal interests rather than looking out for the future well-being of the ruling party, said one of our sources.